Central Burma, Volume 5 by George L. MacGarrigle, Center of Military History

By George L. MacGarrigle, Center of Military History

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Sample text

By adding Adam to this list (although he did not possess " fazm"),12 the Ismaili commentators found evidence in the sacred text that exactly six great prophets were responsible for the elaboration of revelation, religion, and its laws - the shara'V. Yet another early doctrine held that in the past there had been as many as 313 messenger-prophets (rusul) and 124,000 ordinary prophets (anbiya). The Ismailis, and possibly other of the Shiah before them, reduced these numbers to an orderly, historical scheme.

These two conditions both fit the pronouncements on this issue in the surviving treatise of al-Sijistanl and reflect official Fatimid policy at the same time. What this implies is that earlier writings by al-Sijistanl were neglected, abandoned, or simply no longer circulated in the da'wa. He himself may have been responsible for this development. 64 Significantly, as will be seen, it is only the later treatises which survive into modern times. Among the surviving works or parts of works by al-Sijistanl, several are well recognized by Ismaili tradition and therefore are of less questionable orthodoxy.

Whether all these references apply to the same person and whether he is the writer of the works which survive in the name of Abu Ya'qub al-Sijistanl is a matter of some doubt. Ignoring for the moment the facts indicating al-Sijistanl's biography in his own writings (little enough at any event), the remaining non-Ismaili sources provide only a few clues. 36 Yet another report mentions a certain Abu Ya'qub as a major figure in Rayy abut 320,37 and a further reference cites the name of a da 7 in Baghdad who was once a lieutenant of Abu Ya'qub.

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