Rashid al-Din Sinan, the greatest of the medieval Nizari Ismaili da’is in Syria, was born into a Twelver Shi’i family in Basra, Iraq, around 1133. He worked as a schoolmaster, eventually converting to Nizari Ismailism in his youth. Sinan subsequently went to Alamut, the central headquarters of the Ismaili da’wa, to further study Ismaili doctrines, where he met Imam Hasan Ala Dhikrihi’l-salam.
Shortly after his succession to the Imamat in 1162, Imam Hasan Ala Dhikrihi’l-salam sent Sinan to Syria to succeed the chief da’i Abu Muhammad. According to some sources, Imam selected Sinan due to his “energy and strength of character.”1
At the time, the Syrian Ismailis were facing a variety of issues. The areas in which the community was residing was not fertile, thereby causing many to migrate to Hama, Hims, and Aleppo in order to earn a living. Furthermore, the invasions by the Templars (a Catholic military) on Ismaili…
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