Persecutions against Ismaʿili Missionaries in Central Asia: The Case of Nāser Khosrow

In: Journal of Persianate Studies
Author: Hatim Mahamid1
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Local governors in Central Asia persecuted Ismaʿili missionaries (dāʿis) since the early years of Ismaʿili activity there. The rise of the Fatimid State, from the tenth century onwards, encouraged the activity of those missionaries who were receiving support from the Fatimids, leading to increased persecutions of Ismaʿilis in Iraq and the eastern provinces of the Abbasid Caliphate.

This study will deal with the activity of those missionaries and the difficulties and persecutions that they faced, with a focus on the case of the dāʿi Nāser Khosrow (1004–1088/394–481) in Central Asia. At the time, Nāser was considered as a model dāʿi representing the activity of Ismaʿili missionaries. Throughout his life, he suffered bitterly in his role as the main dāʿi of the Fatimids. Despite the hostile atmosphere and insecurity, Nāser Khosrow succeeded in becoming a highly significant philosopher and poet, but died in a sorrowful situation, isolated in the valley of Yomgān.

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