Life – An Exalted Destiny – Aga Khan III
Philosophical Significance of the Imam in Ismailism
By Sami N. Makarem
While the Sunnis believe in five pillars in Islam, the Isma’ilis raise them to seven. Al-Qadi an-Nu’man devoted the first volume of his famous book Da’a’im al-Islam to the description of these pillars and an elaboration of them. The first of these seven pillars, as al-Qadi an-Nu’man mentions, is Faith (Iman). He also calls it walaya, which means allegiance or devotion. The other six are successively Ritual Purification (tahara), prayer (salat), Alms Tax (zakat), Fasting (sawm), Pilgrimage (hajj), and Holy War (jihad).
The association of faith (iman) with allegiance (walaya) is very fundamental in Ismailism. It illustrates the importance of the Isma’ilis attachment to their Imams. This is shown in the following passage by al-Qadi an-Nu’man in his aforementioned book.1 He says: “Iman is to witness that there is no God but God and Muhammad is His servant and Messenger; to believe in Heaven and Hell, in Resurrection and Doomsday; to believe in the Prophets and Messengers of God; to believe in the Imams; to know and acknowledge the Imam of the time (Imam az-zaman) and to submit to his will; to comply with God’s commands; and to obey the Imam.” In another passage the same author says:2 “We have related that the Commander of the Faithful, Ali ibn Talib, God’s blessings be on him, was asked about Islam and Iman. He replied, “Islam is acknowledgment (iqrar), whereas Iman is both acknowledgment and knowledge (ma’rifa). He to whom God makes known his own self, his Prophet, and his Imam, and who then acknowledges such, is a Mu’min.” The author of Al-Majalis al-Mustansiriyya says that knowing the Imam is the perfection of Iman.3 Thus, the Mu’min is to the Ismailis he who believes and obeys the Imam. It follows that the belief in the Imam is the axis around which revolves the whole of the Isma’ili creed.
Who is the Imam?
In order to establish who the Imam is to the Ismailis, we should understand first their concept of creation.
Abu Ya’qub Ishaq as-Sijistani4 in his epistle Tuhfat al-mustajibin says5 that Divine Will (al-amr) was the first and only thing to issue out of God. It is also called knowledge (al-ilm), Word (al-kalima), and Unity (al-wahda). This Amr, he continues, is the source of creation, or, in other words, it is the first cause, or the cause of causes (illat al-ilal). “His Amr”, says the Quran, “when He desires a thing, is to say to it “Be”, and it is.6
God, as-Sijistani believes has by His own nature a Will. This Will necessarily exists by virtue of the existence of God. For if God exists, He must have a Will. As the human intellect implies that it has intelligence, God implies that He has Will. And as intelligence necessarily exists by the existence of the human intellect which originates it, for we cannot imagine an intellect without intelligence, likewise God’s Will necessarily exists by virtue of the existence of God. Thus this Will of God is, by its very meaning, the source and cause of every existing being. Therefore it is the primary cause of this existence God being its “causer” (all or mu’ill) as well as its originator.7 In other words this Will is God’s word that He willed. Now this word, in order to realize itself in this world must be manifested to man. For in order that man be guided through the right path, he should be enlightened by God’s Will or Word. It is to him, the ever living guide.
In order to show that this Word of God must always be manifested in this world, the Ismailis rely on the Qur’an which says:
“And He made it a word enduring among His posterity.”8
Another Qur’anic verse states:
“O men, a proof has now come to you from your Lord;
We have sent down to you a manifest light.”9
Proof (burhan) and manifest light (nur mubin) are also interpreted allegorically to denote the Imam.
This Will or Word of God, which Ahmad Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani calls the First Intellect (al-aql al-awwal), and the First Existent (al-mawjud al-awwal)10 is the First Cause of existence; thus it necessarily exists. Al-Kirmani says:11
“If the existence of the first is not established, the second would not exist. And if the existence of the second is not established, the third would not exist. Therefore, the second and third only exist by reason of the existence of what is first to them, and a cause to their existence. The existence of the third, the fourth and other existing beings is, therefore, a proof for the existence of a first to them, and a cause without which nothing would exist. By the existence of these, the existence of a first principle is proven, from which existence other existing beings resulted. This first principle we call the First Intellect or the First Existent beings resulted. This first principle we call the first Intellect or the First Existent whose existence is not by itself but rather by its creation by the Transcendent, may He be praised.”
This First Intellect (al-aql al-awwal) or the First Existent (al-Mawjud al-awwal) did not come from God by emanation (fayd), but rather by ibda: “An act of complete creation at once”, as P.J. Vatikiotis states12, “having no previous similitude to itself.” P.J. Vatikiotis translates ibda as origination. He says, “Origination is not like the radiation of light from the sun, which depends upon a material basis, but like intelligence, which is inherent in a nonmaterial and formless existence”13. Al-Kirmani refutes the neo-Platonic theory of emanation of the First Intellect as he interprets it. He says:14
“For it is in the nature of emanation that it be from the same kind from which it had emanated, and that it be associated with and related to it. The emanation as such is the same as that from which it had emanated by its being like the emanation itself… This necessitates that the Transcendent, may He be praised – if that which has issued out of Him were by emanation – is plural and subject to another’s power in His existence. But, since the quiddity of the Transcendent, may he be praised, is not from another quiddity, He transcends being qualified by plurality. Thus he is not of two things. And if He is not of two things, that which had issued out Him could not be by emanation.
“Then, it is self-evident to the reason and its principles that which is simpler and less in plurality… is more genuine. It follows that the emanation would be simpler than that from which it emanated, for the emanation would be one thing, whereas that from which it emanated would be two things… This would necessitate that the emanation would be prior to that from which it emanated, for the former would not be plural while the latter would be. If, by being an emanation, it is more genuine than that from which emanated, i.e. He who transcends the attributes, may He be praised, what fallacy could be greater than to believe the opposite of what a thing is in reality.
“Moreover, Emanation can only take place if that from which it emanated was complete. But, the Most High, may He be praised, transcends being completion or complete, lest polytheism is committed in one way or the other… Since this is absurd and impossible, it is invalid that the First Existent emanated from the Transcendent, may He be praised.
“Since it is invalid that what issued out of the Transcendent was by emanation, it only remains that it was by origination. He is therefore, the origination whose existence is ex-nihilis, and the First Existent whose existence is from no other source.”
Then, al-Kirmani asserts that this First Intellect came into existence by virtue of the existence of God. Being God’s Will, this First Intellect came into existence by God’s Power. “For Intellect”, as al-Kirmani says “is that being which was issued into existence out of the Power from which Origination resulted. This origination is the reality of the Intellect and its essence”.15
As for the nature of this Origination (ibda), it is beyond man’s understanding. As-Suri, in his important poem al-Qasida as-suriyya says:16
“Our saying Ibda means
“An act of Will whose essence we do not know”.
He continues to show that Ibda does not mean that God underwent a change:
“One cannot say about the Transcendent, the Exalted
That He was without action,
And that after the action occurred, He became acting.
He who holds such a belief, has gone astray.”17
Then al-Kirmani proceeds to show that the act of Origination (ibda) is not apart from the Originator (God). It is only an aspect of Him. He says:18
“Since there are many acts, and since every act which comes into being acquires a name that differentiates it from the others, according to the nature of the act, and since Origination is an act… it was given this name to denote that it exists… from nothing prior to it.”
Therefore, Ibda is not preceded by anything. The act and He who performed it (al-Mubdi) are in a sense the same.
After that, al-Kirmani goes on to show that the result of the act too, i.e. that which was originated (al-mubda al-awwal) is the same as the Originator and the Origination. Al-Kirmani says:19
“Since by saying Origination we imply that it is one thing, and by that which was originated we imply that it is two things, namely Origination and that which became originated by the act of Origination, for the act is one thing and the result of the act is another thing; and since it is absurd that anything could be prior to Origination or else Origination would become like matter which receives it, and this would lead to an existence which is not issued out of the Transcendental Quiddity, may He be praised, and consequently, to an existence out of which the existence of both would be issued; and this is absurd; (therefore) the Originator (the source of Origination) is both the Originated and the Origination.”
It follows from the above mentioned passages, that the Originator i.e. God, the Originated, i.e. the First Intellect, and the act of Origination are one. Thus, we have three hypotheses of a trinity, three real and distinct subsistences in one undivided essence of God. This is obviously very close to the Christian belief in the Trinity and might reveal the Christian influence on the Batinid movement in Islam.
In contemplating himself, the First Originated Being knew that he was the Originator’s Activity, the First Being. By this knowledge of himself, says al-Kirmani,20 a light illuminated and radiated from him as a result of the feeling happiness (ightibat) he had when he contemplated himself. This light that radiated from him is what the Ismailis call the First Emanating Being (al-munba’ith al-awwal). It is the first being that emanated from the First Intellect. Consequently, it is second in existence to the First Intellect, i.e. the First Originated Being (al-mubda al-awwal).21 Hence it is called the Second Intellect (al-aql ath-thani). Also it is called the Soul of the First Intellect,22 and the Universal Soul (an-nafs al-kulliyya).
Now, from the First Intellect and the Second emanated a Third Intellect. With this Intellect started what Professor Henry Corbin calls “le drame dans le ciel”.23 This Third intellect started to question the ontological anteriority of the First and Second Intellects.24 Was he not equal to them? Did he not even precede them? This led him to refuse to recognize their precedence and to respond to their call. Consequently he came to a standstill. He fell in a state of stupor which resulted in separating the Third Intellect from the rest of the Intelligible World. This distance is what is meant by time. However the Third Intellect was able to free himself from his stupor. But he found out that seven other Intellects had emanated during this state of stupor. He was delayed (takhallafa). Instead of being the Third he became now the Tenth Intellect.
These ten Intellects are in charge of the physical world (alam al-jism). The First Intellect is in charge of the sphere of spheres (falak al-aflak), the Second of the sphere of the fixed stars, the Third of the sphere of Saturn, the Fourth of that of Jupiter, the Fifth of that of Mars, the Sixth of that of the sun, the Seventh of that of Venus, the Eighth of that of Mercury, the ninth of that of the moon, and the Tenth, originally the Third Intellect, is in charge of the sub-lunary world. We must remember, however, that each Intellect is inclusive (kulli) of all the inferior ones, while each of the inferior ones is included (juz’i) in the superior ones.25
The Tenth Intellect, who has fallen down from being the Third to being the Tenth, corresponds in the sub-lunary world, i.e. the earth, of which he is in charge, to his human homologue Adam, who is said to have fallen from paradise. That is why the Ismai’ilis call him the Spiritual Adam (Adam ar-ruhani), in contrast to the “terrestrial” Adam.
Most of the Isma’ili savants of the Fatimid period consider this “terrestrial” Adam to be both the epiphanic form (mazhar) and the veil of the Spiritual Adam, i.e. the Third Intellect who became the Tenth. In the World of Religion (alam ad-din), he is the Imam. In his book Rahat al-aql 26 al-Kirmani outlines the esoteric hierarchy of the World of Religion in which the “terrestrial” Adam holds the rank of Imam. This World of Religion consists of ten rank-holders, each corresponding respectively to one of the ten Intellects of the Intelligible World. These are: 1. the Proclaimer (an-natiq); his function is to proclaim the revelation (at-tanzil); 2. the Foundation (al-asas); his function is to interpret the revelation (at-ta’wil); he is so called because he is the foundation of the inward knowledge (ilm al-batin); 3. the Imam; he carries on this inward knowledge and leads the community; 4. the Gate (al-bab); he decides the meaning of the discourse (fasl al-khitab), i.e. he is a head teacher in the da’wa; 5. the Proof (al-hujja); he supervises the missionaries and reveals the exegesis; 6. the Missionary of the Message (da’i al-balagh); he is in charge of dialectical and philosophical teaching; 7. the Missionary General (ad-da’i al-mutlaq); he teaches the inner meaning of the doctrine; 8. the Limited Missionary (ad-da’i al-mahdud); he teaches the practical ritual services and directs the inferior functionaries; 9. the Licencee-General (al-madhun al-mutlaq); he takes the oath and the covenant (al-ahd wal mithaq) from the proselytes and teaches the preliminaries for higher knowledge (adab ad-din); 10. the Limited Licencee (al-ma’dhun al-mahdud); he is in charge of preaching the doctrine by posing questions and arguments (mukasara) in order to attract the proselytes. Thus, for al-Kirmani and other Isma’ili doctors of the Fatimid period such as as-Sijistani, the Natiq, Asas and Imam correspond respectively to their celestial archetypes: the First, Second and Third Intellects.27
However in Nizari Isma’ilism the Imam occupies a higher rank than that given to him in most Fatimid works. He is considered higher than the Natiq. No difference seems to be made in rank between the Asas and other Imams.
As we have seen above, God’s Word must in order to realize itself in this world, be manifested to man. The Imam who is the guide of the believers (those who comply with God’s Word) is therefore the embodiment of this Word. He is God’s Word manifested. The Imam, therefore, must always be present (muqim) in this world in order to guide the believers. In order to show that this Word of God must always be manifested in this world, the Ismailis rely on the Qur’anic verse28, “And He made it a word enduring among His posterity.” The Word of God, as was shown above, is the First Intellect or the First Originated Being.29 It follows that the Imam is the First Intellect manifested in this world. Consequently, the Imam is to the World of Religion (alam ad-din) what the First Intellect is to the Intelligible World. “C’est qu’en effet”, as Professor Henry Corbin says,30 “le prophète en tant que natiq, énonciateur d’un shari’at, a le rang et la fonction du da’i ‘convoquant’ les hommes vers l’Imam qui est le sens secret de la shari’at qu’il énonce. C’est pourquoi chaque prophète, au principe de sa vocation da’i, est allé à la rencontre du Hojjat de l’Imam de son temps, lequel est envers lui dans le même rapport que Khezr-Elie, le prophète initiateur de Moise, envers celui-ci.”
I have shown above that the Ismai’ilis consider their Imam to be the embodiment of God’s Will or Word. He is, therefore, the First Intellect manifested in this world. The seed of Imamate passes from one Imam to the other. For this institution of Imamate, as we have mentioned before, is God’s Will or Word. Adam 31 was the first to be entrusted with that Word or Will, i.e. with the Imamate. In other words, he was willed by God to be Imam. He, in his turn, entrusted this Will or Word (the activity of the Imam) to his son, and so on. Every Imam would, in his turn, express this Will, and then entrust it to his successor, and thus this Will (the Imamate) would settle (istaqarra) and dwell (aqama) in the following Imam, and so on. Thus, the person of the Imam becomes the mustaqarr of God’s Will or Word, i.e. the place in which God’s Word is settled (istaqarra), as well as its muqam, i.e. the place in which God’s Word dwells (aqama). In other words the person of the Imam would be the embodiment of God’s Word which is the First Intellect or Origination as it was mentioned above. Thus, he is God’s Nasut, or manifestation ; or, in other words, he is God as He appears to mankind. Whereas al-Lahut is God qua God, as He is in Himself.
Al-Hamidi, in his highly esoteric book Kanz al-walad,32 relates from the Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq that he said “Our appearance (zahir) is Imamate, and our reality is Divinity (ghayb) which cannot be attained.” An-Nasafi, another Isma’ili da’i says in his book Kitab al-mahsul:33 “The Imam is the end of Existence (ghayat al-wujud)… His essence is divine, and his life is eternal… He is the end of all ends and the creator of creation.” In his book Zahr al-ma’ani, Idris Imad ad-Din mentions many sayings attributed to ‘Ali, which show the Ismai’li belief in ‘Ali, as well as in all the other Imams. He says relating from Jabir ibn ‘Abdallah al-Ansari:34
“I was sitting once in the presence of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Peace be on him, when there entered Salman and Jundub (Abu Dharr al-Ghifari), may God be satisfied with them. They greeted and sat down. Ali said, ‘You are welcome, you, who both are faithful (wali) and sincere, and who promised their God to remain so. Verily this is necessary for every faithful (mu’min), for no one will accomplish his faith until he recognizes me really in my Luminous Substance. If he only knows me in this way, his heart will be tested by God as to the strength of his faith, and he will be content; thus he will become one knowing and seeing. The one who fails is he who doubts and is obsessed by doubts.”’
The passage goes on until Ali says:
“I have destroyed the earlier generations (al-qurun al-ula). I am the Great News (an-naba’ al-azim) about which they were at variance. I am the Will of God, ‘He makes the spirit (ruh) from His will descend upon any of His servants to whom He pleases to send it’ (Sura XL 15).”
Then he said:
“O Salman and Jundub, verily our dead never die, and those amongst us who are killed are not killed in reality. We have not begotten and have not been begotten.”
In another place he said:35
“O, Salman and Jundub, I bring humanity to life and make them die, I create them, and nourish them… And the Rightful Imams from my progeny are acting in the same way, because all of us are one and the same imams manifested at all times… But with all this, we eat and drink, … in the market place and do what we will, by the will of God, our Lord.”
By God it is clearly meant here the Lahut.
Although such passages were probably fabricated and kindly attributed to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, they show the Isma’ili belief in their Imam.
These esoteric passages and the like support and corroborate Al-Kirmani’s assertion that the Imam is to the Ismailis the human manifestion of God, or God’s Will manifested (an-Nasut). As for the Lahut, i.e. God as He is in Himself, He cannot be grasped or comprehended. The Nasut is an evidence (hujja) of the Lahut. Al-Mu’ayyad fi d-Din says about the Imam al-Mustansir:36
“The Imam al-Mustansir, the Purity, the Lord,
“Is an evidence of God among mankind.”
The Lahut is to the Nasut as the meaning is to the word.
That is why the Imam is often referred to as the word of God, or the evidence of God. As the meaning is comprehended only through the word which denotes it, so the Lahut can only be grasped through the Nasut.”
If we put this in the words of Kant, we may say that the Nasut is God as phenomenon: it is God as He appears to man, whereas the Lahut, is the noumenon, i.e. God as He is in Himself.
Jafar ibn Mansur al-Yaman in his book Sar’ir an-Nutaqa, says:37 “It is related that Abu Dharr said, ‘I have heard the commander of the Faith say: I am the face of God that He mentioned in His saying ‘Wither so ever you turn, there is the face of God.’ (Sura 11, 109).”
“Your face is the Luminous face of God,
And your light is as a veil to His light.”
“It is what you wish, not what fate wishes,
“Rule! You are the One, the Almighty.”
This Nasut, the Ismailis believe, must always be present in order to guide humanity in the right path. Al-Imam al-Muizz in his letter to al-Hassan ibn Ahamad al-Qarmati wrote:39 “We are the beginning of Thought and the end of Action.”
Thus, the Imam to the Ismailis is God manifested. He is the Word of God and His Will, he is one of the three hypostases which constitute one undivided essence of God (cf. above). He is consequently higher than the Prophet. Al Muayyad made this clear when he differentiated between Nubuwwa (Prophethood) and Imama (Imamate). The position of Nubuwwa or Risala, he said, is the office of Trustees (istida), while that of the Imama is the office of Permanence (istiqrar).40 The Rasul is he who carries on the message entrusted (istawda’a) to him by God. In other words, he is the one who delivers the Word of God, while the Imam, as it is shown above, is the Word of God itself. It follows that Muhammad is considered by the Ismailis to be inferior ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, the first Imam. In his esoteric work Zahr al-Ma’ani, Idris Imad ad-Din, speaking about Ali, says:41 “… And this his position was exactly the same as that of Al Imam al-Qa’im bi Amrillah with regard to al-Mahdi.”
If we remember here that ‘Ubaydallah al-Mahdi was Mustawda,42 while al-Qa’im was a Mustaqarr Imam,43 we can realize what the position of ‘Ali was with regard to the Prophet, namely that Muhammad was only Mustawda, while Ali was Mustaqarr.
This may help to clarify a point left open by Wilferd Madelung44 concerning al-Mahdi‘s physical fathership of al-Qaim. Wilferd Madelung hesitated to affirm that al-Mahdi was not the physical father of al-Qa’im. The quote cited above from Idris Imad ad-Din seems to make such an affirmation possible. For if al-Mahdi, like the Prophet, was only a Mustawda Imam, he could not have been the physical father of a real Imam.
Being the Word of God, the Imam is, therefore, to the Isma’ilis as the Qur’an is to the Orthodox Muslims. He is the everliving guide, the “up-to-date” word of God, so to speak. As there are some Qur’anic verses which abrogate others, so the Imam can abrogate what was said previously. His word is God’s Word, and his legislation is God’s Legislation. With the seventh Imam Muhammad ibn Isma’il, another era has begun.45 If the Quran was God’s Word which was to be followed during the cycle of Muhammad, the Imams are God’s words which are to be followed in this new cycle, namely that of Muhammad ibn Isma’il, which cycle is considered by the Ismailis to be the last and the greatest.46
It follows from this that the Imam’s word is the last. He is the Word of God and His Will. If the Caliph was considered by the Orthodox Muslims to be the executor of Islamic Law, the Isma’ili Imam was considered by his followers to be the legislator.
Sami N. Makarem
FOOTNOTES(1) Al-Qadi an-Nu’man, Da’aim al-Islam, vol. 1, Cairo, 1951, p.5.
(2) Ibid., p.16.
(3) M.K. Husayn (ed.) Al-Majalis al-Mustansiriyya, Cairo p.25.
(4) Abu Ya’qub Ishaq ibn Ahmad as-Sijsi or as-Sijistani, executed in 331\942, W. Ivanow, Isma’ili literature, Tehran, 1963, p.27.
(5) A. Tamir (ed), Khams rasa’il isma’iliyya, Beirut, 1956, p.147-150.
(6) XXXVI, 82.
(7) Sami N. Makarem, As-Shafiya, an Ismaili poem attributed to Shihab ad-Din Abu Firas, Beirut, 1966, p.167.
(8) XLIII, 28.
(9) IV, 174.
(10) AL-Kirmani, Rahat al-aql, p.59.
(11) Ibid., pp.59-60.
(12) P.J. Vatikiotis, The Fatimid theory of State, Lahore, 1957, p.81.
(13) Ibid p.81.
(14) Al-Kirmani, Rahat al-aql, pp.69-71.
(15) Ibid., p.71.
(16) As-Suri, Al-Qasida as-suriyya, ed. by A. Tamir, Damascus, 1955, p.28.
(17) Ibid., p.29.
(18) Al-Kirmani, Rahat al-aql, p.73.
(19) Ibid., p.73.
(20) AL-Kirmani, Rahat al-aql, pp.97-98.
(21) See also S. Makarem, Ash-Shafiya, pp.178-179.
(22) See Masa’il majmu’a, in Gnosis-Texte der Ismailiten, ed. by R. Strothmann. Gottingen, 1955, p.25.
(23) Henry Corbin, Histoire de la philosophie islamique, pp.124.
(24) See also Bernard Lewis, “An Isma’ili interpretation of the fall of Adam”, BSOS, 1938 vol 9, p.702.
(25) See S. Makarem, Ash-Shafiyya, p.172.
(26) al-Kirmani, Rahat al-aql,pp.134 ff., See also S. Makarem, Ash-Shafiya, pp.197-198.
(27) However, in the later Fatimid period there appeared a tendency to exalt the Asas over the Natiq; for instance in his work Wajh-i din, p.132 Nasir-i Khusraw links the Natiq, the Prophet, with the Second Intellect or the Universal soul (nafs-i kull), and the Asas, Ali with the First Intellect (see Marshall Hodgson, the Order of Assassins, The Hague, 1955. p.163). Also as we shall see below, in his book Zahr al-ma’ani, Idris Imad ad-Din elevates Ali and the rest of the Imams to as apparently higher rank than that of the Natiq.
(28) XLIII, 28.
(29) See also Sami Makarem, “Al-amr al-ilahi wa mafhumuhu fil-aqida al-isma’iliyya” (The divine Amr and its concept in the ismaili creed), al-abhath, vol.1 (1967), pp.3 ff.
(30) Henry Corbin, Histoire de la Philosophie islamique, pp. 147-148.
(31) Al-Hamidi, Kanz al-walad, in a microfilm in my possesion fol.337.
(32) Ibid., p.150.
(33) M. Ghalib, Tarikh ad-dawa al-isma’iliyya, Damascus, pp.13-14.
(34) W. Ivanow, The rise of the Fatimids, Oxford, 1942, pp.73-76 of the Arab text.
(35) Ibid., p.77.
(36) M.K. Husayn (ed.), Diwan al-Mu’ayyad fi d-Din, Cairo, 1949, pp.227.
(37) Ibid., p.81 of the preface.
(38) Ibid., p.231.
(39) Al-Maqrizi, Itti’az al-hunafa, Cairo. 1948, p.251.
(40) M. K. Husayn (ed)., Diwan al-Mu’ayyad, p.80, quoting from al-Mu’ayyadiyya, vol. 1, p.68.
(41) W. Ivanow, Rise of the Fatimids, p.78 of the Arabic text.
(42) A Mustawda Imam (trustee Imam) is a person entrusted with the Imamate without being himself the true Imam.
(43) Cf. B. Lewis, The orgins of Isma’ilism, Cambridge, 1940, p.72.
(44) Wilferd Madelung, “Das Imamat inder frühen ismailitischen Lehre”, Der Islam, 1961, vol. 37, pp.78-79.
(45) Al-Hamdani, Ghayat al-mawalid, in “Rise of the Fatimids” by W. Ivanow.
(46) Idris Imad ad-Din, Zahr al-ma’ani, in “Rise of the Fatimids” by W. Ivanow.
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ألا بِذِكْرِ اللهِ تَطمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
“Verily! In the remembrance of Allah do hearts find contentment.” - Quran, 13:28
‘Ali is ‘as my own soul’ (ka-nafsi).
He said to ‘Ali, ‘You are from me and I am from you (anta minni wa ana minka).’
‘Truly, ‘Ali is from me and I am from him (inna ‘Ali minni wa ana minhu), and he is the wali (patron/spiritual master) of every believer after me.’
Imam Jaffer Sadiq
لاَ يَكُونُ شَيْءٌ فِي اْلاَرْضِ وَلا فِي السَّمَاءِ إِلاَّ بِهذِهِ الْخِصَالِ السَّبْعِ: بِمَشيئَةٍ وَ إِرادَةٍ وَقَدَرٍ وَقَضَاءٍ وَ إِذْنٍ وَكِتابٍ وَأَجَلٍ. فَمَنْ زَعَمَ أَنَّهُ يَقْدِرُ عَلى نَقْضٍ وَاحِدَةٍ، فَقَدْ كَفَرَ.
“Nothing occurs in this earth and in the heaven except with the following seven stages: Will, intention, destiny, decree, permission, book and implementation. Then whoever thinks that he can reduce any of these stages, then indeed he has disbelieved.”
- Imam Jaffer Sadiq, Usul al Kafi, vol. 1, p. 149
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Aga Khan jokes
"Looking around this colorful gathering, I recall helping in the choice of the Aga Khan University's regalia. Our research into Islamic traditions of academic dress revealed that an academic's rank determined the height of his hat. The higher the rank, the taller the hat. The senior most professors therefore appeared taller than their students even when sitting down. I have just learnt that my friend Neil Rudenstein, the President of Harvard has given instructions that all Harvard hats are to be heightened by at least a foot. This has caused havoc in the Ivy League which is now debating resolution MAHH96, standing for Maximum Allowable Hat Height. My academic standing and that of President Gregorian, should be evident from the hats that we are presently wearing!"
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