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Hassan-i-Sabah

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PREFACE: Source: Personal correspondence with University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

The main mistakes [in the following article] are as follows:

All notes can be found in the Oxford University series of Ismaili studies, including:

• The Ismailis, their history and doctrine, Farhad Daftary (this book is the sole, most complete official reference in Oxford University and all American universities.

• The Assassin legends, Myth of the Ismailis, Farhad Daftari (this book is just about the myth of Hashish and the secret garden).

• The Eagle Nest, Late Dr. Peter Willey ( about the out-lines of Ismaili history)

(These books are the main source of Ismaili studies and they must be taught in all universities and other educational colleges. As an excellent university, University of Queensland is expected to be more professional in its publications which deal with historical issues).

1-The article says that Hassan was born in Rayy. He was born in the city of Qom, in 1056, and caused by financial concerns; he was taken to Rayy along with the rest of his families to secure a fortune.

2-Hassan movement (The Shia’ Rebellion in Iran) was not against overlords, but against the role of Turkish Seljuk, which had Iran under its tight grip.

3-Despite what locals and non-professionals in the field of Ismaili studies presume, the root of word Assassins in not actually from Hashish, but from Assass, which means the base or the root, and so assassins means assassion, or those who believe in the foundation of one thing. Another interpretation of the phrase is that it has been derived from the word Hassanion which means those who follow Hassan. The myth of Hashish had been devised by Suni scholars in order to humiliate the Ismaili movement in public eyes.

4-Despite what has been stated in the article that daggers where used more that the brains of the sect members, a brief glance upon the historical background of philosophy and empirical sciences in the Islamic world does demonstrate the astonishing allegiance of this specific Islamic sect to the means of rationalism and even many aspects of Greek philosophy. Ibn Sina, Raazi, Tousi, Naser Khosro Ghobadiani are among the long list of Ismaili intellectuals.

5-The most absurd lines are about the secret garden of alamut. This story, apart from the imaginative report of Marco Polo has not been recorder anywhere else (even no in the report of Alfred, the grand-master of Knights Hospitaliers). No serious cotemporary study upon this story have confirmed this tale of seductive garden in the heart of a 3000 meters based castle which flower cannot grow, due to the harsh climate.

Please delete or correct the article. It is very suitable for Hollywood films, but not for an acadmic website.


Make it PDF to word format if you need to for altering.

Assassins

Hasan ibn-al-Sabbah (JPG) While the methods and weapons used by such groups may be new, their spiritual heritage…stretches back at least to the days of the murderous Persian (Persia is now known as Iran) Hasan ibn-al-Sabbah1 [~1034-1124].i [Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah or Hasan ben-Shaybah or Hassan Ben Sabbat or] Al-Hasan b. Al-Sabbah, commonly known as Hasan-i-Sabbah, First Grand Master of the Order of Assassins,…came from obscure origins. He was born of lower middle class parents at Rayy, an old city a few kilometers to the south of modern Teheran.2 Hassan Ben Sabbah was…a dedicated member of the Ishmaili sect, which venerated the Imams, religious leaders descended from Ali,ii the Prophet Mohammad’s son-in-law. The Ishmailis had broken away from the larger Muslim Shia sect owing to differences over the accession of an Imam.3

Alamut fortress (JPG)
Fortress of Alamut under seige (JPG)
Houris (JPG)
From a high mountain fortress, ibn-al-Sabbah directed a ruthless campaign against the overlords of other sects in Persia, Iraq, and Syria.4 Northwest [sic] of Qazwin,5 atop the Elburz Mountains, on a lonely ridge 6,000 feet above the sea,…stood the castle of Alamut 6 (eagle’s nest).7 Commanding a royal view of the valley below, accessible only by a single, almost vertical pathway, the remote fortress was an ideal hideout and headquarters.8 [In 1090,] Hasan siezed [sic] the fortress of Alamut,9iii [and] the castle henceforth received the name of the Abode of Fortune.10 The position of Alamut…caused its prince to receive the title of Sheikh al Jebal (i.e. Sheikh, or Prince of the Mountains); and the double sense of the word Sheikh, which means both prince and old man, has occasioned the historians of the Crusades, and the celebrated Marco Polo, to call him the “Old Man of the Mountain.” 11

His feared organization’s sinister name came from its member’s ritual use of the drug hashish, and the popular Arabic name for hashish smokers, hashshashin,hashshashin,12 hashsäshïn, hashishin,13 hashishiyyin,14 ashishin,15 hashishyum,16 hashisyun, hashishim, hashishiyya, heyssessini, haisasins, hashisham, hashshishoun, haschishin, hashishinn, haschischin, hashschin, hashisheen, hasheesheen, hashashin, hashshishin, (aschishin, assassis, accini, axasin, assacis or assassini)] is the root of our word, assassin. (The crusaders,iv soldier-Christians who battled the Muslims for control of the Holy Land, used the word assassin to mean political murder.)17

For the immediate attainment of their objects, the order was less in need of heads than arms; and did not employ pens, but daggers, whose points were everywhere, while their hilts were in the hand of the grand-master.18 With poisonv and dagger as their means of dealing death to carefully selected victims, the Assassins19 — the fedavi, [fedawis,20 fidais,21 fida’is, fedais, fedayeens, fedaree] or “devoted ones” 22vi — struck terror wherever they appeared.23 From A.D. 1090 to about 1256 the Assassins…unsettle[d] everyone who opposed them.24 Emirs, governors of cities, commanders of fortresses, and even religious dignitaries all took to wearing a coat of chain mail at all times.25

Hasan ibn-al-Sabbah (JPG) Hassan Ben Sabbah conditioned and organized a band of fearless political killers such as had never been seen before.26 His method of indoctrination was unique.vii He constructed a secret garden and furnished it with all the delights promised in the Koran…to the faithful when they reached paradise. The chosen were drugged, one or two at a time, and taken to this garden by night. When they woke up in the morningviii they were surrounded by beautiful and scantily clad houris [in Muslim belief, women who live with the blessed in paradise27] who would minister to their every need and desire. After being allowed to savor this false — but pleasant and sensual — paradise for a day or so, they were again drugged before being taken back to awaken in their own squalid hovel or cave dwelling. To them, it was as if it had been a vivid dream. Ben Sabbah then sent for them, told them Allah had given them a preview of paradise, and surprised them by telling them exactly what each had been up to while in the secret garden. So successful was he in this method of conditioning and indoctrination that it was said he once astounded a visiting emir whom he wanted to impress with his power by sending for one of his men and ordering him to kill himself — which he immediately did.28

When an Assassin was sent out by ibn-al-Sabbah to carry out some violent death, the Assassin was just as dedicated. So convinced were the Assassins that they would be rewarded in paradise that they never hesitated to fulfill their missions of murder, even though this often meant their victims’ bodyguards would kill them immediately afterward.29

Hasan and the grand masters who ruled the order after him wielded great political power until the coming of the Mongols.30 The Mongols [led by Hulagu Khan] destroyed the Nizari base in Alamut in 1256,ix but the Nizari sect has survived to this day.31 Scattered in many countries of Asia, Africa and the West, the Ismailis currently acknowledge the Aga Khan as their 49th imam.32


i From Sabah came the expression, “Nothing is true, everything is permitted” [L. Spence, Encyclopedia of Occultism (New York: University Books, 1968)].
— W. Adam Mandelbaum, The Psychic Battlefield: A History of the Military-Occult Complex (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000), p. 66.


ii Shiatu Ali (the Party of Ali)*
— Pico Iyer, “A mysterious sect gave its name to political murder,” Smithsonian, Oct 1986, 17, p. 148.


* Shi’ites split off from orthodox Islam and claimed to follow a purer line of imams directly descended from the Fatimids. In the 11th century they united under Hassan ibn al-Sabbah, i.e. Hasan ben-Shaybah, another “son of the Matriarch” [Barbara G. Walker, The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (Harper Collins, 1986)].
— Chris Bennett, Lynn Osburn & Judy Osburn, Green Gold The Tree of Life: Marijuana in Magic & Religion (Frazier Park, CA: Access Unlimited, 1995), p. 453.


Hassan Sabah, or Hassan-ben-Sabah, that is, one of the descendants of Sabah, was the son of Ali, a strict Shiite of Rei, who took his name from [Hassan-ben-]Sabah Homairi.
— Joseph Von Hammer-Purgstall, The History of Assassins, Oswald Charles Wood, trans. (New York: Burt Franklin, 1835, 1968), p. 41.


iii The castle itself had first been constructed in the years 860-861 and was already a formidable fortress, and Hasan set about making it impregnable.
— Peter Willey, The Castles of the Assassins (London: George G. Harrap & Co. LTD, 1963), p. 21.


iv The Christian Order of the Knights of Templars, who came into contact with some of Ben Sabbah’s commanders during the Crusades,…were reputed to have adopted Ben Sabbah’s system of military organization.
— Edgar O’Ballance, Language of Violence: The Blood Politics of Terrorism (San Rafael, CA: Presidio Press, 1979), p. 4.


v It is from the Greek word for “science of poisons” that we get our word “pharmacology.”
— L.M. Boyd, “Mike mailway,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 14 Oct 1998, 135(246), p. E6.


vi So fierce and consuming was the legend of their loyalty that it became proverbial: a medieval suitor would swear to his beloved that he was “faithful as an Assassin.”
— Iyer, “Mysterious sect,” p. 156.


vii Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed and my own specific world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select — a doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even into a beggar-man and thief,* regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and race of his ancestors.
John Broadus Watson, “What the nursery has to say about instincts,” in Carl Murchison, ed., Psychologies of 1925 (Worcester, MA: Clark University Press, 1926), p. 10; Cited in E. Mavis Hetherington and Ross D. Parke, Child Psychology: A Contemporary Viewpoint, 4th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1993), p. 80; See also Dennis Coon, Introduction to Psychology: Exploration and Application, 5th ed. (St. Paul: West Publ. Co., 1989), p. 9; Spencer A. Rathus, Psychology, 3rd ed. (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1987), p. 430; and Robert I. Watson, Sr., and Rand B. Evans, The Great Psychologists: A History of Psychological Thought, 5th ed. (New York: HarperCollins Publ., Inc., 1991), p. 479.


* Studies show the teen criminals of tomorrow are “literally being manufactured, programmed, hardwired to behave in a certain way.”
— Lori Montgomery, “Young lawbreakers likely to become older criminals,” Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, 10 April 1996; See also Killology Research Group, “Teaching Kids To Kill,” at http://www.killology.com/article_teachkid.htm.


viii Wake Up in a Perfect World This Fall!
— 1989 advertising slogan for Walt Disney World Resort, in Judith A. Adams, The American Amusement Park Industry: A History of Technology and Thrills (Boston: Twayne Publ., 1991), p. 137.


ix Alamut fell to the Mongols in 1260. (PERRY NOTE: all other sources claim 1256)
— Steve Cook, Excerpt from Alamut, Alamut.com, at http://www.alamut.com/subj/ideologies/alamut/litTheory.html.


Endnotes

1 John Lagone, Violence! Our Fastest-Growing Public Health Problem (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1984), p. 75.

2 Peter Willey, The Castles of the Assassins (London: George G. Harrap & Co. LTD, 1963), p. 18.

3 Edgar O’Ballance, Language of Violence: The Blood Politics of Terrorism (San Rafael, CA: Presidio Press, 1979), p. 2.

4 Lagone, Violence!, p. 76.

5 E.R. Bloomquist, M.D., Marijuana (Beverly Hills: Glencoe Press, 1968), p. 26.

6 Pico Iyer, “A mysterious sect gave its name to political murder,” Smithsonian, Oct 1986, 17, p. 154.

7 Bloomquist, Marijuana, p. 26.

8 Iyer, “Mysterious sect,” p. 154.

9 Barbara G. Walker, The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (Harper Collins, 1986), in Chris Bennett, Lynn Osburn & Judy Osburn, Green Gold The Tree of Life: Marijuana in Magic & Religion (Frazier Park, CA: Access Unlimited, 1995), p. 453.

10 Joseph Von Hammer-Purgstall, The History of Assassins, Oswald Charles Wood, trans. (New York: Burt Franklin, 1835, 1968), p. 61.

11 Ibidem, p. 231.

12 Bernard Lewis, The Assassins: A Radical Sect in Islam (New York: Octagon Books, 1980), p. 11.

13 Robert Connell Clarke, Hashish! (Los Angeles: Red Eye Press, 1998), p. 30.

14 Iyer, “Mysterious sect,” p. 147.

15 Marco Polo, cited in The Book of Marco Polo, Henry Yule, trans. (London, 1875), in Philip K. Hitti, "The Assassins," in The Book of Grass: An Anthology on Indian Hemp, George Andrews & Simon Vinkenoog, eds., at http://nepenthes.lycaeum.org/Ludlow/Texts/assassin.html & http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/assassin.htm.

16 Robin of Sherwood TV series, quoted at http://www.geocities.com/kimmielvr/OtherObsessions/assassins.html.

17 Lagone, Violence!, pp. 75-76.

18 Von Hammer-Purgstall, History of Assassins, p. 61.

19 Lagone, Violence!, p. 76.

20 Freya Stark, The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels (Oxford: ISIS Large Print, 1936), p. 214.

21 Iyer, “Mysterious sect,” p. 156.

22 Lewis Spence, An Encyclopaedia of Occultism: A Compendium of Information on the Occult Sciences, Occult Personalities, Psychic Science, Magic, Demonology, Spiritism, Mysticism and Metaphysics (New Hyde Park, NY: University Press, 1960), p. 38.

23 Lagone, Violence!, p. 76.

24 Iyer, “Mysterious sect,” p. 146.

25 O’Ballance, Language of Violence, p. 3.

26 Ibidem, p. 4.

27 Lagone, Violence!, p. 76.

28 O’Ballance, Language of Violence, p. 4.

29 Lagone, Violence!, p. 77.

30Assassin, Islam,” AllRefer.com Encyclopedia.

31Iran, Iraq, and Anatolia: 1082-1220,” The Encyclopedia of World History, 6th Ed., 2001.

32 Farhad Daftary (The Institute of Ismaili Studies, United Kingdom), “The Ismailis and the Crusaders: Historiography and Myth,” at http://www.ceu.hu/medstud/events/ev004/daftary.htm.


           





Alamut castle (JPG)
Map of Alamut (JPG)
Alamut (JPG)
Jean-Claude Frère, L'Ordre des assassins
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[The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1978.] With the support of the Saudi and U.S. governments, [Osama] bin Laden took up the struggle of the mujahideen rebels who were working to repel the Soviets.… President Ronald Reagan authorized the covert release of funds, high-end armaments and CIA “specialists” to assist the mujahideen in driving the Soviets out of Afghanistan, an effort that ultimately succeeded in 1989.
— “Osama bin Laden,” rotten dot com, at http://www.rotten.com/library/bio/crime/terrorists/osama-bin-laden/.



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