Life – An Exalted Destiny – Aga Khan III
Imams Brief History
A Brief History of Ismailism
By Abualy A.Aziz
Ancestors of Prophet Muhammad
Advent of Islam
Battle of Badar
Battle of Uhud
The Conquest of Mecca
The Prophet’s Successor
Death of the Holy Prophet
Caliph Abu Bakr
It is difficult for an average person, particularly the Isma’ili youth, to read voluminous Noorum Mobi’n in Gujrati or Urdu to know about the history of Isma’ilism.
There are, of course, some books in English such as “History of the Ismai’ilis” by A.S. Picklay and “The Aga Khan and his Ancestors” by Naorji M. Dumasia but these useful though they are, do not serve the purpose of the Isma’ili youth. Busy people have little time for long and monotonous reading. I, therefore, have tried to give in this book, as briefly as possible, the details without omitting the necessary and important facts of Isma’ili history.
In the first part of this small book you will read how Isla’m spread in the beginning. The archenemies of Isla’m were Beni Omayya who later became Muslims out of expediency. They hated Beni Ha’shem particularly Beni Fa’tima, the Holy Family of the Prophet of IsLa’m. You will also read that the close relatives of Beni Fa’tima the Abbasids, who were the children of Abba’s, an uncle of the Holy Prophet, became enemies for the sake of material power. Both, the Omayyads and the Abbasids, killed thousands of Beni Fa’tima, including many Holy Ima’ms and their followers.
The Omyyads used all sorts of crime and propaganda to destroy and to lower the prestige of Beni Fa’tima. Self-appointed Caliph Mua’wiya started abusing Hazrat Ali from the pulpit. While he presented himself as the close relative of the Holy Prophet, and his legitimate successor, Mua’wiya depicted Hazrat Ali as the enemy of Isla’m in the eyes of his Syrian subjects. Through propaganda and bribes he raised himself to the status of a prophet. Tabari, the famous Sunni historian, has related a story as to how the members of a deputation of the Egyptian Muslims behaved in front of Mua’wiya and addressed him as “Ya Rasoolallah” meaning: O Messenger of Allah.1
Working against the Omayyads the Abbasids presented themselves as Beni Fa’tima to win the public support; but after the seizure of power they too turned enemies. Like their predecessors they claimed to be the successors of the Holy Prophet. They showed their malice towards Beni Fa’tima by publishing false ancestry of our Holy Ima’ms during the time of Ima’m Wafi, Ima’m Mehdi, Ima’m Hadi, Ima’m Hakem and Ima’m Hasan Ala’Zikrihis Salaam, to strenghthen their own claim to Caliphate. When they failed to lay thier hands openly on the Isma’ili Ima’ms, the Abbasids diverted their attention to the Ithna’sheri line of
Beni Fa’tima to establish relationship for their sinister designs. Abbasid Caliph Ma’moon declared the eighth Ithna’sheri Ima’m Ali Reza bin Mu’sa to be his Vali-Ahed, heir to the throne of Caliphate, but later killed him.
In these circumstances, the multitude of Muslims succumbed to the false propaganda and intrigues. Many historians and reporters, who were already prejudiced towards the Isma’ilis, treated them unfairly.
Another entertaining and famous traveller, Marco Polo, who passed through Iran in A.D. 1273 created sensation in Europe about the Isma’ilis as the Assissins. He did not visit the Valley of Alamut, which was destroyed seventeen years before his arrival. He heard the stories about Alamut and its Paradise from the wandering shepherds and nomads. On his report the historians and novelists, all alike the world over, wrote about the Paradise and the Old Man. “In speaking of the Ismailis of Persia as Assassin”, writes Professor Bernard Lewis, “and of their leader as the Old Man, Marco Polo — or his transcriber — was using terms already familiar in Europe. They had, however, come from Syria, not from Persia. The Arab and Persian sources make it quite clear that “Assassin” was a local name, applied only to the Ismailis of Syria, and never to those of Persia or any other country. The title ‘Old Man of the Mountain’ was also Syrian. It would be natural for the Ismailis to speak of their chief as Old Man or Elder, Arabic Shaykh or Pesian Pir, a common term of respect among Muslims. The specific designation ‘Old Man of Mountain’, however, seems to have been used only in Syria, and perhaps only among the Crusaders, since it has not yet come to light in any Arabic text of the period.”2
The Druze are a branch of Isma’ilis who seceded after the death of Ima’m Ha’kem. They established their Centre in the mountains of Lebanon which was a part of Syria in those days. ‘Old Man of the Mountain’ is a common reference to their Shaikh-ul-Aql. The explanation by the Professor about the Assassins, applied to the Isma’ilis of Syria, is meant perhaps for the Druze and not for the Niza’ri Isma’ilis.
There is a brief history of the Isma’ili Pi’rs in chapter two. This has taken most of my time. By the Grace of Allah I have been able to collect bit by bit information about the Pi’rs from various sources including the Gina’ns and some unpublished material. But more research work is still to be done.
History of the Isma’ilis is full of sacrifice and hardship. Although they had their own empires which lasted over three and a half centuries — 190 years in Africa and 170 years in Iran — yet they did not force anyone to become an Isma’ili. But those who turned to Isma’ilism on their own accord served it with the greatest devotion. Men like Hasan bin Sabbah, Na’ser Khusrao, Ali bin Mohammed Salihi, Gha’zi Jawhar, Abu Abdulla al-Shii and Ibn Haushab were all converts to Isma’ilism.
Isma’ilis have always kept their love for their Ima’m e Zama’n above everything.
Part two contains a brief survey of Isma’ili Tariqah, propagation of Isma’ilism and the organization of the jama’ts in old and present times. Both, the propagation and the organization, are very important. Propagation does not mean only the conversion of the outsiders but also teaching the followers the sprititual aspect and protection of the faith. Organization is a part of propagation. It creates discipline and obedience.
The entire book is a brief history of Isma’ilism. I have separated the history of the Pi’rs from the history of the Ima’ms so that one can go through it at a glance. Similarly, to facilitate reading, I have written special chapters explaining how the Isma’ili ba’tini creed had developed, the difference between Isma’ili mysticism and other mystical Orders, the history of Isma’ili da’wat and the da’is, the orgaization of the jama’ts in the past and the present and finally the Isma’ili way of life.
Dar es Salaam, June, 1974
History of the Ismaili Imams
Ancestors of Prophet Muhammad
To understand thoroughly the background of the history of the Isma’ilis we must go back a few generations from the Holy Prophet.
The fourth ancestor of Prophet Mohammed was Abd Mona’f. He had a son Ha’shem who had a son Abdul Muttalib, the grandfather of Prophet Mohammed and Ima’m Mowla Ali. Abd Mona’f had another son Abd Shams who had a son Ommaya. Mua’wiya was Omayya’s great-grandson. According to Alla’ma Ja’hez,3 Abd Mona’f was the head of the tribe of Quraish and the commander of the fighting men. He was also responsible for the care of the prilgrims, the buildings and property of the sacred Ka’ba and welfare of the ‘state’ and its people. He appointed his son Ha’shem and Uncles Abdul Daar and Abdul U’zza to assist him in his duties. But no position of any kind was given to his son Abd Shams because of his irresponsible behaviour. This made Abd Shams hate Ha’shem because of jealousy.
Ha’shem succeeded his father. Abd Shams became more jealous and hostile towards Beni Ha’shem, the family of Ha’shem. He had neither position and respect in society nor had he any worthy son. Ha’shem’s son Abdul Muttalib was highly respected throughout Arabia. He was called ‘Sayyidul Batteha’ meaning: the Chief of the Valley of Mecca. The Holy Qura’n contains praise for Beni Ha’shem. On the other side Omayya, the son of Abd Shams, was a vagrant, wicked and unscrupulous man. No Arab would even think of doing what he did. He married one of his wives to his son Omru and the result of this marriage was the birth of Abu Mo’eet.4
With the advent of Isla’m Beni Ha’shem rose further in honour and influence. Day by day the jealousy and hatred of Beni Omayya for Beni Ha’shem increased. Beni Omayya lost all chances to compete with their rivals in respect, nobility, influence and honour. So they became bitter enemies of Beni Ha’shem. This jealousy and hatred became hereditary in Beni Omayya generation after generation. Abd Shams and Omayya stood against Ha’shem; Harab bin Omayya against Abdul Muttalib; Abu Sufya’n bin Harab against Prophet Mohammed and Abu Ta’lib and his son Hasan; Yezi’d bin Mua’wiya against Husain bin Ali; Marwa’n bin Hukam (cousin of Yezi’d and the fourth Omayyad caliph) against Zainul A’bedi’n bin Husain and so on.
Ha’shem died in A.D. 510. His brother Muttalib, the Generous, looked after the family and the ‘state’ for ten years till Abdul Muttalib bin Ha’shem took over his father’s position in A.D. 520. He had several children. Among the sons Abu Ta’lib, Abdullah, Hamza and Abba’s were famous. The youngest, Abdullah, was the father of Prophet Mohammed. Abdullah married A’mena. Mohammed was born posthumously on the twentieth of April, 570, fifty-two years before Hijra. He also lost his mother when he was six years old. Abdullah died in A.D. 579 confiding Mohammed in the care of Abu Ta’lib who succeeded him as the Head of the Quraish. Abu Ta’lib was the father of Ali.
Advent of Islam
From early childhood Prophet Mohammed took a great interest in thinking and meditating about the universe and its Creator.5 At the age of twenty-five he married Khadi’ja binti Khuwailad who was a forty-year-old wealthy widow and famous for her nobility. The marriage gave him security and freedom from work, thus he could spend more time in meditation in a cave in mount Hira, near Mecca. Loving Khadi’ja looked after her husband with devotion. At the age of forty he received his first revelation form God:
“Read: In the name of thy Lord Who createth;
“Createth man from a clot.
“Read: And thy Lord is the Most Bounteous,
“Who teacheth by the pen,
“Teacheth man that which he knew not.”6
The declaration of Mohammed as the Prophet of Allah infuriated Beni Omayya extremely. They said: “Beni Ha’shem have been leading the Arabs in all walks of life but now they want us to worship them.” They used all sorts of direct and indirect methods and tactics to destroy Isla’m, the Beni Ha’shem and particularly the family of Abu Ta’lib. But Isla’m kept on growing. As time passed on the violence of Beni Omayya grew.
Bibi Khadi’ja was the first to accept him as the Messenger of Allah. “When Mohammed first began to preach,” writes Ameer Ali, “the Koraish laughed at him, but when they found him earnest in his work their animosty grew into persecution. They began to ill-treat him and his followers, some of whom they tortured to death. Many of his disciples took refuge with a good Christian king in Abyssinia, while others remained to suffer ill-treatment and persecution by the side of their Teacher. On the death of Abu Talib and Khadi’ja, which happended shortly after, the Koraish redoubled their persecutions. Hopeless now of success among the Meccans, Mohammed bethought himself of some other field for the exercise of his ministry. He accordingly proceeded to Tayef, but the people there drove him from their city pelting him with stones. Mohammed returned to his native town sorely striken in heart. He lived there for some time retiring from his people, preaching occasionally and confining his efforts mainly to the strangers who came to Mecca during the season of pilgrimage, hoping that some among them might listen to his word and give up their evil and inhuman ways.”7
In this way the Holy Prophet succeeded in converting some people from Yathrib, a city about two hundred miles to the north of Mecca. Yarthrib afterwards became Medina-tun Nabi, the city of the Prophet briefly Medina. Isla’m rapidly gained a foothold in Medina, which later became the capital of the Isla’mic state.
When life became difficult in Mecca the Holy Prophet emigrated to Medina. On Thursday the eighth of Rabi-el-Awwal in the thirteenth year of his prophethood (24th of September, 622) he entered Qu’ba,8 a village in the outskirts of Medina, where he built a mosque — Isla’m’s first mosque. After fourteen days he entered Medina.9 This is known as Hijratun Nabi, migration of the Prophet.
The Isla’mic calendar takes its origin from this great event. In pre-Islamic days the Arabs celebrated their New Year on the first of Moharram. Respecting this national practice the Muslims, on Mowla Ali’s suggestion, started their Era of Hijra on the same day back dated two months and eight days, during the time of Caliph Omar.10 The Muslims of Medina were known as Ansa’r, the helpers; and those who came from Mecca were known as Muha’jireen, the refugees. Their co-operation strengthened Isla’m greatly.
Battle of Badar
When the enemy, the idolaters in Mecca, found that their intended victims had escaped they prepared an army to attack Medina. Consequently a battle at Badar, a place near Medina, was fought on the nineteenth of Ramaza’n, 2 A.H. (March, 624), with more than one thousand strongmen led by Abu Sufiya’n, defeated, fled back home with his remaining army leaving behind about seventy prisoners and an equal number of dead. The triumph was an important landmark for the Muslims. This greatly raised the spirit of the faithful while the morale of the enemy was shaken badly.
Battle of Ohod
To wipe out the disgraceful blemish of defeat in the battle of Badar, Abu Sufiya’n, the archenemy of Beni Ha’shem, brought a large army of Meccans and their allies to attack Medina in the third year of Hijra (A.D. 625). On the way to Medina the Meccans arrived at a village Abwa where the Holy Prophet’s mother was buried. Abu Sufiya’n proposed to dig out her grave to take away the bones to show them to the Holy Prophet in vengeance, but some of the elders scolded him and rejected the idea.11
The Muslims led by their Prophet met the enemy at Ohod to prevent him from entering Medina. The Muslim force was much smaller in number than the attackers. After a fierce battle on the eighth of Shawwal, 3 A.H. the enemy retreated leaving behind dead bodies and material. Immediately the Muslims started looting the enemy camp which gave Abu Sufiya’n a second thought. He attacked from behind and turned the victory into defeat for the Muslims who now lost some of their best soldiers including Hazrat Hamza, an uncle of the Prophet. The Holy Prophet himself was wounded. Hinda, the wife of Abu Sufiya’n and mother of Mua’wiya, ripped open the chest of Hazrat Hamza and removed his liver and ate it in vengeance. The loss of attackers was too great to allow them to attack Medina and they returned home.
The enemy, however, was not satisfied and many battles were fought to avenge Beni Ha’shem and to annihilate Isla’m. In these wars Beni Omayya lost most of their best fighters and notable personalities at the hands of Mowla Ali. For this reason their hatred for Ali and his progeny never abated.Conquest of Mecca
On the tenth of Ramaza’n in the year 8 A.H. (January, 630) the Prophet of Isla’m truimphantly entered Mecca without any resistance and planted his standard as a sign of complete victory and control. Abu Sufiya’n and his henchmen lost the struggle in utter disgrace and humiliation. They became Muslims as there was no other choice, but their hearts remained unchanged. The history of Isla’m has enough evidence that Beni Omayya, who could not succeed in fighting against the Holy Prophet and Beni Ha’shem, achieved their goal by embracing Isla’m. With the help of Caliphs Omar and Osma’n they later rose to power and established their Omayyad kingdom.The Prophet’s Successor
The Prophet’s mission was over. He went to Mecca to perforn his last hajj in the last month of 10 A.H. Over a hundred thousand Muslims, from all over Arabia, joined him for the hajj ceremonies. During his return jouney he arrived at Ghdir-e-Khom,12 a junction of roads leading to the north and to the south, on the eighteenth of Zil-Hijja, 10 A.H. (15th of March, 632). He was commanded by Allah to deliver an important message to the faithful. The Holy Prophet ordered Bila’l bin Riyah to announce for an urgent gathering of all men and women. Those who went ahead were called back.
The Holy Prophet addressed this huge assembly of Muslims. He declared that that was perhaps his last hajj. He reminded them about their duty towards Isla’m and his teaching during his twenty-three years’ of prophethood. He said, “I am leaving behind me the two most important things for you: The Book of Allah and my Progeny. The two will never depart from each other. If you will follow them you will not go astray.” He called Ali near him and declared: “For those who consider me as their Master, Ali too is their Master” At the end he raised his hands in prayer and said: “O Allah love them who love Ali and hate them who hate Ali and help them who help Ali.”
The first person who congratulated and declared his allegiance to Ali was Omar followed by Abu Bakr and all the men and women.Death of the Holy Prophet
About two and a half months later the Holy Prophet died in Medina on Monday the first of Rabi-el-Awwal, 11 A.H. (May, 632). He was sixty-three years old.
As soon as the Prophet passed away in the house of his wife A’ysha, his closest companions including Abu Bakr and Omar left the house of the Holy Prophet without waiting for his burial, to capture the most cherished opportunity of appointing the Caliph of their own choice.13 Ali bathed the body of the Holy Prophet and wrapped him in the same clothes he had died in, and buried him in the grave dug out in the room.Caliph Abu Bakr
When the burial ceremony of the Holy Prophet was taking place on one side, about three hundred Ansa’r and Quraish were meeting in a public hall on the other side. With a display of diplomatic skill by Omar they elected Abu Bakr as the Caliph. They did not attend the burial ceremony of the Holy Prophet. Beni Ha’shem were not consulted at all; and it was not proper for them, at that critical time soon after the death of the Holy Prophet, to draw the sword for their legitimate claim when the city was full of enemies of Isla’m14 looking for an opportunity to destroy it. They protested in vain. Though Abu Bakr was elected as the Caliph, the true believers turned to Ali for spiritual guidance. These are known as the Shi’as.
The Holy Prophet had enjoyed both the temporal and the spiritual authority over the Muslims. But soon after his death, his trusted companions usurped power for which they had no right. The true believers, though small in number and weak, remained loyal to the House of Nabi and Ali (The Ahl e Bayt). They were tortured and persecuted but they did not falter. The spiritual guidance continued after the Holy Prophet through Mowla Ali and his descendants. The Prophet was the founder of the Republic of Isla’m and became its Head. In this capacity he was succeeded by Abu Bakr as the Caliph, meaning the one who came after. The divine authority bestowed upon the Holy Prophet by God was handed over to Ali and Ghadir-e-Khom and therefore succeeded him as the Ima’m e’ Zama’n. The unity of the temporal and the spiritual authority in the Prophet was the most important need of the time and that was the basic reason for the surge of Isla’m. But greed and selfishness of some of his companions, not realizing what harm they were inflicting upon the Umma15 and the future generations, divided the two authorities of their leader.
Another blunder was committed. The Caliph, who was in fact like the president or the king of a country and not as the head of the church or religion, guided the Muslims in their religious affairs too. The proof that the Caliphate was not the religous institution is that the Arabs refused to pay zaka’t to Abu Bakr who later had to kill thousands of Muslims to impose his authority. He wanted to act, like the Holy Prophet, as the temporal ruler as well as the religious chief. But the Holy Prophet was appointed by God; no one elected him. Abu Bakr was not appointed by the Holy Prophet. Had he been appointed by the Prophet then his election would not have taken place. On the other side Ali was declared, by the Holy Prophet, to succeed him and while he was busy in the burial ceremony of the Prophet the companions, ignoring the burial and their duty, went away to announce the Caliphate of Abu Bakr. Beni Ha’shem under the leadership of Ali kept calm and did not give their allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakr until after the death of Sayyidah Bibi Fa’tima on the third of Jamadi-el Tha’ni, 11 A.H. (August, 632).
After a brief rule of about two years and three months Abu Bakr died on the twenty-second of Jamadi’-el Tha’ni, 13 A.H. (August, 632). He appointed Omar to succeed him. There was no election this time. He consulted only two persons. Osma’n bin Affa’n and Osma’n’s brother-in-law Abdur Rehma’n bin Auf.16
Omar ruled sternly but extended the boundaries of the Isla’mic state. He made many changes and improvements in religious and state affairs. He supported Beni Omayya to rise. He appointed Mua’wiya as the governor of the newly conquered country, Syria. Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Palestine, Armenia etc were all conquered by the Muslim armies during his ten years of Caliphate but nowhere in civil or military service was any Hashemite appointed.
After ten and a half years’ rule, he died at the hands of an assassin on the twenty-sixth of Zil-Hijja, 23 A.H. (A.D. 644). Before his death he appointed a committee of six notables of Medina to elect one of them as the Caliph. They were: Ali bin Abi Ta’lib, Abdur Rehma’n bin Auf, Osma’n bin Affa’n, Zubair bin Awwa’m, Saad bin Abi Waka’s and Talha bin Abdulla17. The power of veto was vested in Abdur Rehma’n, the brother-in-law of Osma’n. Saad was a cousin and Zubair was the son-in-law of Osma’n. Hazrat Omar knew very well what the outcome would be of this committee’s choice.
Abdur Rehma’n asked Mowla Ali first to promise, if he were elected as the Caliph, to follow the Holy Qura’n, the tradition of the Holy Prophet and the policy of Abu Bakr and Omar. Ali replied that he would follow the Holy Qura’n and the tradition of the Holy Prophet and his own judgement. Abdur Rehma’n turned to Osma’n and repeated the question. Osma’n instantly agreed. He was declared as the Caliph. He was a great-grandson of Omayya and a cousin of Mua’wiya. Beni Omayya became stronger.
About the appointment of the election committee, Ameer Ali writes that Omar “made a mistake which paved the way to Ommayade intrigue. The Ommayades now formed a strong party in Medina; they had long been the rivals of the Hashimides, the family of the Prophet, and hated them fiercely; they had pursued Mohammed with bitter ferocity; and it was only after the fall of Mecca that they had adopted Islam from motives of self-interest.”18
But Hazrat Omar did not make a mistake; he knew what he was doing. He had earlier told Abdullah bin Abba’s that it was not proper for Beni Ha’shem to have both the honours of Prophethood and Caliphate among them; therefore the Quraish decided to grab one.19 Thus Omar did not make a mistake. It was a deliberate plan to keep the Caliphate out of Beni Ha’shem’s reach.
Osma’n’s election proved in the end to be the ruin of Isla’m. He was old and weak and fell at once under the infulence of his family. He appointed incompetent and worthless relatives in all major and responsible positions. Dr. Ta’h Husain of Egypt writes that Osma’n was guilty of nepotism and blind favours.20 He writes in his famous book Al Fitina’tul Kubra: “Omar and Abu Bakr were not elected by all the Muslims’ (p. 46); “within hours of the death of the Prophet, the Muslims divided, (p. 51); “the Quraish usurped the Caliphate selfishly,” (p. 57); “the companions of the Prophet were enemies of each other,” (p. 60); “Abdur Rehma’n bin Auf repented for helping Osma’n to Caliphate,” (p. 70); “Osma’n broke his promise to follow Omar’s justice and discipline,” (p. 103); “Osma’n’s incompetence created animosity among the Ansa’r and the Quraish,” (p. 114); “Osma’n’s step-brother Waleed bin Okba led the morning prayer while he was drunk but Osma’n rejected any compaint against him,” (p. 127); “Osma’n strengthened Mua’wiya,” (p.155); “Osma’n spent public money for his own family without right,” (p. 238) and “he proved as a traitor”, (p. 249).
Hazrat Osma’n became the Caliph. He was soft and kind to his relatives but harsh towards his critics. Many close companions of the Holy Prophet and the lovers of Ali such as Abdullah bin Masoud, Amma’r bin Ya’ser, Ma’lik Oshtar, Zaid bin Soha’n Abdi, Adi bin Ha’tim, Ka’ab bin Abdullah, Abu Zar Ghifa’ri and others who criticized Osma’n for his behaviour were not only tortured but exiled and punished by him.21
Oppressed for a long time, the people eventually rose against him and murdered the Caliph, on the eighteenth of Zil-Hi’jja, 35 A.H. (A.D. 656), in his own house. He was house-arrested for nearly forty days before his death. For three days his corpse was lying in his blood before burial. During the siege Mowla Ali used to supply food and water to the Caliph. Dr. Ta’h Husain writes that the bitterest opponent of Osma’n was A’ysha,22 the youngest wife of the Holy Prophet and Talha and Zubair were among the assassins23.1. Ta’rikhe’ Tabari, vol–IV, p. 1672. The Assassins, p.83. Rasa’ile’ Ja’hez, p. 67-734. Beni Omayya aur Isla’m, p. 45. SN, vol-I p. 2016. Hq, ch. 96 v. 1-57. SHS. p. 98. SN. vol-I, p. 2779. According to Ameer Ali, it was 2nd of July, 622.
10. Al-Fa’rooq, p. 33911. Beni Omayya aur Isla’m, p. 1512. Wakiya-e-Ghadir13. Al-Fa’rooq, p. 6514. Ibid, p. 6915. Meaning: the community16. Ta’rikhe’ Tabari vol-I, p. 27417. Al-Fa’rooq, p. 204
18. SHS, p. 45
19. Al-Fa’rooq, p. 205
20. Al-Fitina’tul Kubra, p. 241
21. Ommawi Daure’ Khila’fat, p. 13222. Al-Fitina’tul Kubra, p. 32123. Ibid.
IMA’MAT IN ARABIA 600 — 765 A.D.
Mowla Ali was born on the thirteenth of Rajab twenty-two years before Hijra (A.D. 600) inside the sacred house of Ka’ba. No one else has been born in the House of Allah ever since its foundation by Prophet Ibra’hi’m (Abraham).
His mother Sayyida Fa’tima, daughter of Asad bin Ha’shem, said that he did not cry after birth, nor did he open his eyes. He refused to be fed until after three days when the Holy Prophet arrived and took him caressingly in his arms. He opened his eyes and smiled at the Holy Prophet who then gave his tongue into his mouth. Ali sucked the moisture of the tongue. Ever since they remained together in all walks of life only to be separated physically at the death of the Holy Prophet.
Short in physical structure but robust, Ali was born bald with thick hair at the back of his head and at the temples. Thich eyebrows, over his large and heavy eyes, meeting together above his straight nose, and thin lips gave an impressive look no one could resist. The Holy Prophet said that to look at Ali’s face was the worship of Allah.24
Ali was never defeated in a war or a combat throughout his life. His physical strenght was beyond human comprehension. He removed from the hinges the strong doors of the Khyber fort with a single jolt of his hand. Later, seven strong men with Abu Ra’fe’, the famous strongman, could not lift even an inch from the ground one of the corners of the door. When asked about his wonderful display of strength, in removing the doors, Ali replied that it was his divine power.25
“I used to visit the Messenger of Allah habitually, every night and every day in strict privacy, when he used to answer me concerning what I asked, and I used to go about him wherever he went. The companions of the Messenger of Allah knew (full well) that he did not act in this manner with anyone else. And this (private conversation) would often take place in my house. And whenever I would visit him at some of his resting places, he would arrange for being alone with me and ask his wives to leave, so that no one would remain except he and I. And when he would come to me in private, he would ask everyone to withdraw except Fa’tima or one of my two sons, and when questioned he would answer me. And when I would remain silent and my questions would be exhasusted, he would begin himself. So that nothing was revealed to the Prophet of the verses of the Qura’n, or taught to him by Allah, Exalted is He, concerning what was lawful and what was forbidden, command or prohibition, obedience or sin, things past or future–but he would teach it to me and I would write it down in my own hand. He would expain to me its true meaning (ta’weel), and its apparent and hidden significance (za’hir, ba’tin), and I would commit it to memory and would not forget even a letter of it.26
He married Fa’tima, the daughter of the Holy Prophet, in 2 A.H. (A.D. 625). She was born to Khadi’ja on Friday the twentieth of Jama’di-el-Tha’ni, eighteen years before the Hijra. She died on the third of jama’di el-Tha’ni, 11 A.H. (A.D. 632) seventy five days after the death of her father. She was the mother of Hazrat Pi’r Hasan and Ima’m Husain.
It was Ali who fought agianst the enemies of Isla’m in every battle, except the battle of Tabuk in Rajab, 9 A.H. (February, 630) when the Holy Prophet left him in Medina as the Regent. The mission of the Holy Prophet would probably have failed without the protection of Ali’s sword. Take for example the battle of Badar. The situation of Badar was critical. A thousand strong enemy including the best fighters of Arabia, with all the best available weapons, invaded Isla’m in Medina. There were 313 soldiers of Isla’m who had only seven swords among them. Most of them had only wooden sticks or iron bars. A few armed themselves with just leg bones of camels.
The Holy Prophet was worried. The enemy was strong and three times in size. He threw his forehead in the dust and lamented in prayer: “O Allah! Save Isla’m from destruction. If today we are defeated here shall never be a person who will glorify Thy name on earth”.27
In the battle of al-Ahza’b (trench) in the month of Zul-Qua’da, 5 A.H. (A.D. 627) Omru bin Abd Wudd who was famous for his courage and strength challenged the Muslims. Hazrat Omar announced that Omru was equal to a thousand fighters. No one came forward except Ali who killed Omru in a single stroke. As mentioned above, it was the Zulfiqua’r (the sword) of Ali which won every battle for Isla’m.
Talha bin Abdullah and Zubair bin Awaa’m wanted the governorship of Ku’fa and Basra but Ali rejected their requests. On this they turned against him. A’ysha, the daughter of Abu Bakr, who hated Ali, fanned the flames of hatred and joined hands with them. Talha and Zubair forgetting their oath of allegiance raised an army against Ali. A’ysha led the army on a camel’s back. She persuaded Hafsa, the daughter of Omar, to join her but in vain. Ali tried his best to avoid a war but the enemy arrived near Basra. It was a short battle. Talha and Zubair were killed and A’ysha was immediately sent back home with all respect. History has enough evidence that A’ysha was istigated against Ali by Mua’wiya. When Talha and Zubair came to her for moral support she at once consented to participate in person.
After the Battle of Camel Mowla Ali proceeded to Syria to settle his affairs with Mua’wiya. He met the enemy on the plain
of Siffi’n. He suggested to the rebels to avoid unnecessary shedding of blood of the Muslims and ofered to end the dispute by a personal combat; but Mua’wiya declined the challenge. Omru bin Aas told his accomplice to go for a personal comabat as Ali was old. But the Omayyad replied that no one ever excaped from Ali’s sword.
The rebels started the war but were defeated in three successive battles and they were ready to fly from the battle ground. Mua’wiya, dishearteded, asked Omru bin Aas to find out a solution to avoid destruction. The son of Aas ordered his soldiers to tie copies of the Holy Qura’n to their spears and flags and shout for settlement. The trick worked well. Ali’s soldiers stopped fighting. Ali informed his men that it was a mere trick of the enemy to avoid defeat, but they desisted from pursuit and compelled the Caliph to refer the quarrel to arbitration. Actually there were Mua’wiya’s spies in the army of the Caliph. They created confusion.
Hostilities ceased. Ali named Ma’lik Oshtar as arbitrator of his side which was rejected by the enemy. He was compelled to appoint a weak old man named Abu Mu’sa Asha’ri who was secretly against Ali. The rebel was representd by the shrewd Omru bin Aas. The arbitrators deprived the Caliph of the fruit of his own men. He returned to Ku’fa with his army in disgust.
A group of Ali’s soldiers, who favoured the matter or arbitration at Siffi’n, numbering about four thousand under the leadership of Abdullah bin Wahab al-Ra’sibi denounced the arbitration as sinful. They made their slogan: La hukma illa lillah, meaning: arbitration is for Allah alone. They wre known as Kha’rijis. They mutinied and gathered near Nahrwa’n. The Caliph asked them either to return to duty or disperse to their homes peacefully but they assumed a threatening attitude. Ali was compelled to attack their camp (in 38 A.H.) and almost annihilated them. Only nine of them escaped to Baharain where they formed a fanatical movement which time after time harassed the Caliphate till the Abbasid period.
As stated above Abu Mu’sa Asha’ri and Omru bin Aas wre apppointed as the arbitrators. Abu Mu’sa proved a traitor. They agreed to depose both Ali and Mua’wiya and elect a third person as the Caliph. Omru made the old man to speak first. He deposed Ali from Caliphate. Then Omru announced that Ali was already deposed so he reinstated Mua’wiya as the Caliph of Muslims. Abu Mu’sa became furious and declared that he was cheated. Thus arbitration collapsed.
The prepartions of another war were started on both sides. Afraid of losing another war with Ali, Mua’wiya used underground tactics. Hazrat Ali was assissinated by Abdur Rehma’n bin Muljam on the nineteenth of Ramaza’n, 40 A.H. (24th of January, 661) during prayer in the mosque of Ku’fa. He died after two days. He was buried at Najaf.
Mowla Ali had idvided the Isla’mic state into five provinces: Ku’fa, Mecca, Medina, Basra and Fa’rs which was extended up to Baluchistan and part of Afghanistan. The respective governors were (except in Ku’fa, the Capital): Qutham bin Abba’s, Abu Ayoob Ansa’ri, Abdullah bin Abba’s and Zia’d bin Samayya.29 He had also appointed Abul Aswad as head of the Department of Finance; Qadhi Sharrih as the Chief Justie; Ma’lik bin Habi’b as the Chief of the Police Department and Abdullah bin Abi-Ra’fe’ as the head of the Civil Service.
The people elected Hazrat Hasan, the eledest son of Mowla Ali, as their Caliph but he abdicated after five months in favour of Mua’wiya to avoid further bloodshed; moreover, his soldiers were half-hearted. Mua’wiya had sent his spies in the Caliph’s army to create confusion and mutiny. Mua’wiya agreed to spare the lives and respect the honour of Beni Ha’shem; to pay a large sum of money to Hazrat Hasan as the annual pension and to pass the Caliphate to Beni Ha’shem after his own death. Mua’wiya broke all his promises and poisoned Hasan to death in the month of Safar 50, A.H. (July, 671).
Ima’m Hasan, as he is generally known among the Shi’as, was born on the ifteenth of Ramaza’n, 3 A.H. (March, 625) in Medina. The Holy Prophet was extremely happy on his birth. His own sons had earlier died and his daughter Fa’tima was the only surviving child, and loved her most. He said that her childern wre his itrat, progeny. He named his grandson Hasan according to the Divine Will.
Hazrat Hasan resembled his grandfather. The Holy Prophet loved him much and often kissed him on his lips and the navel. He would lift the child on his shoulder and walk in the streets of Medina proudly. One day Hazrat Abu Bakr saw them in this way and remarked jokingly that Hasan had a nice carrier. The Holy Prophet replied smilingly that the rider was nice too. Once Caliph Abu Bakr was delivering a serman from the minbar, pulpit, which was used before him exclusively by the Holy Prophet. Hasan who was about eight years old and present in the mosque shouted at the Caliph to come down from the pulpit of his grandfather. The Caliph came down and lifted Hasan in his arms lovingly and confirmed that it was true that the minbar belonged to his (Hasan’s) grandfather.
Mua’wiya became the first emperor of Isla’m, though for the
name sake he was called Caliph. It was not an accident of history that the archenemies of Isla’m and the Holy Prophet and his family became the absolute rulers, but it eas a pre-planned scheme, conceived during the life of the Holy Prophet, to deprive Beni Ha’shem of their position and honour. Knowing well the dirty tricks, intriques and the malicious methods of their enemies the Ahl-Bait of the Prophet did not react in any mean or inglorious way. They would rather suffer and lose but would not give up their piety, honesty, dignity and magnanimity.
Mua’wiya built a strong and vast empire and ruled for nineteen years as an absolute monarch. In his reign of terror and torture most of the supporters of Beni Ha’shem were put to death one by one. Abu Zar Ghifa’ri, Ma’lik Oshtar, Qais bin Saad and hundreds of the lovers of Ahl-Bait wre murdered. Mua’wiya ordered that after the prayer the congregation should curse and abuse Ali in the mosque throughout the kingdom. No admirer of Ali should be given any job. Those who praised Ali should be killed.30
Before he died Mua’wiya pronounced that his son Yazi’d. Mua’wiya died in the month of Rajab, 60 A.H. (April, 680) and imposed Yazi’d as the Caliph upon the Muslims. “Yazi’d was both cruel and treacherous; his depraved nature knew no pit or justice:, wries Ameer Ali. “He insulted the ministers of religion by dressing up a monkey as a learned divine and carrying the animal mounted on a beautiful caparisoned Syrian donkey wherever he went.”31 He butchered Ima’m Husain and his family including the young children at Kerbala, and massacred thousands of Muslums including hundreds of the companions of the Holy Prophet in Medina and Mecca; and damaged by fire the buildings of Ka’ba. His timely death saved the Meccans from further destruction.
He was succeeded by his son Mua’wiya-II, a mild-natured youngster, who abdicated the throne within a few months. Marwa’n bin el-Hukam became the Caliph.32 His father Hukam bin al-Aas used to ridicule the Holy Prophet by imitating his physical actions. After two years’ reign Marwa’n died; his son Abdul Malik succeeded him.
The eighth Omayyad Caliph was Omar bin Abdul Azi’z. He was in fact the Omayyad saint. He wore clothes with many pathces and lived a simple and pious life. He discontinued the practice of cursing Mowla Ali from the pulpit started by Mua’wiya. He also returned the oasis of Fadak, confiscated by Caliph Abu Bakr, to Beni Ha’shem.
The Omayyads conquered many countries and extended the boundaries of their empire in the name of Isla’m during the
Though the military achievements and the pageantry glorified the Muslims, particularly the Omayyad emperors, the spritual aspects deteriorated sharply. The rapid conquests of various lands tempted the masses to embrace Isla’m not for any spiritual reason but to gain material benefits or to escape from the non-Muslim taxes and treatment. The contact of the Arabs with the non-Arabs brought untold social and religious problems.33
Mowla’na Ima’m Husain, the gounger son of Mowla’na Ali, succeeded his father as the Ima’m of the faithful. His elder brother Hazrat Hasan, according to the Isma’ili tradition, was no the Ima’me’ Zama’n but the Hujjatul Ima’m. Ima’mat does not pass on to a brothe; it goes down to a male issue. If Hazrat Hasan wee the Ima’m then Hazrat Zainul Abedi’n would not have succeeded to Ima’mat but one of the sons of Hasan and his line of descendants would have succeeded. All the Shi’a Ima’miya branches of Isla’m agree that the Ima’ms were Aale’Husain and not of Hasan.
Ima’m Husain was born on Thursday the third of Sha’ba’n, 4 A.H. (February, 626) in Medina. He was immediately placed, after birth, in the arms of the Holy Prophet who announced aza’n34 in his right ear and aqa’mat35 in the left and then put his tongue in his mouth to suck its moisture. During his infancy whenever he was taken in the arms of the Holy Prophet he was given a finger to suck which he loved very much. The Holy Prophet used to enjoy the smell of Hasan’s or Husain’s body under the chin. Sometimes he would sit on the back of his grandfather when the latter prostrated in prayer.
Ima’m Husain succeeded his father as the Ima’me’ Zama’n, furing the reign of Mua’wiya, on the twenty-first of Ramaza’n, 40 A.H. (26th of January, 661). He led a quiet and a private life keeping away from politics in the tense situation after the assassination of his father. The tension had increased when Mua’wiya poisoned his elder brother Hazrat Hasan to death in 50 A.H.
Meanwhile, various letters and deputations from his admirers in Iraq came to Ima’m Husain earnestly requesting him to come to Ku’fa, the capital of Iraq. In view of the circumstances in Medina the Holy Ima’m decided to go to Ku’fa. He knew what was going to happen. He left Medina for Mecca with his family and to Ku’fa. Yezi’d ahd sent thiry men to Mecca to kill the Holy Ima’m at the time of hajj. But the Ima’m performed all the ceremonies earlier than the actual date of hajj–this is known as umrah–and left Mecca on the eighth of Zil Hijja, 61 A.H. for Ku’fa.
Ima’m Husain knew that he was destined for a cruel murder at Kerbala. The Holy Prophet had long ago told his family about the martyrdom of his two grandsons. The Holy Ima’m knew that he had to sacrifice his life to save Isla’m. He would have agreed to the Caliphate of Yezi’d and saved his life, and the lives of his family and friends, but this would have ruined completely the spirit of Isla’m.
Isla’m–the religion that the Holy Prophet taught–was already forgotten. Truthfulness, piety, honesty, justice, unity, spirit of brotherhood and above all the love of Allah and Rasool and his progeny were altogether forgotten. Prayers wre held but without the spirit of worship; zaka’t was paid but it was spent for personal comforts of the rulers; jeha’d was made for political conquest and material benefits; the Holy Qura’n was read without understanding. The sacrifice of Ima’m Husain encouraged the true believers of Isla’m and ignited their hearts with spiritual love.
Yezi’d sent an army at four thousand men against about a hundred of Ima’m’s family and followers. The army encountered them at Kerbala while they were travelling from Mecca to Ku’fa. It was at this place in the Iraqi desert that the Holy Ima’m and his comapnions were slaughtered savagely on the tenth of Muharram, 61 A.H. (10th of October, 680).
They fought bravely and inflicted a heavy loss of life upon the enemy. It is reported that there were 320 wounds on the body of the Holy Ima’m. Like Prophet Ya’hya (John the Baptist) who was executed and whose head was presented in a tray to Harod Antipus. Ima’m Husain’s head was severed from his body and presented in a tray to Yezi’d, who laughed at the sight of the holy head and struck the lips with his stick in vengeance. Yezi’d’s grandmother Hinda had eaten the liver of Hazrat Hamza, an uncle of the Holy Prophet, in the battle of Ohod.
Ima’m Husain’s son Zainul A’bedin, who was sick, miraculously survived the massacre at Kerbala, succeeded him as Ima’me’ Zama’n.
Mowla’na Ima’m Zainul A’bedin was born at Medina on the fifteenth of Sha’ba’n, 38 A.H. (January, 659) during the Caliphate of his grandfather Mowla Ali. He succeeded his father Ima’m Husain at the age of twenty-two. He lived a private life, teaching and preaching. Four Omayyad rulers, Yezi’d, his son Mua’wiya-II, Merwa’n and his son Abdul Malik died during the life of the Ima’m. Caliph Wali’d bin Abdul Malik killed the Ima’m by poisoning him on the eighteenth of Muharram, 95 A.H. (September, 713). The Omayyads troubled the Ima’m extremely but he exercised great fortitude.
Ha’fiz Abu Na’eem has mentioned in his Huliyatul Auliya that once Hisha’m bin Abdul Malik (later the tneth Omayyad Caliph) went to perform the hajj but could not pass through the crowd to reach the sacred Black Stone. Suddenly he was surprised to see the crowd giving way to a serene handsome youth (ima’m Zaunul A’bedin). He asked the people who the honourable person was who enjoyed so much respect. Abul Faras Farzooq, the famous poet, was standing nearby, replied in verse:
“I know him. He is the son of the most honourable. The Ka’ba is familiar of his footsteps. He is immaculate, pious and divine. His bravery is matchless. His forehead is shinning with Noor (the Light of God); Like the Sun his Noor tears off the sheets of darkness- His miraculous hand makes fragrant whatever it touches. And wisdom of all the Prophets was enriched by the wisdom of his grandfather. Those who know him know God.”
Hisha’m turned pale. He warned the poet to be careful. Later, he took revenge on the poet when he came to power.36
Sulema’n bin Saro, Ibra’him bin Ma’lik Oshtar and Mukhta’r bin Obaida Thaqafi rose against the Omayyads immediately after the death of Yazi’d. The Holy Ima’m remained aloof.
The period of 34 years of his Ima’mat was the most critical
time for the Shi’as. The Omayyad governors Muslim bin Oqba, Hassain bin Nami’r and Hajjaj bin Yu’suf murdered countless Muslims who admired and loved the Holy Ahl-Bail.
The Holy Ima’m was succeeded by his son Ima’m Mohammed Ba’qir.
He was well-built and strong. He had brown and thick hair on his head and wore a short rounded beard. His fair complexion, big black eyes, soft and sweet voice would make his visitor speechless at the first glance. He always looked smart and well-dressed.
Life his father the Holy Ima’m took a keen interest in teaching and preaching. He was always surrounded by his admirers and students seeking knowledge after morning prayer. This was the daily routine. Hundreds of people used to attend these morning ‘sessions.’
Ima’m Ba’qir and his son Ima’m Ja’fer es Sa’diq worked very hard to fight the prevailing atheism and misinterpretation of the Holy Qura’n and the tradition of the Holy Prophet among the Muslims. He organized the propagation of Isla’m and appointed da’is to spread the truth. Once he bought a slave during one of his travel. The slave was Abu Sha’kir May’moon al-Qadah, a descendant of Hazrat Salma’n el-Fa’rsi. He was very intelligent and educated. The Holy Ima’m trained him personally and then handed him over to Ima’m Sa’diq who later appointed him as the head of Da’wat, propagation of religion.
The famous Sunni jurists Hazrat Abu Hanifa (d. 150 A.H.), Hazrat Zohri (d. 124), Hazrat Sufiya’n Thawri (d. 161) and Hazrat Oza’i (d. 157) were among the students of Ima’m Ba’qir.
Before the reign of Omayyad Caliph Abdul Malik the Roman and Persian currencies were used in Isla’mic countries. The Muslims called upon the Caliph to introduce their own currency. The Caliph invited a conference of the wise and learned to solve this problem. Ima’m Zainul A’bedin, who was also invited, sent his seventeen-year-old son, Ima’m Baqir, to the conference. The conference unanimously agreed upon his suggestion of minting an Isla’mic dina’r with the inscription of “La ilah illa Allah’ on its one side and “Mohammadan Rasoolallah’ on the other, in Arabic. Thus the first Isla’mic coin was minted in Damascus in 74 A.H. (A.D. 694).
Zaid bin Hasan, an uncle of the Ima’m, claimed Ima’mat in vain. He instigated the Omayyad Caliph Hisha’m bin Abdul Malik against the Holy Ima’m and his family. The Omayyad troubled them throughout their lives. Another claimant of Ima’mat was Zaid bin Zainul A’bedin, step-brother of the Holy Ima’m, who revolted against the Omayyads and was killed.
Four Omayyad rulers, Wali’d bin Abdul Malik, Sulemaa’n bin ABdul Malik, Omar bin Abdul Azi’z and Yezi’d bin Abdul Malik, died during his nineteen years of Ima’mat. Hisha’m bin Abdul Malik succeeded Yezi’d bin Abdul Malik. Omar bin Abdul Aziz was a noble person. He was a pious and God-fearing man. The historians have called him an Omayyad saint. He ordered the preachers to stop the practice of abusing and cursing Mowla Ali and Ahl-bain from the pulpit after prayer. This practice had been started by Mua’wiya half a century previously. His respect and sympathy for the Ahl-Bait eventually infruruated the Omayyads but the Caliph did not care. He also returned to the Holy Ima’m the garden of Fadak which was confiscated by Caliph Abu Bakr from Sayyidah Bibi Fa’tima soon after the death of the Holy Prophet.
Mowla’na Ima’m Ba’qir lived a simple life. He was very kind and generous. He shared his food with his slaves and servants. He was famous for his hospitality and for this reason people from all walks of life, from far and near, used to some to see him.
Ja’bir bin Abdullah Ansa’ri has reported that once he went to see Ima’m Ba’qir at his house. The Ima’m was sitting on a mat. There was nothing else in the room. After a while a man came in and greted the Ima’m. The Holy Ima’m received him warmly. The visitor said that he was a poet and wanted to recite some verses in praise of his host. The permission was granted. When he finished his recitation the Ima’m went to another rom and brought a bag full of silver coins which he gave to the poet. He asked the Ima’m’s permission to recite another poem. Ima’m Ba’qir smillingly consented and gave him another bag of silver coins. This was repeated the third time. The poet then left happily.
Ima’m Ba’qir had six sons: Ima’m Ja’fer, Abdullah, Ibra’hi’m, Hasan, Abu Tura’b and Tha’bit and two daughters: Zainab and Omm Kalthoom. He died of poisoning at the age of fifty-seven on the seventeenth of Zil Hijja, 114 A.H. (August, 732). He was buried in Medina.
Mowla’na Ima’m Ja’fer es-Sa’diq succeeded his father at the age of thirty-one. He was born in Medina on the seventeenth of Rabi-el-Awwal, 83 A.H. (August, 702) during the Ima’mat of his grandfather, Ima’m Zainul A’bedin, and the regn of Omayyad Abdul Malik bin Marwa’n. He was also known as Sa’diq Aal Mohammed and Ami’r Ahmed.
He was of medium height and stout. He had thick and curly hair around his head, bald at the top. He had a slim and straight nose on a round face. He wore a thick round beard. He was very handsome and attractive.
From his early childhood the Holy Ima’m took a deep interest in learning. Later, he assisted his father in all religious matters acting as his Hujjat, a deputy. He sent two da’is to India where they converted thousands of natives to Isla’m in the provinces of Thatta and Multan (now in Pakistan). Two other da’is were sent to Salamiy followed by his son Ima’m Isma’il.
Abul Khatta’b Asadi, a famous da’i of the Holy Ima’m, went astray and claimed divine authority. The Ima’m dismissed him publicy. He then formed his own group of followers. They were known as Khatta’biya. He was later hanged to death in Ku’fa.
Omayyad Hisha’m was the ruler when Ima’m Sa’diq succeeded his father to the throne of Ima’mat. In the first eighteen years of his Ima’mat the Omayyad Caliphate came to an end. Caliph Hisha’m, Wali’d-II, Yazi’d-III, his brother Ibra’hi’m and Marwa’n-II all five either died or they were killed. Beni Abba’s seized the Caliphate and started mass killing of the Omayyads. Abul-Abbas’s as Saffa’h was proclaimed as the first Abba’sid Caliph in the month of Rabi-el-Tha’ni, 132 A.H. (November, 749).
The Abbasids were a branch of Beni Ha’shem, the closest relatives of Beni Fa’tima, but jealous of the superiority and honour of Ahl-Bait. They too, like their Omayyad predecessors, treated Beni Ha’shem with cruelty and injustice as soon as they came to power.
The Isma’ili army had to fight several battles against an obstinate enemy, Abu-Yezi’d Kha’riji. At last the Ima’m himself chased him out of the Fatimid boundary into Sudan where he was arrested and killed. But after sometime Abu-Yezi’d’s son Fa’zal revolted. This time the Holy Ima’m sent his seventeen-year-old son Prince Mo’izz with a sizeable army. Prince Mo’izz exterminated the Kha’rijis once and for all.
The uprising of the Kha’rijis occupied the Isma’ili army completely for a long time. Taking advantage of this situation the Omayyad ruler of Spain invaded and conquered some parts of the Fatimid territory in the north-west of Africa and the island of Sicily. But the Isma’ilis promptly too action against the enemy. All the territory was reconquered and peace was restored.
The Holy Ima’m appointed Hasan bin Ali Kalibi as the governor of Sicily. He served his Ima’m with devotion all his life. He improved the existing navy and increased the number of ships.
Isma’ili da’wat under Pi’r Abdul Maji’d bin Pi’r Gha’libuddi’n was spreading in the north-east Africa, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.
During the seven years of his Caliphate and Ima’mat all the empire was in complete control of the Holy Ima’m. The Pope used to pay a large sum of money annually as tribute to the Fatimid Caliph.
Ima’m Mansoor died at the age of thirty-nine on the twenty-eighth of Shawwa’l, 341 A.H. (A.D. 952) and was buried at Mehdia.
Mowla’na Ima’m Mo’izz succeeded his father at the age of twenty-two. He was born on the twenty-first of Ramaza’n, 318 A.H. (A.D. 930) at Mehdia.
He was extremely handsome, tall and well-built. He was very kind, generous and obliging. The most glorious period of the Fatimid Caliphate started with the enthronement of Ima’m Abu-Tami’m Ma’add al-Mo’izz. He pardoned all those who sided with the Kha’rijis. This amnesty greatly increased the popularity of the Fatimids.
The Omayyad rules of Spain Abdur Rehma’n al-Na’sir, who was under the Abbasid Caliph of Beghdad, had built a naval fleet. In 344 A.H. his navy arrested a Fatimid ship which was carrying some documents and valueable gifts for the Holy Ima’m from Admiral Hasan bin Ali Kalibi. The ship was taken to a Spanish harbour. Admiral Hasan sent his fleet to the harbour and destroyed all the enemy ships and the installations and freed the captured ship without any loss.
“Under al-Qa’im’s grandson Abu-Tamim Ma’add al-Mu’izz (952-75)”, writes P.K. Hitti, “the Egyptian fleet, strengthened by new units built at Maqs, the predecessor of Bula’q as the port of Cairo, in 955 raided the coasts of Spain, whose caliph was non other than the mighty al-Na’sir. Three years later the Fatimid army advanced westward as far as the Atlantic, whence the commander sent to his caliph live fish in jars. In 969 Egypt was wrested from its Ikhshidid rulers.”71
Gha’zi Jawhar-a Sicilian Christian converted to Isma’ilism-was the commander of the Isma’ili armies. He started to build the new capital near Fusta’t, now Cairo, in 359 and completed it in 363 A.H. (A.D. 969-973). It was named al-Qa’hira. According to the wish of his Ima’m he also built the great mosque of al-Azhar which was later extended into a university by Ima’m Azi’z.
By this time the Isma’ili empire spread from the Atlantic Ocean to Damascus. But the Carmathians started troubling the peaceful subjects again.
Isma’ili da’wat headed by Pi’r Abdul Maji’d had spread in all parts of the empire and the neighbouring countries. A famous da’i Qa’zi Mona’n bin Mohammed was appointed as the chief justice. An other famous da’i of this period was Abu Ya’qoob Sijista’ni who died in 331 A.H. He wrote many books. The most popular was Al-yenabi’.
In about 2000 B.C. a canal was dug to link the river Mile through the Wadi Tumilat with the Bitter lakes and another canal was in the south to connect it to the Red Sea. Many a time these channels were filled with shifting sands which made useless. These were re-excavated depending on the whim of an individual ruler. After the conquest of Egypt by the Persians, Darius the Great ordered the restoration and enlargement of the canal.
During the Fatimid period the canal was enlarged and re-routed in the north to enable it to pass sea-going boats.
Ima’m Mo’izz died on the eleventh of Rabi-el-Awwal, 365 A.H. (A.D. 975) and was buried in Cairo. He was forty-six. His son Ima’m Azi’z succeeded him.
Mowla’na Ima’m Abu-Mansoor Niza’r al-Azi’z Billah was the fifth Fatimid Caliph and the fifteenth Isma’ili Ima’m. He was
born on the fourteenth of Muharram, 344 A.H. (A.D. 953) in Qairwa’n.
The twenty-one-year reign of Ima’m Azi’z was the most glorious period of the Fatimid Caliphate. The empire reached its zenith spreading from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea and up to Yemen including Mosul, Mecca, Damascus Palestine, Islands of Crete, Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the whole of the eastern Mediterranean.
It was during this time that the great waterway, now known as the Suez Canal, was rebuilt and the boats sailed from the Mediterranean into the Red Sea and vice versa. The Holy Ima’m built libraries, mosques, schools, roads, bridges, canals and street lights. Freedom of worship, peace and prosperity attracted many foreigners and non-Muslims to settle in various parts of the empire.72
Gha’zi Abul-Hasan Jawhar died in 381 A.H. He was a Roman slave born in Sicily. Ima’m Mo’izz bought him and trained him as a personal attendant. He was a man of great qualities. He rose to the position of Qaid, the Leader. Ima’m Azi’z personally attended the funeral of this great soldier and great man.
Ima’m Azi’z died on the twenty-fifth of Ramaza’n 386 A.H. (A.D. 996) in Cairo at the age of forty-two. He was succeeded by his son Al-Ha’kem.
Hujjatul Ima’m Pi’r Abdul Maji’d was living in Yemen. He was too old to travel but he was supervising the work of da’wat assisted by his son Sayyid Munt’zir Billah and hundreds of da’is.
Mowla’na Ima’m Abu-Ali al-Husain al-Ha’kem Bi-Amrillah was born on Thursday the third of Rabi-el-Awwal, 375 A.H. (A.D. 986) in Cairo. His mother was a Russian Princess. At the tender age of eleven he ascended the throne of Ima’mat and Caliphate after the death of his father. In his reign the people were happy and prosperous especially the non-Muslim minorities such as the Jews and the Christians who enjoyed equal rights as citizens.
The lenient attitude of the government tempted the Jews and the Christians to take undue advantage. They started corruption and conversion of the Muslims into their respective faiths. They were warned but took no heed. For this obvious reason the Ima’m later had to take drastic action against them. He ordered them to wear black robes, to display the sign of their repective faith and to ride only on donkeys. Many western historians have
exaggerated this matter. The Caliph was forced to take such an action to save the integrity of the Muslim society and Isla’m. It was not a new order in Isla’m. Caliph Omar had ordered the Christians to wear a certain type of dress to show that the wearer was a Christian.73
During the first year of Ima’m Ha’kem’s Caliphate a struggle for power and influence started between the Turk and the Berber army commanders. It developed into an armed conflict. Turk Barjawa’n defeated the Berber commander Hasan bin Amma’r who was later killed. Victorious Barjwa’n assumed the absolute power. He introduced many reforms and became popular but gradually became proud. He often insulted the young Caliph. At last an aide of the Holy Ima’m killed him in 390 A.H. Ima’m Ha’kem took over the absolute authority as the Caliph. He appointed Husain bin Gha’zi Jawhar as the chief minister.
In 389 A.H. Qa’zi Mohammed bin Noma’n died. The Caliph appointed Husain bin Ali bin Noma’n as the chief justice.
Due to his jealousy for the Fatimid Ima’ms the Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad, Qa’dir Billah, issued a statement, in 406 A.H., that Ima’m Ha’kem was not a Fatimid. This false statement was signed by some prominent jurists of his court. Pi’r Abdul Ma’jid died in 397 A.H. in Yemen at the age of ninety-seven. The Holy Ima’m appointed the Pi’r’s eldest son Sayyid Munt’zir Billah as the Pi’r. Another famous da’i of this period was Ahmed Hammiduddin Kerma’ni.
Ima’m Ha’kem was very fond of building. He constructed many roads, bridges, schools and mosques. He was very generous but strict in implementing justice and discipline. Very often he would ride his white mare alone. The people loved him very much and talked fdreely to him about their problems.
On the twenty-seventh of Shawwa’l, 411 A.H. (A.D. 1021) he left his palace at night with his two aids whom he later sent back. He was never seen again. Some thought he was murdered. But the others believed he ascended to heaven and would return after a thousand years; they are known as the Dru’ze.
Ima’m Ha’kem’s son Ali succeeded to the throne of Ima’mat and Caliphate after him.
17. IMA’M ZA’HIR
Mowla’na Ima’m Za’hir was born on Wednesday the tenth of Ramaza’n, 395 A.H. (A.D. 1005) in Cairo. His name was Ali and the title was Abul Hasan az-Za’hir.
At the age of sixteen he became the seventeenth Isma’ili Ima’m and the seventh Fatimid Caliph. His paternal aunt Sitt-al-Mu’lk helped him in the affairs of the dourt and the palace. She died after four years in 415 A.H.
After Ima’m Ha’kem a spllit occured among the Isma’ilis. The seceders were called Dru’ze who believed that the Ima’m did not die but he would return. They believed that the Ima’m ascended to heaven physically and would reappear in the same body after one thousand years. A section of the Dru’ze believed that he was god himself who had appointed Hamza, a da’i, as their Ima’m who was later succeeded by the successive Shaikhs-ul-Aql. The seat of their present shaikh is in Lebanon, about thirty kilometres from Beirut.
In 421 A.H. the Roman king Constantine-II invaded Aleppo with an army of 600,000 but was defeated by the tactics of a very small Isma’ili force. He was forced to sign a treaty to keep peace in future and to announce the Caliphate of Ima’m Za’hir in all the mosques in his territory. This treaty was revived by the succeeding Roman king Michael-IV in 428 A.H. (A.D. 1037).
A great Isma’ili physician and philosopher, Bu-Ali Si’na (Avicenna), lived during this period. Abu Reha’n al-Beru’ni was his contemporary who later joined the service of Mahmoud of Ghazna.
The Holy Ima’m died after a short illness on the fifteenth of Sha’ba’n, 427 A.H. (A.D. 1036) and was buried in Cairo. He was succeeded by his son Mustansir Billah.
At the age of seven Mowla’na Ima’m al-Mustansir was proclaimed as the eighth Fatimid Caliph of Egypt, and the eighteenth Isma’ili Ima’m, on the fifteenth of Sha’ba’n, 427 A.H. He was born on the seventeenth of Jama’di-el-Tha’ni, 420 A.H. (A.D. 1066) an earthquake shook the city of Cairo and other towns nearby and caused considerable damage. The Holy Ima’m compensated generously to everyone who had lost even a goat.
As a result of this earthquake and lack of rain the following six years, from 461 to 466 A.H., widespread famine ruined the country economically. Thousands of people died of starvation. The Holy Ima’m gave away all his wealth, even the clothes and furniture of his palace, to save the people. Many generals and high officials took great advantage of the situation. Unrest and insecurity prevailed throughout the country. At last the Ima’m summoned his governor of Syria, Bader al-Jama’li in 467 A.H. and gave him full authority as the prime minister to restore law and order. Within a year all was quite in order. The prime minister served his Ima’m sincerely for nearly twenty years. He died in 487 A.H. The Holy Ima’m appointed al-Jama’li’s son Afzal as the prime minister.
Ali bin Mohammed Salihi, Hasan bin Sabbah, Ha’ser khusrao, Abdul Malik Atta’sh, Omar Khayya’m, Pi’r Mohammed Shah Satgur Noor and many other famous isma’ili personaliries lived during the reign of Ima’m Mustansir Billah whose Ima’mat and Caliphate lasted for over sixty years, the longest period of Ima’mat till that time.
The Holy Ima’m died at the age of sixty-eight on Wednesday the eighteenth of Zil-Hijja, 487 A.H. (A.D. 1094) and was buried in Cairo. His eldest son Niza’r succeeded him as the Ima’me’Zama’n.
Mowla’na Ima’m Niza’r was born in Cairo on the tenth of Rabi-el-Awwal, 437 A.H. (A.D. 1045). He succeeded his father as the nineteenth Ima’m of the Isma’ilis at the age of fifty-one.
His father died in his absence. The prime minister, Afzal al-Jama’li, promptly declared the Caliphate of his son-in-law Ahmed Must’li, the eighteen-year-old half-frother of Ima’m Niza’r. When Ima’m Niza’r and his two brothes Abdullah and Isma’il came to Cairo to attend the funeral of their father, they found the conditions were different from what their late father had instructed. After the burial of their father they left for Alexandria.
In Alexandria the governor Oftakeen and the Qa’zi had sworn allegiance to Ima’m Niza’r. For two years many battles were fought. Eventually Musta’li’s army arrested the Holy Ima’m and the governor. They were brought before him. He killed the governor and imprisoned the Ima’m where he died a year later in 490 A.H. (A.D. 1096). His two sons Ma’add and Ha’di were also imprisoned. Ma’add died shortly in the prison.
A split took place among the Isma’ilis after the death of Ima’m Mustansir Billah. The seceders followed Caliph Musta’li who was enthroned by his father-in-law Afzal, the prime minister. The Caliph died in 495 A.H. after eight years’ reign at the age of twenty-six and was succeeded by his five year old son Aamer. In 524 A.H. he was murdered at the age of thirty-four leaving behind a pregnant widow who later gave birth to a girl.74 Thus the line of succession ended.
But it was announced that a boy, named Tayyib, was born. He went into concealment at the age of seven months. He would reappear near the end of the world, they said. Abdul Mahi’d al-Ha’fez, the uncle of Aamer, took over the charge of the state as well as the faith as the Ba’b, a chief da’i. After one year he claimed to be the Ima’m himself.75 After his reign of twenty years Caliph Ha’fez died in 544 A.H. at the age of seventy-five. His sixteen-year-old son Isma’il succeeded as the Caliph with the title of Za’fer. He was murdered in 549 A.H. and was succeeded by his five-year-old son al-Fa’iz. After six years he died at the age of eleven. Nine years old Aazid, the grand son of Ha’fez was proclaimed as the fourteenth ‘fatimid Caliph in Rajab, 555 A.H. After twelve years he died in 567 A.H. The Fatimid Caliphate ended with him.
The Rock of Alamut is situated in the mountain range of Elburz in the north-west of Tehran, the capital of Iran. The nearest city is Qazqi’n at a distance of 40 kilometres only. The Isma’ilis built a formidable fort over this rock.
An Isma’ili kingdom, in the name of Ima’m Niza’r was established at Alamut on the sixth of Rajab, 483 A.H. (4th of September, 1090), by Hasan bin Sabbah and his colleagues, during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Mustansir Billah.76 But it was Ima’m Ha’di who in 490 A.H. came to Alamut and reigned as the Head of State. The glorious period of Alamut lasted 170 years. From Ima’m Ha’di to Ima’m Ruknuddi’n Khorshah, the Isma’ilis made tremendous progress in education, science, economics, political and religious fields. The kingdom spread from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. The propagation of the faith reached the neighbourhood of Burma and millions of people were converted.
The founder of Alamut Hasan bin Sabbah al-Hami’ri sent a deputation headed by a trusted da’i Abul Hasan Sa’eed to bring Ima’m Niza’r and the two princes from Cairo. When abul Hasan and his companions learnt that the Ima’m and the princes were imprisoned in the palace, they killed the guards at night and put on their uniforms. In this way they entered the palace and saw their beloved Ima’me’Zama’n sick in bed. THey prayed to him to go with them to Alamut. The Holy Ima’m told them that he was unable to travel but they should take away Prince Ha’di (as Prince Ma’add had already died) who would be their Ima’m. Soon after Ima’m Niza’r died.
Ima’m Niza’r died in 490 A.H. (A.D. 1097), at the age of fifty-three in the palace of his half brother Caliph Musta’li in Cairo.
Mowla’na Ima’m Ha’di, the younger son of Ima’m Niza’r, was born in Cairo during the Ima’mat of his grandfather in 462 A.H. (A.D. 1069).77 He was twenty-eight years old when he succeeded to the throne of Ima’mat. While he was imprisoned, with his father and a brother by his uncle Caliph Musta’li in Cairo, a kingdom in Alamut awaited his arrival.
Da’i Abul Hasan brought the Holy Ima’m to Alamut and proclaimed him as the Ima’me’Zama’n and the Head of the State. The Holy Ima’m lived a simple life and did not take part in political activities directly.
During his reign the Isma’ilis spread their faith from Mediterranean to the Caspian Seas, in India and Central Asia. Hasan bin Sabbah was the prime minister as well as the chief of da’wat as the Hujjate’Aazam. He had to fight against a powerful enemy, the Sultans of Parsia. Therefore, he created a force of the fida’is.
There is no truth in Marco Polo’s tales of paradise and the strange legends of the assassins. Modern research has revealed this fact. “In speaking of the Ismailis of Persia as Assassins,” writes Bernard Lewis, “and of their leader as the Old Man, Marco Polo-or his transcriber-was using terms already familiar in Europe. They had, however, come from Syria, not from Persia.78 In his book the learned professor has made it clear that there is no relevance between the words hashish and Assassins as has been alleged by the western writers. He further writes: “But there is still, as far as known, no text in which the Ismailis are called hashshash.”79
Hasan bin Sabbah died on the twenty-sixth of Jama’di-el-Awwal, 518 A.H. (A.D. 1127). On his recommendation the Holy Ima’m appointed a highly respected and learned da’i Kiya Buzurg Umi’d as the prime minister who followed the footsteps of Hasan and served his Master faithfully.80
After the death of Pi’r Mohibbuddi’n in 522 A.H., in Sabzwa’r, the Holy Ima’m appointed the Pi’r’s son Sayyid Kha’liduddi’n as the Hujjatul Ima’m. He was popularly known as Pi’r Khaleequddi’n.
In 524 A.H. the line of Musta’li ended with the birth of a girl born to the widow of Aamer in Cairo.
Ima’m Ha’di died in 530 A.H. (A.D. 1138) in the fortress of La’ma’sar. His reign lasted forty years. His son Moh’tadi succeeded him.
Mowla’na Ima’m Moh’tadi was born in La’ma’sar. His full name was Moh’tadi al-Mehdi Ala’Zikrihisalaam. He succeeded his father in 530 A.H. Two years later in 532 A.H. Kiya Buzurg died whose son Mohammed was appointed by the Holy Ima’m as the prime minister.
The twenty-two years reign of Ima’m Moh’tadi was comparatively very peaceful and prosperous. The Isma’ilis built new castles and greatly developed their territory. In 533 A.H. (A.D 1149) Abbasid Caliph Rash’d Billah brought a large number of soldiers to destroy Alamut. Four fida’is gained their entrance in his royal tent and killed him before he reached near the border. His army immediately dispersed leaving behind their weapons.
The Ima’m died in 552 A.H. (A.D. 1157) in Alamut and was buried there. His son Qa’hir succeeded him as the Ima’me’Zama’n.
Mowla’na Ima’m Qa’hir was born in Alamut in about 513 A.H. His full name was Al-Qa’hir Bi’Quowwatullah. He was estremely handsome and well-built physically. Since his childhood he had been taking interest in the affairs of the empire. He was in his late thirties when he succeeded his father.
During his Ima’mat, Ima’m Mohtadi had given the prime minister, Mohammed bin Kiya Buzurg, all the executive power to run the affairs of the vast Alamut empire. The prime minister was loyal and humble but his son, Hasan, thought of himself too much. When Ima’m Qa’hir succeeded, to the throne of Ima’mat, Hasan claimed Ima’mat. His father was shocked and confined to bed.
When the prime minister recovered he summoned a public gathering and declared that his son was a liar and a traitor. He announced that he was a humble servant of Holy Ima’m Qa’hir bin Moh’tadi bin Ha’di bin Niza’r bin Mustansir Billah.
Hasan disappeared but the prime minister killed his followers and supporters. Later, Hasan repented and prayed to the Holy Ima’m for mercy and pardon.
Because of this unpleasant circumstances the celebrations fo the Ima’m’s enthronement and coronation were delayed. Within a short time the Holy Ima’m took over all the authority of the vast Isma’ili empire which covered the areas between the Mediterranean Sea and the Caspian Sea including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Khurasan and Kuhistan.
During this period Pi’r Salaamuddi’n bin Pi’r Abdul Mu’omin was working in Afghanistan and Badakhashan (now in Russia). Isma’ili da’wat was spreading in Russia and Central Asia.
In the beginning of 557 A.H. (A.D. 1162) Mohammed bin Kiya Buzurg died. The Holy Ima’m appointed his own son, Prince Hasan Ala’Zikrihis Salaam, as the prime minister.81
Ima’m Qa’hir died in 557 A.H. (A.D. 1163) at the age of forty-four. His Ima’mat lasted five years. He was buried in Alamut.
Mowla’na Ima’m Hasan Ala’Zikrihis Salaam was born in Alamut in 536 A.H.82 (A.D. 1152). He had already all the control of the State as its prime minister before his father died.
Ever since the Abbasids established their Caliphate, which they did in the name of Beni Fa’tima to gain popularity against the ruling Omayyads, they tried to convince the Muslims that they were Beni Ha’shem and the only legitimate successors of the Holy Prophet. Afraid at the same time of Fatimid Ima’ms, the true successors of the Prophet of Isla’m, the Abbasids did their best to wipe out the holy descendants of Mohammed and Ali. They murdered thousands of Beni Fa’tima yet they could not stop the line of the Holy Ima’ms.
The Abbasids also published in vain, from time to time, false geneological charts showing that the Fatimid Ima’ms were not from the progeny of Sayyida Bibi Fa’tima, the daughter of the Holy Prophet. But they were not able to convince the people.
Mowla’na Ima’m Hasan Ala’Zikrihis Salaam declared the Youm-el-Qiya’ma, the Day of Resurrection, which was held on the nineteenth of Ramaza’n, 559 A.H. (10th of August, 1164). Thousands upon thousands of Isma’ilis came from all corners of the world to attend this important day of the resurrection of the holy faity. The Holy Ima’m declared.83
“I am your Ima’me’Zama’n. I am Hasan bin Qa’hir bin Moh’tadi bin Ha’di bin Niza’r bin Mustansir Billah. The line of our succession will continue till the end of this world. I am pleased with your obedience and fealty. You have made in the past great sacrifices, which I accept and bless you.”
Then he explained in details the principles of Isla’m and the Day of Judgement and announced.
“Today I have explained to you the Law (shari’at) and its meaning. I make you free from the rigidity of the Law and resurrect you from the bondage of the letter to the freedom of the spirit of the Law. Obey me and follow my farma’n. Give up all your misunderstanding and be united. Lead a virtuous life to be free from the fear of the Day of Judgement. Union with God, in reality, is the resurrection. Break your fast and rejoice. This is the day of utmost happiness and gratitude.”
This was the date when Ima’m Mowla Ali was attacked and wounded by Ibn-Muljam. Ima’m Ali shouted: “By God I have succeeded.” The metaphorical meaning was “union with God.”
Discarding the earthly cage of the mortal body, the soul becomes free to unite with the Absolute. The momin passes through the Qiya’ma-resurrection-when he dies. This was the significance behind the Youm-el-Qiya’ma that Isma’ilis celebrated at Alamut.
Ima’m Ala’Zikrihis Salaam was assassinated by his brother-in-law, Hasan bin Na’m’war, on the sixth of Rabi-el-Awwal, 561 A.H. (10th of January, 1166). He was thirty-five. His Ima’mat lasted four years. He was succeeded by his son Mohammed.
Mowla’na Ima’m Ala’Mohammed was born in 550 A.H. (A.D. 1155) in the fortress of la’ma’sar. He was a great writer. Even his enemies admired and highly valued his several treatises on philosophy and jurisprudance.
During this time in the month of Muharram, 567 A.H the last Caliph Of Egypt, Abdullah al-Aazid, a descendant of Musta’li, died; and with his death came the end of the Fatimid Caliphate at the hands of Sala’huddi’n Ayyoobi who served the Abbasid Caliphate. The centre of the Musta’lian branch of Isma’ilism, known as Bohoras, shifted to Yemen.
A very famous Ismai’ili personality of this time was Abul-Hasan Rashi’duddi’n bin Sina’n who was a contemporary of Sala’huddi’n Ayyoobi. Ibn Si’na’n was a great soldier and administrator. He was also known as Shaikh Iraqi. He died in 589 A.H. (A.D. 1194). Alla’ma Fakhruddi’n Ra’zi, a, great Sunni theologian, was also living during this period. He was a great admirer of the Isma’ilis, their principle of Ima’mat and their system of various organizations.
Hazrat Pi’r Salaamuddi’n died in 579 A.H. in Sabzwa’r at the age of sixty-three. His sons Sayyid Soleh’di’n alias Sayyid Mohammed Noorbakhsh was appointed by Ima’m Ala’Mohammed as the Pi’r. After five years Pi’r Soleh’din died. His son Pi’r Sala’huddi’n succeeded him. He was appointed by the Holy Ima’m.
After forty-six years of Ima’mat, Ima’m Ala’Mohammed died of poisoning in the mouth of Shawwa’l, 607 A.H. (A.D. September, 1210) in Alamut. He was buried there. His son Jala’luddi’n succeeded him to the throne of Ima’mat and the State.
25. IMA’M JALA’LUDDIN
Mowla’na Ima’m JKala’luddi’n was born in 583 A.H. (A.D. 1186) in La’ma’sar. His name was Hasan.
About fifty years previously his grandfather had declared the Youm-el-Qiya’ma and relaxed the rigidity of the Shari’at, after which multitudes of peoples became Isma’ili on account of the da’wat. A vast majority of the converts, and some section of the old followers, could not grasp the spiritual significance of the Youm-el-Qiya’ma. They adopted unjustified attitude towards the faith and its practice which was criticised by other Muslims.
The Holy Ima’m took prompt action and announced the strict observance of the Sharia’t in its letter and spirit. The orthodox Muslims stopped their criticism. Even the Abbasid Caliph at Baghdad was pleased. He persuaded his governor of Gila’n to marry his sister to the Holy Ima’m which too place with a great pomp.
By this time the Tartar Genghis Khan (A.D. 1167-1227) had conquered almost the whole of central Asia and was looking forward to expand his rule towards the Indian Ocean. An Isma’ili ambassador was sent to his court.
The Ima’m was given poison in food due to which he died in the month of Ramaza’n, 618 A.H. (November, 1221) and was succeeded by his son Ala’uddi’n Mohammed.
Mowla’na Ima’m Ala’uddi’n was about ten years old when he succeeded his father as the Ima’m of the Isma’ilis in 618 A.H. For some years, in the beginning, his mother suupervised the affairs of the empire on his behalf.
Some great men of this period were Shams Tabriz, the son of the Holy Ima’m, Jala’luddi’n Ru’mi, Ibn al-Arabi, Naseeruddi’n Tu’si and Su’fi Jama’luddi’n. Naseeruddi’n Tu’si was the prime minister. The Isma’ilis had to fight some battles with the Shah of Khwa’rzam successfully. There were many Indian Isma’ilis in the force of fida’is.
Ghengis Khan died in 625 A.H. (A.D. 1227). His grandson Mangu Khan sent his brother Hulagu Khan (A.D. 1255-1265) to invade the Isla’mic territories. His armies tried hard to cross the Isma’ili boundary but were repulsed every time with great losses. The kingdom of Alamut was surrounded by three enemies; the Tartars, the Abbasids and Khwa’rzam Shah.
Ima’m Ala’uddi’n was murdered by Hasan Mazandaarani, an agent of Khwa’rzam Shah on the twenty-ninth of Shawwa’l, 653 A.H. (1st of December, 1255). He was succeeded gy his son Ruknuddi’n.
Mowla’na Ima’m Ruknuddi’n Khorshah was born in 626 A.H. (A.D. 1228). He was twenty-seven years old when he succeeded his father.
Khwa’rzam Shah and the Abbasid Caliph Musta’sim, who were archenemies of the Isma’ilis and their Ima’m, sent their emissaris, from time to time, to the Mongol court asking for help to destroy Alamut. The Mongols, who already had a programme of conquest of the Muslim countries, found an excuse to invade Alamut.
The Mongol army crossed the border of the Isma’ili terrritory in the month of Muharram, 654 A.H. (March, 1256) but they were repulsed immediately. For the next eight to nine monthsmany bloody battles were fought. The ruthless enemy outnumbered the Isma’ilis by ten to one yet he could not achieve his goal easily. Afraid of prolonged war against the Isma’ilis, Hulagu Khan asked the Abbasid Musta’sim to help him against a common enemy but the Caliph did not take heed. At last by treachery and tricks the Mongols defeated the Isma’ilis, and destroyed whatever could be destroyed. These were: scientific instruments, an observatory a large library and thousands of houses and buildings.84 Thirty thousand Isma’ilis were killed in one day during Isma’ilis sacrificed their lives for the sake of their faith and their Ima’m in the battles of Alamut.
Alamut and La’ma’sar together with other fortresses were destroyed by the Isma’ilis themselves in order that they may be useless to the enemy militarily. Two years later Hulagu Khan in
revenge destroyed Baghdad, the Abbasid capital, and ended their Caliphate by murdering Musta’sim. According to Ibn Khaldoon the Mongols massacred 1.6 million out of the two million inhabitants of the city of Baghdad.
Ima’m Ruknuddi’n reigned as the Head of State and as Ima’m of the Isma’ilis for a year before he was murdered by the Mongols, on the twenty-ninth of Shawwa’l, 654 A.H. (19th of November 1256). This was the end of Alamut and the empire. He was succeeded by his son Ima’m Shamsuddin.
Mowla’na Ima’m Shamsuddi’n succeeded his father at the age of eight. He was born in La’ma’sar in 646 A.H. (A.D. 1250). During the Mongol invasion his father had sent him away for safety.
After the destruction of Alamut Ima’m Shamsuddi’n Mohammed lived a private life in Azerbaijan. His Ima’mat lasted fifty-six years, and in this period the Isma’ilis concentrated on the work of rehabilitation and propagation. This was the beginning of the second period of taqiyya. Ima’m’s uncle Shams Tabriz, the great Isma’ili saint, and the two sons Momin Shah and Ki’ya Shah propagated Isma’ilism in Russia and China. Pi’r Sala’huddi’n Sabzwa’ri was in India and Afghanistan. The famous mystic Jala’luddi’n Ru’mi was a disciple of Shams Tabriz. Ru’mi died in 672 A.H. at the ae of sixty-six.
Another great poet of Iran, Sa’di of Shira’z, also died in 690 A.H. at the age of one hundred and ten.
In 664 A.H. Pi’r Sala’huddi’n died in Sabzwa’r. His son Sayyid Shamsuddi’n was appointed as the Pi’r by Ima’m Shamsudd’in. Pi’r Shams, as he is commonly known, served his Ima’ms for ninety years. He was also known, as Shams Iraqi and Khwa ja Shams Multa’ni.
Poet Niza’ri Kuhista’ni praised his Ima’m in these words:
“He is the king of the world, the Crown of Religion, He is the son of Ali, who is the Light of the Eyes of the King of the World.He, Shamsuddin (Muhammed) is the Father of Spiritualism, and the sweetest Fruit of the Eternal Garden of Creation.”85
The Holy Ima’m died in 710 A.H. (A.D. 1310). His son Qa’sim Shah succeeded as the Ima’me’ Zama’n.
The Isma’ilis were living peacefully by practising taqiyya. Their da’is were travelling freely from one country to another. Isma’ili da’wat reached Caucasia and Armenia.86 J.N. Hollister records: “Ima’m Shams al din was followed by his son, Qasim Shah, who also died and was buried at Azarbaijan. Both father and son contributed to the reorganizing of the Ismaili da’wat and a number of da’is were sent out to Iran. One of these was Pir Shams al din Sabzwari.”87
Ima’m Qa’sim Shah had sent Pi’r Shams to India where he converted multitudes of people to Isma’ili satpanth.88 Through the efforts of Isma’ili da’is the Mongols embraced Isla’m in their thousands. This was a turning point in their way of life.
Ima’m Qa’sim died in 771 A.H. (A.D. 1368) in Azarbaijan. He was buried there. His eldest son Sayyid Isla’m Shah succeeded to the throne of Ima’mat.
In 783 A.H. (A.D. 1380) Tamerlane, a descendant of Genghis Khan, invaded Seistan, Mazandaran and Khorassan. In 787 he invaded Iran third time and massacred about a hundred thousand citizens in Isfahan alone. The whole of Iran was shaken badly by the brutality of the Tartar. After a hundred and fifty years of Genghis Khan the Isma’ilis had to suffer once again at the hands of the Mongols with millions of the Muslims in Iran, Afghanistan and India. This time the tyrant was a Muslim. The famous Persian poet Ha’fiz of Shiraz lived during this period.
After the death of Pi’r Shams in 757 A.H., in Multan, the Holy Ima’m appointed the Pi’r’s eldest son Sayyid Naseeruddi’n who died in 767 A.H. He was succeeded by his son Pi’r Sheha Sheha’buddi’n appointed by the Holy Ima’m. Pi’r Sheha’buddi’n too died in 800 A.H. Ima’m Isla’m Shah appointed Pi’r Sadruddi’n bin Pi’r Sheha’buddi’n. Pi’r Sadrudd’in’s Pi’ra’tan lasted nineteen years. In 819 A.H. the Holy Ima’m appointed Pi’r Hasan
Kabi’r’di’n, the youngest son of Pi’r Sadruddi’n. These five Holy Pi’rs had converted over half a million people to Isma’ilism.89 The converts in Sind, Gujrat and Kathiawar are now known as the Khojas (a corrupt of Persian word Khwajah meaning: boss or leader). Those who lived in the Punjab, Kashmir and the Frontier Province are known as the Shamsis.
After fifty-six years of Ima’mat Ima’m Isla’m Shah died in 827 A.H. (A.D. 1423) in Kahak. He was buried there. His son Sayyid Mohammed succeeded him.
31. IMA’M MOHAMMED BIN ISLA’M SHAH
Mowla’na Ima’m Mohammed bin Isla’m Shah was born in Kahak. Thousands of Isma’ilis from India used to travel to Iran to see their beloved Spiritual Father. It was a hazardous journey through the jungles and mountains of Baluchistan. Many a man travelled all alone in love of his Ima’m. Anyone who had seen and met the holy Ima’m was respectfully called as darwaish (dervish), a monk. This word later corrupted to darass or dharas.
Pi’r Hasan Kabi’rdi’n, his four brothers and his eighteen sons and a daughter all worked enthusiastically for the da’wat in India and abroad.
After the fall of Alamut, about two hundred years previously, the Isma’ilis had turned to farming. But now they were gradually going into other occupations such as trade and service in the police and army.
The Ima’mat of Ima’m Mohammed lasted forty-one years. He died in 868 A.H. (A.D. 1464). He was buried in Shahr Ba’bak. His son Ali succeeded as the Ima’me’ Zama’n.
Isma’ilis had to observe taqiyya once again because of the enemies–the ruling class and the orthodox religious leaders of the Muslims–who were still holding vengeance against them.
Pi’r Hasan Kabi’r’din died during this period. His brother Pi’r Ta’jdi’n was appointed by the Holy Ima’m to work in India. In 876 A.H. (A.D. 1471) Pi’r Ta’jdi’n was physically assaulted by some unscrupulous followers in India. Consequently he died. The Holy Ima’m became angry and discontinued sending his
ta’liqa’s90 to the jama’ts of India. But the Isma’ili da’wat continued in India by Sayyid Mitha, a grandson of Pi’r Hasan Kabi’r’di’n. He lived most of his life in the Punjab and Kashmir. He was buried in Jammu where he died at an advanced age.
The Holy Ima’m wrote a book, Pandiya’te’ Jawa’nmardi, in Persian.
Ima’m Mustansir Billah died in 880 A.H. (A.D. 1476) in Shahr Ba’bak. He was buried there. His son Sayyid Mahmood Shah known as Ima’m Abd Slaam succeeded him.
Mowla’na Ima’m Abd Salaam was born in Shahr Ba’bak. His name was Mahmood Shah. He was also addressed as Shah Salaam-Ullah. He succeeded to the throne of Ima’mat in his prime of youth at the age of twenty-one. He was born in 859 A.H. (A.D. 1456).
Isma’ili da’wat continued. But it slowed down due to unfavourable circumstances. In India it spread throughout the North Province and in the Central Asia territories. A deputation from India arrived in the court of the Holy Ima’m and begged his forgiveness in the matter of Pi’r Ta’jdi’n’s death. Ima’m Abd Salaam pardoned the jama’t and gave them a book known as Pandiya’te’ Jawa’nmardi (Maxims of the Righteous) written by Ima’m Mustansir Billah-II. They were ordered to respect the book as if it was their Holy Pi’r. Later, the Holy Ima’m appointed Pi’r Haider Ali.
The titles of Varas and Ra’i were created by the Holy Ima’m who conferred these upon the leaders of the jama’ts. The title of Varas was equivalent to a vazier (minister); this was also known as Darga’hi.
A famous Isma’ili poet Kha’ki Khorasani was living during this period.
The Shi’a and Sunni differences brought a war between Shi’a Iran and Sunni Turkey. Turk Sulta’n Mohammed-II invaded Iran and defeated Shah Husain in 899 A.H. (A.D. 1494). Later, Shah Isma’il Safawi established his kingdom after deposing and killing Shah Husain in 901 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Gharib Mirza.
Ima’m Abd Salaam spent almost all his life in Shahr Ba’bak and died there in 899 A.H. (A.D. 1494), at the age of forty. His son Ima’m Ghari’b Mirza succeeded him.
Mowla’na Ima’m Ghari’b Mirza was born in Shahr Ba’bak where he lived till the death of his father. His name was Shah Abba’s. He was also known as Shah Mustansir Billah-III. When he succeeded to Ima’mat he changed his residence to Anjuda’n, a hill-reseort near Mahala’t. This change of residence gave a tremendous upliftment to the Isma’ilis all over Iran. Isma’ili da’wat, headed by Pi’r Haider Ali was going on well in Turkey and Central Asia.
Shah Isma’il Safawi became the king of Iran in 901 A.H. He was himself a Shaikh of a su’fi sect and had thousands of followers. Within five years of his rule he established law and order in the whole of Iran and became the absolute ruler.
The Holy Ima’m lived a private life and kept away from politics. He died in Zil-Hijja, 902 (A.D. 1498) leaving his son Sayyid Mohammed Abu-Zar Shah to succeed him. His Ima’mat lasted three years.
In 907 A.H. the Shah of Iran Isma’il Safawi declared Ithna’sherism to be the state religion. The Isma’ilis in Iran, afraid of persecution once again, had to observe taqiyya. But after sometime the Ima’m married a Safawi princess. This marriage strengthened the relation between the Holy Ima’m and the Safawi ruler making the situation tolerable for the Isma’ilis.
The thirtieth Isma’ili Pi’r, Sayyid Haider Ali Shah, died at an advanced age. His son Sayyid Ala’uddi’n was appointed by Ima’m Abu-Zar Ali to Pi’ra’tan. The family of Pi’r Hasan Kabi’r’di’n was propagating Isma’ili faith in India under the guidance of the Holy Ima’m through his Vaki’l, agent.
After a little over twelve years of Ima’mat the Holy Ima’m died in Anjuda’n in 915 A.H. (A.D. 1511). He was buried there. His son Sayyid Ali Shah succeeded him.
Mowla’na Ima’m Ali Shah, otherwise famous as Sayyid Mu’ra’d Mirza, succeeded his father in 915 A.H. He was also known as Shah Mu’ra’d. He was very generous. He never disappointed a beggar.
Because of his mother Sa’bra Kha’toon, a Safawi princess, he had very cordial relations with the royal family. He was extremely respected and loved. This reflected favourably for the Isma’ilis in Iran. Besides small trade and farming, the Isma’ilis were serving in military and civil services.
The Holy Ima’m did not travel much during his five years of Ima’mat. He passed most of his time in religious duties at home. He was very famous and popular among the learned class.
Pi’r Ala’uddi’n died in Khorasan. His son Sayyid Qa’sim Shah was appointed by Ima’m Mu’ra’d Mirza to Pi’ra’tan. Kha’ki Khora’sani was the most popular poet of this time. His poetry helped the activities of Isma’ili da’wat.
Ima’m Mu’ra’d Mirza died in 920 A.H. (A.D. 1516) in Anjuda’n. He was buried there. A beautiful tomb was erected over his grave. His son Sayyid Noor Shah known as Sayyid Zulfiqa’r Ali succeeded him.
Mowla’na Ima’m Zulfiqa’r Ali was born in Anjuda’n, during the Ima’mat of his great-grandfather Ima’m Ghari’b Mirza. He succeeded his father at the young age of twenty. His name was Sayyid Noor Shah. He was also addressed as Shah Khali’lullah.
The famous Isma’ili poet Kha’ki Khora’sani was living in his home village of Deezba’d near Khorasan. Sultan Sali’m of Turkey invaded Iran. Safawi Shah Isma’il ran away and reappeared after the Turks left. The war had damaged plantations and animals to a great extent. As a major farming community the Isma’ilis suffered most. Otherwise they were quite happy with their religious freedom.
Pi’r Qa’sim Shah looked after the affairs of religion and its propagation. He sent his da’is to Badakhshan and Afghanistan. In India Sayyid Ima’m Shah son of Pi’r Hasan Kabi’r’di’n died in the month of Ramaza’n, 920 A.H.
Ima’m Zulfiqa’r Ali died in 922 A.H. (A.D. 1518) in Anjuda’n after about two years of Ima’mat. He was buried there. His son Sayyid Nooruddi’n succeeded him.
Mowla’na Ima’m Nooruddi’n Ali succeeded his father in 922 A.H. He was also known as Sayyid Noor Shah. He was born in 917 A.H. (A.D. 1513) in Anjuda’n.
Shah Isma’il Safawi died in 930 A.H. He was succeeded by his eleven-year-old son Tahma’sp (A.D. 1524–76). The Shah gradually became powerful as the years passed. In 950 A.H. (A.D. 1543) he helped Mogul king Huma’yoon of India to regain his lost throne at Delhi from Sher Shah Soori.
Poet Kha’ki Khorasani was imprisoned by the king because of his poems in praise of the Holy Ima’m. He died in jail and was buried in his home-town Deezba’d.
Pi’r Qa’sim Shah bin Pi’r Ala’uddi’n died after a short illness. His son Pi’r Naseer Mohammed was appointed to Pi’ra’tan by Ima’m Nooruddi’n Ali. He was he thirty-third Pi’r of the Isma’ilis.
After thirty-five years’ Ima’mat, Ima’m Nooruddi’n Ali died in Anjuda’n in 957 A.H. (A.D. 1550). He was buried there. His son Sayyid Shah Kali’lullah Ali succeeded him as the Ima’me’ Zama’n.
Mowla’na Ima’m Ali, known as Shak Khali’lullah succeeded to Ima’mat at a young age but managed the spiritual affairs of the ever-increasing number of the Isma’ili jama’ts.
During the early years of his Ima’mat the political instability prevailed throughout Iran, but the Ima’m remained aloof. He appointed Pi’r Agha Ha’shem son of Pi’r Naseer Mohammed as the Pi’r after the death of the later. Sayyid Da’ood was acting as the Vakl’l, and agent, appointed by the Holy Ima’m. Sayyid Da’ood was responsible for da’wat and other religious affairs in Indian jama’ts. He lived in Sind where he died in 1005 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Niza’r Ali.
After thirty-six years’ of Ima’mat Mowla’na Ima’m Khali’lullah Ali died in 993 A.H. (A.D. 1585). He was buried near the tomb of his father in Anjuda’n. He was succeeded by his son Sayyid Niza’r Ali.
Mowla’na Ima’m Niza’r Ali was born in Anjuda’n to a Safawi princess. He was also known as Shah Ata’ullah.
The fortieth Isma’ili Ima’m Shah Niza’r rebuilt Kahak which was to become the abode of many future Ima’ms. From Anjuda’n he shifted his residence to Kahak. Once again the da’wat picked up momentum and Isma’ilis from various countries visited the Darkha’na, the Centre, to see their Holy Ima’m frequently.
Ima’m Niza’r appointed Sayyid Mohammed Zama’n son of Pi’r Agha Ha’shem Shah, who had died earlier, as the Pi’r. Sayyid Da’ood also died in India. Another Isma’ili da’i Sayyid Abdul Nabi, a descendant of Pi’r Sadruddi’n, had lived in India during this period. He was later killed in Iran, while travelling, in 999 A.H. Hundreds of Sayyids, the descendants of Pi’r Sadruddi’n, and bhagats (convert-devotees) had been working for the da’wat of holy Isma’ili faith.
Hundreds of Indian Isma’ilis were travelling to Iran to pay their homage to their beloved Spiritual Father. Many of them permanently settled in Kahak. They were known as Ata’ila’his or Ata’i’s.
Ima’m Niza’r Ali died in 1038 A.H. (A.D. 1629) in Kahak. He was buried there. His Ima’mat lasted forty-five years. His son Sayyid Ali succeeded to the throne of Ima’mat after him.
Mowla’na Ima’m Sayyid Ali was born in Kahak. He was also known as Shah Isma’il, Agha Hasan Shah and Shah Abuo-Hasan Baig.
Because of a relationship through his mother and grandmother with the Safawi kings the Holy Ima’m had a great influence in the court. The Shah gave him the governorship of Kerman, the province mostly populated by Isma’ilis. Therefore, the Holy Ima’m shifted his residence from Kahak to Kerman. The popularity of the Isma’ilis was greatly increased. This made it easy for them to enter, once again, into the civil and military services throughout the country.
The thirty-fifth Isma’ili Pi’r Mohammed Zama’n son of Pi’r Ba’ba Ha’shem Shah died after a short illness. His son Sayyid Agha Azi’z was appointed as the Pi’r by Ima’m Sayyid Ali.
After thirty-three years of Ima’mat Mowla’na Ima’m Sayyid Ali died in Kerman in 1071 A.H. (A.D. 1661). He was buried there. A beautiful tomb was erected over his grave. He did not travel much. He spent almost all his life in Kahak and Kerman. He was succeeded by his son Agha Hasan Shah.
Mowla’na Ima’m Hasan Ali was born in Kahak during the Ima’mat of his father MOwla’na Ima’m Sayyid Ali. He was also known as Sayyid Ba’qir Shah. His mother was Sarawi princess. In 1085 A.H. he, too, married the daughter of Safawi king, Shah Isma’il-II.
After the death of his father in Kerman the Holy Ima’m changed his residence to Mahala’t. Isma’ili da’wat spread to Turkey, Armenia and Crimea. Pi’r Agha Mehra’b Baig was appointed as the Pi’r father, Pi’r Agha Azi’z.
Shah Husain Safawi handed over the province of Kerman in 1105 A.H. to be governed directly by Ima’m Hasan Ali himself. The province was populated mostly by the Isma’ilis.
Ima’m Hasan Ali shifted to Kerman where he died in 1106 A.H. (A.D. 1695). He was buried in Jajjaf, in Iraq, according to his will. His Ima’mat lasted thirty-five years. HIs son Ima’m Qa’sim Ali succeeded him.
Mowla’na Ima’m Qa’sim Ali was also known as Agha Ja’fer Shah. He was born in Kahak in 1086 A.H. (A.D. 1675). He succeeded to the throne of Ima’mat at the age of twenty after the death of his father Ima’m Hasan Ali Shah in 1106 A.H.
Safawi king Sultan Shah was his contemporary. The last Safawi king was Shah Abba’s who died in 1150 A.H. (A.D. 1737) sand Na’dir Shah became the ruler of Iran. Na’dir Shah Durra’ni was a shepherd boy born of a humble family. He was by profession a brigand chief. He had helped the Shah in wars against Afghanistan. Later, he entered the service of Shah Tahma’sp. Owing to the incompetence of his master, Na’dir became the de facto ruler of the state. On the death of Shah Tahma’sp his infant son Shah Abba’s was istalled as the king but the power remained in the hands of Na’dir Shah. After the death of Shah Abba’s he was proclaimed as the Shah of Iran.
Ima’m Qa’sim Ali appointed his teenaged son Sayyid Abul Hasanali as the Pi’r. He was also addressed as Pi’r Shah Hasan Baig. He was the forty-second Holy Pi’r of the Isma’ilis.
The Holy Ima’m died after a prolonged illness in Kerman in 1143 A.H. (A.D. 1730) at the age of fifty-seven. He was buried there. He reigned as the Ima’me’Zama’n for thirty-seven years. His son Pi’r Agha Abul Hasanali succeeded him as the Ima’me’Zama’n.
He became the ruler of Kerman after the death of his father but after some time he resigned during the reign of na’dir Shah and went to Mahala’t where he lived until his death.
The Safawi dynasty ended with the death of Shah Abba’s son of Shah Tahma’sp-II in 1150 A.H. (A.D. 1737). Na’dir Shah Durra’ni took over as the absolute ruler of Iran.
When Na’dir Shah invaded India, in January 1739, he requested the Holy Ima’m to accompany him in order to bring good luck. The Holy Ima’m went with the Shah but returned home after the conquest of Lahore. The death of Nadi’r Shah, in 1163 A.H. (A.D. 1749), spread laslessness and chaos throughout the country. Kari’m Khan Zand eventually took over as the king and established law and order. He was a great admirer of the Holy Ima’m and the Isma’ilis. He proudly called himself as the agent of Ima’m Abul Hasanali Shah. He died in 1193 A.H.
Before going to India with Na’dir Shah, the Holy Ima’m handed over PJi’ra’tan to his younger brother Mirza Mohammed Ba’qir. In India the work of da’wat was looked after by Sayyid Reamatullah Shah assisted by Sayyid Hasan Shah and the descendants of Sayyid Da’ood.
Ima’m Abul Hasanali Shah died after fifty-one years of Ima’mat in 1194 A.H. (A.D. 1780) in Mahala’t. He was buried in Najjaf. His son Shah Khali’lullah succeeded him at the age of forty-one.
In 1193 A.H. the Shah of Iran, Kari’m Khan Zand, died and was succeeded by his brother Zaki Khan But his reign was short lived. The country had plunged into disorder for many years. At last the Zands were overthrown and purged by the Ka’ja’rs (Qa’cha’rs). Shah Fatehali ascended the Peacocck Throne of Iran in 1212 A.H. (A.D. 1798).
Pi’r Mirza Mohammed Ba’qir, the uncle and father-in-law of the Holy Ima’m, was living in Mahala’t. Sayyid Ghula’mali Shah, a descendant of Pi’r Sadruddi’n was working for the Isma’ili da’wat in India on behalf of the Holy Ima’m. On his death 1207 A.H. Sayyid Mohammed Shah was appointed as a da’i by the Ima’m.
Ima’m Shah Khali’lullah had four sons: Shah Hasanali, Mohammed Taqi Khan, Mohammed Abul-Hasan Khan and Mohammed Ba’qir Khan; and two daughters: Shah Bibi and Gohar Ta’j Begum.
Ima’m Shah Khali’lullah was murdered by some Ithna’sheri fanatics in Yezd in 1233 A.H. (A.D. 1817). He was eighty years old. His Ima’mat lasted thirty-nine years. He was succeeded by his son Agha Sha Hasanali. Ima’m Shah Khali’lullah was buried in Najjaf.
Mowla’na Ima’m Agha Hasanali Shah was born in Mahala’t in 1220 A.H. (A.D. 1805). He was also known as Sayyid MOhammed Husain Al-Husaini Mahala’ti. He was very handsome and strong. He was very fond of horse-riding and military exercises.
He was about thirteen years old when he succeeded his father who was murdered by some fanatics. King Fatehali Qa’cha’r promptly sentenced the assassins and their leader Mullah Husain Yezdi to death and greatly comforted Ima’m Hasanali Shah and the Isama’ilis. He gave him his daughter in marriage and decorated him with the title of Agha Khan (now spelled Aga Khan), meanilng: Lord of the Chiefs. He was the first Aga Khan.
After the death of the king, civil war broke out in Iran, but soon order was restored by his grandson Mohammed with the help of Ima’m Hasanali Shah.
He was greatly honoured by the young king but this infuriated his enemies. A friction developed between the Ima’m and the prime minister, Mirza Aka’shi, which turned into an armed conflict. The Holy Ima’m left Iran for good and arrived in Sind, Pakistan, via Afghanistan towards the end of 1258 A.H. (A.D. 1842). Later he moved to Bombay where he lived till the end of his life. His arrival in India was a great historical event for the Isma’ilis. It has a great religious significance as it was predicted by Isma’ili Pi’rs three centuries before.
In 1252 A.H. (A.D. 1836) a dissident group of a few families was ex-communicated by the jama’t in India. They turned Sunnis and were called Ba’hrbbaid,91 meaning the expelled brothers. These agitators brought a suit in the High Court of Bombay, in 1282 A.H. (A.D. 1866) against the Holy Ima’m and the leaders of the jama’t purporting that the Khoja’s were Sunnis, who were converted by a Sunni saint, Pi’r Sadruddi’n; and therefore the Aga Khan, who was a Shi’a, had no jurisdiction over the jama’t. This case was known as the Chief Justice Sir Joseph Arnold in favour of the Isma’ilis.
Queen Victoria of Britain conferred upon the Holy Ima’m the hereditary royal title of His HIghness after considering the Background of his roual position and his family, and his help to
Britain in the first Afghan War.
The Holy Ima’m had four son: Agha Ali Shah, Agha Jehangir Shah (popularly known as Agha Jangi Shah), Agha Jala’l Shah and Agha Akbar Shah.
Ima’m Agha Hasanali Shah died in 1298 A.H. (12th of April, 1881) and was buried in Bombay at Mazagon where a splendid tomb was erected over his grave which is now known as Hasana’ba’d. He was succeeded by his fifty-two-year old son Agha Ali Shah.
47. IMA’M ALI SHAH
Mowla’na Ima’m Ali Shah, the Aga Khan-II, was born in 1246 A.H. (A.D. 1830) in Mahala’t. His mother, Sarwar Jeha’n, was the daughter of the Shah of Iran, Fatehali Qa’sha’r. He was very fond of hunting and travelling.
He came to India with his father who had appointed his as the Pi’r. Pi’r Agha Ali Shah and his father Ima’m Hasanali Shah had travelled all over India to meet the jama’ts.
Mowla’na Ima’m Ali Shah married Maryam Sulta’n the daughter of an Iraqi nobleman, to whom two sons were born. She died in Iran before the Ima’m migrated to India with his father and relatives in 1258 A.H. (A.D. 1842). His two sons, Agha Sheha’buddi’n Shah and Agha Noor Shah, were born in India. His second marriage took place in Bombay with a Shirazi noblewoman in 1260 A.H. (A.D. 1844). She died childless after a few years. Then he married Shamsul Mulk, the granddaughter of the prime minister of Iran during the reign of Shah Fatehali Qa’cha’r. Her mother Ta’judowleh was a granddaughter of the Shah. The Holy Ima’m had married five wives one after the other.
From this third marriage the Ima’m’s successor Sulta’n Mohammed Shah was born in 1294 A.H. (A.D. 1877).
His eldest son Pi’r Agha Sheha’buddi’n died at the age of thirty-three in Rajab, 1302 A.H. May 1885) in Poona. Within three months his second son Agha Noor Shah also died in an accident. Soon after Ima’m Agha Ali Shah fell sick and died at the age of fifty-six, on Monday the sixth of Zul-Qua’da, 1302 A.H. (17th August, 1885).
His eight-year-old son Agha Sulta’n Mohammed Shah succeeded as the Ima’me’Zama’n.
He was four years old when his grandfather died and four years later he himself became Ima’m after the death of his father on monday, the sixth of Zul-Qua’da, 1302 A.H. (17th of August, 1885).
The Holy Ima’m went to Europe in 1897 where he lived most of his life.
During the Ima’mat of Ima’m Shah KLhali’lullah some Indian Isma’ilis had settled in Zanzibar in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Long before Agha Hasanali Shah succeeded his father, the Isma’ilis in Zanzibar were well settled as an organized jama’t having their contact with the Darkha’na through the jama’t of Muscat. Emigration to East Africa continued at a slow pace which was increased by the further encouragement from the young Ima’m Sulta’n Mohammed Shah. This great Ima’m transformed the weak and insignificant jama’t of East Africa into the most organized and influential community of a cultured, educated, religious and progressive people in Africa.
As mentioned above that during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Agha Hasanali Shah some mischievous people were ex-communicated, from the jama’t, who were called as Ba’hrbhais. They continued their subversive activities against the Holy Ima’m and the Isma’ili faith in collaboration with their Isma’ili relatives and friends who did not secede openly. Consequently another group of dissidents gave up their Isma’ili faith in favour of Ithna’sherism in 1901. They were called as the Khoha Ithna’sheris. They numbered between three hundred and four hundred.
The seceders, in course of time, instigated some discontented members of the Ima’m’s family who brought a case against the Holy Ima’m in the High Court of Bombay in 1905. The case No. 725 of 1905 is well known as the Haji Bibi Case. Haji Bibi was a granddaughter of Ima’m Hasanali Shah and the daughter of Agha Jangi Shah and wife of Agha Muchal Shah. She had claimed her share in the income of the jama’t, who, she said, were the followers of her grandfather. She and her supporters lost the case with cost. Mr. Justice Rusell, the Chief Justice, delivered his judgement in this historic case on the third of September, 1908 in favour of the Holy Ima’m. He confirmed the pedigree of the Ima’ms from Mowla Ali and the Ima’m’s sole authority over his Isma’ili followers.
The four Ima’ms before him had had over sixty years of Ima’mat, his was the longest. The four Ima’ms were: Ima’m Mohammed al-Mehdi, 262-322 A.H.; Ima’m Mustansir Billah-I, 427-487 A.H.; Ima’m Qa’sim Shah, 710-771 A.H.; Ima’m Agha Hasanali Shah, 1233-1298 A.H. Ima’m Agha Sulta’n Mohammed Shah’s Ima’mat lasted from 1302 to 1376 A.H. (August, 1885-July, 1957).
The most glorious period for Isma’ilis was the Ima’mat of the forty-eighth Ima’m, the Aga Khan-III. After the Arabian period of Isma’ili glory, from Ima’m Mo;hammed al-Mehdi to Ima’m Mustansir Billah-I, and the Persian period, from Ima’m Ha’di to Ima’m Ala’ddi’n Mohammed, came the turn of the Indian period, from Ima’m Hasanali Shah to Ima’m Sulta’n Mohammed Shah. The Indian Isma’ilis arranged and celegrated the Golden Jubilees in Bombay in 1936 and in Niarobi in 1937; the Diamond Jubilees in Bombay in 1946 and in Dar es Salaam in 1946 and the Platinum Jubilees in Cairo in 1953 and in Karachi in 1954, be weighing the Holy Ima’m physically against gold, diamonds and platinum respectively to express their devotion and gratitude to their Spiritual Father who did so much for them. The precious gifts were placed at the feet of their Ima’me’Zama’n. Accepting the gifts he appreciated the devotees’ feelings and love for him, but graciously gave these back to be used for the economic and the educational upliftment of the jama’ts in India, Pakistan and Africa.
The great Ima’m, like his ancestors, not only raised the material and spiritual conditions of his followers but also worked untiringly for Isla’m in general. The founding of the All India Muslim League in1906, the establishment of the Alighar Muslim University in1911, His struggle for saving Turkey from Greek expansionist ambition in 1920, his efforts to preserve the Caliphate after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1921, his stand for the Palestinians in 1929, the building of hundreds of Medrisa (schools for teaching Isla’m) and mosques in Africa, India and Pakistan and his work for the Pan-Isla’mism are but a few examples of his great services for the cause of Isla’m. For humanity at large, he worked untiringly for the independence of the Indian sub-continent from the British Empire and also the emancipation of the other peoples from Euro[ean colonialism. He was representing the Indian government in the League of Nations whose president, he was elected in 1937 just before the second World War. He tried his best through diplomatic efforts to avert the first and the second World Wars.
He wrote a book “India in transition” on the Indian problems, in 1918. The book was published by the Times of India Press, Bombay. It won a worldwide acclaim. Baal Ganga’dhar Tilak, a political ancestor of Mahatama Gandhi, remarked that it was “the political Geeta of India”.
He married four wives one after another. His first wife Shahza’di Begum was his cousim whom he married in 1897 at the age of nineteen. She was divorced. She died in 1926. His second wife was Mlle. Theresa Maglian whom he married in 1908 in Cairo. She was the mother of Prince Aly Solomone Khan. Princess Theresa died on the first of December, 1926 at the age of thirty-seven. His third marriage took place on the seventh of December, 1929 with Mlle. Andree Carron who gave birth to his second son, Prince Sadruddi’n, on the seventeenth of January, 1933 at Neuilly-sur-seine. His fourth wife was Omm Habibah, the Ma’ta Sala’mat, whom he married in 1944.
His sons Prince Aly S. Khan and Prince Sadruddi’n, have followed the footsteps of their illustrious father. Prince Aly sacrificed his life in May, 1960, while serving Isla’m, without remuneration, as the representative of the then biggest Muslim country, Pakistan, at the United Nations. Prince Sadruddi’n has also been serving humanity at large by working at the United Nations without remuneration, for the refugees all over the world, as the High Commissioner for Refugees.
Ima’m Sulta’n Mohammed Shah passed away at the age of eighty-two on Thursday the twelfth of Zil-Hijja, 1376 A.H. (11th of July, 1957) at his residence Bar’kat Villa in Geneva, Switzerland. He was temporarily buried on the nineteenth of July, 1957 at Aswan in Egypt. When the tomb was ready the sacred body was permanently buried in it on Friday the eleventy of Sha’ba’n, 1379 A.H. (20th of February, 1959) by his sons and grandsons. About four thousand Isma’ilis from all parts of the world attended the ceremony.
According to his will his grandson Shahza’da Kari’m bin Aly succeeded him as the Ima’m and the Pi’r of the Isma’ilis. He wrote: “Ever since the time of my ancestor ALI the first Imam that is to say ove a period of some thirteen hundred years it has always been tradition of our family that each Imam chooses his successor at his absolute and unfettered discretion from amongst any of his descendants whether they be sons or remoter male issue (notwithstanding that under Shia Moslem Law that issue of a son is not an heir if there be a son alive) and in these circumstances and in view of the fundamentally altered conditions in the world invery recent years due to the great changes which have taken place including the discoveries of atomic science I am convinced that it is in the best interests of the Shia Moslem Ismailian Community that I should be succeeded by a young man who has been brought up and developed during recent years and in the midst of the new age and who brings a new outlook on life to his office as Imam. For these reasons and although he is not now one of my heirs I APPOINT my grandson KARIM the son of my son ALY SOLOMONE KHAN TO SUCCEED TO THE TITLE OF AGA KHAN and to be the Imam and Pi’r of all my Shia Ismailian followers”.
Hazrat Shahza’da Aly Solomone Khan was the eldest son of Ima’m Sulta’n Mohammed Shah and Princess Theresa. He was born on Tuesday the thirteenth of June, 1911 at Turin.
His grandmother, Mata Sala’mat Lady Ali Shah, was too old to travel to Europe to see him thus at the age of about twelve he visited Bombay and Poona with his mother to see her. They arrived in India in January, 1923, and stayed for two weeks. It was the first occasion that the jama’t saw him. He was undoubtedly the beloved of his family as well as the jama’ts. At the age of nineteen in August, 1930, when he visited Syria, the jama’ts there went crazy in love after him. For the past hundreds of years the Syrian jama’ts had not seen amidst them any member of the Nooran’i family.
He was extremely popular in the jama’ts all over the world and was loved by young and old alike. Very often he was sent by the Holy Ima’m to represent him for religious duties. He was a great sportsman and a statesman. He was very fond of hunting, travelling and horse-racing.
On the eighteenth of May, 1936 he married Joan Yarde-Buller, the daughter of Lord Churston, who bore him two sons, Prince Kari’m Agha and Prince Amyn Mohammed. His grandmother gave the bride the Muslim name Ta’judowleh. Princess Ta’judowleh visited the jama’ts of India and Africa where she won the hearts of all.
His Serene Highness Prince Aly was a great champion of Isla’m and never missed an opportunity to serve and defend it. He had all his life contributed financially, as well as physically, to the cause of Isla’m.
A warm-hearted friend, an ardent servant of Isla’m, a shrewd horse-breeder, an energetic sportsman, a lover of speed and motion, a great public speaker, a cautious statesman, generous and benevolent, he was indeed a great man.
He died in a car accident in Paris on the twelfth of May, 1960. According to his will he was buried in Salamiya, Syria.
A daughter was born to Princess Rita Aly S. Khan on twenty eighth of December, 1949, in Laussanne, Switzerland. Mowlana Imam Sultan Mohammed Shah named the baby, Yasmin. Princess Yasmin, being the first girl born in the family for over half a century, brought a great deal of happiness to the family particularly her mother.
Mowla’na Ima’m Sulta’n Mohammed Shah was succeeded by his grandson Prince Kari’m Agha as the Ima’m and the Pi’r of the isma’ilis on the twelfth of Zil-Hijja, 1376 A.H. (11th of July 1957). He is the Aga Khan Fourth.
Forty-ninth Holy Ima’m Sayyidina wa Mowla’na wa Ima’mona wa Ha’diyna Hazrat Khuda’vind Sarka’r Ha’zar Ima’m Dhani Salaamat Da’tar His Highness Shah Kari’m Aga Khan Al-Husaini was born on Sunday, the thirteenth of December, 1936 in Geneva nursing home. His mother Princess Ta’judowleh Aly S. Khan. From his early childhood he and his younger brother Prince Amyn Mohammed (b. 14th of September 1937) were under the care and training of their illustrious grandfather. Both of the brothers were born prematurely.
He was about two-and-a-half-months old when the Golden Jubilee of his grandfather was celebrated in East Africa. When World War-II broke out in Europe on the first of September, 1939 he was hardly three years old. He and his brother were sent away to Nairobi for safety. At the age of ten he rejoiced over the celebrations of the Diamond Jubilees of his grandfather in India and Africa. He and his brother did not attend the weighing-in ceremonies because they were attending school.
He loved his father greatly whom he saw occasionally. But he was looked after, and trained, by his illustrious grandfather whose decision was final in the family. His company gave him a lot to understand. He showed a keen interest in religion at an early age. At seven he had led the Eid prayer in the jama’t kha’na of Nairobi on the first of October, 1943.
In August, 1954 he was sent by his grandfather to Africa to acquaint himself with the jama’ts and to perform religious ceremonies on behalf of the Holy Ima’m. He was accompanied by his grandfather to the jamat’s of Africa for religious purpose.
When he became Ima’m himself he declared: “I have dedicated my life to the upliftment and progress of Isma’ilis all over the world and pray for all your happiness and success”. The first ceremony of bai’at (allegiance) took place at Barakat Villa in Geneva on the thirteenth of July, 1957. About a score of Isma’ili leaders performed the bai’at of their new Ima’m. The subsequent ceremonies of bai’at took place at Aswan, Karachi, Bombay, Nairobi, Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, Kampala, London and other places.
The ceremony of takht nishini was repeated in Nairobi on the twenty-second of October, 1957; in Kampala onthe twenty-fifth of October, 1957; in Karachi on the twenty-third of January, 1958; in Dacca on the twelfth of February, 1958 and in Bombay on the eleventh of March, 1958.
He dislikes publicity. He works hard and expects his folllowers to be hardworking. He is extremely handsome and charming. He is very kind and gentle and preaches to his spiritual children to be so. “With humility, tolerance and respect for each other, by honest work and straight dealings”, he said in Bombay to his spiritual children, “you will earn the true friendship of your fellows. It does not matter whether you are wealthy or poor, whether you are in business or other professions, whether you work with hands or brain, your spiritual obligations are equal.”
His spiritual children love him more than anything in the world-more than even their own lives. The relationship between the Holy Ima’m and them is based on the teaching of God in the Holy Qura’n. The Muslims are told to love and obey the Holy Prophet and his descendant Ima’ms. Love begets love. He, too, loves them. “I want to assure you all,” he has repeatedly told his spiritual children, “that you are near me and ever present in my heart and thoughts. I have dedicated my life to the upliftment and progress of the Isma’ilis all over the world and I Pray for all your happiness and success.”
Once he arrived at the airport of Dar es Salaam with a leg in plaster (he had a minor accident). Although he looked quite cheerful, the discomfort he was feeling was quite apparent. The author begged him to cancel all the jama’ts engagements and take rest. He replied smilingly that it would hurt him more if he disappointed his spiritual children. He performed all his duties.
Within three years of his grandfather’s death he lost his loving father Shahza’dah (Prince) Aly S. Khan. It was a terrible shock to the Noora’ni family and the Isma’ili jama’ts, and indeed to the whole world.
During the past sixteen years of his glorious Ima’mat some great events have taken place, inside and outside the community. For the first time in the history of mankind man has conquered space and set his foot on the Moon. Man’s scientific missions (instrumental) to Mars and the outer space have successfully been carried out. An extensive research has been started to find out the ways and methods of using the atomic energy for useful purposes. A tremendous scientific and human progress, in many fields, has been taking place during the last two decades which man had never known before.
The communal progress of Isma’ilis under the guidance of Mowla’na Ha’zar Ima’m is also unique in their history. The unity of the jama’ts throughout the world is a matter of great significance. Communication and contact between the jama’ts of the world have been established to a level unknown before. The Holy Ima’m has visited the jama’ts of the various countries, never visited by any Ima’m in the past, such as Rwanda, Burundi, Za’ire, Ivory Coast, United States, Canada, Gilgit, Hunza and Comoro. Though inspired and started by Ima’m Sulta’n Mohammed Shah, the Isma’ili Building Societies, the housing-for-all schemes, have been completed, according to their targets, during the last decade in many counties. The new settlements of the jama’ts have taken place in Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Comoro, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Ivory Coast, Libya, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad, United States and Venezuela. Once a British journalist asked Ima’m Sulta’n Mohammed Shah about the places in the world where the Isma’ilis were living. The Holy Ima’m promptly replied, “Except in Hell they are living everywhere.”
The youth have replaced the traditional monopoly of the old in leadership and have since shown their mettle. A remarkable progress in the community, throughout the world, has been made inthe fields of education, religious as well as secular and professional. Many countries in Africa achieved independence where Isma’ilis have been living for a longtime. They have always been guided by their beloved Ima’m in all walks of life.
Inspite of creeping atheism, prevailing anti-religous forces, love of materialism and evil temptation, the Isma’ilis particularly the youth have expressed remarkable interest in their faith under the dynamic personality of their most beloved Spiritual Father.
Mowla’na Ha’zar Ima’m married Begum Salima on the twenty-eighth of October, 1969 in Paris. They have a daughter, Princess Zahra, born on the eighteenth of September, 1970, and two sons, Prince Rahi’m, born on the twelfth of October, 1971, and Prince Husain, born on the tenth of April, 1974.
Ima’mat is ever-lasting. It has survived through ups and downs of its long history since the death of the Holy Prophet of Isla’m. It will continue to remain for ever according to the covenent of Allah.
Ima’mat is a favour and a gift of God to mankind.
“Pi’r Sadruddi’n, Pi’r Hasan Kabi’r’di’n, Pi’r Naseeruddi’n, Pi’r Sa’hib’di’n and othe Pi’rs went through great difficulties and insults with great tolerance, sacrificed property and life and propagated the Isma’ili Faith in India. They brought you to the doorsteps of the House of Ima’m Isla’m Shah.”92 (Mowla’na Ima’m Sulta’n Mohammed Shah)
Pi’r in Persian means an elder, a sage, a learned, an advanced person. In Isma’ilism the word is especially used for the Ima’me’ Musta’uda that is Hujjatul Ima’m, the Ima’m’s trustee or deputy. The Pi’r is the Head of the Da’wat, the mission department, and acts as a link between the jama’t and the Holy Ima’m.
It is the Pi’r through whom the disciple recognizes the Ima’m, the Noor of Allah. The Pi’r teaches the faith. Without a teacher nothing could be learnt properly.
The Ima’m is the Supreme Authority appointed directly by Allah. He is the asa’s (foundation, cause, root) and Pi’r is the na’tiq (conversant, conversationist, messenger). Ima’m is Hujjatullah and Khali’fatullah, the Vicegerent of God;93 while Pi’r is Hujjatul Ima’m and Khali’fatur Rasoolullah. PJi’r is appointed from the family of the Holy Ima’m and remains as such for life. There is always a Pi’r-one at a time-for all the jama’ts of the world. He is holy and divine and must be obeyed because he is second only to the Holy Ima’me’Zama’n. It is the concern of the Ima’m solely whether to appoint a Pi’r or to keep that authority to himself.
Among the Su’fis a pi’r is called mu’rshid, meaning: a spiritual guide or a teacher. In our Gina’ns there are various references to Pi’r mentioned as mu’rshid, pi’r, agu’wa, satgur, gu’r and gu’ru.
The world has already passed nine cycles of 432,000 years each and is now passing through its tenth, and the last, cycle starting from six thousand years before the time of the Holy
Prophet of Isla’m. Naboowat, the Prophethood, ended with him. He was the last Nabi.
He was the first and the greatest teacher of the Religion of God, Isla’m. Sufi’s consider him to be the mu’rshidil awwal, the first teacher or the first master.
He sacrified his life for the sake of his Ima’m at Kervala at the age of fourteen.
His name was Ali but popularly known as Zainul Abedi’n. He was very wise and learned. He spent most of his life in teaching
and preaching. Once he was in a deep mediatation at night. A fire broke out in the house due to the negligence of a servant. All of the occupants ran away outside the house but the Shah Pi’r Zainul Abedi’n did not move. Hundreds of people gathered quickly and extinguished the fire. Next day he told the inquisitive people that he was busy with his Creator. He wrote a book “Sah’fa’e’Sajja’dia”. He died in 95 A.H. at the age of fifty-seven.
Away from the politics of the time this great Ima’m and Pi’r worked very hard for Isla’m. He was the Holy Pi’r throughout the Ima’mat of his father Ima’m Mohammed el-Ba’qir. He sent two da’is, Musa bin Abdullah Mahz, grandson of Pi’r Hasan, and Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Abdullah Mahz, to India for propagation of the holy faith. Two other da’is, Suriya’ni and Halwa’ni, were sent to Syria before the arrival of Ima’m Isma’il in Salamiya.
He died in Medina in 148 A.H. His grandson Mohammed Nooruddi’n bin Isma’il succeeded him as the Pi’r.
Pi’r Nooruddi’n was born in 128 A.H. in Medina, during the Ima’mat of his grandfather Ima’m Ja’fer es-Sa’diq who appointed him as his Hujjat or Pi’r. He was very learned and wise. In the popular list of the Holy PJi’rs he is mentioned as Pi’r Satgur Noor which is not correct. PJi’r Sagur Noor lived during the Ima’mat of the eighteenth Holy Ima’m Mustansir Billah. He was the fifteenth Pi’r Mohammed Nooruddi’n. Their common name caused a confusion. Pi’r Nooruddi’n did not go to India at any
Pi’r Nooruddi’n had six sons. When he became Ima’m after the death of his father Ima’m Isma’il in 158 A.H., he had appointed his second son Isma’il Tha’ni as the Ji’r and bestowed upon him the title of Ima’muddi’n.97
Pi’r Ima’muddi’n was born in 151 A.H. in Mohammedaba’d. He was only seven years old when he became the Pi’r of the Isma’ilis. He served his father Ima’m Mohammed bin Isma’il and brother Imam Wafi Ahmed. He died at the age of fifty-one in 202 A.H.
Pi’r Ima’muddi’n had seven sons. The eldest son Sayyid Mohammed Mansoor was appointed as the Pi’r after his death.98
Pi’r Ima’muddi’n is mentioned as JPij’r Indre Ima’m’di’n in the popular list of the Holy Pi’rs. Indre is an Indian title. The Pi’r never visited India. Some transcriber has made this mistake in confusion. The twentieth Holy Pi’r Salaamuddi’n was Ima’muddin who went to India where he was called as Mahadev. According to Hindus Maha’dev is Indre.
Another Sayyid Ima’muddi’n alias Ima’m Shah was a son of Pi’r Hasan Kabir’di’n. Sayyid Ima’m Shah was not a Pi’r, or Hujjatul Ima’m. He served the Ima’me’Zama’n as a da’i throughout his life. He converted thousands of people to Isma’ilism.
The Holy Pi’r had five sons. The eldest son was Sayyid Gha’lib Ali; also known as Gha’libuddi’n. Pi’r Mohammed Mansoor died in 242 A.H. at the age of seventy during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Razi Abdullah.
Hazrat Pi’r Gha’libuddi’n was born in 220 A.H. in Mahmoudaba’d during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Taqi Mohammed. Mowla’na Ima’m Razi sent him to Africa on a special mission. He witnessed the birth of an Isma’ili empire and the Fatimid Caliphate in 296 A.H. in Africa during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Mehdi. The Pi’r had four sons. The youngest, Sayyid Abdul Maji’d, was appointed as the Pi’r by the Holy Ima’m.
Hazrat Pi’r Abdul Maji’d was born in 300 A.H. in Afriquiya. After the death of his father he was appointed as the Pi’r when he was only fifteen years old. He travelled widely and wrote many books. Finally he settled in Yemen and died there at the age of ninety-seven in 397 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Ha’kem. He served six Ima’ms, Mowla’na Mehdi, Mowla’na Qa’im, Mowla’na Mansoor, Mowla’na Mo’izz, Mowla’na Azi’z, Mowla’na Ha’kem as their Hujjat. He had two sons: Sayyid Munt’zir Billah and Sayyid Munt’khib Billah. The former succeeded his father as the Pi’r.
12. PI’R MUSTANSIR BILLAH
Mowla’na Ima’m Ha’kem appointed Sayyid Munt’zir Billah as his Hujjat, and bestowed upon him the title of Mustansir Billah. Pi’r Mustansir Billah was also known as Sayyid Anvari. He was born in Yemen in 362 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Mo’izz. He travelled throughout the Fatimid empire but he spent most of his life in Yemen where he died at the age of sixty-three in 425 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Za’hir. His son Sayyid Ahmed Ha’di succeeded him as the Pi’r.
Pi’r Ahmed Ha’di had six sons. The eldest was Sayyid ha’shem Ali who succeeded him. The Pi’r died in 448 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Mustansir Billah at the age of sixty-one. According to another report he died in 438 A.H. at the age of fifty-one. He died in Yemen.
Mowla’na Ima’m Mustansir Billah appointed Sayyid Ha’shem Ali as his Hujjat. He was popularly known as Pi’r Ha’shem Shah in Iran and Iraq. He was born in 404 A.H. in Yemen. He travelled to Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and all over the Fatimid empire.
Pi’r Ha’shem Shah had seven sons. The eldest was Sayyid Mohammed who was born in Yemen. Later the family shifted to Cairo where the Holy Pi’r died at the age of fifty-four in 458 A.H. He was a generous person. His patience and cool temperment would wim his visitor’s heart in the very first meeting. He was loved by everyone.
The fifteenth Holy Pi’r was Sayyid Mohammed alias Satgur Noor. Mowla’na Ima’m Mustansir Billah appointed him as the Pi’r and honoured him with the title of Nooruddi’n. But he is popularly known as Satgur Noor. He adopted this name during his visit and stay in India. Satgur means: the True Teacher or the Teacher of Truth.
Pi’r Nooruddi’n Mohammed “Satgur Noor” was born in Yemen in 425 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Za’hir. His name was Mohammed but he had many titles, such as: Ha’ji Nooruddi’n, Sayyid Sa’daat, Satguru, Satgur Noor. He was very intelligent and witty. Physically he was very strong, attractive and extremely handsome. His mother was Sayyidah A’mena bint Sayyid Husain al-Husaini.
He was educated and trained by his grandfather Hazrat Pi’r Ahmed Ha’di. When Ima’m Mustansir Billah appointed him as the Pi’r Hazrat, Satgur Noor was thirty-three years old. He spent most of his time in travelling throughout the Fatimid empire and visited Iraq and Iran frequently. But his family had settled in Sabzwa’r. In 474 A.H. he went to India by sea. He landed at a port in Gujrat. He was forty-nine years old at that time. He learned the local languages, Gujrati and Devnagri, within ashort time and started his mission. He converted thousands of Hindus of Kanbi, Kha’rwa and the Kodi tribes in Gujrat. He also converted the ruler of Pa’tan (Navsa’ri), Ra’ja Su’rchand, and married his daughter Ra’ni Pa’lan Devi.99 He performed many miracles. He composed devotional songs, known as Gina’ns, in Gujrati and Devnagri (mother of modern Hindi) which are still popular among the Isma’ilis as well as the Kanbi Hindus in India.
During his Pi’ratan (Pirhood) Hasan bin Sabbah had established an Isma’ili kingdom at Alamut in 483 A.H.
Pi’r Satgur Noor died in 487 A.H. at the age of sixty-two, afew months before the death of Ima’m Mustansir Billah. The Holy Pi’r was buried at Navsa’ri. Abeautiful tomb was erected over his grave afterward. Pa’lani Devi or not but he had three sons from his first wife Sayyidah Anwar Bibi whom he had married in Cairo earlier.100
After the death of Pi’r Satgur Noor his eldest son Sayyid Mahmood Shah was appointed by the Holy Ima’m. Pi’r Mahmood Shah was born in Sabzawa’r in 443 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Mustansir Billah. The ruler of Sabzwa’r and Khorasan, at that time, was Sultan Sanjar Saljooki.
Pi’r Mahmood Shah was also known as Sayyid Mahmood Sabzwa’ri. He took a keen interest in the activities of Isma’ili da’wat while he was a teen-ager and worked with his grandfather Pi’r Ha’shem Shah. In 487 A.H. he received Pi’ra’tn. As usual with the Holy Pi’rs he travelled widely but he kept his headquarters in Sabzwa’r. According to Tadhkiratus Sa’daat he went to Lahore (Pakistan) with king Masood bin Ibra’hi’m of Ghazana. There he was killed by an enemy in 509 A.H. He was sixty-six. He had six sons: The youngest, Sayyid Mohibbuddi’n, succeeded to Pi’ratan.
Pi’r Mohibbuddi’n was born in Sabzwa’r in 462 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Mustansir Billah. He was forty-seven years old when Ima’m Ha’di had appointed him as the Pi’r.
Isma’ili da’wat was spreading far and wide and with it the political influence of Alamut was getting stronger. A surge of renewed spirit was being felt by the faithful. Isma’ili da’wat was named as da’wat-e’jadi’d (meaning: the new mission) to distinguish it from the Isma’ili da’wat of the Musta’lian branch in Egypt.
Pi’r Mohibbuddi’n had served his Ima’m for thirteen years before he died in 522 A.H. at the age of sixty. He was buried in Sabwza’r. His son Sayyid Kha’liduddi’n was appointed by the Holy Ima’m as the Pi’r.
Mowla’na Ima’m Ha’di appointed Pi’r Kha’liduddi’n. His name was Ali Kha’lid; but his title was Khaleequddi’n. He was popularly addressed as Sayyidina Khaleequddi’n.
He was born in Sabzwa’r in 480 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Ha’di. His Pi’ra’tan lasted eighteen years. He died in Sabzwa’r in 540 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Moh’tadi. He had two sons: Sayyid Abdul Mu’omin and Sayyid Abdullah. The former succeeded him.
During a journey to Kufa the Holy Pi’r met King Mohammed bin Tommara’t. The king became his disciple.101 Later the Pi’r went to Morocco with the king where he converted thousands of the native tribesmen. He was honoured and obeyed more than a king is obeyed. After two and a half centuries Isma’ilism was revived in Morocco. He was loved by the people and he himself loved his followers extremely. He used to call himself Abdul Momineen, meaning: the servant of the believers, as a gesture of love and humility.
At the age of fifty he died in Morocco in 550 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Moh’tadi. He was survived by four sons. The youngest, Sayyid Ali, succeeded after him as the Pi’r.
Mowla’na Ima’m Moh’tadi appointed Sayyid Ali as the Pi’r and bestowed upon him the title of Salaamuddi’n. He was also known as Sayyid Ima’muddi’n. He was the twentieth Holy Pi’r.
Pi’r Salaamuddi’n was born in Sabzwa’r in 516 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Ha’di. At the age of thirty-four he received Pi’ra’tan. He spent many years in Afghanistan and Badakshan (now in Russia) for the propagation of Isma’ilism. Thousands of Isma’ili missionaries were working in various countries. He went to India during the Ima’mat of Ima’m ala’Mohammed. The exact year of his Indian visit is not known
Pi’r Salaamuddi’n served four Ima’ms: Ima’m Moh’tadi, Ima’m Qa’hir, Ima’m Hasan Ala’Zikrihis Salaam and Ima’m Ala’Mohammed. He returned to his native town of Sabzwa’r from India and died there in 579 A.H. at the age of sixty-three. He was succeeded by his son Sayyid Mohammed Noorbakhsh.103
Sayyid Mohammed Noorbakhsh was Pi’r Soleh’di’n, the twenty-first Isma’ili Pi’r. Mowla’na Ima’m Ala’Mohammed appointed him as the Pi’r. The Pi’r was forty-five years old. He was born in Sabzwa’r in 534 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Moh’tadi.
Pi’r Soleh’di’n was very weak and thin. He was a great mystic. He spent most of his life in fasting and meditating. His Pi’ratan lasted five years. He died in Sabzwa’r in 584 A.H. His son Sayyid Sala’huddi’n succeeded him.
Pi’r Sala’huddi’n was born in Sabzwa’r in 554 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Qa’hir. From his childhood he was very active in da’wat. He travelled with his father to all the places he went. He wrote many books on various religious subjects; the most famous of all was “Fiqah Aahoot”.
He was a great dervish. Many Su’fi Orders considered him to be the Qu’tub (the Grand Master of the world) in Su’fism. Khawa’ja Mo’ayyinuddi’n Chishti of Ajmer, India, went to Sabzwa’r in about 560 A.H. to see Pi’r Sala’huddi’n and remained with him for sometime as a disciple.104
The Holy Pi’r travelled to Iraq, Turkey, Azervaijan, Chinese Turkistan, Badakhshan and Afghanistan. He lived through the Ima’mat of Ima’ms Ala’Mohammed, Ruknuddi’n Khorshah and died in 664 A.H., at the age of one hundred and ten years, durint the Ima’mat of Ima’m Shamsduddin Mohammed. The Holy Pi’r had three sons: Sayyid Shamsuddi’n, Sayyid Abdul Husain and Sayyid Abdul Ha’di. The eldest son was appointed by the Holy Ima’m to succeed his father.105
Pi’r Shamsuddi’n bin Pi’r Sala’huddi’n was born in Sabzwa’r in 639 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Ala’uddi’n Mohammed. Like father like son: he too travelled with his father wherever he went. He was very fond of travelling. He travelled to Afghanistan, Arabia, Bangla Desh, Burma, China, Ceylon, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Kashmir, Malaya, Tibet, Russia, Turkey and many other places. He went to hajj several times. He was popularly called as Haji Ba’ba’Qalander, Shams Iraqi, Shams Chot, Shams Darya, Shah Shams etc.
Our Holy Pi’rs and their children converted millions of people in twenty-four countries. Many of these sailed in a paper boat. The following story is popularly told in Multan, Pakistan, and is also written in many books.
Pi’r Shams arrived in Multan at a time when the city was populated by thousands of holy men, saints, faqirs, dervishes, among whom the most eminent was Shaikh Baha’ul Haqq Zakaria. Pi’r Shams found difficulty in getting accomidation because nobody wanted him in a city where practically everyone was a mu’reed of some shaikh of faqir. So he went out of the city and stationed himself under a tree on the bank of the river Sind. The next day a servant of Shaikh Zakaria brought a bowl of milk filled to the brim. The Pi’r understood the message that there was no room for more milk in the bowl, meaning that there was no room for saints and that there was no room for him. Pi’r Shams plucked a blooming rose and placed it over the milk and returned it to the sender. The reply was: I will float over all of you like the rose in a bowl of milk.
One day Pi’r Shams sailed in a small boat made of ordinary paper without the boat absorbing water. Thousands of amazed spectators followed the boat walking on both the banks of the river which narrowed upon entering the city. There was a huge building on the right bank where Shaikh Zakaria was living. He saw the Pi’r through a narrow window of his house and shouted in a curse. Instantly the boat absorbed water and started rolling in rocking motions. The Pi’r understood his malice and replied, “Let there be horns on thy head,” and there appeared instantly two large cow-like horns on Zakaria’s head preventing him from withdrawing his head from outside the window. The Pi’r corrected his boat and happily sailed away. The frightened Shaikh sent his son and prominent disciples with gifts begging the Pi’r’s forgiveness. He was forgiven conditionally. He would have to keep away from any more mischief. Horns would disappear but as a mark of rememberance he would retain, and his generations would be born with, two small projections on their uupper foreheads like those of a kid or a calf. Even today, after nearly eight centuries, hundreds of the children of the Shaikh in Multan and the surrounding districts have these projections from birth.106
Durint the one hundred and eighteen years of his life Pi’r Shams converted over a half million disciples in many countries.107
Pi’r Shams was Shams Sabzwa’ri and not Shams Tabriz who was the Master of Jala’luddi’n Ru’mi. Shams Tabriz was the son of Ima’m Ala’uddi’n Mohammed and the brother of Ima’m Ruknuddi’n Khorshah. Both were Isma’ili saints. They were contemporaries.
Pi’r Shams died in Multan in about 757 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Qa’sim Shah. He was succeeded by his eldest son Sayyid Naseeruddi’n.
The Holy Ima’m appointed Pi’r Naseeruddi’n bin JPi;r Shamsuddi’n as his Hujjat. He was born in Sabzwa’r in 657 A.H. and worked under his father for all his life except the last ten years of his own Pi’ratan. He died in 767 A.H. at the age of one hundred and ten. During the ten years of his ministry he travelled widely in the Punjab, Kashmir, Sind, Gujrat and the southern provinces of India.
After the death of Pi’r Naseeruddi’n the Holy Ima’m appointed the Pi’r’s eldest son Sayyid Sheha’buddi’n. Pi’r Sheha’buddi’n alias Pi’r Sa’hib’di’n was born in Sabzwa’r in 675 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Shamsuddi’n. His Pi’ra’tan lasted thirty-three years. Like his father and grandfather he composed many Gina’ns and travelled mostly in the Punjab, Kashmir, Sind and Gujrat. He died in 800 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Isla’m Shah. His one-hundred-year-old son Sayyid Sadruddi’n was appointed by the Holy Ima’m as the Pi’r. All the above three holy men, Pi’r Sadruddi’n, Pi’r Sa’hib’di’n and Pi’r Naseeruddi’n, were educated and trained by Pi’r Shams.
Pi’r Sadruddi’n was born in Sabzwa’r on the second of Rabi-el-Awwal, 700 A.H. (A.D. 1299) during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Shamsuddi’n Mohammed. He had many names and titles: Ha’ji
Ba’ba’, Sadar Shah, Pi’r Salaamat, Satgur Soh’dev, Baar Gur, Makhdoom Shah Sadar’di’m, Satguru, Gur Harichand. He was an extraordinary orator. He travelled extensively and wrote many books.
He studied Sanskrit and debated successfully with the pundits and scholars in Ka’shi (Benaras), the centre of theology and learning in those days. The University of Benaras later conferred upon him the degree of Sha’stri, equivalent to Doctrorate, with a title of Soh’dev, a divine being. An Iranian- Arab Satgur Soh’dev son great eminence among the top theologians of India.
He converted hundreds of thousands of followers and named them Khawa’ja (or Khoja) for equality and integrity among them. He used to sleep only two hours daily and earned his livelihood by writing and selling copies of the Holy Qura’n. He spent sixteen hours daily in religious services, teaching and preaching.
He died at the age of one hundred and nineteen years on the twelfth of Rajab, 819 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Isla’m Shah. The Holy Pi’r had five sons: Sayyid Zahi’ruddi’n, Sayyid Sala’huddi’n, Sayyid Pi’r Ta’jdan, Sayyid Jala’luddi’n and Sayyid Pi’r Hasan Kabi’rd’di’n. The latter was appointed to succeed his father by the Holy Ima’m.
His name was Hasan and the title was Kabi’r’di’n, meaning: the Chief of Religion. But he was popularly known as Pi’r Hasan Darya that is Pi’r Hasan the Generous like a river. He was also known as Sayyid Hasan Shah, Pi’r Hasan Uchwi, Sayyid Hasan Shamsi and Sayyid Hasan Kufr-Shikan. His Hindu disciples called him Gur Hasan Shah.
One of the most important events of his life is the weaving of five hundred yards long and nine inches wide cloth from the cotton-like substance from the pods of a wild plant known as aak. He cultivated the plant himself, plucked its pods, prepared the yarn and wove it into a pjiece of cloth five hundred yards long on handlooms. The product was finer than muslin. Using saffaron, dissolved in water, for ink he wrote a lamentation and praise, in poetry, to the Holy Ima’me’Zama’n Mowla’na Isla’m Shah. In each yardspace he wrote each of the 500 stanzas in Khojki character-an invention of his father. This work is known as Anat Akh’do. He went to see the Holy Ima’m in Kahak and presented the cloth which the Ima’m wore as a turban.
He was married seven times and had eighteen sons and a daughter who made a good team of earnest workers in his ministry. They were assigned missionary duties in various parts of the country.
After his fifty-two years of Pi’rat’an Pi’r Hasan Kabi’r’di’n died at the age of one hundred and eleven years on the twenty-seventh of Safar, 871 A.H. at Uch, in Pakistan, during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Mustansir Billah-II.
After the death of Pi’r Hasan Kabir’di’n the Holy Ima’m appointed Pi’r Ta’jdi’n bin Pi’r Sadruddi’n. Pi’r Ta’jdi’n was born in Uch on the seventh of Ramaza’n, 756 A.H.
He was popularly known as Shah Turail. He converted the peasants of Sidhpur, Gujrat, and called them Mom’na, the momineen. He worked in the Punjab, Sind and Gujrat under his brother Pi’r Hasan Kabi’r’di’n.
His Pi’ra’tan lasted five years. As a result of a physical assault and insult caused by a group of his disciples108 the Holy Pi’r died on the ninth of Zil Hijja, 876 A.H. during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Mustansir Billah-II. He was one hundred and twenty years old. It is not known whether he had any children.
On the death of Pi’r Ta’jdi’n the Holy Ima’m became unhappy with the jama’t. He did not appoint another Pi’r and kept the Pi’ra’tan with himself. Thus the twenty-ninth Holy Pi’r was Ima’m Mustansir Billa-II himself. He wrote a book, in Persian, Pandi’ya’te’Jawa’nmardi (Maxims of the Righteous) which contains the advices for the behaviour of the Isma’ilis, the momineen.
With the death of Pi’r Ta’jdi’n, Pi’ra’tan came to an end in the family of Pi’r Sadruddi’n. This line of Holy Pi’rs, as explained above, came down from the eighth Pi’r Sayyid Isma’il Tha’ni alias Pi’r Ima’muddi’n, a son of Ima’m Mohammed bin Isma’il.
The Isma’ili da’wat shifted from India to Iran but the vaki’ls and da’i’s in India continued their activities enthusiastically.
A deputation of Indian Isma’ilis went to Iran to express, on behalf of the jama’ts of India, their apology to the Holy Ima’m Mowla’na Mustansir Billah for the death of Pi’r Ta’jdi’n. But when they arrived in Iran they learnt that the Ima’me’Zama’n was Mowla’na Abd Salaam. They prayed to the Holy Ima’m for kindness and forgiveness and to send a Pi’r to India. They were forgiven. The Ima’m gave them a copy of Pandi’ya’te’Jawa’nmardi and ordered them to respect and consider it as their Pi’r. It is addressed as Pi’r Pandi’ta’te’Jawa’nmardi.
Pi’r Haider Ali was appointed as the Pi’r by Ima’m Mustansir Billah-II. The Pi’r sent his da’i’s to Turkey and to Central Asia.
When Sayyid Ima’m Shah bin Pi’r Hasan Kabi’r’di’n went to see the Holy Ima’m in Kahak and prayed to Ima’m Abu-Zar Ali to show him the Heaven and the Hell109, the Holy Ima’m ordered Pi’r Haider Ali to fulfill his desire. The Pi’r was known among the followers as Jabr’eel.110 The Pi’r guided Sayyid Ima’m Shah to attain the ba’tini vision of his desire.
Pi’r Haider Ali served his brother Ima’m Abd Salaam, Ima’m Ghari’b Mirza and Ima’m Abu-Zar Ali. He died during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Abu-Zar Ali.
After the death of Pi’r Haider Ali his son Sayyid Ala’uddi’n was appointed as the Pi’r by Holy Ima’m Abu-Zar Ali. He travelled to Afghanistan and Badakhshan and sent his da’i’s to the various parts of the country. Soon after his appointment, by Ima’m Abu-Zar Ali, the Ima’m died and Ima’m Mura’d Mirza ascended to the throne of Ima’mat. His Ima’mat lasted five years. The Holy Ima’m was succeeded by his son Ima’m Zulfiqa’r Ali who was also known as Shah Khali’lullah.111 It was during this period that Pi’r Ala’uddi’n died at an advanced age.
In India, Sayyid Ima’m Shah son of Pi’r Hasan Kabi’r’di’n
also died on the twenty-sixth of Ramaza’n, 920 A.H.112 All through his life he served Ima’m faithfully. He wrote many books of Gina’ns and converted thousands of people to the Holy Satpanth — Isma’ilism.
It is alleged that Sayyid Ima’m Shah had deviated from Isma’ili Niza’ri faith and founded his own sect namely “Ima’m Shahi Panth” after the death of his father Pi’r Hasan Kabi’r’di’n. There is no truth in it. The fact is that he sincerely served his Ima’me Zama’n and the Isma’ili faith throughout his life. His son Sayyid Khan and Sayyid Ahmed Shah and their children served the holy Isma’ili faith devotedly for over a hundred years up to the Ima’mat of Mowla’na Ima’m Shah Nizar-II (d. 1038 A.H.).
Lack of communication, social problems and greed among the descendants of Ima’m Shah and their followers gradually divided the jama’t in India. This happened particularly among the new converts.
Even today the followers of Ima’m Shahi Panth pray in the name of Ima’m Shah Niza’r morning and evening.
After the death of Pi’r Ala’uddi’n his son Sayyid Qa’sim Shah was appointed by the Holy Ima’m as his Hujjat.
Ima’m Zulfiqa’r Ali’s Ima’mat lasted just two years and he was succeeded by his son Ima’m Nooruddi’n Ali. Pi’r Qa’sim Shah died after a short illness.
Mowla’na Ima’m Nooruddi’n Ali appointed Sayyid Naseer Mohammed bin Pi’r Qa’sim Shah as the Pi’r. Both the Pi’rs, the father and the son; worked silently and secretly because of the hostile attitude of the ruling class.
Pi’r Naseer Mohammed died during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Khali’lullah Ali, the thirty-ninth Isma’ili Ima’m, who later appointed Sayyid Ha’shem Shah, the elder son of Pi’r Naseer Mohammed, as the Pi’r.
He did not stay at one place for long. He spent most of his life in travelling. He did not visit India as is generally thuoght. A few Gina’ns, which are attributed to him, were in fact composed by his contemporary Sayyid Ha’shem Shah bin Mohammed Shah bin Sayyid Khan who was a great-grandson of Pi’r Hasan Kab’r’di’n. Both, Pi’r Ba’ba Ha’shem Shah and Sayyid Ha’shem Shah, had sons named Mohammed.
Another famous da’i of this period was Sayyid Abdul Nabi who worked in India and composed many Gina’ns.
Pi’r Ba’ba Ha’shem Shah died during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Niza’r Ali who later appointed the Pi’rs eldest son Sayyid Mohammed Zama’n.
Pi’r Agha Mohammed Zama’n worked under his father Pi’r Ba’ba Ha’shem Shah for many years. Nothing much is known about him except that he died during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Zama’n.
Mowla’na Ima’m Hasan Ali Shah appointed Sayyid Mehra’b Baig bin JPi’r Agha Azi’z as the Pi’r. Within a few years the Holy Pi’r died and was succeeded by his son Sayyid Ali Akber Baig.
After the death of Pi’r Mehra’b Baig his son Pi’r Ali Akber Baig was appointed by the Holy Ima’m but the Pi’r died within a few years and was succeeded by his brother Sayyid Ali Asghar Baig.
After the death of Pi’r Ali Asghar Baig the Pi’ra’tan was retained by mowla’na Ima’m Hasan Ali Shah. He acted for both the holy positions, the Ima’mat and the Pi’ra’tan.
He had appointed Sayyid Hasan Shah a descendant of Pi’r Hasan Kabi’r’di’n through his son Sayyid Rehamatullah Shah, as vaki’l in India.
Before Mowla’na Agha Abul Hasanali Shah went to India with King Na’dir Shah in 1152 A.H. (A.D. 1739) he had appointed as Pi’r his younger brother Mirza Mohammed Ba’qir.
Pi’r Mirza Mohammed Ba’qir was very popular among all the communities of Iran. He was highly respected and loved by the jama’ts. He served three Holy Ima’ms, Mowla’na Agha Abul Hasanali Shah, Mowla’na Agha Shah Khali’lullah and Mowla’na Agha Shah Hasanali. Pi’r Mirza Mohammed Ba’qir gave his daughter Sayyidah Bibi Maryam Kha’tun in marriage to his nephew Ima’m Shah Khali’lullah.
She was sent to India by the Holy Ima’m in 1245 A.H. (A.D. 1829). She was the first Holy Pi’r who visited India in 369 years since the death of Pi’r Ta’jdi’n in 876 A.H. She also travelled to the Persian Gulf countries to visit the jama’ts there. When she passed away in Mahala’t, in about 1248 A.H., the Holy Ima’m took over the work of the Pi’r as well.
Mowla’na Ima’m Agha Hasanali Shah appointed his son Agha Ali Shah as the Pi’r when they arrived in India. He was addressed as Pi’r Ali Shah Da’ta’r.
Pi’r Agha Ali Shah worked very hard and travelled to all the places, even to the small villages, where the jama’ts lived. He enforced certain religious reforms among the gupti and Mom’na groups of Isma’ilis. The guptis were practising taqiyya-they were Hindus who were following the Isma’ili faith secretly. The Mom’nas were converted from Kanbis by Pi’r Ta’jdi’n.
During the Ima’mat of Ima’m Agha Shah Khali’lullah and Ima’m Agha Hasanali Shah Pi’r Mirza Mohammed Ba’qir, Pi’r Bibi Sarkar Ma’ta Salaamat, Pi’r Agha Ali Shah, (Pi’r) Sayyid Ghula’mali Shah, (Pi’r) Sayyid Mohammed Shah, Sayyidah Bibi Ima’m Begum and (Pi’r) Vazi’r Isma’il Ga’ngji113 propagated the holy faith and served their Ima’me’Zama’n and the jama’ts.
The children of our Holy Pi’rs were also respectfully addressed as Pi’rs though they were not holding Pi’ra’tan, the status of Hujjatul Ima’m. A Hujjatul Aazam, such as Hasan bin Sabbah, or a Da’i’-ul-Du’a’t, such as Abdullah bin May’moon, is not a Pi’r either.
He was born in 1269 A.H. (A.D. 1853) in Poona where he died
113. (Pi’r) has been used for those who were either the children of the Holy Pi’rs or given titles of pi’r by a Holy Ima’m; for example: (Pi’r) Isma’il Gangji and (Pi’r) Sabz’ali.
In the month of Rajab, 1302 A.H. (May, 1885) at the age of thirty-three. His infant son Sayyid Abul Hasan Shah was appointed as the Pi’r by Ima’m Agha Ali Shah.
Pi’r Agha Abul Hasan Shah died after three months during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Sulta’n Mohammed Shah. Pi’ra’tan remained with the Holy Ima’m for the rest of his life.
Eight years old Pi’r Agha Sulta’n Mohammed Shah, who was also the forty-eight Ima’m, preached to the jama’ts like an old experienced person.114 He took a great interest in the tableegh (propagation) of Isla’m. As mentioned in a previous chapter thousands of Hindus were converted to Isla’m under his personal guidance.
In early 1923 the Holy Ima’m and Holy Pi’r sent a famous da’i Sabza’li with a ta’liqa to visit the jama’ts of Central Asia and the Middle East.
Pi’r Agha Sulta’n Mohammed Shah wrote a 75-page book Usoole’ wa Fu’roo-e’-Deen, in Khojki script, in 1311 A.H. It was first published in Bombay a year later. A collection of his numerous Holy Farma’ns is known as the Kala’me’Ima’me Mobi’n, in two volumes, which was first published in Gujrati in 1951 by the Isma’ilia Association for India, in Bombay. It is a marvellous book. It explains in detail all the fundamental principles of Isla’m and Isma’ilism and the complete code of conduct with references from the Holy Qura’n and the Hadit. It contains religious as well as material, guidance for the Isma’ilis. For serious thinker, too, it has a thought provoking material. For example:
“What is iba’dat? And what is it? How does it work? The answer is: It is a special way of Ba’tini meditation. It is a spiritual exercise and training of the soul. But only a few understand it.”115
“An ordinary religious person desires to enter Paradise, after death, where he will eat, drink and enjoy the company of his wives and children. But to a lover of God it looks like a stable where a horse gets all comforts without work. A momin wants to rise higher. He aims at reaching near the Throne of Allah.”
“Like a bird, which is kept in a gold cage, yearning for freedom, the human soul feels imprisoned during the life on earth and yearns for freedom.”116
In his Memories he wrote
“The subject should always disappear in the object. In our ordinary affections one for another, in our daily work with hand or brain, we most of us discover soon enough that any lasting satisfaction, any contentment that we can achieve, is the result of forgettin self, of merging subject with object in a harmony that is of body, mind and spirit. And in the highest realms of consciousness all who believe in Higher Being are liberated from all the clogging and hampering bonds of the subjective self in prayer, in rapt meditation upon and in the face of the glorious radiance of eternity, in which all temporal and earthly consciousness is swallowed up and itself becomes the eternal.”117
Pi’r Agha Sulta’n Mohammed Shas was succeeded by his grandson as the Ima’m and the Pi’r of the Isma’ilis in the month of Zil-Hijja, 1376 A.H. (July, 1957).
Pi’r Salaamat Agha Shah Kari’m, the forty-ninth Holy Ima’m and the fiftieth Holy Pi’r of the momineen, has been working very hard for the spiritual advancement of his spiritual children all over the world numbering between twenty-three and twenty-four million.
He has been spending much of his time in dealing with the affairs of the followers and in travelling to the places where the jama’ts are residing to bless and guuide them. He has always placed a great emphasis on religion. He told the Students’ Religious Society in Dar es Salaam:
“You should also remember that only education is of no use. You must have faith and love for religion. If you are in a bus or any where and if you have a tasbeeh with you then say your prayer without hesitation if the time of the prayer comes.”
He spoke in Darkha’na,118 Karachi:
“I would like you also to remember that in this world a
man’s life is not worth the dust in the road unless he has faith. Unless he has faith he will get nowhere and if he gets anywhere in this life he will be unhappy afterwards because without faith his life does not mean anything.”
Dhani Salaamat Da’ta’r Pi’r Agha Shah Kari’m Ha’zar Ima’m takes keen interest in the religious affairs of the jama’ts and attends to solve even a small problem of his spiritual children. He is so polite and affectionate that he listens to the humblest spiritual child and satisfies him. He is so loving and kind that he has never given any importance to his own comforts over and above the needs of the jama’ts. Once, in Nairobi, he attended to the religious matters of the jama’t from evening till two o’clock past mid-night with a short break for an appointment outside.
Once he visited East Africa with a leg in plaster. In spite of this painful condition he attended to the wishes of the jama’ts and pleased them. Some of his sensitive spiritual children wept in appreciation of his love for them all.
After some time, when the true believers deviated from the right path, God sent another Messenger. Again the people differed. Some accepted the new Message, the others clung to the old system. This was repeated every time a Prophet appeared to corredt them. Thus, thousands of divisions and sub-divisions were produced in the name of the truth.
Let us take a direct example. Those who followed Prophet Moses during his life time were the true believers and they were on the right path. Then they divided after his death into many sects due to their difference of opinion, the interpretation, the family status, the environment and false reasoning in religion. But there were people who adhered to the truth. This was repeated during the time of hundreds of Holy Prophets God raised between Moses and Jesus. Then came Prophet Jesus. Those who followed him followed the right path, others who disbelieved him went astray. Then came Prophet Mohammed. Those who believed him were on the right path. Prophet Mohammed told his disciples to follow Mowla Ali after him or they would go astray. Obedience to Ali was the right path.122
The Lord of the Universe does not leave mankind without guidance.123 He has even appointed two guardian angels for
every human being to record, and to supervise, his deeds.124 This shows that God is concerned with the guidance, and welfare of man. There has always been the Viceroy of God on earth.125 It is now the duty of man to search for the Truth.126 As stated above the religion of God is one, Isla’m is the last instalment of it, which He commanded to Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus,127 and completed it through Prophet Mohammed.128
The divine Messengers were all from one great family,129 chosen by God, raised in all the continents130 in different times. They guided the people to the right path. The religion of God has been revealed to mankind through 18,000 Prophets,131 the last of them was the Prophet of Isla’m. After him his descendants known as Ima’ms have been entrusted with the spiritual duties. All these holy men, the Prophets and the Ima’ms, have been appointed by God, and as such, obedience to them leads to the right path.
Therefore, the Ima’m of the time, Ha’zar Ima’m, must be obeyed in the name of Allah Who brings man out of darkness into light and guides him to the Straight Path.132 Isla’m is the straight path and Isma’ilism is true Isla’m, because the God-appointed Ima’m has always been present in this group of believers and will remain for ever according to His promise.
Thousands of saints and religious leaders have in the past claimed to be the saviours of mankind or divine guides, and they may be speaking the truth-though there were some false prophets who exploited their followers for selfish motives and consequently they were wiped out-but the direct authority from God has remained something special, distinguished from the ordinary religious leadership. An ordinary clerk or a businessman who, after renunciation of materialism, turns to spiritualism or becomes a monk or a preacher, and perhaps guides the people to a good religious way of life, cannot be a Prophet of Allah or are, therefore, from among the chosen families.133 God chooses the best, and He knows the best.
Human nature varies considerably in reflecting the inner feelings through action and behaviour. Some earnest lovers of God rise above the common level of emotion and sentiment and
express extraordinary love. This was also true for the followers of Prophet Mohammed. Salma’n el-Fa’rsi, Abu Zar Ghifa’ri, Ma’lik Oshta’r, Sasa’ bin Soha’n, Miqda’d bin Aswad, Abu Fata’h Qamber and Owais Qarni were among the famous lovers of God and His Messenger, who dedicated their lives and sacrificed everything for the sake of Isla’m.
Of course every adherent of Isla’m was not honest in his conviction. Many nomadic tribes of Arabs were either influenced by their chiefs who embraced Isla’m or were fascinated by mass conversion or for some material gain. For instance, starving Beni Asad embraced Isla’m en masse with a hope of getting support. Beni Omayya, who fought bitterly in vain against Isla’m, thought it was convenient for them to come into the fold. For as the saying goes: If you cannot beat them join them. Such were the people whose hearts had not experienced the reality (ima’n) though they had become Muslims.134
Some of the Muslims were, in fact, enemies of Isla’m whom the Holy Qura’n refers to as a muna’fiqeen,135 the hypocrites. The true believers are those “who surr3ender to Allah and do good deeds;136 and seek His help through patince and prayer with a firm belief that they shall meet their Lord; and that they shall return to Him;137 they sacrifice their lives, their wealth and every thing for love of their Lord;138 they feel peace of mind in rememberance of Allah;139 and they obey the Lord, His Messenger and his descendant in authority, the Ima’m of the Age.”140 Such are the momineen, the true believers, who love the Holy Pro[het and his Ahl-Bait. It is reported in the Masnad of Ahmed bin Hanbal and Mishka’tel-Masa’beeh that the Holy Prophet said that no one would love Ali but a momin, a true believer, and no one would hate Ali but a muna’fiq, a hypocrite.141
After the death of the Holy Prophet his as’ha’b, the companions, divided into two major groups, the traditionalists and the devotees, later known as the Sunnis and the Shi’as respectively.
The fundamental difference between them is ij’tiha’d and nass. Ij’tiha’d means: independent judgement based on qiya’s, decision by reasoning, and personal knowledge of Qura’n and Hadith. Nass means: designation of Authority by Will of God.
The Sunnis believe that the Holy Prophet was like an ordinary human being. Apart from the vahee, the divine revelation he received from Allah, his opinion or thinking was just like that of any person subject to error.142 He was not infallible. In fact this way of thinking existed among a section of his companions during his life. According to Alla’ma Shivli Noma’ni the foundation of qiya’s, in Isla’m, was laid down by Hazrat Omar.143 History confirms his view. The battle of Ohod was fought outside Medina against the wish of the Holy Prophet,144 who insisted on fighting in a fortified position by remaining inside the city but his as’ha’b opposed.
When he signed a peace agreement, known as the Pact of Hudaybiyah, with the Meccans one of his lieutenants spoke openly against the judgement of the Holy Prophet in an insulting manner.145
A day before his death the Holy Prophet demanded, from his sick-bed, a pjaper and a pen to dictate something which would save the Muslims from going astray. Hazrat Omar dismissed the idea by saying that the sick was out of his sense.146
About a month before his death the Holy Prophet prepared an army to invade Syria and Palestine to avenge the murder of Zaid bin Ha’rith. He appointed a teenager, Usa’mah bin Zaid, as its commander and ordered all his companions, including Abu Bakr, Omar, Abu Obaidah, to join. He kept Ali and uncle Abba’s with him in Medina. On the sixth of Safar, 11 A.H. he led the army outside the dity and handed over the command to Usa’mah with an order to reach Syria faster than the news of their arrival reaches there.
Some of his best companions objected to Usa’mah’s appointment and delayed the departure.147 Two days later he fell sick. The army returned into the city. When he learnt about their disregard of his orders he came out of his sick bed and ordered them again to proceed to their mission immediately. They did not obey. Their excuse was the illness of the Master.
This was their ij’tiha’d.
Hundreds of such instances occured, during and after the life of the Holy jprophet, which led the traditionalists to
practice ij’tiha’d to that extent that by the time their great jurist Ima’m Abu Hani’fa died (150 A.H.) the whole of shari’at depended on qiya’s, and the people practised “taqleed bila kayf”, meaning: to follow the conclusion of preceding generation without question.
Five centuries later Taqi el-Di’n bin Taymia (661-727 A.H.) boldly declared that the classical doctrine of “taqleed bila kayf” was wrong. He said that the consensus of ij’tiha’d led to the closing of the doors of ij’tiha’d.
Contrary to the followers of Sunna the Shi’as observed strict obedience to the Holy Prophet and the Holy Ima’ms after him according to the nass. They say that the Holy Prophet was appointed by Allah. He did not speak of his own desire except what Allah inspired him.148 Therefore he did not make any mistake. Allah says: “We sent not a messenger, but to be obeyed, in accordance with the Will of Allah.”149 In the next verse Allah clearly mentions that anyone who does not accept the judgement and decision of the Holy Prophet, has no faith. The Prophets and the Ima’ms are appointed by Allah, there is no question of electing them. They are holy and infallible.150 They must be obeyed in every respect, in all worldly and religious matters.
The Holy Prophet made the nass in favout of Ali according to the Will of Allah. Ali was the Ima’me’Zama’n, mansoos min Allah.
Seventy-two days before his death the Holy Prophet proclaimed Ali’s Ima’mat at Ghadi’r-e’-Khom before a gathering of over a hundred thousand men and women including all his closest companions.
Those who believed in the Will of God followed Ali devotedly after the Holy Prophet, and his descendants, generation after generation. Though the principle of Ima’mat is common among the Shi’as they divided and sub-divided in different groups forgetting the fundamental belief of ever-living guide, the Ima’m of the Age. The world would perish without an Ima’m, mansoos min Allah.
In the first half of the second century of Isla’m controversies based on false reasoning developed in the field of
theological studies-particularly among the Mutazilites and the Asharites-extinguished the flame of spiritual life. Those who yearned for a natural and direct approach towards religion turned to mysticism as an antidote to over-intellectualism. Su’fism, and much more Isma’ilism, attracted to its fold all those who were dissatisfied with formal and static aspects of the external law-the shari’at.
Mu’lla Ja’mi has quoted Al-Qashairi to have said that after the death of the Holy Prophet “the most excellent of the Muslims were not at the time distinguished by any distinctive name save in regard to their companionship with the Prophet, seeing that there existed no greater distinction than this; wherefore they were called “the Companions” (As’ha’b). And when those of the second of the second period came in contact with them, such of these as had held conversation with the Companions were named the “Followers” (Ta’b’een), a title which they regarded as the noblest. Then those who succeeded them were called “Followers of the Followers” (Taba-Ta’b’een). Thereafter men differed and diverse degrees became distinguished, and the elect of mankind, who were vehemently concerned with matters of religion, were called “Ascetics” (Zu’ha’d) and “Devotees” (Iba’d). Then heresies arose, and there ensued disputes between the different sects, each one claiming to possess “Ascetics”, and the elect of the people of the Sunna (the Sunnites), whose souls were set on God, and who guarded their hearts from the disasters of heedlessness, became known by the name of Su’fis; and this name became generally applied to these great men, a little before the end of the second century of the Flight (A.D. 815-816).”151
True Isla’mic musticism has its fountainhead in the Ascension (Me’raj) of the Holy Prophet and in the meditative exercises of Mowla Ali. It leads neither to asceticism nor to secularism, for it encourages both a rationally controlled participation in the life around us and an ultimate sense of commitment to God. The ideals of mysticism, such as love of God, tolerance and belief in an egalitarian society, to which the Sufis are wedded, flow from the basic teaching of Isla’m.
Tasawwuf (Su’fism) was not a new idea in Isla’m, however, the word was used later in the sense of asceticism or mysticism. Even before Isla’m mystics formed their various groups among the Christians and the Jews. “The Essenes were a body of pre-Christian Jews who lived a monastic life…….There were individuals and brotherhoods known as Essenes and were distinguished by characteristics such as the community of property, the practice of charity and the pursuit of virtue.”152 Jesus had connections with the Essenes Brotherhood.153 The Holy
Qura’n describes the story of As’ha’be’kahf in these words: “Some young men renounced their worldly pleasures and took refuge in a cave. They prayed to Allah: Our Lord! Give us mercy from Thy presence, and shape for us right conduct in our plight.”154 The greatest mystics during Prophet Mohammed’s time were Salma’n el-Fa’rsi, Abu Zar Ghifa’ri, Owais Qarni, Tami’m Da’ri, Bila’l bin Riya’h and many others. Salma’n el-Fa’rsi used to wear soollen clothes during the summer to promote self control.155
Tasawwuf is taught in the Holy Qura’n. It is a way of higher spiritual thinking and understanding. According to the Holy Qura’n life in this world is only a play.156 A mustic understands this and keeps away from material temptation. He lives like an ordinary human being but his worldly duties and engagements do not make him forget hi Lord.157 He seeks friendship of Allah alone158 and strives with his wealth and his life for His pleasure.159 Gradually his whole life-and everything in life-takes the colour of his Beloved.160 He feels the presence of his Beloved Who is nearer to him than his jugular vein.161 Under the direct supervision of his mu’rshid (teacher) he develops the self and attains irfa’n (gnosis). At this stage the disciple experiences the absolute love of God. Absolute beauty and goodness belong exclusively to Him. He is the Only True Being, Pure Being, and whatever exists other than Him-ma’siva’ullah-is the reflection of His Will. He is the Real Beloved, the Eternal Darling. The lover lives in ecstasy, longing to unite with the Beloved, the stage of fana’-fi’llah.
In another verse the Holy Qura’n describes the ten stages of ima’n, faith, in a person162 (or the ten categories of the believers):
1–The MUSLIMEEN, who enter the faith. This is to accept the faith. Mere acceptance of faith is not the true belief, as the Holy Qura’n itself defines the difference between a Muslim and a momin (believer) in these words: “The wandering Arabs say: We believe. Say (unto them O Mohammed): You believe not but rather say “we submit”, for the faith has not yet entered into your hearts. Yet, if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not with hold from you aught of (the reward of) your deedes. Indeed Allah is Forgiving,
Merciful.”163 This clearly shows that mere acceptance of Isla’m does not make one a true believer. But this is the first stage.
2–The MOMINEEN, who believe. Belief in God is very important in life. A believer does not get frustrated. He feels secured in protection of God. An adversity or a failure does not dishearten a believer who resigns to the Will of God. Belief is the strongest weapon against unhappiness.
3–The QA’NITEEN, who obey. Obedience follows belief. It is absolutely necessary. It is complete submission to God. The obedient thinks and acts in the way his Omni-present Lord wants him to. Obedience purifies his self.
4–The SA’DIQEEN, who speak the truth. As stated above, obedience removes all improper thinking and action out of a believer. He becomes a true servant of God. He speaks the truth and behaves truthfully.
5–The SA’BIREEN, who persevere. A momin perseveres because he knows that everything comes from his Lord. Nothing disturbs him. He carries on his duty without a slight doubt in his ima’n. He is stable and firm. Perseverance makes him patient. Perseverance is jeha’d in the way of God.
6–The KHA’SHIYEEN, who fear Allah. Fear of Allah is not like fear of a monster or a killer. A momin is afraid of displeasing his Lord because of his love. A lover would never displease his beloved. This keeps him away from doing anything wrong or sinful. Fear of Allah purifies his ba’tin (inner self).
7–The MUT’SADDIQEEN, who give alms. Here alms giving does not mean ordinary charity most of the people are doing. A momin spends everything-his wealth, his time, his physical efforts and his mental and spiritual energies in the way of God to please Him and to express his faith that nothing is greater than his Lord.
8–The SA’IMEEN, who fast. Fasting does not mean to refrain from eating food only. A momin keeps away from all vices and sins. Fasting means the renunciation of worldly pleasures for the sake of God.
9–The HA’FIZEEN, who guard their chastity. Chastity means not to do anything which is forbidden or harmful to the
body, mind and soul. Excessive indulgence in legitimate pleasures is also, to some extent, against chastity.
10–The ZA’KIREEN, who remember Allah. Rememberance of Allah is the greatest of all virtues. It keeps man in constant touch with his Creator. He does not forget God even for a moment. Remembering Him is seeing Him. It is a proof of his belief, obedience, truthfulness, perseverance, his fear of Allah, sense of sacrifices, aloofness from doing sins, chastity and love of God.
Success depends upon the devotion and goodness of the believer’s deeds. Evil is illusion. Its cure is to get rid of ignorance. All sorrows and pain have their root in the Self, and Self is an illusion. The lower Self is of the lower intelligence attached to sensual pleasures and needs. The Holy Qura’n describes it as nafse’-amma’ra. Escape from Self is necessary in search of Truth. Truth is God. The following Hadithe’ Qud’siya has greatly inspired the mystics: The Holy Prophet said “God told David: I was a Hidden Treasure, and I wished to be known, so I created that I might be known.”164
Isma’ilism teaches tasawwuf. The centre of obedience is Hazar Ima’m. Absolute obedience, in thought and action, is necessary. It purifies the Self. In this way the iman (faith) is increased and love of God is developed. While certain Su’fi Orders discourage worldly possessions and progress, Isma’ilism encourages spiritual development side by side with the progress in the affairs of worldly life such as science, technology, arts, economics, philosophy, domestic and social matters. The life of the Holy Prophet is the best example to understand the Isma’ili point of view. He was the greatest of all mystics and lovers of God. He was simple and divine yet he lived like an ordinary man. He had to even fight against the enemies of Isla’m whenever it was necessary. His teaching turned the wild nomads of Arabia to a most disciplined and progressive community who later conquered a large part of the world in a short time and taught science and arts to the European nations.
Though Isma’ilism became famous in the second century of Isla’mic era, it was neither a new religion nor a heretic off-shoot of Isla’m as ghulla’t or mala’hidah. It is Isla’m fundamentally. Under the guidance of their Holy Ima’ms, the true successors of the Holy Prophet, the Isma’ilis have not only kept the real spirit of the faith but also fought successfully against the racial and heretic agitations in Isla’m. It has provided a satisfactory way for the eternal quest of the human soul to have direct experience of the Ultimate Reality.
Isma’ili fith helps man to understand the Truth and to enable him to enjoy the deep feeling of knowing the purpose of the creation, and to develop materially as well as spiritually.
There is a perpetual struggle between khayr (righteousness, virtue) and sharr (evil, wrongfulness). Sharr can never defeat khayr. Sharr is wrong and khayr is right, though sometimes the wrong appears as right but shows its true colour under strain. Man’s entire life is involved in the struggle of right and wrong,165 the clarity of mind and the confusion. That is the reason why he needs constant guidance.
Unlike other creatures who have inborn tendency to behave, known as instinct, man has freewill. The most wonderful creation of God on earth is the human mind. Mind is universe itself. It is a vehicle to explore beyond the extremes of material llife. Man has a soul which is more important than his body. Mind acts as a link between the two. Isma’ilism, therefore, places more emphasis on developing the sjpiritual aspect of life without ignoring the physical needs.
Man was not born on his own accord and death is also not his own choice. Then why was he born? What is the purpose of his existence?166 Why is there a difference between day and night?167 Why are there different colours of skin in mankind?168 There are thousands of such questions which have hidden meanings. A fool may ignore them but for the wise there is food for thought. Allah revealed to Prophet Mohammed some verses of the Holy Qura’n in clear language and some in allegory169 which are known only to the Holy PJrophet and his descendants, the Holy Ima’ms. It is only through Ha’zar Ima’m that we can acquire the inner knowledge of the right knowledge. For this reaon the Isma’ilis are known as the Ba’tineen or Ba’tiniya.
Man’s ba’tin170 is richer than his za’hir.171 Ba’tin is developed with the help of za’hir. Za’hir reflects Ba’tin. Za’hir is limited and short lived; ba’tin, if developed rightly, is limitless and eternal. Those who understand and develop their ba’tin live happier in this world and in the hereafter.172 Isma’ilism guides the intelligent and helps to solve the mysteries of life and death, the hereafter, the spirit, the
soul and the universe.
The knowledge, or training, about religion is divided into four stages each stage has various sub-stages. These are:
1–The shari’at. It is the law of conduct which is all za’hir. It regulates the deeds and behaviour of the follower.
2–The tari’qat. It is the system, the discipline, which is a mixture of za’hir and ba’tin. The system improves the innerself through meditation and righteousness.
3–The haqi’qat. This is the stage of mysticism, the understanding of reallity, the truth. It is all ba’tin. The system creates love and understanding of God.
4–The ma’rifat. It is gnosis. It is higher ba’tin. This is the stage of enlightenment and experience of the Divine Light.
Ima’m Ja’fer es-Sa’diq gave a simile of a rose-plant when explaining the four stages: The roots are the ima’n (belief), the branches and the leaves are the shari’at, the bulbs and the buds are the tari’qat, the blooming flowers are the haqi’qat and their beauty and fragrance are the ma’rifat.
Without the roots no plant can exist. Similarly without ima’n, belief in God, the human spjirit dries out. To an atheist God does not exist but his denial about Him is not a proof of His non-existance. He himself has cut off the main supply that is why there is no light in him. Unhealthy roots cannot grow a healthy plant. Just as roots get their nourishment from inside the earth, the faith of a person is nourished from inside him. This regulates his thoughts and behaviour, just as strong and healthy roots produce strong and healthy stem, branches and leaves of a plant. Good thoughts and deeds lift up the spjirit and grow the mind to the budding stage developing ultimately to ablooming flower full of beauty and fragrance. This is gnosis-the stage of the saints and lovers of God.
As stated above Isma’ili faith helps man to understand the Truth and to enable him to enjoy the deep feeling of knowing the purpose of creation and to develop materially as well as spiritually.
“Our Lord! Give unto us in the world that which is good and in the Hereafter htat which is good, and guard us from the doom of Fire.”173
Da’wat, propagation of faith, is the most important factor for the existence and benefit of the jama’t. Allah has commanded: “Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation and argue with them in the best manner.”174 All the Prophets, and the Ima’ms, have been working as the best propagators of the Religion of God. Nothing could prevent them from discharging such a duty.
Da’wat by the Holy Prophet
Holy Prophet Mohammed was commanded to organize a group of men175 for the propagation of the holy faith. He was also instructed to “argue not with the people of the Scripture; unless it is in the best manner, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender.”176 He organized his ministry and raised a force of volunteer da’is (missionaries) and ma’allims (teachers) among men and women who preached and taught Isla’m.
As soon as the physical opposition against Isla’m subsided after the fall of Mecca, the Arabs embraced Isla’m in large numbers. They were attracted to the wonderful organization of Isla’mic jama’t previously unknown to them. Emphasis was placed on learning as it was the most effective means of propagation. A better way of life and co-operation among the Muslims attracted the starving Beni Asad to Isla’m. Tolerance of the Holy Prophet and Ahl-Bait was another means of propagation. A Jewess used to throw dust over the head of the Holy Prophet whenever he passed through the street under the window of her house. He never protested. But one day when she fell sick he went to see her and prayed for her recovery. This moved her so much that her eyes were filled with tears. She became a muslim.
An Abyssinian deputation of twenty Christians arrived in Mecca to investigate about the new religion, Isla’m. The Holy Prophet recited to them some passages from the Holy Qura’n. They were immensely impressed. Tears flowed down their cheeks. All of them embraced Isla’m immediately.177 Isla’m has spread not by sword, as alleged by some ill-informed writers, but through tolerance, benevolence, brotherhood, equality and of course by the charm of its simplicity. Its teachin appeals to reason.
The condition in Arabia and the surrounding countries, before the advent of Isla’m, was ripe for acceptance of a reformer. But the opposition from the most powerful tribe Quraish, led by Beni Omayya, prevented the people from embracing Isla’m in the beginning. When the Holy Prophet emerged victorious against his enemies the people became Muslims in large numbers.
Though Isla’m spread like fire in a jungle the standard and quality of ima’n (faith) dropped gradually. Most of the people embraced Isla’m not with genuine conviction but because there was no other choice, e.g.: Beni Asad and Beni Omayya. Most of the Muslims who embraced Isla’m before the conquest of Mecca were sincere and earnest. Things were different with those who embraced Isla’m after that. Even the Holy Qura’n has praised those who were the first to accept Isla’m, and the hypocrites have been condemned, some of whom even the Holy Prophet did not know.178 Under these circumstances after the death of the Holy Prophet our Holy Ima’ms had to face the difficult task of not only the propagation of Isla’m but also of preserving its true spirit and of protecting it from deterioration and obliteration.
When Abu Bakr assumed the Caliphate, without first consulting Beni Ha’shem, Abu Sufiya’n offered Ali his full support to overthrow Abu Bakr. Ali rejected the offer vehemently. He knew that if he accepted such a plan, Isla’m would be ruined from within. Sacrificing his own claim Mowla Ali supported the Caliphate of Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Omar and Hazrat Osma’n to save the holy faith of Isla’m. Previously he had saved it by fighting the wars against the enemies of Isla’m, now he saved it by not fighting for his rights. It was all for the integrity and the propagation of Isla’m. His stand against the Kha’riji’s and the Omayyads was again for the defence of Isla’m. This was a way of his propagation of the holy faith at that time besides his numerous speeches, writings and sending
missionaries to various parts of Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Ghaur and India.179 His son Hazrat Pi’r Hasan was his Hujjat who led many religious missions to various parts of the Caliphate.
Ima’m Husain’s martyrdom at Kerbala was his best and most courageous way of saving Isla’m. The incident shook the whole Isla’mic world and prompted support and sympathy for the Ahl-Bait and the holy faith.
Ima’m Zainul A’bedin, Ima’m Mohammed Ba’qir and Ima’m Ja’fer es-Sa’diq remained aloof from political life but estabilshed various educational centres. Thousands of Muslim and non-Muslim intellectuals and learned shaikhs attended the religious seminars in these centres. Isla’m spread to north-west India (Pakistan) in the east and to Morocco in the west. The socio-economic contacts between the Muslims and the non-Muslims brought benefits as well as problems. The alien culture and Greek philosophy confused many. Consequently a strong wave of atheism engulfed the Muslim society. Abu Sha’kr Disa’ni, Ja’da bin Dirham, Abu Abdullah, Abdul Malik, Omar bin Obaid and Abu Auja were the famous atheists of that period who were later enlightened by Ima’m Sa’diq.180
Some new sects of Isla’m like Kaisa’niya, Khatta’biya, Jab’riya, Qadriya, Motazilla and Murjiya emerged out of the confusion about the interpretation of the Law-shari’at. Contrary to the atheist propaganda in disguise of logic and philosophy, our Holy Ima’ms effectively arranged seminars to teach religious philosophy. Hundreds of fayl’su’f (philosophers) who were later known as the Su’fis (mystics) were inspired by the teaching and preaching of the Holy Ima’ms. Some of the famous Su’fis of that time were Su’fiya’n Thawri (d. 777 A.D.), Abu Ha’shem (d. 778 A.D.), Ibra’him bin Adham (d. 777 A.D.), Hasan Basri (d. 728 A.D.), Ra’bia Basri (d. 753 A.D.) and Da’ood Karkhi (d. 815 A.D.).181
Later, the Su’fis differed greatly from each other. They passed through many grades and a long course of meditation, and voluntary suffering under various pi’rs, murshids and shaikhs.
The great Sunni Ima’ms and jurists like Abu Hani’fa (d. 767 A.D.), Abu Abdullah Ma’lik (d. 795 A.D.) and Muhaddith Makka were among the students of our Ima’m Ba’qir and Ima’m Sa’diq.182
During the Ima’mat of Ima’m Sa’diq two Isma’ili da’i’s, Mu’sa bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Abdullah Mahz, were sent to Sind, now Pakistan, where the former remained for a long time
but the latter was murdered.183 They had converted thousands of people to Isma’ilism in the provinces of Thata in Sind and Multan in the Punjab.184 Two other da’is, Suriya’ni and Halwa’ni, were sent to Syria before the arrival of Ima’m Isma’il in Salamiya.185
After the death of Ima’m sa’diq the centre of Isma’ili da’wat shifted from Medina to Salamiya where Ima’m Isma’il, Ima’m Mohammed, Ima’m Wafi, Ima’m Taqi and Ima’m Razi lived secretly. Their movements and identity were closely guarded by the trusted da’is because of the Abbasid enemies. The reason for the secrecy was to safeguard the security of the holy faith and the lives of the Isma’ilis. The Ima’ms could have easily gone out of reach of the enemy but the important question was da’wat and the safety of the jama’ts living under the Abbasids. For the sake of the lives of the Isma’ilis, therefore, the Ima’ms practised, and ordered the followers to practise taqiyya, the concealment of one’s identity and religious beliefs. “By taqiya”, writes J.N. Hollister, “the Shias have preserved themselves in many an adverse or dangerus situation.”186 In this religious disguise of taqiyya the Isma’ili faith spread in Iraq, Sind Yemen, Turkey, Morocco and Algeria.
Hollister writes: “All the evidence suggests that Ja’far himself was not a “fundamentalist” but a progressive who contributed much of both to Isma’ilism and to Ithna Asharism. The Imams of this latter group remaining as they did under strict surveillance of the Abbasid Khulafa had perforce to stress caution and moderation. The Isma’iliya, driven to the wilds for safety, continued through concealment and taqiya to maintain a freedom, which together with a mental freshness in its converts, encouraged speculation in gnostic and mystical philosphies, in a world thrown open to new intellectual forces. When it succeeded in the establishment of its own Fatimid State, it was able in safety to develop its doctrines and create its literature.”187
Isma’ilism is not Su’fism in its general term but is very close to Tasawwfuf in its teaching and preaching. To distinguish themselves from other Su’fi or Dervish Orders the Isma’ilis adopted the name of Ba’tineen, or Ba’tiniya, the esoterics. The esoterical interpretation of the Holy Qura’n and understanding of the secrets of the Self (higher Self-nafs mutma’ina) appeared during the time of Ima’m Ba’qir and especially during Ima’m Sa’diq’s Ima’mat. “Da’is of Jafar Sadiw”, writes Mujtaba ali,
“had spread the propaganda of the Ba’tiniya in Maghrib.”188 The Isma’ilis harmonized philosoph with mysticism and reconciled science and religion to meet the challenge of the Greek philosoph and prevailing atheism.
Calip al-Ma’moon advocated the dogma of Khal’qu’Qura’n that is the Qura’n is created. Isma’ilis during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Wafi, wrote fifty-one encyclopaedic volumes, known as Rasa’ile Ikhwanus Safa,189 exploring almost all the practical and philosophical subjects. The teachings of Ikhwanus Safa were carried to the West by a Spanish Arab of Nadrid, Muslim bin Muhammad Abu-Qa’sim al-Majriti al-Andalu’si who died in 1004-5. Thanks to them, and later to the great Moorish philosopher Ibn Rushd (Averoes), Spain became a centre of philosophical learning, from which during the Middle Ages, Europe derived such light as it possessed on these great questions. “The strife between Nomanalism and Realism”, says Dieterici, “which for centuries stirred the learned world is a product of this development, and had already, during the ninth and tenth centuries, set in motion all the minds of the East.”190
A famous da’i Abu Sha’kir May’moon al-Qadah, a descendant of Salma’n el-Fa’rsi, was specially trained and prepared, for da’wat, by Ima’m Ba’qir. The Holy Ima’m bought hin as a slave and gave him to his heir, Ima’m Sa’diq. He was later freed but remained devoted to his Masters, and served them for more than fifty years. Ima’m Sa’diq promoted him to the highest rank of Da’i-el-Akber and appointed him as the principal of the training college for da’is at Asker Mukarram. Later, he was sent to Salamiya to assist Ima’m Isma’il where May’moon died. His son Abdullah was appointed by Ima’m Isma’il as the chief da’i in place of his late father.
Abdullah bin May’moon al-Qadah introduced a new system of da’wat with the consent of Ima’m Mohammed bin Isma’il. He arranged mija’las al-hikmah191 intellectual meetings. The regular members of such mija’las were called auliya,192 the friends. These mija’las were actually religious classes for different people to suite their education and religious zeal. He established the system of rank and protocol as under.193
Ima’m Hujjatul Ima’m (Pi’r) Da’i’-ul-Du’a’t (Ba’b
Ultimately he rose to the rank of Ba’b.
Ima’m Razi, the tenth Isma’ili Ima’m, sent da’i Abu Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Zakaria al-Shii to Morocco for da’wat. In a short time he converted the tribes of Berber and Beni Kita’ma who supported him to establish Isma’ili rule over the vast terrritories of al-Maghrib, the north west Africa. In those days the soldier-missionaries worked wonderfully well for the propagation of their faith. Da’is Abu Abdullah, Abul Hasan, Abul Abba’s, Abu Mohammed al-Ku’fi, Abu Ghafeer, Abu Salma, Ahmed bin al-Musli, Abul Qa’sim Mohammed wre the strong men in the Mission.194
A university and a library were established by Ima’m Mehdi in Qairwa’n which are still serving the Morocans. The beautiful structure of the buildings, including a mosque on the campus, are an evidence of the high taste of Isma’ilis in design and architecture and their love for education. Wherever they have gone either as conquerers or settlers they have built educational institutions along with their religious centres.
Within a few decades Isma’ilism spread throughout north Africa. The centre of da’wat shifted from Aqirwa’n to Cairo. It was re-arranged and re-organized. One of the oldest educational establishments, Al-Azhar, was founded by Ima’m Mo’izz. It was later completed and redeveloped in the reign of Ima’m Aza’z under the supervision of Ya’qoob bin Kili’s. Another famous da’i, Ja’fer bin Mansoor al-Yemen, wrote many books and established training centres for da’is. Ima’m Mo’izz appointed him as the Ba’b. Qa’zi Noma’n, Al-Mo’yyid Shira’zi, Abdul Malik Atta’sh, Hasan bin Sabbah, Hamiduddi’n Kirma’ni, Mansoor bin Ja’fer al-Yemen, Abul Hasan bin Ali al-Sali’hi, Na’sir Khusrao, Abu Momin and thousands of other da’is served their Ima’ms and the holy faith with dedication.
During the Ima’mat of Ima’m Mustansir Bilah-I da’i Abdullah al-Yemen was sent to India in 460 A.H. to propagate Isma’ilism but he did not succeed much. Then the Holy Ima’m sent his
Hujjat, Pi’r Nooruddi’n Mohammed who arrived in Gujrat in 474 A.H.(A.D. 1090). He adopted the Indian name of Satgur Noor to create friendly atmosphere among the Hindus.
After the death of the Holy Ima’m da’i Abdullah al-Yemen declared his allegiance to Musta’li. Thus he became the founder of the Bohora community in India.
Pi’r Satgur Noor was about forty-nine years old when he arrived in India. Within a few months he learned the local languages, Gujrati and Devna’gri and started preaching.
Isma’ilism was not new to the Indians. As stated above da’is Mu’sa bin Abdullah Mahz and Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Abdullah Mahz were sent to Sind during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Sa’diq. Also, Ima’m Mo’izz had sent da’i Jallah bin Shiba’n to Hastana’pu’r, now Delhi, in 341 A.H. (A.D. 951). He lived in India for twenty-four years. He converted the king and thousands of Hindus to Isma’ilism.195
Pi’r Satgur Noor and his descendant Pi’rs mixed up socially with the Indians. They dressed themselves in Indian style, spoke their languages and even adopted Indian names to win their hearts. This policy proved a great success.
In the absence of Ima’m Niza’r, at the death of his father, his half-brother Musta’li usurped power with the help of his father-in-law prime minister. Ima’m Niza’r was imprisoned and his followers were persecuted. They fled to Alamut which by this time had already been established and other countries leaving behind them their property. Most of their documents and literature such as books, manuscripts, treatises came into the possession of the Musta’lians. This was a great loss of their original literature in Arabic.
The centre of Isma’ili da’wat shifted from Cairo to Alamut during the time of Ima’m Niza’r. It was during this Persian peroid of Isma’ili history, from the twentieth Ima’m Mowla’na Ha’di to the forty-sixth Ima’m Mowla’na Hasanali Shah the Aga Khan-I, that Isma’ili da’wat spread in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Burma, Malaya, Bangla Desh, Tibet, China and Russia. Millions of people in these countries were converted from among the Christians, Zoroastrians, Brahmins, Jains, Hindus and Buddhists.
Da’i Hasan bin Sabbah was not only the chief architect of the Isma’ili state of Alamut but also of its da’wat in Iran. It was his remarkable ability and staunch faith that enabled him to
successfully handle the most delicate political situation of the state, surrounded as it was by enemies. He organized as effective system of da’wat at the same time.
He was an Ithna’sheri in his youth. He met an Isma’ili da’i, Abdul Malik Atta’sh, who was on a visit to Iran. Hasan became an Isma’ili. Later, in 1078 A.D. he went to Egypt to study Isma’ilism. He was trained by da’i Atta’sh for three years and then sent back to Iran as a da’i, Hasan started hi da’wat in Dailem. In 1090 A.D. he succeeded in establishing the Isma’ili state of Alamut.
The Isma’ili da’wat at that time was known as da’wat-e-jadi’d, the new teaching, because the da’is of Musta’li in Egypt continued their da’wat in the name of Isma’ilism. According to da’wat-e-jadi’d Hasan bin Sabbah arranged the protocol of rank in this order:196
Ima’m Ha’di promoted him to the highest rank of Hujjatul A’zam. He was popularly known as Shaikh. He was also addressed as Shaikhul Jabal, Old man of the Mountain. Some of the best da’is of that time were Abul Fatah, Kiya Buzurg Umid, Hasan Ka’eeni and Rayi’s Muzaffar, who were posted in Syria, Iraq, Kuhistan and Kanis respectively.197
Hujjatul Ima’m, Pi’r Mahmood Shah bin Pi’r Satgur Noor continued the work of da’wat after his father’s death, in India, Kashmir and Afghanistan.
Isma’ili da’is were highly trained, learned and dedicated persons. They were also trained in political and military sciences. They proved able administrators. Thouands of da’is worked in different places; most of them in a hostile atmosphere. Some of them were permanently engaged in research work and translating important books of other languates. The Perisan influence was prominent in life and literature of the Isma’ilis during and after the glory of Alamut.
At the same time the Holy Pi’rs propagated Isma’ilism in India, Afghanistan and Central Asia. Pi’r Mahmood Shah, Pi’r Mohibuddi’n, Pi’r Khaliduddi’n, Pi’r Sala’muddi’n, Pi’r Sala’huddi’n, Pi’r Shamsuddi’n, Pi’r Nasee’ruddi’n, Pi’r
Pi’r Bibi Sarkak’r Ma’ta Sala’mat, Maryam Kha’toon, mother of Ima’m Hasanali Shah, came to India from Iran on a preaching mission 1829 A.D. She was earlier appointed as the Hujjatul Ima’m by the Holy Ima’m. She visited the jama’ts of Bombay, Poona and other places. During her return journey she visited the jama’ts of Guwadar and Muscat.
After the fall of Alamut, during the time of Pi’r Shamsuddi’n, the Holy PJi’rs and their descendants intensified their efforts of da’wat through preaching and writing in poetical form. This wonderful literature is known as Gina’ns. Gina’n means: aphorism, maxim, knowledge. A Gina’n is a hymn or a poem in an Indian language expressin religious teaching. Isma’ili Pi’rs used this method to propagate Isla’m. The Gina’ns are full of Isla’mic teaching.
The life of the Holy Prophet and his leadership attracted the Arabs who were divided in numerous tribes and class living an unscrupulous life. Early Isla’mic brotherhood and integrity of the Muslim society-jama’t-also attracted the Arabs and non-Arabs alike. But with the passage of time the Muslims disintegrated into various sects which reduced the influence of the central force, the Caliphate. The beginning of the disintegration occured during the time of Caliph Osma’n. After Omar no Caliph enjoyed undisputed loyalty of the Muslims except for love of pay and position. The Caliphs lived and behaved like kings instead of leading their subjects religiously.
Isma’ilism attracted those who were inquisitive about spiritual advancement. Like the Holy Prophet who was the centre of devotion and guidance, Isma’ilism offered the same centre of devotion and guidance in the person of the Ima’me Zama’n. Having the same Noor of the Holy Prophet and his blood in their veins the isma’ili ima’ms were the main source of inspiration and satisfaction for the Muslims.
When an Isma’ili da’i meets a non-Isma’ili he first tries to understand the faith of the person, and talks accordingly. The da’i creates curiosity in him and in a few meetings convinces him that the spiritual guidance is as important as ever. Gradually the da’i reveals some hidden meanings, taweel, of certain parables in the Holy Qura’n and the other Scriptures. The da’i explains that the anatomical study of human body has also some significance in understanding certain spiritual aspects of life. The candidate becomes an Isma’ili with a strong conviction and belief that there is no salvation without the recognition of the Ima’me Zama’n. The da’i must prove himself superior in knowledge and argument.
The Holy Pi’rs converted the Hindus of India through their respective creeds such as Sana’tan-dharma, Siv-dharma, Jainism, Brahaminism etc. Singing, with or without music, ahs agreaty significance in Hindus religious ceremonies. According to this tradition the holy Pi’rs and their children propagated Isma’ilism by singing the Gina’ns. The Chishtia Su’fis in India, and later in other countries, adopted the same method. They even introduced devotional dancing-another Hindu way of prayer-in their Su’fi gatherings known as mija’las-e’-samaa.
To avoid hostility and persecution a man sometimes hides his real belief. For this reason the Holy Pi’rs allowed their converts to keep their Hindu identity whre and when necessary and follow Isma’ili faith secretly. Such people were called the guptis.198 Even now there are thousands of gupti’ Isma’ilis in India and elsewhere.
After the death of Pi’r Ta’jdi’n bin Pi’r Sadruddi’n in 1471 A.D. the da’wat in India slowed down but was continued by the children of Pi’r Sadruddi’n. They served their Ima’m as his vaki’ls and da’is. A vaki’l means an agent. Ima’m Mustansir Billah-II had appointed Sayyid Noor Bakhsh bin Sayyid Auliya Ali bin Pi’r Hasan Kabi’r’di’n as his vaki’l in India.199 He was also known as Pi’r Mitha. He was the first vaki’l. The vaki’ls were appointed by the Ima’m of the time from the descendants of the Holy Pi’rs. They also were called pi’rs out of respect but they were not Hujjatul Ima’m. Their method of da’wat was preaching and singing the Gina’ns which appealed to the Hindus very much. The last vaki’l was Sayyid Mohammed Shah, a descendant of Sayyid Rehmatullah Shah bin Pi’r Hasan Kabi’r’di’n. He was popularly called as Pi’r Doola, generous pi’r. He died in 1792 A.D. in Bombay during the Ima’mat of Ima’m Shah Khali’lullah Ali.
Like Sayyidah Ba’i Budha’i, the daughter of Pi’r Hasan Kabi’rdi’n, who preached among the women of the Punjab, Sind and Gujrat, a woman da’i Sayyidah Ima’m Begum, from the same family died in 1866 A.D. in Sind. She dedicated her whole life to the service of da’wat among the women of Bombay and Kathiawar. Her Gina’ns are very famous among the Isma’ilis and some Hindu sects alike.
More than forty thusand gu’ptis in the Punjab and the Fromtier Province of India, now in Pakistan, according to the holy farma’n of Ima’m Su’lta’n Mohammed Shah. They abandoned all traces of Hinduism from their lives and mixed freely with
The latest mass conversion took place in the early 1920’s in Gujrat, India, when thousands of caste Hindus and Christians were brought into the fold of Isla’m, the Holy Satpanty, by the Isma’ili da’i’s Khu’da Bakhsh Ta’lib, Ha’ji Mohammed Fa’zal, Mohammed Mu’ra’dali and Alimohammed Da’ya.
Hundreds of Africans were converted to Isla’m under the guidance of Ima’m Su’lta’n Mohammed Shah in various parts of Africa.
Isma’ilism is now spreading to distant lands such as North America, South America, Europe and Australia. Hundreds of non-Muslims have embraced Isla’m through Isma’ilism during the last two decades.
The da’wat continues.
A jama’t is an organization of the followers of one faith. It is a system guided by certain principles and laws. The word jama’t in Arabic means an organized body of the persons with a common belief. The root of this word is jama’ which means gathering together. The Holy Prophet said, “Innallah ma’aljama’t” verily Allah is with jama’t.
The Holy Prophet organized the Muslims, socially and religiously, in such a manner that the Arabs had not known before. Many a tribe was attracted towards Isla’m by the discipline and integrity of the Muslims. Even little things had bing effects. Making of ablution before each prayer and praying regularly and punctually were the habits which regulated the lives of the wild Arabs.
There were nine mosques, including the Masjide’Nab’wi, in Medina during the time of the Holy Prophet. These mosques were built in the Muslim localities of the city where other communities were also living. A mosque, in early Isla’mic days, was the Centre of the Isla’mic organization. It was also used as a school for the young and old. The Masjide’Nab’wi, the mosque of the Holy Prophet, was the Capitol of Isla’m where all religious and social functions were held, delegations of other countries were received and the meetings to discuss the problems of the community were held.
During the Omayyad Caliphate the mosque was reduced strictly to a place of prayer and used as a platform for their propaganda. It was used more for politics than for religion. Consequently the Muslims were disintegrated. The Shi’as of Ima’m Zainul A’bedi’n and Ima’m Mohammed Ba’qir practised taqiyya. The observance of taqqiya was a part of the organization of the Shi’a jama’t to avoid the Omayyad persecution.
Keeping away from the politics, of the ruling Omayyads, Ima’m Ba’qir established in Medina an institute of learning of fiqa’h (jurisprudence), Hadith (the tradition), tafseer (the meaning of the Holy Qura’n), ta’weel (interpretation of the Holy Qura’n) etc. He appointed da’i Abul Khatta’b to organize the first movement of Ba’tini teaching.200 This was the nucleus of the future organization of the Isma’ili da’wat.
Ima’m Sa’diq made a great extension to the institute founded by his late father. He also organized educational seminars and arranged debates on popular philosophy, logic and science. He appointed da’i Abu Sha’kir May’moon al-Qada’h as the principal of the training college for da’is at Askar Mukarram. During that transitional period of the Caliphate, being transferred from the Omayyads to the Abbasids, the Shi’as built hundreds of new mosques and schools in all parts of the Isla’mic territories as well as in India.
After the death of Ima’m Sa’diq the Shi’as divided into two major groups, the Isma’ilis and the Mu’sawiya’s, now known as the Itha’sheries. The Ithna’sheries, a minority group, remained under the surveillance of the Abbasids and were persecuted. (It was only under the Safawian kings-15th and 16th centuries-who claimed their descent from their Ima’m Mu’sa Ka’zam that the Ithna’sheri faith gained its stronghold in Iran). But the Isma’ilis cleverly escaped to the remote places and secretly organized their da’wat in Salamiya.
After the death of da’i Abu Sha’kir, da’i Abdullah May’moon al-Qada’h was appointed as the chief of the training college at Askar Mukarram. He established a protocol of ranks and appointed a ma’zoon and an aamil in every village and town, where the Isma’ilis lived in a considerable number. A ma’zoon (mukhi) was a resident da’i and worked as the head of the jama’t. The aamil (kameria) of a jama’t was there to assist the ma’zoon and to teach religion.
The Isma’ilis worked vigorously towards spreading their faith. Inspite of adverse conditions everywhere they succeeded in their mission. The three-and-a-half centuries’ Isma’ili rule over North Africa and in Alamut gave them enough opportunities to develop their literature and organize communal life. They have always given preference to their religion above all other things. Their lives, and everything in their lives, revolve around their beloved Ima’m. Their devotion and love for the Ima’m are the foundation of their vigorous and lively organization. All activities, worldly or religious, come under the obedience to thier Ima’m.
When Isma’ilism was the religion of the state all the ministers and high officials, in civil and military services, were appointed from among the da’is. In most cases the appointments were made according to their religious position. The order of the ranks has been given in a previous chapter.
After the fall of Alamut the Isma’ilis remained integrated and united under the Ima’mat. Although the change of government affected their daily life they remained quite active religiously. They re-organized their da’wat and at the same time conducted the work of rehabilitation.
In India the Holy Pi’rs established dharam-sha’las (jama’t kha’nas) and organized the gat (jama’t) all over the places. In every ja’ma’t there was a mukhi (ma’zoon) and a tha’nak (a resident caretaker). A team of bhagats, dedicated preachers, under the guidance of their Holy Pi’r constantly travelled and served the jama’ts all over the country. After the death of Pi’r Ta’jdi’n the vaki’ls, appointed by the Ima’m of the time, took over the work of da’wat.
There were ra’i’s, or ra’hi’s, who collected the religious dues from each jama’t once or twice a year. The collection, with a report of the jama’ts, was taken to Iran to be presented to the Holy Ima’m. A ra’i’ could only see the Ima’m by appointment through a darga’hi, a minister in attendance. The Ima’m in turn would give his blessings to the jama’ts in a written ta’liqa sent through the ra’i’.
When Ima’m Agha Hasanali Shah came to India he appointed a vazi’r in each province of Kathiawar, Sind and the Punjab to look after the affairs of the jama’ts in their respective province. All the appointments in the jama’ts, usually for lifetime, were made by the vazi’r on behalf of the Holy Ima’m.
Mowla’na Ima’m Sulta’n Mohammed Shah reshaped the entire structure of the jama’ts organization. He appointed the Isma’ili councils in India and Africa, in 1905, to deal with the social, economic, health and educational matters of their jama’ts. The first president of the council in Bombay was Ibrahi’m Mohammed Rawji and in Zanzibar was Vazi’r Rehamatullah Hema’ni.
As stated above, the Holy Ima’me’Zama’n is the Centre of guidance and all organizations of the Isma’ilis. Theirs has always been the most organized jama’t in Isla’m. Under their Holy Ima’m, the Supreme Authority, they have following the institutions in order of precedence:
In each jama’t, no matter how small in number it is, there are two chief officers, a mukhi and a ka’meria. They are responsible for all the religious activities of the jama’t. All the jama’ts in a province, or a district, are controlled by the Provincial or the Local Council. Such a council is composed of a chairman, a general secretary, the mukhi(s), the ka’meria(s) of the chief jama’t khana(s), a member each from the Isma’ilia Association, (the department of da’wat), the Health Administration, the Educationa Department and the district jama’ts.
All Provincial Councils are under the Supreme Council of the country and all the Supreme Councils of various countries are under the Federal Council of a continent or a sub-continent. The chairmen of all the Councils, the Isma’ilia Associations, the Health Administrations and the Education Departments are automatic members of the higher council.
Like the Councils there are, on provincial and territorial levels, the Isma’ilia Associations, the Health Administrations and the Education Departments. All major appointments are made directly by the Holy Ima’m. He approves the Constitution201 of the jama’t in a country. The Constitution is drawn up in such a way as to avoid any clash with the laws of the country.
Wherever possible the Isma’ilis ahve built their nursery, primary and secondary schools, dispensaries, nursing homes, hospitals, libraries, sports clubs, building societies, community social centres, orphanages, boarding houses, widows’ houses, rest houses, schools for the backwards, cooperative societies, insurance companies, financial trusts, educational trusts etc.
No Isma’ili is a beggar in the street. Helping societies, employment bureaus, welfare societies and scores of other institutions take care of the community in all aspects of life.
The Isma’ilis have always been a law-abiding community wherever they have lived. An Isma’ili, from his birth to his death, lives in an organized way of life. Every day he starts with his prayer, before dawn, either in jama’t kha’na or at home. This prepares him mentally and spiritually to face his daily problems and solve them. He is an honest, hardworking, cooperative, generous and courteous citizen. He is an obedient child, a loving husband, an affectionate father and sincere to his relatives and friends. The same is the case with an Isma’ili woman.
The exceptions are, of course, there.
Every birth is registered in the jama’t and the baby is initiated into the holy faith. The ladies’ committee advises and guides the mother as to how to bring up her baby in the best manner. From the age of two a baby is given religious instruction according to his capacity and taught manners. he goes to the nursery school at the age of three or four and starts his education.
The Isma’ilis, as stated above, are very conscious about education. A school for the jama’t is as important as is a jama’t kha’na. They have built schools wherever and whenever it has been possible. With as few as ten students they start thier own school.
All men and women, young and old, must attend jama’t kha’na daily except in unavoidable circumstances. Important information of interest to the individuals and the jama’t as a whole is announced after prayers. All meet each other every evening. This practice has given tremendous benefit to the individuals. A good Isma’ili is never bored, never frustrated with life. On the contrary he is always happy and secure. The elders of the family and the jama’t are respected. Isma’ili Brotherhood is ever stronger than anything. All share in the happiness and sorrow of a family, be it a marriage ceremony or a funeral. No Isma’ili family is isolated unless it is so desired.
Suicide is forbidden. “We belong to Allah and unto Him we are returning” says the Holy Qura’n (2:156). Man has no right to end his life on his own accord.
Despondency is a sin. “Struggle is the meaning of life. Defeat or victory is in the hands of God but struggle is man’s duty and should be his joy” says Ima’m Sulta’n Mohmmed Shah. Legitimate pleasures of life are allowed in Islam, rather encuoraged, to avoid dejection and sadness. A momin is always cheerful.
Celibacy is unnatural and irreligious state of life, except in certain conditions. Adultery is a great sin and condemned. Marriage in Isla’m is an obligation. It is a sacred contract. According to the Holy Prophet, marriage is a half of ima’m (faith). The Arabic word for marriage is nika’h which means uniting.
Apart from a few exceptional cases an Isma’ili usually marries an Isma’ili irrespectived position or nationality. It is because the Isma’ilis are very religious-minded. A non-Isma’ili spouse, even after he or she becomes an Isma’ili, proves in most of the cases detrimental to the children’s social and religious upbringing.
Men and women have equal rights according to their position. Isma’ili women have long been emancipated. They share all walks of life with their men folk. In 1899 Ima’m Sultan Mohammed Shah had directed that if an Isma’ili had two children, a son and a daughter, and he was unable to educate both of them, then he should give education to his daughter.
The Isma’ilis practise monogamy. Divorce is not encuoraged except in a special case. The Holy Ima’m explained: “It is generally overlooked that among Isma’ilis nobody can take a second wife or divorce his first wife for a whim or…as is sometimes falsely imagined in the West…some frivolous or erratic pretext. There are usually, to our way of thinking, some very good reasons for either action. To beget children is a very proper need and desire in every marriage; if after many years of married life there is still no issue, often a wife herself longs to see her home brightened ny the presence of children with all the laughter, hope, joy and deep contentment that they bring with them. In other instances there is so profound a difference of character that a divorce is found to be the best solution for the happiness of both parties. But in every case whether a second wife is taken or a divorce is granted the various councils or (where there are no councils) the representatives of the Imam have an absolute duty to safeguard the interest of the wife; if a second wife is taken, it is a matter of seeing that full financial protection is assured to the first wife, or if there is a divorce, of seeing that there is a generous, adequate, and seemly monetary settlement.”202
Service to others, particularly in jama’t kha’na and the jama’t, is ocnsidered as a duty and taken as a source of happiness and blessing. It is never refused. All give voluntary service except where full time attendance is necessary. There
are even those who can afford to give full time free service. No service is considered humble though it is offered humbly. Devotion and love for the Ima’m induce an Isma’ili to serve the jama’t. If necessary he would, also, spend money from his pocket. It is a part of his life. In case of need he gets a material or moral assistance from the jama’t and its leaders.
Mukhis, kamerias, preachers, teachers, officers of the jama’t and elderly persons are duly respected. To care for aged parents is an obligation and considered an act of highest virute.
All vices, inlcuding drinking, smoking, gambling, drug addiction, perfidy and promiscuity are condemned. Eating pork and intoxicants are strictly prohibited.
A strong emphasis is made on a plain and simple clean living.
Isma’ilis are living in most of the cuntries in the world. In many countries, sometimes, they are known differently. For example: in India they are popularly known as Khojas, in the Punjab they are known as Shamsies and in Central Asia they are called Mowla’is.
Innumerable Isma’ilis are still practising taqiyya in many places due to one reason or the other. In many countries, such as in Central Asia, they move from highland to lowland according to seasons and cultivate land and raise livestock accordingly. In these circumstances it is impossible to ascertain their exact, or near exact, population. However, according to the Holy Ima’m, their population in the world is between twenty-three millions and twenty-four millions. They are living in the following countries:
Abu Dhabi, Afghanistan (mostly in Wakhan and Badakhshan), Argentina, Bangla Desh, Barbados, Burma, Burundi, Canada, China (mostly in Chinese Turkistan, Shan, Sinkiang, Raskam, Western Mongolia etc.), Chitral, Comoro, Ceylon, Denmark, Dubai, FRance, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, Hunza, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Ivory Coast, Kashmir, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malagasy, Malaya, Muscat, Mozambique, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, (mostly in Azervaijan, Badakhshan, Caucasia, Kazakhastan, Kirghistan, Pamir, Tajikistan, Ural, Uzbikistan etc.), Rwanda, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tanzania, Trinidad, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Zaire, Zambia.
Apart from the countries mentioned above they are scattered in many other countries in a very small number.
Aa’ina-e’-Haqiqat Numa (U)–Sayyid Akber Shah Al-Fa’rooq (U)–Alla’ma Shibli Noma’ni Al-Fitinatul Kubra (A)–DR. Ta’h Husain Aga Khan and his Ancestors, The (E)–Naoroji M. Dumasia Alamut and Lamasar (E)–W. Ivanow Al-Kafi (P)–Mohammed bin Yapqoob Kulaini A literary history of Persia (E)–E.G. Browne A short history of the Saracens (E)–Sayyid Amir Ali A short history of the Fatimid Khilafate (E)–De Lacy O’Leary Assassins, The (E)–Bernard Lewis Auliya-e’-Lahore (U)–Mohammed Wa’ris Ka’mil Auliya-e’-Multan (U)–Aula’d Ali Gila’ni
Beni Omayya aur Isla’m (U)–Mohammed Ba’qir Beni Omayya aur unki jang Isla’m se’ (U)–Dr. Noori Ja’fer
Chawda Sita’re’ (U)–Sayyid Najmul Hassan Caliphate, The (E)–Sir W. Muir
Da’imul Isla’m (A)–Qazi Noma’n Development of Muslim Theology, Jurisprudence and Constitutional Theory (E)–D.B. Mecdonald
Encyclopaedia Britannica (E)
Fa’timi Da’wate’ Isla’m (U)–Khwa’ja Hasan Niza’mi
Gina’ns (G)–Pi’r Satgur Noor Gina’ns (G)–Pi’r Shams Gina’ns (G)–Pi’r Saddruddi’n Gina’ns (G)–Pi’r Hasan Kabi’rdi’n Gina’ns (G)–Pi’r Sayyid Ima’m Shah Gulza’re’ Dawoodi (U)–Shaikh Abdul Hussein
Holy Qura’n (E)–Tr. A. Yusuf Ali –Tr. M.M. Pickthall –Tr. Mir Ahmed Ali Holy Bible (E) Hadith (A & U)–Bukha’ri –Mishka’t –Muslim Hadith-e’-Thaqlain (A & U)–Mirza Mohammed Ja’fer Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Ta’lib (U)–Arma’n Sarhadi History of the Arabs (E)–P.K. Hitti History of the Isma’ilis (E)–A.J. Pickley Huliyatul Auliya (A)–Hafiz Abu Na’eem
Ima’m Ja’fer Sadiq (U)–Rayis Ahmed Ja’feri Isma’ili Mazhab aur uski haqi’qat (U)–DR. Za’hid Ali Israrul Aa’ima (U)–Salim bin Qais Hilali Izha’re Haqiqat (U)–Sayyid Salim Warasi
Ja’me ut Tawa’ri’kh (P)–Rashi’duddi’n Jesus in Heaven on earth (E)–Khwa’ja Kama’luddi’n
Kala’me’ Ima’me’ Mobin (G)–Ima’m Sultan Mohammed Shah
Life of Mohammed (E)–Sir W. Muir
Mansamjha’ni (Kh)–Pi’r Shams Ma’riful Qura’n (U)–Parwaiz Mausame’ Bahaar (G)–Mohammedali Jiwa’bhai Maza’hibul Isla’m (U)–Mohammed Najmul Ghani Memoirs of Aga Khan (E)–The Aga Khan Mohammed in Mecca (E)–M. Watt Mohammed in Medina (E)–M. Watt Muna’qibe’ Murtazawi (P)– Muna’qibe’ Aale’ Abi Ta’lib (U)–Mohammed bin Ali Shahr A’shoob Murawajul Zahab (A)–Alla’ma Masoodi Mustadarak Ha’kem (A & U)–
Naf’ha’tul Uns (P)–Mulla Ja’mi Noorum Mobi’n (G)–A.J. Chunara
Omawi daure’ Khila’fat (U)–Mohammed Baqie Origin of Druze People, The (E)–P.K. Hitti Origin of Ismailism, The (E)–Bernard Lewis
Polemics on the origin of the Fatimi Caliphs (E)–Prince Mamour Preaching of Islam (E)–T.W. Arnold
Rasa’ile’ Ikhwa’nus Safa (A & E) Rasa’ile’ Ja’hez (U)–Allama Ja’hez Rauda tus Safa (P)–Mir Khond Ri’a’zul Ansab (P)–Agha Mirza Mohammed Rise of the Fatimids (E)–W. Ivanow Religion of Islam (E)–Maulvi Mohammed Ali
Safar Na’ma (P)–Na’ser Khusrao Satwarni (Kh)–Sayyid Mohammed Shah Sayyidul Ausiya (U)–A’rif Hussein Si’r’tun Nabi (U)–Alla’ma Shibli Noma’ni Shi’a of India, The (E)–J.N. Hollister Shi’it Creed, The (E)– Shi’ite Religion, The (E)–D.M. Donaldson Spirit of Islam, The (E)–Sayyid Ameer Ali Su’fiya-e’-Sind (U)–Eja’zul Haqq Swa’neh umari Ima’m Ja’fer Sa’diq (U)–Sayyid Zafer Hasan
Tadhkiratul Auliya (P)–Shaikh Fari’duddi’n Atta’r Tadhkiratus Sa’dat (P)– Ta’ri’khe’ Bawa’hir (U)–Mohammed Najmul Ghani Ta’ri’khe’ Daulate’ Fa’timi’ya (U)–Rayi’s Ahmed Ja’feri Ta’ri’khe Fairishta (U)–Tr. R.A. Ja’feri Ta’ri’khe’ Fa’timeene’ Misr (U)–Dr. Za’hid Ali Ta’ri’khe’ Gulza’re Shams Tabriz (U)–Sayyid Mulak Shah Ta’ri’khe’ Ibn Khaldoon (U)–Tr. Hakeem Ahmed Hussein Ta’ri’khe’ Khulafa (U)–Tr. Muna’zar Ahsan Gila’ni Ta’ri’khe’ Tabari (U)–Tr. Mohammed Ibrahi’m Twa’ri’khe’ Pi’r (G)–Sadruddi’n Dargha’hwa’la
Wa’kiya-e’-Ghadi’r (G & U)–Abualy A. Aziz
Zahoore’ Haqq (G)–Abualy A. Aziz
A–Arabic; E–English; G–Gujrati; Kh–Khojki; P–Persian; U–Urdu
GENEOLOGY OF THE HOLY PI’RS
Mowla Ali 1-Nabi Mohammed Mustafa
: (last prophet)
Ima'm Husain 2-Pi'r Hazrat Hasan
: 3-Pi'r Qa'si bin Hasan
5-Pi'r Ima'm Zainul A'bedi'n 4-Pi'r Ja'fer bin Husain
Ima'm Mohammed Ba'qir
6-Pi'r Ami'r Ahmed (Ima'm Ja'fer es-Sa'diq)
7-Pi'r Nooruddi'n (Ima'm Mohammed bin Isma'il)
Ima'm uafi Ahmed 8-Pi'r Ima'muddi'n
: 9-Pi'r Mohammed Mansoor
: 10-Pi'r Gha'libuddi'n
: 11-Pi'r Abdul Majid
: 12-Pi'r Mustansir Billah
: 13-Pi'r Ahmed Ha'di
: 14-Pi'r Ha'shem Shah
: 15-Pi'r Mohammed Nooruddi'n
: (Satgur Noor)
: 16-Pi'r Mahmood Shah
: 17-Pi'r Mohibbuddi'n
: 18-Pi'r Kha'liduddi'n
: 19-Pi'r Abdul Mu'omin
: 20-Pi'r Salaamuddi'n
: 21-Pi'r Soleh'di'n
: 22-Pi'r Sala'huddi'n
: 23-Pi'r Shamsuddi'n
: 24-Pi'r Naseeruddi'n
: 25-Pi'r Sa'hib'di'n
: 26-Pi'r Sadruddi'n
: ...27-Pi'r Hasan Kabi'r'di'n
: 28-Pi'r Ta'jdi'n
29 Ima'm Mustansir Billah-II (Pi'r Pandi'ya'te' Jawa'n mardi)
Ima'm Abd Salaam 30-Pi'r Haider Ali
: 31-Pi'r Ala'uddi'n
: 32-Pi'r Qa'sim Shah
: 33-Pi'r Naseer Mohammed
: 34-Pi'r Ba'ba Ha'shem Shah
: 35-Pi'r Mohammed Zama'n
: 36-Pi'r Agha Azi'z
: 37-Pi'r Mehra'b Baig
40-Pi'r Ima'm Hasan Ali 38-Pi'r Ali Asghar Baig
41-Pi'r Ima'm Qa'sim Ali 39-Pi'r Ali Asghar Baig
42-Pi'r Ima'm Abu Hasanali 43-Pi'r Mohammed Ba'qir
Ima'm Khali'lullah Ali 44-Pi'r Sarkar Ma'ta :
45-Pi'r Ima'm Shah Hasanali
46-Pi'r Ima'm Shah Ali Shah
49-Pi'r Ima'm Sulta'n Mohammed Shah 47-Pi'r Shah Khali'lullah
: 48-Pi'r Abul Hasan Shah
50-Pi'r Ima'm Shah Kari'm ________________________________
Note: Nos. 5, 6, 7, 29, 40, 41, 42, 45, 46, 49, and 50 are the names of the Ima'ms who were also the Pi'r.
Ismaili Imams History
- Religion of My Ancestors By His Highness Prince Sultan Mahomad Shah Aga Khan III
- History of the Ismaili Imams Tarikh-e Imamat By Al-Waez Alijah Hasan Husayn Nazar Ali
- Chapter II – Syria and Imamat 14
Chapter III – N.W. Africa and Imamat 21
Chapter IV – Egypt and Imamat 26
Chapter V – Alamut and Imamat 67
Chapter VI – Persia and lmamat 67
Chapter VII – Indo-Pak and lmamat 74
Chapter VIII – Mowlana Shah Karim Al-Husayni Aga Khan IV 86
- A Brief History of Ismailism – By Abualy A.Aziz
- Aga Khan Mowlana Hazar Imam’s 79th Birthday Salgirah 2015
- New Moon on Friday – Shukarwari Beej
- His Highness the Aga Khan Speech at the International New York Times Athens Democracy Forum
- Eid ul Fitr — July 2015
- Imamat Day July 11, 2015 – 58 Years! Mashallah!
- Layla tul Qadr — Islam’s Birthday Anniversary
- Ramadan Kareem Mubarak!
- His Highness the Aga Khan Speech at the Aga Khan Park, Toronto
- Miraj Articles
- Arabic Universal Language of the Muslim World — Aga Khan III
- Speech by His Highness the Aga Khan — Inauguration of Amir AqSunqur Mosque in Cairo
- Yaum-e Ali — Imam Hazrat Ali’s Birthday Anniversary
- Imam Ali Bin Abu Talib — 1st Imam
- Imam Ali and the Power of Compassion — Dr. Reza Shah-Kazemi
- Imam Hazrat Ali the Great!
- The Imams, The Holy!
- The Peterson Lecture by His Highness the Aga Khan to the IB 40th Annual Meeting
- Aga Khan Speech at Foundation Ceremony Museum at Humayun’s Tomb
- Beyond Polemics and Pluralism: The Universal Message of the Qur’an — Reza Shah-Kazemi
- The Middle East — Prince Aly Khan