The Assassins

The Sabians

Harran in Turkey

Harran in Turkey

During the early Middle Ages, a new power appeared on the scene, that would contribute to the collapse of the Persian Empire, and seize much of the territories of the former Roman Empire. The impetus behind this great expansion of the Arabs was the religion of Islam, revealed to Mohammed in the seventh century. While Islam was a purely monotheistic faith, that claimed to represent a continuation of the revelations imparted to first the Jews and then the Christians, it too was subverted through subversive occult influence, through a community in Harran, in southeastern Turkey, known as Sabians.

The Sabians were related to the Mughtasilah, and known as Mandaites, Mandaens and Nazoreans, not to be confused with the pre-Christian Nazirites or Christian Nazarenes. The Mandaeans are often mistaken for the Sabians of Harran, though, in Mandeans of Iraq and Iran, E.S. Drower maintains that in the mass of material offered by Arab authors there is a good deal to indicate that the Sabians had points of common belief with the Mandeans, and that the Sabians merely chose to adopt the language of Neoplatonism in order to lend an air of scholarship and philosophy to their tenets.[1]



Scholars believe the Mandeans originated in a Jewish-Gnostic group from Jordan, who emigrated to Babylonia in the first or second century AD. Harran, then known as Carrhae, was less than a hundred miles from Samosata, the capital of Commagene, and belonged to the Roman province of Osrhoene, which was originally governed by descendants of Izates’ daughter, who married Mannos VI King of Osrhoene. It was their daughter, Awda of Osrhoene, who married Mithridates Arshakuni, the great-great-grandson Antiochus I of Commagene, from whom were descended the kings of Armenia and Parthian and Sassanid Empires of Persia.[2] Often, according to Medieval scholars, the term Armenia had included much of Anatolia, or otherwise referred to cities on the Syrian-Mesopotamian route, such as Harran, and Edessa, the capitol of Osrhoene.[3]

The Mandeans

The Mandeans

The Sabians were an important school of translators of Greek works into Arabic, though primarily interested in mathematical and astronomical works, was centered at Harran, in northern Iraq. Following the closing of the Academy, the last of the Neoplatonists moved east, seeking temporary refuge at the court of the Persian king, though, finding their situation inhospitable, they departed from Persia to an unknown destination, some say to Harran in northwestern Iraq.

According to al-Biruni, a Muslim scholar of the eleventh century, the Sabians were originally the remnant of Jews exiled at Babylon, where they had adopted the teachings of the Magi. These, he believes, were the real Sabians. However, he indicates, the same name was applied to the so-called Sabians of Harran:

They derive their system from Agathodaemon, Hermes, Walis, Maba, Sawar. They believe that these men and other sages like them were prophets. This sect is much more known by the name of Sabians than the others, although they themselves did not adopt this name before 228 A. H. under Abbasid rule, solely for the purpose of being reckoned among those from whom the duties of Dhimmies (protected non-Muslim community) are accepted, and towards whom the laws of Dhimmy are observed. Before that time they were called heathens, idolaters, and Harranians.... [4]

The Sabians, according to Chwolsohn, author of a monumental work, the Ssabier, retained a mixture of Babylonian and Hellenistic religion, superposed with a coating of Neoplatonism.[5] As Majid Fakhry has explained:

Their religion, as well as the Hellenistic, Gnostic, and Hermetic influences under which they came, singularly qualified the Harranians to serve as a link in the transmission of Greek science to the Arabs and to provide the Abbasid court from the beginning of the ninth century with its greatly prized class of court astrologers.[6]

Thabit ibn Qurra, Sabian philosopher

Thabit ibn Qurra
Sabian philosopher

The Sabians professed to follow Hermes and Agathodaimon, identified with Seth and Enoch. Essentially, like other dualistic sects, the Sabians taught the possibility of salvation through gnosis, which is attained in bypassing evil Archons that obstruct the ascent of the soul through the heavenly spheres to reunion with the supreme deity. The Sabians recognized a supreme deity, the primal cause of the universe, who had no contact with mankind but had placed the universe under the rule of the planets. Hence the Sabians worshipped the planets, or rather the demonic beings that governed them. They were said to sacrifice to the gods of the seven days of the week, whose names were partly Babylonian and partly Greek. They were also reputed to celebrate “mystery” rites addressed principally to Tammuz or to Shamal, lord of the Jinn, and, in which they were suspected of making use of human sacrifice.[7] They were reputed to sacrifice a child, whose flesh was boiled and made into cakes, which were then eaten by a certain class of worshippers.[8]

The Sabians, acting as translators and astrologers, were responsible for the diffusion of mystical teachings to the Islamic world, and of contributing to the formation of a mystical version of that faith, known as Sufism. It is also considered that a set of Sufi treatises, known as the Epistles of the Ikhwan al Saffa wa Kkhullan al Wafa, or of “The Brethren of Purity and Loyal Friends”, a philosophical and religious encyclopedia, which scholars regard as reflecting elements of Pythagorean, Neoplatonic, and the traditions of the Magi, were drawn up in the ninth century AD, under Sabian influence.

It is generally agreed that the Epistles of the Ikhwan as Saffa were composed by leading proponents of the Ismaili sect of the Shiah, the result of a split that occurred in Islam in the middle of the seventh century, over who was to be the rightful successor of Mohammed. The majority, known as Sunnis, adhered to the Khilafas, Abu Bakr, Omar and Osman, while the Shiah insisted on the successorship of Ali, the Prophet’s nephew.

Through the influence of Sufism, the central institution of the Shiah, the Imam, the office occupied by their leaders, had acquired a mystical significance. This office of Imam was thought to have been passed on directly from Ali, to the sixth Imam, Jafar as Sadiq, and then on through to the twelfth Imam, who disappeared in 873 AD. The Shiah majority, following twelve Imams, were known as Twelvers. Some of Jafar’s followers, however, remained loyal to his son Ismail, and were known as Ismailis, or Seveners.

The Ismailis

Fatimid Cairo

Fatimid Cairo

It was the Ismailis who perfected the method of corrupting an opponent internally, and perfected a method of indoctrination that would be employed by the Illuminati throughout the subsequent centuries. Though they professed outwardly to represent Islam, the Ismailis, being members of the Illuminati and consciously devoted to its goals, were committed to Islam’s destruction. Therefore, the Ismailis devised grades of initiation, wherein the leaders could adhere to heretical Gnostic beliefs, while restricting the lower levels to professing some degree of orthodoxy. This allowed them to appear to defend the faith, all the while working towards its destruction, thus recruiting the lower ranks into undermining the religion they falsely believed themselves to be representing.

The Ismailis were Muslim in name only, adhering instead to the ancient occult tradition, received from the Sabians, and which they were responsible for introducing to the West. It was an alleged member of the Brethren of Purity, Abdullah ibn Maymun, a charismatic leader, who succeeded in capturing the leadership of the Ismaili movement in about 872 AD. Though the earliest Ismailis had not deviated from the central tenets of Islam, it was primarily through the influence of Abdullah ibn Maymun that the movement became definitely subversive, and not just of Islam, but eventually of all religions.

Ibn Maymun, who has been variously described as a Jew, as a follower of the Mesopotamian Gnostic heretic Bardasanes, and, most commonly, as a Zoroastrian dualist, was brought up on Gnosticism, but was well versed in all religions. For Ibn Maymun, Islam was merely a front. The purpose of the seven degrees of initiation of the sect known as the Batinis, which he created, was:

To link together into one body the vanquished and the conquerors; to unite in the form of a vast secret society with many degrees of initiation free-thinkers ­ who regarded religion only as a curb for the people ­ and bigots of all sects; to make tools of believers in order to give power to sceptics; to induce conquerors to overturn the empires they had founded; to build up a party, numerous, compact, and disciplined, which in due time would give the throne, if not to himself, at least to his descendants, such was Abdullah ibn Maymun’s general aim ­ an extraordinary conception which he worked out with marvelous tact, incomparable skill, and a profound knowledge of the human heart. The means which he adopted were devised with diabolical cunning...

It was... not among the Shi-ites that he sought his true supporters, but among the Ghebers, the Manicheans, the pagans of Harran, and the students of Greek philosophy; on the last alone could he rely, to them alone could he gradually unfold the final mystery, and reveal that Imams, religions, and morality were nothing but an imposture and an absurdity. The rest of mankind ­ the “assess,” as Abdullah called them ­ were incapable of understanding such doctrines. But to gain his end he by no means disdained their aid; on the contrary, he solicited it, but he took care to initiate devout and lowly souls only in the first grades of the sect. His missionaries, who were inculcated with the idea that their first duty was to conceal their true sentiments and adapt themselves to the views of their auditors, appeared in many guises, and spoke, as it were, in a different language to each class...

By means such as these the extraordinary result was brought about that a multitude of men of diverse beliefs were all working together for an object known only to a few of them...[9]

Among the followers of Abdullah was Hamdan Qarmat. He became the founder of the Qaramitah, which became active in Arabia, where a number of Arabs were enlisted into the society. He put forward to them arguments borrowed from Gnostic dualism, permitted them pillage, and taught them to abandon prayer, fasting and other precepts. As a result of these teachings, the Qaramitah rapidly became a band of brigands, pillaging and massacring all those who opposed them, and spreading terror throughout the surrounding districts. The Qaramitah succeeded in dominating Iraq, Yemen, and especially Bahrain, and in 920, extended their ravages westwards. They took possession of the holy city of Mecca, in defense of which thirty thousand Muslims were killed.

University of al-Azhar

University of al-Azhar

The majority of Ismailis believed the successorship of the Imam continued among the Fatimid dynasty, who set up their own caliph and moved their capital to Cairo in 973. The founder of the Fatimid dynasty was Ubeidullah, known as the Mahdi, who claimed descent through a line of “hidden imams”, from Muhammad, son of Ismail, and through him, from Fatimah, daughter of the Prophet. He was accused of Jewish ancestry by his adversaries the Abbasids, the Sunni rulers of Baghdad, who declared him the son or grandson of Ahmed, son of Abdullah ibn Maymun, by a Jewess. After the establishment of their power in Egypt, the substance of the teaching of the Fatimids was not very different from the code of Abdullah Ibn Maymun, and his more violent initiate, Qarmat.

In 988, the Fatimids established the university of Al Azhar, the oldest university in the world, and the most prestigious educational institution in Islam, though now under the orthodox Sunnis. In 1004 AD, the Fatimids establishment of the Dar ul Hikmat, or the “House of Wisdom”, as a wing of Al Azhar. Under the direction of this Grand Lodge of Cairo, the Fatimids continued the plan of Abdullah ibn Maymun’s secret society, with the addition of two more degrees, making nine in all. At first, the initiate was persuaded that all his former teachers were wrong, and that he must place his confidence solely in the Imams of the Ismailis, as opposed to the twelve Imams of the Twelvers. Eventually, he was taught to disregard the prescriptions set out by the Prophet Mohammed, and taught the doctrines of dualism. Finally, in the ninth degree, the adept was shown that all religious teaching was allegorical, and that religious laws need be observed only to maintain order, while he who understands the truth may disregard all such constraints.

The Assassins

Assassin fortress of Alamut

Assassin fortress of Alamut

A fatal schism split the Ismailis over the succession to the Fatimid Caliph al-Mustansir, who died in 1094. The Egyptian Ismailis recognized his son al Mustali, but the Ismailis of Iran and Syria held the claim for his older son, Nizar. Hence, there are two branches of Fatimids, the Mustalis and Nizaris. The Nizari, were led by Hasan Sabbah. Having initially converted to the Ismaili sect, and then declaring himself to be a devoted adherent of the Fatimid Caliphs, Hassan Sabbah journeyed to Cairo, where he was received by the Dar ul Hikmat. His actions having eventually embroiled him in disgrace, he fled to Aleppo. After enlisting recruits in a number of cities, he succeeded in obtaining the fortress of Alamut in Persia, on the Caspian Sea. There he completed the plans for his great society, the infamous Assassins, deriving their name from the Arabic hashishim, or “eaters of hashish,” referring to the marijuana they consumed for ritual purposes.

At Alamut, Hassan and his followers established a castle, or the Eagle’s Nest, where Hassan Sabbah took the traditional title of Sheikh al Jabal, or “Old Man of the Mountain”. According to a legend reported by Marco Polo, the Old Man had made, “the biggest and most beautiful gardens imaginable. Every kind of wonderful fruit grew there. There were glorious houses and palaces decorated with gold and paintings of the most magnificent things in the world. Fresh water, wine, milk and honey flowed in streams. The loveliest girls versed in the arts of caressing and flattering men played every musical instrument, danced and sang better than any other women.”[10] The Old Man had would make his dupes fall asleep, so that when they awoke, they would find themselves in the garden, which he persuaded them was the Paradise described by Mohammed. So assured of its existence, they were willing to risk their lives on any mission assigned to them.

Aga Khan, Vanity Fair, 1904

Aga Khan
Vanity Fair, 1904

The Assassins waged an international war of terrorism against anyone that opposed them, but eventually turned on each other. The Old Man of the Mountain was murdered by his brother-in-law and his son Mohammed. Mohammed, in his turn, while aiming to take the life of his son Jalal ud-Din, was instead anticipated by him with poison, though his son was again avenged by poison, so that from Hassan the Illuminator, down to the last of his line of Grand Masters, all fell by the hands of their next-of-kin.

Finally in 1250 AD, the conquering Mongols, lead by Mangu Khan, swept over Alamut an annihilated the Assassins. Nevertheless, Nizaris survived, though in two rival lines. The minor line died out by the eighteenth century, while the major line, led by an imam called Aga Khan, moved from Iran to India in 1840. His followers, who are estimated to number in the millions, are still found in Syria, Iran, and Central and South Asia, the largest group being in India and Pakistan, where they are known as Khojas.

Aga Khan II, came to be one of the founders of the Muslim League, which was sponsored by the British in 1858. The 48th Imam, Sir Sultan Mohammed Shah Aga Khan III, was very close to the British royal family during his 72-year reign, and held the post of chairman of the League of Nation’s General Assembly for a year. The 49th Imam, Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, was given the British title “His Highness” by Queen Elizabeth II in 1957, and continues to this day to be closely allied to the Illuminati.



[1] p. xvi
[2] James Allen Dow, "Izates II (King) of ADIABENE".
[3] Alexanian, Moorad. Jewish History of Armenia.
[4]Al Biruni on the Sabians.
[5] Margoliouth, “Harranians”, The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics.
[6] A History of Islamic Philosophy, p. 15.
[7] Man, Myth & Magic. p. 119
[8] Margoliouth, “Harranians” Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics.
[9] Reinhart Dozy, Spanish Islam, quoted from Webster, Nesta. Secret Societies and Subversive Movements, p. 37-38.
[10]The Travels of Marco Polo, XLI