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By Farhad Daftary

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45 46 Ismailis in Medieval Muslim Societies Early Ismailism, extending from the middle of the 2nd/8th century to the foundation of the Ismaili Fatimid state in North Africa in 297/909, is the most obscure major phase in the entire history of Ismailism. Many aspects of the early stages of the Ismaili movement will doubtless continue to be shrouded in uncertainty due to a lack of reliable sources.  The Ismaili historiography which may be utilized for studying the schism of 286/899, is rather meagre.

The schism of the year 286/899 was the first major one in the community, and it had important consequences for the history of Ismailism. 45 46 Ismailis in Medieval Muslim Societies Early Ismailism, extending from the middle of the 2nd/8th century to the foundation of the Ismaili Fatimid state in North Africa in 297/909, is the most obscure major phase in the entire history of Ismailism. Many aspects of the early stages of the Ismaili movement will doubtless continue to be shrouded in uncertainty due to a lack of reliable sources.

5. See especially W. Ivanow’s The Alleged Founder of Ismailism (Bombay, 946). 6. Nizam al-Mulk, Siyar al-muluk (Siyasat-nama), ed. H. /968), p. , The Book of Government; or, Rules for Kings, tr. H. , London, 978), p. 23. 7. Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali, Fadaʾih al-Batiniyya, ed. ʿA. Badawi (Cairo, 964), pp. 2–36. 8. For a survey of these legends, see F. Daftary, The Assassin Legends: Myths of the Ismaʿilis (London, 994), especially pp. 88–27. 9. Marco Polo, The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian, Concerning the Kingdoms and Marvels of the East, ed.

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