Overview[edit | edit source]
After the fall of Ishaq al-Iblis to infernalism, the Batini realized they needed some way to root out Nephandi in their midst. The decentralized cell-like organization that they prefer made it easy for a single Batini or even a whole cabal to go rogue without anyone else realizing until a great deal of damage had been done. The Qutbs were chosen from among those who had achieved mastery of the Mind sphere who also had impeccable ethics and deep knowledge of the Doctrine of Unity; the word qutb means both "axis" and "saint." Using telepathy, the Qutbs organized high-ranking Batini into a telepathic net, allowing them to communicate mind-to-mind across any distance.
The Qutbs soon became the leaders of the Subtle Ones, setting policies and acting as judges and arbiters. They also exerted a great deal of influence on the minds of Sleepers; there is a persistent rumor that they invented Islam as a way of spreading the Doctrine of Unity around the world. 
Unfortunately, as the Technocracy made inroads into the Middle East in the 19th century, they singled out Qutbs as the weak link in the Ahl-i-Batin's organization. Many were assassinated, or went deep into Occultation so that not even their own fellow Batini could find them. Deprived of both their leadership and communication network, the Batini nearly collapsed.
By the 1960s, however, a few of these Occultated masters re-emerged, and the 1979 revolution in Iran provided the Batini a Technocracy-free base from which to begin training new Qutbs. While still held to high moral and magical standards, the new Qutbs are also trained in combat, survival and stealth, and they are more careful and targeted with their communications to avoid Technocratic detection. The return of the Qutbs potentially spells a new age of Batini unity and organization.