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Qarmatians
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{{pp-protected|reason=excessive violations of the copyright policy|small=yes}}{{short description|Religious group}}{{Ismailism|Ismaili History}}The Qarmatians (; also transliterated Carmathians, Qarmathians, Karmathians) were a syncretic branch of Sevener Ismaili Shia Islam that incorporated elements of Zoroastrianism. They were centered in al-Hasa (Eastern Arabia), where they established a religious-utopian republic in 899 CE. They are most known for their revolt against the Abbasid Caliphate. Mecca was sacked by a Qarmatian leader, Abu Tahir al-Jannabi,Mecca's History, from Encyclopædia Britannica. outraging the Muslim world, particularly with their theft of the Black Stone and desecration of the Zamzam Well with corpses during the Hajj season of 930 CE.

Name

The origin of the name "Qarmatian" is uncertain.Akbar, Faiza. "The secular roots of religious dissidence in early Islam: the case of the Qaramita of Sawad Al‐Kūfa", Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, 12.2 (1991): 376-390. According to some sources, the name derives from the surname of the sect's founder, Hamdan Qarmat.WEB, Madelung, Wilferd,weblink ḤAMDĀN QARMAṬ, Encyclopædia Iranica, 24 April 2016, {{sfn|Madelung|1978}} The name qarmat probably comes from the Aramaic for "short-legged", "red-eyed" or "secret teacher".BOOK, Seta B. Dadoyan, The Armenians in the Medieval Islamic World, Volume Three: Medieval Cosmopolitanism and Images of Islam,weblink 23 September 2013, Transaction Publishers, 978-1-4128-5189-3, 36, {{sfn|Daftary|1990|p=116}}BOOK, Heinz Halm, Der Nahe und Mittlere Osten,weblink 1996, BRILL, 978-90-04-10056-5, 27, Other sources, however, say that the name comes from the Arabic verb قرمط (qarmat), which means "to make the lines close together in writing" or "to walk with short steps".Glassé, Cyril. 2008. The New Encyclopedia of Islam. Walnut Creek CA: AltaMira Press p. 369BOOK, Edward William Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon,weblink 2519, The word "Qarmatian" can also refer to a type of Arabic script.BOOK, Josef W. Meri, Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia,weblink 31 October 2005, Routledge, 978-1-135-45596-5, 134, The Qarāmiṭah in southern Iraq were also known as "the Greengrocers" (al-Baqliyyah) because of a preacher Abu Hatim, who, in 906 or 907, forbade animal slaughter as well as the eating of vegetables such as alliums. It is not clear if his teachings persisted.{{sfn|Madelung|1996|p=71}}

History

Early developments

Under the Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258 CE), various Shiite groups organised in secret opposition to their rule. Among them were the supporters of the proto-Ismā‘īlī community, of whom the most prominent group were called the Mubārakiyyah.According to the Ismaili school of thought, Imām Ja'far al-Sadiq (702–765) designated his second son, Isma'il ibn Jafar (ca. 721–755), as heir to the Imamate. However, Ismā‘īl predeceased his father. Some claimed he had gone into hiding, but the proto-Ismā‘īlī group accepted his death and therefore accordingly recognized Ismā‘īl's eldest son, Muhammad ibn Ismail (746–809), as Imām. He remained in contact with the Mubārakiyyah group, most of whom resided in Kufa.The split among the Mubārakiyyah came with the death of Muḥammad ibn Ismā‘īl (ca. 813 CE). The majority of the group denied his death; they recognized him as the Mahdi. The minority believed in his death and would eventually emerge in later times as the Isma'ili Fatimid Caliphate, the precursors to all modern groups.The majority Ismā‘īlī missionary movement settled in Salamiyah (in present-day Syria) and had great success in Khuzestan (southwestern Iran), where the Ismā‘īlī leader al-Husayn al-Ahwāzī converted the Kūfan man Ḥamdān in 874 CE, who took the name Qarmaṭ after his new faith. Qarmaṭ and his theologian brother-in-law ‘Abdān prepared southern Iraq for the coming of the Mahdi by creating a military and religious stronghold. Other such locations grew up in Yemen, in Eastern Arabia (Arabic Bahrayn) in 899, and in North Africa. These attracted many new Shi'i followers due to their activist and messianic teachings. This new proto-Qarmaṭī movement continued to spread into Greater Iran and then into Transoxiana.

The Qarmatian Revolution

A change in leadership in Salamiyah in 899 led to a split in the movement. The minority Ismā‘īlīs, whose leader had taken control of the Salamiyah centre, began to proclaim their teachings - that Imām Muḥammad had died, and that the new leader in Salamiyah was in fact his descendant come out of hiding. Qarmaṭ and his brother-in-law opposed this and openly broke with the Salamiyids; when ‘Abdān was assassinated, he went into hiding and subsequently repented. Qarmaṭ became a missionary of the new Imām, Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah (873–934), who founded the Fatimid Caliphate in North Africa in 909.Nonetheless, the dissident group retained the name Qarmaṭī. Their greatest stronghold remained in Bahrain, which at this period included much of eastern Arabia as well as the islands that comprise the present state. It was under Abbasid control at the end of the ninth century, but the Zanj Rebellion in Basra disrupted the power of Baghdad. The Qarmaṭians seized their opportunity under their leader, Abu Sa'id al-Jannabi, who captured Bahrain’s capital Hajr and al-Hasa in 899, which he made the capital of his republic and once in control of the state he sought to set up a utopian society.The Qarmaṭians instigated what one scholar termed a "century of terror" in Kufa.{{Citation| last=Al-Jubūrī| first=I M N| date=2004| title=History of Islamic Philosophy| publisher=Authors Online Ltd| page=172}} They considered the pilgrimage to Mecca a superstition and once in control of the Bahrayni state, they launched raids along the pilgrim routes crossing the Arabian Peninsula: in 906 they ambushed the pilgrim caravan returning from Mecca and massacred 20,000 pilgrims.John Joseph Saunders, A History of Medieval Islam, Routledge 1978 p. 130Under al-Jannabi (ruled 923–944), the Qarmaṭians came close to raiding Baghdad in 927, and sacked Mecca and Medina in 930. In their attack on Islam's holiest sites, the Qarmatians desecrated the Zamzam Well with corpses of Hajj pilgrims and took the Black Stone from Mecca to al-Hasa.Houari Touati, Islam and Travel in the Middle Ages, transl. Lydia G. Cochrane, (University of Chicago Press, 2010), 60.The Qarmatians in Bahrain, Ismaili Net Holding the Black Stone to ransom, they forced the Abbasids to pay a huge sum for its return in 952.WEB,weblink Qarmatiyyah, St. Martin's College, Overview of World Religions, 2007-05-04, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20070428055134weblink">weblink 28 April 2007, dmy-all, The revolution and desecration shocked the Muslim world and humiliated the Abbasids. But little could be done; for much of the tenth century the Qarmatians were the most powerful force in the Persian Gulf and Middle East, controlling the coast of Oman and collecting tribute from the caliph in Baghdad as well as from a rival Isma'ili imam in Cairo, the head of the Fatimid Caliphate, whose power they did not recognize.

Qarmatian society

The land they ruled over was extremely wealthy with a huge slave-based economy according to academic Yitzhak Nakash:

Collapse

After defeat by the Abbasids in 976 the Qarmatians began to look inwards and their status was reduced to that of a local power. This had important repercussions for the Qarmatians' ability to extract tribute from the region; according to Arabist historian Curtis Larsen:}}In Bahrain and eastern Arabia the Qarmatian state was replaced by the Uyunid dynasty, while it is believed that by the middle of the eleventh century Qarmatian communities in Iraq, Iran, and Transoxiana had either been won over by Fatimid proselytising or had disintegrated.Farhad Daftary, The Assassin Legends: Myths of the Isma'ilis, IB Tauris, 1994, p20 The last contemporary mention of the Qarmatians is that of Nasir Khusraw, who visited them in 1050,EB1911, Carmathians, 5, 357, although Ibn Battuta, visiting Qatif in 1331, found it inhabited by Arab tribes whom he described as "extremist Shia" (rafidhiyya ghulat),{hide}Citation
| last =Ibn Battuta
| date =1964
| title =Rihla ibn Battuta
| location =Beirut, Lebanon
| place =
| publisher =Dar Sadir
| pages =279–80
{edih} which historian Juan Cole has suggested is how a fourteenth-century Sunni would describe Isma'ilis.{hide}Citation
| last =Cole
| first =Juan
| author-link =Juan Cole
| date =2007
| title =Sacred Space and Holy War
| publisher =IB Tauris
{edih}

Imamate of Seven Imams

According to Qarmatians, the number of imams was fixed, with Seven Imāms preordained by God. These groups considers Muhammad ibn Isma'il to be the messenger - prophet (Rasūl), Imām al-Qā'im and Mahdi to be preserved in hiding, which is referred to as the Occultation.{| class="wikitable"
| Period
Ali ibn Abi Taleb{{sfn>Daftaryp=97}}Imām (632–661)
Hasan ibn Ali >| (661–669)
Husayn ibn Ali >| (669–680)
Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin >| (680–713)
Muhammad al-Baqir >| (713–733)
Ja'far al-Sadiq >| (733–765)
Muhammad ibn Isma'il{{sfn>Daftaryp=97}}Muhammad ibn Isma'il (158-197/775-813)Imām Al-Qāʾim Āl Muḥammad Mahdi>al-Mahdi alsoa messenger - prophet (Rasūl) (775-813)

Ismaili imams who were not accepted as legitimate by Qarmatians

In addition, the following Ismaili imams after Muhammad ibn Isma'il had been considered heretics of dubious origins by certain Qarmatian groups, Encyclopedia Iranica, "ʿABDALLĀH B. MAYMŪN AL-QADDĀḤ" who refused to acknowledge the imamate of the Fatimids and clung to their belief in the coming of the Mahdi.

Qarmatian rulers in Eastern Arabia

See also

References

{{reflist}}

Sources

  • {{Daftary-The Ismailis|edition=First}}
  • {{EI2 | last=Madelung | first=Wilferd | authorlink = Wilferd Madelung | title = Ḳarmaá¹­Ä« | volume = 4 | pages = 660–665 | url =weblink }}
  • BOOK, Madelung, Wilferd, Wilferd Madelung, The Fatimids and the QarmatÄ«s of Bahrayn, 21–73, Mediaeval Isma'ili History and Thought, Daftary, Farhad, Farhad Daftary, 1996, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-00310-0, {{Google books, 8eebGQXgPcQC, 21, y, |ref=harv}}
  • Kathryn Babayan 2002: Mystics, Monarchs, and Messiahs: Cultural Landscapes of Early Modern Iran, {{ISBN|0-932885-28-4}}

External links

{{Islamic Theology|state=expanded|schools}}{{Muslim dynasties in Arabian Peninsula}}

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