In Islam, messianic beliefs are typically associated with the doctrines of the Shīʿa. The idea of the Manifestation of the Hidden Imam at the appointed time has always been part of their beliefs, then and now. Besides mainstream Shīʿa movements such as Twelver Shīʿism, Zaydism, or Ismailism, there have also been marginal and extremist groups around charismatic leaders claiming a messianic role. One of these is Sayyid Muḥammad b. Falāḥ (d. 861/1456-7), founder of the Mushaʿshaʿ movement among the Shīʿī Arab tribes of Khūzistān, western Iran. Fighting or arranging themselves temporarily with their neighbors, notably the Safavids and the Ottomans, the Mushaʿshaʿ dynasty continued to exist in different forms and shapes well into the nineteenth century. The present work is a nineteenth-century Persian translation of a history of the Mushaʿshaʿ dynasty in Arabic by the governor of Ḥuwayza and descendant of Ibn Falāḥ, ʿAlī Khān Mushaʿshaʿī (alive in 1128/1716). Based on written and oral sources.
Tārīkh-i siyāsī u ijtimāʿi-yi Mushaʿshaʿiyān
ʿAlī Khān Mushaʿshaʿī
Edited by ʿĀrif Naṣir and Nūr al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Niʿmat Allāh Jazāyīrī
Dāstān-i manẓūm-i Musalmān shudan-i Rustam bih dast-i Imām ʿAlī (‘alayhi al-salām) bih inḍimām-i Muʿjiz-nāma-yi Mawlā-yi muttaqiyān
Edited by Sajjād Āydinlū
In his Meccan days Muḥammad’s message was rejected by many as a threat to the values and interests of the community. Among his opponents, there was a merchant called Naḍr b. Ḥārith. From his visits to the city of Ḥīra in Mesopotamia, a cultural melting-pot of Iranian, Christian, and pagan Arab beliefs and traditions, he had brought back stories from Iranian folklore, especially about Rustam and Isfandyār, with which he tried to attract the attention of those listening to Muḥammad’s speeches, away from the latter’s revolutionary message. This explains why the religious elite of the Persianate world rejected Iranian epic folklore as contrary to the message of Shīʿī Islam, Rustam in particular being viewed as incompatibele with the person of Imam ʿAlī. But folklore being difficult to eradicate, Rustam was often depicted as a Muslim convert and enemy-turned-friend of ʿAlī, like in this poem from Safavid times. A miracle story involving ʿAlī accompanies it.