JALĀL-AL-DIN ḤASAN III (b. 562/1166-67; d. 15 Ramażān 618/1 November 1221), Nezāri Ismaʿili imam and the sixth lord of Alamut. He succeeded to the leadership of the Nezāri daʿwa (‘propaganda’ or ‘mission,’ see DĀʿI) and state on the death of his father, Nur-al-Din Moḥammad II b. Ḥasan II (r. 561-607/1166-1210), on 10 Rabiʿ I 607/1 September 1210, and, as was then customary for the lords of Alamut, he carried the honorific title of Jalāl-al-Din. Weary of the isolation of the Nezāris, he devoted his brief reign of some eleven years to establishing better relations with Sunni Muslims and their rulers.

Following the failure of the earlier Nezāri revolts against the Saljuqs and the subsequent stalemate between them, the Nezāri community had become further isolated from the rest of the Muslim world by the spiritual qiāma (‘resurrection’) declared by Jalāl-al-Din Ḥasan III’s grandfather, Ḥasan II ʿAlā Ḏekrehe’l-Salām (r. 557-61/1162-66), a declaration that had effectively rendered the outside world irrelevant. Jalāl-al-Din, who had grown dissatisfied with the doctrine and practices of qiāma, had evidently communicated his own new ideas to a number of Sunni leaders even before his accession (Jovayni, III, p. 242; Jovayni, tr. Boyle, II, pp. 698-99; Daftary, pp. 385-91). At any rate, upon his accession, Jalāl-al-Din publicly repudiated the doctrine of qiāma, proclaimed his adherence to Sunni Islam and ordered his followers to observe the šariʿa (‘religious law’) in its Sunni form.

He sent messengers to the Abbasid caliph al-Nāṣer (r. 575-622/1180-1225), to the Ḵᵛārazmšāh Moḥammad b. Tekeš (r. 596-617 /1200-20), and to other Sunni rulers informing them of his reform. Indeed, Jalāl-al-Din did his utmost to convince the Sunni world of his new religious policy and to end the isolation of his community. He invited Shafʿite faqihs (‘experts of Islamic law’) from Iraq and Khorasan to instruct his followers, and he also permitted Sunni scholars from Qazvin to remove any books deemed “heretical” from the library at Alamut. Finally, in Rabiʿ I 608/August 1211, the caliph al-Nāṣer acknowledged Jalāl-al-Din Ḥasan III’s new dispensation and issued a decree to that effect.

Jalāl-al-Din now became known as the “New Muslim” (now-mosalmān; Jovayni, III, p. 243), and his rights to the Nezāri territories were officially recognized for the first time by the Abbasid caliph, who showed him all manner of favors. Jalāl-al-Din’s mother went on pilgrimage to Mecca in 609/1213 under Abbasid patronage; and the caliph also intervened to persuade the nobility of Gilān to allow four of their daughters to marry Jalāl-al-Din. Amongst these wives was a sister of Kaykāʾus b. Šāh-anšāh, the ruler of Kutom (present-day Kohdom in western Gilān), who bore Jalāl-al-Din’s sole son and successor ʿAlāʾ-al-Din Moḥammad III (r. 618-53/1221-55, q.v.; Jovayni, III, pp. 242-45; Daftary, pp. 404-6).

The Nezāri Ismaʿilis of Persia and Syria accepted Jalāl-al-Din’s reform without any dissent, continuing to regard him as the infallible imam who guided his community and contextualized the interpretation of the šariʿa as he saw fit. As it was more comprehensively explained at the time of his successor, especially by Naṣir-al-Din Ṭusi (1201-74; see Ṭusi, 1950, text, pp. 61, 110; and Ṭusi, 1996, pp. 214, 290-91), the Nezāris had evidently viewed their imam’s declarations as a reimposition of taqiya (‘dispensing with or concealing someone’s true religious beliefs’) which had been lifted in the qiāma times; and the observance of taqiya could be taken to imply any sort of accommodation to the outside world as deemed necessary by the Nezāri imam.

Jalāl-al-Din’s rapprochement with Sunni Muslims had obvious advantages in terms of peace and security for the Nezāri state and community, which hitherto had been under constant attacks by their Sunni neighbours. In particular, the Ghurid (see GHURIDS) attacks on the Nezāris of Qohestān ceased, and, in Syria, where the Nezāris confronted renewed Frankish campaigns, they received timely assistance from the Ayyubids (Daftary, pp. 419-20). The improved relations were also beneficial to the Sunnis, as the Nezāri imam played an active role in the caliphal alliances of al-Nāṣer. In 610/1213, Jalāl-al-Din personally led his army to Azerbaijan to join forces with Moẓaffar-al-Din Özbeg (r. 607-22/1210-25), the last Ildegozid ruler of Azerbaijan and Arrān (see ATĀBAKĀN-E ĀḎARBĀYJĀN) and one of the Abbasid caliph’s major allies. Jalāl-al-Din helped Moẓaffar-al-Din Özbeg in his campaign against a rebellious lieutenant, Nāṣer-al-Din Mengli. After victory, as a reward for his efforts, Jalāl-al-Din was given the towns of Abhar and Zanjān with their environs.

After an absence of one and a half years, Jalāl-al-Din returned to Alamut and maintained his close relations with the caliph al-Nāṣer and Moẓaffar-al-Din Özbeg (Jovayni, III, pp. 245-47; Jovayni, tr. Boyle, II, pp. 701-2). Towards the end of his reign, many Sunnis and Sunni scholars, who were fleeing from the Mongol invasion of Khorasan, found refuge in the Nezāri fortress communities of Qohestān where they were treated lavishly by the Nezāri leaders (moḥtašams; Juzjāni, II, pp. 182-83; Juz-jāni, tr. Raverty, II, pp. 1197-98). Jalāl-al-Din was evidently also the first Muslim ruler to engage successfully in negotiations with the Mongols after they crossed the Oxus (see ĀMU DARYĀ) River (Jovayni, III, p. 248; Jovayni, tr. Boyle, II, p. 703).

Jalāl-al-Din Ḥasan III died of dysentery in the middle of Ramażān 618/November 1221, but his vizier accused the imam’s sister and wives of having poisoned him; and they were all put to death (Jovayni, III, p. 249; Jovayni, tr, Boyle, II, pp. 703-4).



Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru, Majmaʿ al-tawāriḵ al-solṭāniya: qesmat-e ḵolafāʾ-e ʿAlawiya-ye Maḡreb wa Meṣr wa Nezāriān wa Rafiqān az tāriḵ-e Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru bā maṭāleb-e eżāfi-e hamin baḵš az Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ-e Rašid-al-Din Faẓl-Allāh Hamadāni wa Zobdat al-tawā-riḵ-e Abu’l-Qāsem Kāšāni, ed. M. Modarresi-Zanjāni, Tehran, 1985, pp. 264-66.

F. Daftary, The Ismāīʿlīs: Their History and Doctrines, Cambridge, 1990; tr. F. Badraʾi as Tāriḵ wa ʿaqāʾed-e Esmāʿiliya, Tehran, 1996. M. G. S. Hodgson, The Order of Assassins, The Hague, 1955, pp. 217-25.

Idem, “Ismāʿīlī State,” in Camb. Hist. Iran V, 1968, pp. 422-82.

ʿAlāʾ-al-Din ʿAṭā-Malek Jovayni, Tāriḵ-e jahāngošā, ed. M. Qazvini, 3 vols., Leiden and London, 1906-37; tr. J. A. Boyle as The History of the World Conqueror, 2 vols., Manchester, 1958.

Menhāj-al-Din b. Serāj-al-Din Juzjāni, Ṭabaqāt-e Nāṣeri, ed. ʿA.-Ḥ. Ḥabibi, 2nd ed., 2 vols., Kabul, 1963-63; tr. H. G. Raverty, 2 vols., London, 1881-99.

Abu’l-Qāsem ʿAbd-Allāh Kāšāni, Zobdat al-tawāriḵ, baḵš-e Fāṭemiān wa Nezāriān, ed. M.-T. Dānešpažuh, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1987, pp. 214-17.

B. Lewis, The Assassins, London, 1967, pp. 78-81.

Ḥamd-Allāh Mostowfi, Tāriḵ-e gozida, ed. ʿA.-Ḥ. Navāʾi, Tehran, 1960, pp. 524-25.

Rašid-al-Din Fażl-Allāh, Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ, qesmat-e Esmāʿiliān, ed. M.-T. Dānešpažuh and M. Modarresi-Zanjāni, Tehran, 1959, pp. 174-78.

Naṣir-al-Din Moḥammad Ṭusi, Ketāb-e rowżat al-taslim yā taṣawworāt, ed. and tr. W. Ivanow, Bombay, 1950; tr. Ch. Jambet as La Convocation d’Alamût, Lagrasse, 1996.


Originally Published: December 15, 2008

Last Updated: April 10, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XIV, Fasc. 4, pp. 403-404