Al-Hasan b. al-Qasim b. al-Hasan

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Al-Hasan b. al-Qasim b. al-Hasan
Zaydi Imam
TeknonymAbu Muhammad
Well-known Asal-Da'i al-Saghir
Religious AffiliationZaydi Shia
Lineageprogeny of Imam al-Hasan (a)
Well-known RelativesAbu 'Abd Allah al-Da'i (son), Hasan al-Utrush (father-in-law)
Place of BirthTabaristan
Place of ResidenceTabaristan, Gorgan, Amol
Cause of
EraAbbasid Dynasty
Notable rolesRuler of Tabaristan

Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan b. al-Qāsim b. al-Ḥasan (Arabic: أبومحمد الحسن بن القاسم بن الحسن, b. 264/877) was a Zaydi caller (da'i) and ruler of Tabaristan, known as al-Da'i al-Saghir (Arabic: الداعي الصغیر). He was at first a "Sipahsalar" (army commander) of Hasan al-Utrush, but when his relation with Hasan al-Utrush broke down and many senior members of the army and Zaydi scholars were inclined to him as a leader, he claimed imamate (leadership) and imprisoned Hasan al-Utrush. The event led to battles between Hasan and al-Utrush's sons culminating in the death of Hasan and the collapse of the independent Zaydi government in Iran.


Hasan was a progeny of 'Ali b. 'Abd al-Rahman b. Qasim b. Hasan b. Zayd al-Shajari whose lineage goes back to Imam al-Hasan (a). There is no precise information about when and how the family of al-Hasan b. al-Qasim immigrated to Daylaman, but it is known that they used to reside in Medina, and apparently, they immigrated to Amol, in northern Iran, after the establishment of the Alavids government in Tabaristan. He was born around 264/877.

Joining al-Utrush

There is no information about Hasan's life before he joined Hasan al-Utrush. Hasan b. al-Qasim joined Hasan al-Utrush in the latter's uprising against the Samanid government in 301/913, and in the Battle of Burudh (in Jumada II 301/January 914), he undertook the commandership of the Alavids army. After defeating the Samanid army, he killed many of them who had taken refuge to the Chalus Fort and were given a safety conduct by Hasan al-Utrush, and destroyed the fort. Since then, Amol was in the control of Hasan al-Utrush. After conquering Sari, the Alavids government in Tabaristan was revived.

Claim of Imamate and Renewed Relation with al-Utrush

After his relation with Hasan al-Utrush broke down, al-Hasan b. al-Qasim's competence as the army commander of Hasan al-Utrush and the inclination of many senior members of the army and Zaydi scholars to his leadership paved the way for al-Hasan b. al-Qasim to claim imamate and imprison Hasan al-Utrush. After a while, Hasan al-Utrush was released with the intervention of Layli b. Nu'man, a commander who stayed loyal to al-Utrush and did not support al-Hasan b. al-Qasim. Al-Hasan b. al-Qasim and a number of his close companions fled to Daylaman where he claimed imamate and chose the title, al-Da'i (the Caller), for himself.

The event led some Zaydi scholars and statesmen to intercede between the two in order to prevent divisions among Zaydis. They suggested that al-Hasan b. al-Qasim be appointed as the army commander of al-Utrush once again and succeed al-Utrush after his death. Hasan al-Utrush reluctantly gave him the title, "al-Da'i ila l-Haqq" (the caller to the right).

When al-Hasan b. al-Qasim returned, al-Utrush married the daughter of his son, Abu l-Husayn Ahmad, to him and appointed him as the ruler of Gorgan in order to quench the Samanid army, accompanied with another of his sons, Abu l-Qasim Ja'far. Because of Abu l-Qsaim Ja'far's sabotage, Hasan b. al-Qasim was sieged and after resisting for a while, he was defeated in 304/916 and had to retreat to Amol, and from there he indignantly went to Gilan.

Imamate for Zaydis

After Hasan al-Utrush's death on Sha'ban 25, 304/February 21, 917, Abu l-Husayn Ahmad and Daylami heads called al-Da'i to Amol in accordance with al-Utrush's will, and on Wednesday, Ramadan 24, 304/March 21, 917, they assigned him the Alavids ruler. Abu l-Qasim Ja'far who was opposed to al-Da'i's appointment as the ruler went to Rey and joined Muhammad b. 'Ali Su'luk, the Samanid ruler of Rey. However, Abu l-Husayn Ahmad stayed loyal to al-Da'i. In 306/919, Gorgan was conquered by Alavids and poets composed poems to congratulate the conquest. When the Samanid army arrived there under the commandership of Qaratakin, al-Da'i and Abu l-Husayn Ahmad had to retreat to Tamisha.


Al-Da'i's justice promised stable and peaceful conditions in areas under his control. His justice had turned into a proverb among people then, but Abu l-Qasim Ja'far's invasion with the support of the Samanid army in Dhu l-Hajja, 306/May 919 changed the conditions.

Defeat and Captivation

Abu l-Husayn Ahmad joined his brother as well, and they conquered Tabaristan. Al-Da'i had to take refuge to the army commander, Muhammad b. Shahriyar al-Qarinwandi, but he imprisoned al-Da'i and sent him to 'Ali b. Wahsudan al-Jastani, the representative of al-Muqtadir al-'Abbasi—the Abbasid caliph in Rey. He imprisoned al-Da'i in the Alamut Castle.

Reclaiming the Government

After 'Ali b. Wahsudan's murder, al-Da'i was released and went to Gilan. In Jumada II, 307/November 919, he invaded Amol. He then advanced to Sari and Astarabad and defeated Ahmad and Ja'far. Ja'far fled to Gilan, but al-Da'i made a compromise with Ahmad and allowed him to join his government. Since the Samanid government was unable at the time to conquer Khorasan, al-Da'i commissioned the commander of his army, Layli b. Nu'man, to conquer the land.

After the conquest of Damghan, Layli entered Nishabur in Dhu l-Hijja, 308/May, 921 and delivered a sermon in the name of al-Da'i, but he was defeated and killed by the Samanid army in Tus in Rabi' I, 309/August, 921. After the defeat, some heads of Gilaks and Daylam decided to kill al-Da'i and replace him with Ahmad, but al-Da'i learned about the conspiracy and killed them in Gorgan.

Another Defeat by al-Utrush's Sons

In 310/922, the Samanid army under the commandership of Simjur al-Dawati retook Gorgan from al-Da'i and Ahmad. Late in 310/923, al-Da'i conquered Gorgan again and appointed Ahmad as the ruler of the city. In the meanwhile, Abu l-Qasim Ja'far gathered an army in Gilan once again and prepared for an attack on Tabaristan. Ahmad who feared the power of al-Da'i invaded Amol, but he was defeated and joined his brother. Under the support of the commanders of Gilaks and Daylam, such as Makan al-Kaki and Asfar b. Shiruya, the two brothers invaded Tabaristan and defeated al-Da'i in Jumada II, 311/September 923, and thus, they conquered Amol. Al-Da'i escaped to mountains. A couple of months later in Rajab, 311/November 923, Abu l-Husayn Ahmad died and Ja'far replaced him as the ruler. Al-Da'i's attempt to conquer Amol in Ramadan, 311/January 924 failed.

Abu l-Qasim Ja'far also died in Dhu l-Qi'da, 312/February 925, and Gilaks and Daylamites pledged their allegiance to his nephew, Abu 'Ali al-Nasir, and selected Makan al-Kaki as the ruler of Gorgan. Al-Da'i had apparently left the mountains to Gilan and isolated himself. Claimants of the government had quarrels in Tabaristan. Amidst the crisis, Makan conquered Amol, and early in 314/926, he asked al-Da'i to go to Amol.


In 316/928, Rey, and then Qazvin, Abhar, Zanjan, and Qom were conquered by Alavids. At the time, Nasr b. Ahmad sent Asfar b. Shiruya who had joined the Samanids to Tabaristan to combat them. Makan refused to accompany al-Da'i, and sent al-Da'i to combat Asfar with a small army in the hope that people of Amol join and assist him, but after a fatwa by Abu l-'Abbas al-Faqih, people of Amol did not support al-Da'i.

Finally, al-Da'i was killed in Ramadan 316/November 928 by Mardawij b. Ziyar when he was saying his prayer. After al-Da'i's death, coins were minted and sermons were delivered in the name of the Abbasid caliph and the Samanid emir, and the independent government of Alavids in Tabaristan came to an end. Later, Abu l-Qasim Muhammad b. al-Hasan known as Abu 'Abd Allah al-Da'i (d. 360/971), who was the son of Hasan b. al-Qasim and Firuz al-Daylami's daughter, established a Zaydi emirate in Tabaristan.