House of Wisdom
The tarik (path) of the House of Wisdom, founded by Moslem
mystics at Cairo in the ninth century, had seven initiatory
degrees. The original founder appears to have been Abdallah,
a Persian, who, believing in the Gnostic doctrine of the aeons
or sephiroths, applied the system to the successors of Mohammed,
stating that Ismael was the founder of his tarik and naming
one of his descendants as the seventh imam (ruler).
Abdallah established an active system of propaganda and
sent missionaries far and wide. He was succeeded in his office
as chief of the society by his son. After the institution had been
in existence for some time it was transferred to Cairo, and assemblies
were held twice a week, when all the members appeared
clothed in white. They were gradually advanced
through the seven degrees of the tarik over which a dia-al-doat
(missionary of missionaries) presided. A later chief, Hakem-biemir-Illah,
increased the degrees to nine, and in 1004 erected
a stately home for the society, which he elaborately furnished
with mathematical instruments.
Because the institution did not meet the approval of the authorities,
it was destroyed in 1123 by the then grand vizier, but
meetings continued elsewhere. The officers of the society were
sheik, dai-el-keber (deputy), dai (master), refik (fellow), fedavie
(agent), lassik (aspirant), and muemini (believer). The tarik
taught that there had been seven holy imams, that God had
sent seven lawgivers, who each had seven helpers, who in turn
had 12 apostles. (See also Assassins)