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Bahram al-Da'i (Arabic: بهرام الداعي‎, "Bahram the da'i [missionary]") or Bahram of Astarabad was a 12th-century Persian Nizari Isma'ili and the Chief Da'i of Syria. Although his attempt to establish a Nizari base in Damascus was unsuccessful, he had an important role in organizing Nizari presence in Northern and Southern Syria.[1]

Bahram al-Da'i
Native name
بهرام الداعي
CitizenshipNizari Ismaili state
Emirate of Damascus
OccupationMissionary, military leader
OfficeChief Da'i of Syria
PredecessorAbu Tahir al-Sa'igh
SuccessorIsma'il al-Ajami


After the execution of his predecessor Abu Tahir al-Sa'igh and the uprooting of the Nizaris in Aleppo, Bahram was sent by the Alamut Castle in an attempt to found a new Nizari base in Syria.[1]

According to Ibn al-Qalanisi, who is the main source of Ismaili presence in Damascus, Bahram started his career as a secret Chief Da'i in various parts of Syria.[1]

Nizari power in Aleppo began to decline as the Artuqid prince Belik captured the city in 1123, who expelled Nizaris from the city in 1124.[1]

As recommended by Il-Ghazi, the Artuqid prince of Mardin who supported Bahram, the latter turned to Southern Syria, trying to establish a base in Damascus which was then under the rule of the Burid ruler Tughtigin. At this time in 1125, Damascus was under threats of the Frankish Crusaders under Baldwin II of Jerusalem, and Ismailis from Hims and elsewhere had joined Tughtigin troops in the Battle of Marj al-Saffar against the Franks in 1126. Tughtigin thus welcomed Bahram. Abu Ali Tahir ibn Sa'id al-Mazadaqani, the chief vizier of Tughtigin, was partial to the Nizaris, and persuaded Tughtigin to gave a Mission House (dar al-da'wah) in Damascus and the frontier fortress Banyas to Bahram, who refortified the stronghold and made it his base, performing extensive raids from there and possibly capturing more places. By 1128, their activities had become so formidable that "nobody dared to say a word about it openly", as described by Ibn al-Qalanisi. Tughtigin thus became anxious about his relations with Bahram. Ibn al-Qalanisi blames al-Mazdaqani, while Ibn al-Athir blames Tughtigin for the situation.[2][1]


Bahram was killed in action in Hassbayya in the west of Mount Hermon while fighting local tribes. Ismaili presence in Damascus began to decline after his death. He was succeeded by Isma'il al-Ajami, another Persian da'i.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Mirza, Nasseh Ahmad (1997). Syrian Ismailism: The Ever Living Line of the Imamate, AD 1100-1260. Psychology Press. pp. 10–12. ISBN 9780700705054.
  2. ^ Wasserman, James (2001). The Templars and the Assassins: The Militia of Heaven. Simon and Schuster. p. 117. ISBN 9781594778735.