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Al-Muqanna

From Academic Kids

Al-Muqanna or the "veiled one" was a Persian prophet who was viewed as a heretic by mainstream Muslims.

Al-Muqanna was an ethnic Persian from Merv named Hashim ibn Hakim, working initially as a clothes pleater. He became a commander for Abu Muslim of Khorasan.

After Abu Muslim was murdered, al-Muqanna claimed to be an incarnation of God, and insisted that it had been passed unto him from Abu Muslim to whom it was passed on to from Ali to whom it was passed on to from Muhammad. Al-Muqanna was instrumental to the formation of the Khurramiyyah sect that claimed Abu Muslim to be the Mahdi or to return with the Mahdi, and denied his death.

Al-Muqanna was reputed to wear a veil in order to cover up his beauty, however the Abbasids claimed that he wore a veil to hide his ugliness, being one-eyed, and bald. His followers wore white clothes, as were their custom contradicting the Abbasids wearing of black. He is reputed to have engaged in magic and quackery to impress his followers that he is the maker of miracles.

al-Muqanna's followers started raiding towns and mosques of other Muslims, and looting their possesions. In response, the Abbasids sent several commanders to crush the rebellion. Al-Muqanna poisoned himself rather than be caught by the Abbasids, who set fire to his house when he was finally on the verge of being captured.

After his death, the sect continued to exist until the 12th century, waiting for al-Muqanna to return again.

In Thomas Moore's poem, Lalla Rookh, the Veiled Prophet of Khorasan, or al-Mokanna character is modelled after al-Muqanna. From this poem, the city of St. Louis, Missouri took its Veiled Prophet Fair or VP Fair. The Masonic order of Daughters of al-Mokanna also takes its name from this historical figure.

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