Life – An Exalted Destiny – Aga Khan III

Life - An Exalted Destiny - Aga Khan III Life is a great and noble calling; not a mean and grovelling thing to be shuffled through as best as we can, but a lofty and exalted destiny.

Recognition of the Imam — Persian Manuscript translated by Ivanow

Bism’Allah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم Islamic Calligraphy

Bism’Allah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم Islamic Calligraphy






(Fasl dar Bayan-I Shinakht-i Imam)


Translated from Persian by




1. The manifestation of the Imam and his Hujjat……1v.-2v.
2. The necessity of the propaganda (da’wat) in the time when the Imam is
hidden ….. 2v.-3
3. The fourfold knowledge about the Imam …..3-3v.
4. The Hujjat’s and da’i’s knowledge of the Imam …..3v.-4
5. The relations between the Imam and the Hujjat …..4-4v.
6. The manifestation of the Imam is essential to the existence of the world
7. Definition of the degree of the Hujjat …..6-6v.
8. The logical proofs of the necessity of the Hujjat …..6v.
9. The traditional proofs of the necessity of the Hujjat …..6v.-10v.
10. The reason why the Imam and his Hujjat are the same in their essence but
separate in their bodily appearance …..10v.-11
11. The Hujjat’s miraculous knowledge ….. 11-13
12. The reason why the Hujjat can be manifested in the “Truth” only ….. 13-15
13. Definition of the classes of the believers …..15-15v.
14. The question of the Tithe ….. 15v.-16
15. The adversaries …..16-16v.


The aim of the “Ismaili Society,” founded in Bombay on the 16th of February
1946, is the promotion of independent and critical study of matters connected
with Ismailism, that is to say, of all branches of the Ismaili movement in Islam,
their literature, history, philosophy, theology, and so forth. The Society
proposes to publish monographs on various subjects connected with these
matters, critical editions of the original texts of early Ismaili works, their
translations, and collections of shorter papers and notes. It may be noted that
the Society completely excludes from its programme any religious or political
propaganda or controversy, and does not intend to vindicate the point of view
of any particular school of Ismailism.

[1] The text of the Ummu’l-kitab was edited by me in “Der Islam.” 1936, pp.
1-132; cf. Also my “Notes sur L’Ummul-kitab des Ismaeliens de L’Asie
Centrale” in the “Revue des Etudes Islamiques,” Paris, 1932, pp. 419-481.
The Kalam-I Pir, or Haft Bab-I Sayyid Nasir, was edited and translated by me,
Bombay, 1935 (I.R.A.’s Series, No.4). The Wajh-I Din was printed by the
Kaviani Press, Berlin, in 1924.

In the great scarcity of reliable information about Ismailism, and almost
complete absence of genuine works on it, the pamphlet was remarkable for a
considerable extent of outspokenness in the treatment of its esoteric subjects,
and also for the feature which is very rare in Ismaili works in general, namely:
numerous references to various authors and poets belonging to general Persian
literature. Having decided to edit and translate it, I carefully copied the text,
but wartime conditions and revolution prevented its publication. When in May
1918 I was sent by the Academy to Bukhara, I took the copy with me in the
hope of finding some learned Ismailis who would be able to explain to me the
numerous difficult and obscure places in the opuscule. Various circumstances,
however, prevented me from returning to St. Petersburg. Instead, I found
myself in Persia, and later India. In Khorasan I came in touch with the local
Ismailis, but they confessed to never having seen the pamphlet before, and
could not help me in its translation. Later on, in India, I met many Ismailis
from Hunza, Chitral, and a few from Shughnan and other districts of
Badakshan. These also admitted never having seen the text before, and only
one claimed some some previous knowledge of it, mentioning that the real title
of the work was the Ma’dinu’l-haqa’iq. On the whole his testimony did not
inspire much confidence, and Iwould hesitate to accept his statement until it is
supported from reliable sources.

In India I have prepared an edition of the text, with an English translation, and
it was published under the title of “Ismailitica,” in the VIII volume of the
“Memories of the Asiatic Society of Bengal” (Calcutta, 1922,pp. 1-76).
Except for some poetical works of Nasir-I Khusraw, this was the first genuine
Ismaili work in Persian ever published. It was quite natural that it evoked
considerable interest both amongst students and the Ismailis themselves, and all
copies of the separate issue were very soon sold. Those who wished to
acquire a copy had to purchase the whole of Vol. VIII which, except for this
paper, dealt with biology and other matters having no connection with
Ismailism. By now it seems even this opportunity has ceased to exist.

At present, twenty-five years after its publication, this little work not only has
not lost any of its interest, but, on the contrary, in the light of further studies
and finds, appears even more interesting than it did earlier. Access to the
original Ismaili literature of the Fatimid period and later has provided valuable
background to it, putting many of its features in a different light, and often
raising new problems where none was at first suspected. In any case the
inaccessibility of this text to students, except to those working in large and
well-equiped libraries, was to be deplored. I am, therefore, extremely grateful
to the “Ismaili Society” of Bombay who have sympathetically considered my
offer to bring out a second edition in their newly started series. It was,
however, unfortunate that the situation with printing in India had reached such
difficult conditions. The larger and better equipped presses all over the
country, already overworked, had been badly hit by the wave of strimes and
riots. For this reason only the use of small presses and lithography proved to
be practicable, and even in these it was possible to obtain the services of only
inferior and inexperienced scribes. For all these, and many other reasons, it
was decided to publish the text and translation separately.

It seems to be an inviolable psychological law that every beginner wants to
make his work at one a perfection of scholarship and erudition, stuffing it with
references to earlier literature, regardless of whether such references are really
needed or useful. In bringing out this new edition and translation I have
ruthlessly suppressed all such signs of youthful enthusiasm, leaving only those
references which are absolutly necessary.

I am taking this opportunity to reiterate my most sincere and profound thanks
to all my Ismaili friends without whose generous assistance and collaboration I
would have not been able to do much work for the study of Ismailism. I am
perfectly obliged to the President and the Committee of the “Ismaili society”
for the help they have so willingly given me.

Bombay, January, 1947.



1. The Origin of the Work

As has already been mentioned in the Preface, the work seems to be
exceptionally rare. It is not impossible that the Leningrad copy is unique.
With the little information that is available about the Badakshani Ismaili
literature ther is hardly much chance of finding additional information
concerning this opuscule. All that we can expect to know about it must be
derived from an analysis of its contents.

The name of the author is not mentioned. Even a superficial acquaintance with
the the text shows that, even allowing much for the “rough handling” of the
text by generations of Badakshani scribes, who are generally people of little
education, and to whom Persian is a foreign language, it would be possible
only to infer that he was a man of no great theological erudition. His style is
crude and heavy and he plainly has much difficulty in expressing his thoughts.
At the end of his work he says that he composed it in “simple langauge which
even the uneducated could understand, so that even they would not be
deprived of the spiritual advantages which perusal of the book may bestow”.
Such a charitable disposition rarely manifests itself in Persian authors as
“smoke without fire”. Had the author been really learned, he would not
hesitate to make his pamphlet a gem of theological learning. We may be fairly
safe in imagining him as a country squire, a well-to-do peasant, devout to his
religion, and keen on reading, despite not having had much schooling in the

Although the manuscript comes from Shughnan, it is difficult to think that it
was compiled there. As is well known, Badakshan, several centuries ago,
became the centre of the cult of Nasir-I Khusraw, to whose influence, -even
what may be called a “school,” -many works belong. This opuscule, however,
does not exhibit the typical features of that line. Quotations from Nizari, an
Ismaili poet of Birjand and Khusp (d. ca. 720-721/1320-1321) whose works
are entirely unknown in Badakshan, or from another Ismaili poet of still earlier
time, Ra’is Hasan (end of vi/xii c.), whose poems have been apparently
preserved only in the province of Kirman, or from Thana’I, a Khorasani poet
who went to India under Akbar, may be treated as indications of the ties with
Persia rather than Upper Oxus. In addition to this it is possible also to recall
the same postscript in which he refers to the composing of his work “in plaim,
simple language, intelligible to the uneducated”. This, of course, may refer to
the Badakshanis whose Persian is generally of a very elementary nature, but it
seems more probable that the author meant his less educated Persian-speaking
fellow countrymen in Persia.

The question of the date of compositon appears to be simpler. The author
refers to many poets and other persons, quoting poems by some of them,
Sana’I, Attar, Jalalu’d-din Rumi, Nasiru’d-din Tusi (probably), Nasir-I
Khusraw, Nizari, Ra’is Hasan, all belong to that period. The latest are
probably Amir Sayyid Ali-yi Wa’iz (f. 8) and Thana’i. The former is
obviously the son of Husayn-I Wa’iz Kashifi, the author of the famous Anwar-I
Suhayli and Tafsir-I Husayni. His son, Ali, was a third-rate poet, with the
takhallus Safi; he died in 939/1532-3.[1] Thana’I’s name inspires some doubts
as there is often a tendency to confound him with Sana’i. However, the
mention of his work, Iskandar-nama, is an additional indication. Thana’I really
wrote a mathnawi of that title, dedicated to Akbar, but the quotation here
cannot belong to a mathnawi, and the author himself calls it a qasida. Thus we
cannot build much on the name of Thana’i. There is, however, an allusion
which also points to the same period.

While discussing the dawrs, periods of the domination of the systems of
shari’at founded by various prophets, f. 13v, the author mentions the “dawr of
Muhammad, in which we are still living”. As is known, such dawrs are
supposed to be of millennial duration each. If there were only about six
hundred years between Jesus and Muhammad, the authors pay little attention
to such a trifling discrepancy. Therefore we may, almost with full right, believe
that when the author of this pamphlet wrote it, the date was still under 1000
A.H. Hence it is quite possible that the treatise was compiled somewhere in
Khorasan in the middle, or towards the end of the sixteenth century.

This conjecture tallies well with what little we know of the history of the
Badakshani community. The whole, or a substantial part of it, followed the
branch of the Nizari Imams to which belonged Shah Tahir Dakkani who was
driven by the rise of the Safawids to India ca. 926/1520.[1] At the same time,
the main line, probably also apprehending troubles, apparently intensified
relations with their own followers in Badakshan. In all probability this evoked
the revival of literary activity of which there are indications. It was possibly
during this period that the work was compiled and brought by someone to
Badakshan in view of the outspokenness which it shows.

[1] See my note, “A Forgotten Branch of the Ismailis.” J.R.A.S., 1938,p.61.



The doctrine which the author of the opuscule popounds is a very late and
advanced form of Ismailism. Taking the latter as it was towards the close of
the Fatimid Imamat, we can see how much Ismailism in Persia developed after
the Nizari-Musta’lian split (in 487/1094). The doctrine lost much of its
original learned theological finish and became filled with mystical elements.
All this is particularly noticeable in the rather unskilled presentation of its ideas
by the rustic author.

Such alterations have undoubtedly been introduced under the pressure of
various adverse historical, social, cultural, and even economical factors. Ever
since the Nizari-Musta’lian split, for something like 150 years, the Ismailis of
Persia were living in almost continuous state of war, defending their very
existence against the powerful Saljuq state and its successors. Ultimately
immence ruin was caused by the brutal Mongols, and general conditions were
made still worse by Timur with his worthy successors and later on by the
struggle which accompanied the rise of the Safawids. The suffering of the
poulation must have been indescribable. Small wonder that Ismaili literature,
probably not very rich initially, has almost entirely perished. It is really
astonishing in the circumstances that even after all these events their
community still possessed enthusiasts such as the author of the opuscule, who
were still writing books for the benefit of their coreligionists. Exactly for this
reason our text may be treated as particularly valuable, being a rare relic of that
important, and yet almost entirely unknown, process of religious evolution.

To the unprepared and unsophisticated reader the doctrine explained in the
treatise would appear strange, perhaps too mystical. Some beginners amongst
students, or uninformed enthusiasts, may at onve see in it the inevitable
“traces” of various alleged “influences.” All this, on sober consideration, is
utterly futile. This doctrine is as legitimate a development of the basic
principles of Islam as any of the orthodox schools of Sunnism. The difference
is only constituted by the general direction of the process forced by the
combination of a different set of historical and general conditions. The
glittering diamond and a piece of coal are of the same substance despite their
difference in appearance; similarly, the same elements form both systems,
though it is often not easy to see this at once.

The basic doctrine of Islam is not only belief in the Divine revelation, but also
the mission of the Apostle of God. Both are inseparable, and the system
collapses if either of these is upset. We may well realise that the Sunnite
version of Islam, patronised by the rulers and ruling classes, developed that
mentality of “clan ownership” of religious knowledge, as it was, for instance, in
the theory of ownership of the state treasury by all the Muslims. This was due
not to any alleged “democratic” spirit, but to a relic of the tribal mentality. It
was probably this mentality which consistently opposed the perspective of the
rise of a priestly class, and even went to such extremities as to legalize the
ijma’ and qiyas, i.e., the doctrine of the consensus of the enlightened opinion of
the society on religious matters as binding, or decisions based on analogy. The
representatives of this upper classs of the society sought for religious
knowledge in the study of the Coran and hadiths, and firmly believed in the
spiritual guidance of the Prophet, or of those who carefully studied his

Quite a different approach to the same problem of salvation and righteousness
of life has developed in the strata, or masses who had little chance to acquire
education, and who themselves felt the sad truth that the shari’at was no
protection against oppression and merciless exploitation. Their suffering made
them impatient, looking for a short cut to the attainment of human existence.
This was sought in the dreams of the ideal Alid theocracy which will “fill the
earth with equity and justice even as much as it has always been filled with
oppression and injustice”. This depended on what was planned as the
movement for perfecting the shari’at by the wisdom which the Prophet
received from God, but, being unable to reveal it to the still unprepared
humanity, entrusted it for gradual release to Ali with his posterity.

The Imam, an Alid as the candidate for the post of such an ideal ruler, was
originally expected as a mighty warrior who would wrest the supreme
authority in Islam from the Abbasids, and introduce his ideal state. The
Fatimids, the only Alid dynasty with the necessary means, could not, for
various reasons, succeed in the fulfilment of these dreams. By the time of the
Nizari-Musta’lian split no illusion remained as to the futility of such political
aspirations, and the subsequent events, with the Mongol invasion, etc., made
this all too clear. An important metamorphosis then came to Ismailism. From
a religion with clearly defined social and political ideals it became the religion
of personal salvation. This rendered all former ideas, points of view,
organisation and outlook unsuitable to the new purposes. The Imam, deprived
of his earthly ballast, rose to heaven. Out of a mighty warrior descending from
the Prophet, and ideal ruler, but otherwise a man of flesh and blood, he became
an abstraction of the Divine Truth, of the Logos of all existence, a Divine
sunstance of the Divine Light hardly distinguishable from God Himself.

The Fatimid hierarchy of the hududu’d-din, i.e. different agents in one
complete system of the preparation of the future ideal theocracy, parts of a
smoothly working machine, became useless. Formerly the main function of
this hierarchy was propaganda, the preaching of the doctrine. In the new
conditions propaganda became impossible and almost aimless, the da’i with his
subordinates became obsolete. Instead of the whole hierarchy only one person
acquired paramount importance, namely, the hujjat whose significane the
author explains in detail.

This new theory of the hujjat, in fact, almost completely repeats the numerous
theories of the Imam as they were developed at the beginning of the Ismaili
movement. We may note that in the Fatimid hierarchy there were, as is known,
twelve hujjats each of whom was in charge of the propaganda in each of the
conventional twelve divisions (jazira) of the world.[1] All this, of course, was
purely conventional, and in reality their number probably was larger or smaller,
according to circumstances. Fatimid literature is remarkably reticent on the
subject of the functions of and all dtails concerning, the hujjat. Despite of long
search I have bot found as yet any satisfactory answer to the question as to
whether the Fatimid Hujjat was something like a bishop-resident in a province,
or like a minister at the court of the caliph, advising and assisting in matters of
the administration of such a province.

[1] On the meaning and the names of the jaziras see my “Rise of the Fatimids,”
Bombay, 1942, footnote on pp. 20-21.

In many sects with mystical or gnostic tendencies, later on taken over by
Sufism, this ancient idea survived and received further development. We can
see that the author clearly explains the hujjat as the “witness” of the Exalted
Position of the Imam (ff. 10v-11), introduced to absolve the Imam from giving
evidence in his own favour. In fact, both the Imam and hujjat are of the same
Divine origin, and it is only as a concession to the imperfection of human
nature that they appear as two.

This new version of the hujjat is merely a divinised Sufic pir. Only through him
one can attain the knowledge of the Imam and of God, because ordinary mortal
is obviously incapable of penetrating Divine mysteries. The proof of his own
genuineness is his “miraculous knowledge” (f. 11v). The Imam, whose
manifestation has a cosmic importance, and without whom the world cannot
exist, must be manifested in his real essence, but also can appear in disguise.
The hujjat, however, must always be what he really is (ff. 13v-14).

All this would be too mystical for early Ismailism with its sober and
rationalistic outlook, and we may safely treat this doctrine as an importation
from Sufism, incorporated under the pressure of historical conditions. The
Imams had to live in strict disguise and in mortal danger; this is why the ancient
theory of the hijab was, perhaps unconsciously, revived. The term hijab
actually occurs in the text (f. 2), though not in this sense: here the shariat is
the hijab of the Imam. Thus it is highly probable that the words that one can
recognise the Imam only through his hujjat could also have ordinary and direct
meaning, not mystical. Probably only the hujjat, as a close relative and
absolutely trusted person, knew the hiding place of the Imam and could really
point him out to followers who had a very rare chance of seeing him, and
knowing him personally.[1]

The author devotes all his attention to the spiritual or Divine nature of the
hujjat and his theory, but, unfortunately for us, he leaves unanswered many
pertinent questions which inevitably arise: was there only one hujjat at a time,
or several? Did every Imam appoint only one hujjat during the whole of his life
time, or a succession of them? Was it normal if there was no hujjat at certain
periods of time? Did he carry any administrative functions, and if so, which?
These, and many other questions in the same strain, are not touched upon here.

As mentioned in the Preface, the author’s terminology bears striking
resemblance to the terminology used in the Rawdatu’t-taslim, supposed to be
the work of Nasiru’d-din Tusi, and which, most probably, was the source of
the author’s information. I hope to deal with this matter when analysing that
latter work. Now it will suffice if I add a few remarks on some expressions.

The old term hududu’d-din (ff. 3v, 6, 8v) is occasionally used, but a new term
is far more in use, tarattub, i.e. “order.” The Badakshani Ismailis invariably
read it as tartib, “arrangement.” The expression of ahl-I tarattub is much used,
and occasionally khawassan-I (obviously for khassan-I) tarattub, in the sense of
the dignitaries. This to some extent recalls an early term, of the beginning of
the fourth/tenth century, the ahlu’l-maratib (in Abu Hatim ar-Razi’s Kitabu’l-islah).

If the idea of the hujjat being a “witness” of the Imam, i.e. the genuineness of
his claims, recalls the Ali-Ilahi doctrine, still more may this be said of the term
jama, which appears twice on f. 3v. This is neither Sufic nor Ismaili, if the
earlier doctrine is concerned. It probably came in use in Sufic circles during
the Safawid period, when the strong sub-current of Ali-Ilahi ideas spread all
over Persia. It is a Persian equivalent of the Turkish dun, or Arabic libas, used
in the same sense, i.e. the human, mortal “dress” of an incarnation, its dress of

These may be sufficient as preliminary notes on the contents. I would like to
address a request to every student who may care to make use of this text in his
work on Ismailism, not to forget the time factor, the date of the work from
which ideas or references are derived. I have seen so many instances where
nothing but utter confusion is created and good work rendered useless by
indiscrinately pulling out references from any source, any context, regardless of
the period to which it belongs, and the phase of evolution which it reflects.

3. The Language of the Text.

As the press in which this is printed does not possess Arabic types, and as it is
still very difficult to avail oneself of the services of presses equiped with these,
I am compelled to quote Persian words in translation. I use the same system as
in all my preceding works, and hope that it will not inconvinience the student.

It is an interesting fact which I would never have believed had not I personally
witnessed it many times, that while the Ismailis generally treat with great
respect the text of their religious works, being afraid to alter anything in these,
even if an emendation suggests itself quite unequivocally, the Ismailis of
Badakshan, in a broad sense, form an exception. I saw many times how the
people of Chitral, Hunza, and some other places in that part of the world, who
would scarcely be able to understand Persian or write a simple sentence in it
correctly, would not hesitate a moment to introduce what they regarded as a
“correction” into the text when they thought it was required. Very often such
“corrections” are hopelessly stupid, rendering the whole sentence meaningless,
but no amount of persuation helps to make the ignorant fool desist in his
mischief. The result of this custom is that while in Arabic Ismaili works
preserved amongst the Bohoras of India variants are exceptionally rare, other
obvious mistakes may be many, in the Badakhshani copies very rarely does a
single line not contain several variants. I am not sure whether this is a blessing
of modern times or was practised since long ago. The latter seems the more
probable case. Perhaps only in Syria the position is worse. After all, Persian is
a foreign language for the Badakhshanis, and only their ignorance makes them
introduce mistakes, while for the Syrian Ismailis the language of their literature
is their mother tongue, and they cannot plead an improper understanding of it.

The peculiarities which the pamphlet shows in its language partly depend on
the real corruption of the text, and partly on irregular and inconsistent
orthography which has a general tendency in the Badakhshani Ismaili literature
to preserve various archaic usages, inherited from earlier manuscripts. For
instance, it is quite common to see the relative pronoun ki, written simply as k:
kasi-k, zira-k, hamchunan-k. But contrary to this one may meet ki for ki. The
particle of duration with verbs, mi, is usually written separately, and added to
the tenses which in good Persian do not require it, as in mi namuda and (f.4).
The use of bad- for ba- with pronouns seems to be really archaic, as in bad-in,
bad-an, bad-ishan. There is a general tendency to use ba instead of ba. The
third pers. Sing. Of the substantive verb, ast, is, even after consonants, written
as st.

In the use of words the text shows many mistakes against Persian syntax, as in
the cases of the verb in the plural being used after a collective noun: haywan
sharik-and; mawjudy az mawjudat sharik na-bashand, etc. In true Central
Asian style, ishan is often used instead of an-ha.

In verbal forms often the particle mi is either superfluous or stands instead bi-
that can be expected: u-ra ba-qatl mi-rasanad, quite obviously for bi-rasanad.

An expression may lead perhaps to interesting finds. Speaking of Jabra’il, and
other angels, the author gives them the title mihtar (f. 7). It would be
worthwhile tracing the use of this title in the literature of Persia proper. I have
noted a few cases of a similar use of it in the work of the author of the beg. of
the xi/xvii c., the saint of Peshawar, Akhund Darwiza Ningarhari (Sharh-I
Amali, manuscr. Of the Asiatic society of Bengal, Ad 17).

4. The Manuscript

As mentioned above, the original copy forms a part of a majmu’a, No.4 of the
collection of I. I. Zaroobin. Both the hand-made paper and handwriting seems
to be of Indian origin. The coopy is not dated, but looks as if not older than
the middle of the last century.

The handwriting is unskilled, but legible nasta’liq. There are eleven lines to a
page, of 8.5 cm. The size: 21.0 by 11.5 cm. State of preservation: good.
Fols. 16.

In order to facilitate references to the Persian text, published separately, and to
the first edition, all references (as also in the index) are made to the folios of
the original copy. The letter “v” standing after the figure, verso, means the
reverse side of the leaf. The beginning of each page of the original copy is
marked both in the translation and in the edition of
the Persian text, as it was marked in the first edition.

TRANSLATION of Fasl dar Bayan-I Shinakht-i Imam

In the name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate.

(This is) a Note [1] on the recognition of the Imam who is the hypostasis
(mazhar) [2] of the Divine creative act (amr); the Hujjat, (his) “proof” who is
the hypostasis of the Universal Reason ( aql-I kull); da’i, “the preacher”;
ma’dhun-i akbar, the “senior licensee” (to preach); ma’dhun-i asghar, the
“junior licensee,” [3] and mustajib, the “neophyte” (lit. “asking questions,” one
who has the right to ask questions concerning the religion, and of course,
receive correct answers), who all are the hypostasis of the Universal Soul
(nafs-I kull); and ahl-i tadadd, the “opponents” (or adversaries of the religion)
who are the hypostasis of the Universal Body (jism-I kull.)
—————————————————————————[1] The term
fasl, originally meaning section, chapter, division (in a book), in Ismaili
literature is used since the earliest times in the sense of apparrently “small
book,” pamphlet, note. In this sense it is already in use at the beginning of the
fourth/tenth century, in the works of Abu Hatim ar-Razi. I have collected
many instances of the use of this term in my “Rise of the Fatimids,” p.299;
“Guide to Ismaili Literature,” p.101; and, especially in application to Persia, in
the “Kalam-I Pir,” p. xxix.

[2] The author’s philosophical terminology is rather primitive and inaccurate,
as may be seen almost on every page. A literal rendering of the terms which he
uses would render his work very obscure. I therefore apologise for rendering
these nearer to the intended sense rather than to the philological derivation.

[3] I may recall the fact that Ismaili ideas of the hierarchy were always
fluctuating in the course of history, being adjusted to the requirements of the
moment and circumstances, either in the way of the expansion of the number of
the ranks, or contraction of this. The ma’dhun was an assistant of the da’i,
probably being appointed from amongst the more intelligent and devout new
converts in the community. His duties were those of a preacher and instructor
of others.

(1. The Manifestation of the Imam and his Hujjat).

Firstly I begin to discuss the recognition of the Imam, which is as follows, so
that thou mayest to know. (By the name of) Imam is called a man who at one
time may be (directly) known in his own person, and at another time through
(the guidance of) his Hujjat. It is possible to recognise him (directly) only on
the day of the “Sabbath of the faith.” and it has to be known that every “day of
the faith” is equal to one thousand years of this world (so that) a week of the
Religion lasts seven thousand years. In these seven days the “day of the faith”
is only one, not more, and the other six are the “night of the faith.” This “day
of the Religion” is called Saturday and on this day the Sun of the Faith, the
Imam, becomes manifested. This is the reason why it is said : “All the (Divine)
commandments will pass, but that about Saturday will remain.” [Fol.2]. The
other six days are called the “night of the faith,” and the reason for this is that
at that time the law (shari’at) of the prophets is a veil (hijab) of the Imam just
as the night is the veil of the sun in this world. But as there is the moon which
takes the place of the sun when it is hidden, so there is Hujjat, who takes the
place of the Imam when he is not manifest, in order that his slaves, i.e., the
“people of order”, could recognise him with (the help of) the light of his
“Proof’s” teaching.

It is also to be understood that in the six thousand years of the “night of the
faith” the Imam also becomes manifest occasionally. But these his
manifestations are not ma’nawi, i.e., those in which he appears in his full glory,
and the knowledge of him, in his real essence, cannot be attained. Just as on
the contrary in the millennium of Saturday he can be recognised with his real
nature because on that day his manifestation is complete.[1] Therefore in these
six thousand years he cannot be recognised. So the [Fol. 2v] great Ra’is says
(in his poetry):

The manifestation (of the Imam is a mystery.
Do not associate it with any (ordinary) person,
Because for the believer who is passing through the Resurrection (qiyamat) it
is immaterial whether he is absent or present.[2]

—————————————————————————[1] The terms
shakli, idafi and ma’nawi, in application to the idea of the zuhur are here the
same as in the Rawdatu’t-taslim. These ideas substantially differ from those of
the Fatimid time where the zuhur of the Imam is his appearance to the world in
the capacity of the ideal theocratic ruler. It is interesting to note that here the
term satr, opposite to zuhur, does not appear at all.

[2] The poetical quotations which appear in this opuscule have, as a rule,
suffered so much in transcription by ignorant scribes that the meaning of some
passages remains quite obscure. In some of these the prosody is not only badly
violated, but ocasionally simply disregarded. Mard-I Qiyamat may also be a
poetical expression for the Qa’im (the term which does not appear here). I
must confess that the meaning of this bayt is not clear to me.

But it would be absurd (to think) that he will leave the “chosen of the order”
(khassan-i tarattub) without the possibility of recogtnising him; for the purpose
of their acquiring this knowledge the world was created. If he should leave
them so, — which God forbid ! — he would be ungenerous. Therefore inevitably
a moon must exist in this night (of faith) which would remain perpetually
manifest in its real nature. Any one who will not attain the knowledge during
the time when the moon appears in its real essence, how should he acquire (this
knowledge) at the time when the sun is manifest in a form which gives no
light? Just as a poet says:-

If to-day no benefit is derived from a complete manifestation (of the Hujjat),
Of what use will be to-morrow a bodily manifestation (of the Imam)?

In another place the poet says:-

The complete manifestation (of the Hujjat) whose propaganda is at work,
Will not be greater or smaller than what it actually should

(2. The Necessity of the Propaganda (da’wat) in the time when the Imam is

One must also know that whenever during the six millennia of the “night of
faith” the Imam has a bodily incarnation (as an ordinary man). [Fol.3] his
Hujjat has no complete manifestation. So it was in the time of the Prince (of
the believers – Ali) when Salman did not reveal his teaching except to one
man.[1] But as soon as the Imam becomes hidden, he (Hujjat) must be
completely manifested and it is impossible that both, the Imam’s bodily
incarnation as well as preaching in his favour, would disappear. He would
cause by this the creations to perish.

The reason why the Imam occasionally withdraws the complete manifestation
of the Hujjat and himself becomes incarnated as an ordinary man is that at that
time the people are not capable (of accepting his doctrines), God forbid! Just
as Hakim Nizari says in his poetry:-

Do not withdraw from those who ardently desire its advent
The full (ma’nawi) manifestation (the date of which) is covered with mystery!
And, after this, the door of mercy in the Heaven

[1] Certain expressions in this text have been naively ciphered, either entirely
or partly, with the help of the figures substituted for letters according to the
abjad system, with zeros being omitted in tens. Thus I-m-a-m is 1+4
(0)+1+4(0). This system is apparently not used in the Fatimid literature which
employs a special script. The single man to whom Salman revealed his doctrine
was certainly the Prophet. The part of the Salman as Jabra’il is probably a new
invention of the Safawid times.

[2] Ma-bandi may stand for ma-band. In the province of Qa’in and Birjand,
from which Nizari was hailed, this is now the usual form of the Imperative with
a negation,

So it is proved that it is on account of his slaves’ errors, negligence and
sinfulness that he shuts occasionally the door of mercy and the gate of the
knowledge of himself and leaves them to their fate.

If thou leave us to ourselves to act,
(Then) explain (clearly) what thou wilt have us to do.

(3. The Fourfold Knowledge about the Imam).

And again one must know that (the way to) the knowledge of the Imam is
fourfold. [Fol.3v.] First, the knowledge of his body. It can be shared even by
an animal. Secondly, the knowledge of his name. It can be obtained even by
adversaries. Thirdly, the recognition of his Imamat. In this the “people of the
order” can participate. Fourth, the knowledge of his (real) nature. It can be
possessed by his Hujjat only.

(4. The Hujjat’s and Da’i’s knowledge of the Imam).

One must also know that the “people of the order,” i.e. the da’is and other
inferior ranks (hudud) can always trace the person of the Imam by the guidance
of two signs of which one is his legitimate nomination of two signs of which
one is his legitimate nomination (nass) and the other his descent. But the
chosen, i.e. the Hujjat, knows him since pre-eternal times by his miraculous
knowledge and by innate disposition. In several past incarnations some da’is
have not erred in recognising the Imam’s person through being in possession of
the true knowledge. The reason (of their correct recognition) was their
following that principle. But the other da’is, who were misguided, committed
an error, the reason of which was that they took into consideration only the
(Imam’s) descent. Therefore they gave up Shah Nizar with his (real rights for)
Imamat. This was the reason (why it happened in this way).

In the two incarnations, in which he dropped both indications, he first caused
to appear his Hujjat and appointed him, and after this [Fol.4] he withdrew his
two signs and disappeared, even in his personal form, from amongst the
“people of order.” Later on the higher degrees of the believers traced the
person of the Imam with the help of the indication and guidance of the Hujjat
after an examination of the matter. But some people, not strong (in their
belief), did not listen to these arguments of the Hujjat or (simply) were
incapable of understanding them [1] by the way of following the opinion of
the majority.

(5. The Relation between the Imam and the Hujjat).

[1] A short lacuna in the text,

(6. The Manifestation of the Imam is essential for the Existence of the

It is also necessary to know that the Imam must necessarily exist in all three
kawns, i.e., worlds, — material, spiritual and cosmic, because he is in fact the
“indispensably existent,” and every thing besides him is but “possibly existent.”
By this latter name anything is called which cannot exist by itself. And as now
all these “possibly existent” objects in fact exist, (it follows that) the Imam is
manifested in their generic class in both worlds (kawn). Were it not so, the
worlds (akwan) could not exist.

If some one says that the Creator (mujid) [1] is an impossibility because the
opposite of the existence (of anything) is non-existence of the equally possible
(mumkinat) thing (i.e., belonging to the same category), and not the non-existence of the One on whom the existence itself depends; nor will be their
non-existence the counterpart of the “Indispensably-existent” (wajibu’l-wujud);
or if he should say that they exist, but are the cause of the other, — all this is
senseless. Therefore [Fol.5] it is obvious that the Imam must be manifested in
both the worlds, one created and corporeal (i.e., material), and the other
abstract (amri) [2] and spiritual, as all three kinds of existence are based on
(the same) Primal Divine Volition (amr).

[1] In the text there is mawjud, i.e., available, existent. This is obviously
erroneous in the context.
[2] The term amr, i.e. (Divine) command, or the primal creative volition of the
Deity, and what belongs to it. Amri, all deal with those basic principles of
creation which precede the visible world.

In the created, material world the posterity (awlad) of everything are always
similar (in properties) to their progenitors, so that the son takes the place of the
father. The same is true of the spiritual world, and the world of primal realities
(amri), with the adversaries who maintain this on the basis of their Shari’at, the
“people of order” (ahl-i tarattub) from their doctrine (ta’lim), and the “people
of (Divine) unity” (ahl-i wahdat), i.e., the Hujjat, from the Divine assistance

And then this also should be noted that the manifestation (of the Imam) in all
these worlds (akwan) is relative (idafi), not absolute (haqiqi). If it were
absolute, it would (have the power to) rule the world of “possibles”

The term “relative” (idafi) is applied to something that resembles something
else (in certain respects), but is essentially different from it, just as a mirage
resembling water, or a reflection in a mirror, and which are different (from
what they resemble). The real, or absolute (haqiqi) is called something that is
the original reality, as water (resembled by a mirage), or the original object
(reflected in a mirror). So Ra’is Hasan says in a poem:-

Thou art a being that appears as a man to men, before the eyes of men, in this
In the form of a man thou art and with men thou remainest.
Thou comest amongst men not showing thy real face,
[Fol.5v.] (Because) in thy pure and attributeless essence
thou art void of every (form).
If (thou appearest) amongst the men, thou art a man, if amidst spirits, a spirit,
Thou grantest them their existence as well as governest them.

And the same Ra’is says in (another) poem:-

The reason why thou has received the illusory attributes,
And why they became incalculable for the world,
If that every religion, whether it be true or false, bad or good,
Invented its own way (of worship) and calls thee by a different name.
Of all these names and attributes, which appeared,
A garden rose up with young trees of the saying “I was a Hidden Treasure.”
Thou art partaking in all these, only from Thee
Comes the existence of all these, inherent in the beings.
But in the eyes of the truth, in Thy real essence Thou art
Really void of all the attributes and all the names.

And Khwaja Nasir says:-

O thou, in whose existence is a possibility of being for the world,
O thou, in whose protection is mankind’s safety!
As a person thou art the manifestation of the Divine Light,
And in the view of reason thou art the source of the different kinds of creations
of the world.
Thou comest appearing to the eyes of all creatures,
But remainest hidden even from the Universal Reason in thy mysterious power.
All three worlds are with thee, and thou hast been with all of them,
Both (the material and spiritual) worlds come from thee, but thou art from
from all of them. [Fol.6] (Therefore) it is to be understood, that only the
manifestation of the Imam in these worlds is their real cause, not anything else.

(7. Definition of the Position of the Hujjat).

Having explained what is the recognition of the Imam, I will proceed to discuss
the recognition of the Hujjat. Know that by this name a person is called whose
real essence is the same as that of the Imam, from all eternity. He becomes
manifested in this world from the sake of the “people of order” so that by
having instructed them in his teaching he should make them recognise the
Imam, because the Imam himself is free from (the necessity of) adopting (the
teaching) or transmitting it (to anybody). The Hujjat, however, free from (the
necessity of) adopting (the teaching) or transmitting it (to anybody). The
Hujjat, however, free from (the necessity of) receiving (any body’s) instruction,
is not free from the duty (of delivering his teaching). And the da’i as well as
the three degrees under him are not free (from both duties). The convert
(mustajib) is not allowed to teach and needs only to accept the instruction.

Therefore it is now clear that the Hujjat has a necessity to deliver his teaching
and others need either accept it and transmit or only adopt it. And if he does not
appear and teach, the “people of order” will fail in attaining salvation and
perfection (in) the next life, and therefore [Fol.gv.] there will be no use in the
creation of the world.

(8. The Logical Proof of the Necessity of the Hujjat).

There are numereous indications, in logical arguments as well as in tradition,
showing that without the help of the Hujjat it is impossible to recognise the

The logical proof is as follows. In every thing existent its perfect quality
cannot pass from the state of potency into action without an impulse from
outside. If it could be otherwise, the result necessarily would be that all the
(material) bodies, in which the ability of movement is considered as their most
perfect state, could come into activity spontaneously, without being compelled
by something else, which “stays behind them,” i.e., in some of them the
vegetable spirit, and in the others the animal or human spirit. If this is the case
with the body, which belongs to the world of semblance, in the spirit, which is
the archetype (of the body), without (the help of) the Hujjat no spiritual
movement can exist, because it is the progress from the vices towards (moral)
perfection and transmitting (the teaching) to those able (to accept it).

(9. The Traditional Proof of the Necessity of the Hujjat).

The proof of tradition (can be derived) first from the orthodox teachings of
shari’at, which are called by their followers “the word of God and of the
Prophet,” and also from the teachings of the “worshippers of the Truth,” who
are opposed to the orthodox, as Hakim Sana’i, (Jalalu’d-Din) Rumi “the
revealer of the Truth,” Shaykh Attar, and others. And even from the words of
the Batinis, which God inspires to them. (Fol. 7). They all cannot understand,
and even fall into contradictions with themselves. There are also teachings of
the mystery of the (eternal) Truth, revealed by the Imam, in the time of his
perfect incarnation, or by his Hujjat who is always completely manifested.

Whenever in the plain teaching of shari’at the Coran, the Lord (mihtar) Jabra’il,
Mika’il, Israfil and Azra’il are spoken of, their real meaning and archetype, as
can be explained, is the Hujjat, because in allegorical interpretation, ta’wil, the
meaning of the “angel” is the “people of unity” (ahl-i wahdat), i.e., the Hujjat,
nobody else. And wherever da’i mentioned, it means the prophet, as in the
Coran (XXXIII, 45) there is a verse (let His word be exalted!) — “. . . calling
towards God, by His order, as a burning candle.” And as regards (his
statement) that he (Muhammad) was receiving revelation from Jabra’il, i.e.,
that he was a da’i, he received instruction from Salman, and the words which
he uttered prove this: “If Abu Dharr could know what is in the mind of
Salman, truly he would call him an unbeliever,” which means that should Abu
Dharr be aware of what is in Salman’s heart, he would kill him. When our
Lord (Sayyid-na) was asked about the meaning of this tradition of the Prophet
[Fol, 7v], he said in reply that if Salman were to say to Abu Dharr that his,
Salman’s, position is superior to that of the Prophet and that Mawla-na Ali is
the creator and the architect of the world, the former would look upon these
words as heresy and slay Salman.

There are (words) of the Amiru’l-mu’min ( Ali):

“Salman is with us (as one)
of (our own) family, the sun from the Light of God, a part of us (and) from us.
The heart of a true believer is the Light of God, but no believer is as powerful
as Salman, although a believer is eternal in the two worlds.”

Rumi, the revealer of the Truth, says about Khidr and Moses that the latter was
learning perfection from the former. And in the beginning when Moses had not
received from him a (revealed) instruction, he could not realise the mysterious
meaning of Khidr’s actions. So Rumi sayd in his Mathnavi: –

That boy whose throat Khidr has cut
The common people will not undestand his mystery.
Even from Moses with all his wisdom and wit
It remained hidden. Thou, o wingless, do not try to fly![1]

Hakim Nizari says (alluding to this story):-

If it had been an easy thing to penetrate to that source (of mystery),
How could Moses turn back from Khidr in confusion?
The Paradise of Adam, the Ark of Noah, the vision [Fol. 8] of Abraham,
Jesus and Mary, the mount Sinai of Moses, Gabriel of Mustafa – all these are
(forms of ) the Hujjat. All the orthodox believe in this (tradition), but they do
not know about its interpretation (ta’wil). Just as Amir Sayyid Ali-i Wa’iz
(Kashifi), one of the orthodox, in a poem composed in praise of Ali says that
once (the Prophet) was sitting and Jabra’il was by his side. At this time the
Amiru’l-mu’minin ( Ali) entered the house and Gabriel paid respect to him.
The Prophet asked: “Why hast thou such veneration for my little boy? ” To
this Gabriel replied: “He, was my teacher in the beginning of my existence.”
Then the Prophet asked: “How much time passed since thy creation?” Gabriel

“Although I do not know the (exact) number of my years,
I know a star, an ornament of the Divine Throne,
It is a star which only once in every thirty thousand years
Rises over the greatest and the highest Throne (of God)
Since the time when I came into existence by His might,
That star thirty thousand times appeared to me.”

It is also said that although Gabriel has the form of a bird, as the other angels,
on that day, however, he appeared [fol. 8v.] to the Prophet in the form of a
man, and as a man was sitting by the side of Mustafa. In fact the Imam, who is
the “origin” (asl), and Gabriel, who follows him, as well as Mustafa, who
follows Gabriel, all of them always have the appearance of a man; and later,
when Mustafa accepted the teaching of the Hujjat, their real essence became
(also) one. Not only can Mustafa, the “strong one” (qawi) amongst the
“people of order,” join them, but the other degrees which are inferior to him
can become joined with them as soon as they receive the same knowledge.

Amidst the traditions current amongst the orthodox there is one in which it is
related that somebody asked A’isha if it is true that the Prophet says that on a
certain night he went to heaven and saw those things (of which he told).
A’isha said in reply: “I saw only that he went out from the house and came
back so soon that water was still flowing from the jug which he struck with the
skirt of his cloak when going out. And I do not know anything as regards
what he says that Gabriel brings messages to him. I know only that occasionly
the barefooted Salman comes and tells something secretly, and [Fol. 9v.] after
a short time the Prophet begins to say that Gabriel descended and told him
from the mouth of God this or that.”

In short, all the tradition of the orthodox gives evidence that Gabriel is (in
reality) Salman, but they cannot understand this. And what the “people of
Truth” say is as well absolute evidence that the Imam has said: “Salman is
from me and I am from Salman.” In another place he said: “Salman is one of
the gates of Paradise,” because the door of Paradise is a man, and therefore the
whole place of it must be a man. In another place he says: “Salman is the door
of Paradise,” but (he does) not (say): “soul of Paradise.” In some other place
he says: “I am with my friends everywhere they would seek for me, in the hills,
on the plain, in the desert,” etc. And everybody to whom he revealed his
essence, i.e., the knowledge of him, is not in need of being physically
connected with the Imam. This is the Great Resurrection.[1] In another place
he says: “Be obedient to me, and I will make thee like myself,” i.e., [Fol. 9v.]
“obey me and thou wilt be similar to myself as Salman.”

Ra’is Hasan says:-
Thou art one whose “Door” is the Hujjat in this world;
(It can be said) by a hundred thousand mouths there is none similar to and of
the same origin as thee.
(About) his position which is so close to God as that of the “two bows’
Wisdom tells in Kenoma (Emptiness) and Pleroma (Fulness), i.e. the whole of
the Universe.
And the same author in another place says:-
Salman-i Farsi, through whom the world was created.
Is the “door” (to the knowledge) of Ali. Let us begin (this poem) with
mention of his name.
He prostrated himself in veneration of the face of God for the reason

That we would do prostration for the worship of the face of God.
Hakim Nizari says:-
O Lord, in the great revelation,
In which thou hast unveiled the hidden mystery,
If thou hast manifested in secret,
It is because thou hast caused the trumpets (of the Resurrection) to be blown
by thy Hujjat.

The same poet in these munajat says:-

By the truth of the prophets and thy Hujjat,
Who made ready the way to thy teaching (da’wat).
Hakim Thana’i says in a poem (composed in praise of ) Iskandar regarding the
circumstances of his joining the teaching of the Hujjat: [Fol. 10].
The true belief became glorious in the world in my eyes because it was told me
That the exalted guide (to it) is he, the “gate of Mawla-na.”

Khwaja Nasir says[1]:-
When his Hujjat will blow the first of his trumpets, He will kill all those who
are still living in posession of knowledge.
And when He in His own person will blow the trumpet of the Resurrection,
[1] This may be Nasiru’d-din Tusi whose poetry is apparently not preserved.

In another poem it is said:-
Whoever does not know without doubt the Hujjat of the Truth in this world,
He has no eye which can see, he is the most blind of all the blind.
Khwaja Qasim from Tushtar[1] says:-
I have acquired the knowledge of the Imam of my time with the help of a man
Who is himself the incomparable name of One God.

That man is the Hujjat and the “incomparable name,” which is the name of the
Imam, is the Hujjat as well, because (only) he is the Imam’s real name and only
from him is it possible to acquire a knowledge of the Imam, and not from those
fictitious names. The teaching, concealed in the majority of the books and
poems current amongst this community, is that the “door of mercy” and the
“gate of knowledge” of the Imam is the Hujjat, leading to the prson and the
name of the Imam, and (as in ordinary life) whoever comes through the door
enters the house, and who does not do so cannot come into it.

The nature and the real essence of both [Fol. 10v] are the same. This doctrine
was explained several times. And if it were not so and they both were not the
same, in such a case one of them would be God, and the other a creature. But
God cannot be recognised from the creature. This is the difference in the
teaching of this community and of intuitive systems.[1] The doctrines of the
orthodox say the same, although they cannot understand these implications.
O, my pir, my God, with thy help I knew the Truth,
O, my guide and leader, with thy assistance I have found the Truth.
And it is said:-
The men of God are not God himself,
But they are not distinct from God.
(And another verse):-
For the reason that thy eyes are weak,
Thy first object of worship must be the pir.

(10. The Reason why the Imam and his Hujjat are the same in their
essence but separate in their bodily appearance).

If some one should ask why they are the same as regards their nature but exist
separate in the bodily form, he may be answered in two ways.

(The first) explanation is this. If their persons were not different so that one of
them might preach in favour of the other, a suspicion might arise amongst the
common people and they might think that he is doing this for a mean purpose if
he were to call them to join his own cause. But as long as he preaches
apparently in favour of someone else, the mob does not consider him [Fol. 11)
as doing this is his own favour, being ingnorant of the fact that both of them
are one. They live in the world of multitude and find a proof of the Truth of
the religion of our Lord and his Hujjat in what is said in the “blessed books”
(fusul-i mubarak). At the same time if the Imam and his Hujjat were not the
same in their religion and preaching, the result necessarily would be that this
their religion and the Truth are different, manifold. And as soon as the (true)
religion becomes manifold, it makes no difference whether there be two (sects)
or seventy-one.

The second reply is as follows: If their persons were not different, so that one
could manifest himself in all the three worlds and the other observe the Truth
only, a doubt might appear in the religion of the “people of order,” who are the
seekers after the way to the Truth, about the real character of his preaching.

By these logical proofs and the evidence of tradition it is explained why in the
six thousand years of the “night of the religion” the knowledge of Imam cannot
be acquired without the help of his Hujjat.

(11. The Hujjat’s Miraculous Knowledge).

Now it is necessary to know what is the sign of his miracle and why he is
manifested in the world (akwan) of the Truth (only). The first reason is as
follows. I begin to explain the sign of his miracle. [Fol. 11v] The Hujjat
necessarily must posess a sign or a miracle which could not be performed as
well by any created or spiritual being. The miracles (in general) are usually of
two kinds. One is that performed by the action of physical power and the
other by (miraculous) knowledge and argument. Each of these kinds can be
imitated, i.e. (an action may be done which is) similar to it but is not the same
in reality.

The miracle which depends on an action of the physical power is called that
which happens in the material world, while the miracle of knowledge and
persuasion appears in the mental sphere. In all beings action and power belong
to their material side which they as well as the Hujjat possess. There could be
no greater power than if a man were to subdue to himself the whole world and
slay all mankind. And he may abide in such condition (of greatness), but a lion
or a snake may kill him although nobody can say that a lion or a snake is better
than that man, they being only animals. And as (a physical miracle) can come
from an animal, (it can happen also from other categories of the material
world), as from a plant in (the power ) of producing fruits, from minerals in
affecting senses, from fire, wind, water, earth (in short) no wonderful and
strange peculiarity of the material qualities or action can be possessed by any
single individual object in the world which cannot [Fol. 12] be shared by

The imitation of the miracle of knowledge can also be shared by many (living
beings). Such are sorcery, incantation, the miracles of the saints, astrologers,
fortune-tellers, “comb-seers,”[1] and so forth, who (also) reveal the secrets of
the created world. Therefore it is clear that the miracle inimitable and the sign
the like of which nobody can produce is the Hujjat’s true knowledge which he
possesses for the negation of the un-truth and the establishment of the Truth,
which is (the teaching about) the Imam. And no one who is reasonable and
just can deny it.

This is the miracle which nobody else can perform and this wonderful power
belongs only to the Hujjat. There are also many indications proving that the
knowledge of the Hujjat is the “word of the Truth,” and that his miracle is the
same, not a physical action. These indications can be found in the teachings of
the orthodox, which is the “commandment to the common,” as well as in the
“secret wisdom,” or the teaching of the Truth, which is the “commandment to
the chosen.”

There are many verses of the Coran in the “open” (zahir) teachings of the
orthodox (proving this statement). One of them says: “On the prophet
depends only preaching” (V, 99), which means that it is possible to demand
from the prophet, i.e., Gabriel, only this delivery of his message, which is
instruction in the explanation of the doctrine about the unity of the True Lord
(Khudawand-i Haqq), and nothing more.
[1] This is obviously a variety of divination, but I never heard of it in Persia.

There is also a tradition of the Prophet saying: “We made prohibited to . . . but
the right is reverted [Fol. 12v.] . . . [1] their food and drink until they know
their Creator and Lord.” It means that to those who have not acquired the
knowledge (of the Imam) even the things are prohibited which are allowed by
the shar’at, but to the “knower” (shinasanda) even that which is prohibited by
the orthodox doctrines is permitted, as (drinking) wine, etc. But this “knower”
is only one, or those who are with him as regards the teaching.[2]

The proofs from the secret doctrines of the Truth are the utterances of the
Hujjats and da’is. First the saying of the Great Ra’is:-

The wine which thou drinkest in this world by any body’s order,[3]
Consider it in its degree as the “pure drink” of the Coran (LXXVI, 21).
If one drinks it by the order of the “man of the Truth” and gives it to others, it
may be lawful. Therefore how can it be prohibited! Hakim Nizari says:-
Thou hast not recognised the Imam of thy time and hast not tried to find him.
Then know clearly that gold and property are unlawful to thee.

[1] Two short lacunas in the text.
[2] The theory that such a “knowing” person (Sufic arif, or as here,
shinasanda) may be absolved from the drudgery of going through the
prescribed forms of worship, was always very popular in highly devout circles,
and, as is well-known, was the basis of the sweeping accusations against the
Ismailis. It appears fully developed already before the rise of the Fatimids, as
in the Kitabu’l-Mahsul by an anonymous author, was attacked by Abu Hatim
ar-Razi, defended by Abu Ya’qub as-Sijistani in his Kitabu’n-Nusra, and finally
ruled out by Sayyid-na Hamidu’d-din al-Kirmani in his Kitabu’r-Riyad, as
inconsistent with the official Ismaili doctrine (qanun). It is, therefore,
interesting to note that, probably under the Sufic influence, it has been revived
at such a late period.
[3] Here the expression Kasi, some one, may mean the Hujjat, and the strange
word used to refer to him perhaps depends on the context which is not quoted

Now, if it is impossible to see his actions in their real implications (and) he
cannot be recognised without (the evidence of) a miracle and sign, then what
can be an indication of him except his words? In the majority of books it is
stated in this way: the muhiqq, “revealer of the Truth,” i.e. the “word of the
Truth,” must be recognised by a “miracle of knowledge.” In some other places
[Fol. 13] it is said that it is necessary to hear from the “revealer,” i.e., the
Hujjat the “True Word” which is the “word of Truth,” which is the Imam.
After this it is necessary to accept his Hujjat. And the purpose of listening to
this “word” is to learn its meaning, which is the negation of the false
affirmation of the (truth of the ) Imam. In the same way in the shari’at the
truth of the formula “There is no deity except Allah,” has to be heard from the
revealer of the orthodox doctrines, i.e., Muhammad. The meaning of these
two formulas of the “evidence” (shahadat), of which one is in the shari’at and
the other haqiqat, is refutation of the falsehood and affirmation of the Truth.
But in this religion nobody can be recognised as a true believer until he proves
by (proper) arguments and indications (his) negation of the falsehood and
acknowledgement of the Truth, i.e., the Imam. Nobody will consider him a
true believer from the mere fact of his having pronounced the formula (of the
confession) although in the shari’at it is so. And so “the word of the Truth”
cannot be taken as the evidence except on that single occasion.

(12. The Reason why the Hujjat can be manifested in the “Truth” only).

Now, when the miracle and sign of the Hujjat, which are “the word of
Truth,”are explained, one must know why he becomes manifested in the
haqiqat (the eternal Truth) only and why, as everybody says, his actions point
out to the fact that he absolutely does not observe the prescriptions of the
shari’at. The reason is that in the beginning of every millennial period, when all
the institutions governing that period are formed [
Fol. 13v.], there are, besides the Hujjat, only three persons (taking part in the
establishing of the doctrine), not more. They are the prophet, the Imam and
the orthodox ruler. The prophet has to appear in the two aspects, kawn, of the
religion, because he does not possess the position of the Hujjat. The Imam
must be manifested in the three worlds (kawn) and the ruler of the orthodox
only in the shari’at.

Therefore if the Hujjat should obey the orthodox laws, doubts as to his
preaching (da’wat) of the Truth would arise amongst his followers. And if he
should like to be manifested in the orthodox world (as well as amongst the
believers of the Truth) he would be a sinner, perhaps worse than a sinner. This
is why in the beginning of the period of Muhammad in which we are living, the
Hujjat was Salman, who by no means followed the prescriptions of the shari’at,
but intentionally and in the presence of every body was doing unlawful things.
This is why all the adversaries blamed him.

But the Hadrat-i Amir ( Ali) observed the commandments of the shari’at and
after the death of the Prophet took the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr,
although he did not allow Salman to do this. When Umar, having grasped the
collar of Ali, was dragging him to swear allegiance, some one of the
adversaries came forth and, turning to Salman, said: “How comes it that the
person about whom thou tellest all these (stories) and to whom thou ascribest
such extraordinary qualities, is now dragged in such humility to take an oath of
allegiance to Abu Bakr?” Salman in reply said: “If he liked [Fol. 14] he
could make this that, and that this,” pointing at the same time to the earth and
the sky. But the Amir, having looked upon him angrily, said: “One must not
say everything he knows.” But when (Umar) grasped the collar of Salman
and dragged him with all the Persians[1] to take the oath, the Amir came, freed
him from the hands of Umar, and did not permit this.

The secret why he himself swore was that in the time of Mustafa his religion
(shari’at) had not yet reached everywhere and (Ali) wished that it should
spread so that the “completer”[2] should not remain in the same condition as
the adversaries, this he thought to be the most important. The plain religion
(shari’at) could not be complete, however, unless he were himself to follow
that “completer” (because otherwise) the adversaries would not follow him
(the “completer”). But as was already explained, the adversaries have to exist,
because, if, being wrong, they should not exist, nobody would know about
their real position. Therefore the “people of order” would remain without their
goal (madar) and merit and would cease to seek for the (true) knowledge. If
therefore it is clear that the adversaries have to exist as well, then without
shari’at which prevents them from their depravity and cruelty, they would not
leave a single man alive [Fol. 14v.], the world would be devastated and there
would be no advantage for the “people of degrees.”
[1] It is worth while noting this legendary development. Indirectly it
corroborates the theory of the Persians, not Badakshani, origin of the work,
because, for the author, the Persians were all Shi’ites. Note also that the author
uses the term Farsiyan. This, of course, may be merely an extension of the
surname of Salman, but it is not entirely impossible that for the author the
Persians were chiefly the people of Fars because he himself belonged to that

[2] The expression tamam-kunanda is quite enigmatic. This obviously has
nothing to do with the ancient Ismaili term Mutimm, in the sense of the Imam,
i.e., the person who brings to completion the mission of the Prophet. Here,
most probably, it means the Khatimu’l-anbiya’, i.e., the Prophet himself.
So Sayyid (Nasir-i Khusraw) says:-
Amongst them there is a handful of the wretched and villains,
Whom a clever man calls the “devilish people.”
They are Satan in their deeds although in the shape of men,
Being a hundred degrees lower than a horse, cow or ass.
Their hearts are not awake because they have not soul,
They have nothing to do except to criticise the chosen.
Yes, they exist, this handful of the perverse,
They are the cause of the humility of the world.[1]

This is why the adversaries are (usually) compared to an obstinate mule and the
shari’at to a chain and rope. As an obstinate animal is led along the road with
the help of the rope and chain, so the adversaries can be led by the (proper)
way with the help of the shari’at.
[1] This is from the Rawshana’i-nama by Nasir-i Khusraw, cf. H. Ethe’s
edition in the ZDMG, Vol. 34 (1880), pp. 453-454. The passage refers to the
uncivilised and morally low people in general.

So it is clear that the shari’at is conductive also to the (common) benefit and
therefore undoubtedly the Imam must manifest himself in it as well. In a
portion of a book[1] it is said that Malik (i.e. Devil) and Ridwan, the symbols
of Hell and Paradise, are self-existent. No, this is wrong. They both exist by
him (the Imam), i.e., by his manifestation in the esssence of each.[2] As
Ridwan is paradise and in his hands are the ways of mercy, so Malik is Hell and
he has in his hands the ways of punishment. As, for this reason, the people
make Ridwan [Fol. 15] (in their belief) to take upon himself the protection of
the good, which is (simply the idea of the) kindness of men, so Malik only for
the reason of his wickedness, which (in fact) is the wickedness of men, is
believed to protect the wicked. As Paradise is better for the good, so Hell is
worse for the bad.

It is therefore clear that even the falsehood cannot have an illusory existence by
itself. There are always two principles,[3] Paradise and Hell. The first is
destined for those who deserve it, and the second for the wicked. For the first
the teaching of the chosen is commanded, and for the second the teaching of
the common people. But he (the Imam) acts in accordance with the principles
of both in order that they may exist, although he did not command one of them
to follow the teaching of the other, because their followers may fall in doubt
and abandon their religion, leaving therefore the exoteric and the esoteric
persuasions without their purity. So it is proved undoubtedly that the Hujjat
necessarily must abandon following the teaching of the shari’at.
[1] It is a strange expression: dar qit’a’i fasli, literally “in a fragment of a
pamphlet.” Perhaps here qit’a is used in the technical sense of a special variety
of poem?

[2] This does not mean, of course, that the Imam should manifest himself in
Hell, or realm of evil. The author obviously means that the Imam should also
be connected with the people of plain religion who, as sinners, are bound to go
to hell.

[3] The author uses the term shakhs, person, in a strange sense, just as
mushakhkhas. He apparently wants to emphasise individuality, independent

(13. Definition of the Classes of the Believers).

Having given a definition and the signs of the Hujjat, I will proceed to the
description of the “people of order.”
They are divided into two categories — the strong and the weak. The “strong”
(obviously for “weak”) are those who acquired the knowledge of the Hujjat
[Fol. 15v.) and preach in his favour amongst the new converts. the sign of
their activities consists in the acceptance of the teaching of the Hujjat, which
they transmit to the weak, living in accordance with the rules of the shari’at.[1]
[1] Here obviously the author, or, mor probably, later scribes, have altered the
order of words at the beginning, which should have been “weak” first, and
“strong” last, as otherwise there is no sense in the passage.

Those called “the weak” (strong?) are the people who resign themselves
entirely in accepting the teaching, instruction and interpretation (of religion).
They must live in accordance with the spiritual (aqli) prescriptions of the
shari’at. The strong are the da’is, senior ma’dhuns, the teachers, junior
ma’dhuns, and the weak are the mustajibs. Whichever he may be, strong or
weak, a believer cannot attain to the Divine guidance (ta’yid) until he acquires
the degree of the Hujjat in the acknowledgement of the Imamat.[1]

What are the spiritual ( aqli) prescriptions of the shari’at? Will not the
prohibition of eating grapes and drinking wine, etc., be removed? Yes, the
ritual prescriptions, as reciting the formulas of the profession of the religion,
ablutions, fasting, prayers, paying the tithe, pilgrimage and religious war, may
be cancelled if the believer is acting in accordance with the interpretation
(ta’wil) of these commandments, but only when there is no necessity for the
[1] This obviously does not mean that anyone can become a Hujjat, but simply
would acquire the knowledge of the Hujjat’s wisdom, by accepting his

(14. The Question of the Tithe).

It is to be understood also that the religion of this community is the true
teaching of the Lord (Mawla-na) and his Hujjat, and therefore the (material)
value of the Truth which they both know (must be) everything (one possesses),
not only the one-tenth (of the income) prescribed by the shari’at. This one-tenth is the price of the shari’at which is not worth more. Therefore in these
times of the “night of the Faith” the Truth can be obtained only by those of the
“people of order” who will sacrifice every thing they possess for the sake of
Truth. But whoever will keep for himself even a trifle, shall not acquire the
Truth because he will not obtain the consent of the Hujjat and his wisdom and
knowledge, and none of those who do not [Fol. 16] possess these will acquire
salvation. A poet says:-

If thou wilt remain in possession even of a trifle (value of property) thou art
not the man of the “way.”

Khwaja Nasir says[1]:-

When his Hujjat shall blow the trumpet of the preaching, he will
Kill all who are (still) living in possession of the knowledge.
But when he (the Imam) shall blow the trumpet of Resurrection in his own
He will make alive all who died in ignorance.
to those who will be alive by the sound of his teaching,
He will give a place on the throne of his eternal kingdom.
But those who remain dead on the day of His mission
He will burn in the fire of the eternal non-existence.
The sign of life in Him in this world is this:
That man should free his heart from whatever is not He.
The sign of death in Him is opposite to this,
And he will destroy that man’s place to dust.
If He breathe to thee, both worlds will come into thy possession,
But if not, He will take from thee even thy essence.
Therefore if any one will keep for himself from the “price of Truth (i.e.
Hujjat)” anything, however small it may be, he will not attain the true teaching.
Failing in this, he will fail in every thing, because all the things are in Him and
without Him nothing. And if he will hand to Him all he possesses, keeping
nothing for himself, he will become a king and lord of both worlds.

[1] See also above, fol. 10, where the same poem is quoted, and even the first
two bayts repeated.

(15. The Adversaries)

After having given the definition of the “people of order, ” I shall proceed to
the description of the adversaries. They are divided into two classes: the
unbelievers and the hypocrites (dissemblers). The hypocrites [Fol. 16v.] are
worse than unbelievers, because the last-mentioned are called the men who
preserve the same attitude in the presence as well as the absence (of the
believers), and do not make an appearance of accepting the instruction of the
teacher of this community, denying it, however, in secret. The believers thus
may keep themselves safe from their intrigues, being warned by the statements
which they (the unbelievers) make in the presence of the instructor. They will
not fail in practising all sort of hostile actions in their power, but at the same
time they will not keep their real intentions secret so that the believers can take
their precautions. A poet says:-
A faithful dog is much better than a brother who is a dissembler.

In another poem it is said:-
Be either a plain unbeliever or a faithful believer.

In another place it is said:-
Rather be a (complete) unbeliever, than a dissembler.

Another verse:-
Be either a Negro from Zanzibar, or a pure believer,
Be either quite hard as a stone or as absolutely soft as wax.

This is the exposition of the (real) properties of the Imam, the “people of
unity,” the “people of order” and the adversaries, explained in a language
understood by everybody in order that the common people may more easily
learn about it and not remain without their share in its benefit.

By the glory of His Essence!
A dog which is trained, becomes alert and swift,
And when it acquires a (mystic) knowledge,
Shares the company of the Seven Ephesians.
The dog that is trained, abandons mischief
And chases in the groves only lawful game.

Aba (Ba) Bakr, 13v.
Abu Dharr, 7, 7v.
ada, i.e., ada’i ta’lim, 6, 6v.
ada’i ithbat-i Imamat, 15v.
ada kardan, 6v.
ahkam-i aqli-yi shari’at, 15v.
ahkam-i hazara, 13.
ahkam-i shari’at, 13v.
ahl-i batin, 6v.
ahl-i haqiqat, 9.
ahl-i haqq, 6v.
ahl-i tadadd, 1v, 3v, 5, 14, 14v, 16, 16v.
ahl-i tadadd (ithbat-i), 16.
ahl-i tarattub, 2, 2v, 3v, 4, 5, 6, 8v, 11, 14, 14v, 15, 15v, 16, 16v; din-i a.t., 11;
ki da’iyan wa baqi hudud zir-i hujjat, 3v; da’ifan, 4; jism-i a.t., 4; madar wa
rawnaq-i a.t., 14; qawi-tar-i a.t., 8v; qawiyyan, 4; qawiyyan wa da’ifan, 15;
shinakht-i a.t., 15.
ahl-i wahdat, 5, 7, 16v; (= hujjat, 7).
ahl-i zahir, 8, 9, 10v.
ahlu’l-bayt, 7v.
Aisha, 8v.
akhirat, 6; kamal-i a., 6.
akwan (cf. kawn), 4v, 5, 5v, 6.
akwan-i haqiqat, 11.
alam-i amri, 5.
alam-i khalqiyyat, 12.
alam-i zahir wa batin, 15.
Ali, 9v; Mawla-na, 7v, 8; khaliq wa musawwir-i alam, 7v.
Ali-yi Wa’iz, Amir Sayyid, 8.
Amir, hadrat-i, cf. Ali, 3, 7v, 8, 13v, 14.
Amir Sayyid Ali-yi Wa’iz, 8.
amr, mazhar-i, 1v, 5v, 6; = teaching, 6.
amr-i amm wa khass, 4v, 15.
amr-i hujjati, 4.
amr-i khass=haqiqat, 12; amm=shari’at, 12.
amri, alam-i, 5; kawn-i a., 5, 5v.
anbiya’, 9v.
anwar-i Kardgar, 5v.
aql, 5v.
aql-i kull, mazhar-i, 1v, 5v.
ashab-i kahf, 16v.
Attar, Shaykh, 6v.
( azizi darad), 2v, 16, 16v.
Azra’il, mihtar, 7.

Ba (Aba) Bakr, 13v.
bab min abqab al-Jannat (=salman), 9.
bab-i ma’rifat, 3.
bab-i ma’rifat-i Imam, 10.
bab-i Mawla-na, 10.
bab-i rahmat,3.
baha’i haqiqat, 15v,16.
baha’i shari’at, 15v.
bandagan, 26v.
ba’th, ruz-i, 6.
batin, 5v, 6v, 9v; ahl-i b., 6v.
batin-i haqiqat, 7, 12v.
batin-i mutlaq, 4v.
batiniyan, 4v.
bay’at, 13v, 14.
Bihisht, 9, 15; jan-i B., 9; dar-ha-yi B., mard-i B., 9.
Bihisht wa Duzakh, 14v.
Bu Dharr=Abu Dharr, 7, 7v.

Coran, see Qur’an.

Daddan, 13v.
da’i, 1v,6, 7; wa 3 hadd zir-i u, 6; = payghambar, 7.
da’iyan, 3v; d. qa hujjatan, 12v; d.=qawiyyan, 15v; d. ba-haqq, 3v; d. na haqq,
da’ifan (-i ahl-i tarattub), 4, 15v.
dalil (-i Imamat), 3v.
dar-i Bihisht (=mard), 9.
dar-i rahmat, 3, 10.
da’wat, 2v, 3, 9v, 10v, 11, 15v, 16; d. wa din, 11; d. wa ta’lim, 15v; d. ba
hujjat, 15v; sur-i d. 16.
da’wat-i haqiqat, 13v.
da’wat-i hujjat, 8v, 15v.
da’wat-i Imam, 3.
da’wat-i zuhur-i ma’nawi, 2v.
dawra, 13, 13v; sar-i har d., 13.
dawra’i Muhammadi, 13v.
Dharr, Abu, 7, 7v.
dhat, 9, 10, 16; d. wa ma’ni, 10.
didan-i Ibrahim, 8.
din, 1v, 2, 11 15v; ruz-i d., 1v, 2; shab-i d., 11; d. ba haqiqat- Mawla-na, 11.
din wa da’wat, 11.
din-i ahl-i tarattub, 11.
din-i haqiq-yi Mawla-na madhhab’i in firqa, 11.
Duzakh, 14v, 15; D. wa Bihisht, 14v.

Farzand-i Imam, 4.
Farzand-i ma’nawi-yi Imam, 4.
farzandan=i jismani-yi Imam, 4.
Farsiyan, 14.
firishta, 7, 8; f. ba surat-i murgh, 8.
firqa, in, 10, 10v, 11, 15v.
firqa-ha-yi nazariyya, 10v.
fusul, 10, 11, 12v (cf. fasl); akthar-i fusul wa qasa’id, 10.
fusul-i mubarak, 11.

Ghuluww, 13v.

Hadd, 6 (cf. hudud); 3 hadd. zir-i da’i, 6.
hafta’i din, 1v.
hajj, 15v.
hakim Nizari, 3, 7v, 9v, 12v.
hakim Sana’i, 6v.
hakim Thana’i, 9v.
hakim-i shari’at, 13v.
halal-ha-yi shar’i, 12v.
haqiqat, 2, 4, 5v, 7, 11, 12, 12v, 13, 13v, 15v, 16; akwan-i h., 11; baha’i h.,
15v, 16; batin-i h., 12v; da’wat-i h., 13v; kalima-i shahadat dar h., 13; kawn-i
h., 13; qawl-i h., 13;; h. ki amr-i khass ast, 12; h. ki hujjat ast, 16.
haqiqat-i Mawla-na, 11.

Please leave your comments

Quran, 13:28

ألا بِذِكْرِ اللهِ تَطمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

“Verily! In the remembrance of Allah do hearts find contentment.” - Quran, 13:28

Prophet Muhammad

Prophet Muhammad:

‘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.’

Hazrat Ali

12. When some blessings come to you, do not drive them away through thanklessness.

13. He who is deserted by friends and relatives will often find help and sympathy from strangers.

Imam Ali Sayings

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

Rumi on Ramadan

The month of fasting has come, the emperor’s banner has arrived; withhold your hand from food, the spirit’s table has arrived. The soul has escaped from separation and bound nature’s hands; the heart of error is defeated, the army of faith has arrived. Fasting is our sacrifice, it is the life of our soul; let us sacrifice all our body, since the soul has arrived as guest. Fortitude is as a sweet cloud, wisdom rains from it, because it was in such a month of fortitude that the Koran arrived. …Wash your hands and your mouth, neither eat nor speak; seek that speech and that morsel which has come to the silent ones.


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99 Beautiful Names

Asma-ul Husna


Aga Khan jokes

Aga Khan Speech Brown University May 1996:

"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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