Hamza ibn Ali ibn Ahmad
Zozan, Khurasan (Samanid Empire)
Mecca, Sharifate of Mecca (according to one claim)
|Cause of death||Decapitation (according to one claim)|
|Years active||c. 1017–1021|
|Known for||Founder of the Druze religion|
Hamza ibn Ali ibn Ahmad (Arabic: حمزة بن علي بن أحمد, romanized: Ḥamza ibn ‘Alī ibn Aḥmad; c. 985–c. 1021) was an 11th-century Persian Ismai'li missionary and founding leader of the Druze. He was born in Zozan in Greater Khorasan in Samanid-ruled Persia (modern Khaf, Razavi Khorasan Province, Iran), and preached his heterodox strand of Isma'ilism in Cairo during the reign of the Fatimid caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah. According to Hamza, al-Hakim was God made manifest. Despite opposition from the established Isma'ili clergy, Hamza persisted, apparently being tolerated or even patronized by al-Hakim himself, and set up a parallel hierarchy of missionaries in Egypt and Syria. Following al-Hakim's disappearance—or, most likely, assassination—in February 1021, Hamza and his followers were persecuted by the new regime. Hamza himself announced his retirement in his final epistle to his followers, in which he also promised that al-Hakim would soon return and usher the end times. Hamza disappeared thereafter, although one contemporary source claims that he fled to Mecca, where he was recognized and executed. His disciple Baha al-Din al-Muqtana resumed Hamza's missionary effort in 1027–1042, finalizing the doctrines of the Druze faith.