Hamid al-Din Kirmani by Farhad Daftary — Ismaili web amaana

Muslim Scholars in deep discussion, Persian Miniature Painting - Amaana.org

Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani (d. 1020)


ḤAMID-AL-DIN KERMĀNI, ABU’L-ḤASAN AḤMAD b. ʿAbd-Allāh b. Moḥammad (d. after 411/1020-21), a prominent Ismaʿili dāʿi (q.v.) and one of the most accomplished Ismaʿili theologians and philosophers of the Fatimid period of Persian origin and was probably born in the province of Kirman. As in the case of other prominent dāʿis, who observed strict secrecy in their activities while living in hostile milieus, few biographical details are available about him, although it is known that he flourished during the reign of the Fatimid Caliph-Imam al-Ḥākem be-Amr-Allāh (q.v.; 386-411/996-1021). Kermāni is not mentioned in any contemporary Muslim historical sources, but highlights of his life and career can be gathered from his own numerous extant works as well as the writings of the later Mostaʿli-Ṭayyebi Ismaʿili authors of Yemen.


Ḥamid-al-Din Kermāni’s date of birth remains unknown, but he was of Persian origin and his nesba suggests that he was born in the province of Kerman. Later in his life he maintained his contacts with the Ismaʿili community of that province and corresponded with subordinate dāʿis there (see Kermāni’s al-Resāla al-ḥāwia and al-Resāla al-kāfia, in the Majmuʿat rasāʾel al-Kermāni, pp. 102-12, 148-82; and Ivanow, 1942, pp. 142-45). He seems to have spent the greater part of his life as a Fatimid dāʿi in Iraq, having been particularly active in Baghdad and Basra: the title of his lost al-Majāles al-Baṣriya waʾl-Baḡdādiya (cited in his Ketāb al-riāż, p. 108) indicates that he delivered lectures (majāles) in these two cities.


In Iraq, Kermāni successfully concentrated his efforts on local rulers and influential tribal chiefs, with whose support the Ismaʿilis aimed to bring about the downfall of the ʿAbbasids. As a result, in 401/1010-11 Qerwāš b. al-Moqallad, the ʿOqaylid ruler of Kufa, Mawṣel and several other towns, acknowledged the suzerainty of the Fatimid al-Ḥākem. In the same year, ʿAli al-Asadi, chief of the Banu Asad, declared his loyalty to the Fatimids in Ḥella and other districts under his control. Alarmed by the successes of the Fatimid daʿwa in Iraq, the ʿAbbasid Caliph al-Qāder took retaliatory measures. In 402/1011, he sponsored the so-called Baghdad manifesto to discredit the Fatimids, also refuting their ʿAlid ancestry (see Ebn Jawzi, VII, pp. 255-56; Ebn Taḡriberdi, IV, pp. 229-31; Ebn Ḵaldun, I, pp. 45-46). The honorific title Ḥojjat al-ʿErāqayn, meaning the ḥojja or chiefdāʿi of both Iraqs (al-ʿErāq al-ʿArabi and al-ʿErāq al-ʿAjami), which is often added to Kermāni’s name and may be of a late origin, implies that he was also active in central and western parts of Persia.

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