These two individuals face multiple accusations in relation to their participation in the collapse of the Abbasid Caliphate. Some people have argued the accusations and attempted to justify the actions of these two individuals or deny whatever possible, while believing the reason of these accusations to be mere enmity and religious controversies.
So, what is the reality?
To answer this question, we will present these accusations and determine whether they are mere speculation of enemies and opposition or are they really consistent with the beliefs and principles of the Shia creed and has any Shia ever admitted to these infidelities. Before beginning, if Allah wills, I would like to mention that I endeavour to present most statements in the argument of these accusations from Shia books and references, unbiased sources or sources based on Mongol history while seldomly making mention of references of the Ahlus Sunnah scholars. This is mostly to explain the understanding of other than them from the previous references.
I beseech Allah for ability, assistance and fair judgement.
Al Tusi had achieved such a lofty status among the Ismailiyyah that they regarded him as a master of all sciences. He was also their general Wazir.
‘Arif Tamur mentions:
وأما الإسماعيليون فكانوا يطلقون عليه أسم الداعي الأجل وحجة الإمام وداعي الدعاة
The Ismaili’s would refer to him as “Caller of the era”, “Authoritative leader” and “Best of callers.”
With all of this, he considered his life with them to be the most miserable and difficult, calling it a painful punishment, helplessness, a great regret, and so on. He describes it in his last writing, Sharh al Isharat, which he authored while residing in the fortress of the Ismaili’s.
As for the cause of these sentiments, some historians attribute it to the reason of his coming to the Ismaili’s, as they had threatened and forced him to take up the position among them.
Another group is of the opinion that he eagerly presented himself before Nasir al Din when he invited him; however, something occurred which made Nasir al Din apprehend him. Muhammad al Zinjani, who was a Shia, mentions that it was due to a difference between his beliefs and theirs.
The above is regarding his relationship with them, but what about his role in the collapse of their empire?
We obviously do not defend the Ismailiyyah as they were responsible for the destruction of the Muslim Ummah from all ideological and political perspectives.
‘Arif Tamur describes the situation, and he was with them at that time:
يوم كانت شوكة في عين الدولة العباسية وغيرها من الدول والإمارات
A day which was like a thorn in the eye of the Abbasid Empire together with the other dynasties and emirates.
As it is said regarding them, “A creed whose apparent is Tashayyu’ whilst its reality is disbelief and atheism”; however, we intend to expose the demeanour of this individual and his manner of dealing with those whom he served.
Al Mashhadani narrates from ‘Abdul Amir al A’sam that al Tusi secretly corresponded with the Mongols around about 650 AH.
This correspondence has been praised by ‘Arif Tamur in the following statement:
الذي لا يسعني إلا الإشادة بمقدرته وسعة إطلاعه
I can only commend his ability and his great insight.
Bear in mind that in the year 651 AH, Monku Khan issued an order commanding his brother Halaku to invade the western regions.
Al Hamdhani mentions:
فلما أن كان منكوخان يودع أخاه كلفه بأن يرسل إليه الخواجه نصيرالدين بعد الاستيلاء على قلاع الملاحدة
When bidding his brother farewell, Monku Khan assigned to him Khawajah Nasir al Din after the capture of the apostate stronghold.
The above testifies to the correspondence, while strengthening the possibility of its authenticity.
Al Hamdhani also mentions:
وفي ذلك الوقت هجوم المغول على الإسماعيلين كان مولانا السعيد الخواجة نصير الدين الطوسي الذي كان أكمل وأعقل العالم وجماعة آخرون من الأطباء… يقيمون لدى ملك الإسماعيلية مكرهين … وكانوا قد ملوا ملازمة الملاحدة ونفروا منهم ومالوا إلى هولاكو إلى أقصى حد ومن قبل كانوا يرغبون في ذلك فصاروا يتشاورون سراً لكي يجعلوا هذا الملك يخضع لهولاكو على الوجه الأحسن والطريق الأسهل وانضم إليهم كثر من الغرباء والمسلمين … ولهذا السبب لم يدخروا وسعاً في حث خورشاه على الخضوع والطاعة وصاروا يخوفونه مغبة المقاومة وعدم التسليم فاستجاب لنصحهم
During the attack of the Mongols upon the Ismailis, Khawajah Nasir al Din al Tusi who was the greatest and most knowledgeable scholar together with a group of others, were forced to remain in the Ismaili territory although they were fed up by residing with them apostates and despised them. They had established deep ties with Halaku as was always their intent, and they began secretly seeking his counsel in preparation for the reigns to fall into his hands in the easiest and best manner possible by joining forces with Muslim and foreign masses. For this reason, they spared no effort in convincing Khurshah to surrender and obey by scaring him with the consequences of resistance and opposition, which resulted in him accepting their advice.
This was the era in which Ibn al ‘Alqami tricked the Khalifah.
Al Mirza al Nuri al Tabarsi mentions:
ثم لما قرب إيلخان المشهور بهولاكوخان من قلاع الإسماعيلية لفتح تلك البلاد خرج ولد الملك علاءالدين عن القلعة بإشارة المحقق الطوسي سراً واتصل بخدمة هولاكوخان فلما استشعر هولاكو أنه جاء عنده بإجازة المحقق ومشاورته وافتتح القلعة ودخل بها أكرم المحقق غاية الاكرام والاعزاز
When Il Khan, famously known as Halaku Khan, approached the Ismaili territory to conquer those cities, the son of king ‘Ala’ al Din emerged from one of the forts by the secret instruction of Muhaqqiq al Tusi and began serving Halaku Khan. When Halaku conceived that this was by the permission and consultation of Muhaqqiq and that he had opened the fort and granted them entry, he granted Muhaqqiq great honour and respect.
So, the reality is not as explained by Hassan al Amin in his defence of al Tusi that Halaku kept him just for his knowledge and that al Tusi was forced to remain with him. Rather the actual reason is mentioned by the Mongol historian al Hamdhani:
ولما تأكد هولاكو من صدق و إخلاص الخواجه نصير الدين الطوسي و شملهم بعطفه وإنعامه وأعطاهم الخيول اللازمة لحمل أهلهم ومواليهم وأقاربهم مع أتباعهم وخدمهم وأشياعهم وإخراجهم من القلعة وألزمهم حضرته وأبناؤهم حتى اليوم ملازمون للحضرة ، ومقربون من هولاكوخان وأفراد أسرته المشهورين
When Halaku became certain of the truthfulness and sincerity of Khwajah Nasir al Din al Tusi, he showered him with his kindness and favours. He gave him a number of horses to carry his family and close ones, together with his followers, servants, and belongings from the fort. He kept him and his family in his company up until this day making sure they are present and close to Halaku Khan and the famous ones of his family.
Some of the above has been previously mentioned, as well as more, regarding the status of al Tusi in the eyes of Halaku. So, after all of this, can it be said that he was forced? Allah willing, more incidents will be mentioned which will further clarify that he did not act with fear but rather with sincerity to strengthen this empire, when it became clear to him that he could achieve the goals of the creed to which he belonged.
We previously discussed the Shia ruling with regards to the disbelief of the Ahlus Sunnah and permissibility of their killing. We also presented the opinion of al Tusi which echoed the same beliefs; therefore, it is not strange to find that he urged Halaku to invade Baghdad.
Other than the statements mentioned by the Ahlus Sunnah scholars and historians testifying to the occurrence of this instigation, there are statements from some Shia scholars mentioning that al Tusi played a role in the decision of Halaku regarding the invasion of Baghdad. Yes, he and Ibn al ‘Alqami were not the primary motivators, but that does not mean that they played no role in it.
Their scholar of hadith, al Nuri al Tabarsi mentions:
و دخل القلعة ودخل بها هولاكو وأكرم المحقق الطوسي غاية الإكرام والإعزاز وصحبه وارتكب الأمر الكلية حسب رأيه وإجازته فأرغبه المحقق لتسخير عراق العرب فعزم هولاكوخان على فتح بغداد وسخر تلك البلاد والنواحي واستأصل الخليفة العباسي
He entered the fort together with Halaku. Halaku held Muhaqqiq in high esteem by keeping him by his side and orchestrating all matters in accordance to his opinion and permission. Muhaqqiq thereby made Halaku desirous to conquer Southern Iraq, which resulted in Halaku Khan thereafter conquering Baghdad, subjugating those cities, its surroundings, and annihilating the Abbasid Caliphate.
Nazmi Zadah mentions the following in his book Kalsh Khalfa, which is the biography of Kazim Nurus:
من نصير الطوسي أتجه نحو بغداد وبتشويق
Through the persuasion of Nasir al Din, I am proceeding towards Baghdad.
Muhammad Taqi Mudarrisi Ridwi mentions:
وبعد أن فرغ هولاكو من أمر الإسماعيلية فكر بغزو بغداد وتأديب السلطان العباسي فاستشار الخواجه الطوسي وطلب منه أن يتقصى هذه المهمة عبر التنجيم ويخبره بالنتيجة فتأمل الخواجه في طلب هولاكو كثيراً ثم وافاه بما توصل إليه فقال إن الذي يلوح من التنجيم هو أن المستعصم سينتهي أمره أن العراق سيقع تحت تصرف الملك بلا جهد ومشقة وبالغ الخواجه مبالغة جعلت هولاكو يثق بكلامه حتى شد رحاله تلقاء بغداد وهو مطمئن البال
After invading the Ismailiyyah, Halaku contemplated invading Baghdad and disciplining the Abbasid ruler. He consulted Khawajah al Tusi and asked him to examine this plan by means of astrology and to advise him with the outcome. After pondering deeply over the request of Halaku, Khawajah came up with an answer that spued Halaku on further. He said, “The stars indicate that Musta’sim will soon die and Iraq will fall into the hands of a king without any difficulty whatsoever.” Khawajah exaggerated to such an extent in convincing Halaku that he immediately began preparations towards Baghdad without even giving it second thought.
Upon looking at this, can it still be said that he was afraid and forced? Ponder over the above statement, “Khawajah exaggerated to such an extent…”
Muhammad al Mudarrisi also mentions the following in the same book:
ويرى القاضي نورالشوشتري شيعي في كتاب مجالس المؤمنين أن الخواجة لما كان الخواجة على علم بتعصب المستعصم مذهبياً وطرق سمعه ما يلاقيه الشيعة من المحن حث هولاكو على غزو بغداد
Qadi Nur al Shushtari al Shia mentions the following in his book Majalis al Mu’minin regarding Khawajah, “When Khawajah found out regarding the ideological fanaticism of Musta’sim and his manner of dealing with the suffering of the Shia, he persuaded Halaku to invade Baghdad.”
Some astrologers have attempted to praise Halaku upon the invasion on Baghdad from an astrological perspective, as he was a staunch believer of it; however, Nasir al Din al Tusi caused this attempt to fail. Hereunder is a statement in connection with this incident, as it appears in Jami’ al Tawarikh of al Hamdhani:
وكان الخان يتشاور مع أركان الدولة وأعيان الحضرة في أمر تصميمه على الزحف إلى بغداد فكان كل منهم يبدي رأيه حسب ما يعتقد ثم طلب حسام الدين المنجم الذي كان مصاحبا له بأمر القائد… وقال له بين كل ما يبدو لك في النجوم دون مداهنة ولما كانت له جرأة بسب تقربه فقد قال للملك بصوره مطلقة أنه ليس ميمونا قصد أسرة الخلافة والزحف بالجيش إلى بغداد إذ أن كل ملك حتى زماننا هذا قصد بغداد والعباسيين لم يستمتع بالملك والعمر و إذا لم يصغ الملك إلى كلامي وذهب إلى هناك فستظهر ستة أنواع من الفساد أولها أن تنفق الخيول كلها ويمرض الجنود ثانيها أن الشمس لا تطلع ثالثها أن المطر لا ينزل رابعها تهب ريح صرصر وينهار العالم بالزلازل خامسها لا ينبت النبات في الأرض سادسها أن الملك الأعظم يموت تلك السنة فطلب منه هولاكو خان هادة بصحة هذا الكلام فكتبها المسكين وقال اللامات (بخشيان) والأمراء إن الذهاب إلى بغداد هو عين الصواب بعد ذلك استدعى هولاكو خان الخواجة نصر الدين الطوسي واستشاره فخاف الخواجة وظن الأمر على سبيل الاختبار فقال لن تقع أية واقعة من هذه الأحداث فقال هولاكو إذاً ماذا يكون … قال إن هولاكو خان سيحل محل الخليفة ثم أحضر هولاكو حسام الدين ليتباحث مع الخواجة الذي قال لقد استشهد جمع كثير من الصحابة باتفاق آراء الجمهور وأهل الإسلام ولم يحدث فساد قط ولو قيل إن للعباسين مكرمة خاصة بهم فإن طاهراً جاء من خراسان بأمر المأمون وقتل أخاه محمد الأمين وقتل المتوكل ابنه بالاتفاق مع الأمراء كذلك قتل الأمراء والغلمان المنتصر والمعتز وقتل عدد من الخلفاء على يد جملة من أشخاص فلم تختل الأمور
Halaku consulted with the members of the state and the present notables regarding his decision to invade Baghdad and each one of them gave their opinion according to what they believed. He then summoned the astrologer Hassam al Din who was his companion in the matters of decision making and said to him, “Shed light on what is clear to you from the stars without any flattery.” When he mustered up the courage due to his close proximity, he told the king secretly that he is not happy that he intends to attack the Caliphate and proceed with an army to Baghdad, as every king up to this day who had planned to attack Baghdad and the Abbasids did not enjoy kingship nor life. If you do not believe me and go there, you will face six types of issues:
Halaku then asked him to testify to the veracity of his words which the poor man then wrote down. However, the general public and the leaders were of the opinion that proceeding to Baghdad was the correct course of action. Thereafter Halaku Khan called for Nasir al Din al Tusi to consult with. Khawajah was afraid, thinking it was a test so he said, “None of these things will ever happen.”
Halaku replied, “In that case, what will happen?”
Khwajah replied, “Halaku Khan will soon replace the Khalifah.”
Halaku then called in Hassam al Din to discuss this with Khawajah, who said, “A large number of companions were martyred according to the opinion of the majority and people of Islam and no corruption arose.
ولو قيل إن للعباسين مكرمة خاصة بهم فإن طاهراً جاء من خراسان بأمر المأمون وقتل أخاه محمد الأمين وقتل المتوكل ابنه بالاتفاق مع الأمراء كذلك قتل الأمراء والغلمان المنتصر والمعتز وقتل عدد من الخلفاء على يد جملة من أشخاص فلم تختل الأمور
If it were to be said that the Abbasids have been particularly honoured, then verily Tahir [ibn Hussain ibn Zurayq] came from Khurasan on the order of al Ma’mun and killed his brother Muhammad al Amin. and al Mutawakkil was killed by his own son according to the consensus of the leaders. Similarly, the leaders and the youngsters assassinated al Muntasir and al Mu’taz whilst many other Khulafa’ were slain at the hands of a number of people, yet it did not result in anarchy.
The following is a poem mentioned regarding the above incident:
فأضاء قلب الملك من قول العالم كأنه زهرة اللعل في الربيع الباكر
The heart of the king was put at ease by the words of the scholar,
As if it were a crimson flower in the beginning of spring.
If we had to believe that he mentioned these words out of fear for his life, then does he also justify the killing of hundreds and thousands of Muslims and letting the Caliphate fall into the hands of idol worshippers as part of saving himself, considering his actions to be justified, although how can this be acceptable from a scholar who is revered, respected, and considered the Reviver of the Seventh Century according to the adherents of his creed? It is prevalent from the previously mentioned narrations that not only did al Tusi not object, but rather commended and encouraged the invasion of Baghdad due to his rancour for the Ahlus Sunnah and their leaders, and as vengeance for the adherents of his creed.
As for the justification that this was the result of the Abbasid’s maltreatment to the Shia, accepting it would be a foolish ignorant act which will render the acceptor worthy of every description of treachery and depravity. However, the actual motivating factor in this is their belief which considers the Ahlus Sunnah the most disbelieving people on the face of the earth, as it has been previously mentioned in the discussion regarding their rulings concerning the Ahlus Sunnah and as previously mentioned regarding his personal opinion concerning the disbelief of the Ahlus Sunnah and the permissibility of shedding their blood.
After the capture of Baghdad, was he remorseful or moved by what occurred to the Muslims? Hereunder are some of the letters he had written to Muslim rulers threatening them on behalf of Halaku. Muhammad Taqiy Mudarrisi mentions:
وبعد غزو بغداد أمر هولاكو الخواجة الطوسي أن يكتب رسالة باللغة العربية حول غزو مدينة السلام وقمع الحاكم العباسي … ثم يرسلها إلى بلاد الشام … وفيما يأتي نص الرسالة… يعلم الملك الناصر أننا نزلنا بغداد سنة ست وخمسين وستمائة فاستأسرنا مالكها وسألنا وسائل فيها وندم واستوجب من العدم وضن بالمال فآل به الأمر إلى ما آل واستبدل نفائس نفيسة نفوساً بذية خسيسة وكان ذلك ظاهرا فوجدوا ما عملوا حاضرا وقد قال القائل إذا تم أمر دنا نقصه ونحن في الاستزادة أما بعد يعلم الملك الناصر و… أنا جند الله خلقنا من سخطه وسلطنا على من حل عليه غضبه
Following the invasion of Baghdad, Halaku commanded Khawajah al Tusi to write letters in Arabic concerning the capture of the peaceful city and subdual of the Abbasid Ruler… which was then sent to Syria. The following is a portion of the letter:… King Nasir should be aware that we have invaded Baghdad during the year 656 AH and the ruler surrendered to us. He asked us for agents in it, he regretted and became worthy of non-existence. He withheld the money so the matter became of how it was and precious valuables were exchanged for evil despicable individuals. What occurred was inevitable and they got what they deserved. Someone once said, “When a matter reaches completion, its retrogression draws closer whilst we are in the state of seeking more.” With regards to the future, King al Nasir should know … I am from the army of Allah, we have been created from His wrath to dominate those who earn His wrath.
Their entire letter is written in this manner and with this spirit. In this, he addressed the Arabs and Muslims in Syria on behalf of the pagan Halaku. It should be clear after this whether his actions were due to fear or in accordance to his beliefs and established principles.
Take a look at another example from these correspondences of his which are mentioned in Jami’ al Tawarikh, Muhakkamah al Tarikh of Muhammad al Mashhadani and other books that make mention of the correspondences of al Tusi regarding the description of their entry into Baghdad. It is an imperative read.
Ibn al ‘Alqami and al Tusi are both accused of being from those who encouraged Halaku with the killing of the Khalifah, as mentioned in Tabaqat al Shafi’iyyah and al Bidayah wa al Nihayah of Ibn Kathir.
Al Mirza Muhammad Nankabani is among the Shia who makes mention of this matter:
ونقل المؤرخون أن حسام الدين المنجم عرض على هولاكو أن لا يقتل المستعصم لأن له رحم برسول الله ﷺ وليس في قتله مصلحة وإذا ما قتله فإن الأرض ستهتز وتنشق وتخر السماء عليها فرد الخواجة الطوسي كلامه وقال هذه كلها أباطيل ولما تردد هولاكو بعد سماع كلام حسام الدين أشار عليه الخواجة أن يضعوا المستعصم في بساط ويضغطوا عليه قليلا فإذا بان أثر كلام المنجم يترك ، وإلا يضغط عليه حتى تزهق روحه من غير أن يراق دمه فاستحسن هولاكو كلام الخواجة وأمر أن يفعل به كما أشار
Historians have recorded that the Astrologer Hassam al Din suggested to Halaku that he should not take the life of Musta’sim as he was from the descendants of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and that there was no benefit in his killing, as the earth will shake and the sky will split open upon it. Khawajah al Tusi refuted his suggestion saying that it was all fallacies. When Halaku became reluctant after hearing the words of Hassam al Din, Khawajah advised him to roll Musta’sim in a rug and squeeze him slowly so that the repercussions mentioned by the Astrologer could be avoided, or else squeeze him until he dies without shedding his blood. Halaku fancied the suggestion of Khawajah and ordered that the Khalifah be killed in that manner.
Mention has been made previously regarding the method used in killing the Khalifah in the chapter regarding the mention of the catastrophe of Baghdad.
Muhammad Taqi al Mudarrisi, a contemporary Shia, comments the following under this subject:
وعلى فرض أن الخواجة ضالعا في ذلك العمل وأنه هو الذي دفع هولاكو إلى قتل الحاكم العباسي فإن هذا العمل إذا كان ذنباً لا يغتفر عند السني المتعصب فهو ليس ذنباً عند الشيعي الذي لا يؤمن بالحكومة العباسي ويرى أن العباسين غصبوا حق آل محمد صلوات الله عليه وعليهم بل هو عنده باعث على التقرب إلى الله زلفى وكسب أجره وثوابه و الخواجة الطوسي كان شيعياً وكان يرى أن الإقدام على هذا العمل تكليف شرعي وواجب ديني فمن هذا المنطلق ليس لهذا الأمر عند الشيعة وقع يذكر حتى يكون داعياً إلى الكفر
Assuming that Khawajah was the cause of this matter, and he was the one who persuaded Halaku to take the life of the Abbasid ruler, it is worthy of note that although this action may be an unforgivable sin in the eyes of extremist Sunnis, it is not regarded as a sin in the eyes of the Shia, who reject the Abbasid rule and believe that they usurped the right of the progeny of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Therefore, he regards it to be a means of gaining proximity to Allah and earning his rewards. Khawajah al Tusi was a Shia who was of the opinion that achieving this was a religious obligation and duty. So, from this perspective, this matter is not of any significance among the Shia for it to be an indication of disbelief.
Considering the above, how can it be said that they endeavour for national unity whereas they consider the massacre of our leaders through the disbelievers to be a means of gaining proximity to Allah? To the extent, that they consider this reason enough to empower the disbelievers over the Ummah, because they consider us to be similar to disbelievers if not worse than them in disbelief.
Let us take a look at the statement of another Ismaili Shia, who is of a similar nature, echoing the same hatred for the Ahlus Sunnah and considers them to be disbelievers, viz. ‘Arif Tamur. He says:
من جهة أخرى … فيجب أن ندخل في حسباننا بأن نصير الدين لم يكن يعتبر المستعصم العباسي خليفة شرعي للمسلمين بل كان يحصر هذه الرتبة بالفاطميين الذين ينحدرون من أسرة الرسول الكريم وبما كان هو السبب بوقوفه موقف اللامبالاة من كارثة بغداد
Looking at it from another angle… it should definitely be taken into account that Nasir al Din did not consider Musta’sim al ‘Abbasi to be the rightful Khalifah of the Muslims, rather he considered that position to be the right of the Fatimiyyin, those who hail from the progeny of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, so perhaps this was the reason for his stance which was a stance of indifference amidst the catastrophe of Baghdad.
He also mentions:
أليس في هذا قبوله وزارة هولاكو ما يؤكد إسماعيليته ويلبي رغبته بمشاهدة مصير الذين كانوا وراء النكبة الكبرى
Does his role as the Wazir of Halaku not confirm his affiliation to the Ismailiyyah? He was satisfying his desire to witness the end of those who were behind the great catastrophe.
So, this was the harmonious logic, together with the established beliefs of the Shia. As for the tears shed by some of them over the incident of Baghdad and Islam, then it is either crocodile tears, or in keeping with the belief of Taqiyyah regarding which mention has been made previously, or from their general masses who are ignorant of the inception and requisites of this creed and the makeup of a sound disposition.
For this reason, we are not surprised at the words of Muhammad Baqir al Khuwanasari in the biography of Nasir al Din al Tusi:
ومن جملة أمره المشهور المعروف المنقول حكاية استيزار للسلطان المحتشم في محروسة إيران هولاكو خان … ومجيئه في موكب السلطان … إلى دار السلام بغداد لإرشاد العباد وإصلاح البلاد وقطع دابر سلسلة البغي والفساد وإخماد ثائرة الجور والإلباس بإبادة دائرة ملك بني العباس وإيقاع القتل العام في أتباع اولئك الطغاة إلى أن أسال من دما ئهم الأقذار كأمثال الانهار فأنهار بها في ماء دجلة ومنها إلى نار جهنم دار البوار و محل الأشقياء والأشرار
In a nutshell, the famous recognised individual commanded him to act as Wazir for the reticent ruler of the guarded domains of Iran, Halaku Khan ibn Tolui Genghis Khan who was at the time a powerful king of the Tartars and Mongol Turks. He joined the convoy of the powerful king with absolute propensity towards Baghdad the city of peace with the purpose of guiding the people, improving the city, eradicating the ongoing tyranny, and corruption together with its headquarters, by destroying the empire of Banu al ‘Abbas and openly killing the followers of those oppressors until their dirty blood flowed like rivers into the Tigris River and from there into the fire of Jahannum the place of ruin, hardships, and evils.
Some have attempted to explain this stance of al Khuwanasari to be an uncommon stance of the Shia creed motivated by the unjust actions that were carried out and that the Shia creed does not sanction the killing of even a single Muslim, whereas the reality is that the statement of al Khuwanasari is in keeping with the beliefs of the creed and the statement of this claimant also is in keeping with the belief of Taqiyyah!
Some Shia books take pride in praising al Tusi regarding his attempt to protect the knowledge, scholars, and the books of Baghdad during the invasion. Among them is al Tabataba’i who mentions the following:
كما استطاع أن ينقذ الكثير من علماء بغداد و مدارسها ومكتباتها وقد سلم بفضل هذا العلم الجليل الكثير من التراث والكتب والمكتبات من سقوط بغداد
He tried to save as much scholars, schools, and libraries as he could. A lot of significant knowledge from the legacy, books, and libraries were saved from the Fall of Baghdad, thanks to his efforts.
He also mentions:
وكان للمحقق نصير الدين الطوسي … الدور الكبير في إنقاذ ما أمكن إنقاذه من العلماء والمكتبات في بغداد
Muhaqqiq Nasir al Din… played a big role in protecting the scholars and libraries of Baghdad as much as he could.
The statements of Hassan al Amin also echo similar sentiments.
However, there are two undeniable things that spoil this fabricated praise:
…واتخذ في ذلك خزانة عظيمة فسيحة الأرجاء وملاءها من الكتب التي نهبت من بغداد والشام والجزيرة حتى تجمع فيها زيادة على أربعما ة ألف مجلد
…And he took a ginormous box filled with books that he had stolen from Baghdad, Syria and Arabia, which exceeded 400 000 volumes.
Hassan al Amin mentions similar but mentions the following excuse:
…لإنقاذ أكبر عدد من الكتب وتجميعها
… He accumulated them in an attempt to save a great number of books.
و تراكمت الكتب التي ألقاها التتار في دجلة حتى صارت معبراً يعبر عليه الناس والدواب واسودت مياه دجلة بما ألقي فيها من الكتب
The books were dumped into the Tigris River. Due to the large amount, it piled up and became a bridge for people and animals to cross. The water of the Tigris also turned black due to the great number of books.
It has also been mentioned that he saved whatever could be saved; however, it is more accurate to say that he chose that which suited his beliefs and knowledge. Ibn al Futi who was the student of al Tusi mentions the following in this regard:
سنة اثنتين وستين وست مئة فيه وصل نصير الدين الطوسي إلى بغداد … ثم أنحدر إلى واسط والبصرة وجمع من العراق كتباً كثيرة لأجل الرصد
During the year 662 AH, Nasir al Din came to Baghdad … He then proceeded to Wasit and Basrah and collected many books from Iraq for the purpose of study.
Similar to the fate of the libraries of Baghdad was the fate of the Ismaili state libraries as mentioned in the following by ‘Ata’ Malik al Juwayni and attested to by the officials of Halaku who invaded Baghdad after invading the Ismailiyyah:
وعندما كنت بأسفل لمسر استولت علي الرغبة في تفقد مكتبة آلموت التي استطا ر صيتها في الأقطار فعرضت على السلطان فتقبل السلطان طلبي بقبول حسن وأعطى الأوامر اللازمة ، فتوجهت لتفقد المكتبة وأخرجت كل ما وجدت من المصاحف ونفائس الكتب وأحرقت ما بقي وكان متعلقاً بضلالتهم وغوايتهم
Upon reaching the depths of the Lambesar castle, the desire to destroy the library of Alamut overcame me, so I proposed it to the King who keenly accepted thereby giving the necessary instructions. I then proceeded to destroy the library by removing all of the Qur’ans and precious books that I could find and setting the rest alight as it was filled with their false propaganda and errors.
As for his efforts in protecting the scholars, it was only confined to Shia scholars and not the general scholars of Baghdad. We have not come across anything with regards to his special effort except that of saving al ‘Alqami which isn’t something strange as we have previously cited narrations attesting to the bond between al Tusi and Ibn al ‘Alqami.
The rest of the scholars were slain as mentioned previously in the statement of ‘Ali al Tabataba’i and other historians, under the discussion of the destruction of books.
‘Arif Tamur also attests to this in his following statement:
وعند اجتياح المغول لبغداد لم يتوقف عن أعمال الخير فا ستحصل من هولاكو على أمر باستثناء المسيحيين والشيعة والعا ئلات الغير إسلامية من الاستباحة وهكذا بالنسبة للعلماء وجال الفكر والدين
Their good continued even during the invasion of Baghdad. Halaku was asked to order the exception of Christians, Shia, and other non-believing families from being slain. Similar was the exception in relation to the scholars and intellectuals.
He also mentions:
فأعلن أنه من أتباع مذهبهم الإثنى عشري وبأنه ما جاء إلى بغداد مع هولاكو إلا لحمايتهم من خطر المغول وعزلهم عن العباسين السنة
He announced that he was an adherent of their creed, al Ithna ‘Ashariyyah and that his coming to Baghdad with Halaku was to protect them from the danger of the Mongols and to release them from the Sunni Abbasids.
Ibn al Qayyim mentions the following in this regard:
ولما انتهت النوبة إلى وزير الملاحدة النصير الطوسي وزير هولاكو شفا نفسه من أتباع الرسول و أهل دينه فعرضهم على السيف حتى شفا إخوانه من الملاحدة وا شتفى هو فقتل الخليفة والقضاة والفقهاء والمحدثين واستبقى الفلاسفة والمنجمين والطبائعيين والسحرة ونقل إليهم أوقاف المدارس والمساجد والربط إليهم
When the matter reached the apostate Wazir al Nasir al Tusi, the Wazir of Halaku, he removed himself from the followers of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his religion, and presented them to the sword to the extent that he sought only intercession for his own apostate brothers. So, the Khalifah together with the Judges and Jurists were slain, whereas the Philosophers, Astrologers, Physicists and sorcerers were spared and the endowments and affairs of the educational institutes and Masajid were assigned to them.
In the foreword of Qawa’id al Ahkam of their scholar al Hilli, the writer mentions:
وبفضل هذا الشيخ المعظم وتدبير نجا أهل الكوفة والحلة والمشهدين الشريفين من القتل والنهب والسبي وذلك حين غزا التتار العراق وعملوا ما عملوا
By virtue of this great Sheikh and planning, the people of Kufah, Hillah, and the two noble shrines were saved from being slain, robbed, or even taken as captives. This all occurred during the Tartar invasion of Baghdad when many wrongs were perpetrated.
The above are all the locations of the Shia.
We end this discussion of al Tusi with the words of Edward Granville Browne who mentions the following:
We should not lose sight of the fact… that despite his writings in the topics of ethics and religion, he showed ingratitude to his Ismaili hosts just as he assisted in the massacre of the Khalifah in a manner that pleased an apostate blood shedding pagan such as Halaku…
 A’yan al Shia, 9/415.
 Nasir al Din al Tusi, pg. 43.
 A’yan al Shia, 9/416; Al ‘Allamah al Khwajah Nasir al Din al Tusi li Muhammad Taqi Mudarrisi.
 A’yan al Shia, 9/416.
 Nasir al Din al Tusi, pg. 57.
 Muhakkamah al Tarikh, pg. 70, 71; Nasir al Din al Tusi, pg. 22-46.
 Nasir al Din al Tusi, pg. 40, 132.
 Muhakkamah al Tarikh, pg. 70, 71.
 Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 203.
 Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 249.
 Khatimah al Mustadrak, 2/425.
 Al Ghazwa al Maghuli li Hassan al Amin, pg. 118-154; A’yan al Shia, 9/416.
 Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 257.
 Khatimah al Mustadrak, 2/425.
 Kalsh Khalfa, pg. 127.
 Nasir al Din al Tusi Hayatuhu wa ‘Atharuhu, pg. 21.
 Nasir al Din al Tusi Hayatuhu wa ‘Atharuhu, pg. 22.
 Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 278-280.
 A’yan al Shia, 9/92; Nasir al Din al Tusi li al Mudarrisi, pg. 21.
 Nasir al Din al Tusi, pg. 30.
 Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 296; Muhakkamah al Tarikh, pg. 87.
 Tabaqat al Shafi’iyyah, 8/271; Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 13/214,283.
 Qisas al ‘Ulama’, pg. 287; Al ‘Allamah al Khwajah Nasir al Din al Tusi, pg. 28.
 Al ‘Allamah al Khwajah Nasir al Din al Tusi, pg. 69.
 Nasir al Din al Tusi, pg. 89.
 Nasir al Din al Tusi, pg. 62.
 A’yan al Shia, 9/157; Rawdat al Jinan fi Ahwal al ‘Ulama’ wa al Sadat, pg. 578; Muhakkamah al Tarikh li Muhammad al Mashhadani, pg. 101; Footnote 1 of Bihar al Anwar li al Majlisi, 31/104.
 Riyad al Masa’il, 2/26.
 Riyad al Masa’il, 2/27.
 Al Ghazwa al Maghuli, pg. 156; A’yan al Shia, 9/416.
 Riyad al Masa’il, 2/26; Khatimah al Mustadrak, 2/423; Foreword of al Risalah al Sa’idah.
 Al Ghazw al Maghuli, pg. 156.
 Riyad al Masa’il, 2/7.
 Al Hawadith al Jami’ah, pg. 382.
 Jaha Nakshay, pg. 271.
 Nasir al Din al Tusi, pg. 29-113.
 Nasir al Din al Tusi, pg. 77, 88-89.
 Ighatha al Lahfan, 2/380.
 Foreword of Qawa’id al Ahkam, 1/14.
 Tarikh al Adab fi Iran, pg. 588; Muhakkamah al Tarikh, pg. 108.