"Of the Qarmatian Crimes in Islamic History"

Islamic history has not witnessed severer bloody brutality and crimes against humanity as witnessed in the late third AH/ninth AD century and fourth AH/tenth and eleventh AD century, through the malicious and destructive esotericism movement. Historical sources indicate that the founder of the esotericist Qarmatian movement is Hamdan ibn Al-Ashath, nicknamed “Qarmat”, whose origin is Persian Magi. He was associated at the beginning with the Ismaili school of thought, yet he soon turned against it and established his own school of thought, centering in Kufa in 277 AH, called it Dar al-Hijrah. It is from that center that Hamdan began sending his preachers, whom he carefully selected to spread his call among the ignorant people, in general, and among the hidden Magi and the descendants of the Jews in particular. Among the most famous of his preachers was his brother Ma’mun and Zakarawayh ibn Mahroueh, who inherited from his father his hatred of Islam and desire to eradicate it, so as to establish a Persian state on its ruins, based on Magianism. This is in addition to Qarmat’s  cousin and son-in-law Abdan, the Qarmatian thinker, Abu Al-Fawaris, who led their rebellion in the year 289 AH and Abu Saeed al-Janabi in Bahrain, where the Qarmatians took advantage of the conditions surrounding the Abbasid state at the outset of its deterioration and the dominance of the military over it, not to mention the spread of Shu’ubiyyah movement in its parts. Thus, the Qarmatians focused their misguiding call on the weaker segments of society, such as the freedmen and slaves who hate their masters and the peasants who are resentful of the owners of crafts and lands, believing they believe that they do not give them what they deserve for their toil and hard work. In order to attract the peasants, they invented the idea of money and land communism, and spread among the Shu’ubis, who hate the Islamic state, their promise to eliminate Muslims. The Qarmatians took advantage of the youth and ignorant people by winning them over to their call by spreading deviant thoughts and attracting them with desires; so they permitted adultery, alcohol, homosexuality and all other taboos. They made women generally prevalent among them, permitted marriage to sisters and daughters and allowed other great temptations. They also used methods of oppression and terror with them. Qarmatian movement spread its poison and dominated the Abbasid state and its territories in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and the Levant.

Their crimes are countless crimes. After they made Bahrain the seat of their state, in which their power was strengthened, they made it a launching point for their brutal attack on those regions and wreaked havoc therein. Perhaps among the most prominent matters mentioned by historical sources about them is their treachery and betrayal; that, in the year 294 AH, they attacked pilgrims’ convoys in their return from Makkah Al-Mukarramah after performing the rituals. They met the first caravan and fought them fiercely. When the Qarmatians saw the intensity of the caravan in the fighting, he said: Is the representative of the Sultan amongst you? They said: No one is amongst us. Then they said: So, we have nothing to do with you. When the pilgrims were reassured and moved forward, the Qarmatians tracked them down and killed them all. Corpses were accumulated like a hill. Those who fled were tracked down and fooled to return back safely. Upon their return, they were murdered. Women of the Qarmatians moved among the wounded offering them water and whoever responds to them was killed. It was said that the number of victims in that incident amounted to twenty thousand. In addition, the Qarmatians threw the bodies in the wells and spoiled their water with carrion, dirt and stones. What they plundered from the pilgrims amounted to two thousand dinars. Such a scene cannot be committed from a person whose heart has an iota of faith or humanity. It needs men whose hearts, before their minds, have been distorted and adopted the esoteric belief.

That was not the only incident that harmed and killed the Muslims, but rather we see them returning to the same treacherous method. In the year 312 AH, sources tell us that Abu Tahir Al-Qarmati marched in a great army to meet the pilgrims on their return from Makkah Al-Mukarramah, so he caught up with a convoy that advanced most of the pilgrims. Many of the people of Baghdad were among them. Al-Qarmati plundered them. The news reached the rest of the pilgrims, but to no avail because the Qarmatians surprised them as well and took over their animals, luggage, money, women and boys. They killed as much as they wanted to left the rest in their places to die of hunger and thirst in the deserts.

Perhaps one of their worst crimes and treacheries was their attack on Makkah Al-Mukarramah under the leadership of Al-Janabi Al-Farsi, where they killed everyone they found in Mecca and the Sacred Mosque in the year 317 AH. They threw the dead bodies into Zamzam well. People were fleeing and clinging to the curtains of Kaaba, yet that was not useful to them at all. They were killed in their places and during circumambulation, while Abu Tahir, may Allah curse him, was is sitting at the door of the Kaaba, while men are trampling around him in the sacred month, in the sacred Mosque, on the day of al-Tarwiyah, saying: (I am by God and God is me * He creates people and I annihilate them). He then ordered the removal of the Black Stone and they stole and kept it in Qatif for twenty-two years. History depicted for us those horrific and criminal scenes committed by the Qarmatians against the pilgrims of the Sacred House of Allah and His guests.

The question here is, has the era of the Qarmatians, their false call and their deviant esoteric thought has ended? Whoever looks at history with the eye of the observer and the observant reader thereof believe that history never repeats itself, but events are recurring and they are similar from one century to another. Perhaps resemblance here is evidenced by the Magian state of Iran’s committing violence and corruption in the Sacred House of Allah. Esoteric Qarmati thought is still nesting in the minds of the owners of misleading turbans.