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The secret doctrine of the Ismaili Assassins

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posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 02:20 AM
Many of you no doubt have heard or read about an esoteric order of medieval Ismaili muslims known popularly as "The Assassins ." For those unfamiliar with the concept, a general overview can be found here..

I've been interested in this group for some time, but info on the actual doctrinal structure of the group has been hard to come by, especially given that the library at Alimut (the Assasssin headquarters) was burned by the Mongols. If the following source can be trusted, however, the organization consisted of nine initiatory levels, described in the qiuoted section below.

I'm just tossing this info out there based on my own general interest in the topic...any and all comments are, as always, welcome.

It is worth noting that there is a strain of conspiracy theory that sees the Ismaili Assassins as providing the core initiatory structure later taken over by the Knights Templar (with whom they were in contact). From thence, the idea of secrets revealed in a graded, initiatory fashion allegedly made its way to the major Western secret societies and estoteric strains of belief we are more familiar with today. Interesting stuff.

The Nine Degrees

"Members were enrolled, on the understanding that they were to receive hidden power and timeless wisdom which would enable them to become as important in life as some of the teachers."

"Students had to pass through nine degrees of initiation."

First Degree

"In the first, the teachers threw their pupils into a state of doubt about all conventional ideas, religious and political. They used false analogy and every other device of argument to make the aspirant believe that what he had been taught by his previous mentors was prejudiced and capable of being challenged. The effect of this, according to the Arab historian, Makrizi, was to cause him to lean upon the personality of the teachers, as the only possible source of the proper interpretation of facts. At the same time, the teachers hinted continually that formal knowledge was merely the cloak for hidden, inner and powerful truth, whose secret would be imparted when the youth was ready to receive it. This 'confusion technique' was carried out until the student reached the stage where he was prepared to swear a vow of blind allegiance to one or other of his teachers."

Second Degree

"The neophyte is taught to believe that God's approval cannot be won by observing the prescriptions of Islam, unless the inner Doctrine, of which they are mere symbols, be received from the Imam to whom its guardianship has been entrusted."

Third Degree

"The neophyte is instructed as to the nature and number of the Imams, and is taught to recognize the significance in the spiritual and material worlds of the number Seven which they also represent. He is thus definitely detached from the Imamiyya of the Sect of the Twelve, and is taught to regard the last six of their imams as persons devoid of spiritual knowledge and unworthy of reverence."

Fourth Degree

"The neophyte is now taught the doctrine of the Seven Prophetic Periods, of the nature of the Natiq, the Sus or Asas and the remaining six Samits ('Silent' imams) who succeed the latter, and of the abrogation by each Natiq of the religion of his predecessor. This teaching involves the admission (which definitely places the proselyte outside the pale of Islam) that Mohammed was not the last of the Prophets, and that the Qur'an is not God's final revelation to man. With Mohammed b. Isma'ili, the Seventh and Last Natiq, the Qu'im ('He who ariseth'), the Sahibu 'i-Amr ('Master of the Matter'), an end is put to the 'Sciences of the Ancients' (Ulumu 'l-awwalin), and the Esoteric (Batini) Doctrine, the Science of Allegorical Interpretation (Ta'wil), is inaugurated."

Fifth Degree

"Here the proselyte is further instructed in the Science of Numbers and in the application of the ta'wil, so that he discards many of the traditions, learns to speak contemptuously of the state of Religion, pays less and less heed to the letter of Scripture, and looks forward to the abolition of all outward observances of Islam. He is also taught the significance of the number Twelve, and the recognition of the twelve Hujjas or 'Proofs', who primarily conduct the propaganda of each Imam. These are typified in man's body by the twelve dorsal vertebrae, while the seven cervical vertebrae represent the Seven Prophets and the Seven Imams of each."

Sixth Degree

"Here the proselyte is taught the allegorical meaning of the rites and obligations of Islam, such as prayer, alms, pilgrimage, fasting, and the like, and is then persuaded that their outward observance is a matter of no importance, and may be abandoned, since they were only instituted by wise and philosophical lawgivers as a check to restrain the vulgar and unenlightened herd."

Seventh Degree

"To this and the following degrees only the leading da'is, who fully comprehend the real nature and aim of their doctrine, were initiated. At this point is introduced the dualistic doctrine of the Pre-existent and the Subsequent, which is destined ultimately to undermine the proselyte's belief in the Doctrine of the Divine Unity."

Eight Degree

"Here the doctrine last mentioned is developed and applied, and the proselyte is taught that above the Pre-existent and the Subsequent is a Being who has neither name, nor attribute, of whom nothing can be predicted, and to whom no worship can be rendered. This Nameless Being seems to represent the Zerwan Akanana ('Boundless Time') of the Zoroastrian system, but...some confusion exists here, and different teachings were current amongst the Isma'ilis, which, however, agreed in this, that, to quote Nuwayri's expression, 'those who adopted them could no longer be reckoned otherwise than amongst the Dualists and Materialists'. The proselyte is also taught that a Prophet is known as such not by miracles, but by his ability to construct and impose in a kind of system at once political, social, religious, and philosophical...He is further taught to understand allegorically the end of the world, the Resurrection, Future Rewards and Punishments, and other eschatological doctrines."

- Arkon Daraul, Secret Societies
Ninth Degree

"In this, the last degree of initiation, every vestige of dogmatic religion has been practically cast aside, and the initiate is become a philosopher pure and simple, free to adopt such system or admixture as may be most to his taste."

- Edward Granville Brown, in St Bart's Hospital Journal (March 1897)
"The seventh degree brought revelation of the Great secret: that all humanity and all creation were one and every single thing was a part of the whole, which included the creative and destructive power. But, as an Isma'ili, the individual could make use of the power which was ready to be awakened within him, and overcome those who knew nothing of the immense potential of the rest of humanity. This power came through the aid of the mysterious power called the Lord of the Time."

"To qualify for the eighth degree, the aspirant had to believe that all religion, philosophy and the like were fraudulent. All that mattered was the individual, who could attain fulfillment only through servitude to the greatest developed power - the Imam. The ninth and last degree brought the revelation of the secret that there was no such thing as belief: all that mattered was action. And the only possessor of the reasons for carrying out any action was the chief of the sect."

- Arkon Daraul, Secret Societies

More at source:

[edit on 7/31/09 by silent thunder]

posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 02:50 AM
I read that the hashshashins(assassins) were feared by many bar the (Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici) The Knights Templars, who the assassins feared and would pay yearly tribute too.

posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 03:27 AM

Originally posted by fapython
I read that the hashshashins(assassins) were feared by many bar the (Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici) The Knights Templars, who the assassins feared and would pay yearly tribute too.

They definitiely had connections. The Templars actually hired the assasissins for various missions...something they tried to hush up as much as possible because it caused extreme distate among more orthodox Christians. Both groups were heavy into the concept of "hidden knowledge" and secret esoterica, whether it came from Solomon's temple (in the case of the Templars) or the secret teachings of the Imamas. Both were well-trained fighters who also shared a deep taste for the religious. Both were sort of "outsiders" and "exceptions" to the more orthodox manifestations of Christianity and Islam.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if they interacted much over their histories in the region and swapped esoteric knowledge and ideas of various sorts.


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