Al-Muqanna (Arabic: المقنع "The Veiled", died c. 783[1]) born Hashim, (Arabic/Persian: هاشم), was an 8th-century political and military leader who operated in modern Iran. He led an anti-Islamic rebellion against the Abbasid Caliphate and claimed to be a prophet. He was a major figure of the Khorrām-Dīn, an Iranian religion which drew on Zoroastrian and Islamic influences.

Iranian academics Said Nafisi and Amir-Hossein Aryanpour wrote about him in the context of the Khorrām-Dīnān, the religion he founded in AD 755.

Name and early life edit

Al-Muqanna was born with the name Hashim. He was a native of Balkh in modern Afghanistan. At the time, the city was under the rule of the Abbasid Caliphate, whose heads claimed successorship to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and leadership of the Muslim community. Hashim worked in textiles before his political and religious career.

Al-Muqanna's nickname comes from the veil he wore over his face.

Encyclopaedia Iranica reports that early scholars believed he was of Sogdian origin.[2]

Biography edit

Of Iranian stock,[3] Hashim was from Balkh,[2] and he was a clothes pleater. He became a commander for Abu Muslim who ruled over the province of Greater Khorasan under the Abbasid caliphs. After Abu Muslim's execution in 755 AD on the orders of the second Abbasid caliph al-Mansur, Hashim claimed to be the incarnation of God. He was reputed to wear a veil in order to cover up his beauty, whereas his followers wore white clothes in opposition to Abbasid rulers' black. He is reputed to have engaged in magic and miracles in order to gain followers. According to Bertold Spuler, Muqanna and his followers introduced common ownership of women.[4]

Hashim was instrumental in the formation of the Khorrām-Dīnān armies which were led by Pāpak Khorram-Din. This was an uprising of Persians aimed at overthrowing the ruling Arabs. When Hashim’s followers began raiding towns and mosques of other Muslims and looting their possessions, the Abbasid caliph sent several commanders to crush the rebellion. Hashim chose to poison himself rather than surrender to the Abbasids, who had set fire to his house. Hashim died in a Persian fort near Kesh.[1] The Khorrām-Dīnān armies continued to exist until the 12th century.

Cultural references edit

In 1787 Napoleon Bonaparte wrote a two-page short story about Al-Muqanna called "Le Masque prophète".[5]

The first poem in Lalla-Rookh (1817) by Thomas Moore is titled The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan, and the character Mokanna is modeled loosely on al-Muqanna‘. An 1877 opera, The Veiled Prophet by Charles Villiers Stanford, is in turn loosely based on the story of Mokanna as given in Lalla-Rookh.

St. Louis businessmen referenced Moore's poem in 1878 when they created the Veiled Prophet Organization and concocted a legend of Mokanna as its founder.[6] For many years the organization put on an annual fair and parade called the "Veiled Prophet Fair", which was renamed Fair Saint Louis in 1992. The organization also gave a debutante ball each December called the Veiled Prophet Ball.

The Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm (founded 1889), often known as "the Grotto", a social group with membership restricted to Master Masons, and its female auxiliary, the Daughters of Mokanna (founded 1919), also take their names from Thomas Moore's poem.[7][8]

Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges used a fictionalized al-Muqanna‘ as the central character of The Masked Dyer, Hakim of Merv, a 1934 short story, and in another story fifteen years later, The Zahir, as a past avatar of the titular object.

Sax Rohmer used the legend of el Mokanna as the background for his 1934 novel, The Mask of Fu Manchu.

Iranian film director Khosrow Sinai has a film script about al-Muqanna entitled Sepidjāmeh (The Man in White) published in Tehran in 1999.[9]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b The Encyclopaedia of Islam. 2nd ed. Vol. 7. Page 500.
  2. ^ a b Crone, Patricia. "Moqanna". Encyclopædia Iranica. Archived from the original on 2011-11-17. Retrieved 2021-04-18. Reputed to have come from Balkh (Balḵ), not Sogdiana, Hāšem participated in the ʿAbbāsid revolution (see ABBASID CALIPHATE) and continued to serve as a soldier and secretary in the army at Merv under Abu Dāwud Ḵāled b. Ebrāhim al-Ḏohli (governor of Khorasan 137-140/755-57), and his successor ʿAbd-al-Jabbār b. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān al-Azdi (140-41/757-58).
  3. ^ Lewis 2002, p. 111.
  4. ^ Spuler, Bertold (2014). Iran in the Early Islamic Period Politics, Culture, Administration and Public Life Between the Arab and the Seljuk Conquests, 633-1055. Brill. p. 373. ISBN 9-004-28209-2.
  5. ^ Le masque prophète
  6. ^ History, Veiled Prophet Organization, 2009, archived from the original on 2010-05-25, retrieved 2009-12-15
  7. ^ The Grotto, MasonicDictionary.com, 2007, archived from the original on 2014-10-11, retrieved 2009-12-15
  8. ^ Lalla Rookh Caldron, Daughters of Mokanna, Lalla Rookh Grotto, archived from the original on 2009-10-31, retrieved 2009-12-15
  9. ^ Sīnāyī, Ḫusrau (1999). Sapīdǧāma: fīlmnāma. Maǧmūʿa-i manābiʿ-i farhangī - sīnimāyī Fīlmnāma (Čāp 1 ed.). Tihrān: Daftar-i Pažūhišhā-i Farhangī. ISBN 978-964-6269-86-6.

Sources edit

  • M. S. Asimov, C. E. Bosworth u.a.: History of Civilizations of Central Asia. Band IV: The Age of Achievement. AD 750 to the End of the Fifteenth Century. Part One: The Historical, Social and Economic Setting. Paris 1998.
  • Patricia Crone: The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran. Rural Revolt and Local Zoroastrianism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2012. S. 106-143.
  • Frantz Grenet: "Contribution à l'étude de la révolte de Muqanna' (c. 775-780): traces matérielles, traces hérésiographiques" in Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi (ed.): Islam: identité et altérité; hommage à Guy Monnot. Turnhout: Brepols 2013. S. 247-261.
  • Boris Kochnev: "Les monnaies de Muqanna" in Studia Iranica 30 (2001) 143-50.
  • Wilferd Madelung, Paul Ernest Walker: An Ismaili heresiography. The "Bāb al-shayṭān" from Abū Tammām’s Kitāb al-shajara. Brill, 1998.
  • Svatopluk Soucek: A history of inner Asia. Cambridge University Press, 2000.
  • Lewis, Bernard (2002). Arabs in History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191647161.

External links edit