The Bohemian Imperative Part 2

The Voice Of The Ancient Bard
Youth of delight! come hither
And see the opening morn,
Image of Truth new-born.
Doubt is fled, and clouds of reason,
Dark disputes and artful teazing.
Folly is an endless maze;
Tangled roots perplex her ways;
How many have fallen there!
They stumble all night over bones of the dead;
And feel–they know not what but care;
And wish to lead others, when they should be led.
– William Blake –


Hey All,
Think of this as a love letter. A love letter to you all, and to the wide and swirling world. Think of it as a note, a note to remember where we come from, and where we are going to. Think of this as the first alert, on the Shulgin’s scale… 80)

Right now, Mary is in the kitchen, Rowan is at school. I am online, typing like a madman, again. I seriously need to do art at this point, but writing is where the muse has directed me, so here I am. I am impelled at this point to rattle on. (things have changed since I wrote this, the world she is nothing if not change)

In the middle of trying to keep the collective family nose above the waters of the recession (recession if you are gainfully employed, DEPRESSION if you are not) and to keep Caer Llwydd going. The waves are choppy, but I think we might make it. Rowan went off for an interview today, and is starting to make another leap in his life.

I am thrashing about, in my unfocused way; this entry though has been a source of focus for me in these chaotic days. I have a small tale to tell, and I have picked up the thread again in this entry after a few years. Did you know that there are almost 900 entries on Turfing? Almost 9.00USD if I had a penny for all the postings. 8-)

Think of it as a love letter. Though some of us have never gazed upon each other, still there is colloquy, there are these shared moments, there is beauty. We meet not face to face, flesh to flesh, but in a place that resides in our minds, shining.


On The Menu:
The Bohemian Imperative…
Patti Smith – Changing Of The Guards
Isadora Duncan – The Quotes
SAYYIDNA HASAN BIN SABBAH – Shaykh Muhammad lqbal
Patti Smith – My Blakean Year
The Bard: William Blake
Patti Smith – Gimme Shelter
Art – Mostly William Blake

The Bohemian Imperative…

This is a continuation of a post over 4 years ago. You should not read this as serious scholarship (though heaven knows if I could sit still long enough I could produce some back up for my conjectures), but view it as an act of imagination, and contemplation.

I have posted some of my favourite pieces of music, art and poetry on this round, all seemingly connected at least in my mind to certain derivations of the Acadian Stream. In my mind, I trace this line of thought back across the last century to Wilde, MacGregor Mathers, Blake, Dee, and to earlier times.

I imagine as David Hykes did with his brilliant album “Harmonic Meetings” (His take about a fictitious meeting of the elders of the three monotheistic religions of the book), only that the conclave/ that I envision eventually gave birth to the Bohemian Imperative (in the late 18th, early 19th century.) which gave ries to various movements throughout the 19th and 20th century. (Think the American/French Revolutions/Paris Commune/Anarchist/Artistic Expansions) After years of thinking about it, I have come to the point that I believe that what we are a part of/witnessing is (possibly) a brilliant social engineering experiment and less a series of serendipitous events. Though serendipity does indeed take place within the parameters of what I am positing here, is that something probably greater has been unfolding.

What was it that occurred? Was an agreement reached between various mystery schools and the artist who disguised the teachings in art, music, and theatre? Does this “agreement” find its way back to the Troubadours, Sufi trance masters, Ollaves and Bards who met perhaps in Palestine, or Galicia, and again later at the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine? One would imagine in this lineage, we would find teachings that go back to Eleusis, Anglesey, Alexandria, Babylon and beyond. It is not a hard leap to think that this agreement was to undermine the headlong dive into the state/religious matrix that the waning Roman Empire & Church had thrust the collective soul of the west into. The dark ages, were…. dark.

We see a rapid social change starting at the time of Eleanor, and truly accelerating during the late medieval and even more so during the reformation. This speaks of more than just societal change, something is swimming deeper through the stream. There are to many abrupt mutations in the social meme in a world that was socially static for ages… Though I won’t go into depths with this, I think that we see a schism develop during the reformation, and competing schools vie through various scenarios up into the late 18th century, culminating in revolution. Even the best laid plans/ideas can have results not planned for.

I sit and think that this stream’s ancient traditions came out of the conclaves using the forms of exoteric schools to conceal esoteric structures within. For centuries, artist, teachers, and organizations have worked in loose confederations to bring about shifts in policies, practices, and the gradual shift in societal and individuals consciousness across multiple lands, countries and regions. As there were different traditions there were many manifestations of the secret teachings. As an example the Sufi’s introduced the concepts of a new form of love as well as the oud (at the same time) which became the lute, (and of course the guitar) to the Troubadours, who under the guidance/and protection of Elanor, spread a new vision of love into the west, romantic love which slowly replaced the sanctioned forms of marriage etc through the late medieval period. Subtle shifts that changed consciousness… where women were no longer viewed as property, and began the dismantling of the male centric monotheistic viewpoint. This process is still underway today. What we have witnessed with this one example is social engineering that took centuries, and more than likely was shaped along the way by various hidden groups, as well as the artist and musicians and poets who tapped in either consciously, or by intuition to this subtle shift.

Was this social engineering exercise a success? Any experiment, any feat of engineering will find resistance, or happenstance to overcome, or grow into and merge with.

Such are the meanderings of my mind as of late. More to come, I am sure….

Patti Smith – Changing Of The Guard (Bob Dylan)

Changing Of The Guard – Bob Dylan
Sixteen years,

Sixteen banners united over the field
Where the good shepherd grieves.

Desperate men, desperate women divided,
Spreading their wings ‘neath the falling leaves.

Fortune calls.
I stepped forth from the shadows, to the marketplace,
Merchants and thieves, hungry for power, my last deal gone down.
She’s smelling sweet like the meadows where she was born,
On midsummer’s eve, near the tower.

The cold-blooded moon.
The captain waits above the celebration
Sending his thoughts to a beloved maid
Whose ebony face is beyond communication.
The captain is down but still believing that his love will be repaid.

They shaved her head.
She was torn between Jupiter and Apollo.
A messenger arrived with a black nightingale.
I seen her on the stairs and I couldn’t help but follow,
Follow her down past the fountain where they lifted her veil.

I stumbled to my feet.
I rode past destruction in the ditches
With the stitches still mending ‘neath a heart-shaped tattoo.
Renegade priests and treacherous young witches
Were handing out the flowers that I’d given to you.

The palace of mirrors
Where dog soldiers are reflected,
The endless road and the wailing of chimes,
The empty rooms where her memory is protected,
Where the angels’ voices whisper to the souls of previous times.

She wakes him up
Forty-eight hours later, the sun is breaking
Near broken chains, mountain laurel and rolling rocks.
She’s begging to know what measures he now will be taking.
He’s pulling her down and she’s clutching on to his long golden locks.

Gentlemen, he said,
I don’t need your organization, I’ve shined your shoes,
I’ve moved your mountains and marked your cards
But Eden is burning, either brace yourself for elimination
Or else your hearts must have the courage for the changing of the guards.

Peace will come
With tranquility and splendor on the wheels of fire
But will bring us no reward when her false idols fall
And cruel death surrenders with its pale ghost retreating
Between the King and the Queen of Swords.

Isadora Duncan – The Quotes:

Any intelligent woman who reads the marriage contract, and then goes into it, deserves all the consequences.

Art is not necessary at all. All that is necessary to make this world a better place to live in is to love – to love as Christ loved, as Buddha loved.

It has taken me years of struggle, hard work and research to learn to make one simple gesture, and I know enough about the art of writing to realize that it would take as many years of concentrated effort to write one simple, beautiful sentence.

Most human beings today waste some 25 to 30 years of their lives before they break through the actual and conventional lies which surround them.

My motto – sans limites.

People don’t live nowadays: they get about ten percent out of life.

Perhaps he was a bit different from other people, but what really sympathetic person is not a little mad?

So long as little children are allowed to suffer, there is no true love in this world.


The Assassins
by Hakim Bey

Across the luster of the desert & into the polychrome hills, hairless & ochre violet dun & umber, at the top of a desiccate blue valley travelers find an artificial oasis, a fortified castle in saracenic style enclosing a hidden garden.

As guests of the Old Man of the Mountain Hasan-i Sabbah they climb rock-cut steps to the castle. Here the Day of Resurrection has already come & gone–those within live outside profane Time, which they hold at bay with daggers & poisons.

Behind crenellations & slit-windowed towers scholars & fedayeen wake in narrow monolithic cells. Star-maps, astrolabes, alembics & retorts, piles of open books in a shaft of morning sunlight–an unsheathed scimitar.

Each of those who enter the realm of the Imam of one’s own being becomes a sultan of inverted revelation, a monarch of abrogation & apostasy. In a central chamber scalloped with light and hung with tapestried arabesques they lean on bolsters & smoke long chibouks of haschisch scented with opium & amber.

For them the hierarchy of being has compacted to a dimensionless punctum of the real–for them the chains of Law have been broken–they end their fasting with wine. For them the outside of everything is its inside, its true face shines through direct. But the garden gates are camouflaged with terrorism, mirrors, rumors of assassination, trompe l’oeil, legends.

Pomegranate, mulberry, persimmon, the erotic melancholy of cypresses, membrane-pink shirazi roses, braziers of meccan aloes & benzoin, stiff shafts of ottoman tulips, carpets spread like make-believe gardens on actual lawns–a pavilion set with a mosaic of calligrammes–a willow, a stream with watercress–a fountain crystalled underneath with geometry– the metaphysical scandal of bathing odalisques, of wet brown cupbearers hide-&-seeking in the foliage–”water, greenery, beautiful faces.”

By night Hasan-i Sabbah like a civilized wolf in a turban stretches out on a parapet above the garden & glares at the sky, conning the asterisms of heresy in the mindless cool desert air. True, in this myth some aspirant disciples may be ordered to fling themselves off the ramparts into the black–but also true that some of them will learn to fly like sorcerers.

The emblem of Alamut holds in the mind, a mandal or magic circle lost to history but embedded or imprinted in consciousness. The Old Man flits like a ghost into tents of kings & bedrooms of theologians, past all locks & guards with forgotten moslem/ninja techniques, leaves behind bad dreams, stilettos on pillows, puissant bribes.

The attar of his propaganda seeps into the criminal dreams of ontological anarchism, the heraldry of our obsessions displays the luminous black outlaw banners of the Assassins… all of them pretenders to the throne of an Imaginal Egypt, an occult space/light continuum consumed by still-unimagined liberties.

Sayyidna Hasn Bin Sabbah

by Shaykh Muhammad lqbal
Karachi (Pakistan)

In his words Mowlana Abdur Razak Kanpuri on behalf of Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah says: “Khawaja Nizamul Mulk and Hakim Umar Khayyam are those sky shining stars who came to be known as radiants of an empire. In comparison to them, after some frustrations, Hasan bin Sabbah achieved, that success which was only the result of his virtues and skill, extraordinary wisdom and God given intelligence.”


There is a difference of opinion with the historian about the correct date of birth of Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah. Some historians presume that he was born in 432 A.H., while others surmise that it was 445 A.H. Dr. W. Ivanow says that Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah was born after 440 A.H. [1] On the other hand, Dr. Bernard Lewis says that Sayyidna Hasan was born approximately by in the middle of 1100 C.E. i.e. 442 or 443 A.H. [2] But if we take into consideration the date of death of Hasan bin Sabbah namely 517 A.H. – 1124 C.E. for which all historians are unanimous [3], when he was 90 years of age, then his year of birth could be ascertained to be in 428 A.H. – 1034 C.E. [4]


We are unable to find any information regarding his childhood or ancestry, but some history books describing his ancestry say that Hasan bin Aly bin Mohammed bin Ja’far bin Husayn bin Sabbah al-Hamari was connected with the dynasty of the king of Yaman. However, when people began to mix up Hasan bin Sabbah’s ancestry with that of the lmam, he himself is reported to have said: “Instead of becoming an unlawful descendant of the Imam I would prefer to be his devoted servant.” [5]


Sayyidna Hasan was born in an lthna ‘Ashari family’ of Ray. His father was a learned leading personality of lthna ‘Ashari faith. His father took keen interest in the education of Sayyidna Hasan and from the age of 7 to 17 he prosecuted his study at home. [6] With vigorous effort and resistance he acquired perfect knowledge of the then prevailing sciences of mathematics, philosophy and languages. lbn Athir says Hasan was an intelligent man who had perfect command over palmistry and mathematics (in the wider sense). [7]


Enemies of Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah have concocted unbelievable stories and sayings which go to show that there was nothing else behind it, save the malign intention of defaming Hasan. One famous and popular story is that Hasan acquired knowledge from Imam Maufique Annishapuri and that Nizamul Mulk and Umar Khayyam were his colleagues. And it is also said that during their collegiate they arrived at a joint decision that after acquiring the knowledge if they took part in politics, they would cooperate with each other and if any of them attained a prosperous fortune, he would have to assist his companions. It is stated upon this unfounded basis that when Nizamul Mulk acquired the post of ‘Wizarat’ i.e., he became Minister in the Saljuq reign, Umar Khayyam approached him and became successful in getting sanctioned a good amount of finance toward his pension, which is wrong [8]. Moreover that, Sayyidna Hasan also approached Nizamul Mulk and reminded him of the promise. It is said that Nizamul Mulk offered him the rule over an Islamic province but Sayyidna Hasan refused to accept it and desired a post in the king’s court, for he was covetous for the position of ‘Wizarat’. Nizamul Mulk tried for this also and got him fixed.

If we review it from the view of chronology we would find that Nizamul Mulk was born in 408 A.H. [9], while the date of birth of Sayyidna Hassan is arrived at being either 427 A.H. or thereafter. This shows that Nizamul Mulk was almost 20 or more years older than he was. It is impossible that with the difference of such a gap of years in age Sayyidna Hasan and Nizamul Mulk could have been colleagues at school. Over and above this, the prescribed period of education of Nizamul Mulk is 440 A.H. and the learning center of Imam Maufique had already ended in 440 A.H. [10] As mentioned heretofore that the date of birth of Sayyidna Hasan was 428 A.H. and that for 17 years, i.e., until 445 A.H., he was acquiring education at home, it makes it quite obvious that before Sayyidna Hasan reached Nishapur that lmam Maufique had expired and his learning center was closed and hence the question of collegiate of Nizamul Mulk and Sayyidna Hasan could not arise at all.

History has preserved the names of the teachers of Nizamul Mulk and also about his education, but the mention of lmam Maufique as his teacher is made nowhere. [11] Then how is it possible that Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah remained a colleague of Nizamul Mulk in the tuition of Imam Maufique. It is equally false that Nizamul Mulk tried for Sayyidna Hasan to secure the service in the Saljuq Court. The entering of Sayyidna Hasan in the Saljuqui Court was entirely due to his own efforts and qualification and not because of the help of Nizamul Mulk, as it is generally presumed. Sayyidna Hasan secured this position at the age of 30 years, and it goes to show how vast his knowledge and experience were.

All historians and biographers are unanimous that Sayyidna Hasan was an outstanding, highly qualified authority on sciences of politics and mathematics. He was expert also in administration. His way of organization was very precise and up to the mark. He would prefer nothing except carrying out his work up to the mark and to fulfil his duties. Due to his such qualities in the performance of his responsibilities, the ruler Malik Shah was highly impressed by him and used to take his counsel on the matters of administration, especially economic planning; while contrary to this Nizamul Mulk was breeding jealousy and enmity against Sayyidna Hasan and was considering him to be an obstacle in his way; therefore he was anxiously contemplating doing away with him. With this purport Nizamul Mulk used to find faults with him and reprimand him. In this behalf an example is quoted here below:

Once Sultan called Wazir-e-Azam and ordered him to reorganize various departments of his Government and enquired of him as to the time he would require to complete it. Wazir asked for two years time. Sultan considered it to be too long as he was anxious to get it done quickly. As he was aware of the capability of Sayyidna Hasan, he called him and enquired as to whether he would be able to do this job soon enough. Sayyidna Hasan was willing and was ready to complete it within 40 days. [12] Sultan was wonderstruck and said “it seems that you have not properly understood the nature of work: Wazir-e-Azam pleads for longer time than compared to yours.” Sayyidna Hasan assured Sultan that it would not take more than a month to complete it. Sultan was highly pleased with him and ordered the staff of his administration to supply Sayyidna Hasan with what ever papers and documents he required. So Sayyidna Hasan started the work with great pleasure.

Plot of Nizamul Mulk

On the other hand, Nizamul Mulk got horrified with this incident and feared of losing his office of Wizarat, for he was well aware of the unique ability and intelligence of Sayyidna Hasan and was certain that he would succeed in his task. Therefore, he tried to remove Sayyidna Hasan from the services through a plot. He contemplated confusing the documents of the scheme worked upon by Sayyidna Hasan and he arranged this plot through his confidential person and asked him to be friendly with the slave of Sayyidna Hasan. When his confidential person secured the assurance of the slave of Sayyidna Hasan, one day he seized the opportunity of confusing the documents of Sayyidna Hasan. [13] However, Sayyidna Hasan was unaware of this and when he came to present the documents before Sultan, Sayyidna Hasan was taken aback to find that the papers were not in order as arranged by him. When Sultan demanded the documents Sayyidna Hasan could not present them instantaneously, by which Nizamul Mulk got the opportunity of prejudicing Sultan Malik Shah against Sayyidna Hasan and said that if Sultan were to trust such persons who do not know anything then surely he would fall prey to their intrigues and snares. In this way Nizamul Mulk began to poison the ears of Sultan with the result that Sultan ordered to arrest Sayyidna Hasan. He would have slain him if he had no love for Sayyidna Hasan and regard for his work. Ultimately Sayyidna Hasan slipped away and fled to Ray.

Religious arguments and discussions

Before the period of Sayyidna Hasan, Islamic ideas were tested through philosophy and split into many schools of thought, just as Mu’tazili, Ashari, etc., and in the period of Banu Abbas, due to the problems arising from different interpretations of the Holy Quran, wide fields of arguments and discussions were created. Sayyidna Hasan also being a scholar, took part in the discussions and was advocating lthna ‘Ashari school of thought, but he could not remain firm on this belief, neither was he satisfied with the doctrines of Mu’tazila and ‘Asha’ra. To him doctrines of these schools of thought were of no avail to him. Thus, he was deeply entangled in confusion.

Sayyidna Hasan embracing Ismaili Faith

Since from the period of Ummayyads Iran had become the centre of Shi’ism. Ismaili Da’is vigorously propagated Ismaili faith in Tabaristan, Delam, Ray, etc., and they were holding arguments with authorities of different schools of thought. Sayyidna Hasan was also prompted to hold discussions with the Da’is and he was all praise for the capabilities, learned qualities and the art of deliberations of the Da’is. After all this, he was so inclined that he came to be magnetised towards Ismaili faith, in as much as he commenced grasping tenets of Ismaili concepts through Da’is Abu Najam Siraj and Momin and begged of Da’i Momin to accept his allegiance on behalf of Hazrat Imam. However, Da’i Momin, who was well conversant with the intelligence and abstinence of Sayyidna Hasan, said: “Though you are Hasan and if I am Momin even then your position is higher than mine. You are in fact very high to the lmam. How am I supposed to take allegiance from you.” [14] Notwithstanding this, upon Sayyidna Hasan’s repeated requests, Momin took the allegiance and converted him to Ismaili faith. At that time Sayyidna Hasan was about 35 to 36 years of age.

Tour to Egypt

After embracing Ismaili faith. in 464 A.H. – 1071 C.E. Sayyidna Hasan came into contact with Abdul Malik bin Attash and worked in Da’wat as his assistant for 2 years at Isfahan. [15] Then Abdul Malik bin Attash asked him to go to Egypt and seek the holy interview of the lmam. Accordingly in 467 A.H. 1074 C E. Sayyidna Hasan left Ray and after travelling for three to four years, reached Egypt in 411 A.H. 1078-9 C.E. and became fortunate to have holy deedar of the Imam, and upon the solicitation of Sayyidna Hasan, lmam Mustansir billah ordered that after him his son ‘Nizar’ would be his successor. [l6]

Return from Egypt

For about 18 months Sayyidna Hasan remained in Egypt and during this period had the opportunity of seeking several interviews of the lmam. However, by his frequent interviews with the lmam, Wazir Badarul Jamali used to be agitated. By this, he began to breed suspicion and doubts regarding Sayyidna Hasan because Badarul Jamali was from the beginning opposed to Hazrat Imam Nizar. When he came to know that Sayyidna Hasan was the supporter of Hazrat Nizar he became his opponent also and imprisoned him in the castle of ‘Dumyat’. By chance some day, a wall of the prison, which was quite strong, collapsed [l7], and it gave chance Sayyidna Hasan to be able to escape. He boarded a vessel at the port of Alexandria and thus in 473 A.H. – 1081 C.E. reached lsfahan, and remained engaged in propagation of Da’wa at Yezd, Kirman, Tabaristan, Damgan in Iran. Then he proceeded to Qazwin and toured the suburbs of the fortress of Alamut. There he remained in prayers and through his preaching converted the natives to Ismaili faith so much their chief also came into Ismaili fold.

Capture of Alamut

There are two versions about the capture of fortress of Alamut. [18] One is that the possessor of the fortress, Mahdi, the governor of Sultan Malik Shah, belonged to Alvi dynasty. One day Sayyidna Hasan invited him wherein, besides faithfuls of Ismaili concept, other dignitaries of the town were present. Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah upon conversing on the service to lmam said that the fortress would be of great value for the service to lmam and there on the spot a bargain of the fortress at the price of 3000 dinars was arrived at. Mahdi thought that Sayyidna Hasan would not be able to pay the said sum of the price. Hence he accepted the bargain. Sayyidna Hasan wrote to Rais Muzaffar of Girdkub and Damgan mentioning the sum, who on receiving the letter immediately remitted the amount. Governor Mahdi, as promised, assigned the fortress to Sayyidna Hasan.

Another version is that Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah asked of governor Mahdi for only that much portion of land which would cover the skin of a cow. Governor consented to that. Whilst measuring the land Sayyidna Hasan made the skin into such tiny pieces that it covered the whole fortress. In this way the entire fortress was handed over to Sayyidna Hasan. In any case, in 483 A.H. Sayyidna Hasan got the fortress of Alamut. [l9]

Fight with Saljuqs

When the news of the fortress of Alamut having fallen to Sayyidna Hasan reached the court of Malik Shah, Nizamul Mulk became highly perturbed and despatched several units of army one after another, one of which laid a seige to the fortress for nearly 4 months but to no purpose as it was all in vain. In the mean time in 485 A.H. – 1092 C.E. Malik Shah discharged Nizamul Mulk from the office of Wizarat and got him slain and within a few days time in the same year Malik Shah also expired. His sons quarrelled over the throne continuously for nearly 10 years.

During this lapse of time Hasan found the golden opportunity of propagating Ismaili concept and strengthening his hold, and captured Rudbar, Tabaristan, Khuz, Khosaf, Zozan, Quain and Tune.

However, whenever any of the heirs of Malik Shah used to find any chance, he would dispatch a unit of army against Sayyidna Hasan, but due to the vigilance and dauntlessness of Sayyidna Hasan their attacks were foiled. Eventually Saljuq Sultan Sanjar, made truce with Sayyidna Hasan by which it was agreed upon that any trader passing through Khurasan shall have to pay a tax to Ismailis and on the other hand Ismailis would neither construct new forts nor convert or bring more people into Ismaili Da’wat and faith. [20] Nevertheless groups of people embraced Ismaili faith without any propagation. In this way reliance upon Sayyidna Hasan began to shine like day’s light throughout Iran and Khurasan and high officials of Saijuq Sultan also became Ismailis. [21]

In short Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah, during his life time, achieved his aims like freedom of Ismaili territory, freedom of Ismaili faith and established peace between him and his opponents. By his political and intelligible skill he made the powerful Saljuqi government to come down to terms of freedom for Ismaili politics and concepts.

After having overcome Saljuqs in Iran and Khurasan, Sayyidna Hasan turned his attention towards Syria and India and deputed Da’is there. Upon having spread Ismaili Da’wat in Iran and Syria as well as introducing the Dawa in India, Sayyidna Hasan Bin Sabbah took to reducing his lofty ideas and thoughts in writing. He continued his work pertaining to Ismaili faith and tenets till he breathed his last. Incidentally, in 518 A.H. – l124 C.E. a fatal disease attacked him and he succumbed to it. He was 90 years of age at the time of his death.

Fidai or Assassin

Ismailis of the era of Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah were termed to be Fidais of Assassin. The word ‘Fidai’ is derived from ‘Fida’ meaning sacrifice. Because Ismailis used to sacrifice, i.e. give away their lives and everything for faith, they are termed as ‘Fidais’. But as far as the word ‘Assassin’ is concerned there is a controversy. Some say it is ‘derived from the word ‘Hasaneen’ meaning followers of ‘Hasan’, Some say that the word actually was ‘Hashish’ meaning addict of a green intoxicating herb ‘Hashish’. This assumption is founded on their belief that at the time of war to keep up the spirit of his soldiers, Sayyidna Hasan used to drug them with ‘Hashish’. But what an illogical belief it is that if a person who has lost his control over self through the drug how can he vouchsafe his defence with sensible strategy, for their valour and intrepidity was specifically in enthusiasm of their faith to which they were attached.

Allegations against Sayyidna Hasan and its refutation

Many allegations are being made against Sayyidna Hasan to the effect that he was blood thirsty and through his ‘Fidais’ he had made lives of people repressed and unrestful. But all this is totally untrue. His only purpose and meaning of recruiting army of Fidais was to protect Ismailis from the foil and destructive attacks of enemies. The very significant example of this is his human behaviour with Sultan Sanjar. If Sayyidna Hasan wished to, he would not have forgone the opportunity of slaying him, for he only wanted him to get horrified and give up the seige.

One of the allegations against him is that he murdered Nizamul Mulk through one of his Fidais. However, the history itself is a witness to the fact that Nizamul Mulk was murdered by Sultan Malik Shah. There were many reasons for that. One of it is that Sultan was afraid of his increasing powers to his detriments. Another reason is that Malik Shah was already in the influence of Ismaili concept, and he was in contradiction to the vindicative nature of Nizamul Mulk against Ismaili faith. [22] The third and main reason was that Turkan Khatun, begum [wife] of Malik Shah was deadly against Nizamul Mulk for she wanted her son, Mahmood, to succeed Malik Shah and it was not possible with the deviation of Nizamul Mulk, who had made it clear to Turkan Khatun that son of Malik Shah’s cousin Zubeda, Barruk bin Dawood, was to succeed Malik Shah, as he had the qualities of wisdom befitting a ruler and also belonged to Saljuq dynasty. For this Turkan Khatun poisoned the ears of Sultan against Nizamul Mulk and Malik Shah got him murdered and this became the reason of downfall of the famous position of Wizarat and murder of Nizamul Mulk. In the face of this it is absurd and nothing but a false allegation against Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah for the murder of Nizamul Mulk. [23]

The most defamatory allegation against Sayyidna Hasan is that he had created a paradise in the fortress of Alamut. If we consider this allegation also in the light of history, it will prove to be nothing else then a fiction. If such a paradise was at all created by Sayyidna Hasan it would not have remained unaccounted for by the historians. However, no such account is to be found anywhere in Ata Malik Juwayni, who was a historian and a companion of the destroyer of Ismaili reign in Alamut in 654 A.H. – 1256 C.E. i.e. Halaku Khan. He has made no mention of anything of that sort in his book “Tarikh-e-Jahan Gusha”. Mention of this paradise is found only in ‘the “Travels of Marco Polo”, who reached thereafter one and half century of the existence of Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah in 673 A.H. – 1273 C.E. and it was no doubt the stories that he had collected without any foundation. But for the welfare and progress of Ismailis Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah had created peace, comfort and settled condition in the fortress.

One more allegation made against Sayyidna Hasan is that he was desirous of acquiring political power and strength and for that he had disguised himself in the cloak of Nizari Da’wat. But the history proves that he had no such aims and historians agree that neither he himself had been addicted to alcohol nor did he allow anybody to do so. He killed one of his own sons for accusation of taking alcohol. He intended Ismailis to be as firm in faith as he himself was. He had inculcated the habit of earning their livelihood through hard work and toil and his wife and children and himself were leading a simple life. The effect of this was that his command to faithful was carried out immediately and the glory that credited Sayyidna Hasan is not to be found for anybody else in the pages of history.

’1. Jawad al-Mascati ‘Hasan bin Sabbah’ (first edition), pg. 38. Published by Ismailia Association in English.
2. Bernard Lewis ‘The Assassins’ (1967), pg. 38.
3. Encyclopedia of Islam (old edition), pg. 267; W. Ivanow ‘Alamut and Lamasar’, pg. 20; Syed Suleman Nadvi ‘Khayyam’ (1933), pg. 56; Bernard Lewis ‘The Assassins’, pg. 40 & 61.
4. Jawad al-Mascati ‘Hasan bin Sabbah’, pg. 152; Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi, pg. 447.
5. Rashid ud-din Fazalellah ‘Jame-ut-Tawrikh’, pg. 1 (in Persian).
6. Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi, pg. 420, foot note No. 3
7. E. G. Brown ‘Literary History of Persia’, Vol. 11, pg. 201.
8. Syed Suleman Nadvi, ‘Khayyam’, pg. 38.
9. Syed Suleman Nadvi ‘Khayyam’, pg. 18; Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi, pg. 48.
10. ncf. Ibn Khallikan, pg. 43, Vol. I.
11. Syed Suleman Nadvi, ‘Khayyam’, pg. 28.
12. Syed Suleman Nadvi, ‘Khayyam’, pg. 28.
13. Karim Kishawars ‘Hasan Sabbah’, pg. 64.
14. Karim Kishawars ‘Hasan Sabbah’, pg. 64; Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi ‘Dihastan ui-Madhhab’, pg. 423, foot note, NQ. 2; Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi ‘Tadhkar-e-Daulat Shah’ pg. 423; Karim Kishawars ‘Hasan Sabbah’, footnote pg. 72.
15. E. G. Brown ‘Literary History of Persia’, Vol. 11, pg. 203.
16. ‘Tarikh-e-lbn Khaidun’, Vol. V, pg. 156.
17. Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi, pg. 425.
18. Ali Mohammedd Jan Mohammedd Chunara ‘Noor-e-Mubin’, pg. 366 (first ed. in Urdu).
19. Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi, pg. 428.
20. Jawad al-Muscati ‘Hasan bin Sabbah’, pg. 150.
21. Jawad al-Muscati ‘Hasan bin Sabbah’, pg. 150.
22. Jawad al-Muscati ‘Hasan bin Sabbah’, pg. 141.
23. Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi, pg. 149.

Patti Smith – My Blakean Year


The Bard: William Blake

Ah, Sunflower

Ah, sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done;

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

Auguries of Innocence

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

A Robin Red breast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
A dove house fill’d with doves & Pigeons
Shudders Hell thro’ all its regions.
A dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A Horse misus’d upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fibre from the Brain does tear.
A Skylark wounded in the wing,
A Cherubim does cease to sing.
The Game Cock clipp’d and arm’d for fight
Does the Rising Sun affright.
Every Wolf’s & Lion’s howl
Raises from Hell a Human Soul.
The wild deer, wand’ring here & there,
Keeps the Human Soul from Care.
The Lamb misus’d breeds public strife
And yet forgives the Butcher’s Knife.
The Bat that flits at close of Eve
Has left the Brain that won’t believe.
The Owl that calls upon the Night
Speaks the Unbeliever’s fright.
He who shall hurt the little Wren
Shall never be belov’d by Men.
He who the Ox to wrath has mov’d
Shall never be by Woman lov’d.
The wanton Boy that kills the Fly
Shall feel the Spider’s enmity.
He who torments the Chafer’s sprite
Weaves a Bower in endless Night.
The Catterpillar on the Leaf
Repeats to thee thy Mother’s grief.
Kill not the Moth nor Butterfly,
For the Last Judgement draweth nigh.
He who shall train the Horse to War
Shall never pass the Polar Bar.
The Beggar’s Dog & Widow’s Cat,
Feed them & thou wilt grow fat.
The Gnat that sings his Summer’s song
Poison gets from Slander’s tongue.
The poison of the Snake & Newt
Is the sweat of Envy’s Foot.
The poison of the Honey Bee
Is the Artist’s Jealousy.
The Prince’s Robes & Beggars’ Rags
Are Toadstools on the Miser’s Bags.
A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for Joy & Woe;
And when this we rightly know
Thro’ the World we safely go.
Joy & Woe are woven fine,
A Clothing for the Soul divine;
Under every grief & pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
The Babe is more than swadling Bands;
Throughout all these Human Lands
Tools were made, & born were hands,
Every Farmer Understands.
Every Tear from Every Eye
Becomes a Babe in Eternity.
This is caught by Females bright
And return’d to its own delight.
The Bleat, the Bark, Bellow & Roar
Are Waves that Beat on Heaven’s Shore.
The Babe that weeps the Rod beneath
Writes Revenge in realms of death.
The Beggar’s Rags, fluttering in Air,
Does to Rags the Heavens tear.
The Soldier arm’d with Sword & Gun,
Palsied strikes the Summer’s Sun.
The poor Man’s Farthing is worth more
Than all the Gold on Afric’s Shore.
One Mite wrung from the Labrer’s hands
Shall buy & sell the Miser’s lands:
Or, if protected from on high,
Does that whole Nation sell & buy.
He who mocks the Infant’s Faith
Shall be mock’d in Age & Death.
He who shall teach the Child to Doubt
The rotting Grave shall ne’er get out.
He who respects the Infant’s faith
Triumph’s over Hell & Death.
The Child’s Toys & the Old Man’s Reasons
Are the Fruits of the Two seasons.
The Questioner, who sits so sly,
Shall never know how to Reply.
He who replies to words of Doubt
Doth put the Light of Knowledge out.
The Strongest Poison ever known
Came from Caesar’s Laurel Crown.
Nought can deform the Human Race
Like the Armour’s iron brace.
When Gold & Gems adorn the Plow
To peaceful Arts shall Envy Bow.
A Riddle or the Cricket’s Cry
Is to Doubt a fit Reply.
The Emmet’s Inch & Eagle’s Mile
Make Lame Philosophy to smile.
He who Doubts from what he sees
Will ne’er believe, do what you Please.
If the Sun & Moon should doubt
They’d immediately Go out.
To be in a Passion you Good may do,
But no Good if a Passion is in you.
The Whore & Gambler, by the State
Licenc’d, build that Nation’s Fate.
The Harlot’s cry from Street to Street
Shall weave Old England’s winding Sheet.
The Winner’s Shout, the Loser’s Curse,
Dance before dead England’s Hearse.
Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born.
Every Morn & every Night
Some are Born to sweet Delight.
Some ar Born to sweet Delight,
Some are born to Endless Night.
We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see not Thro’ the Eye
Which was Born in a Night to Perish in a Night
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light.
God Appears & God is Light
To those poor Souls who dwell in the Night,
But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of day

The Divine Image

To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is God, our father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is Man, his child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew;
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.


He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.

The Land of Dreams

Awake, awake, my little boy!
Thou wast thy mother’s only joy;
Why dost thou weep in thy gentle sleep?
Awake! thy father does thee keep.

“O, what land is the Land of Dreams?
What are its mountains, and what are its streams?
O father! I saw my mother there,
Among the lilies by waters fair.

“Among the lambs, cloth?d in white,
She walk’d with her Thomas in sweet delight.
I wept for joy, like a dove I mourn;
O! when shall I again return?”

Dear child, I also by pleasant streams
Have wander’d all night in the Land of Dreams;
But tho’ calm and warm the waters wide,
I could not get to the other side.

“Father, O father! what do we here
In this land of unbelief and fear?
The Land of Dreams is better far
Above the light of the morning star.

Patti Smith – Gimme Shelter


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