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Hashim (Arabic/Persian: هاشم), better known as al-Muqanna‘ (Arabic: المقنع‎ "The Veiled", died ca. 783.[1]) He was among the first few to resist Arab imposed religion "islam" and he organized many attacks on Arab armies and took back whatever they looted. even today the main stream muslims do not write about him as they should, he was a chemist and used to test different chemicals. In one of these experiments there was an explosion in which a part of his face was burnt and for the rest of his life he used a veil and hence known as "Almughanna" ("the veiled one"). Dr Nafisi and Aryanpoor have elaborated on Khorram dinan. a Persian man who claimed to be a prophet. He founded a religion which was a mix of Zoroastrianism and Islam. He is viewed as a heretic by mainstream Muslims.

Name and early life[edit]

Before he came to be known by the nickname of "al-Muqanna", he was called by his birth name, Hashim. Early scholars believed that he was born in Sogdia. However, it is now agreed that his birthplace was in Balkh, a city close to Sogdia.


Al-Muqanna‘ was an ethnic Persian from Merv named Hashim ibn Hakim, originally a clothes pleater. He became a commander for Abu Muslim of Khurasan. After Abu Muslim's murder, al-Muqanna‘ claimed to be an incarnation of God, a role, he insisted, passed to him from Abū Muslim, who received it via ‘Alī from the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Al-Muqanna‘ was reputed to wear a veil in order to cover up his beauty; however, the Abbasid Caliphate claimed that he wore it to hide his ugliness, being one-eyed and bald. His followers wore white clothes in opposition to Abbasid black. He is reputed to have engaged in magic to impress his followers as a maker of miracles.

Al-Muqanna‘ was instrumental in the formation of the Khurramiyya, a sect that claimed Abū Muslim to be the Mahdi and denied his death. When al-Muqanna‘'s followers started raiding towns and mosques of other Muslims and looting their possessions, the Abbasids sent several commanders to crush the rebellion. Al-Muqanna‘ poisoned himself rather than surrender to the Abbasids, who set had fire to his house. Al-Muqanna‘ died in a fort near Kesh.[1] After his death, the sect continued to exist until the 12th century, waiting for al-Muqanna‘ to return again.

Cultural references[edit]

The first poem in Lalla-Rookh (1817) by Thomas Moore is titled The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan, and the character Mokanna is modeled loosely on al-Muqanna‘.

St. Louis businessmen referenced Moore's poem in 1878 when they created the Veiled Prophet Organization and concocted a legend of Mokanna as its founder.[2] For many years the organization put on an annual fair and parade called the "Veiled Prophet Fair," which was renamed Fair Saint Louis in 1992. The organization also gives a debutante ball each December called the Veiled Prophet Ball.

The Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm (founded 1889), often known as "the Grotto", a social group with membership restricted to Master Masons, and its female auxiliary, the Daughters of Mokanna (founded 1919), also take their names from Thomas Moore's poem.[3] [4]

Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges used a fictionalized al-Muqanna‘ as the central character of The Masked Dyer, Hakim of Merv, a 1934 short story, and in another story fifteen years later, The Zahir, as a past avatar of the titular object.

See also[edit]


  • M. S. Asimov, C. E. Bosworth u.a.: History of Civilizations of Central Asia. Band IV: The Age of Achievement. AD 750 to the End of the Fifteenth Century. Part One: The Historical, Social and Economic Setting. Paris 1998.
  • Patricia Crone: The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran. Rural Revolt and Local Zoroastrianism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2012. S. 106-143.
  • Frantz Grenet: "Contribution à l'étude de la révolte de Muqanna' (c. 775-780): traces matérielles, traces hérésiographiques" in Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi (ed.): Islam: identité et altérité ; hommage à Guy Monnot. Turnhout: Brepols 2013. S. 247-261.
  • Boris Kochnev: "Les monnaies de Muqanna" in Studia Iranica 30 (2001) 143-50.
  • Wilferd Madelung, Paul Ernest Walker: An Ismaili heresiography. The "Bāb al-shayṭān" from Abū Tammām’s Kitāb al-shajara. Brill, 1998.
  • Svatopluk Soucek: A history of inner Asia. Cambridge University Press, 2000.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Encyclopaedia of Islam. 2nd ed. Vol. 7. Page 500.
  2. ^ History, Veiled Prophet Organization, 2009, retrieved 2009-12-15 
  3. ^ The Grotto,, 2007, retrieved 2009-12-15 
  4. ^ Lalla Rookh Caldron, Daughters of Mokanna, Lalla Rookh Grotto, retrieved 2009-12-15