A quick glance
at Tusiís life reveals that he was simultaneously dissatisfied with the
Seveners and their ideas and with the Abbasid caliphs. After Hulāku conquered
Manqu Qāíān, familiar with astrology and mathematics, was interested in establishing an observatory in his territory. Aware of Tusiís expertise in this field, he asked Hulāku to send the scholar to his court after he had conquered the Ismāʻili fortresses.
In discussing Tusiís reasons for traveling with Hulākuís court, Hāíiri notes that the Mongol kings were extremely interested in history and astronomy. They saw these as the main instruments of their expansion: history to record their expeditions and astrology to predict their chances of success in a new attack. He concludes that they invited Tusi to accompany them as a renowned astrologer.
some historical documents, Tusi not only encouraged Hulāku to conquer
Alamut but also to attack
Tusi reminded Hulāku that both Abbasid and non-Abbasid caliphs had been killed in the past without dire results. He added that the Abbasid caliph Maímun had killed his brother Amin and Mutawakkil, another caliph, had been assassinated by some of his military commanders and even his own son without upsetting the world order. The killing of Musntasir and Muʻtazz occurred without releasing universal corruption into the world.
suggestion to Hulāku was not merely the result of an astrological
interpretation of the stars. As an Imāmi scholar he did not accept the
legal authority that declared the Abbāsid caliphs to be the religious
leaders of the Muslim community. His letter to
Other sources suggest that Tusi did not encourage the assassination of the caliph; rather. his support of Hulāku was a way to assist scholars and innocent people. By holding an important position in Hulakuís court, he was able to restrain some of the Mongol leaderís excesses.
At this time,
Mustansirís vizier was a Shiʻi named Ibn al-ʻAlqami (d. 656). He had
had some covert relations with Tusi while the latter was living among the
Seveners. It is believed that Ibn al-ʻAlqami also wrote a letter to
Hulāku, telling him he need not be afraid to come to
advice to Hulāku, perhaps aided and abetted by Ibn al-ʻAlqami, the
only reason or even the main reason, for the collapse of the Abbasid caliphate?
As Hairi mentions in his analysis of Tusiís role in the conquest of
Sources such as
the Al-Ādāb al-Sultāniyya, (al-Fakhri) (701/1301) of Ibn
TaqTaq or the Mukhtasar of Abu al-Fidāí (d. 732/1331), as well as
Tusiís own report about the conquest of
One of the main
goals of the Mongols from the early period of their dominance was to open the
Cahen, Hethum I, had acted as the precursor of the Mongols on the shores of the
Mediterranean against the Muslims of Syria and
began his mission by attacking the forts of the Assassins. Once he had invaded
the Assassins, he moved toward
Although Tusi did not accept the Abbāsid caliphate as legal authority, why would he prefer the secular authority of the Mongols? Did not Tusi, by encouraging Hulāku, actually participate in killing Muslims and destroying Muslim centers?
Attributing the fall of the caliphate to a single cause or a single person is a simplified interpretation of a complicated situation. Tusi witnessed the pre-Mongol conflicts and realized that the Mongol invasion of the Islamic world was inevitable.
Considering the internal and external situations of the Islamic world, the Mongols had already reached the conclusion that they had to start implementing their policies to conquer the world. The last and the most necessary choice that remained for the scholar was a limited and carefully planned cooperation with the Mongol troops.
Through his association with Hulāku, he could obtain a high position in the Ilkhānís court and play a constructive role in his policies. By using his influence with Hulāku, Tusi hoped to persuade the Mongol leader to act in the interests of the Muslims. Alone among Muslim scholars, Tusi noticed that the Mongol invasion was not ideological.
invaded the Islamic lands in order to spread their power over a vast territory.
Since their religion, which combined both pagan and shamanistic beliefs, was
not likely to be an alternative to Islam, scholars like Tusi were able to use
their presence as an instrument to save Islam. Vladimir Minorsky remarks that
since the Mongolsí beliefs were vague and primitive, there was no chance for
their propagation among the conquered population. Hence they were tolerant
toward the other religions.
After the fall
of the Ismāʻilis and the Abbāsid caliphate, the flexible
atmosphere allowed people a free choice in religion. Tusiís position at the
court of Hulāku attracted the Muslim scholars from many places to one
center and led to the revival of the Islamic sciences. Although Tusi paid
special attention to the Imāmi sect and immediately after the fall of
He not only
invited the scholars of all sects to cooperation together at the