Al-Hakim,Caliph of Egypt,Destroyer of the Most Holy Church in Christianty,the Holy Sepulchre Church in Jerusalem
In Muslim literature there is an idealization of Muslim treatment of non-Muslims and a reluctance to admit Muslim culture has mistreated non-Muslims.
Who was Al-Hakim?
Al-Hakim was the sixth Fatimid caliph and 16th Ismaili imam (ruled 996–1021).He was born in 985 and succeeded his father Caliph Abu Mansur Nizar al-Aziz at the age of eleven.His mother was a Melkite Christian whose two brothers were appointed patriarchs of the Melkite Church by the Caliph.The were Arsenius and Orestes,one the Melkite Patriarch in Alexandria,the other the Melkite Patriarch in Jerusalem.
He was Mentally Unstable
He had an eccentric character, radical shifts in his conduct and policies,a sanguinary ruthlessness in dealing with the highest officials of his government.
He began a Great Persecution of the Christians and the Jews from 1007 till 1012
Even before it all he had taken measures against Christians and Jews.In 1004 Al-Hakim decreed that the Christians could no longer celebrate Epiphany or Easter.He also outlawed the use of wine and even other intoxicating drinks not made from grapes to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.This produced a hardship for both Christians (who used wine in their religious rites) and Jews (who used it in their religious festivals).
He did the following:
1.He forced many Christians and Jews to became Muslim to save their lives.It is stated that Al-Hakim ultimately allowed the unwilling Christian and Jewish converts to Islam to return to their faith.
2.He was responsible for a systematic destruction of all Christian holy places in Palestine and Egypt resulting in the destruction of 30,000 churches.
3.It culminated in the destruction of the most holy church of the Christians,that of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem,built where Jesus had resurrected from the dead.It was destroyed in 1009.along with all the other churches in Jerusalem.
Later Byzantine Emperor Constantin IX was allowed to rebuild the Holy Sepulchre Church in 1048.Christians had been permitted to visit the sacred places in the Holy Land till 1071 when the Seljuk Turks swept in from Asia and defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert.They captured the Byzantine Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes and released him after he paid a ransom. Seizing all of Asia Minor as well as the Holy Land the Seljuk Turks soon impeded Christian pilgrimages to Jerusalem.Christian pilgrims began returning to Europe with tales of persecution and oppression.
He was also a Patron of Science
In 1005 Al-Hakim founded the House of Wisdom,which had an important library where science and philosophy were taught along with lessons about the Koran and the hadiths. Access to education was made available to the public.
The Case of Alhazen(Persian?Arab?)
Alhazen/Ibn Al-Haytham (965-1040)
We do not know his exact nationality.He is very interesting for many reasons,one being he was the greatest physicist of the Middle Ages of any country and did brilliant work in optics,being the Father of Optics.His story reads like something out of the 1001 Nights.We have that:
1.We don’t know his exact nationality,he was either Arab or Persian,it is uncertain.
2.He went to work for Caliph Al-Hakim(996-1021) of Egypt,telling him he could build a dam at the Aswan area of the Nile to control the flooding caused by the river.He then realized technology was not developed enough to do it.The caliph was a cruel man and mentally unstable.
Alhazen knew he would be killed for his failure so he pretended he had become crazy.The law said it was forbidden to kill mentally sick people,so his life was spared but he was imprisoned.Alhazen was released after the disappearance of the caliph and could stop pretending he was a lunatic.
3.Many say Alhazen invented the camera obscura,a precursor to the modern camera,which is NOT true.He also invented the magnifying glass in 1021.
4.In ancient times, Euclid and Ptolemy believed that the eyes emitted rays which enabled us to see. The first person to realise that rays of light enters the eye, rather than leaving it,was Alhazen.
He was acclaimed as being God Incarnate during his life
Muhammad bin Ismail Nashtakin ad-Darazi was an 11th-century Ismaili preacher who was labeled a heretic in 1016 and subsequently executed by the Fatimid Caliph Al-Hakim in 1018, Darazi was born in Bukhara and publicly proclaimed the divinity of Caliph al-Hakim in Cairo.
Al-Hakim went out one Night and Vanished
In the final years of his reign,Al-Hakim displayed a growing inclination toward asceticism and withdrew for meditation regularly. On the night of 12/13 February 1021 and at the age of 36, he left for one of his night journeys to hills outside of Cairo, and never returned. A search found only his donkey and bloodstained garments. The disappearance has remained a mystery.
He was Proclaimed to be God Incarnate after his Disappearance
He had several followers and they declared that Caliph Al-Hakim had indeed been God Incarnate and began the religion of the Druzes,which still exists and has about 1 million followers.