The tarik or «path» of th House of Wisdom was founded by the Moslem mystics at Cairo in the ninth century, and had seven initiatory degrees. Abdallah, a Persian, appears to have been the initial founder, who believing in the Gnostic doctrine of the Aeons or Sephiroths, applied the system to the successors of Mohammed, stating that Ismael was the founder of his tarik and one of his descendants as the seventh Imaum.
He organized an active propaganda system, sending missionary far and wide. His son and grandson succeeded him as chief of the society. After some time in existence the institution was transferred to Cairo, where assemblies were held twice a week at which all members wore white.
They were gradually advanced through the seven degrees of which the tarik consisted, and over which a Dai-al-doat, or «Missionary of missionaries» presided. A later chief, Hakem-bi-emir-Illah, increased the degrees to nine, and in 1004 erected a stately home for the society, which he elaborately furnished with mathematical instruments.
However, the institution, which failed to meet the approval of the authorities, was destroyed in 1123 by the then Grand Vizier, and the meetings were held elsewhere. The titles of the officers were: Sheik, Dai-el-keber, or Deputy, Dai, or Master, Refik, or Fellow, Fedavie, or Agent, Lassik, or Aspirant, Muemini, or Believer. The teaching to the effect that there had been seven holy Imaums, that God had sent seven Lawgivers, who each had seven helpers, who in turn each had twelve apostles. A.G.H.
Spence, Lewis, An Encyclopedia of Occultism, New York, Carol Publishing Group Edition, 1996, p. 213