DEYLAMĪ,ABU’L-FATḤ NĀṢER b. Ḥosayn b. Moḥammad b. ʿĪsā b. Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-Allāh b. Aḥmad b. ʿAbd-Allāh b. ʿAlī b. Ḥasan b. Zayd b. Ḥasan b. ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭāleb, Zaydī imam with the title Nāṣer le-Dīn Allāh (d. 444/1052-53). According to Yemenite sources, he first sought support for his imamate in Deylamān, where he was born and raised, or in Gīlān. He is not mentioned in local Caspian sources, however. His ancestors had lived in Abhar (Ebn Ṭabāṭabā, pp. 8-9).

Between 430/1039 and 437/1046 he arrived in the Yemen and, in the latter year, gained allegiance among the tribe of Hamdān in the region of Bawn. In April he seized and pillaged Ṣaʿda, killing many tribesmen of Ḵawlān. A month later he entered Ṣanʿāʾ, where he was welcomed by Yaḥyā b. Abī Ḥāšed, chief of the Ḥāšed of Hamdān, who was in control of the town. Abu’l-Fatḥ was recognized as imam and was able to appoint officials and gather the land tax and zakāt. He then returned to his permanent base at Ḏībīn, near which he fortified a mountain and built his residence; in 600/1204 it was restored, enlarged, and renamed Ẓafār by Imam Manṣūr ʿAbd-Allāh b. Ḥamza. In 438/1046-47 Abu’l-Fatḥ returned to the region of Ṣanʿāʾ and received the allegiance of Manṣūr b. Abi’l-Fotūḥ, chief of Ḵawlān ʿĀlīa, who built a palace for him at ʿAlab, southwest of Ṣanʿāʾ. Ebn Abi’l-Fotūḥ also mediated the allegiance of some chiefs of the tribe of ʿAns and of Jaʿfar, son of the imam Manṣūr Qāsem ʿĪānī and leader of the Ḥosaynīya Zaydī sect, to Abu’l-Fatḥ, who appointed Jaʿfar amīr-al-omarāʾ and conceded one fourth of the revenues to him. Ebn Abī Ḥāšed and Jaʿfar soon fell out with the imam, however, and, when he also offended Ebn Abi’l-Fotūḥ by his conduct in Ṣanʿāʾ, he was forced to abandon ʿAlab. Jaʿfar brought Ṣanʿāʾ under his own control.

The imam returned to Ḏībīn and fought battles with Jaʿfar around Aṯāfet and ʿAjīb. The rapid expansion of the power of the Ismaʿili leader ʿAlī b. Moḥammad Ṣolayḥī from 439/1047 further reduced tribal support for the imam, and he was forced to move from place to place. Ṣolayḥī defeated and killed him and seventy of his followers at Najd-al-Jāḥ in Balad ʿAns in 444/1052-53, according to the best sources, though 446/1054-55 and other dates are also given. According to one Ismaʿili source (see Hamdānī, p. 82), he had appealed to Najāḥ, ruler of Zabīd, for help against Ṣolayḥī. He was buried in Ofayq near Radmān. His descendants continued to live in Ḏamār until modern times.

Abu’l-Fatḥ was the author of a large commentary on the Koran, which is extant in manuscript in Yemen: al-Borhān fī tafsīr ḡarīb al-Qorʾān, in which he is said to have put forward many eccentric views. The manuscripts of a shorter koranic commentary, al-ʿAhd al-akīd fī tafsīr al-Qorʾān al-majīd, and a collection of his answers to legal and theological questions of several of his disciples also survive. Abu’l-Fatḥ’s views clearly reflected his education among the Caspian Zaydīs but seem to have been rather independent of any particular doctrinal school. To some extent his teaching may have prepared the ground for the systematic introduction of Caspian Zaydī doctrine and literature in the Yemen under the imams Motawakkel Aḥmad b. Solaymān (d. 566/1170) and Manṣūr ʿAbd-Allāh b. Ḥamza (d. 614/1217).



Ḥosayn b. Aḥmad ʿArašī, Bolūḡ al-marām fī šarḥ mesk al-ḵetām . . ., ed. A. Karmalī, Cairo, 1939, pp. 36-37.

ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Ebn al-Daybaʿ, Qorrat al-ʿoyūn be-aḵbār al-Yaman al-maymūn, ed. M. Akwaʿ, I, Cairo 1391/1971, pp. 239-41.

Ebrāhīm Ebn Ṭabāṭabā, Montaqelat al-ṭālebīya, ed. M. M. Ḵarsān, Najaf, 1388/1968.

ʿAbd-Allāh Moḥammad Ḥabšī (Ḥebšī), Moʾallafāt ḥokkām al-Yaman, ed. E. Niewöhner-Eberhard, Wiesbaden, 1979, pp. 28-29.

Ḥ. F. Hamdānī, al-Ṣolayḥīyūn, Cairo, 1955, pp. 82-83.

W. Madelung, Der Imam al-Qāsem b. Ebrāhīm, Berlin, 1965, pp. 205-06.

Ḥomayd al-Moḥallī, al-Ḥadāʾeq al-wardīya, British Library, London, ms. no. 3786, fols. 109b-114a.

ʿAbd-al-Bāqī Yamanī, Taʾrīḵ al-Yaman, ed. M. Ḥejāzī, Cairo 1384/1965, pp. 48-49.

Yaḥyā b. Ḥosayn b. Qāsem, Ḡāyat al-amānī, ed. S. ʿA. ʿĀšūr, Cairo, 1968, pp. 246-50.

(Wilferd Madelung)

Originally Published: December 15, 1995

Last Updated: November 22, 2011

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