Monday, March 18, 2013

Afzal Khan - Ahmad Alimi

Afzal Khan
Afzal Khan (d. November 10, 1659).  A seventeenth century general in the service of the sultan of Bijapur.  Afzal was sent with an army of ten thousand men to suppress Shivaji, the rebel leader who would later found the independent Maratha Hindu kingdom.  The Muslim general’s campaign was marked by religious intolerance.  He destroyed Hindu shrines, particularly one dedicated to Amba Bhavani, tutelary guardian of Shivaji’s family.  The campaign stalled when Shivaji retreated to his fortress, Pratapgarh.  A meeting between the two was eventually negotiated for November 10, 1659.  At this meeting Afzal Khan tried either to stab or strangle Shivaji, who, using a concealed weapon called tiger claws, ripped open Afzal Khan’s belly, killing him.  The Bijapur army was then ambushed and routed by Shivaji’s Maratha troops.

Afzal Khan was the most powerful Sardar (Lord) in the court of the Bijapur Sultanate.  He was responsible for the death of Shivaji's elder brother.  He was sent by Ali Adil Shah II to curb the activities of Shivaji in the western Deccan.  He destroyed several Hindu temples in an attempt to lure Shivaji out of the Western Ghat mountains and onto the plains.  Temples destroyed by him include the temple of Tuljapur, Pandharpur and Shikhar Shinganapur.  He slaughtered a cow in the temple of Tuljapur and attempted to destroy the idol of the goddess Bhavani, Shivaji's family idol.  This latter plan was foiled by the Guravs (Kadam) of the Temple, who hid the original idol in their house and placed a fake idol in the temple.

Shivaji was not be lured, and Afzal Khan met him at Pratapgad, a fort near the town of Satara, a location which was strategically advantageous for Shivaji's infantry.  Afzal Khan attempted to garner support from local militarily independent landlords of Pratapgad, who nominally acknowledged the suzerainty of the Adil Shahi.  The powerful nobleman Kanhoji Jedhe, as directed by Shahaji, helped Shivaji to counter these moves and attract their support.

Shivaji and Afzal arranged a meeting at a large tent at the foothills of Pratapgad.  It was agreed that the meeting would be unarmed, and each man was to bring ten personal bodyguards, remaining one arrow shot distance away.  Both were prepared for treachery.  Afzal hid a kataar, a small and sharp dagger, in his coat.  Shivaji wore armor under his clothes, and carried a weapon called a wagh nakh ("tiger claws"), consisting of an iron finger-grip with four razor claws, which he concealed within his clenched fist.

As the two men entered the tent fixed for the meeting, Khan pretended to greet Shivaji with a hug, and stabbed Shivaji in the back with his kataar.  However, Shivaji, due to the armor under his coat, was saved.  Shivaji opened his fist and disemboweled Khan with his wagh nakh.  Afzal managed to hold his gushing entrails and hurtled outside, faint and bleeding, and threw himself into his palanquin.  But Khan was decapitated by one Shivaji's bodyguards shortly down the slope.  Sambhaji Kawaji and Jiva Mahala, two of Shivaji's bodyguards, were instrumental in protecting their king from Afzal's bodyguards.

Shivaji sped towards the fortress as his lieutenants ordered a bugle to be sounded.  It was a pre-determined signal to his infantry, which had been strategically placed in the densely covered valley.  All of Shivaji's generals, includeing his Senapati ("Army chief") Netaji Palkar launched a surprise attack and routed Afzal Khan's army.  Afzal Khan's son managed to escape with help from Maratha generals including Khandaji Khopade.  The severed head of Khan was sent to Rajgad to be shown to Jijabai, Shivaji's mother.  Jijabai wanted vengeance for the deliberate maltreatment of Shahaji, Shivaji's father, in his captivity by Afzal Khan, and for the death of her elder son, Sambhaji, who was treacherously killed by Afzal Khan.

Afzal Khan was buried near Pratapgad.

Agha Khan
Agha Khan (Aga Khan).   Hereditary title of the head of the Nizarite sect of the Isma‘iliyya.  The title was originally bestowed (in 1818) on Hasan Ali Shah Mahallati by a ruler of the Qajar dynasty of Iran, Fath Ali Shah.  Fath Ali Shah also appointed Hasan Ali Shah to the post of governor of Kirman (Kerman).  Etymologically the title "Agha Khan" combines the Turkish military title "Agha", meaning a noble or lord, with the Altaic title "Khan", local ruler.

When the Qajar dynasty weakened, the Agha Khan lost his governorship and went to live in Mahallar, the most important post-Mogul Isma‘ili center in Iran, and a Sufi stronghold.  While crossing into India, Agha Khan provided valued service to the British who were then attempting the conquest of Afghanistan.

Agha Khan ultimately settled in Bombay among an already extensive community of his own followers.  Internal conflicts among the Khojas concerning the leadership of the Imam led to a lawsuit in 1866, which elicited much information about the Nizari Isma‘ilis.  The result of a legal challenge to his religious authority before the High Court of Bombay in 1866 brought a sweeping vindication under British law of his total, personal control over all property belonging to his Isma‘ili sect, thus confirming a source of substantial long-term wealth for himself and his successors in the imamate. 

In 1877, the colonial rulers of India, the British Raj, gave the Agha Khan rank and nobility in recognition of the help in suppressing a regional rebellion against the British, thus the Agha Khan became the only religious or community leader in British India granted a personal gun salute.  All other salute dynasties were either rulers of Princely States, or Political Pensioners holding ancestral princely titles in states abolished by the Raj.

After the death of Agha Khan -- of Hasan Ali Shah -- in Bombay in 1881, he was succeeded as Agha Khan by his son Agha Ali Shah.  Agha Ali Shah died in 1885 and was, in turn, succeeded by his seven year old son Sultan Muhammad Shah.  Sultan Muhammad ruled as Agha Khan III until his death in 1957.  This Agha Khan visited India and east Africa from time to time to meet with his followers, and established himself in Europe during his journeys there.   He acquired a leading position among the Muslims of India and, in 1937, became president of the League of Nations.  His son Agha Khan IV, formerly Prince Karim, was born in 1936. 

Prince Karim al-Hussaini became the present Agha Khan IV upon assuming the Imamat of the Nizari Isma'ilis on July 11, 1957 at the age of 21, succeeding his grandfather, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Agha Khan (Agha Khan III).  In his will, his grandfather stated the conditions that led him to select his grandson as successor to the Isma'ili Imamat:  "In view of the fundamentally altered conditions in the world in very recent years due to the great changes that have taken place, including the discoveries of atomic science, I am convinced that it is in the best interests of the Shi'a Muslim Isma'ili community that I should be succeeded by a young man who has been brought up and developed during recent years and in the midst of the new age, and who brings a new outlook on life to his office.

On July 11, 2007, Agha Khan IV completed 50 years of the imamat of the Ismaili Muslim community.

The Agha Khan, heir to the family fortune and a society figure, is founder and chairman of the Agha Khan Development Network (AKDN), one of the largest private development networks in the world.  AKDN continues to work with a variety of African and Asian countries to improve living conditions and promote education.  For instance, in Afghanistan, the AKDN mobilized over $700 million in development projects. 
Aga Khan see Agha Khan

Agha Khan I
Agha Khan I (Aga Khan I) (Hasan 'Ali Shah) (Hasan 'Ali Shah Mahallati) (1800-1881).  Leader of Isma‘ili Shi‘a Muslims.  He is believed to have been a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.  Agha Khan was governor of the province of Kerman, Iran, until 1840, when he fled to India after an unsuccessful attempt to seize power in Iran.  Agha Khan then helped the British government in India in its attempts to control frontier tribes.  Agha Khan became leader of the Isma‘ilis in India, Pakistan, Africa, and Syria.

Hasan 'Ali Shah was born in Kahak, Iran to Shah Khalil Allah, the 45th Isma'ili Imam, and Bibi Sarkara, the daughter of Muhammad Sadiq Mahallati, a poet and a Ni'mat Allahi Sufi.  Shah Khalil Allah moved to Yazd in 1815, probably out of concern for his Indian followers, who used to travel to Persia to see their Imam and for whom Yazd was a much closer and safer destination than Kahak.  Meanwhile, his wife and children continued to live in Kahak off the revenues obtained from the family holdings in the Mahallat region.  Two years later, in 1817, Shah Khalil Allah was killed during a conflict between some of his followers and local shopkeepers.  He was succeeded by his eldest son Hasan Ali Shah, also known as Muhammad Hasan, who became the 46th Imam.

Unfortunately, the family was left unprovided for after a conflict between the local Nizaris and Hasan 'Ali Shah's son-in-law Imani Khan Farahani, who had been in charge of the Imam's land holdings.  The young Imam and his mother moved to Qumm, but their financial situation worsened.  The Imam Hasan 'Ali Shah's mother decided to go to the Qajar court in Tehran to obtain justice for her husband's death and was eventually successful.  Those who had been involved in the Shah Khalil Allah's murder were punished and the Persian King Fath 'Ali Shah increased Hasan 'Ali Shah's land holdings in the Mahallat region and gave him one of his daughters, Sarv-i Jahan Khanum, in marriage.  Fath 'Ali Shah also appointed Hasan 'Ali Shah as governor of Qumm and bestowed upon him the honorific Agha Khan.  Hasan 'Ali Shah thus became known as Agha Khan Mahallat, and the title of Agha Khan was inherited by his successors.  Agha Khan I's mother later moved to India where she died in 1851.  Until Fath 'Ali Shah's death in 1834, the Imam Hasan Ali Shah enjoyed a quiet life and was held in high esteem at the Qajar court.

Soon after the accession of Muhammad Shah Qajar to his grandfather, Fath Ali Shah, Hasan 'Ali Shah was appointed governor of Kirman in 1835.  At the time, Kirman was held by the rebellious sons of Shuja al-Saltana, a pretender to the Qajar throne.  The area was also frequently raided by the Afghans.  Hasan 'Ali Shah managed to restore order in Kirman, as well as in Bam and Narmishair, which were also held by rebellious groups.  Hasan 'Ali Shah sent a report of his success to Tehran, but did not receive any compensation for his achievements.  Despite the service he rendered to the Qajar government, Hasan 'Ali Shah was dismissed from the governorship of Kirman in 1837, less than two years after his arrival there, and was replaced by Firuz Mirza Nusrat al-Dawla, a younger brother of Muhammad Shah Qajar.  Refusing to accept his dismissal, Hasan 'Ali Shah withdrew with his forces to the citadel at Bam.  Along with his two brothers, he made preparations to resist the government forces that were sent against him.  He was besieged at Bam for some fourteen months.  When it was clear that continuing the resistance was of little use, Hasan 'Ali Shah sent one of his brothers to Shiraz in order to speak to the governor of Fars to intervene on his behalf and arrange for safe passage out of Kirman.  With the governor having interceded, Hasan 'Ali Shah surrendered and emerged from the citadel of Bam only to be double-crossed.  He was seized and his possession were plundered by the government troops.  Hasan 'Ali Shah and his dependents were sent to Kirman and remained as prisoners there for eight months.  He was eventually allowed to go to Tehran near the end of 1838-39 where he was able to present his case before the Shah.  The Shah pardoned him on the condition that he return peacefully to Mahallat.  Hasan 'Ali Shah remained in Mahallat for about two years.  He managed to gather an army in Mahallat which alarmed Muhammad Shah, who travelled to Delijan near Mahallat to determine the truth of the reports about Hasan 'Ali Shah.  Hasan 'Ali Shah was on a hunting trip at the time, but he sent a messenger to request permission of the monarch to go to Mecca for the hajj pilgrimage. Permission was given, and Hasan 'Ali Shah's mother and a few relatives were sent to Najaf and other holy cities in Iraq in which the shrines of his ancestors, the Shiite Imams are found.

Prior to leaving Mahallat, Hasan 'Ali Shah equipped himself with letters appointing him to the governorship of Kirman. Accompanied by his brothers, nephews and other relatives, as well as many followers, he left for Yazd, where he intended to meet some of his local followers. Hasan 'Ali Shah sent the documents reinstating himself to the position of governor of Kirman to Bahman Mirza Baha al-Dawla, the governor of Yazd. Bahman Mirza offered Hasan 'Ali Shah lodging in the city, but Hasan 'Ali Shah declined, indicating that he wished to visit his followers living around Yazd. Hajji Mirza Aqasi sent a messenger to Bahman Mirza to inform him of the spuriousness of Hasan 'Ali Shah's documents and a battle between Bahman Mīrzā and Hasan 'Ali Shah broke out in which Bahman Mirza was defeated. Other minor battles were won by Hasan 'Ali Shah before he arrived in Shahr-i Babak, which he intended to use as his base for capturing Kirman. At the time of his arrival in Shahr-i Babak, a formal local governor was engaged in a campaign to drive out the Afghans from the city's citadel, and Hasan 'Ali Shah joined him in forcing the Afghans to surrender.

Soon after March 1841, Hasan 'Ali Shah set out for Kirman. He managed to defeat a government force consisting of 4,000 men near Dashtab, and continued to win a number of victories before stopping at Bam for a time. Soon, a government force of 24,000 men forced Hasan 'Ali Shah to flee from Bam to Rigan on the border of Baluchistan, where he suffered a decisive defeat. Hasan 'Ali Shah decided to escape to Afghanistan, accompanied by his brothers and many soldiers and servants.

After arriving in Afghanistan in 1841, Hasan 'Ali Shah proceeded to Kandahar which had been occupied by an Anglo-Indian army in 1839. A close relationship developed between Hasan 'Ali Shah and the British, which coincided with the final years of the First Anglo-Afghan War (1838-1842). After his arrival, Hasan 'Ali Shah wrote to Sir William Macnaghten, discussing his plans to seize and govern Herat on behalf of the British. Although the proposal seemed to have been approved, the plans of the British were thwarted by the uprising of Dost Muhammad's son, Muhammad Akbar Khan, who defeated the British-Indian garrison on its retreat from Kabul in January 1842. The uprising spread to Kandahar where the Afghans were in active hunt of the "infidel" Hasan 'Ali Shah. Hasan 'Ali Shah managed to escape and helped to evacuate the British forces from Kandahar in July 1842. The Afghans in Kandahar claimed that they would not rest until they had captured the "traitor of the Ahl ul Beit."

Hasan 'Ali Shah soon proceeded to Sind, where he rendered further services to the British. The British were able to annex Sind and for his services, Hasan 'Ali Shah received an annual pension of £2,000 from General Charles Napier, the British conqueror of Sind with whom he had a good relationship.

Hasan 'Ali Shah also aided the British militarily and diplomatically in their attempts to subjugate Baluchistan. He became the target of a Baluchi raid, likely in retaliation for his helping the British and to whom they considered a traitor and a "kufar" or infidel; however, Hasan Ali Shah continued to aid the British, hoping that they would arrange for his safe return to his ancestral lands in Persia, where many members of his family remained.

In October 1844, Hasan 'Ali Shah left Sind for Bombay, passing through Cutch and Kathiawar where he spent some time visiting the communities of his followers in the area. After arriving in Bombay in February 1846, the Persian government demanded his extradition from India. The British refused and only agreed to transfer Hasan 'Ali Shah’s residence to Calcutta, where it would be more difficult for him to launch new attacks against the Persian government. The British also negotiated the safe return of Hasan 'Ali Shah to Persia, which was in accordance with his own wish. The government agreed to Hasan 'Ali Shah's return provided that he would avoid passing through Baluchistan and Kirman and that he was to settle peacefully in Mahallat. Hasan 'Ali Shah was eventually forced to leave for Calcutta in April 1847, where he remained until he received news of the death of Muhammad Shah Qajar. Hasan 'Ali Shah left for Bombay and the British attempted to obtain permission for his return to Persia. Although some of his lands were restored to the control of his relatives, his safe return could not be arranged, and Hasan 'Ali Shah was forced to remain a permanent resident of India. While in India, Hasan 'Ali Shah continued his close relationship with the British, and was even visited by the Prince of Wales when the future King Edward VII was on a state visit to India. The British came to address Hasan 'Ali Shah as His Highness. Hasan 'Ali Shah received protection from the British government in British India as the spiritual head of an important Muslim community.

The vast majority of his Khoja Isma'ili followers in India welcomed him warmly, but some dissident members, sensing their loss of prestige with the arrival of the Imam, wished to maintain control over communal properties. Because of this, Hasan 'Ali Shah decided to secure a pledge of loyalty from the members of the community to himself and to the Isma'ili form of Islam. Although most of the members of the community signed a document issued by Hasan 'Ali Shah summarizing the practices of the Isma'ilis, a group of dissenting Khojas surprisingly asserted that the community had always been Sunni. This group was outcast by the unanimous vote of all the Khojas assembled in Bombay. In 1866, these dissenters filed a suit in the Bombay High Court against Hasan 'Ali Shah, claiming that the Khojas had been Sunni Muslims from the very beginning. The case, commonly referred to as the Aga Khan Case, was heard by Sir Joseph Arnould. The hearing lasted several weeks, and included testimony from Hasan 'Ali Shah himself. After reviewing the history of the community, Justice Arnould gave a definitive and detailed judgment against the plaintiffs and in favor of Hasan 'Ali Shah and the other defendants. The judgment was significant in that it legally established the status of the Khojas as a community referred to as Shi'a Imami Isma'ilis, and of Hasan 'Ali Shah as the spiritual head of that community. Hasan 'Ali Shah's authority thereafter was not seriously challenged again.

Hasan 'Ali Shah spent his final years in Bombay with occasional visits to Pune. Maintaining the traditions of the Iranian nobility to which he belonged, he kept excellent stables and became a well-known figure at the Bombay racecourse. Hasan 'Ali Shah passed away after an imamate of sixty-four years in April 1881. He was buried in a specially built shrine at Hasanabad in the Mazagaon area of Bombay. He was survived by three sons and five daughters. Hasan 'Ali Shah was succeeded as Imam by his eldest son Aqa 'Ali Shah, who became Aga Khan II.

Hasan 'Ali Shah Mahallati see Agha Khan I
Mahallati, Hasan 'Ali Shah see Agha Khan I
Aga Khan I see Agha Khan I
Hasan 'Ali Shah see Agha Khan I

Agha Khan II
Agha Khan II  (Aqa 'Ali Shah) (1830-1885).   The title given to 'Ali Shah (d.1885), the son of Agha Khan.  Agha Khan II served as leader of the Isma‘ili sect for four years after the death of his father.  His reign also emphasized close ties with the British government in India.

Aqa 'Ali Shah was born in 1830 at Mahallat in Iran.  He was the eldest son of Aqa Khan I and the only surviving male child of his father with Sarv-i Jahan Khanum.  Aqa 'Ali Shah was a member of the Iranian royal family, as his mother was the daughter of Fat'h 'Ali Shah, the second ruler of the Qajar dynasty.  His rank as a prince of the royal family was also recognized by Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar when Aqa 'Ali Shah's father died.  Nasser al-Din himself carried out a ceremony performed among Persian princes to mark the end of mourning of deceased relations.  In addition, Nasser al-Din sent a robe of honour and the emblem of the Persian Crown studded with diamonds to Aga 'Ali Shah as a sign of the Shah's relationship with the Aga Khan's family.

On his father's side, Aga 'Ali Shah traced his ancestry to the Prophet Muhammad, through his daughter Fatima and his son-in-law, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib.  He also descended from the Fatimid caliphs of Egypt.  He spent his early years in Mahallat.  However, his father's attempts to regain his former position as governor of Kirman made residence there difficult, and so Aqa Ali Shah was taken to Iraq with his mother in 1840.  There he studied Arabic, Persian, and Nizari Isma'ili doctrine, and soon gained a reputation as an authority on Persian and Arabic literature, as a student of metaphysics, and as an exponent of religious philosophy.  In the late 1840s, changed political circumstances allowed Aqa 'Ali Shah to return to Persia where he took over some of his father's responsibilities.  In 1853, Sarv-i Jahan Khanum and Aqa 'Ali Shah joined Aga Khan I in Bombay.  As his father's heir apparent to the Isma'ili Imamat, Aqa 'Ali Shah frequently visited various Isma'ili communities in India, particularly those in Sind and Kathiawar. 

Aqa 'Ali Shah became Imam of the Isma'ilis upon the death of his father in 1881, also inheriting his father's title of Aga Khan.  Aga Khan II maintained the cordial ties that his father had developed with the British and was appointed to the Bombay Legislative Council when James Ferguson was the governor of Bombay.  This was a noteworthy achievement, given that nomination to the Council in those days was a rare distinction bestowed only on men of outstanding ability and high social position.

Aqa 'Ali Shah also inherited his father's concern for his followers and was well-acquainted with their needs, having been assigned by his father to the duty of visiting the various communities in India.  For example, when confusion had arisen due to the fact that some of his followers in India were governed partly by Muslim law and partly by Hindu law,  he was appointed a member of a commission in 1874 which was constituted to submit proposals for amendment of the law relating to his community.

Being concerned about the welfare of his followers, he also opened a number of schools for them in Bombay (Mumbai) and elsewhere, and provided financial assistance to families in need.  Although his imamate lasted only some four years, he was able to increase contacts with his followers living outside of the Indian subcontinent, particularly those who resided in the regions of the upper Oxus, Burma, and East Africa.  He received much recognition for his work as he discharged his duties in a manner which drew the admiration and approbation of the community. 

Aqa 'Ali Shah's father began the family tradition of racing and breeding horses in Bombay (Mumbai).  The first Aga Khan owned some of the world's finest Arabian horses, which were inherited by Aqa 'Ali Shah.  When Aqa 'Ali Shah died, he left a large and imposing sporting establishment that included hawks, hounds and between eighty and ninety racehorses.

Aqa 'Ali Shah was not only a skillful rider, but also an avid sportsman and hunter, and was particularly famous for his hunting of tigers in India.  He was known to have pursued tigers on foot and to have had such a deadly shot that he bagged at least forty tigers in this manner.

Aga 'Ali Shah died in August 1885 in Pune, India, from pneumonia.  He was succeeded by his son Sultan Muhammad Shah, who became Agha Khan III.

Aqa 'Ali Shah see Agha Khan II
Shah, Aqa 'Ali see Agha Khan II

Agha Khan III
Agha Khan III (Sultan Muhammad Shah) (Sultan Mahommed Shah) (November 2, 1877 - July 11, 1957).  The title given to Sultan Muhammad Shah (1877-1957), the son of Agha Khan II ('Ali Shah).  Born in Karachi, India (now in Pakistan), and educated in Europe, Agha Khan III became the head of the Isma‘ili sect in 1885 after the death of his father.  During World War I, Agha Khan III persuaded his followers and other Muslims to side with the Allies.  In 1932, and from 1934 to 1937, Agha Khan III headed the Indian delegation to the Assembly of the League of Nations and was president of the League in 1937.  He was a noted sportsman, and his extreme wealth enabled him to maintain the most valuable racing stables in the world before World War II.  He also contributed generously to the Aligarh Muslim University in India.  Agha Khan III wrote India in Transition (1918) and Memoirs (1954).

Sultan Muhammad Shah was born in Karachi, in British India (now Pakistan), to Aga Khan II and his third wife, Nawab A'lia Shamsul-Muluk, who was a granddaughter of Fath 'Ali Shah of Persia (Qajar dynasty).  Under the care of his mother, he was given not only that religious and Oriental education which his position as the religious leader of the Isma'ilis made indispensable, but a sound European training, a boon denied to his father and paternal grandfather. This blending of the two systems of education produced the result of fitting this Muslim chief in an eminent degree both for the sacerdotal functions which pertained to his spiritual position, and for those social duties required of a leader which he was called upon to discharge by virtue of his position. He also attended Eton and Cambridge University.

In 1885, at the age of seven, Sultan Muhammad Shah succeeded his father as Imam of the Shi'a Isma'ili Muslims.  Sultan Muhammad Shah (Agha Khan III) traveled to distant parts of the world to receive the homage of his followers, and with the object either of settling differences or of advancing their welfare by pecuniary help and personal advice and guidance. The distinction of a Knight Commander of the Indian Empire was conferred upon him by Queen Victoria in 1897 (and later Knight Grand Commander in 1902 by Edward VII) and he received like recognition for his public services from the German emperor, the sultan of Turkey, the shah of Persia and other potentates.

In 1906, Aga Khan III was a founding member and first president of the All India Muslim League.

In 1934, he was made a member of the Privy Council and served as a member of the League of Nations (1934-37), becoming the President of the League of Nations in 1937.

He was made a "Knight of the Indian Empire" by Queen Victoria, a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire by Edward VII (1902), and a Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India by George V (1912). He was appointed a GCMG in 1923.

Aga Khan initiated into freemansonry, December 1951, and was given Masonic burial services on July 30, 1957.[3]

Under the leadership of Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III, the first half of the twentieth century was a period of significant development for the Isma'ili community. Numerous institutions for social and economic development were established in South Asia and in East Africa. Isma'ilis have marked the Jubilees of their Imams with public celebrations, which are symbolic affirmations of the ties that link the Isma'ili Imam and his followers. Although the Jubilees have no religious significance, they serve to reaffirm the Imamat's world-wide commitment to the improvement of the quality of human life, especially in the developing countries.[4]

The Jubilees of Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III, are well remembered. During his 72 years of Imamat (1885-1957), the community celebrated his Golden (1937), Diamond (1946) and Platinum (1954) Jubilees. To show their appreciation and affection, the Isma'iliyya weighed their Imam in gold, diamonds and in platinum, respectively, the proceeds of which were used to further develop major social welfare and development institutions in Asia and Africa.

In India and Pakistan, social development institutions were established, in the words of the late Aga Khan, "for the relief of humanity". They included institutions such as the Diamond Jubilee Trust and the Platinum Jubilee Investments Limited which in turn assisted the growth of various types of cooperative societies. Diamond Jubilee Schools for girls were established throughout the remote Northern Areas of what is now Pakistan. In addition, scholarship programs, established at the time of the Golden Jubilee to give assistance to needy students, were progressively expanded. In East Africa, major social welfare and economic development institutions were established. Those involved in social welfare included the accelerated development of schools and community centres, and a modern, fully-equipped hospital in Nairobi. Among the economic development institutions established in East Africa were companies such as the Diamond Jubilee Investment Trust (now Diamond Trust of Kenya) and the Jubilee Insurance Company, which are quoted on the Nairobi Stock Exchange and have become major players in national development.

Sultan Muhammad Shah also introduced organizational forms that gave Ismāʿīlī communities the means to structure and regulate their own affairs. These were built on the Muslim tradition of a communitarian ethic on the one hand, and responsible individual conscience with freedom to negotiate one's own moral commitment and destiny on the other. In 1905 he ordained the first Ismā'īlī Constitution for the social governance of the community in East Africa. The new administration for the Community's affairs was organized into a hierarchy of councils at the local, national, and regional levels. The constitution also set out rules in such matters as marriage, divorce and inheritance, guidelines for mutual cooperation and support among Isma'ilis, and their interface with other communities. Similar constitutions were promulgated in South Asia, and all were periodically revised to address emerging needs and circumstances in diverse settings.

Following the Second World War, far-reaching social, economic and political changes profoundly affected a number of areas where Isma'ilis resided. In 1947, British rule in South Asia was replaced by the two sovereign, independent nations of India and Pakistan, resulting in the migration of 14 million people and significant loss of life and property. In the Middle East, the Suez crisis of 1956 as well as the preceding crisis in Iran, demonstrated the sharp upsurge of nationalism, which was as assertive of the region's social and economic aspirations as of its political independence. Africa was also set on its course to decolonization, swept by what Harold Macmillan, the then British Prime Minister, aptly termed the "wind of change". By the early 1960s, most of East and Central Africa, where the majority of the Isma'ili population on the continent resided (including Tanganyika, Kenya, Uganda, Malagasy, Rwanda, Burundi and Zaire), had attained their political independence.

He was an owner of thoroughbred racing horses, including a record equalling five winners of the Epsom Derby, and a total of sixteen winners of British Classic Races. He was British flat racing Champion Owner thirteen times. According to Ben Pimlott, biographer of Queen Elizabeth II, Aga Khan III presented Her Majesty with a filly called Astrakhan, who won at Hurst Park Racecourse in 1950.

In 1926, the Aga Khan gave a cup (the Aga Khan Trophy) to be awarded to the winners of an international team show jumping competition held at the annual horse show of the Royal

Dublin Society in Dublin, Ireland every first week in August. It attracts competitors from all of the main show jumping nations and is carried live on Irish national television.

Sultan Muhammad Shah married Shahzadi Begum, his first cousin and a granddaughter of Aga Khan I, on November 2, 1896, in Poona, India.  He married for a second time, in 1908 (Mutah form of marriage) and 1923 (legally), Cleope Teresa Magliano (1888-1926), a dancer with the Ballet Opera of Monte Carlo. They had two sons: Giuseppe Mahdi Khan (d. February 1911) and Ali Solomone Khan (1911-1960).  He married for a third time, on December 7, 1929 (civil), in Aix-les-Bains, France, and December 13, 1929 (religious), in Bombay, India, Andrée Joséphine Carron (1898 - 1976). A former saleswoman in a candy store and a co-owner of a hat shop, Andree Josephine became known as Princess Andrée Aga Khan.  However, she did not convert to Islam. By this marriage, Sultan Muhammand Shah had one son, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, in 1933-2003. The couple were divorced in 1943.
He married for a fourth time, on October 9, 1944, in Geneva, Switzerland, Yvonne Blanche Labrousse (February 1906 - July 1, 2000). According to an interview she gave to an Egyptian journalist, her first name was Yvonne, although she is referred to as Yvette in most published references. The daughter of a tram conductor and a dressmaker, Yvonne was working as the Aga Khan's social secretary at the time of their marriage. She had been "Miss Lyon 1929" and "Miss France 1930". She converted to Islam and became known as Umm Habiba ("Little Mother of the Beloved"). In 1954, her husband named her "Mata Salamat."

The Agha Khan III wrote a number of books and papers two of which are of immense importance namely (1) India in Transition, about the pre-partition politics of India and (2) The Memoirs of Aga Khan, his autobiography.

The Aga Khan III was succeeded by his grandson Karim Aga Khan, as Aga Khan. At the time of his death on July 11, 1957, his family members were in Versoix. A solicitor brought the will of the Aga Khan III from London to Geneva and read it before the family:

"Ever since the time of my ancestor Ali, the first Imam, that is to say over a period of thirteen hundred years, it has always been the tradition of our family that each Imam chooses his successor at his absolute and unfettered discretion from amongst any of his descendants, whether they be sons or remote male issue and in these circumstances and in view of the fundamentally altered conditions in the world in very recent years due to the great changes which have taken place including the discoveries of atomic science, I am convinced that it is in the best interest of the Shia Muslim Ismailia Community that I should be succeeded by a young man who has been brought up and developed during recent years and in the midst of the new age and who brings a new outlook on life to his office as Imam. For these reasons, I appoint my grandson Karim, the son of my own son, Aly Salomone Khan to succeed to the title of Aga Khan and to the Imam and Pir of all Shia Ismailian followers."

As Agha Khan III, Muhammad Shah enjoyed an unusually long and prosperous reign, which featured a decided turn away from a strictly Muslim and Asian culture toward integration into European society.  Educated in both traditions, the third Agha Khan, urbane and affluent, became an important fixture of post-World War I high society.  Four marriages produced two sons, Aly Khan and Sadr al-Din Khan.  After Sultan Muhammad Shah’s death in 1957, the imamate passed, by his own choice of successor, to his grandson Karim al-Hussain Shah (b. 1936). 

He is buried in Aswan, Egypt at the Mausoleum of Aga Khan.

Sultan Muhammad Shah see Agha Khan III
Shah, Sultan Muhammad see Agha Khan III
Sultan Mahommed Shah see Agha Khan III

Agha Khan IV
Agha Khan IV (b. December 13, 1936). Title given to Karim al-Hussain Shah, the grandson of Agha Khan III.  Agha Khan IV was born in Geneva, Switzerland, and educated in Switzerland and at Harvard University.  Agha Khan III nominated his grandson to head the Isma‘ili sect, rather than a son, in the conviction that the Agha Khan should be “a young man brought up in the midst of the new age.” 

The Agha Khan IV is the 49th Imam of the Isma'ili Muslims. He has been in this position, and held the title of Agha Khan, since July 11, 1957 when at the age of 20 he succeeded his grandfather, Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan. The Agha Khan is responsible for the interpretation of the faith for his followers and as part of the office of the Imamate, endeavors to improve the quality of their lives and of the communities in which they live.

The Agha Khan is referred to by members of his community as Mawlana Hazar Imam ("Present Imam"). Since his ascension to the Imamate, the Agha Khan IV has witnessed complex political and economic changes which have affected his followers, including independence of African countries from colonial rule, expulsion of Asians from Uganda, the independence of Central Asian countries such as Tajikistan from the former Soviet Union, and continuing turmoil in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Āgā Khān has been particularly interested in the elimination of global poverty; the advancement of the status of women; the promotion of Islamic culture, art, and architecture; and furthering pluralistic values in society. He is the founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, one of the largest private development networks in the world, which works towards social, economic, and cultural development in Asia and Africa.

Born Prince Karim Aga Khan, the Aga Khan IV was the eldest son of Prince Aly Khan, a Pakistani leader of independence (1911–1960) and his first wife, French-born Princess Tajuddawlah Aly Khan, formerly the Honorable Joan Barbara Yarde-Buller (1908–1997).  The Agha Khan IV was born in Geneva, Switzerland on December 13, 1936. The Agha Khan's brother, Prince Amyn, was born less than a year later. Their parents divorced in 1949 and Prince Aly Khan later married American actress Rita Hayworth, with whom he had a daughter, Princess Yasmin Agha Khan, half-sister of the Agha Khan.

The Agha Khan IV spent his childhood in Nairobi, Kenya, where his early education was done by private tutoring. His grandfather, Agha Khan III, engaged Mustafa Kamil, a scholar from Aligarh Muslim University, for both Prince Karim and Prince Amyn. The Agha Khan IV later attended the Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland for nine years. He graduated from Harvard University in 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts honors degree in Islamic history. Notably, the Aga Khan IV skied for Turkey and Iran, respectively, in the 1960 and 1964 Olympic Games.

The Agha Khan IV married English fashion model Sarah (Sally) Croker-Poole, titled HH Begum Salima Agha Khan, on 22 October 1969 (civil) and 28 October 1969 (religious), at his home in Paris, France. The couple were married for 25 years, during which they had three children: Princess Zahra Agha Khan (b. September 18, 1970), Prince Rahim Agha Khan (b. October 12, 1971), and Prince Hussain Agha Khan (b. April 10, 1974). Their marriage ended by divorce in 1995.

The Agha Khan IV married his second wife, HSH Dr. Gabriele Princess of Leiningen (née Gabriele Thyssen), in Aiglemont on 30 May 1998. Prior to the marriage, the bride converted to Islam, and the couple jointly chose the bride's new Muslim name "Inaara" (derived from Arabic nur, meaning "light"). She became the HH the Begum Agha Khan. By her, the Agha Khan IV had a son, Prince Aly Muhammad Agha Khan (b. 7 March 2000), and a stepdaughter, HSH Princess Theresa of Leiningen, who was 114th in line to the throne of the United Kingdom.

The Āgā Khān's personal wealth was estimated as exceeding $1 billion. His annual income was estimated to be $300 million. Business interests included hotels and airlines, and he also invested in a tourist complex in Sardinia. The Aga Khan IV was also the richest non-land owning royal in the world. His main source of income was through horse racing and investing in stocks, companies and material goods.

Following the death of his grandfather, Sultan Muhammed Shah Agha Khan, Prince Karim, at the age of 20, became the 49th Imam of the Shi'a Isma'ili Muslims, bypassing his father, Prince Aly Khan, and his uncle, Prince Sadruddin Agha Khan, who were in the direct line of succession.

In his will, the Agha Khan III explained the rationale for choosing his eldest grandson as his successor:

"In view of the fundamentally altered conditions in the world in very recent years due to the great changes that have taken place, including the discoveries of atomic science, I am convinced that it is in the best interests of the Muslim Ismaili community that I should be succeeded by a young man who has been brought up and developed during recent years and in the midst of the new age, and who brings a new outlook on life to his office."

In light of the sentiments expressed in his grandfather's will, the Agha Khan IV was sometimes referred to by Isma'ilis as the Imam of the Atomic Age.

Upon becoming the Imam, the Agha Khan IV stated that he intended to continue the work his grandfather had pursued in building modern institutions to improve the quality of life of the Ismaili community. Takht nashini (installation) ceremonies occurred at several locations over 1957 and 1958. During this time, the Agha Khan IV emphasized to his followers the importance of fostering positive relations amongst peoples of different races.  Such a message was highly appropriate given the racially tense atmosphere in East Africa. During the installation ceremonies in the Indian subcontinent, he stressed his commitment to improving the quality of life of Isma'ilis and encouraged cooperation with individuals of other faiths and races. The main themes that the Agha Khan emphasized during these first few months of his Imamat were development, education, interracial harmony, and faith in religion.

The Agha Khan has described his role as Imam as being a guide to Isma'ilis in the daily practice of Shi'a Islam, a duty which requires an understanding of Isma'ilis and their relationship with their geographic location and their time. He elaborated on this concept in a 2006 speech in Germany stating, "The role and responsibility of an Imam, therefore, is both to interpret the faith to the community, and also to do all within his means to improve the quality, and security of their daily lives. This engagement is not limited to the Isma'ili community but also extends to the people with whom the Ismailis share their lives, locally and internationally."

July 11, 2007 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Agha Khan's reign of Imamat. On this occasion, leaders representing the Isma'ili Community from all over the world gathered at the Aga Khans residence to pay homage. As part of the Jubilee Year, His Highness made visitations to various countries. The countries visited included:  Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar, Mozambique, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, India, Bangladesh, West Africa, United Kingdom, Portugal, Syria, Tajikistan, Canada, Singapore and France.

In 1977, the Agha Khan established the Agha Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA), an award recognizing excellence in architecture that encompasses contemporary design and social, historical, and environmental considerations. It is the most lucrative architectural award in the world and is granted triennially. The award grew out of the Agha Khan’s desire to revitalize creativity in Islamic societies and acknowledge creative solutions to needs for buildings and public spaces. The recipient is selected by an independent master jury convened for each cycle. In 1979, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) both established the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA), which is supported by an endowment from the Aga Khan. These programs provide degree courses, public lectures, and conferences for the study of Islamic architecture and urbanism. Understanding contemporary conditions and developmental issues are key components of the academic program.

The Agha Khan was founder and chairman of the Agha Khan Development Network (AKDN), one of the largest private development networks in the world. Its partners include numerous governments and several international organizations. AKDN agencies operate in social and economic development as well as in the field of culture, with special focus on countries of the Third World.  The network includes the Agha Khan University (AKU), the University of Central Asia (UCA), the Agha Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), the Agha Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), the Agha Khan Foundation (AKF), the Agha Khan Health Services (AKHS), the Agha Khan Education Services (AKES), the Agha Khan Planning and Building Services (AKPBS), and the Agha Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM).

Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS), an affiliate of the AKDN, is responsible for emergency response in the face of disaster. Recent examples include the massive earthquake in Pakistan (AKDN earthquake response) and the South Asian Tsunami.

The Agha Khan IV has expressed concern about the work of the AKDN being described as philanthropy. In his address to the Tutzing Evangelical Academy in Germany, he described this concern:  "Reflecting a certain historical tendency of the West to separate the secular from the religious, they often describe [the work of the AKDN] either as philanthropy or entrepreneurship. What is not understood is that this work is for us a part of our institutional responsibility -- it flows from the mandate of the office of Imam to improve the quality of worldly life for the concerned communities."

At his Aiglemont estate, at Gouvieux in the Picardie region of France, about 4 kilometres west of the Chantilly Racecourse, the Agha Khan IV operates the largest horse racing and breeding operation in the country. In 1977, he paid £1.3 million for the bloodstock owned by Anna Dupré and in 1978, £4.7 million for the bloodstock of late Marcel Boussac.

The Agha Khan owned Gilltown Stud near Kilcullen, Ireland and Haras de Bonneval breeding farm at Le Mesnil-Mauger in France. In March 2005, he purchased the famous Calvados stud farms, the Haras d'Ouilly in Pont-d'Ouilly and the Haras de Val-Henry in Livarot. Haras d'Ouilly had been owned by such famous horsemen as the Duc Decazes, François Dupré and Jean-Luc Lagardère. In 2006, the Agha Khan IV became the majority shareholder of Arqana, a French horse auction house.

Karim al-Hussain Shah  see Agha Khan IV
Shah, Karim al-Hussain see Agha Khan IV

Agha Muhammad Shah
Agha Muhammad Shah (Mohammad Khan Qajar) (1742-1797).  Founder of the Qajar dynasty of Persia (r. 1779-1797).  In 1785, he made Tehran his capital and, in the following year, he re-established Persian authority over Georgia.  He was crowned shah in 1796. 

At the age of six Agha Muhammad was castrated on the orders of Adil Shah to prevent him from becoming a political rival, but this disability did not hinder his career. Despite being a eunuch, he became the chief of his tribe in 1758. In 1762, he was captured by a rival tribe and sent to Shiraz as a prisoner to Karim Khan's court. Agha Muhammad spent the next 16 years as a hostage, until he escaped in 1779. That same year, the death of Shah Karim Khan Zand plunged the country into a series of civil wars and disputes over the succession, with many members of the Zand dynasty acceding to the Peacock Throne in the space of only ten years. Agha Muhammad took the opportunity to launch a rebellion which, in 1794, succeeded in capturing Lotf Ali Khan, the last Zand ruler. Two years later he proclaimed himself Shahanshah (King of Kings).
Agha Muhammad restored Persia to a unity it had not had since the fall of the Safavid dynasty. He was, however, a man of extreme violence who killed almost all who could threaten his hold on power. In 1795, he ravaged Georgia, a kingdom to the north of Persia, which was formerly part of the Safavid empire. In the same year, he also captured Khorasan. Shah Rukh, ruler of Khorasan and grandson of Nadir Shah, was tortured to death because Agha Muhammad thought that he knew of Nadir's legendary treasures.

In 1796 Agha Muhammad moved his capital from Sari to Tehran. He was the first Persian ruler to make Tehran, then only a village, his capital. Although the Russians took Derbent and briefly occupied Baku during the Persian Expedition of 1796, he successfully expanded Persian influence into the Caucasus, reasserting Iranian sovereignty over its former dependencies in the region. He was, however, a notoriously cruel ruler, who reduced Tbilisi to ashes and massacred its Christian population, as he had done with his Muslim subjects.

Agha Muhammad was assassinated in 1797 in the city of Shusha, the capital of Karabakh khanate, after about 16 years in power. Legend has it that at the night of his death, Agha Muhammad Khan ordered his servants to bring him a melon cut into slices. He finished half, ordered the other half to be put away and vowed to his servants, that if even one slice of the melon was missing in the morning, all three servants would be beheaded by him. Later on that night one of the servants forgot and ate a slice. The servants then killed Agha Muhammad Khan with the dagger because they were afraid he would kill them in the morning.

Agha Muhammad was succeeded by his nephew Fath 'Ali Shah.
Shah, Agha Muhammad see Agha Muhammad Shah
Mohammad Khan Qajar see Agha Muhammad Shah

Aghlabid (Banu ’l-Aghlab).  Muslim dynasty which throughout the ninth century held Ifriqiya in the name of the ‘Abbasids and reigned at Qayrawan.  Their capital, al-Qayrawan, was a vibrant city during that time.  Among their famous legacies is the water reservoir of al-Qayrawan.  From al-Qayrawan they ruled Tunisia, Sicily and Malta.

The Aghlabid dynasty ruled Ifriqiya (Tunisia) from 800 to 909.  The Aghlabids were an Arab dynasty in Ifriqiya (eastern Algeria, Tunisia, western Libya), as well as Lower Italy and Sicily. Their main capital was Kairouan.  The dynasty was named after the 'Abbasid army commander al-Aghlab, whose son, Ibrahim I (r. 800-812), became governor of Ifriqiya in 787 and gained independence in 800.  After quashing several Berber uprisings, the dynasty experienced its political zenith under Abdallah (r. 812-817) and Ziyadat Allah I (r. 817-838).  After 827, the Aghlabids conquered Sicily (Palermo in 831), occupied Bari in 841, plundered Rome in 846, conquered Malta in 868, and made the Italian coastal towns pay taxes.  Internally, they constantly had to battle against religious uprisings and Berber groups.  The political decline began after Ibrahim II (r. 875-902) with the loss of territory to the Byzantines (Calabrians), Tulunids, and rebellious tribes.  In 909, they were ousted by the Fatimids. 

The Aghlabid dynasty of emirs, members of the Arab tribe of Bani Tamim, ruled Ifriqiya, nominally on behalf of the 'Abbasid Caliph, for about a century, until overthrown by the new power of the Fatimids.

In 800, the Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid appointed Ibrahim I ibn al-Aghlab as hereditary Emir of Ifriqiya as a response to the anarchy that had reigned in that province following the fall of the Muhallabids. He was to control an area that encompassed eastern Algeria, Tunisia and Tripolitania. Although independent in all but name, his dynasty never ceased to recognise 'Abbasid overlordship.

A new capital, al-Abbasiyya, was founded outside Kairouan, partly to escape the opposition of the Malikite jurists and theologians, who condemned what they saw as the godless life of the Aghlabids, and disliked the unequal treatment of the Muslim Berbers. Additionally, border defenses (Ribat) were set up in Sousse and Monastir.

Under Ziyadat Allah I (817-838) came the crisis of a revolt of Arab troops in 824, which was not quelled until 836 with the help of the Berbers. The conquest of Byzantine Sicily from 827 under Asad ibn al-Furat was an attempt to keep the unruly troops under control - it was only achieved slowly, and only in 902 was the last Byzantine outpost taken. Plundering raids into mainland Italy took place until well into the 10th century. Gradually the Aghlabids lost control of the Arab forces in Sicily and a new dynasty, the Kalbids, emerged there.

The Aghlabid kingdom reached its high point under Ahmad ibn Muhammad (856-863). Ifriqiya was a significant economic power thanks to its fertile agriculture, aided by the expansion of the Roman irrigation system. It became the focal point of trade between the Islamic world and Byzantium and Italy, especially the lucrative slave trade. Kairouan became the most important center of learning in the Maghrib, most notably in the fields of theology and law, and a gathering place for poets.

The decline of the dynasty began under Ibrahim II ibn Ahmad (875-902). Control over Calabria was lost to Byzantium, an attack by the Tulunids of Egypt had to be repelled and a revolt of the Berbers was only put down with much loss of life. In addition, in 893 there began amongst the Kutama Berbers the movement of the Shiite Fatimids, through the mission of Ubaydalla Said, which in 909 led to the overthrow of the Aghlabids.

The Aghlabid rulers were:

Ibrahim I ibn al-Aghlab ibn Salim (800-812)
Abdullah I ibn Ibrahim (812-817)
Ziyadat Allah I ibn Ibrahim (817-838)
al-Aghlab Abu Iqal ibn Ibrahim (838-841)
Muhammad I Abul-Abbas ibn al-Aghlab Abi Affan (841-856)
Ahmad ibn Muhammad (856-863)
Ziyadat Allah II ibn Abil-Abbas (863)
Muhammad II ibn Ahmad (863-875)
Ibrahim II ibn Ahmad (875-902)
Abdullah II ibn Ibrahim (902-903)
Ziyadat Allah III ibn Abdillah (903-909)

Banu ’l-Aghlab see Aghlabid

 The Aghlabid capital, al-Qayrawan, was a vibrant city during the time of the Aghlabid dynasty.  Among the more famous legacies of the Aghlabids is the water reservoir of al-Qayrawan.  From al-Qayrawan, the Aghlabids ruled what are today Tunisia, Sicily, and Malta. 

Aghlabids.   See Aghlabid.

Agung (Sultan Agung) (Sultan Agung Anyokrokusumo) (Sultan Agung Hanyokrokusumo).  Sultan of Mataram (r. 1613-1645).  Sultan Agung or Sultan Agung Anyokrokusumo or Sultan Agung Hanyokrokusumo (Ha and A is the same character in Javanese letter) was the constructor of the Karta Palace, and the Royal Graveyard of Imogiri.  He is considered to be the greatest ruler of the Mataram dynasty of Java.  Sultan Agung (called “the greatest sultan,” a posthumous appellation) succeeded his grandfather Senapati Ingalaga (r. c. 1584-1601) and father, Seda ing Krapyak (r. c. 1601-1613), who had laid the foundations for hegemony in the Javanese speaking heartlands of Central and East Java.  Agung completed the conquest of this area by defeating a coalition led by the great city of Surabaya, which itself fell to Agung in 1625.  This war caused much death and devastation.

Agung then turned to deal with the Dutch East India Company (the Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie -- the “VOC”), which had established its headquarters in Batavia (now Jakarta) in West Java in 1619.  In 1628 and 1629, Agung’s armies besieged the VOC post but failed to take it.  Minor hostilities between Mataram and the VOC continued for several years, but neither Agung nor any other Javanese king ever again attacked Batavia.

Batavia’s defeat of Agung encouraged some of his vassals to reassert their independence, but Agung responded by brutally crushing these attempts.  Some of these were led by religious figures.  About 1636, Agung therefore destroyed the most important center of religious opposition to him, a shrine located at Giri, the holy grave site of one of the putative walis (apostles) of Islam, near Surabaya.  From 1636 to 1640, Agung conquered the Eastern Salient of Java, which had previously been under Balinese rule.  Finally, Agung’s conquests came to an end, and the last years of his reign saw peace. 

Agung was a brilliant general, a ruthless and brutal king.  Yet he paid attention to the legitimation of his rule, seeking consensus, constructing a new court, and taking the title of sultan in 1641.  Javanese tradition also remembers him as a pious Muslim.

Sultan Agung which means 'the Great Sultan', has attracted a substantial literature due to his legacy as a Javanese ruler, a fighter of Dutch colonialists (in the form of the Dutch East India Company), and his existence within a cultural framework where myth and magic are as intertwined with verifiable historical events and personages. Agung was responsible for the great expansion and lasting historical legacy of Mataram due to the extensive military conquests of his long reign.

Sultan Agung attacked Surabaya in 1614, and also Malang, south of Surabaya, and the eastern end of Java. In 1615, he conquered Wirasaba (present day Mojoagung, near Mojokerto). In 1616, Surabaya tried to attack Mataram but this army was crushed by Sultan Agung's forces in Siwalan, Pajang (near Surakarta). The coastal city of Lasem, near Rembang, was conquered in 1616, and Pasuruan, south-east of Surabaya, was taken in 1617. Tuban, one of the oldest and biggest cities on the coast of Java, was taken in 1619.

Surabaya was Mataram's most difficult enemy. Agung's grandfather, Senapati, had not felt strong enough to attack this powerful city, and his father, Seda ing Krapyak, attacked it to no avail. Sultan Agung weakened Surabaya by capturing Sukadana, Surabaya's ally in southwest Kalimantan, in 1622, and the island of Madura, another ally of Surabaya, in 1624 after a fierce battle. After five years of war Agung finally conquered Surabaya in a siege in 1625. With Surabaya brought into the empire, the Mataram kingdom encompassed all of central and eastern Java, and Madura, except for the west and east end of the island and its mountainous south (except for Mataram, of course). In the west Banten and the Dutch settlement in Batavia remained outside Agung's control. He tried in 1628-29 to drive the Dutch from Batavia, but failed. On August 27, 1628 he led the Siege of Batavia, which was unsuccessful.

By 1625, Mataram was undisputed ruler of Java. Such a mighty feat of arms, however, did not deter Mataram’s former overlords from rebellion. Pajang rebelled in 1617, and Pati rebelled in 1627. After the capture of Surabaya in 1625, expansion stopped, while the empire was busied by rebellions. In 1630, Mataram crushed a rebellion in Tembayat (southeast of Klaten) and in 1631-36, Mataram had to suppress rebellion of Sumedang and Ukur in West Java.

In 1645 Sultan Agung began building Imogiri, his burial place, about fifteen kilometers south of Yogyakarta. Imogiri remains the resting place of most of the royalty of Yogyakarta and Surakarta to this day. Agung died in the spring of 1646, leaving behind an empire that covered most of Java and stretched to its neighboring islands.

The development of the sacred dance bedhaya, and important developments in gamelan and wayang are attributed to the court of Sultan Agung. However, there is almost no historical evidence for the claims of high artistic achievement, and there is little information at all about the arts in the court. Some written evidence comes from a handful of mentions in Dutch accounts, which can be difficult to interpret. 

Sultan Agung is also attributed with the founding of the unique Javanese calendar - a calendar which is still in use.

Pilgrimage to graveyard complex of Sultan Agung is considered to be significant to many Javanese pilgrims, who make considerable effort to go to Imogiri at appropriate times and days in the Javanese and Islamic calendars.

In the Sukarno era, Sultan Agung was nominated and confirmed as a National Hero of Indonesia (Pahlawan Nasional Indonesia).

"The Greatest Sultan" see Agung
Sultan Agung see Agung
Sultan Agung Anyokrokusumo see Agung
Sultan Agung Hanyokrokusumo see Agung

Agus Salim, Haji
Agus Salim, Haji (Haji Agus Salim) (October 8, 1884 - November 4, 1954).  Indonesian political leader who was one of Indonesia's founding fathers and prominent diplomats.  He was born in Kota Gadang, West Sumatra.  Before becoming prominent in the Sarekat Islam (PSII), an Indonesian nationalist party, he was employed at the Dutch consulate in Jeddah.  He joined the Sarekat Islam in 1915 and represented it in the Volksraad (“people’s council”) from 1921 to 1924.  During his Sarekat Islam years, Agus Salim was editor of such periodicals as Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad, Neratja, Fadjar Asia, and Moestika and was active in the labor movement.  In 1937, he was expelled from the party when, dissatisfied with its policy of non-cooperation with the Dutch, he founded the Barisan Panjedar PSII (“movement to make the PSII conscious”).  In 1945, he helped draft the Jakarta Charter.  From 1946 to 1949, he served as the vice-minister and later as the minister of foreign affairs.

Salim, Haji Agus see Agus Salim, Haji
Haji Agus Salim see Agus Salim, Haji

Ahidjo, Ahmadou
Ahidjo, Ahmadou (Ahmadou Ahidjo) (Ahmadou Babatoura Ahidjo) (August 24, 1924 - November 30, 1989). First president of Cameroon (1960 -1982). 

Ahidjo was born in Garoua, a major river port along the Benue River in northern Cameroun, which was at the time a French mandate territory. His father was a Fulani village chief, while his mother was a Fulani of slave descent. Ahidjo's mother raised him as a Muslim and sent him to Quranic school as a child. In 1932, he began attending local government primary school. After failing his first school certification examination in 1938, Ahidjo worked for a few months in the veterinary service. He returned to school and obtained his school certification a year later. Ahidjo spent the next three years attending secondary school at the Ecole Priamaire Superieure in Yaoundé, the capital of the mandate, studying for a career in the civil service. At school, Ahidjo also played soccer and competed as a cyclist. In 1942, Ahidjo joined the civil service as a radio operator for a postal service. As part of his job, he worked on assignments in several major cities throughout the country, such as Douala, Ngaoundéré, Bertoua, and Mokolo. According to his official biographer, Ahidjo was the first civil servant from northern Cameroun to work in the southern areas of the territory.  His experiences throughout the country were influential in helping Ahidjo to foster his sense of national identity and in providing him the tools to handle the problems of governing a multiethnic state.

In 1947, Ahmadou Ahidjo was elected to the advisory territorial assembly and was re-elected in 1952 and 1956, when he was made its president.  During this time, the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC) was founded to agitate for re-unification of the territory, a former German colony administered partly by the British and partly by the French as a United Nations Trust Territory.  Led by Reuben Um Nyobe, the UPC brought its case to the United Nations, but met with French repression and was forced to go underground.  The UPC began guerrilla operations, which continued after Reuben Um Nyobe was killed in 1958.

Ahidjo chose to work within a political party which eschewed militancy and when, in 1957, France permitted the formation of Cameroon’s first African government, he was made vice-premier.  The premier, Andre-Marie Mbida, called in French troops to suppress the rebels, but was accused of using excessive violence and refusal to negotiate, and was forced to resign in 1958.

Ahidjo formed the new government and continued to use French troops, but at the same time offered amnesty to the terrorists, many of whom accepted.  At the end of the year, Cameroon was granted autonomy within the French community, although it remained a United Nations trust territory. 

In 1960, full independence was granted to Cameroon, and after a referendum, Ahidjo became president.  In that year, guerrilla activity decreased sharply after the death of Felix Roland Moumie, the major rebel leader.

In 1960, Ahidjo discussed unification with John Foncha, prime minister of British Southern Cameroon.  The next year, Southern Cameroon voted to unite with Ahidjo’s nation and the Federal Republic of Cameroon was created.  Ahidjo ended the federal system in 1972.

Ahidjo broadened Cameroon’s diplomatic base to lessen reliance on the West, and he worked to reduce ethnic tensions between the largely Muslim north and non-Muslim south.  Though his abolition of the federal system and his tight control of the government were unpopular, he was easily re-elected in 1975 and 1980.

In 1982, after twenty-two years in office, Ahidjo retired in favor of his prime minister, Paul Biya.  Ahidjo remained head of his party, hoping to continue to influence events, but soon clashed with Biya.  After an abortive coup attempt, the government convicted Ahidjo, in absentia, for his suspected role and sentenced him to death, but Biya commuted the sentence to life imprisonment, while Ahidjo remained in France. 

Ahidjo resigned, ostensibly for health reasons, on 4 November 1982 (there are many theories surrounding the resignation; it is generally believed that his French doctor "tricked" Ahidjo about his health) and was succeeded by Prime Minister Paul Biya two days later. That he stepped down in favor of Biya, a Christian from the south and not a Muslim from the north like himself, was considered surprising. Ahidjo's ultimate intentions are unclear.  It is possible that he intended to return to the presidency at a later point when his health improved, and another possibility is that he intended for Maigari Bello Bouba, a fellow Muslim from the north who succeeded Biya as Prime Minister, to be his eventual successor as President, with Biya in effectively a caretaker role. Although the Central Committee of the ruling Cameroon National Union (CNU) urged Ahidjo to remain president, he declined to do so, but he did agree to remain as the leader of the CNU. However, he also arranged for Biya to become the CNU vice-president and handle party affairs in his absence. Additionally, in January 1983, Ahidjo travelled across the country in a tour in support of Biya.

Later in 1983, a major feud developed between Ahidjo and Biya. On July 19, 1983, Ahidjo went into exile in France, and Biya began removing Ahidjo's supporters from positions of power and eliminating symbols of his authority, replacing Ahidjo's portraits with his own and removing Ahidjo's name from the anthem of the CNU. On August 22, Biya announced that a plot allegedly involving Ahidjo had been uncovered. For his part, Ahidjo severely criticized Biya, alleging that Biya was abusing his power, that he lived in fear of plots against him, and that he was a threat to national unity. The two were unable to reconcile despite the efforts of several foreign leaders, and Ahidjo announced on August 27 that he was resigning as head of the CNU. In exile, Ahidjo was sentenced to death in absentia in February 1984, along with two others, for participation in the June 1983 coup plot, although Biya commuted the sentence to life in prison. Ahidjo denied involvement in the plot. A violent but unsuccessful coup attempt in April 1984 was also widely believed to have been orchestrated by Ahidjo. Few images remain of President Ahmadou Ahidjo, and it is often said that the Biya regime made an active effort to erase any visual or audio references to Cameroon's first head of state.

In his remaining years, Ahidjo divided his time between France and Senegal. He died in Dakar. Senegal.

There is a stadium named for him in Yaounde.

Ahmadou Ahidjo see Ahidjo, Ahmadou
Ahmadou Babatoura Ahidjo see Ahidjo, Ahmadou

Ahikar (Ahiqar) (The Story of Ahikar).  An ancient work of Southwest Asian wisdom literature.  Ahikar was one of the wise men of antiquity, in whose name proverbs were handed down from generation to generation.  As counsellor to Kings Sennacherib and Esarhaddon of Assyria, he chose his nephew Nadan to succeed him in his old age.  After Nadan took his uncle’s place, he accused Ahikar of betraying Assyria.  Ahikar was saved from death by a faithful friend, and restored to the King’s grace when Assyria was in dire need of his advice. Nadan was chastised and put to death.  The proverbs are presented in the tale as lessons and admonitions to Nadan, whose failure to heed them and base ingratitude brought him to a bad end.

“Ahikar the counsellor” is referred to in a late neo-Babylonian tablet from Erech.  The tale and proverbs are preserved first in Aramaic among the Elephantine papyri.  Ahikar is mentioned in the book of Tobit, as is also Nadan, and some of the proverbs are repeated there.  Democritus (c. 460 B.C.T.) is said to have used the works of an Akikaros in his writings and Theophrastus (c. 370 B.C.T.) is said to have written a book called Akicharos.  Material from Ahikar also entered the Aesopian corpus.  Versions of Ahikar, preserved in Syriac, Armenian, Slavonic, Turkic, and neo-Aramaic, attest to the great popularity of the tale, which was also known to the writers of the Qur’an.

Ahiqar or Ahikar was also an Assyrian sage known in the ancient Near East for his outstanding wisdom.

The Story of Ahikar, also known as the Words of Ahikar, has been found in an Aramaic papyrus of 500 B.C. among the ruins of Elephantine. The narrative of the initial part of the story is expanded greatly by the presence of a large number of wise sayings and proverbs that Ahikar is portrayed as speaking to his nephew. It is suspected by most scholars that these sayings and proverbs were originately a separate document, as they do not mention Ahikar. Some of the sayings are similar to parts of the Biblical Book of Proverbs, others to the deuterocanonical Ecclesiasticus, and others still to Babylonian and Persian proverbs. The collection of sayings is in essence a selection from those common in the Middle East at the time, noticeably preferring those in favor of corporal punishment.

Achiacharus is the name occurring in the Book of Tobit as that of a nephew of Tobit (Tobias) and an official at the court of Esarhaddon at Nineveh. There are references in Romanian, Slavonic, Armenian, Arabic and Syriac literature to a legend, of which the hero is Ahikar for Armenian, Arabic and Syriac. It was pointed out by scholar George Hoffmann in 1880 that this Ahikar and the Achiacharus of Tobit are identical. It has been contended that there are traces of the legend even in the New Testament, and there is a striking similarity between it and the Life of Aesop by Maximus Planudes (ch. xxiii-xxxii). An eastern sage Achaiicarus is mentioned by Strabo. It would seem, therefore, that the legend was undoubtedly oriental in origin, though the relationship of the various versions can scarcely be recovered.

In the story, Ahikar was chancellor to the Assyrian kings Sennacherib and Esarhaddon. Having no child of his own, he adopted his nephew Nadan/Nadab/Nadin, and raised him to be his successor. Nadan/Nadab/Nadin ungratefully plotted to have his elderly uncle murdered, and persuades Esarhaddon that Ahikar has committed treason. Esarhaddon orders Ahikar be executed in response, and so Ahikar is arrested and imprisoned to await punishment. However, Ahikar reminds the executioner that the executioner had been saved by Ahikar from a similar fate under Sennacherib, and so the executioner kills one of his (innocent) eunuchs instead, and pretends to Esarhaddon that it is the body of Ahikar.

The remainder of the early texts do not survive beyond this point, but it is thought probably that the original ending had Nadan/Nadab/Nadin being executed while Ahikar is rehabilitated. Later texts portray Ahikar coming out of hiding to counsel the Egyptian king on behalf of Esarhaddon, and then returning in triumph to Esarhaddon. In the later texts, after Ahikar's return, he meets Nadan/Nadab/Nadin and is very angry with him, and Nadan/Nadab/Nadin then dies.

The Story of Ahikar see Ahikar
“Ahikar the counsellor” see Ahikar
Ahiqar see Ahikar

ahl. The people who occupy a tent.  The term may be applied to either a family or a community.

ahl al-bayt
ahl al-bayt ("People of the House”).  The name for the family of the Prophet.  The phrase occurs twice in the Qur’an.  According to one tradition, the term is opposed to the Emigrants and the Helpers.  Among the Shi‘a, it is applied to the Prophet, his son-in-law ‘Ali and to the latter’s sons, al-Hasan and al-Husayn.

"Ahl al-bayt" means literally “people of the household.”  Ahl al-bayt refers to the family of the prophet Muhammad and his descendants.  Shi‘a Muslims are particularly devoted to the family of the Prophet – his cousin and son-in-law, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (d. 661), his daughter, Fatimah (d. 632), and their sons, Hasan (d. 669/670) and Husayn (d. 680) – and the other imams, succeeding leaders of the community and descendants of the Prophet.  The Shi‘a believe that these figures embody special holiness and spiritual power and knowledge through their blood relationship with the Prophet and his attachment to them.

After the death of the prophet Muhammad in 632, the Muslim community experienced conflict over the means by which to determine a successor.  One party argued for election and the other, the shi‘at ‘Ali (the “party of ‘Ali”), was convinced that leaders could only come from among the ahl al-bayt, the immediate family of the Prophet and his descendants.  The Shi‘a believed ‘Ali to have been designated by the Prophet, guided by divine inspiration, as his successor, and they looked on him as the first imam, leader of the Shi‘a community.  However, ‘Ali did not become caliph, head of the entire Muslim community, until three others had held the position, and then only for five years before he was murdered.  ‘Ali’s son Hasan, the second Shi‘a imam, was coerced into giving up the caliphate to Mu‘awiyah (r. 661-680), governor of Damascus and Syria.  After the death of Hasan and then of Mu‘awiyah, Husayn was urged by ‘Ali’s supporters in Kufa (in present day Iraq) to lead a revolt against Yazid, successor to Mu‘awiyah.  Accepting the call, Husayn, the third Shi‘a imam, set out from Mecca for Kufa with his family.  He was intercepted on the plains of Karbala near the Euphrates River by Yazid’s forces.  From the second until the tenth of the month of Muharram in 680, Husayn and his followers battled Yazid’s army.  On the tenth, Husayn was killed.  The females of his group were taken as captives to Damascus.  There, Husayn’s sister, Zaynab, held the first majlis (mourning ceremony), setting a model for the many rituals of lamentation to follow, keeping the story of Husayn’s martyrdom alive and providing a means for believers to share in the passion of Husayn and his family.

The Twelver Shi‘a see the twelve imams, successors to the prophet Muhammad, as the true leaders of the Muslim community.  They believe that each was persecuted by the reigning caliph and prevented from taking his rightful position.  The twelfth imam is believed to have been taken into occultation by God in 873 or 874 to protect him from enemies.  Thus concealed, the Hidden Imam or Mahdi will return for the final judgment.

In the temporary period of unavailability of the twelfth imam, the Shi‘a have other means of connection with the venerated ahl al-bayt.  Believing in the spiritual powers of the Prophet’s family and the imams, obtained through their suffering on behalf of God and the religious community, the Shi‘a strive to gain closeness with these religious figures in order to share in their rewards from God.  They are thus encouraged in a number of practices and rituals to form special relationships with the family and descendants of the Prophet and to join in their pain.  People make pilgrimages to the shrines of the imams and to the tombs of their descendants where they profess their devotion, plead their causes, and provide donations in thanks for the granting of requests.  Women are most active, particularly in local shrine visitation.  Likewise, women are active in organizing and funding feasts in honor of the ahl al-bayt and hold readings or performances of the stories about Husayn and his family at Karbala.  During the month of Muharram, Shi‘a Muslims commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn by donating refreshments for other mourners and hosting or attending the mourning rituals to weep, chant mourning couplets, and practice self-flagellation.  Believers can thereby join the family of the Prophet through participation in their anguish.

During the period of inaccessibility of the twelfth imam, the Shi‘a rely on his representatives, the ‘ulama’ (religious scholars), for guidance.  Ideally, each believer is to choose a living religious leader to provide direction in all areas of life.  In following the models set by these representatives of the Hidden Imam, such as the ayatollah, Shi‘a Muslims can feel assured of maintaining indirect contact with the holy line of imams, successors to the Prophet.

Relationships with the ahl al-bayt are intense and highly personal.  Time and space are eliminated as believers think of the ahl al-bayt as their own brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters.  In sharing their sorrows through intense, repetitious interactions and demonstrations of loyalty, believers become related to them and thus expect their consideration.

The Shi‘a accept the events of Karbala as a central paradigm of the religion and honor the Prophet’s family and the imams and their representatives as the spiritual leaders provided by God for his people.  However, the related beliefs and practices of Shi‘a Muslims are not uniform or static.  Rather, they are subject to controversy and questioning, and are individually variable and dynamic.   The interpretation and political implications of the Karbala events can evolve.  The martyrdom of Husayn and his family provides the means of redemption for Shi‘a Muslims through their example of self-sacrifice.  Believers attempt to join in the company of those who suffered at Karbala by commemorating their persecution and sharing their suffering, thus gaining their favor and assistance.  Believers also attempt to follow the examples of Husayn and his family of sacrificing self for God, the cause of justice, and the religious community.  They enlist in Husayn’s party by performing like actions.  These interpretations can carry potent impetus for political behavior.  In viewing Husayn’s martyrdom as providing him and his family with the power to intercede, people perceive connection with those in positions of power as the best route to fulfilling needs.  They are prompted to turn also to secular figures of power, striving to gain their favor and patronage.  To demonstrate their devotion to Husayn and thus their political legitimacy, political leaders have sponsored mourning performances and rituals.  If their supporters wish to renew vows of loyalty to the imam and to their political leader, they will attend.

During the Iranian Revolution of 1979, believers saw Husayn as an example to follow and thus were willing to become martyrs on behalf of justice.  Believers could see themselves as powerful and active, able to resist inappropriate leaders and to bring about positive changes in society.  Shi‘a Muslims have often united for political action at different levels through their connections as joint participants in the passion of ahl al-bayt.  Fatima and Zaynab are held up as models for the perfect Muslim woman and examples to follow in political action.  The organization “Sisters of Zaynab” in Iran recruits women to political causes.  The ayatollahs, as representatives of the Hidden Imam, and thereby of the beloved ahl al-bayt as well, can exert strong political persuasion through their counsel to followers.

Today, many Shi‘a believers in various locations continue to feel themselves members of the ahl al-bayt through their own sense of persecution.  They share in the suffering of the family of the Prophet and of the imams through the wrongs done to themselves as well as through remembrance of Karbala.  Whether in quiet, personal devotion and the seeking of intercession, or by courageously joining the party of Husayn through taking up his cause of justice, practicing Shi‘a Muslims find comfort and strength through their relationship with the revered ahl al-bayt.
"People of the House” see ahl al-bayt

ahl al-dhimma
ahl al-dhimma.   The "people of the covenant."  Jews, Christians, and others who were accepted as subjects under Muslim rule and were entitled to legal protection in return for payment of taxes.  The ahl al-dhimma were also called ahl al-kitab, or "people of the book."

A dhimmi is a member of the ahl al-dhimma, "the people of the dhimma or pact of protection" (or in Ottoman Turkish and Urdu "zimmi," -- "one whose zimma [responsibility of protection] has been taken") and is a non-Muslim subject of a state governed in accordance with sharia law. The term connotes an obligation of the state to protect the individual, including the individual's life, property, and freedom of religion and worship, and required loyalty to the empire, and commitment to pay a poll tax known as the jizya.

This status was originally only made available to non-Muslims who were People of the Book (i.e. Jews and Christians), but was later extended to include Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Mandeans, and, in some areas, Hindus and Buddhists.  The ahl al-dhimma had fewer legal and social rights than Muslims, but more rights than other non-Muslim religious subjects. This status applied to millions of people living from the Atlantic Ocean to India from the 7th century until modern times. Conversion by a dhimmi to Islam was generally easy, and almost without exception emancipated the new convert from all legal impairments of his previous dhimmi status. Violently forced conversion was rare or unknown in early Islamic history, but increased in frequency in later centuries, such as in the Almohad dynasty of North Africa and al-Andalus.

The word dhimmi (plural dimam) literally means "protection, care, custody, covenant of protection, compact; responsibility, answerableness; financial obligation, liability, debt; inviolability, security of life and property; safeguard, guarantee, security; conscience" and ahl-dhimmi is "the free non-Muslim subjects living in Muslim countries who, in return for paying the capital tax, enjoyed relative protection and safety."

Dhimmis were allowed to "practice their religion, subject to certain conditions, and to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy" and the Muslim authorities guaranteed their personal safety and security of property. Taxation from the perspective of dhimmis who came under Muslim rule, was "a concrete continuation of the taxes paid to earlier regimes" (but now lower under the Muslim rule) and from the point of view of the Muslim conqueror was a material proof of the dhimmi's subjection. Various restrictions and legal disabilities were placed on Dhimmis, such as prohibitions against bearing arms or giving testimony in courts in cases involving Muslims. Most of these disabilities had a social and symbolic rather than a tangible and practical character. All of them, however, were designed to eliminate other religions in a deliberate, long-term process. Although persecution in the form of violent and active repression was rare and atypical, the limitations on the rights of dhimmis made them vulnerable to the whims of rulers and the violence of mobs.

While recognizing the inferior status of dhimmis under Islamic rule, in most respects their position was very much easier than that of non-Christians or even of heretical Christians in medieval Europe. For example, dhimmis rarely faced martyrdom or exile, or forced compulsion to change their religion, and with certain exceptions they were free in their choice of residence and profession. Nevertheless, there were constraints.  The Muslims reserved the right to control the military and agriculture, leaving trade and business to the dhimmis.

In general, the Muslim attitude toward dhimmis was one of contempt instead of hate, fear, or envy, and was rarely expressed in ethnic or racial terms.

As the early Muslims expanded their territory through conquest, they imposed terms of surrender upon some of the defeated peoples. Before launching an attack the ruler would offer them three choices — conversion, payment of a tribute, or to fight by the sword. If they did not choose conversion a treaty was concluded, either instead of battle or after it, which established the conditions of surrender for the Christians and Jews — the only non-Muslims allowed to retain their religion at this time. The terms of these treaties were similar and imposed on the dhimmi, the people ‘protected’ by Islam, certain obligations.

A classic precedent of the dhimma was an agreement between Muhammad and the Jews of Khaybar, an oasis near Medina. Khaybar was the first territory attacked and conquered by the Muslim state ruled by Muhammad himself. When the Jews of Khaybar surrendered to Muhammad after a siege, Muhammad allowed them to remain in Khaybar in return for handing over to the Muslims one half of their annual produce. The Khaybar case served as a precedent for later Islamic scholars in their discussions on the issue of dhimma, even though the second caliph Umar I subsequently expelled the Jews from the oasis.

In the 9th century, the Muslim historian Baladhuri drew parallels between the dhimma and Byzantine legislation, writing that Jews had been the dhimmis of Christians.  Modern historians also agree that laws relating to Jews and non-Melkite Christians in the Byzantine Empire and those applying to Jews and Christians in the Sassanid Persian Empire were used as sources of dhimmi regulations, although Islamic jurists never explicitly acknowledge these sources.  Numerous provisions of the Theodosian Code of 438 and the Justinian's Code of 529 appear to have migrated into Islamic law virtually unchanged. Under Byzantine rule, Jews were obliged not to pray loudly; their prayers were not to be audible in the nearby church. Building new synagogues (and repairing existing ones) was likewise prohibited, unless the buildings threatened to collapse and a special permission was obtained. Jews were banned from all public offices and the army; they were prohibited from criticizing Christianity, marrying a Christian, or owning a Christian slave. Furthermore, Jews paid distinctive taxes, possibly the precursors of the jizya. Such regulations, justified by hadith, came to be imposed upon Christians under the dhimma arrangements, after Byzantine lands were occupied by Muslim forces.

Dhimmis were subject to legal and social inferiority, and discrimination was, necessary, and "inherent in the system and institutionalized in law and practice," due to the fact that Dhimmis were not allowed to testify against a Muslim in court. Dhimmis were often subject to violence and crimes committed by Muslims; despite strict regulations to keep them on a lower status than that of Muslims, they often managed to secure considerable economic wealth and occasionally (though extremely rarely) some measure of political power.  Lewis also notes that, although the regulations and restrictions imposed on dhimmis by the many Islamic communities "did not always conform to the high morals and religious principles of Islam," in practice the actual treatment and social realities of the dhimma under Islamic rule were sometimes better than the written regulations would suggest.

In his classic treatise on the principles of Islamic governance, the 11th-century Shafi'i scholar Al-Mawardi divided the conditions attached to ‘’dhimma’’ on top of the requirement to pay tribute into compulsory and desirable. The compulsory conditions included prohibitions on blasphemy against Islam, entering into sexual relations or marriage with a Muslim woman, proselytizing among Muslims, and assisting the enemies of Islam. The desirable conditions included a requirement to wear distinctive apparel, a prohibition to visibly display religious symbols, wine, or pork, ringing church bells, or loudly praying, a requirement to bury dead bodies unobtrusively, and finally, a prohibition on riding horses or camels, but not donkeys. The latter restrictions were largely symbolic in nature and were designed to highlight the inferiority of dhimmis compared to Muslims.

The treatment of dhimmis, including the enforcement of restrictions placed on them, varied over time and space, depending on both the goodwill of the ruler and the historical circumstances. The "dhimma" was the most oppressive in Morocco, where Jews were subjected to what might be called “ritualized degradation”, as well as in Yemen and Persia. The periods when Islamic states were strong generally coincided with more relaxed attitude towards dhimmis; however, treatment of non-Muslims usually became harsher when Islam was weak and in decline. Over time, the treatment of dhimmis tended to develop in cycles, such that periods of when restrictions imposed on dhimmis were relaxed were immediately followed by the periods of pious reaction when such restrictions came to be enforced again.

The spread of the Muslim faith in the first centuries of the Islamic rule was mainly by persuasion, long term selective taxation, and other inducements, though at times there were attempts at forcible conversions. Many Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians converted to Islam, however there were significant differences among the conversion rate and scale of these three religions. Most Zoroastrians converted rather rapidly, while the conversion of Christians was gradual. Judaism however on the whole survived throughout Islamic lands.  The reason for the rapid conversion of Zoroastrians was the close association of the Zoroastrian priesthood and the structure of power in ancient Iran.  For the Christians, the process of Arab settlement, of conversion to Islam and assimiliation into the dominant culture caused their gradual conversion. For many of them, transition from a dominant to a subject status, which involved disadvantages, was too much to endure. In some places, like the Maghrib, Central Asia, and southern Arabia, Christianity died out completely. Jews in contrast were more accustomed to adversity. For them, the Islamic conquest was just a change of master. They had already learned how to adapt themselves and "endure under the conditions of political, social and economic disability."

From an Islamic legal perspective, the pledge of protection granted dhimmis the freedom to practice their religion and spared them from forced conversions. Furthermore, the dhimmis were also serving a variety of useful purposes, mostly economic, which was another point of concern to jurists.  Indeed, in the first several centuries after the Islamic conquest and subsequently in the Ottoman Empire, forcible conversions were rare. Subsequently, rulers frequently broke the pledge and dhimmis were forced to choose between conversion to Islam and death. Forced conversions occurred mostly in the Maghrib, especially under the Almohads, a militant dynasty with messianic claims, as well as in Persia, where Shi'a Muslims were generally less tolerant than their Sunni counterparts.

In the 12th century, rulers of the Almohad dynasty killed or forcibly converted Jews and Christians in Al-Andalus and the Maghrib, putting an end to the existence of Christian communities in North Africa outside Egypt. In an effort to survive under Almohads, most Jews resorted to practicing Islam outwardly, while remaining faithful to Judaism.  They openly reverted to Judaism after Almohad persecutions passed.  During the Cordoba massacre of 1148, the Jewish philosopher, theologian, and physician Maimonides ruled that one may save his own life by faking conversion to Islam; he himself never converted or ever described himself as Muslim. In fact, in his writing, Maimonides was extremely critical of Islamic outlooks. As a result of Almohad persecutions and other forced conversions that took place in Morocco afterwards, several Muslim tribes in the Atlas Mountains, as well as many Muslim families in Fez, have Jewish origin.

Although they were very rare overall, most forced conversions of dhimmis that did happen occurred in Persia.  In 1656, Shah Abbas I expelled the Jews from Isfahan and compelled them to adopt Islam, although the order was subsequently withdrawn, possibly because of the loss of fiscal revenues.  In the early 18th century, Shi'a clergy attempted to force all dhimmis to embrace Islam, but without success. In 1830, all 2,500 Jews of Shiraz were forcibly converted to Islam. In 1839, Jews were massacred in Mashhad and survivors were forcibly converted. The same fate awaited the Jews of Barforoush in 1866, even though they were allowed to revert to Judaism after an intervention from the British and French ambassadors.

The Almohads and Muslim authorities in Yemen practiced forcible conversion of children. This practice appears to have been based on the belief that every child is born a Muslim. Suspecting a lack of sincerity on the part of Jews who were forcibly converted to Islam, Almohad rulers took Jewish children from their parents and raised those children as Muslims. In Yemen, a 1922 Zaydi statute known as the Orphans Decree obligated the state to take under its protection and convert any dhimmi child whose parents had died (later extended to include fatherless children).  Although possibly intended to alleviate the plight of orphaned children, the Jewish community was dismayed, and Jewish leaders who helped hide orphans were imprisoned and sometimes tortured. Despite this, the Jews in Yemen generally continued to feel that their position in society was secure.

Sporadic waves of forced conversion occurred at different times and places: for example, in Libya in 1558-89, in Tabriz in 1291 and 1338, and in Baghdad in 1333 and 1344.

Although dhimmis were allowed to perform their religious rituals, they were obliged to do so in a manner not conspicuous to Muslims. Display of non-Muslim religious symbols, such as crosses or icons, was prohibited on buildings and on clothing (unless mandated as part of distinctive clothing). Loud prayers were forbidden, as was the ringing of church bells or the trumpeting of shofars.

Dhimmis had the right to choose their own religious leaders: patriarchs for Christians, exilarchs and geonim for Jews. However, the choice of the community was subject to the approval of the Muslim authorities, who sometimes blocked candidates or took the side of the party that offered the larger bribe.

Dhimmis were prohibited from proselytizing on pain of death. Neither were they allowed to obstruct the spread of Islam in any manner. Other restrictions included a prohibition on publishing or sale of non-Muslim religious literature and a ban on teaching the Qur’an.

As required by the Pact of Umar, dhimmis had to bury their dead without loud lamentations and prayers.  Incidents of harassment of dhimmi funeral processions by Muslims, involving pelting with stones, battery, spitting, or cursing, even by Muslim children, were common regardless of place and time.

According to Islamic law, the permission for dhimmis to retain their places of worship and build new ones depended upon the circumstances in which the land fell under Muslim rule.

There was no consensus in Islamic jurisprudence as to whether it was permissible for dhimmis to repair churches and synagogues. The Pact of Umar puts an obligation on dhimmis not to "restore, by night or by day, any [places of worship] that have fallen into ruin".  At the same time, al-Mawardi wrote that dhimmis may "rebuild dilapidated old temples and churches". As in the case of building new houses of worship, the ability of dhimmi communities to repair churches and synagogues usually depended upon its relationship with local Muslim authorities and its ability to pay bribes. According to the Shafi'i Islamic jurist al-Nawawi, dhimmis could not use churches and synagogues if their land was conquered by attack. In such lands, as well as in towns founded after the conquest, or where inhabitants voluntarily converted wholesale to Islam, Islamic law does not allow dhimmis to build new churches and synagogues, or expand or repair existing ones, even if they fall into ruin. If the country submitted by capitulation, al-Nawawi wrote, dhimmis were permitted to build new houses of worship only if the capitulation treaty stated that dhimmis remained owners of their land. In observance of this prohibition, 'Abbasid caliphs al-Mutawakkil, al-Mahdi and Harun al-Rashid ordered the destruction, in their realms, of all churches and synagogues built after the Islamic conquest. In the 11th century, the Fatimid caliph al-Hakim oversaw the demolition of all churches and synagogues in Egypt, Syria and Palestine, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. However, al-Hakim subsequently allowed the rebuilding of the destroyed buildings.

Nevertheless, dhimmis sometimes managed to expand churches and synagogues and even build new ones, albeit at the price of bribing local officials in order to get permissions.  When non-Muslim houses of worship were built in cities founded after the Islamic conquests, Muslim jurists usually justified such evasions of the Islamic law by claiming that those churches and synagogues had existed in the earlier settlements. This logic was applied to Baghdad, which was built on the place of an eponymous Persian village, as well as to some other cities.

In the 7th century, freedom of expression was declared in the Rashidun Caliphate by the second Caliph, Umar, and, in the 9th century, freedom of speech was declared in the Abbasid Caliphate of Caliph Al-Ma'mun.  Nevertheless, in later times, blasphemy by both Muslims and by dhimmis was severely punished. The definition of blasphemy included defamation of Muslim holy texts, denial of the prophethood of Muhammad, and disrespectful references to Islam. Scholars of the Hanbali and Maliki schools, as well as the Shi’ites, prescribed a death penalty for blasphemy, while Hanafis and to some extent Shafi’is advocated flogging and imprisonment in some cases, reserving the death penalty only for habitual and public offenders.  Al-Mawardi treated blasphemy as a capital crime.

Many dhimmis were executed as a result of accusations that they insulted Islam.  Although some deliberately sought martyrdom, many blasphemers were insane or drunk; it was not uncommon for the blasphemy accusation to be made due to political considerations or private vengeance, and the fear of a blasphemy charge was a big factor in the fearful and subservient attitude of dhimmis toward Muslims.  Accusations of blasphemy often provoked acts of violence against the entire dhimmis communities, as happened in Tunis in 1876, Hamadan in 1876, Aleppo in 1889, Sulaymaniya in 1895, Tehran in 1895, or Mosul in 1911.

Dhimmi communities were subjected to the payment of taxes in favor of Muslims — a requirement that was central to dhimma as a whole. Sura 9:29 stipulates that jizya be exacted from non-Muslims as a condition required for jihad to cease. Failure to pay the jizya could result in the pledge of protection of a dhimmi's life and property becoming void, with the dhimmi facing the alternatives of conversion, enslavement or death (or imprisonment, as advocated by Abu Yusuf, the chief qadi — religious judge — of 'Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid).

Taxation from the perspective of Dhimmis who came under Muslim rule was "a concrete continuation of the taxes paid to earlier regimes" and from the point of view of the Muslim conqueror was a material proof of Dhimmi's subjection.  Some historians note that the change from Byzantine to Arab rule was welcomed by many among the Dhimmis who found the new yoke far lighter than the old, both in taxation and in other matters. Some, even among the Christians of Syria and Egypt, preferred the rule of Islam to that of the Byzantines.

The two main taxes imposed on dhimmis are known as jizya — a poll tax — and kharaj — a land tax. Early chronicles use these terms indiscriminately; only later did the kharaj emerge as a tax payable by a farmer regardless of his religion.  Historically, the jizya was collected from men only, dhimmis were exempt from zakat, and additional taxes were to be levied against dhimmis who travelled on business.

Most Islamic scholars agree that jizya must be levied only upon adult males. Another interpretation is that jizya was only paid by men because it was an exchange for the dhimmi's life: as it was only the adult males whose lives were forfeit in defeat, so only they had to pay the jizya.  In the Ottoman Empire, dhimmis had to carry a receipt certifying their payment of jizya at all times or be subject to imprisonment.

Although in general dhimmis had to pay higher taxes (despite not having to pay zakat), there are varying opinions among scholars as to how much of an additional burden this was. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that the payment of both the jizya and the kharaj were a crushing burden for the non-Muslim peasantry who eked out a bare living in a subsistence economy. Ultimately, it was this additional taxation that became a critical factor and drove many dhimmis to accept Islam.

Dhimmis were allowed to operate their own courts following their own legal systems in cases that did not involve other religious groups, or capital offences or threats to public order. However, in the Ottoman Empire of the 18th and 19th centuries dhimmis frequently attended the Muslim courts. This was not only when their appearance was compulsory (for example in cases brought against them by Muslims) but also in order to record property and business transactions within their own communities. Cases were taken out against Muslims, against other dhimmis and even against members of the dhimmi’s own family. Dhimmis often took cases relating to marriages, divorces and inheritance cases to the Muslim courts so that these cases would be decided under shari’a law. Oaths sworn by dhimmis in the Muslim courts were sometimes the same as the oaths taken by Muslims, sometimes tailored to the dhimmis’ beliefs.

When a case pitched a Muslim against a dhimmi, the word of Muslim witnesses nearly always carried more weight than that of dhimmis. According to Hanafi jurists dhimmi testimony and oaths were not valid against Muslims. On the other hand, Muslims could testify against dhimmis. This legal disability put dhimmis in a precarious position where they could not defend themselves against false accusations leveled by Muslims, except by hiring Muslim witnesses and bribing qadis -- bribing judges.  Apart from breeding corruption, the prohibition on non-Muslim testimony deepened the rift between communities, as dhimmis sought to reduce the possibility of conflict by limiting contact with Muslims.

The Hanafi school, which represents the vast majority of Muslims, believes that the murder of a dhimmi must be punishable by death, citing a hadith according to which Muhammad ordered the execution of a Muslim who killed a dhimmi. In other schools of Islamic jurisprudence the maximum punishment for the murder of a dhimmi, if perpetrated by a Muslim, was the payment of blood money; no death penalty was possible. For Maliki and Hanbali schools of jurisprudence, the value of a dhimmi's life was one-half the value of a Muslim's life; in the Shafi'i school, Jews and Christians were worth one-third of a Muslim and Zoroastrians were worth just one-fifteenth.

A peculiar practice developed in Yemen, where Arab tribes collected jizya from Jews, offering them protection. If a Muslim from one tribe killed a Jew protected by another tribe, then the other tribe could retaliate by killing a Jew protected by the tribe of the murderer. As a result, two Jews were murdered, while no direct sanctions were imposed on the Muslims.

The general rule in Islamic law is that a difference in religion is an obstacle to inheritance, so that neither dhimmis can inherit from Muslims, nor Muslims can inherit from dhimmis. However, some jurists maintain that a Muslim can inherit from a dhimmi, while a dhimmi cannot inherit from a Muslim. Shi'a scholars went so far as to argue that if a dhimmi dies leaving even one Muslim heir, all the estate belongs to the Muslim heir at the expense of any dhimmi heirs. This provision was a subject of frequent complaints from Persian Jews.

In accordance with the Pact of Umar, dhimmis had no right to bear arms of any kind. The few exceptions to this rule were some Jewish tribes in the Atlas Mountains of Africa and in the Central Asia. Despite the prohibition to carry weapons, Muslim jurists allowed using a dhimmi as an auxiliary soldier. In the border provinces, dhimmis were sometimes recruited for military operations. In such cases, they were exempted from jizya for the year of service; however, they were not entitled to a share in the booty, receiving only a fixed stipend.

Being forbidden to bear arms, non-Muslims relied on the Muslim authorities for personal safety. Usually these authorities managed to protect dhimmis from violence, but such protection was likely to fail at times of public disorder. In the Maghrib, during changes of reign and periods of instability, Jewish quarters were pillaged and their inhabitants either massacred or abducted for ransom.

Outbreaks of violence, including massacres and expulsions, directed against dhimmis became more frequent from the late 18th century onwards. In 1790, Jews were massacred in Tetouan and then in 1828, in Baghdad. In mid-19th century a wave of violence and forced conversions of Jews swept across Persia: in 1834, Jews were massacred in Safed, in 1839 in Mashhad, and in 1867 in Barforoush. Other outbreaks followed in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and other Arab countries of the Middle East. In 1860, 5,000 Christians were massacred in Damascus. In 19th-century Iraq, especially in the area of Mosul, both Jews and Christians lived in a state of constant insecurity.

The Islamic law and custom prohibited the enslavement of free dhimmis within the Islamic lands. An exception to the right of personal freedom guaranteed by the dhimma was the practice of enslavement of young non-Muslim boys for the ruler’s slave army. The practice goes back to the 'Abbasids, who recruited such slave warriors mainly from non-Muslim Turkic populations.  Descendants of those slaves later formed the Mameluke dynasties. The Ottoman Empire practiced a similar system, known as devshirmeh, by annually enslaving young boys from the Christian population of its Balkan provinces, to muster Janissary troops.

Jurists and the Qur'anic commentators had different views regarding the manner of payment jizya. Jurists were more humane and practical toward the dhimmis, while commentators usually mentioned humiliating procedures for the collection of jizya.

The annual payment ritual was not followed in parts of the Ottoman Empire, where jizya was collected from individuals by representatives of the dhimmi communities themselves. Dhimmis were frequently referred to by derogatory names, both in the official and in the everyday speech. In the Ottoman Empire, the official appellation for dhimmis was "raya", meaning "a herd of cattle". In the Muslim parlance, "apes" was the standard epithet for the Jews, while Christians were frequently denoted as "pigs". These animalistic parallels were rooted in the Qur'anic verses describing some People of the Book being transformed into apes and pigs (Qur'an [Qur'an 5:60]).
For dhimmis to be clearly distinguishable from Muslims in public, Muslim rulers often prohibited dhimmis from wearing certain types of clothing, while forcing them to put on highly distinctive garments, usually of a bright color. In the Pact of Umar, Christians supposedly took an obligation to "always dress in the same way wherever we may be, and… bind the zunar [wide belt] round our waists". Al-Nawawi required dhimmis to wear a piece of yellow cloth and a belt, as well as a metallic ring, inside public baths.

Regulations on dhimmi clothing varied frequently to please the whims of the ruler. Although the initiation of such regulations is usually attributed to Umar I, historical evidence suggests that it was the 'Abbasid caliphs who pioneered this practice. In 849, al-Mutawakkil ordered dhimmis to put a yellow veil on their heads and shoulders and wear a wide belt. He also required them to wear small bells in public baths. In the 11th century, the Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim ordered Christians to put on half-meter wooden crosses and Jews to wear wooden calves around their necks. In the late 12th century, the Almohad ruler Abu Yusuf ordered the Jews of the Maghrib to wear dark blue garments with long sleeves and saddle-like caps. His grandson Abdallah al-Adil made a concession after appeals from the Jews, relaxing the required clothing to yellow garments and turbans. In the 16th century, Jews of the Maghrib could only wear sandals made of rushes and black turbans or caps with a red piece of garment on it.

Ottoman sultans were similarly diligent and inventive in regulating the clothings of their non-Muslim subjects. In 1577, Murad III issued a firman forbidding Jews and Christians from wearing dresses, turbans, and sandals. In 1580, he changed his mind, restricting the previous prohibition to turbans and requiring dhimmis to wear black shoes. Jews and Christians also had to wear red and black hats, respectively. Observing in 1730 that some Muslims took to the habit of wearing caps similar to those of the Jews, Mahmud I ordered the hanging of the perpetrators. Mustafa III personally helped to enforce his decrees regarding clothes. In 1758, he was walking incognito in Istanbul and ordered the beheading of a Jew and an Armenian seen dressed in forbidden attire. The last Ottoman decree affirming the distinctive clothing for dhimmis was issued in 1837 by Mahmud II.

Dhimmis were forbidden to ride horses or camels; they were only allowed to ride donkeys and only on packsaddles, a prohibition that has its roots in the Pact of Umar. In the 18th century, Damanhuri, rector of Al-Azhar University, summed up the consensus of Islamic jurists: "Neither Jew nor Christian should ride a horse, with or without saddle. They may ride asses with a packsaddle." An additional requirement for dhimmis was to not ride astride, but only sidesaddle, like a woman. In Mameluke Egypt, where non-Mameluke Muslims were not allowed to ride horses and camels, dhimmis were prohibited even from riding donkeys inside cities. The same prohibition imposed on dhimmis was recorded in the 19th century in Damascus, as well as in Tunisia.

European travelers passing through the Middle East in the 18th and 19th centuries left ample evidence of the careful enforcement of prohibitions on horseback riding. Danish traveler Carsten Niebuhr wrote in 1761 that in Egypt, Jews and Christians were forced to alight while passing the houses of notable Muslims and when meeting such notables in the street.  A Frenchman visiting Cairo in 1697 recorded the same situation. In Yemen and in the rural areas of Morocco, Libya, Iraq, and Persia, dhimmis had to dismount from a mule when passing a Muslim.

The dhimmis’ obligation not to build houses higher than those of Muslims is one of the clauses of the Pact of Umar, supported as a desirable condition of “dhimma” by the consensus opinion of Islamic scholars.  According to Bat Ye’or, the rule was not always enforced; for example, no such laws were recorded in Muslim Spain, and in Tunisia Jews owned fine houses. Sometimes, Muslim rulers issued regulations requiring dhimmis to attach distinctive signs to their houses. In the 9th century, 'Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil ordered dhimmis to nail wooden images of devils to the doors of their homes. At about the same time in Tunisia, a qadi of the Aghlabid dynasty compelled dhimmis to nail onto their doors a board bearing the sign of a monkey. In Bukhara, Jews had to hang a piece of cloth out of their houses so that they could be distinguished from those of Muslims.

Dhimmis were seldom prohibited from living in certain places, but there were some exceptions. In Morocco, where beginning from the 15th century and especially since the early 19th century, Jews were confined to mellahs — walled quarters-- , similar to European ghettos. Jews were also forced to live in separate quarters in Persia. Neither Jews nor Christians were allowed to live in Hejaz after Umar I had expelled them.

Islamic jurists reject the possibility that a dhimmi man (and generally any non-Muslim) may marry a Muslim woman. Islamic law regarding mixed (interfaith) marriages appears to have developed out of three Quranic verses — [Qur'an 2:221], [Qur'an 60:10], and [Qur'an 5:5]. As some early Muslim scholars put it, such a marriage would lead to an incompatibility between the superiority of a woman by virtue of her being a Muslim and her unavoidable subservience to a non-Muslim husband. Indeed, some traditionalists compare marriage to enslavement and thus just like dhimmis are prohibited from having Muslim slaves, so dhimmi men are not allowed to have Muslim wives; conversely, Muslim men were allowed to marry women of the "People of the Book" because the enslavement of non-Muslims by Muslims is allowed.

The prohibition of marriage between Muslim woman and Dhimmi man was enforced with the utmost rigor, with any violations of it, including a sexual relationship between a non-Muslim man and a Muslim woman, being punishable by death. All schools of Islamic jurisprudence, with the exception of Hanafi, treated dhimmis who married or engaged in sexual relations with Muslim women like adulterers, for whom the punishment is death by stoning.  In cases when a non-Muslim wife converts to Islam, while her non-Muslim husband does not, their marriage is annulled.

Some social customs such as different conceptions of dirt and cleanliness made it difficult for the religious communities to live close to each other, either under Muslim or under Christian rule.  For Muslims and Christians alike the experience of living in close proximity to unbelievers was disquieting. The social customs of each group invariably sought to minimize contact with the people of other faiths. Each often spoke of the other in terms of fear and sometimes disgust.

Shi'a Islam devotes much attention to the issues of ritual purity — tahara. Strict Shi'as consider Non-Muslims ritually unclean — najis — so that certain physical contact with them or things they touched with wet hands would require purification before undertaking religious or ritual duties. In Persia, where Shi'ism is dominant, these beliefs brought about restrictions that aimed at limiting physical contact between Muslims and dhimmis. In the late nineteenth-century, some very strict authorities in Iran forbade Jews to go out in rain or snow.  However, by the early years of the twentieth century such beliefs and the resulting practices were gradually being forgotten.

Over the course of many centuries, dhimma gradually led to the conversion of most Zoroastrians and Christians to Islam, but had a limited impact on the Jews. Zoroastrianism was the first to crumble after the Muslim conquest of Persia. Closely associated with the power structures of the Persian Empire, Zoroastrian clergy quickly declined after it was deprived of the state support.

For Christians, the process of conversion was slower — it is possible that as late as at the time of the Crusades Christians still constituted a majority of the population — but no less inexorable. The switch from a dominant to an inferior position proved too difficult for many Christians and they converted to Islam in large numbers. Christianity disappeared altogether in Central Asia, Yemen, and the Maghrib, when it was subjected to persecution by the Almohads. Christians continued to live in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, but their numbers were still reduced to a tiny minority. The relative resiliency of Christians in those countries stemmed from their subordinated position in the Byzantine Empire, which made them more amenable to accepting Muslim supremacy; he suggests that many of them felt better under the early Muslim rule than under the Byzantines.

Jews were the least affected. Accustomed to survival in adverse circumstances after many centuries of Roman and Byzantine persecutions, Jews saw the Islamic conquests as just another change of rulers; this time, not necessarily for the worse. Voluntary conversion among the Jews was rare, and they managed to preserve their religion all over the Muslim lands.

The status of dhimmi was for long accepted with resignation by the Christians and with gratitude by the Jews but ceased to be so after the rising power of Christendom and the radical ideas of the French revolution caused a wave of discontent among Christian dhimmis. While Muslims opposed abolishment of dhimma laws, continuing and growing pressure from the European powers and also pressure from Muslim reformers gradually relaxed the inequalities between Muslims and non-Muslims.

The enforcement of the laws of the dhimma was widespread in the Muslim world until the mid-nineteenth century, when the Ottoman empire significantly relaxed the restrictions placed on its non-Muslim residents under Ottomanism. These relaxations occurred gradually as part of the Tanzimat reform movement, which began in 1839 with the accession of the Ottoman Sultan Abd-ul-Mejid I.

On November 3, 1839, an edict called the Hatt-i Sharif of Gulhane was put forth by the Sultan that, in part, proclaimed the principle of the equality of all subjects regardless of religion. Part of the motivation for this was the desire to gain support from the British Empire, whose help was desired in a conflict with Egypt.

On February 18, 1856, another edict was issued called Hatt-i Humayan, which built upon the 1839 edict. It came about partly as a result of pressure from and the efforts of the ambassadors of England, France, and Austria, whose respective countries were needed as allies in the Crimean War. It again proclaimed the principle of the equality of Muslims and non-Muslims, and produced many specific reforms to this end. For example, the jizya tax was abolished and non-Muslims were allowed to join the army.

During World War I, Christian minorities (Greek, Armenian, Assyrian) were persecuted in the Ottoman Empire. Beginning as forced expulsion, the Turkish government began conducting harsher pogroms against Christian minorities such as massacres of Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians as early as 1914. In 1915, Henry Morgenthau, Sr., the U.S. ambassador to the Empire, reported that 350,000 Armenians had been killed or starved. Prior to the U.S. entry in the war, the Turkish government also expelled American Christian missionaries from the country. The sum of these actions resulted in the Armenian Genocide, the Assyrian Genocide, the Greek Genocide and the Mount Lebanon Genocide.

ahl al-kitab see ahl al-dhimma.
People of the Covenant see ahl al-dhimma.
People of the Book see ahl al-dhimma.
People of the Pact of Protection see ahl al-dhimma.

ahl al-hadith
ahl al-hadith ("Partisans of the hadith").  In practice, the term ahl al-hadith refers to traditionalists of Islamic law and practice who do not rely so much in qiyas.  Recently, the term has also come to refer more to a group of scholars in the region of India and Pakistan who are close to the Hanbali school of theology, but who claim to follow no single school of thought. 

ahl al-hall wa-al-‘aqd
ahl al-hall wa-al-‘aqd (ahl al-‘aqd wa-al-hall).  Those who are qualified to act on behalf of the Muslim community in electing a caliph.  In medieval political theory, their main function was contractual, namely, to offer the office of caliph to the most qualified person and, upon his acceptance, to administer to him an oath of allegiance (bay‘ah).  They were also entrusted with deposing him should he fall short in fulfilling his duties.  They must be Muslim, of age, just, free, and capable of exercising ijtihad (interpretation of religious sources).  The implication of the last requirement is that ahl al-hall wa-al-‘aqd are jurists of the highest caliber, whose consensus is binding.

In the absence of any revealed text stipulating the number of ahl al-hall wa-al-‘aqd, scholars were in disagreement concerning this issue.  Some argued that they must be sufficient in number to represent all regions of the Islamic empire.  The prevailing opinion, however, seems to have been that one person suffices.  This reflects the historical reality in which a caliph appointed by ahl al-hall wa-al-‘aqd must enjoy the same qualifications required of the members of the appointing body, the caliph himself was deemed a most qualified member, who might alone designate a successor.  This is perhaps why some Muslim political theorists, such as the eleventh century Shafi‘i jurist al-Mawardi, maintain that the bay‘ah of ahl al-hall wa-al-‘aqd is a subsidiary process, resorted to when the preceding caliph fails to appoint an heir.

Theory diverged from practice in at least one respect.  In later times, military commanders played the role of ahl al-hall wa-al-‘aqd, although they did not fulfill the qualifications of theory.  Most notably, they were not deemed mujtahids (interpreters of the law), and thus they were not empowered to form a consensus on behalf of the Muslim community.  Their assumption of this role was finally justified on the basis of public interest (maslahah), mainly in terms of the doctrine that however objectionable the appointments of military commanders may be, they are preferable to a situation wherein the community is left without leaders.

In modern political thought, the title ahl al-hall wa-al-‘aqd has gained particular significance.  The title is now intimately connected with an expanded meaning of the concept of shura, a term that previously meant consultation among the oligarchs on political matters, including the appointment of a caliph.  In nineteenth and particularly twentieth century political thought, the ahl al-hall, through the medium of shura, speak for the full community.  Khayr al-Din al-Tunisi (d. 1889), a Tunisian reformer, equates ahl al-hall with a European style parliament, and Muhammad Rashid Rida (d. 1935) entrusts them with powers to elect and depose rulers by virtue of their influential status in the community and of their mutual consultation.  Their decisions, though they may be at variance with those of the ruler, are binding upon him because ahl al-hall are the deputies of the community and express its will.  For Rashid Rida, the ruler thus becomes subservient to ahl al-hall, who express through their consultation the will of the community on matters of public law and policy.  More recent political thinkers deem the ruler a servant of the people, elected by a process of consultation whose medium is ahl al-hall.  No rule, they argue, can be legitimate unless it is based on this process.  
ahl al-‘aqd wa-al-hall see ahl al-hall wa-al-‘aqd

ahl al-kitab
ahl al-kitab.  Arabic term that means “people of the Book” (“people of the Bible”).  The term is the designation that Muslims apply to Christians and Jews-- the people who were the recipients of the Gospel, the Psalms and the Torah.  The ahl al-kitab were put under the special protection of Islam and became the dhimmi -- the protected ones.  Sometimes those who professed Mazdeism and the Zoroastrians and Sabeans were included as members of the ahl al-kitab.  Indeed, later in India, even the Hindus and others were designated as ahl al-kitab.

In Islam, the ahl al-kitab -- the People of the Book -- are non-Muslim peoples who, according to the Qur'an, received scriptures which were revealed to them by God before the time of Muhammad, most notably Christians and Jews. The generally accepted interpretation is that the pre-Islamic revealed texts are the Tawrat, Zabur and the Injil. They are roughly equivalent to the Jewish Torah, the Book of Psalms, and the Four Christian Gospels, respectively.

In Islam, the Muslim scripture, the Qur'an, is taken to represent the completion of these scriptures, and to synthesize them as God's true, final, and eternal message to humanity. Because the People of the Book recognize the God of Abraham as the one and only god, as do Muslims, and they practice revealed faiths based on divine ordinances, tolerance and autonomy is accorded to them in societies governed by sharia (Islamic law).

In Judaism, the Hebrew term "Am HaSefer" --  "People of the Book" -- subsequently became self-applied to refer specifically to the Jewish people and the Torah, and the Jewish people and the wider canon of written Jewish law (including the Mishnah and the Talmud). In the Jewish tradition's use of the term there is generally no connotation as to the nature of Judaism's relationship with other faiths.
In the classical understanding, the People of the Book are those whose faiths share the following qualities:

They practice Tawhid (monotheism).
They recognize life after death, judgment, Heaven, and the existence of angels.
They usually recognize Satan and Hell, and they have many similar eschatological beliefs.
They share some of the same prophets, such as Moses.
They have similar beliefs regarding the creation, specifically, in the lives of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
The term "People of the Book" is thus taken in classical orthodox Islam to refer to followers of monotheistic Abrahamic religions which are older than Islam. This includes all Christians, all Jews (including Karaites and Samaritans), and Sabians (a Qur'anic term interpreted to refer to the Mandaeans).

Many early Islamic scholars, such as Malik ibn Anas, agreed that Zoroastrians should also be included. Zoroastrianism is believed by scholars and historians to have been founded between 1000 BCE and 600 BCE making it older than Christianity and Islam. It shares similar eschatological views with Christianity and Islam, and recognizes life after death, Satan (as Angra Mainyu), Heaven, and Hell. There is no official Zoroastrian viewpoint regarding Adam and Eve or Moses. Most Shi'a Muslims accept Zoroastrians as People of the Book.

Generally speaking, only pre-Islamic religions are considered to be the religions of the Book. This is because Muhammad is viewed in Islam as the seal of the prophets, the final prophet that God will ever send to humanity for all time. This means that post-Islamic faiths are not considered religions of the Book in the classical sense, even if they are revealed, scriptural, monotheistic, and/or Abrahamic.

Scholars have opinions as to whether or not Hinduism constitutes a religion of the People of the Book, as the term Hindu being derived from the Arabic text Al-Hind is the modern day name for the people of the Indian religions. Hinduism was, and still is, the Indian religion with the largest number of followers. The Islamic conquest of India necessitated that this definition be revised, due to the fact that a majority of the inhabitants of India were followers of the Indian religions, and some were generally regarded as mushrikeen. However, Hindu views of God are diverse and multifaceted, ranging from conventional monotheism, to pantheism, monism, immanence, and polytheism.  Many Hindus have a perspective that is somewhere between the extremes of polytheism and monotheism.

Sikhism is not considered to be a religion of the book, as it rejects the concept of the Devil, angels and the concept of Adam and Eve. It also post-dates Muhammad.

Buddhism does not explicitly recognize a God, or the concept of prophethood. However, there is no official Buddhist view of God, and Buddhism does not specifically oppose monotheism. Brahman is recognised as the supreme Deva. However, it is explicitly stated in sutra that deva, including supreme Brahman is insufficient (or irrelevant or inferior) to attainment of enlightenment, as they are still trapped in the cycle of rebirth. Moreover, Buddhism does not recognize God in the sense of the Creator.

The Bahá'í Faith is revealed, scriptural and Abrahamic, and Bahá'ís accept Muhammad as one of the previous Manifestations of God. However, because they have explicitly repudiated the eternal authority of the Qur'an and Sunnah, they are condemned as murtadeen (apostates). They are sometimes also called zandiqa ("atheists"). Bahá'ís are considered to be subject to the fate of Dar al-Harb, the doomed pagan world which is not beloved of God. Bahá'ís have been badly persecuted by Muslim regimes up to the present day. The most significant persecution has occurred in Iran, where Bahá'ís are the most populous religious minority. The exception is Turkey, where a policy of state secularism has resulted in almost no official persecution.

There are many statements in the Qur'an that promote tolerance towards People of The Book. For example:

"And do not dispute with the followers of the Book except by what is best, except those of them who act unjustly, and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him do we submit." [Qur'an 29:46]

There are also many statements that promote an adversarial relationship. For example:

"O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for rulers/patrons ; they are protectors of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a ruler/patron, then surely he is one of them; surely God does not guide the unjust people." [Qur'an 5:51] 

In other places the Qur'an says:

"Not all of them are alike; a party of the people of the Scripture stand for the right, they recite the Verses of God during the hours of the night, prostrating themselves in prayer. They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin Al-Ma'rûf and forbid Al-Munkar ; and they hasten in (all) good works; and they are among the righteous. And whatever good they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for God knows well those who are Al-Muttaqûn."  [Qur'an 3:113-115]

"And there are, certainly, among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), those who believe in God and in that which has been revealed to you, and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before God. They do not sell the Verses of God for a little price, for them is a reward with their Lord. Surely, God is Swift in account." [Qur'an 3:199]

"Verily! Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in God and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve."  [Qur'an 2:62]

"Say (O Muhammad ): "O people of the Scripture: Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but God, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides God." [Qur'an 3:64]
Throughout Islamic history, Muslims have used these ayah (verses) to justify a variety of positions towards non-Muslims. In some places and times, Muslims showed a great deal of tolerance towards non-Muslims; in other places and times non-Muslims were treated as enemies and persecuted. Islamic law demands that Muslims treat Jews and Christians as dhimmis, protected citizens who have a number of rights.

One ayah in the Qur'an can even be interpreted to encourage a neutral position toward non-Muslims. This ayah says, "Those who follow the Jewish and the Sabi'een, Christians, Magians and Polytheists — Allah will judge them On the Day of Judgement:" (22:17). The acceptance of Zoroastrians as dhimmis is partly because of this ayah, as the Magians were Zurvanist Zoroastrians, and this verse, specifically mentions them alongside other People of the Book, and lists them ahead of polytheists.

Historically, a dhimmi was a person who was protected under Islamic law by a pact contracted between non-Muslims and authorities from their Muslim government.  This status was originally only made available to non-Muslims who were People of the Book (i.e. Jews and Christians), but was later extended to include Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Mandeans, Hindus and Buddhists. People of the Book living in non-Islamic nations were not considered dhimmis.

Non-Muslim People of the Book living in an Islamic nation under sharia law were given a number of rights, such as the right to freely practice their faith in private, in return for state protection and exemption from military service. The social structure of the Ottoman Empire would serve as an example of how non-Muslims were treated. They also had some responsibilities, such as the payment of a special tax called jizyah ("tribute"), but were exempted from Zakat which Muslims are required to pay.

Because of the substantial Hindu tradition of monism, and the prominent Hindu theological perspective that there is a single Entity (Brahma) which sustains the world, Hindus eventually were included as dhimmis.

The Yazidi, Druze and Azali faiths are small post-Islamic monotheistic faiths whose adherents mainly reside in Muslim-majority countries. Because they number very few and have seldom disturbed, countered or threatened Muslim authority, they are usually regarded as dhimmis.

The definition of "dhimmi" always excludes followers of the Bahá'í Faith. This is because the Bahá'í Faith, which grew out of Shi'a Islam, is a post-Islamic religion which does not accept the finality of Muhammad's revelation. Instead, Bahá'ís believe in the concept of progressive revelation, which states that God's will is progressively revealed through different teachers at different times, and that there will never be a final revelation.

People of the Book see ahl al-kitab.
People of the Bible see ahl al-kitab.
People of the Scripture see ahl al-kitab.

ahl-i hadith
ahl-i hadith (ahl-i hadis) (“people of tradition”).  A community in India and Pakistan that claims to be the true followers of the Prophetic tradition.  They profess to follow only the Qur’an and hadith as sources of Muslim law, and do not accept the traditional schools of Islamic law.  Much controversy was generated among Indian Muslims in the late nineteenth century over the applicability of the term Wahhabi to the followers of Sayyid Ahmad Khan.  The term was earlier used derisively for the followers of the fundamentalist Arabian reformer Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab (1703-1792), some of whose puritanical actions after the occupation of Mecca and Medina had created misgivings in the Muslim world.  In India, some Hanafi Muslims denounced Sayyid Ahmad’s followers as ghair muqallid (“nonconformist”) and for considering British India a daru’l harb (“abode of war”).  On the other hand, many British officers considered them potential rebels.  Both these groups posited a link between the Arabian and Indian reform movements and therefore dubbed the Indian reformists Wahhabis.  They did so with the ulterior motives of sharpening sectarian differences and governmental suspicion against Sayyid Ahmad’s adherents.  The latter defended themselves on both counts, rather apologetically. More justifiably, they argued that Wahhabi was a misnomer and had become a term of religio-political abuse.  They called themselves muwahhidin (“unitarians”) and later, ahl-i hadith (“people of tradition”).  They petitioned the government to be called ahl-i hadith, not Wahhabis.  The change was adopted in official usage in 1886, but in common parlance the term Wahhabi continued.

Ahl-i hadith is an Islamic school of thought, found predominately in the Middle East and South Asia, in particular, Pakistan and India. The term ahl-i hadith is often used interchangeably with the Salafi dawah.

Unlike the ahl-al-rai, literally "the people of rhetorical theology," the ahl-i hadith, "the people of prophetic narrations" are not bound by taqlid but consider themselves free to seek guidance in matters of religious faith and practices from the authentic traditions (hadith) which, together with the Quran, are in their view the only worthy guide for Muslims.

The ahl-i hadith exert effort to raise traditional principles while restoring the original simplicity and purity to faith and practices. Emphasis is accordingly laid in particular on the reassertion of tawhid and the denial of occult powers and knowledge of the hidden things. This involves a rejection of the miraculous powers of saints and of the exaggerated veneration paid to them. They also make every effort to eradicate from their customs either innovation (bid‘a) or non-Islamic systems. As strict adherents to hadith, members of the ahl-i hadith take for themselves a broader meaning with wider implications and claim themselves to be the followers of sahih (the "reliable") hadith.

The ahl-i hadith significantly grew as a movement in Bengal in the 1830s, and later spread to other parts of South Asia. Its members reject the four major Sunni schools of Islamic law and emphasize what members say are the original principles of Islam. Indeed, the movement spread extensively throughout South Asia with the help of British. Inspired by the ways of life of the early generation of Muslims, the members of ahl-i hadith launched a movement for reviving Islam on the basis of its fundamental principles.

In a word, ahl-i hadith leans strongly towards strict and immutable principles formulated by their leading advocates. Contemporary exponents of ahl-i hadith in the subcontinent convincingly depict it as a continuous religious puritanical movement. According to their scholars the ahl-i hadith movement in India has been founded on four pillars: (a) belief in pure tawhid, (b) the Sunnah of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, (c) enthusiasm for jihad (the struggle against one's own immoral desires and/or participation in military campaigns designed to defend Muslim nations against non-Muslims) and (d) submission to Allah.  Ahl-i hadith insists on making all decisions on the basis of the Qur'an and hadith, and not by applying the methodology of qiyas (analogy).

Originally, collectors of ahadith (sayings and traditions of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad like Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim and many other transmitters of Ahadith) called themselves ahl-i hadith (literally meaning "People of Hadith"). The name derives from their claim that they consider the hadith and the Qur'an as being the only sources of religious authority.
ahl-i hadis see ahl-i hadith
People of Tradition see ahl-i hadith
ahl-e hadith see ahl-i hadith
ahl-e hadis see ahl-i hadith
Salafi dawah see ahl-i hadith
People of Prophetic Narrations see ahl-i hadith

ahl-i haqq
ahl-i haqq (Yarsan) (Yaresan).  Members of a religion founded by Sultan Sahak in the late 14th century in western Iran.  "Ahl-i haqq" means “people of truth” while "ahl-i silsila" means “people of chains.”  Both designations apply to the followers of a fused and somewhat secretive religion with principal centers in western Iran.  Militant Shi‘ite elements connect the sect with the ‘ali-ilahi sect of the Shi‘a, although 'Ali ibn Abi Talib is not their prinicipal figure.  The ahl-i haqq do not appear to be directly connected with Isma‘iliyya because they always speak of the twelve imams.  The religious system of the ahl-i haqq is based on what are considered to be additional sections of the Qur’an.

The ahl-i haqq have adopted such Sufi rites as Dhikr, gathering and distribution of food, and brotherly union.  The religion has a popular, pietistic outlet in the legends pertaining to Muslim saints and venerated people of the faith.  These legendary biographies have been collected in Kitab-i Saranjam in Persian.

The ahl-i haqq also believe in seven successive manifestations of the divinity, continuing until the advent of the “Master of the Age” -- the “sahib al-zaman”.  The Master of the Age is considered to be the person who will fulfill the desires of the ahl-i haqq. The Master of the Age is closely akin to the concept of the Mahdi. 

The ahl-i haqq are primarily found in western Iran and Iraq amongst mostly ethnic Kurds and Laks, though there are also smaller groups of Luri, Azeri, Persian and Arab adherents. Some ahl-i haqq in Iraq are called Kaka'i.

The ahl-i haqq have a distinct religious literature primarily written in Gorani and partly in Persian, though few modern ahl-i haqq can speak or read Gorani as their mother tongues are Turkmen and Sorani.

Up to the 20th century, the faith of the ahl-i haqq was strictly for Kurds who were born into it, called checkedea ("a drop of"), as opposed to individuals who married into a ahl-i haqq family, called chasbedea ("attached"). Adherents today are mainly found among the Kurdish tribes of the Guran, Qalkhani, Bajalani and Sanjabi, located in western Iran, forming approximately a third of the population in the religiously diverse province of Kermanshah. There are some groups located around Kirkuk in Iraq. The Arabic-speaking adherents are based in the Iraqi cities of Mandali, Baquba, and Khanaqin.

The ahl-i haqq do not identify as Muslim, although they revere ‘Alī as an emanation of God. Their teachings contain indigenous, Neoplatonic and Gnostic elements. They specifically identify themselves with Yazid, a disliked figure in Muslim history, to demonstrate their distance from Islam. In the past, as they were not identified as People of the Book, they were outcast, subject to seizure as slaves and were feared as bandits.

The ahl-i haqq faith's unique features include millenarism, nativism, egalitarianism, metempsychosis, angelology, divine manifestation and dualism. Many of these features are found in Yazidism, another Kurdish faith, in the faith of Zoroastrians and in Shī‘ah extremist groups.  Certainly, the names and religious terminology of the ahl-i haqq are often explicitly of Muslim origin. Unlike other indigenous Persianate faiths, the ahl-i haqq explicitly reject class, caste and rank, which sets them apart from the Yazidi and Zoroastrians.

The ahl-i haqq have a famous saying about death: "Men! Do not fear the punishment of death! The death of man is like the dive which the duck makes". Human beings go through a cycle of 1,001 incarnations. During this process, they may become more purified based on their actions. The ahl-i haqq is also the native religion of the Lak people.

The ahl-i haqq are emanationists and incarnationists, believing that the Divine Essence has successive "avatars" (or mazhariyyat) in human form. They believe God manifests one primary and seven secondary manifestations in each of the seven epochs of the world. The avatars of the First Epoch closely matched by name the archangels of the Semitic religions; the avatars of the Second Epoch, which begins with ‘Alī as the primary avatar, also includes all Muslim figures except for one, Nusayr - either referring to the "Nazarene" (i.e. Jesus), or Nârsch, the minor avatar who later came to be known as Theophobus.

In the Fourth Epoch, the primary avatar is held to be Sultan Sahak. It is said that he was given birth by Dayerak Rezbar, or Khatun-e Rezbar, a Kurdish virgin, and as in the case of Mary, it was a virginal conception. While sleeping under a pomegranate tree a kernel of fruit fell into her mouth when a bird pecked the fruit directly over her.  Although some mistake this as an incarnation of the Virgin Mary and of the mother of Ali, it echoes Mithraic and Zoroastrian beliefs concerning the birth of the Saoshyant, the savior of Zoroastrianism who was born of a virgin, impregnated by the seed of Zoroaster or Zarathushtra in Lake Hamun in Sistan. Mithra was also believed to be both savior and god, born of a virgin from immaculate conception thus both divine and human in form and essence.

The Haft Tan "Seven Archangels" are key figures in the ahl-i haqq belief system and their history. They are (1) Benjamin, considered the incarnation of the archangel Gabriel, (2) Dawud ("David"), the incarnation of archangel Michael, (3) Mustafā', the incarnation of archangel Azrael, (4) Pir Musi, incarnation of the recording angel, (5) Shah Husain, (6) Baba Yadegar and (7) the only female archangel, Khatun-e Rezbar, the mother of Sultan.

The traditions of the ahl-i haqq are preserved in poetry known as Kalam-e Saranjam ("The Discourse of Conclusion"),  revealed narratives passed down orally through the generations. These traditions are said to have been written down by Pir Musi, one of the seven companions of Sultan Sahak (also the angel in charge of recording human deeds). The collection consists of the Epochs of Khawandagar (God), Ali, Shah Khoshin, and Sultan Sahak, the different manifestations of Divinity. The epoch of Shah Khoshin takes place in the Luristan region and the epoch of Sahak is placed in the land of Gorans (Hawraman) near the river Sirwan. The sayings attributed to Sultan Sahak are written in Gorani Kurdish, the sacred language of the Ahl-i Haqq. Some of their literature is written in the Persian language.

The original 7 families or Sadat-e Haqiqat established during the time of Sultan were Shah Ebrahim, Baba Yadegar, Ali Qalandar, Khamush, Mir Sur, Seyyed Mosaffa and Hajji Babu Isa. The 5 families established after Sultan Sahak are Atesh Bag, Baba Heydar, Zolnour, Shah Hayas and Hajj Nematollah.

The famous Iranian musician and mystic, Nur Ali Elahi, was a high-ranking member of ahl-i haqq and published a book titled Burhan al-Haqq which is one of the few reliable sources on the subject. Sheikh Mahmud Barzanji, the self-proclaimed King of the Kingdom of Kurdistan after World War I, claimed to be descended from the brother of Sultan Sahak in the twelfth generation

People of Truth see ahl-i haqq
Yarsan see ahl-i haqq
Yaresan see ahl-i haqq

ahl-i silsila
ahl-i silsila ("People of Chains").  See ahl-i haqq.
People of Chains see ahl-i silsila

Ahmad, Ahmuadzam Shah
Ahmad, Ahmuadzam Shah (Ahmuadzam Shah Ahmad) (c. 1836-1917).  First sultan of Pahang (1882-1914), then a province of old Johor.  A strong and resourceful leader, Ahmad possessed the “softness of voice” and refined manners that the Malay appear to value in their leaders.  In 1863, after a six year civil war, he became bendahar (chief minister) of Pahang and sought to consolidate the independence of Pahang from Johor.  In 1882, he assumed the title of sultan and established a court on the old Johor model.  He reluctantly accepted a British resident (a so-called adviser) in 1888 and supported him, with little enthusiasm, in the revolt that followed (1891-1895).  When convinced of British determination, however, he adapted ably to the colonial presence.
Ahmuadzam Shah Ahmad see Ahmad, Ahmuadzam Shah

Ahmad al-Badawi
Ahmad al-Badawi ([1199?]1200-1276).  A Sufi saint of Egypt and the founder of an order -- a tariqa -- which is known as the Badawiyya.  Born in Fez, Morocco, of a Sayyid family, Ahmad al-Badawi made the pilgrimage -- the hajj -- to Arabia and later visited Iraq before a vision impelled him to travel to Tanta in Egypt, where he remained until his death.

The behavior of Ahmad al-Badawi was both ascetic and eccentric.  He ate little, sometimes fasting for forty days.  During one period, he would remain completely silent while, at another time, he would scream continuously.  From the roof of his house, al-Badawi was said to have gazed directly at the sun until his eyes became red blotches.  Throughout the night, al-Badawi would stay awake, reciting the Qur’an.  He also worked numerous miracles, and elicited both absolute loyalty and fierce hostility from many Egyptians during his lifetime.

Despite a meager literary testament, Ahmad gained enormous posthumous fame due to the powers associated with his tomb.  No less than three well-attended celebrations of the anniversary of the saint’s death take place in different parts of Egypt.  Numerous accounts have been written of the miracles resulting from that hallowed event. 

Badawi, Ahmad al- see Ahmad al-Badawi

Ahmad al-Bakka'i
Ahmad al-Bakka'i (Ahmad al-Bakka'i al-Kunti) (1803-1865).  Leader of the rebellion in which the Tukolor revolutionary al-Hajj ‘Umar ibn Sa‘id Tall was killed in 1864.  A Kenata Moor of Timbuktu, Ahmad al-Bakka‘i was an important figure in the Qadiriyya Islamic brotherhood, a rival of the Tijaniyya brotherhood to which ‘Umar belonged.  He joined Ba Lobbo and 'Abdul Salam of Macina in leading the rebellion which was only temporarily successful.  Despite the death of ‘Umar, Macina was soon reconquered by ‘Umar’s nephew, Ahmadu Tijani. 

Ahmad al-Bakka'i al-Kunti (born in 1803 in the Azawad region north of Timbuktu –  died in 1865 in Timbuktu) was a West African Islamic and political leader. He was one of the last principal spokesmen in precolonial Western Sudan for an accommodationist stance towards the threatening Christian European presence, and even provided protection to Heinrich Barth from an attempted kidnapping by the ruler of Massina (Ahmad Ahmad ibn Muhammad Lobbo). In a letter to the ruler, which was rather a fatwa he denied the former's right to have Barth arrested or killed and his belongings confiscated, as the Christian was neither a dhimmi (a non-Muslim subject of a Muslim ruler) nor an enemy of Islam, but the native of a friendly country, that is Great Britain. He went as far as to deny Ahmad Ahmad ibn Muhammad Lobbo the right to proclaim the jihad and called him "the ruler over a few huts at the outskirts of the Islamic world".

Al-Bakkai was also one of the last Kunta family shaykhs, whose prestige and religious influence were interwoven with the Qadiri brotherhood and the economic fortunes of the Timbuktu region. His voluminous correspondence provides a rare, detailed glimpse into political and religious thought in 19th century West Africa regarding the primary concerns of the nature of the Imamate/caliphate in Sahelian and Sudanese communities, issues surrounding the encroaching Christian powers, and the growing politicalization of Sufi tariqah affiliation.

Bakka', Ahmad al- see Ahmad al-Bakka'i
Ahmad al-Bakka'i al-Kunti see Ahmad al-Bakka'i

Ahmad al-Hiba
Ahmad al-Hiba (Ahmed al-Hiba) (1876-1919).   A religious leader of southern Morocco, and an ephemeral pretender to the Sharifian throne.

Ahmed al-Hiba was a leader of armed resistance to the French colonial power in the Western Sahara, and pretender to the sultanate of Morocco. In English texts he is usually referred to simply as El Hiba, meaning "the stork."

He was the son of Ma al-'Aynayn, a religious leader in the region of Smara, a town in the Western Sahara close to the Moroccan border. Ma al-'Aynayn led an armed uprising against the French in the first decade of the twentieth century. Shortly after his death, in 1912 the French imposed the Treaty of Fez on the Moroccans and took virtual control of the country. Ma al-'Aynayn's son al-Hiba then decided that this effectively vacated the position of Sultan of Morocco, and proclaimed himself Sultan at Tiznit, as his father had done before him.

A general uprising in the south of Morocco saw al-Hiba recognized as Sultan in Taroudant, Agadir and the Dades and Draa regions. He gained a powerful ally in Si Madani, head of the Glaoua family who were then out of favour with the real Sultan. With his tribal army he entered Marrakech on August 18, 1912 and was proclaimed Sultan there also.

A decisive battle with the French took place at Sidi Bou Othman near Marrakech on September 6, 1912.  Al-Hiba's forces were defeated by the French commanded by Charles Mangin, with the loss of some 2000 tribal warriors. In January 1913, the Glaoua family, now allied with the French, drove al-Hiba back to the Sous.

Al-Hiba did not give up the struggle and continued to harass the French in his own area until his death on June 23, 1919 in Kerdous (Anti-Atlas). His struggle was carried on by his brother Merebbi Rebbu.

Hiba, Ahmad al- see Ahmad al-Hiba
Ahmed al-Hiba see Ahmad al-Hiba
El Hiba see Ahmad al-Hiba
"The Stork" see Ahmad al-Hiba

Ahmad Alimi
Ahmad Alimi (d.c.1808).  Ruler of the Kanuri state of Bornu (Nigeria) (c.1791-1808).  Around 1807, the Fula in the Bornu province of Deya responded to ‘Uthman’s call to join the jihad (holy war) and attacked the governor.  Ahmad counter-attacked the Fula there and ordered an anti-Fula campaign throughout the state.  He then began a correspondence with ‘Uthman and his son Muhammad Bello, demanding to know why Bornu, an Islamic state, was being threatened by a fellow Muslim.  The exchange of letters did not halt the hostilities and the Fula won a number of victories against Bornu.  In 1808, they occupied the capital, forcing Ahmad to flee.  Old and blind, Ahmad decided to abdicate in favor of his son, Dunama, and died a few months later. 

Alimi, Ahmad see Ahmad Alimi

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