BOZORG-OMĪD, KĪĀ, the second Ismaʿili ruler of Alamūt (518-32/1124-38). He was of Deylami origin from the region of Rūdbār. The assumption of Justi (Namenbuch, p. 360) and other scholars that he was related by marriage to the Bavandid and Baduspanid ruling families of Māzandarān rests on a faulty identification of him with the ʿAlid Kīā Bozorg Dāʿī b. Hādī. Bozorg-Omīd is first mentioned as being sent by Ḥasan-e Ṣabbāḥ with three companions to capture the mountain stronghold of Lammasar (Lanbasar), west of Alamūt in a side valley of the Šāhrūd, whose chiefs had revolted after previously submitting to Ḥasan. The Ismaʿilis overpowered the stronghold, and Bozorg-Omīd, who personally killed two of the chiefs, was put in command of it by Ḥasan-e Ṣabbāḥ. This happened according to Jovaynī in 495/1102 and according to Rašīd-al-Dīn and Abu’l-Qāsem Kāšānī in 485/1092. The latter date would seem to be better in accord with the chronology of events but cannot definitely be corroborated. Bozorg-Omīd fortified Lammasar and provided it with water from the river and with extensive gardens. He resisted repeated assaults on the fortress by the army of the Saljuq Sultan Moḥammad Tapar in the years from 503/1109 to 511/1118. As a leading dāʿī (proselytizer), he participated in the theological debate with a Sunni scholar sent by the sultan. He remained in Lammasar until called by Ḥasan-e Ṣabbāḥ on his deathbed to come to Alamūt. On 25 Rabīʿ II 518/11 June 1124, a day before his death, Ḥasan appointed him his successor with three associates who were to reign jointly with him until the coming of the Hidden Imam. One of the associates died the following year, and Bozorg-Omīd seems to have effectively ruled alone. He generally followed the policies of Ḥasan-e Ṣabbāḥ and enforced the Šarīʿa strictly. In his early reign the Ismaʿili hold was expanded in particular in Aškavar and Ṭālaqān. In 520/1126 the fortification of the stronghold of Maymūn-Dez near Alamūt was completed and a Saljuq expedition sent by Sultan Sanjar against Ṭālaqān and Rūdbār was defeated. The Ismaʿili cause was further strengthened by the conversion of the powerful Deylami amir Sālār Jūy, for whom Bozorg-Omīd ordered the building of the fortress of Saʿādatkūh, investing him with the rule over the plain of Deylam. In 523/1129 the Saljuq Sultan Maḥmūd asked Bozorg-Omīd to send an envoy to Isfahan in order to conclude a peace. The envoy was murdered, however, by the mob in Isfahan. Bozorg-Omīd refused to accept the apologies of Maḥmūd, and the Ismaʿili harassment of Qazvīn was resumed. In 526/1131 an Ismaʿili army captured the ʿAlid Abū Hāšem Jorjānī, a pretender to the Zaydī imamate in Tanhejān, who had answered a letter of Bozorg-Omīd inviting him to accept the faith of the Ismaʿilis with accusing them of infidelity. After a lengthy theological debate in Alamūt he was killed and burnt. The campaign of political assassination initiated by Ḥasan-e Ṣabbāḥ was continued during Bozorg-Omīd’s reign, though on a reduced scale. Most notable was the murder of the caliph Mostaršed while he was detained in the camp of Sultan Masʿūd in 529/1135, which was publicly celebrated in Alamūt for seven days. Bozorg-Omīd died on 26 Jomādā I 532/9 February 1138. He was buried in Alamūt next to Ḥasan-e Ṣabbāḥ.
The text of a bedtime prayer (doʿāʾ dar hangām-e ḵᵛāb) in Persian attributed to Kīā Bozorg-Omīd is preserved in a manuscript of the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London.
Jovaynī, ed. Qazvīnī, III, pp. 208-09, 215-21, 235.
Rašīd-al-Dīn Fażl-Allāh, Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ (part of the Ismaʿilis’ history), ed. M.-T. Dānešpažūh and M. Modarresī, Tehran, 1339 Š./1960, pp. 115-56, 128, 133, 137-46.
Abu’l-Qāsem Kāšānī, Tārīḵ-eesmāʿīlīya (from his Zobdat al-tawārīḵ), ed. M.-T. Dānešpažūh, Tabrīz, 1343 Š./1964, pp. 137, 149, 153, 157-68.
Mīrkᵛānd (Tehran) IV, pp. 212, 214-17.
Ḥabīb al-sīar (Tehran) II, pp. 469-70.
M. G. S. Hodgson, The Order of Assassins, The Hague, 1955, pp. 78, 99-120.
B. Lewis, The Assassins, London, 1967, pp. 44, 61, 64-66.
Originally Published: December 15, 1989
Last Updated: December 15, 1989
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Vol. IV, Fasc. 4, p. 429