Al-Mu'ayyad fi'l-Din al-Shirazi

Al-Mu'ayyad fid-din Abu Nasr Hibat Allah b. Abi 'Imran Musa b. Da'ud ash-Shirazi (c. 1000 CE/390 AH – 1078 CE/470 AH) was an 11th-century Isma'ili scholar, philosopher-poet, preacher and theologian of Persian origin. He served the Fatimid Caliph-Imām al-Mustansir Billah as a Da'i in varying capacities, eventually attaining the highest rank of Bab al-Abwab "The Gate of Gates" and Da'i al-du'at "Chief Missionary" in the Fatimid Da‘wah. In his theological and philosophical writings he brought the Isma'ili spiritual heritage to its pinnacle.[1]

Hibatullah ibn Musa Abu Nasr al-Mu'ayyad fi d-Din ash-Shirazi
Born1000 CE / 390 AH
Died1078 CE / 470 AH
EraMedieval era
RegionIslamic philosophy


Al-Mu'ayyad was born in Shiraz not later than 387/997 and died in Cairo in 470 AH/1078 AD. He lived during the time of the Fatimid Caliphs Al-Hakim (386–412 AH / 996–1021 AD), Al-Zahir (412–427 AH / 1021–1036 AD) and Al-Mustansir (427–48AH / 1036–1094AD). He was buried in the Dar al-ilm where he had resided, worked and died.[2]

Al-Muayyad's real name was Hibatullah ibn Musa, born in the town of Shiraz, capital of the Fars Province (then Persia, now in modern-day Iran), in the year 1000 CE. His father, Musa ibn Dawud, served under the Fatimid Caliph-Imam al-Hakim bi Amr Allah as the Chief Missionary of the province of Fars, where the Isma'ili mission was active. Al-Muayyad was "contemporary with the changeover from the Buyid to the Saljuq Sultanate under the Abbasid Caliphate, as well as the Arab bedouin Hilalian invasion of North Africa, the Fatimiid encouraged invasion of Baghdad by al-Basasiri, the Battle of Manzikert in Anatolia, the rise of the Sulayhids of Yaman and the advent of the Armnenian General Badr al-Jamali in Egypt".

During the reign of the Fatimid Caliph-Imam al-Zahir li-i'zaz Din Allah, Hibatullah ibn Musa was permitted to take over the da'wah office from his father. His title, Al-Mu'ayyad fi d-Din ('The one aided in religion') was probably accorded to him around this time.

Al-Mu'ayyad was appointed to the Diwan al-insha' (secretariat) in 440 AH / 1048 AD on a monthly salary of 1000 dinars and wrote the religious sermons (al-Majalis) for al-Yazuri (as-Sira 89–90). Al-Mu'ayyad gives us an interesting information about the presence of a Buyid Prince Abu 'Ali in the Fatimid Court (as-Siras 87).[3]

Al-Muayyad (Hibatullah) gradually worked his way up the hierarchy of the da‘wa and was eventually appointed Chief Missionary under the Caliph-Imam al-Mustansir Billah. He was appointed the head of the Academy of Science (Dar al-'Iim, originally been founded by the Caliph al-Hakim in Cairo), which was also the headquarters of the Da'wa and became the residence of al-Mu'ayyad. He directed the Da'wa affairs throughout the Fatimid sphere of influence particularly Persia, Yaman, Bahrayn and Northern and Western India ('Uyun - ms. - fols. 59-63, 65). In this position, he worked teaching missionaries from both inside and outside the Fatimid Empire and composing his theological works until the end of his life in 1078 CE. He founded the dynamic tradition of Fatimid daʿwa ('religious mission') poetry that flourished after him for a thousand years through the succeeding Taiyabi daʿwa and continues to thrive today. His poetry uses a unique form of esoteric tāwīl-based religious symbolism – metaphor, in fact, as manifestation, where what appears to be metaphor is the theological reality of the Imam.[4]

The primary source for details of Al-Mu'ayyad's life are his own memoirs, the Sirat al-Mu'ayyad fi d-Din, which was written in three stages between the years 1051 and 1063 CE. He is also mentioned in the works of Nasir Khusraw, another prominent Isma'ili scholar of the time, who had learned under al-Mu'ayyad. In a poem written in 455/1063 (Diwan, 173–177) Nasir praises al-Mua-yyad as his master (teacher) and refers to him as the "Warden of the Gate" ('Bab'). There are other direct references in Nasir's Diwan (313–314). Al-Mu'ayyad also taught Hassan-i Sabbah.


  • Majalis ul-Muayyadiyah, written between 450 AH to 470 AH. Comprising eight volumes, each one hundred lectures. It deals with various theological and philosophical questions asked by people of other religions and atheists.[5]
  • Diwan ul-Muayyad, a collection of poems in praise of the Ismai'ili Imams and the doctrines of their faith
  • Sirat al-Muayyad fid-Din, his autobiography
  • Sarah ul-Maad, a treatise on the Day of Resurrection
  • Al-Eazah watabeer fi Fazle Yoomal Ghadir, a treatise on the Ghadir Khumm incident
  • Al-Ibteda wal-Inteha ('the Beginning and the End')
  • Taweel ul-Arwah, a treatise on souls
  • Mahajul-Ibadah, the method of devotion
  • Al-Maselet-wal-Jawab ('Questions and Answers')
  • Buniyad-i ta’wil, Persian translation of Asas al-ta’wil by Al-Qadi al-Nu'man[6]

Days of CreationEdit

In his work, al-Mu'ayyad explains how the concept of the creation of the physical universe in six twenty-four-hour periods has been misunderstood.  Since time is measured and delimited by the movement of celestial spheres and the rising and setting of the sun, it is impossible for time to have been measured before creation occurred. He argues that if creation had yet to occur, and God still had to create the sun, the earth, and the planets, how could these verses about a six-day creation refer to the passage of time? Al-Mu'ayyad also explains how the Qur’anic verse describing the creation of the heavens and the earth taking God six days to complete, with each day spanning a thousand years, is also symbolic. The Creator with infinite power is not limited by time, in His creation.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ VERENA KLEMM,"MOʾAYYAD FI’L-DIN ŠIRĀZI" in Encyclopaedia Iranica
  2. ^ 12.0 The Fatimid Da'i Al-Mu'ayyad: His Life, by Dr. Abbas Hamdani, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (U.S.A.)
  3. ^ 12.0 The Fatimid Da'i Al-Mu'ayyad: His Life by: Dr. Abbas Hamdani, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (U.S.A.)
  4. ^ Al-Muʼayyad Al-Shīrāzī and Fatimid Daʻwa Poetry: A Case of Commitment in Classical Arabic Literature; By: Tahera Qutbuddin; Brill, 2005
  5. ^ Muayyad Fid-Din Ash-Shirazi
  6. ^ Buniyad-i ta’wil
  7. ^ Virani, Shafique. "The Days of Creation in the Thought of Nasir Khusraw". Nasir Khusraw: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow.


  • Verena Klemm (2003). Memoirs of a Mission: The Ismaili Scholar, Statesman and Poet, al-Mu’ayyad fi’l-Din al-Shirazi. Ismaili Heritage Series 9, London: I. B. Tauris in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies. ISBN 978-1-86064-432-0.
  • Tahera Qutbuddin (2005). Al-mu'ayyad Al-shirazi And Fatimid Da'wa Poetry: A Case Of Commitment In Classical Arabic Literature. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-90-04-14103-2.

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