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The Transmission of Knowledge The Impact of Philosophy on the Formation of Religious Sects
Early Concepts Introduced <ul><li>Sunna : beaten path or custom. </li></ul><ul><li>Hadith : individual excerpts from the S...
Strands of Knowledge <ul><li>Quran:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sayings and doings of the Prophet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Re...
Strands of Knowledge Cont. <ul><li>Sufism would gain some influence, and with the multiple strands of knowledge, as well a...
Transmitters of Knowledge <ul><li>Uluma : Mulla (Persian speaking lands), Shaykh (Arabic speaking lands), Kiyayi (Indonesi...
Getting Back to Those Ismailis… <ul><li>Because Islam was theocratic in nature, the Ismaili Shi’a were forced to switch fr...
Comparisons of Isma’ili branch of Shi’a and Sunni Tradition <ul><li>Isma’ili:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect for the Quran...
Isma’ili Influences… <ul><li>Strong influences can be found in Persian and Arabic literature, such as that of the “Epistle...
Hasan-I Sabbah in Brief <ul><li>Father was a follower of Twelver Shi’ism and Hasan was raised as such… but was for the mos...
The First Assassination: <ul><li>The First Assassination: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>City of Sava, arrested for performing sepa...
The Teaching of the Old Man on the Mountain… <ul><li>Followers of Hasan-I Sabah were performing the acts of murder as a me...
Bibliography <ul><li>Lewis, Bernard.  The Assassins: A Radical Sect.   New York: Oxford University Press, 1967. </li></ul>...
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Assassins Powerpoint

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Assassins Powerpoint

  1. 1. The Transmission of Knowledge The Impact of Philosophy on the Formation of Religious Sects
  2. 2. Early Concepts Introduced <ul><li>Sunna : beaten path or custom. </li></ul><ul><li>Hadith : individual excerpts from the Sunna describing events that transcribed, as well as traditions. </li></ul><ul><li>Sharia : was a practical application of Muslim values to law making. </li></ul><ul><li>Because a particular hadith stated that if a community were to agree on something, there could be no error in the decision they decided upon, reviewing these materials was forbidden. </li></ul><ul><li>Such reviewing would eventually come about in regards to the studying of the Quran. Because it was required reading, it was widely available, and because it was widely available, it was subject to scrutiny. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Strands of Knowledge <ul><li>Quran: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sayings and doings of the Prophet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Required learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharia </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Greek and other Imported Knowledge: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Philosophy, theological debate, medicine and occult sciences from Greece </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Arms and Horsemanship, guides on government from Sasanian lands </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Led to the formation of multiple theological positions, “one in which God was understood through revelation and one in which He was understood through reason.” (Robinson) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sufism/ Mysticism: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Umayyad Courts of Damascus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contact with Christians </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contrasted with the formal reverence of God by dictating more heartfelt relations </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Strands of Knowledge Cont. <ul><li>Sufism would gain some influence, and with the multiple strands of knowledge, as well as a decline in the Abbasid Caliphate led to a rise in Shia regimes. </li></ul><ul><li>While the majority of Shias were uninterested in converting people, the Ismailis were absolutely interested. These Ismaili missionaries were supported by a group quite unloving towards the Abbasid Caliphate: Fatimid rulers. </li></ul><ul><li>Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali : helped to maintain stability among conflicts between the Ismailis and sectors of Islamic law, specifically the Hanbali branch which was against the application of scientific reason in Islamic beliefs. </li></ul><ul><li>Bridged the gap between Sufiism and sharia Islam by separating the application of logic and sciences from the pursuit of God. </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of the path to God would have to be gained not only through logic, but through personal experience. </li></ul><ul><li>This establishment of multiple accepted religious beliefs would be the start of something that was a source of strength for most Islamic lands, the acceptance of such a variety of cultures. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Transmitters of Knowledge <ul><li>Uluma : Mulla (Persian speaking lands), Shaykh (Arabic speaking lands), Kiyayi (Indonesian), Mallam (African) </li></ul><ul><li>Administration: Mosques, schools, hospitals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The bulk of the lessons taught were done so orally in order to keep with the tradition of the Prophet relaying his messages received from God in such a manner. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ibn Khaldun, a student would be confronted by a “veil”, which would separate them from the true meaning behind the words, and so they were spoken aloud. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Preservation of sharia </li></ul><ul><li>Sufis : Gathered in khanqas, meditation and chanting were crucial to the practices carried out within these learning areas. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The khalifas, or disciples of the Sufi shaykh were treated quite differently in comparison to those of the scholarly teachers of the uluma madrasas, as they would often become revered themselves. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Getting Back to Those Ismailis… <ul><li>Because Islam was theocratic in nature, the Ismaili Shi’a were forced to switch from a party to a sect. </li></ul><ul><li>The Abbasid Caliphate had initially been more favoured by the Shi’ites because of their familial ties to Ali, but when the Caliphate had established power over the Umayyad, they denounced the Shi’a sect. This sweeping aside any hope of revolution frustrated the Ismailis and would eventually lead to waves of messianic movements… </li></ul><ul><li>The Goal was to install an Imam of their choice in office, because of the numerous incompetent people gaining office positions. </li></ul><ul><li>After the death of Ja’far al-Sadiq, the inheritance went to Ja’far’s youngest son, because Isma’il was closely associated with extremist groups. And so those who continued to follow Isma’il despite his disinheritance were known as Isma’ilis. Those who followed the respected Imam line since Musa were known as the Twelver Shi’ites </li></ul>
  7. 7. Comparisons of Isma’ili branch of Shi’a and Sunni Tradition <ul><li>Isma’ili: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect for the Quran </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Philosophical Reasonings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Speaking Imams, and silent Imams </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge of the true Imam was their religious founding… While knowledge of the true Imam was not the pursuit of all Muslims, the pursuit of knowledge was considered a religious one to all, Sunni and Shi’a alike. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The followers of both were told to follow recorded words and hadiths without question… a word for the Isma’ilis version of this was ta’lim (authorized teaching) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Imam was the ultimate source of knowledge because he was closest to the Prophet… the Sunnis believed the Prophet was the source of God’s knowledge as well, but the Imam was not the sole messenger of this knowledge… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The desire for a more faithful and less logical approach to the pursuit of God is not mentioned specifically , however, such troubles are said to be the cause of the rise in Shi’a support. The desire to approach religion from a different path. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wealth and power for few, hardship for others are mentioned causes as well. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Isma’ili Influences… <ul><li>Strong influences can be found in Persian and Arabic literature, such as that of the “Epistles of the Sincere Brethren”, an encyclopedia that was quite popular from Persia to Spain (Lewis) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sidenote: The Isma’ilis were most successful in Africa and India, because of the power of the ulama in these areas, or lack thereof? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>• An Imam descendent of Fatima emerged, al-Mahdi, and established the Fatimid Caliph’s rule. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>• Sunni values still held strong, however, and the strength of their theology helped them to revive themselves while the Shi’a had to deal with revising doctrines to deal with their increased power. (Similar to the tribal cycles discussed in class of Ibn Khaldun </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>• Was eventually ruled by military figureheads… The choosing of a weak son, divided the Isma’ili sect and much of Islam. (al-Musta’li over Nizar) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>• This blow caused the division of the already weakening Fatimid caliphate, which led to a need of a new method of knowledge transmission… the preaching of Hasan-I Sabbah… </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Hasan-I Sabbah in Brief <ul><li>Father was a follower of Twelver Shi’ism and Hasan was raised as such… but was for the most part a quiet believer of Isma’ili Shi’ism (changed his beliefs because of Amira Zarrab) </li></ul><ul><li>Supporter of Nizar, imprisoned and deported because of it… </li></ul><ul><li>Waged a war against the Seljuk empire (win converts, acquire castles) </li></ul>Hasan’s castle in Alamut, the Eagles Teaching
  10. 10. The First Assassination: <ul><li>The First Assassination: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>City of Sava, arrested for performing separate prayers… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>After the arrest, the group of Isma’ilis attempted another conversion, of which they were refused. The man who refused was killed. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This victim was the first to be killed by Isma’ilis for political protection, and Tahir, the leader of this small Isma’ili group was the first of them to be executed for such a murder. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The first organized assassination, in one of the Isma’ili’s more known legacies of assassination, was against the Vizier Nizam al-Mulk </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bu Tahir Arrani was the first assassin, and he performed the murder of al-Mulk for the purpose of gaining access to the divine afterlife. </li></ul></ul>The assassination of Nizam al-Mulk
  11. 11. The Teaching of the Old Man on the Mountain… <ul><li>Followers of Hasan-I Sabah were performing the acts of murder as a method of achieving what the transmission of knowledge was thought to do: that was to reach God. </li></ul><ul><li>Da’wa: mission or preaching… Hujja  Mustajibs </li></ul><ul><li>The transmission of knowledge from places like Greece, and of such context as philosophical thought, allowed for logic and reason to gain influence, which in turn led to the formation of the offshoot of Shi’ism to take hold in the Isma’ili beliefs </li></ul>
  12. 12. Bibliography <ul><li>Lewis, Bernard. The Assassins: A Radical Sect. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967. </li></ul><ul><li>Francis Robinson, ed., The Cambridge History of the Islamic World , Cambridge University Press, 1996 </li></ul>

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