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The Mahdī and the Treasures of al-Ṭālaqān

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Abstract This study highlights a hitherto neglected trope of Muslim apocalyptic literature—namely, that in a region known as al-Ṭālaqān there awaits the future Mahdī a great treasure that will gain him a mighty army to aid him fight the final battle against evil. Tracing the trope’s origin in Zoroastrian apocalypticism and its subsequent dissemination in a wide array of Muslim apocalyptic traditions, this paper argues that this apocalyptic trope ultimately entered into Muslim apocalypticism, in particular Šīʿite apocalypticism, during a Zaydī revolt against the ʿAbbāsids led by the Ḥasanid Yaḥyā b. ʿAbd Allāh in the year 176/792. The paper then explores how the revolt of Yaḥyā b. ʿAbd Allāh shaped the function of the ‘treasures of al-Ṭālaqān’ trope in Muslim apocalypticism and how Yaḥyā’s personality and the revolt he inspired continued to leave an indelible imprint on Imāmī apocalypticism thereafter.

1. FN11 C.E. Bosworth, “Ṭālaḳān”, EI2.
2. FN22 According to Wilferd Madelung, he was, perhaps, the son of the Zaydī dāʿī al-Ḥasan b. al-Qāsim; see Madelung, “Abū Isḥāq al-Ṣābī on the Alids of Ṭabaristān and Gīlān,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 26 (1967), p. 32 and n. 106 thereto. On the fashionable trend of marriage alliances with the ʿAlids among the Būyid viziers of this time, see J.J. Donohue, The Buwayhid Dynasty in Iraq 334H./945 to 403H./1012, Leiden, Brill, 2003, p. 181.
3. FN33 Cf. Sezgin, GAS, II, p. 644.
4. FN44 Abū Manṣūr al-Ṯaʿālibī, Yatīmat al-dahr fī maḥāsin ahl al-ʿaṣr, ed. Muḥyī l-Dīn ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd, Beirut, Dār al-fikr, 1973, III, p. 237; Yāqūt al-Ḥamawī, Iršād al-arīb ilā maʿrifat al-adīb, ed. D.S. Margoliouth, Leiden, Brill, 1907-1927, II, p. 228-9; and Ḫalīl b. Aybak al-Ṣafadī, al-Wāfī bi-l-wafayāt, ed. J. van Ess, Beirut, Klaus Schwarz, 1974, IX, p. 141. Cf. Ibn ʿInaba, ʿUmdat al-ṭālib fī ansāb Āl Abī Ṭālib, Nağaf, al-Ḥaydariyya, 1961, p. 70-1.
5. FN55 See Cl. Cahen, Ch. Pellat, “Ibn ʿAbbād, Abū ’l-Ḳāsim Ismāʿīl”, EI2.
6. FN66 Ibn Aʿṯam al-Kūfī, Kitāb al-Futūḥ, ed. Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Muʿīd Ḫān, Hyderabad, Dāʾirat al-maʿārif al-ʿuṯmāniyya, 1969, II, p. 78 f. I have depended on Lawrence Conrad’s dating for Ibn Aʿṯam’s text, favoring the date he posits for the second recension of his Futūḥ, in his unpublished essay, “Ibn Aʿtham and His History,” presented at the Sixth International Colloquium on From Jahiliyya to Islam (5 September to 10 September, 1993); however, given the complex textual history of Ibn Aʿṯam’s Futūḥ, the date could indeed be later. The findings of Conrad’s paper can be read summarized in L.I. Conrad, “Ibn Aʿtham al-Kūfī,” Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, ed. J.S. Meisami, P. Starkey, London, Routledge, 1998, I, p. 314. A version of the same ḫuṭba of ʿAlī was also recorded by al-Ḥākim al-Nīšāpūrī (d. 405/1014) in his Tārīḫ-i Nīšāpūr that makes it even clearer that it is to the Ṭālaqān of Ḫurāsān that ʿAlī’s ḫuṭba refers. See R.N. Frye (ed.), Histories of Nishapur, London, Mouton, 1965, p. 3. Cf. al-Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Iṯbāt al-hudā, Tehran, Dār al-kutub al-islāmiyya, 1974-1980, II, p. 197 and Mağlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, Tehran, Dār al-kutub al-islamiyya, 1956-1972, LVII, p. 229. For a full translation of this sermon, see D. Cook, Studies in Muslim Apocalyptic, Princeton, Darwin, 2002, p. 379-82.
7. FN77 Ibn Ṭāwūs, al-Malāḥim wa-l-fitan fī ẓuhūr al-ġāʾib al-muntaẓar, Beirut, Dār al-Ṣādiq, 1978, p. 148. On al-Salīlī, see E. Kohlberg, A Medieval Scholar at Work: Ibn Ṭāwūs and his Library, Leiden, Brill, 1992, p. 169.
8. FN88 Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Muḥammad al-Rabaʿī, Faḍāʾil al-Šām wa-Dimašq, ed. Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn al-Munağğid, Damascus, Maṭbaʿat al-taraqqī, 1950, p. 75.
9. FN99 In another iteration of the tradition, the ṭāʾifa implied here consists of angels; see Ibn al-ʿAdīm, Buġyat al-ṭālab fī taʾrīḫ Ḥalab, ed. Suhayl Zakkār, Damascus, Dār al-baʿṯ, 1988, I,p. 102.
10. FN1010 Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq wa-ḏikr faḍlihā wa-tasmiyat man ḥallahā min al-amāṯīl aw iğtāza min wāridihā wa-ahlihā, ed. ʿUmar Ġarāma l-ʿAmrawī, Beirut, Dār al-fikr, 1995, I, p. 257; Ibn al-ʿAdīm, Buġya, I, p. 102.
11. FN1111 Abū Yaʿlā l-Mawṣilī, al-Musnad, ed. Ḥusayn Salīm Asad, Damascus, Dār al-Maʾmūn, 1984-1994, XI, p, 302; Ibn al-Munādī, al-Malāḥim, ed. ʿAbd al-Karīm al-ʿUqaylī, Qumm, Dār al-sīra, 1998, p. 152 f.; Sulaymān b. Aḥmad al-Ṭabarānī, al-Muʿğam al-awsaṭ, ed. Ṭāriq b. ʿAwaḍ Allāh b. Muḥammad and Abū Faḍl ʿAbd al-Muḥsin b. Ibrāhīm al-Ḥusaynī, Cairo, Dār al-Ḥaramayn, 1995, I, p. 21 f.
12. FN1212 Ibn ʿAdī l-Ğurğānī, al-Kāmil fī ḍuʿafāʾ al-riğāl, Beirut, Dār al-fikr, 1985, VII, p. 2545. Cf. Madelung, “Apocalyptic Prophecies in Ḥimṣ in the Umayyad Age,” Journal of Semitic Studies, 31 (1986), p. 141-85.
13. FN1313 See the numerous examples compiled in Ibn ʿAsākir, Dimašq, I, p. 254-69.
14. FN1414 C. Turner, “The ‘Tradition of Mufaḍḍal’ and the Doctrine of Rajʿa: Evidence of Ghuluww in the Eschatology of Twelver Shīʿism?”, Iran JBIPS, 44 (2006), p. 175-95.
15. FN1515 H. Halm, “Das ‘Buch der Schatten’. Die Mufaḍḍal-Tradition der Ġulāt und die Ursprünge des Nuṣairiertums, I. Die Überlieferer der heretischen Mufaḍḍal-Tradition,” Der Islam, 55 (1978), p. 219-66.
16. FN1616 H. Modarressi, Tradition and Survival: A Bibliographic Survey of Early Shīʿite Literature, London, Oneworld, 2003-, I, p. 333-7.
17. FN1717 Biḥār, III, p. 57-151. Also known as Tawḥīd al-Mufaḍḍal; cf. Modarressi, Tradition, I, p. 334 and Kohlberg, Ibn Ṭāwūs, p. 226.
18. FN1818 Ibn Šahrāšūb, Maʿālim al-ʿulamāʾ, Muḥammad Ṣādiq Āl Baḥr al-ʿUlūm, Nağaf, al- Ḥaydariyya, 1964, p. 124; Mağlisī, Biḥār, III, p. 152-96. Cf. Kohlberg, Ibn Ṭāwūs, p. 187.
19. FN1919 Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan b. Farrūḫ al-Ṣaffār, Baṣāʾir al-darağāt, ed. Muḥsin Kūčabāġī, Tabriz, Maktabat Āyat Allāh al-Marʿašī, 1983, p. 526-36.
20. FN2020 Muḥamamd b. Ḥasan al-Ṭūsī, Miṣbāh al-mutahağğid, Beirut, Muʾassasat fiqh al-šīʿa, 1991, p. 416-9; Ibn Ṭāwūs, Malāḥim, p. 321-4; Mağlisī, Biḥār, XC, p. 96-101.
21. FN2121 Ibn Šuʿba l-Ḥarrāni, Tuḥaf al-ʿuqūl ʿan āl al-rasūl, ed. ʿAlī Akbar al-Ġiffārī, Tehran, Dār al-kutub al-islāmiyya, 1956, p. 513-5. Though an important author of Nuṣayrī works, Ibn Šuʿba’s Tuḥaf al-ʿuqūl is regarded as an Imāmī work composed prior to the author’s initiation into the Nuṣayrī sect; see Y. Friedman, The Nuṣayrī-ʿAlawī Religion, Leiden, Brill, 2010, p. 265.
22. FN2222 Halm, “Das ‘Buch der Schatten’. Die Mufaḍḍal-Tradition der Ġulāt und die Ursprünge des Nuṣairiertums, II. Die Stoffe,” Der Islam, 58 (1981), p. 15-86.
23. FN2323 Published in L. Capezzone, “Il Kitāb al-Ṣirāṭ attributto a Mufaḍḍal Ibn ʿUmar al-Ğuʿfī: Edizione del ms. unico (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale Ar. 1449/3) e studio introduttivo,” Rivista degli Studi Orientali, 69 (1995), p. 295-416.
24. FN2424 M.M. Bar-Asher and A. Kofsky, “The theology of Kitāb al-Usūs: An early pseudographic Nuṣayrī work,” Rivista degli Studi Orientali, 70 (1998), p. 55-81.
25. FN2525 For an overview of all these works, see Friedman, Nuṣayrī-ʿAlawī Religion, p. 243-6.
26. FN2626 Fihrist asmāʾ muṣannifī l-šīʿa, ed. M.Š. al-Zanğānī, Qom, Muʾassasat al-našr al-islāmī, 2003, p. 416. The example of Isḥāq b. Muḥammad al-Naḫaʿī—known as ‘al-Aḥmar’—provides a revealing case. A claimant to the status of bāb to the imam al-Ḥasan al-ʿAskarī, Šīʿī authors from the 3rd /9th onwards recognized him as true author of the Mufaḍḍal text known as Kitāb al-Ṣirāṭ. See al-Masʿūdī, Murūğ al-ḏahab wa-maʿādin al-ğawhar, ed. Charles Pellat, Beirut, Manšūrāt al-Ğāmiʿa l-lubnāniyya, 1966-1979, II, p. 258 and Ibn Ḥağar al-ʿAsqalānī, Lisān al-mīzān, Hyderabad, Dāʾirat al-maʿārif al-ʿuṯmāniyya, 1911, I, p. 372.
27. FN2727 Ḥusayn b. Ḥammād al-Ḫaṣībī, al-Hidāya l-kubrā, Diyār ʿAql, Dār li-ağl al-maʿrifa, 2007, p. 299-300.
28. FN2828 Ḥasan b. Sulaymān al-Ḥillī, Muḫtaṣar Baṣāʾir al-darağāt, ed. Muštāq al-Muẓaffar, Qum, Muʾassasat al-našr al-islāmī, 2000, p. 439; Mağlisī, Biḥār, LIII, p. 9. The dates assigned for the birth of the twelfth imam were more or less arbitrary and, thus, varied wildly; see H. Modarressi, Crisis and Consolidation in the Formative Period of Shiite Islam, Princeton, Darwin, 1993, p. 77-8 and n. 122 thereto.
29. FN2929 Published in “Silsilat al-turāṯ al-ʿalawī, 7”, Diyār ʿAql, Dār li-ağl al-maʿrifa, 2007, p. 297-335.
30. FN3030 Biḥār, LIII, p. 1.
31. FN3131 Ḫaṣībī, Hidāya, p. 325-6.
32. FN3232 Friedman, Nuṣayrī-ʿAlawī Religion, p. 17-34.
33. FN3333 Ibid., p. 250 f.
34. FN3434 Ḫaṣībī, Hidāya, p. 206-7; Ḥasan b. Sulaymān, Muḫtaṣar, p. 451-4; Mağlisī, Biḥār, LIII, p. 53 f.
35. FN3535 I.e., a descendent of al-Ḥasan b. ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib.
36. FN3636 Ḥasan b. Sulaymān, Muḫtaṣar, p. 451 reads: Āl Muḥammad.
37. FN3737 In the text: al-munādī min ḥawla l-ḍarīḥ. Ḍarīḥ is usually synonymous with qabar, or grave, and Mağlisī thus glosses the phrase as referring to grave of the Prophet Muḥammad in Medina (Biḥār, LIII, p. 38). However, in Muslim apocalyptic, the munādī is conventionally a heavenly figure, so the text may have a dual-meaning. See D. Cook, Muslim Apocalyptic, p. 142-3, 307 ff. Ḍarīḥ here, therefore, may actually refer to the celestial Kaʿba, al-bayt al-maʿmūr, from which the herald first proclaims the mahdī’s advent. See Mağd al-Dīn Ibn al-Aṯīr, al-Nihāya fī ġarīb al-ḥadīṯ wa-l-aṯar, ed. ʿAlī b. Ḥasan al-Ḥalabī, al-Dammām, Dār Ibn al-Ğawzī, 2000, p. 542.
38. FN3838 Favoring the reading of Ḥasan b. Sulaymān, Muḫtaṣar, p. 451 and Mağlisī, Biḥār, LIII, p. 15. Ḫaṣībī’s text, likely corrupted, reads: bi-l-ṭāqāt.
39. FN3939 I.e., the swift, ‘hot-blooded’ horse ridden by the Turks.
40. FN4040 A non-historical figure, Šuʿayb b. Ṣāliḥ al-Tamīmī appears in a variety of apocalyptic scenario throughout Islamic apocalyptic. His is almost invariably positive as he acts as an aid of the Mahdī. For the origins of this figure, see D. Cook, Muslim Apocalyptic, p. 148 ff. According to some authors, Šuʿayb b. Ṣāliḥ’s birthplace is al-Ṭālaqān; e.g., see Muṭahhar b. Ṭāhir al-Maqdisī, Kitāb al-Badʾ wa-l-taʾrīḫ, ed. Clément Huart, Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1899-1919, II, p. 176.
41. FN4141 Reading with Ḫaṣībī, Hidāya, p. 306: annahu lam yurad bi-ḏālika l-amr illā lahu. The intended meaning here is that the Ḥasanī, despite the prominent role assigned to him by providence, recognizes that he is a subordinate figure and that only the Mahdī has been given ultimate authority to achieve God’s final decrees. Ḥasan b. Sulayman, Muḫtaṣar, p. 452 reads annahu lam yurid bi-ḏālika l-amr illā Llāh, and Mağlisī, Biḥār, LIII, p. 15 reads, lam yurad bi-ḏālika l-amr illā li-yuʿarrifa aṣḥābahu man huwa.
42. FN4242 This passage draws attention to the Zaydīs’ (ultimately hypocritical) display of their pietistic asceticism; cf. R.P.A. Dozy, Dictionnaire détaillé des noms des vêtements chez les Arabes, Beirut, Librairie du Liban, 1969, p. 405-7.
43. FN4343 Ḥasan b. Sulaymān, Muḫtaṣar, p. 452-5 reads: ğāʾil.
44. FN4444 Cf. ʿAlī’s sermon in Ibn Aʿṯam, Futūḥ, II, p. 79 where the treasures of al-Ṭālaqān are specifically identified as anṣār al-mahdī.
45. FN4545 On this well-known belief regarding ʿAlī’s muṣḥaf, see now E. Kohlberg and M.A. Amir-Moezzi, Revelation and Falsification: The Kitāb al-qirāʾāt of Aḥmad b. Muḥammad al-Sayyārī, Brill, Leiden, 2009, p. 24 ff.
46. FN4646 As in Ḫaṣībī, Hidāya, p. 307; Ḥasan b. Sulaymān, Muḫtaṣar, p. 453 reads al-ḥağar al-ṣulb, and Mağlisī, Biḥār, LIII, p. 15. ult. reads, al-ḥağar al-ṣald.
47. FN4747 A miracle reminiscent of Aaron’s rod; on which see John Reeves, Trajectories in Near Eastern Apocalyptic: A Postrabbinic Jewish Apocalyptic Reader, Atlanta, Society of Biblical Literature, 2005, p. 187 ff. For the association of such miracles with the Šīʿī imāms, see Judith Loebenstein, “Miracles in Šīʿī Thought: A Case Study of the Miracles Attributed to Imām Ğaʿfar al-Ṣādiq,” Arabica, 50/2 (2003), p. 233 ff.
48. FN4848 A detailed treatment of the armies that comprise the ‘treasure of al-Ṭālaqān’ appears in Mağlisī, Biḥār, LII, p. 308 in a tradition attributed to a follower of Ğaʿfar al-Ṣādiq named Fuḍayl b. Yasār al-Nahdī (d. before 140; see Modarressi, Tradition, I, p. 225-6). Mağlisī’s text exhibits numerous overlaps with the depiction of the treasures of al-Ṭālaqān found in the Mufaḍḍal Apocalypse and appears to have been excerpted from a longer tradition; however, what survives from the tradition merely details in florid language the military prowess of the army.
49. FN4949 Ibn al-Munādī, Malāḥim, p. 200; cf. D. Cook, Muslim Apocalyptic, p. 376.
50. FN5050 See Abū l-Faḍl Yūsuf b. Yaḥyā l-Sulamī, ʿIqd al-durar fī aḫbār al-muntaẓar, ed. ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Muḥammad al-Ḥulw, Cairo, ʿĀlam al-fikr, 1979, p. 137-8; however, this tradition by contrast depicts the Ḥasanī as first asserting his right to leadership over the Mahdī rather than immediately deferring authority as one finds in the Mufaḍḍal Apoclaypse.
51. FN5151 See M.A. Amir-Moezzi, La religion discrète: croyances et pratiques spirituelles dans l’islam shi’ite, Paris, Vrin, 2006, p. 300.
52. FN5252 Cf. the ‘deathless chieftans’ (rad ī ahōš) who shall aid the Saošyant discussed in Mary Boyce, “On the Antiquity of Zoroastrian Apocalyptic,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 47 (1984), p. 59 ff.
53. FN5353 On Yaḥyā b. ʿAbd Allāh in general, see C. van Arendonk, Les débuts de l’imāmat Zaidite au Yémen, trans. Jacques Ryckmans, Leiden, Brill, 1960, p. 65-70 and W. Madelung, “Yaḥyā b. ʿAbd Allāh”, EI2.
54. FN5454 Although Muslim sources claim that the affair did not end well with Ğustān, the connection between his dynasty and Zaydī rebels remained strong in the following century; see M. Pezeshk, “Jostānids”, EIr.
55. FN5555 Ḥumayd b. Aḥmad al-Muḥallī, Kitāb al-Ḥadāʾiq al-wardiyya fī manāqib aʾimmat al-zaydiyya, p. 178-9, in W. Madelung, (ed.), Arabic Texts concerning the History of the Zaydī Imāms of Ṭabaristān, Daylām and Gīlān, Beirut, Franz Steiner, 1987; Aḥmad b. Sahl al-Rāzī, Aḫbār Faḫḫ wa-ḫabar Yaḥyā b. ʿAbd Allāh wa-aḫīhi Idrīs b. ʿAbd Allāh, ed. Māhir Ğarrār, Beirut, Dār al-Ġarb al-islāmī, 1995, p. 199-200.
56. FN5656 Rāzī, Aḫbār Faḫḫ, p. 236.
57. FN5757 Marwān b. Abī Ḥafṣa, Dīwān, ed. Ašraf Aḥmad ʿAdra, Beirut, Dār al-kitāb al-ʿarabī, 1993, p. 109; Abū l-Farağ al-Iṣfahānī, Maqātil al-ṭālibiyyīn, ed. Aḥmad Ṣaqr, Beirut, Muʾassasat al-Aʿlamī, 1998, p. 394.
58. FN5858 Abū l-Farağ, Maqātil, p. 394 reads mukaḏḏib.
59. FN5959 H.W. Bailey, “To the Žāmāsp-Nāmak II,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies, 6 (1931), p. 584 f. On the overall narrative of Zoroastrian apocalypticism, see Phillip Kreyenbroeck, “Millennialism and Eschatology in the Zoroastrian Tradition,” in Abbas Amanat (ed.), Imagining the End: Visions of Apocalypse from the Ancient Middle East to Modern America, London, I.B. Tauris, 2002, p. 33-55.
60. FN6060 Karol Czelédy, “Bahrām Čōbīn and the Persian Apocalyptic Literature,” Acta Orientalia Hungarica, 8 (1958), p. 37 f. Only Hans Kippenberg has strongly rejected Czeglédy’s thesis in his “Die Geschichte der mittelpersischen apokalyptischen Traditionen,” Studia Iranica, 7 (1978), p. 67-70. While many of Kippenberg’s objections to Czelédy’s thesis are provocative, the basic insights of Czelédy’s have been more recently redeemed, and considerably improved and nuanced, in the study of Carlo Cereti, “Central Asian and Eastern Iranian Peoples in Zoroastrian Apocalyptic Literature,” in Csanád Bálint (ed.), Kontakte zwischen Iran, Byzanz und der Steppe in 6.-7. Jh., Budapest, Instituti Archaeologici Academiae Scientarum Hungaricae, 2000, p. 198-200. In another study, I have revisited this data and dated the treasure motif of the Ayādgār ī Žāmāspīg, as well as other key aspects of its apocalyptic section known as the Žāmāsp-nāma, to the period immediately following the murder of Abū Muslim al-Ḫurāsānī in 137/755. See S.W. Anthony, “Chiliastic Ideology and Nativist Rebellion in the Early ʿAbbāsid Period: Sunbādh and the Jāmāsp-nāma,” Journal of the American Oriental Society (forthcoming).
61. FN6161 See A. Tafażżolī, “Dež-i Rūyīn”, EIr.
62. FN6262 Parvaneh Pourshariati, Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire: The Sasanian-Parthian Confederacy and the Arab Conquest of Iran, London, I.B. Tauris, 2008, p. 408 ff.
63. FN6363 Niẓām al-Mulk, Siyar al-mulūk (Siyāsat-nāmah), ed. Hubert Darke, Tehran, Bank-i Millī, 1962, p. 261.
64. FN6464 Masʿūdī, Murūğ, IV, p. 145 qabaḍa ʿalā mā kāna bi-l-Rayy min ḫazāʾin Abī Muslim; Abū Ğaʿfar al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīḫ al-rusul wa-l-mulūk, ed. M.J. de Goeje, et al., Leiden, Brill, 1879-1909, III, p. 119 f. The account of al-Balāḏurī implies that Sunbāḏ brought his own wealth from Ḥulwān in the East to fund his revolt; see Ansāb al-ašrāf, ed. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz al-Dūrī, Wiesbaden, Franz Steiner, 1978, III, p. 246. Cf. Pourshariati, p. 444 ff. Cf. Anthony, “Sunbādh and the Jāmāsp-nāma.” The theme of apocalyptic ‘treasure’ also appears in eighth-century C.E. apocalypses written by Christians and Jews and is usually associated with al-Manṣūr, such as in The Gospel of the Twelve Apostles (where the treasures are placed beneath the Tigris) and the Secrets of Rabbi Šimʿōn b. Yoḥai (where the treasures are placed beneath the Euphrates). See Hans J.W. Drijvers, “The Gospel of the Twelve Apostles: A Syriac Apocalypse from the Early Islamic Period,” in Averil Cameron and Lawrence I. Conrad (eds), The Byzantine and Early Islamic Near East, I: Problems in the Literary Source Material, Princeton, Darwin Press, 1992, p. 208 and John C. Reeves, Trajectories in Near Eastern Apocalyptic: A Postrabbinic Jewish Apocalypse Reader, Atlanta, SBL, 2005, p. 88.
65. FN6565 Ṭabarī, Taʾrīḫ, III, p. 120. According to Niẓām al-Mulk (Siyar, p. 261), Ğahwar slaughtered the entire Zoroastrian population of Rayy, plundering their property and taking the women and children into captivity.
66. FN6666 Cf. also Mağlisī, Biḥār, LII, p. 308.
67. FN6767 Aḫbār Faḫḫ, p. 236.
68. FN6868 E.g., see Ibid., p. 197-8 (attrib. to al-Madāʾinī); Abū l-ʿAbbās al-Ḥasanī, K. al-Maṣābīḥ, p. 55-6 in Madelung, Arabic Texts. See also the list of ʿulamāʾ gathered in van Arendonk, p. 317-9. Many of these associations are posited by Zaydī historians and, thus, might have resulted from attempts to exaggerate the influence and importance of the Zaydī imams retroactively. What details that have survived, for example, on Šāfiʿī’s sympathies and involvement with ʿAlīds of Faḫḫ are either scarce or tendentious; a factor leading Joseph Schacht to reject their existence altogether in his study “On Shāfiʿī’s Life and Personality,” in Studia Orientalia Ioanni Pedersen, Haunia, E. Munksgaard, 1953, p. 320. It is plausible that Šāfiʿī may have come into contact with Yaḥyā during his sojourn in Yemen, but this period in Šāfiʿī’s life remains shadowy due to the legendary character of much of the surviving materials. See W. al-Qāḍī, “Riḥlat al-Šāfiʿī ilā l-Yaman bayna l-usṭūra wa-l-wāqiʿ,” in M.M. Ibrahim (ed.), Arabian Studies in Honour of Mahmoud Ghul, Wiesbaden, Harrossowitz, 1989, p. 127-41. Muḥammad al-Šaybānī’s sympathies with Yaḥyā relate to the the amān granted to him by al-Rašīd once the caliph had decided to have him assassinated. Šaybānī, then the qāḍī of al-Raqqa, defied al-Rašīd’s request to annul the amān previously granted by the caliph to Yaḥyā. See Ṭabarī, Taʾrīḫ, III, p. 619; cf. Abū l-Farağ, Maqātil, p. 401; Ibn al-Bazzāz al-Kardarī, Manāqib al-imām al-aʿẓam, Hyderabad, Dāʾirat al-maʿārif al-niẓāmiyya, 1902, II, 163-4 and Abū Ṭālib Yaḥyā b. Ḥusayn al-Hārūnī, al-Ifāda fī taʾrīḫ al-aʾimma l-sāda, ed. M.K. Raḥmatī, Tehran, 2008, p. 30. However, this might be a hagiographic expansion of a wide-spread story of how al-Rašīd procured the annulment of the amān from Abū l-Baḫtarī Wahb b. Wahb, which in some versions merely mention Šaybānī’s attendance (e.g., see Wakīʿ, Aḫbār al-quḍāt, ed. ʿA.-ʿA.M. al-Marāġī, Cairo, al-Istiqāma, 1947, I, p. 249) but in others neglect to mention his attendance at all; cf. al-Ḫaṭīb al-Baġdādī, Taʾrīḫ Madīnat al-Salām, ed. B.ʿA. Maʿrūf, Beirut, Dār al-Ġarb al-islāmī, 2001, XVI, p. 166 ff.
69. FN6969 Generally, this explanation has been rejected by modern scholarship as tendentious; see Dominique Sourdel, Le vizirat ʿabbāside de 749 à 936 (132 à 324 de l’Hégire), Damascus, Institut Français de Damas, 1959, p. 164-7.
70. FN7070 Josef van Ess, Theologie und Gesellschaft im 2. und 3. Jahrhundert Hidschra: Eine Geschichte des religiösen Denkens im frühen Islam, Berlin, W. de Gruyter, 1991-1997, I, p. 248.
71. FN7171 See further Najam Haider, The Birth of Sectarian Identity in 2nd/8th-century Kufa: Zaydism and the Politics of Perpetual Revolution, Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 2007, p. 401-3.
72. FN7272 Abū l-Farağ, Maqātil, p. 392 : li-ʿilmī annahu yamsaḥu ʿalā l-ḫuffayn.
73. FN7373 Ibid.
74. FN7474 According to Aḥmad b. Sahl al-Rāzī, Yaḥyā organized his movement with an apparatus of seventy learned duʿāt charged with calling for “judging by the Scripture, fending off injustice, hindering oppressors, and manifesting commanding right and forbidding wrong (ḥukm al-kitāb wa-daf ʿ al-ğawr wa-manʿ al-ẓālimīn wa-iẓhār al-amr bi-l-maʿrūf al-nahy ʿan al-munkar); see Aḫbār Faḫḫ, p. 197. Cf. Michael Cook, Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought, Cambridge, Cambridge UP, 2000, p. 231 ff.
75. FN7575 L. Clarke, “The Rise and Decline of Taqiyya in Twelver Shīʿism,” in Todd Lawson (ed.), Reason and Inspiration in Islam, London, I.B. Tauris, 2005, p. 54.
76. FN7676 Abū l-Farağ, Maqātil, p. 388-9. In the multiple versions of the report, Yaḥyā does not name the umm walad of Ğaʿfar to whom he refers, but perhaps he is referring to Mūsā l-Kāẓim’s mother Ḥamīda (or Ḥumayda), who was a slave of Berber origin.
77. FN7777 D. Cook, Muslim Apocalyptic, p. 214-21.
78. FN7878 An imprint that is perceptible, perhaps, in a tradition wherein the Ḥasanī is described as “the ruler (ṣāḥib) of Ṭabaristān”; see Ḥasan b. Muḥammad al-Qummī, Tārīḫ-i Qumm, ed. Ğalāl al-Dīn Ṭihrānī, Qom, Mağlis, 1934, p. 99-100; Mağlisī, Biḥār, LII, p. 148.
79. FN7979 See Abū l-Farağ, Maqātil, p. 464-73. A number of his followers even claimed that he had not in fact died but shall one day return as the Mahdī; see Abū l-Ḥasan al-Ašʿarī, Maqālāt al-islāmiyyīn wa-ḫtilāf al-muṣallīn, ed. H. Ritter, Beirut, Klaus Schwarz, 20054, p. 82. Massignon notes the importance of this messianist tradition to al-Ḥallāğ and his followers as well, citing the revolt in the Ṭālaqān of Ḫurāsān in the martyred mystic’s name following his death in 309/922 (The Passion of al-Hallaj: Mystic and Martyr of Islam, trans. H. Mason, Princeton, Princeton U.P., 1982, p. 94 f.); however, al-Bīrūnī connects al-Ḥallāğ’s fondness for the ‘treasures of al-Ṭālaqān’ tradition rather with the Ṭālaqān of the Daylam (viz. Ṭabaristān). See Abū l-Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī, K. al-Āṯār al-bāqiya ʿan al-qurūn al-ḫāliya, ed. E. Sachau, Leipzig, F.A. Brockhaus, 1878, p. 211, 212. It strikes me as plausible that the ‘treasures of al-Ṭālaqān’ motif became associated with Ḫurāsān as a result of the revolt of the Ustāḏsīs in Bāḏġīs, where the Zoroastrian laborers they led in revolt had been employed mining massive quantities of silver from a local mountain. See Robert G. Hoyland, trans., Theophilus of Edessa’s Chronicle and the Circulation of Historical Knowledge in Late Antiquity and Early Islam, Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 2011, p. 308-9. Ustāḏsīs reputedly followed the way of Bihāfarīd, an Iranian holyman whom Abū Muslim al-Ḫurāsānī killed in c. 131/748 at the prompting of Zoroastrian priests and whose followers were reputed to await his messianic return. See Elton L. Daniel, “Bihāfarīd”, EI3.
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/content/journals/10.1163/157005812x618907
2012-01-01
2015-09-05

Affiliations: 1: University of Oregon

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