The community of mages in the World of Darkness generally believes the Ahl-i-Batin to be a defunct order of mages, long since forgotten and abandoned, even though they kept the seat of Correspondence on the Council of Nine from its conception up to the 19th century.
The Ahl-i-Batin's sobriquet of The Subtle Ones is well-earned; they have used their magic to hide from view (particularly that of the Technocracy) — for a few mages, it worked too well, removing them from the Tellurian entirely. (In game terms, many Ahl-i-Batin have Arcane ratings between 6 and 10, which is not normally possible.)
The Ahl-i-Batin believe that Unity of all humanity is the final goal of Ascension, and that it was united once before; this was both the ideal and physical and metaphysical presence of Mount Qaf.
The best way to further their cause was without the interference of those who cannot see past their small worlds and pettiness that is the common state of humanity. They developed methods that allowed them to stay behind the scenes and direct the humanity towards Unity from the shadows.
They are credited with creating Islam, but the experiment was mostly abandoned, as it created too much discord and chaos in the long run.
Most of the Ahl-i-Batini are of Middle Eastern descent, but are spread all over the world, and their members span all nations and races. Outwardly, they are of many faiths, but they all agree on one thing: the goal of Unity through togetherness, without the interference of different creeds.
The Taftani believe that magic is an expression of universal truth and to deny that Truth is a crime. As a consequence they avoid coincidental magic believing it to perpetuate the 'lie' of magics non existence. To the Taftani mind the best way to demonstrate 'truth' to the unenlightened is through the use of the the most flamboyant and spectacularly vulgar magic they are capable of. They are not marauders and do suffer from Paradox. Nor are they insane or ( necessarily) suicidal but they consider the use of vulgar magic a matter of principle worth suffering for and risking there life over. They hold firm to the belief that if the Traditions has been less 'cowardly' and had risked the paradox needed to publicly conjured rains of scorpions and storms of fire on top of the liars who proclaimed the supremacy of science, paradox could have been stopped. In support of there theory, large swaths of the 'empty quarter' of Arabia and many of the` remote desolate places of the middle east still fall under the Taftani paradigm, simply because they make sure that the 'local' people are damn well certain that the 'desert magicians' have strange and terrible powers and will strike down any one who says otherwise. This has the benefit of making much Technomagic (Technocracy or Tradition) vulgar, where it would otherwise be coincidental. It is even speculated that the the propensity of machines to breakdown in the desert is as much due to the weakness of the scientific paradigm there as all the sand. Ironically one of the most powerful Taftani secrets, the summoning, binding and enslaving of Djinn, is still coincidental through out the world. A fact they credit to there relentless refusal to submit and hide there power. There philosophy has taken a steady toll on there numbers over the years, although it has to be said it was only in the late 19th century that casualties from Paradox began to rival those from the brutal magical death duels that are still regularly fought over matters of honour, pride, pique or just boredom.
Spirit, Matter and Prime are required to create a vessel capable of holding a Djinn, as such most Taftani pursue these spheres of knowledge. Often they neglect other aspects of the sphere once the Djinn binding rote is mastered. They are fond of using matter to create the luxurious lifestyle they favour.
Life is a sphere of little interest to them, those that pursue it rarely bother to learn beyond the ability to heal themselves and harm others and for the more traditional the Conjuration of Rains of scorpions.
Forces are a delight to the Taftani, the more vulgar and spectacular the better, Spells to make carpets fly, to conjure devouring tornadoes of flame or to make bullets reflect from there impenetrable auras are the kind of effects the Taftani relish. The Zaotar sect has forces as its speciality sphere
Entropy, is surprisingly another Taftani favourite To them it is mastery of fate and is associated with the poet sect of Taftani known as the Kahins. It is most commonly used to to lay down gruesome Curses ( and occasionally even Blessings) or blatantly bend 'chance' favour the Taftani
Correspondence is a rare sphere, many Taftani prefer to travel via magic carpets supported by force or spirit magic and scry by means of spirit servants than bother with correspondence.
Mind is a sphere nether loved or disregarded by the Taftani. Mental clarity is a highly desired trait, making mind shields a popular magik. Likewise having studied the Djinn ways for so long mindtricks and illusions are popular among some Taftani Lineages. They regard mindcontrol as a violation of free will and an anathema, thought there is division as to wether it is acceptable to use on those who already serve the lie or not.
Time: The Taftani prefer to dictate or read fate with entropy than scry it with time. So it is primary used in highly vulgar specialised battlemagic. Stopping time so that you can slit the throats of a hundred enemies at once is about the level of the averageTaftani's appreciation of the timesphere.
Taftani are typicaly volatile combative egomaniacs with a love of
magical duelling as such they tend to be loners at least with regaurds
to each other. They consider hospitality and comfort to be the
hallmarks of civilisation as such Taftani regard using magick for
personal comfort and gain as natural and acceptable. Personal luxury is
a measure of success and power in the Taftani as long as it is come by
honestly. ( Created through magic, inherited from a master or taken
from the enemies of the Taftani) Indeed by, for example, living in a
vast magical alabaster and sandlwood palace in a hollow mountain, while
being waited on hand and foot by djinn slaves; you demonstrate the
power and grandeur that magik brings, so its practically a DUTY to live
well. Every half year the Taftani hold Haram a meeting where combat is
forbidden and they can socialise, get drunk, boast and show off there
apprentices. Sometimes these meetings even lead to small bands of
Taftani working towards a common goal.
Traditions. For instance, while a Hermetic mage might use his properly dedicated Pentacle of Mercury in a ritual, the Hollower might simply draw a star on a quarter with eyeliner and use that.
Despite the "Gothic Rock" image adorned by many Hollow Ones, their Tradition is actually older than most mages realise, dating back to the times of the classical horror writers such as Shelley and Poe. In this manner the tradition can be traced to the Opium lounges of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the seance tables of Victorian mediumship. Some claim that its roots can be traced even further back; given the eclectic and scatter-shot approach of Hollow magick, this is partially true. However, most agree that the "Hollow Philosophy" didn't truly define itself in its entirety until the 1920s, despite the fact that its leanings can be found in the works of earlier generations - particularly literary works, such as those of the afore mentioned writers. Indeed, there are some who claim that Lord Byron was in fact the first to ascribe to the Hollow Tradition, but others say this is complete rubbish.