The accusations against al ‘Alqami

2. Pronouncements of the Shia Scholars and Authorities[1] on Cursing and Excommunicating the Righteous Khalifas
September 19, 2022
Chapter Five – The stance of the remaining Shia scholars
October 13, 2022

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The accusations against al ‘Alqami


The accusation against him of treachery

Ibn al ‘Alqami has been accused of treachery and numerous correspondences with the Mongols by the Historians of Islam. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Abu Shamah who was a witness to the incident mentions it in his work, Al Dhayl ‘ala al Rawdatayn.[1]
  2. Al Juzajani in his work, Tabaqat Nasiri.
  3. Ahmed ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab al Nuwayri in his work, Nihayah al Irb.
  4. Al Dhahabi in his work, Duwal al Islam.
  5. 5.’Umar ibn al Wardi in Tatimmah al Mukhtasar.
  6. Ibn Shakir al Kutubi in Fawat al Wafayat.
  7. 7.’Abdullah al Shirazi—who was an adherent of Ibn al ‘Alqami’s Shia creed—in his work, Wassaf al Hadarah.
  8. Taj al Din al Subki in Tabaqat al Shafi’iyyah.[2]
  9. Ibn Kathir in al Bidayah wa al Nihayah.[3]
  10. Al Malik al Ashraf al Ghassani in al ‘Asjad al Masbuk.
  11. Ibn Khaldun in Tarikh Ibn Khaldun.
  12. Al Maqrizi in al Suluk li Ma’rifah Duwal al Muluk.
  13. Ibn Taghribirdi in al Nujum al Zahirah.
  14. Al Suyuti in Tarikh al Khulafa’.
  15. 15.Hassan al Diyar Bakri in Tarikh al Khamis.
  16. Ibn al ‘Imad al Hanbali in Shadharat al Dhahab.
  17. Ibn Taymiyyah.
  18. Nazmi Zadah ‘Afandi in Kalsh al Khulafa’.[4]
  19. Qutb al Din al Yunini in Dhayl Mir’at al Zaman.


‘Abdullah ibn Fadl al Shirazi, who was a Shia, mentions:


فكتب أهل بغداد على جدرانهم وأبواب المدارس و الأربطة بأقلام مختلفة لعن الله من لا يلعن ابن العلقمي

The people of Baghdad wrote the following on their walls, doors of schools, and signs, in various writings, “May the curse of Allah be on the one who refrains from cursing Ibn al ‘Alqami.”[5]


The above gives the impression that the treachery of Ibn al ‘Alqami was widely known, including among the general public.

Below are some of his own people who have confessed to his treachery:

1. Nur Allah ibn Sharaf al Din al Hussaini al Mar’ashi who is commonly known as al Shushtari mentions:


إنه كاتب هولاكو و الخواجة نصير الدين الطوسي وحرضهما على تسخير بغداد للانتقام من العباسيين

He wrote to Halaku and al Khawajah Nasir al Din al Tusi and spurred them on to exploiting Baghdad as a form of retaliation to the Abbasids.[6]


This reminds us of the indication of al Majlisi to the correspondence between Ibn al ‘Alqami with al Tusi, which in it is an indication to what occurred to the two Alawite individuals or one of them by the Abbasids. He mentions the following:


ويحتمل أن يكون إشارة يقصدق قول أبو جعفر عن العباسيين لا يزال القوم في فسحة من ملكهم ما لم يصيبوا منا دماً حراماً إلى قتل رجل من العلويين قتلوه مقارناً لانقضاء دولتهم كما يظهر مما كتب ابن العلقمي إلى نصير الدين الطوسي

The statement of Abu Jafar regarding the Abbasids where he mentions, “The nation will remain fearless in their territory as long as they do not take the life of one of us unjustly,” is a possible indication to the massacre of an Alawite individual whom they had killed towards the end of their rule as it appears in the correspondence between Ibn al ‘Alqami and Nasir al Din al Tusi.


2.’Ali ibn Anjab al Baghdadi famously known as Ibn al Sa’i (d. 665 AH), who in addition to being a contemporary Shia was also a resident of Baghdad, thereby making his testimony admissible.[7] He mentions:


وفي أيامه أي المستعصم استولت التتار على بغداد وقتلوا الخليفة وبه انقضت الدولة العباسية من أرض العراق وسببه أن وزير الخليفة مؤيد الدين بن العلقمي كان رافضياً…

During the rule of al Mu’tasim, the Tartars invaded Baghdad and massacred the Khalifah which brought the Abbasid rule to an end in the lands of Iraq. This catastrophe was caused by the minister of the Khalifah, Mu’ayyid al Din ibn al ‘Alqami who was a Rafidi.[8]


3.’Abdullah Fadl al Shirazi (d. 730 AH) mentions:


أرسل ابن العلقمي في الخفاء رسولا إلى هولاكو أظهر الإخلاص والطاعة وزين مملكة بغداد في خاطره

Ibn al ‘Alqami secretly sent a messenger to Halaku demonstrating sincerity and obedience to suggest his plan concerning Baghdad.[9]


Agha Burzuk al Tahrani mentions similar in Tabaqat A’lam al Shia and in the discussion concerning Shia works.[10] Al Shirazi had given this book of his to one of the Mongol rulers.


4. We find the following in the recognized book of Bihar al Anwar authored by Muhammad Baqir al Majlisi, discussing the association with Wazir Mu’ayyid al Din ibn al ‘Alqami:


كان هو وزير أبو احمد المستعصم بالله عبد الله بن المستنصر بالله آخر خلفاء بني العباسيين لعنهم الله وكان من خيار الشيعة وأعان هولاكو خان المغول على هلاك الخليفة و أغفل سلطانه المذكور إلى أن قتله سلطان المغول وأزال دولة العباسية فاستوزر نفسه

He was the Wazir of Abu Ahmed al Musta’sim bi Allah ‘Abdullah ibn al Mustansir bi Allah who was the last khalifah of the Abbasid dynasty, may the curse of Allah be on them. He was an admirable Shia who assisted Halaku Khan in massacring the Khalifah. He took advantage of the above-mentioned ruler allowing the Mongol Ruler to kill him and destroy the Abbasid rule, who in return appointed him as minister.[11]


The Kufan preacher, Shams al Din Muhammad ibn ‘Ubaidullah al Hashimi composed a poem lamenting the catastrophe of Baghdad. Some of it is as follows:

يا عصبة الإسلام نوحوا واندبوا            أسفاً على ما حل بالمستعصم

دست الوزا ة كان قبل زمانه           لابن الفرات فصار لابن العلقمي

O Muslims, mourn and wail,

Over what has happened to al Musta’sim.

Prior to his rule, the position of ministership was filled by

Ibn al Furat, but he handed it over to Ibn al ‘Alqami.


The above indicates to the influence of the ministership of Ibn al ‘Alqami concerning what transpired to the Khalifah. Had Ibn al ‘Alqami been the way some have attempted to portray him, having nothing to do with the matter and that it had all happened due to the instigation of al Duwaydar who didn’t actually have any power, al Hashimi would not have blamed him above.

He also composed the following poem regarding this tragedy after witnessing the graves of the Abbasid Khalifah being dug up and burnt:


إن ترد عبرة فتلك العباس       حلت عليهم الآفات

استبيح الحريم إذ قتل الأحياء      منهم وأحرق الأموات

If you desire a lesson then these are the Abbasids,

Upon whom catastrophes descended.

Their sanctum was dishonoured by their living ones being killed,

And their dead ones being burnt.[12]


The incident of burning the graves of the Abbasid Khalifas indicates to the motivating factor being rancour for them. However, this is not found amongst the Mongols but rather only among those who believe that the Abbasids usurped the Caliphate from the Alawites and thereby became disbelievers due to this action.

Some have attempted to raise doubts regarding the treachery of Ibn al ‘Alqami by doubting the Muslim historians whose accusations concerning Ibn al ‘Alqami have been mentioned previously, claiming the absence of contemporary existence or difference in religion.[13]

Concerning the above-mentioned statement of treachery, it is the testimony of a contemporary Shia known as Ibn al Sa’i. Furthermore, he was a resident of Baghdad during the Mongol invasion occupying the librarian position in the al Mustansiriyyah university. He died in 674 AH.

There are also the testimonies of the Shia themselves like that of Nur Allah al Mar’ashi who is commonly known as al Shushtari, ‘Abdullah al Shirazi, and others whose statements have previously appeared.

Ibn Abi Shamah who was a Sunni contemporary to the incident also makes mention of this treachery.[14]

Looking back at the chapter in which we discussed the Shia rulings regarding the blood of the Ahlus Sunnah and working under their rulers, it is not farfetched, as it stems from this belief. The statement of Muhammad Mudarrisi has also been previously mentioned stating that massacre of the Abbasid Khalifah and destroying the Abbasid Caliphate was not a misdeed, but rather a righteous deed by means of which a Shia gains proximity to his lord.[15]

Ibn al ‘Alqami’s appointment as the Wazir of Baghdad by the Mongols also testifies to his treachery, as it is mentioned below by the Mongol historian, al Hamdhani:


وفي نفس اليوم الذي قتلوا فيه الخليفة أرسلوا إلى المدينة مؤيد الدين ابن العلقمي ليقوم بالوزارة

Mu’ayyid al Din ibn al ‘Alqami was appointed as the Wazir of the city by the Mongols the exact day in which the Khalifah was massacred.[16]


Do you know the reason that distinguished al ‘Alqami from al Duwaydar or Sulaiman Basha for instance, as not only were they slain while he was spared, the affairs of the state were handed over to him although he was portrayed as incapable of such matters by his defenders, with him only being second-in-charge to be proof of his weakness according to what the defenders believed.

Furthermore, their appointment of his son ‘Izz al Din Abu al Fadl as governor upon his demise, which occurred a few months after their settling in Baghdad, also indicates to the matter not being due to individual abilities. Do you regard his rank or previous experience to have made him worthy of becoming the governor of Baghdad?[17]

There are a few who have objected, claiming that these are not sufficient evidence to prove his treachery and rather see it to be proof of his sincerity. Among them is al Tiqtaqa who mentions the following:


فأن السلطان لما فتح بغداد وقتل الخليفة سلم البلد إلى الوزير وأحسن إليه وحكَّمه فلو كان قد خامر على الخليفة لما وقع الوثوق به

After conquering Baghdad and massacring the Khalifah, the King treated the Wazir with kindness by handing over the city to him and appointing him as its ruler. Had he defended the Khalifah, the King would not have trusted him.[18]


Jafar Khisbak and Hassan al Amin have mentioned similar and added that Halaku chose him as he was in need of a governor for the city.[19]

A concise reply to the above claim would be that it is not the only evidence present and that the former and latter evidence contradict it.

A detailed response is as follows: Ibn al Tiqtaqa mentioned that had the Wazir been treacherous to the Khalifah, the King would not have deemed him reliable whereas it has been observed that Halaku would appoint as leaders those very individuals who had been treacherous to their leaders. This is exactly what transpired with the Fort of Mardin, the King al Sa’id prepared to fight against the Mongols; however, his son killed him and appointed himself as the leader. He then sought a truce from the Mongols which they awarded and Halaku granted them security. Halaku then handed over the fort to him in which he remained Sultan until the year 695 AH.[20] This individual deceived his own father and killed him which is the greatest form of treachery, yet Halaku overlooked it and handed over authority to him.

Regarding the statement of Jafar Khisbak that is endorsed by Hassan al Amin which claims that Halaku chose the Wazir due to his need for him, if it was as they claim then why did the King appoint his son ‘Izz al Din as his replacement bearing in mind it was only a few months after his demise which means that the city was still in need of strengthening and reinforcement.


What supports the affiliation of Wazir to the Mongols

Their attempt to raise his status among people by making his home a place of sanctuary at the time of the Baghdad’s slaughter, which was prior to the massacre of the Khalifah, indicates that the endeavour in giving him position was predetermined and prior to the massacre of the Khalifah, as mentioned by Ibn al Futi:


و وضع السيف في أهل بغداد يوم الاثنين خامس صفر مازالوا في قتل ونهب و…فلم يبق…إلا القليل ما عدا النصارى … والتجاء إليهم خلق كثير من المسلمين … وكان ببغداد جماعة من التجار …قد تعلقوا من قبل على أمراء المغول وكتب إليهم فرامين  … والتجاء إليهم أيضاً جماعة… وكذلك دار الوزير مؤيد الدين ابن العلقمي فإنه سلم بها خلق كثير ودار صاحب الديوان … ودارحاجب الباب … وما عدا هذه الأماكن فأنه لم يسلم فيه أحد إلا من قن في الأبار والقنوات

The massacre of the general residents of Baghdad began on Monday, 5th Safar together with the plunder… Other than Christians, very few made it out alive…. Therefore, many Muslims sought refuge from the Christians… There were also many traders present in Baghdad who had relations with Mongol leaders… and had received laissez-passers from them… so a group of Muslims also sought refuge from them… Similar was the residence of Wazir Mu’ayyid al Din ibn al ‘Alqami as many had taken refuge in it together with the residence of the treasurer… and the residence of the doorkeeper… With the exception of those seeking refuge at these locations, none were spared except those who hid in wells and mountaintops.[21]


Al Futi mentions in his work Majma’ al Alqab that Ibn Abi al Hadid was from those who sought refuge in the residence of Wazir Mu’ayyid al Din al ‘Alqami together with his brother Muwaffiq al Din.[22]

Having accomplices in this matter does not exonerate him but rather implicates him together with others.


Reason for this treachery

All those who have accused Ibn al ‘Alqami of treachery have linked it back to his anger at what occurred to the people of his creed, “The Shia’’, amidst the incidents of conflict between the Ahlus Sunnah and Shia which occurred many times in Baghdad during the era of his ministership.

The first conflict occurred in 650 AH.

The second incident occurred in 653 AH between the people of Karkh and Bab al Basarah.[23]

The third incident was in Dhu al Hijjah 654 AH, when the Shia of Karkh killed a man from the Ahlus Sunnah. The Ahlus Sunnah then complained to the Khalifah who ordered that the perpetrators be detained. However, the army then began acting harshly to the Shia which caused them to complain of it to the Khalifah who then ordered that they be left alone and to return to them whatever was usurped or seized from them in an attempt to curb the discord and killing.[24]

As al Tuji mentions in the following:


إن حادثة الكرخ لا شك فيها ويذكرها المؤرخين كافة

There is no doubt in the occurrence of the Karkh incident as it has been documented by adequate historians.[25]


However, in most cases victory was the lot of the Ahlus Sunnah due to them being the majority and the fact that the army and Khalifah was from among them.

All of this made the Wazir furious and hateful of the Khalifah and the state. We have previously discussed the correspondence between him and al Tusi together with the portion which al Majlisi makes mention of and the opinion of Ibn al ‘Alqami stating that the Abbasid dynasty deserves to be destroyed in terms of their actions as they killed some Alawites in these conflicts.[26] This explains the effect the incidents of Karkh had on Ibn al ‘Alqami. Soon we shall present the stance of some Shia who remained in the ranks of Halaku, substantiating the position they had taken from another narration which gives us an indication of the attitude of these people towards Halaku in light of their general beliefs and that which was mentioned previously.

Muhammad al Hasun is among those of the Abbasid dynasty who have mentioned the stance of Ibn al ‘Alqami after the incident of Karkh:


والظاهر أنه كان الكتاب الرا ئج بين الشيعة في بغداد في القرن السابع وذلك واضح من الكتاب الذي كتبه الوزير العلقمي إلى تاج الدين ابن صلايا – وهو شيعي – وفيه فكان جوابي بعد خطابي لابد من الشنيعة بعد قتل جميع الشيعة ومن إحراق كتاب الوسيلة والذريعة

It is no secret that it was an infamous book among the Shia of Baghdad in the seventh century. It can also be proven from the letter written by Wazir al ‘Alqami to Taj al Din Ibn Salaya who was a Shia. A portion of the letter is as follows: My answer after my speech had to be horrible as it was after the killing of all the Shia and burning the books al Wasilah and al Dhari’ah.[27]


Ibn al Wardi includes the entire correspondence between Ibn al ‘Alqami and Ibn al Salaya towards the latter part of al Mukhtasar.[28]

Similarly does al Subki, the following being part of it:

وكتب الوزير إلى نائب الخليفة بإربل وهو تاج الدين محمد بن صلايا وهو أيضاً شيعي رسالة يقول فيها نهب الكرخ المكرم و العترة العلوية وحسن التمثيل بقول الشاعر

أمور تضحك السفهاء منها          ويبكي من عواقبها اللبيب

فلهم أسوة بالحسين حيث نهب حريمه وأريق دمه

أمرتهم أمري بمنعرج اللوى                  فلم يستبينوا الرشد إلا ضحى الغد

وقد عزموا لا أتم الله عزمهم و لا أنفذ أمرهم على نهب الحلة والنيل بل سولت لهم أنفسهم أمر فصبر جميل و الخادم قد أسلف الإنذار وعجل لهم الإعذار

أرى تحت الرماد وميض نار          ويوشك أن يكون له ضرام

وإن لم يطفئها عقلا قومٍ                    يكون وقودها جثث وهام

فقلت من التعجب ليت شعري                   أيقظان أمية أم نيام

فإن يك قومنا أضحوا نياماً                  فقل هبوا لقد حان الحمام

 … فكان جوابي بعد خطابي لابد من الشنيعة بعد قتل الشيعة ومن إحراق كتاب الوسيلة والذريعة فكن لما نقول سميعاً … إلى أن يقول فلأفعلن بلبي كما قال المتنبي:

قوم إذا أخذوا الأقلام من غضب                 ثم استمروا بها ماء المنيات

نالوا بها من أعاديهم وإن بعدوا                       ما لا ينال بحد المشرفيات

و لأتينهم بجنود لا قبل لهم بها ، ولأخرجنهم منها أذلة وهم صاغرون

ووديعة من سر آل محمد                                أودعتها إذا كنت من أمنا ئها

فإذا رأيت الكوكبين تقاربا                     في الجدي عند صباحها ومسائها

فهناك يؤخذ ثأر آل محمد             لطلابها بالترك من أعدائها

فكن لهذا الأمر بالمرصاد وترقب أول النحل وآخر صاد

Al Wazir wrote the following in a letter to the Khalifah’s deputy in Irbil, namely Taj al Din Muhammad ibn Salaya, who was also a Shia:

The blessed Karkh together with the Ahlul Bayt and the Alawites have been ravaged. The following verse of the poet represents the situation:

Matters which cause the foolish to laugh,

While the intelligent cry over its consequences.

Their plight is similar to that of Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu when his sanctum was violated and his blood was shed.

I had commanded them not to stop at Mun’arij al Lawa,

But they only listened when it was too late.

They are determined to raid and assume control of Hillah and Nil[29], may Allah cause their plans to seize, for their souls have enticed them to do so, therefore patience is most befitting as Khadim’s previous threats were combatted with excuses in their favour.

I see beneath the ash sparks of fire,

Soon it will come to ablaze.

If the intelligent ones do not distinguish it,

Then the fuel of this fire will be bodies and heads.

I said out of astonishment if only,

Are the Umayyads awake or asleep?

If the time of midday approaches while the people are asleep,

Then say to them: Awaken to your deaths.

… Therefore, my answer after my speech had to be one of disgust due to the killing of the Shia and burning of al Wasilah and al Dhari’ah, so pay attention to what we have to say…

I shall therefore comply in the manner described by al Mutanabbi:

A people who when they draw their pens in anger,

and persist with it into the waters of destiny,

They achieve by it against their enemies even if they be afar,

what they were would have been incapable to achieve even they had been close.

I shall come to them with an army that they will be unable to encounter, and I shall expel them from there in a disgraceful and humiliated manner.

As for the trust which is a secret of the Ahlul Bayt,

I had entrusted it during my custodianship,

When I saw the two stars drawing near,

In the Tropic of Capricorn during the morning and evening,

Vengeance for the Ahlul Bayt is being taken here,

For its seekers with the Mongols from their enemies.

So, remain in observation for this matter, while anticipating the beginning of al Nahl and ending of Sad.[30]

Indicating to the verses, “The command of Allah is coming, so do not be hasty.”[31] and “And you shall certainly see its reality after a while.”[32]


With this being said, the strength and authenticity of the statements which mention the treacherous involvement of Ibn al ‘Alqami has become evident considering that the proofs mentioned above in authenticating the treacherous accusations are all statements of the opposing party. As for the level of its authenticity in our opinion, we find the statements of the large number of Islamic historians, the Shia scholars, those who have been mentioned previously and those who confirm the treacherous involvement of Ibn al ‘Alqami to be sufficient in establishing his treachery, especially taking into consideration that they were involved in this catastrophe and the ones affected. We have read their statements which are filled with grief and sorrow over this great catastrophe, so what can be said to the few that deny all of this either due to ignorance in the matter, conformity in belief, inattention in it being from the people of the book or to what the Mongols have done to their state.


The accusations against al ‘Alqami

We have already discussed the authenticity concerning the occurrence of this treachery together with the correspondences with the Mongols. In this chapter, we will expound on the actual accusations against him.


1.He reduced the army of Baghdad

He has been accused of this by al Subki, Ibn Kathir, al Kutubi in ‘Uyun al Akhbar, al Dhahabi in Duwal al Islam together with many others.[33]

Ibn Kathir mentions:


وجيوش بغداد في غاية القلة ونهاية الذلة لا يبلغون عشرة آلاف فارس هم و بقية الجيوش كلهم قد حرموا إقطاعاتهم حتى استعطى كثير منهم في الأسواق و أبواب المساجد ، وأنشد فيهم الشعراء قصائد يرثون لهم ويحزنون على الإسلام وأهله

The army of Baghdad was meagre and enervated as its soldiers were less than even ten thousand. They were not given stipends which forced many of them to beg in marketplaces and at the doors of the Masajid. The poets even compiled lines of poetry lamenting their plight and mourning Islam and its followers.


Al Subki mentions in al Tabaqat:


وحبب الوزير إلى الخليفة جمع المال والتقليل من العساكر فصار الجند يطلبون من يستخدمهم في حمل القاذورات ومنهم من يكاري على فرسه ، ليصلوا إلى ما يتقوتون به

The Wazir exhorted the Khalifah to hoard wealth and to reduce the army grants which then forced the soldiers to seek work. Some began picking up trash while others hired out their horses just so they could make ends meet.[34]


Al Bakri mentions the following in Tarikh al Khamis:


محا اسم من ذكر من الديوان ثم نفاهم من بغداد ومنعهم من الإقامة بها ثم بعد شهر فعل مثل فعلته الأولى ومحا اسم عشرين ألفاً من الديوان ثم كتب إلى هولاكو بما فعل

He removed the names of those mentioned from the treasury list and banished them from Baghdad. He repeated this action a few months later this time removing twenty thousand names. He then wrote to Halaku informing him of his actions.[35]


In this way, he was able to demobilize the army in a quick and effective manner. The statement of Ibn al Futi who was the student of Khawajah al Tusi and a contemporary to the incident assists us in determining the time in which the demobilization of the army took place. He mentions the following statement under the incidents of 655 AH:


وكان الخليفة قد أهمل حال الجند ومنعهم أرزقهم وأسقط أكثرهم من دساتير ديوان العرض. فآلت أحوالهم إلى سؤال الناس وبذل وجوههم في الطلب في الأسواق و الجوامع ونظم الشعراء في ذلك الأشعار

The Khalifah neglected the army by putting an end to their stipends and removing most of them from the registries of the treasury. This forced them to stretch their hands to people and they began begging in the marketplaces and Masajid. Poets have even composed poetry in this regard.[36]


The following description of the army mentioned by Ibn Tabataba al Shia when al Duwaydar came out to meet the Mongol army also indicates to its feeble amount:

وكان عسكراً في غاية القلة

The army was absolutely tiny.[37]


The statement of Ibn al Futi clearly indicates that the immobilization of the army took place in 655 AH. What also backs this up is that Halaku prior to this reprimanded Baiju Nuyan, a Mongol commander by saying:


إنك لم تفعل شيئاً سوى أنك رحت تخوف القوات المغولية بالمبالغة في غلبة الخليفة من قوة وعظمة

You have done nothing but frighten the army by exaggerating the dominance and power of the Khalifah.


Baiju replied saying:


إنني لم أقصر… وقد أخضعت …ماعدا بغداد فإنه بسبب كثر سكانها ووفرة جيوشها وبسبب كثرة ما فيها من الأسلحة ومزيد الأهبة وبسبب الطرق الضيقة الصعبة…

I haven’t become slack… and I have obeyed… It is just that Baghdad has a lot of inhabitants, a huge army, abundance of weaponry, plentiful preparations, and difficult narrow paths…


The Mongol historian al Hamdhani mentions that this was done in Rabi’ al Awwal 655 AH i.e., towards the beginning of the year.[38] The victory of the Baghdad army against one of the Mongol armies in 643 AH also confirms their prior strength.[39]

Al Hamdhani also mentions the following regarding Halaku:


كان يفكر في كثرة جند بغداد

He was concerned regarding the size of the Baghdad army.[40]


In that case, the Baghdad army must have been really powerful for Halaku to be concerned about it, Baiju to fear it, and the Mongol army to flee from it. So, why did the Khalifah neglect it? And why did he attempt to hoard the wealth stipulated for the army?

Ibn Taghribirdi mentions:


أن ابن العلقمي أﺷار على المستعصم بقطع أرزاق الجند ومصانعة التتار وإكرامهم يحصل بذلك المقصود ولا حاجة لكثرة الجند ففعل ذلك الخليفة

Ibn al ‘Alqami advised al Mu’tasim to put an end to the army stipends, to cooperate with the Tartars and respect them in an attempt to achieve the objective, and that there was no need for a huge army; and the Khalifah took his advice.[41]


With regards to the Wazir being the one who initiated peace with the Tartars, putting an end to their bloodshed and giving them a lot of wealth, it is a widely accepted fact—not only among those who accuse him but also among those who defend him—therefore the only logical explanation would be that it was none other than Ibn al ‘Alqami who convinced the Khalifah to carry out these acts.

It is only Allah who is fully aware of the full reality but Ibn al Futi who was close to this incident mentioned before describing the feeble state of the army that had been sent that the Wazir advised the Khalifah with the following:


ببذل الأموال وحملها إليه هولاكو مع التحف الكثيرة و الأ شياء الغريبة و الأعلاق النفيسة

To hand over all the wealth to Halaku including many gems, rare, and precious items.[42]


This also indicates to the fact that it was Ibn al ‘Alqami who caused the feeble condition of the army. And Allah knows best.

The following incident also raises doubts regarding Ibn al ‘Alqami:


ولما تحققت أمنية حسان الدين حاكم درتنك التي طالما تمناها وتجمعت عنده جنود سليمان شاه تعاظم وتكبر وأرسل ابن صلايا العلوي الشيعي الذي راسله ابن العلقمي بعد حادثة الكرخ إلى هكذا حاكم إربل ليصلحه مع ديون الخليفة و قال لقد قدرتُ هولاكو خان وما هو عليه من كفاءة وكياسة ومهما يكن له من العنف والتهديد فليس له عندي وزن فلو طيب الخليفة خاطري وطمأن قلبي وبعث إلى بجند من الفرسان لجمعت أنا أيضاً ما يقرب من مائة ألف من فرق المشاة من كرد و تركمان ولسددت الطرق في وجه هولاكو خان لا أدع أي مخلوق من جنده يدخل بغداد فعرف ابن صلايا الوزير بذلك فعرضه هذا بدوره على الخليفة فلم يبدي اهتماماً كثيراً ولما بلغ هولاكو خان هذا الكلام ثارت ثورة غضبه … ثم قتله المغول مع كافة أتباعه

When the long hoped for goal of the Turk ruler Hassam al Din was achieved, and the armies of Sulaiman Shah gathered around him, he became proud and haughty and sent Ibn Salaya al ‘Alawi—the same Shia who was used by Ibn al ‘Alqami to send messages after the incident of Karkh—to the ruler of Irbil to make peace and to settle the debts of the Khalifah. His message was as follows, “I have assessed Halaku Khan and I have found him to be inefficient and uncivilized. No matter how brutal or intimidating he may be, it holds no weight in my eyes. Had the Khalifah soothed me, put my heart at rest and sent an army of cavalry to me, I would have also gathered an army of one hundred thousand infantry troops of Kurds and Turks, and I would have blocked off every path in the way of Halaku Khan not allowing any creature of his army entrance into Baghdad.’’ Ibn Salaya informed Wazir who in return informed the Khalifah; however, the Khalifah didn’t pay much attention to it. When this statement reached the ears of Halaku Khan, he became extremely furious… The Mongols later killed him together with a considerable number of his followers.[43]


The Khalifah showing no concern to the report is strange unless we believe that he had already taken the advice of Ibn al ‘Alqami which was not preparing for an altercation and that handing over the wealth was going to be sufficient. Possibly, this is what the Khalifah indicated to when looking at the letter of Hassam al Din as Ibn al ‘Alqami did not notice any change in his stance. Indeed, he handed over the wealth and surrendered to the Mongols which reminds us of the stance taken by Nasir al Din al Tusi with the Ismailiyyah when he persuaded Rukn al Din Khurshah to surrender, which he did and that got him killed by Halaku, while Nasir al Din remained safe. One can wonder at the extent Halaku’s spies had infiltrated the palace of the Khalifah as he was promptly apprised concerning the treachery of Hassam al Din ‘Ukkah.

Some of those who defend al ‘Alqami claim that he had given the best advice to the Khalifah and guided him to the correct path which was to hand over the wealth and surrender to Halaku as it was the only way to protect himself and the Caliphate.

However, the inauthenticity of this opinion can be seen by glancing at Mongol history, added to the fact that they cannot be trusted. Their habit was to shed the blood of every person who poses a threat or just being eligible as one, although they may have not made a single advance against them.

I present to you the following historical evidences:

1. The massacre of the Ismaili ruler even after he had given them security and surrendered. Halaku kept him alive until he took over all the forts and then killed him.[44]

2. Ibn Salaya al ‘Alawi, the deputy of the Khalifah in Irbil.


Ibn al Futi mentions:


وكان قد قصد حضرة السلطان بعد وقعة بغداد ليقر رجاله فأمر بقتله

He planned on visiting the ruler after the incident of Baghdad to safeguard his men, but Halaku commanded that he be killed.[45]


Muhaqqiq Bashshar ‘Awwad and ‘Imad ‘Abdul Salam include the following statement of al Dhahabi under the footnotes of this incident:


فيقال إن لؤلو – صاحب الموصل – قال لهولاكو : هذا شريف علوي ونفسه تحدثه بالخلافة ولو قام تبعه الناس واستفحل أمره ؛ فقتله هولاكو

It is mentioned that Lu’lu’ the ruler of Mosul said to Halaku, “This is a noble ‘Alawi person who is desirous of Caliphate. If he stands up, people will join him and matters will become worse. So Halaku got him killed.’’


Look over the conciliation of Ibn Salaya and his attempt to hand over the stronghold to them without altercation or resistance.[46]

3.The inhabitants of the Harim stronghold.

Al Hamdhani mentions:


ثم شغلوا مدة بمحاصرة قلعة حارم وأخيراً طلب أهلها الأمان لكنهم اشترطوا أن يقسم لهم فخر الدين المعروف بالساقي على الأمان لكي ينزلوا ، ثم سلَّموا بناءً على عهده وإيمانه . فكان أن غضب عليهم هولاكو غضباً شديداً ، وأمر بأن يقتلوا دفعة وحدة مع نسائهم وأطفالهم ولم ينج منهم إلا صائغ أرمني

They laid siege to the Harim fort for a while but in the end its inhabitants asked for peace and decided to exit with the condition that Fakhr al Din who was known as al Saqi takes an oath of protection. They then surrendered based on his trust and belief. However, Halaku became furious at them and commanded that they be killed at once together with their women and children. The only person who survived was an Armenian jeweller.[47]


That is why the logical demanded that they not be trusted and for this reason, many rulers of Islamic regions refused to initiate peace with them due to their knowledge of their treachery. Some of them were:

  1. Malik Sa’id, ruler of Mardin

The Mongol general who was sent to Malik Sa’id said to him:


أهبط من القلعة وقدم الطاعة والولاء لملك العالم ليبقى لك رأسك ومالك ونسائك وأبناؤك

Descend from the fort and surrender to the king of the world so that your life, wealth, women, and children may be spared.


Malik Sa’id replied with the following:


كنت قد عزمت على السمع والطاعة والحضور إلى الملك ، ولكن حيث إنكم قد عاهدتم الآخرين ثم قتلتموهم بعد أن اطمأنوا إلى عهدكم و أمانكم فإني لا أثق بكم

I would have surrendered by obeying and coming in front of the king, but I no longer trust you since you went back on your promises to others by taking their lives the minute they accepted your promises.[48]


  1. Malik Kamil

Al Hamdhani mentions:


ولما بلغوا حدود ميافارقين أرسلوا رسولاً إلى الملك الكامل ودعوه إلى الطاعة و الخضوع فأجاب الملك الكامل : ينبغي ألا يضرب الأمير في حديد بارد ….. إذ كيف أثق بابن رجل نكث العهود الميثاق مع خورشاه و الخليفة وحسام الدين عكه وتاج الدين أربل وقد جاء الملك الناصر الدين خصيصا بأمانكم فرأى في نهاية الأمر ما رآى وسوف أرى أنا أيضا ما سبق أن رأوه

Upon reaching the borders of Silvan, they sent a messenger to Malik Kamil asking him to surrender to their rule. Malik Kamil replied saying, “A ruler should not be slain without fighting… How do I trust the son of a man who has broken pacts with Khurshah, the Khalifah, Hassam al Din ‘Ukkah, and Taj al Din Irbil, not forgetting Malik Nasir al Din who particularly initiated peace but still ended up being deceived in the end. I shall soon witness what has already been witnessed by them.[49]


  1. Sultan Qutuz

Prior to Halaku’s return from Syria to his homeland which was due to the death of the biggest leader, he sent a letter to the ruler of Egypt threatening him and commanding him to surrender. Sultan Qutuz upon receiving the letter consulted with his men. In that gathering, Nasir al Din Qimri said the following regarding Halaku:


إنه ليس بالإنسان الذي يطمأن إليه ، فهو لا يتورع عن احتزاز الرؤوس وهو لا يفي بعهده وميثاقه ، فإنه قتل فجأة خورشاه والخليفة وحسام الدين عكه وصاحب إربل بعد أن أعطاهم العهد و الميثاق فإذا ما سرنا إليه فسيكون مصيرنا هذا السبيل

He is not someone who can be trusted as he does not hesitate in killing nor does he keep his word. He suddenly took the lives of Khurshah, the Khalifah, Hassam al Din ‘Ukkah, and the governor of Irbil even after giving them his word. If we surrender to him, our fate will be similar to theirs.


Towards the latter part of the meeting, they unanimously agreed to go to war. Allah’s assistance was on their side in this battle, which is referred to as ‘Ayn Jalut and the Mongol invasion came to a halt. So, this was the correct stance to be adopted against the Mongols and not that which was advised by Ibn al ‘Alqami which made the Khalifah hold back the army’s grants and collect it to hand it over to the Mongols.[50]

The Shia contemporary, Hassan al Amin, in his following statement agrees that the Mongols are a treacherous nation:


ولكن الذي يطالب بمثل هذا ينسى أن المغول امتهنوا الشرائع وغدروا بالرسل وخانوا المستأمنين ونقضوا العهود

However, those who are calling for the return of this are forgetting that the Mongols reviled the Shari’ah, acted treacherously towards messengers, betrayed those who were granted protection, and went against their word.[51]


How can it be said that Ibn al ‘Alqami advised and guided the Khalifah to the extent that Hassan al Amin himself mentions the following:


وبعد فوات الأوان يدرك المستعصم أن ما قد أشار به ابن العلقمي كان هو الصواب، وأنه لو عمل بآرائه لما وصل الحال إلى ما وصل إليه

In hindsight, al Musta’sim knew that the advice of Ibn al ‘Alqami was the correct advice to take, and the situation would not have reached this point had he followed accordingly.[52]


This is nothing but contradiction and arbitrary.


2. He tricked the Khalifah into coming out to Halaku with the seniors of the state so he could assassinate them

Al Yunini is among those who makes mentions of this in the following words:


فحينئذ أشار ابن العلقمي الوزير على الخليفة بمصانعة ملك التتر و مصالحته وسأله أن يخرج إليه في تقرير ذلك فخرج وتوثق منه لنفسه ثم رجع إلى الخليفة وقال له : إنه رغب أن يزوج ابنته من ابنك الأمير أبى بكر ويبقيك في منصب الخلافة كما أبقى سلطان الروم …. ويمكن بعد ذلك أن تفعل ما تريد وحسن له الخروج إليه في جمع من أكابر أصحابه فأنزل في خيمة ثم دخل الوزير فاستدعى الفقهاء والأماثل ليحضروا عقد النكاح فيما أظهره فقتلوا وكذلك صار يخرج طائفة بعد طائفة

At this point the Wazir, Ibn al ‘Alqami, advised the Khalifah to initiate peace with the King of the Tartars and requested to play an active role in it. He set out confident in himself and soon returned to the Khalifah saying, “The King plans on getting his daughter married to the son of the Amir, Abu Bakr, thus keeping you as the Khalifah just as he kept the ruler of Rome. It is possible that you would then be able to do what you please.” The Khalifah happily set out taking a group of his senior associates and entered his tent. The Wazir then came after inviting the Jurists and their likenesses to attend what seemed to be a marriage ceremony, but turned out to be the place where their blood was shed. Similarly, group after group were made to come out.[53]


The very accusation is mentioned in Tabaqat al Shafi’iyyah of al Subki and in Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah but excludes mention of the marriage.[54]

We find the following by taking a look at the books which are considered unbiased and contemporary like Jami’ al Tawarikh of al Hamdhani as he had written the Mongol documents from the beginning which was given to him and due to him occupying an important position in their state. Similarly, Jami’ al Hawadith of Ibn al Futi as he was a contemporary to these incidents, he was present in Baghdad and he was the student of al Tusi himself, as well as other books.

Al Hamdhani mentions that the Khalifah sought the advice of Wazir prior to going before Halaku and that he was accompanied by three thousand of the state’s leaders, judges and seniors.[55]

Ibn al Futi mentions:


خرج الوزير …. إلى خدمه السلطان فى جماعه من مماليكه وأتباعه وكانوا ينهون الناس عن الرمي بالنشاب ويقولون سوف يقع الصلح إن شاء الله فلا تحاربوا هذا وعساكر المغول يبالغون في الرمي… وعاد الوزير … يوم الأحد وكان قد خرج الخميس سابع عشرين من المحرم وقال للخليفة قد تقدم السلطان أن نخرج إليه فأخرج ولده الأ وسط … فلم يقع الاقتناع به فخرج الخليفة والوزير … ومعه جمع كثير

Wazir entered into the service of the king together with a group of his slaves and followers. They were preventing people from shooting arrows and were saying, “Allah willing, peace will be made soon, so do not fight,’’ whereas the Mongol army continued to rain arrows. The Wazir returned on Sunday 27th Muharram, while he left on Thursday, and said to the Khalifah, “The king has ordered that we go before him.” However, the Khalifah’s middle son excluded himself as he did not trust him. The Khalifah and the Wazir then set out together with a great number of people.[56]


Ibn al Futi has also mentioned the portion discussing how they removed the jurists and killed them in his book Talkhis Majma’ al Adab[57] and he narrates the following from ‘Abdullah al Tahrani al Razi al Hanafi:


وهو ممن كان يخرج الفقهاء الى باب السور إلى مخيم السلطان هولاكو مع شهاب الدين الزنجاني ليقتلوا

He was among those called the Jurists out to Bab Sur to the camp of King Halaku together with Shihab al Din al Zinjani so they could be killed.


The above informs us that the calling of the Jurists and scholars out and their massacre is an established fact and that it was Ibn al ‘Alqami who called the Khalifah out with three thousand others. Ibn al Futi did not mention here that al Tahrani and al Zinjani were the only ones who did this, rather he mentioned “he was among those” indicating that there were others.

If someone were to object that these individuals were regarded as Ahlus Sunnah, we accept it; however, was the fate of those Ahlus Sunnah who assisted the Mongols one of dignity—as the Shia award al Tusi and al ‘Alqami—or was is that of disgrace.[58]

In Aleppo, some youngsters together with others were put to death by the leader due to their affiliation to the Mongols.[59]

It is commonly known even among the defenders of Ibn al ‘Aqami that the going out of the Khalifah was with his reassurance of the agreement with Halaku. However, I do not see a reason why three thousand other individuals had to also go out to initiate the peace treaty except it being a way of achieving their objective, which has been mentioned by the remaining historians.

As you can see, there isn’t any objection and it is actually best that they did not mention the promise and agreement which occurred between Halaku and Wazir wherein the Khalifah comes out with three thousand of the state’s notables. The Ahlus Sunnah historians, however, mention it and it is a reasonable reason for the coming out of such a group. Allah knows best.

After shedding light on the stance of these two individuals, we will discuss the stance of the remaining Shia scholars, so that a clearer picture may be obtained.


NEXT⇒ Chapter Five – The stance of the remaining Shia scholars

[1] Al Dhayl ‘ala al Rawdatayn, pg. 199.

[2] Tabaqat al Shafi’iyyah, 8/263.

[3] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 13/225.

[4] Muhakkamah al Tarikh, pg. 29.

[5] Wassaf al Hadarah, pg. 151.

[6] Majalis al Mu’minin, pg. 400; Muhakkamah al Tarikh, pg. 29.

[7] His biography is mentioned in A’yan al Shia, 1/305.

[8] Mukhtasar Akhbar al Khulafa’, pg. 136-137; Mas’alah al Taqrib bayn al Sunnah wa al Shia, 2/263.

[9] Tarikh Wassaf al Hadarah, 1/37-38; Muhakkamah al Tarikh, pg. 25.

[10] Tabaqat A’lam al Shia, 3/123,358.

[11] Bihar al Anwar, footnote 1, 104/31, second revised edition, Mu’assat al Wafa’, Beirut, 1403-1983.

[12] Al Hawadith al Jami’ah, pg. 364.

[13] A’yan al Shia, 9/100.

[14] Dhayl al Rawdatayn, pg. 656.

[15] ‘Allamah al Khawajah Nasir al Din al Tusi, pg. 69.

[16] Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 295.

[17] Al Hawadith al Jami’ah, pg. 362; A’yan al Shia, 9/87; Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 297; Tara’if al Maqal, 1/105.

[18] Al Fakhri, pg. 313.

[19] Al Ghazw al Maghuli, pg. 105; A’yan al Shia, 9/101.

[20] Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg.325.

[21] Al Hawadith al Jami’ah, pg. 359.

[22] Muqaddamah Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, 1/18.

[23] Al Hawadith al Jami’ah, pg. 320.

[24] Jami’ al Hawadith, pg. 331.

[25] Bilad al Sham, pg. 120.

[26] Bihar al Anwar, 64/341.

[27] Muqaddamah Kitab al Wasilah, pg. 8.

[28] Al Mukhtasar, pg. 88.

[29] A village on the outskirts of Kufah.

[30] Al Tabaqat al Kubra al Shafi’iyyah, 8/263.

[31] Surah al Nahl: 1.

[32] Sura Sad: 88.

[33] Al Tabaqat, 8/262, al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 13/214.

[34] Al Tabaqat, 8/262.

[35] Muhakkamah al Tarikh, pg. 35.

[36] Al Hawadith al Jami’ah, pg. 350.

[37] Al Fakhri, pg. 311.

[38] Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 260.

[39] Al Ghazw al Maghuli, pg. 86; Al Hawadith al Jami’ah, pg. 240.

[40] Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 277.

[41] Al Nujum al Zahirah, 7/48.

[42] Al Hawadith al Jami’ah, pg. 349.

[43] Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 267.

[44] Al Ghazw al Maghuli, pg. 18; Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 257.

[45] Al Hawadith al Jami’ah, pg. 366.

[46] Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 298.

[47] Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 307.

[48] Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 324.

[49] Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 319.

[50] Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 310.

[51] Al Ghazw al Maghuli, pg. 150.

[52] Muhakkamah al Tarikh.

[53] Dhayl Mir’at al Zaman, 1/88.

[54] Tabaqat al Shafi’iyyah, 8/270; Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 13/214.

[55] Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 290.

[56] Al Hawadith al Jami’ah, pg. 356.

[57] Talkhis Majma’ al Adab, 2/195; Footnote 4 of Al Hawadith al Jami’ah, pg. 396; A’yan al Shia, 9/85.

[58] Consequently, the author of al Hawadith al Jami’ah (pg. 396) includes in the footnote of the above statement that He was afflicted with a disease that caused him great difficulty right until his death. It seems that some of his punishment was metered out to him in this worldly life. Allah knows best.

[59] Bilad al Sham Abam al Ghazw al Maghuli, pg. 154.