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Secret Societies of the Middle Ages

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Author Topic: Secret Societies of the Middle Ages  (Read 1861 times)
Trena Alloway
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« Reply #30 on: January 04, 2009, 11:23:16 pm »

p. 131

CHAPTER X.

Jellal-ed-deen--Restoration of Religion--His Harem makes the Pilgrimage to Mecca--Marries the Princess of Ghilan--Geography of the Country between Roodbar and the Caspian--Persian Romance--Zohak and Feridoon--Kei Kaoos and Roostem--Ferdoosee's Description of Mazanderan--History of the Shah Nameh--Proof of the Antiquity of the Tales contained in it.

THE unhallowed rule of Mohammed II. lasted for the long space of thirty-five years, during which time all the practices of Islam were neglected by the Ismaïlites. The mosks were closed, the fast of Ramazan neglected, the solemn seasons of prayer despised. But such a state can never last; man must have religion; it is as essential to him as his food; and those pseudo-philosophers who have endeavoured to deprive him of it have only displayed in the attempt their ignorance and folly. The purification of the popular faith is the appropriate task of the true philanthropist.

We may often observe the son to exhibit a character the diametrically opposite of that of his father, either led by nature or struck by the ill effects of his father's conduct. This common appearance was now exhibited among the Assassins. Mohammed disregarded all the observances of the ceremonial law; his son and successor, Jellal-ed-deen (Glory of Religion) Hassan, distinguished himself, from his early years, by a zeal for the ordinances of Islam. The avowal of his sentiments caused considerable enmity and suspicion between him and Mohammed; the father feared the son, and the son the father. On the days of public

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audience, at which Jellal-ed-deen was expected to appear, the old sheikh used the precaution of wearing a shirt of mail under his clothes, and of increasing the number of his guards. His death, which occurred when his son had attained his twenty-fifth year, is ascribed by several historians, though apparently without any sufficient reason, to poison administered to him by his successor.

The succession of Jellal-ed-deen was uncontested. He immediately set about placing all things on the footing which they had been on previous to the time of On his Memory be Peace. The mosks were repaired and reopened; the call to prayer sounded as heretofore from the minarets; and the solemn assemblies for worship and instruction were held once more on every Friday. Imams, Koran-readers, preachers, and teachers of all kinds, were invited to Alamoot, where they were honourably entertained and richly rewarded. Jellal-ed-deen wrote to his lieutenants in Kusistan and Syria, informing them of what he had done, and inviting them to follow his example. He also wrote to the khalif, to the powerful Shah of Khaurism, and to all the princes of Persia, to assure them of the purity of his faith. His ambassadors were everywhere received with honour, and the khalif and all the princes gave to Jellal-ed-deen, in the letters which they wrote in reply, the title of prince, which had never been conceded to any of his predecessors. The imams, and the men learned in the law, loudly upheld the orthodoxy of the faith of the mountain-chief, on whom they bestowed the name of Nev (New) Musulman. When the people of Casveen, who had always been at enmity with the Ismaïlites, doubted of his orthodoxy, Jellal-ed-deen condescended to ask of them to send some persons of respectability to Alamoot, that he might have an opportunity of convincing them,

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[paragraph continues] They came, and in their presence he committed to the flames a pile of books which he said were the writings of Hassan Sabah, and contained the secret rules and ordinances of the society. He cursed the memory of Hassan and his successors, and the envoys returned to Casveen, fully convinced of his sincerity.

In the second year of his reign Jellal-ed-deen gave a further proof of the purity of his religious faith by permitting, or, perhaps, directing, his harem, that is, his mother, his wife, and a long train of their female attendants, to undertake the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, to worship at the tomb of the Prophet. The sacred banner was, according to custom, borne before the caravan of the pilgrims from Alamoot, and the Tesbeel, or distribution of water to the pilgrims, usual on such occasions *, was performed by the harem of the mountain-prince on such a scale of magnificence and liberality as far eclipsed that of the great Shah of Khaurism, whose caravan reached Bagdad at the same time on its way to Mecca. The khalif Nassir-ladin-Illah even gave precedence to the banner of the pilgrims from Alamoot, and this mark of partiality drew on him the wrath of the potent prince of Khaurism. Twice did the latter afterwards collect an


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army to make war on the successor of the Prophet. With the first, consisting of nearly 300,000 men, he marched against Bagdad, and had reached Hamadan and Holuan, when a violent snow-storm obliged him to retire. He had collected his forces a second time, when the hordes of Chinghis Khan burst into his dominions. His son and successor resumed his plans, and reached Hamadan, when again a snow-storm came to avert destruction. from the City of Peace. As the power of the Mongol conqueror was now great and formidable, the prudent prince of Alamoot sent in secret ambassadors to assure him of his submission, and to tender his homage.

Jellal ed-deen took a more active part in the politics of his neighbours than his predecessors had done. He formed an alliance with the Atabeg Mozaffer-ed-deen (Causing the Religion to be victorious), the governor of Azerbeijan, against the governor of Irak, who was their common enemy. He even visited the Atabeg at his residence, where he was received with the utmost magnificence, and each day the Atabeg sent 1,000 dinars for the expenses of his table. The two princes sent to the khalif for aid; their request was granted; and they marched against, defeated, and slew the governor of Irak, and appointed another in his place. After an absence of eighteen months Jellal-ed-deen returned to Alamoot, having in the mean time, by his prudent conduct, greatly augmented the fame of his orthodoxy. He now ventured to aspire to a connexion with one of the ancient princely houses of the country, and asked in marriage the daughter of Ky Kaoos, the prince of Ghilan. The latter having expressed his readiness to give his consent, provided that of the khalif could be obtained, envoys were despatched to Bagdad, who speedily returned with the approbation of Nassir-ladin-Illah, and the princess of Ghilan was sent to Alamoot.

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