Historical sources indicate that the embryo of came to be termed as the Ismaili daʿwa began to take shape during the imamate of al-Ṣādiq.
Imam Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq (114-48/733-65), as well as the succeeding Ismaili imams, lived in a very difficult time. The ʿAbbāsid caliph al-Dawānīqī and his successors were very hostile towards al-Ṣādiq and his household. After the death of al-Ṣādiq, the Ismaili imams lived in hiding. Among them, the life of Muḥammad ibn Ismāʿīl remains very obscure. Certain early sources, which were written by the anti-Ismaili polemicists, confuse the identity of Muḥammad with a certain non-ʿAlid by the name of ʿAbd Allāh ibn Maymūn al-Qaddāḥ, a follower of al-Khaṭṭāb who is believed to have developed extremist Shīʿa…show more content… Ibn Nadīm views Abū Muslim’s inclination towards al-Ṣādiq’s household as a primary reason why al-Dawānīqī killed him (ibn Nadim, 2002:352). It is very likely that Abū Muslim had developed a sympathetic view towards al-Ṣādiq and his Shīʿa partisans for at least two reasons. First, al-Ṣādiq was known and respected not only as a direct descendant of the Prophet Muḥammad through the Ḥusaīnid lineage, but he was also known as a most respected scholar of his time. He formed an active circle of thinkers and talented disciples around himself. His loyal Shīʿa scholars not only argued for upholding the Ḥusaīnid line of imamate (Daftary, 2007:84) as the true Shīʿa imams. Secondly, al-Dawānīqī actively persecuted Shīʿa groups, including members of al-Ṣādiq’s household. This policy clearly went against the perception and expectation of Abū Muslim Khurāsānī and other Khurasanian leaders, who raised the ʿAbbāsid flag in the name of the Prophet’s Household and the Shīʿa partisans. Undoubtedly, the term Shīʿa at this phase of history had broadly referred to the household of the Prophet and included both the house of ʿAbbās as well as imams from the Ḥusaīnid lineage. Therefore, al-Dawānīq’s anti-Shīʿa policy certainly went against the expectation of Abū Muslim, who might have developed an inclination towards al-Ṣādiq. However, historical records also demonstrate that the early ʿAbbāsid caliphs