Carmathians were a heretical sect of Mohammedans, named from their founder Carmath (so called from being born at Hamadan-Carmath, a village near Cufah), a man of austere life, who flourished about the close of the 9th century. He inculcated the duty of praying fifty times a day, and his followers were obliged to neglect their worldly vocations and give themselves almost exclusively to a life of devotion. They were not bound by the creed and ceremonies of the Mussulmans, and professed that the angels were the, guides of all their actions. He enforced upon his followers an inviolable secrecy as to the doctrines which he taught. They paid great respect to the Imam, or chief of their sect, laying aside one fifth of their substance for his benefit, and holding the strange doctrine that fidelity to him was denoted by that command which forbids fornication. They increased rapidly at first, through the zeal and sanctity of their found her, who chose from among his most zealous followers twelve apostles, who were to exercise special authority over the others. He was soon pursued by the caliph, and imprisoned, but finally escaped. The sect flourished for a time, but, in the absence of their leader, it dwindled away and is no longer in existence. See D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, s.v.; Biog. Universelle, s.v. ,

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