Assassin is a word that we relate to cold-blooded killings and murders today, but where did this idea originate and what does it really mean?In this report I am going to discuss a wide scope of topics that relate to the word "Assassin".I will include a discussion of the origin and history of the word "Assassin".I am also going to give a brief overview of Shi'ism, and then show how assassins relate to the Shi'ite religion (more specifically the Fatmid sect of Shi'ism).I am also going to cover a brief account of the assassin's reign of terror in Syria, and what happened to the assassins, and their significance then and how is reflected in today's culture.At the end of this report I hope to have given a broad scope of the history of the infamous assassins of the Fatmids.
The word "Assassin" was introduced into the English language from crusaders, who adapted it from the Arabic word "Hashshashin," which is interpreted into "hashish smokers."The explorer Marco Polo told stories of the great gardens of paradise where the Shi'ite Fatmid assassins would smoke hashish and bask in the gardens, having a taste of eternal bliss.None of these stories where ever confirmed by any known Isamilite source, but they still live on today (Assassin 2002).
The beginning of the Shia movement dates back to the death of Muhammad.Muhammad's followers were looking for a new caliph (or spiritual leader) and a small group called the Shi'ites who centered on Ali (a kinsman of Muhammad) and Muhammad's daughter Fatima, but the Sunni being the majority overlooked the Shi'ites and choose Abu Bakr as the successor(Murata & Chittick xxiv).This created great discourse amongst the two groups and divided the one religion of Islam into two sects; the Sunni and the Shi'ites.From the Shi'ites came a sect called the Fatmids