III. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF TRIPARTITE PATTERNS lN QIYMA DOCTRINE




The Qiyma may seem to be the goal of an evolutionary development from zhir to btin, a rising up from an external to an internal religion. This assumption is rapidly dashed, for, instead, the Qiyma does away with the entire system characterized by dualities.

Certain systems of tripatitions not of dualities, offer more fruilful avenues for interpretation. One of these tripartitions has already been noted: (30) zhir-btin-haqiqa, and it occurs, also, in a list compiling such triparlititions. (31) Tsi, who supplies the list, sets up sequences of three levels of being in the Qiyma. Two other tripartitions are: bodily (jismni) -spiritual (rhani)-rational-i.e: in Reason ('aqlni), and outer revelation (tanzil)-explanation of it (ta'wil)-reality (haqiqa). This consistent pattern reveals the progress from external, bodily existence, through its inner significance, to the ultimate abolition, in the Qiyma, of the two previous steps.

Accordingly, mankind is separated into three classes: the common people ('mm)-the elite (khss)-the super-elite (akhas-i khass). These are also called, respectively: opponents (taddd)-order (tarattub)-union (wahad). (32) Dependent on the sharia, the first class is, indeed, "opponents" of the Imm. These have no place in Paradise and are rendered nonexistent. Secondly, the people of order, although they are loyal servants, have only a limited access to the truth. They are familiar with the btin, but are still stuck on the level of individual and partial existence. Still, Kalmi Pr indicates that such people may be saved by intercession. (33) Only the last group, the people of union, have gone beyond appearances and partiality altogether, seeing only the Imm. These have shed their own individuality, and are the truly resurrected ones. (34)

Hodgson provides a table, which, in a related vein, shows the importance of trichotomies, with respect to the relationship between prophet-executor-Imm/Q'im. (35) This system, called "the great week of, seven thousand years", lines up the three titles so that each era contains one of each. The ages of the six prophets start with Adam at 5000 B.H. and end with Muhammad.It is the task of each prophet to bring a shar'a which annuls the preceding one. Adam's shar'a, the first one, was no reformation, since there was no previous law, (36) and there will be no new shar'a after Muhammad's. So, every shar'a is subject to a time limit.

This tripartite scheme leaves no place for the previous hujja-Imm pattern. Instead, one finds, first, the prophet, as giver of the shar'a, representing the zhir; second, the executor of the prophet's will (wasi) as revealer of the btin of the shar'a; third, the Imm or Q'im as embodiment of the direct truth, haqqa. Since Muhammad's era is the last of those ruled by the shar'a, it signals the preparation for the haqqa, (37) and, thus, the end of the age of the prophets. (38)
The tripartitions carry compatible messages: the division of zhir-btin-haqiqa; the three classes of people; and the separation of the tasks of prophet, executor, and Imm /Q'im. Just as zahir and btin are abolished in the Qiyma, so the roles of prophet and executor cease, too. The third levels do not mark stages in the developmental sense,-the third positions express, rather, a total transcendence of previous contrasting, though complementary, principles like, e.g. zhir -btin. Thus, the third level neither mediates between the two previous ones, nor does it represent any synthesis of the two.

A prerequisite for spiritual elevation, the shari'a was first introduced by Adam. This is seen as a deplorable accident, due to Iblis' deceiving activities. (39) Adam's fall is interpreted as an upsetting of the scheduled alternations between Qiyma and shar'a periods. As first prophet Adam brought the law, and thereby closed the previous Qiyma period. (40) But the law, shar'a, signifies dispersion and plurality, and so Adam, too, has become dispersed, "fallen" tram his previous glory as Imm. This former status of first Imm is lost, and since that fateful moment the Ism'li cosmology has had as its goal the restoration of Adam. (41) This is often expressed as the return of the cosmic soul (Nafs-i Kull) to the cosmic intelligence ('Aql-i Kull). (42)

It is precisely this return that is brought about in the Qiyma. The unity (wahda) of the super-elite with the Imm represents the gathering of the dispersed Adam. Seen from the viewpoint of the external world, the people taking part in the Qiyma are dead; seen from the Qiyma, on the other hand, the external world and those of it are nonexistent, i.e. dead with respect to the truth, haqiqa.

With dizzying dialectics the work Haft Bb-i Bb Sayyid-n, from the time of Muhammad II, explains the philosophical points of tripartitions vs. apparent dualism.

Then regarded relatively, man is the world of dispersion; but the physical world and the spiritual world (rhni regarded in haqiqa are both the world of dispersion; and it is man that gathers together. It is from this cause that the world is called a great man (...macrocosm), and man is called the small man...; but from the viewpoint of haqiqa the world has been called the small man, and man, the great man. Then it is the world which is the sum of the excellencies of man; and it is man who is the excellency of the summation of the world. When the dispersed world is gathered together, it is called the life of man; and when living men die and become dispersed, then this is called the dispersed world. (43)

Hodgson has an instructive footnote to the above quotation, The spiritual world here is of course the world of the hudd (rankings] of the pre-Qiyma faith -which from the point of view of the full revelaltion or unity in the Qiyma is still a realm or dispersion, or plurality.
Man is seen as a creature or dispersion in that he is the final product or the differentiation or the original power into elements and forms and organisms. Even from the point or view of the btin hierarchy, the individual man is still at the bottom of the ladder, farthest removed from the one truth at the top. But from the wahda [union] viewpoint of the Qiyma, a man sees only the imm, and not himself as such; here all outward things are merely elemenls integrated in the Man who includes all truth in himself. (44)

Haft Bb-i Bb Sayyid-n has supplied a clue to the problem of the relationship between man and the physical world, including the shar'a: the text does not say that man is in the world of dispersion, but that man is the world of dispersion. It is worth finding out what this equation means. Ab'l Khattb, living in the eight century A.D., was regarded as the founder of the first Btini-type movement. According to the tradition, he taught libertinism and dissimulation of faith and dealt closely with the Imms al-Bqir and Ja'far Sadiq. Khattb deeply disturbed Sadiq, who let him know, "It has reached me that you believe that adultery is a man, wine is a man, prayer is a man, fasting is a man and sin is a man." (45)

Here, one recognizes two Pillars of Islam listed together with trespasses.Khattb seems to have stated that actions, whether good or evil, are identified with the human beings who perform them. The emphasis is on identification, not on subject-object relationships. Kalim i Pir offers more on this matter, in the section following the statements about positive religion as allegory.

The allegory must fully correspond with its implied meaning. Thus the world or Reality, which is the same as the world or Divinity, is to belived in after earthly death... This means that there is no life or animation, except in man. It follows from this that whatever is given as an allegory in the shar'at, i.e. prayer, fast, hajj, religious dues, the Coran, etc., -of all these the reality is man; thus the prayer is (in) man, and the fast is (in) man, and the zakt [religious tax] is (in) man, and the Coran is (in) man, and so on, -everything the same. (46)

The preposition in, in parentheseses, is Ivanow's additions and did not occur in the original manuscript. In a footnote, Ivanow explains his insertions, saying, "These speculations, just as many others in this, work, obviously show the great difficully which the author encountered in his struggle with the language in expressing his ideas. What he tries to express here obviously is the idea which may be the test formulaled in the well-known Gospel expression: "The Kingdom of God is within us". The author most probably avoided using prepositions ...in order not to commit himself to their physical implications. (47) Kalmi Pr, author may not have been worried about "physical implications" at all, but attempted, instead, to say, like Khattb, that man is the precondition for any activity at all (this was clearly beyond Ivanow's grasp). One notices that Kalmi Pir includes only religious duties, not e.g.sins. Man is the medium of shar'a; life (reality) of the law depends entirely on man. The externality of the Pillars of Islam hides the btin meaning, and the haqiqa is beyond both zhir and btin.

To return to Haft Bb-i Bb Sayyid-n's declaration "it is man that gathers together", (48) the passage clearly assigns man to the divine, i.e.haqiqa level. Seen from the Qiyma point of view, man is no longer man, but divine, merged with the Imm. This dialectic, bordering on the vertiginous, presents itself throughout Ism'ili literature dealing with the Qiyma doctrine and its implications for zhir-btin. Kalmi Plr, again, elucidates: shar'at is the sphere of the material, and ...haqqat ...the sphere or the spiritual. Action belongs to the material world, and word to the spiritual. As this truthful community have already left the, world of the material, with which shar'at is concerned, and reached the world or the spiritual, which is that or realily, haqqat, their eyes are turned towards the "word... (49)

This separation between action and word is an important one. Words, i.e. those of the Imm, suffice in the Qiyma, whereas the profane realm requires ritual and law. Depending on whether man sees himself as dispersed, or as gathered from dispersion, he is action or word. In the union (wahda), all individual characteristics have ceased, the super-elite has merged with the cosmic Imm, who is wholly word. So these faithful might be said to live by word alone, not actions, and are therefore beyond good and evil. The Imm alone decrees the time and place for such action-lesss, i.e. shari'a-less, worship.

The Ism'ili sources stress, over and over, the importance of recognizing the Imm of one's own lifetime. This is a matter of life and death, and, as Kalmi Pr explains:

Knowledge of God, of the Prophet, and of the Imam, all are connected by God with the "Man of the time"... His command is the command of God the all highest ...The command of the Imams of the past makes no difference... (50)

One is not allowed to support oneself on former Imms. Even If the Imam appears, outwardly, as a human being and thus as fallible, the Imm is pre-existent and eternal, "Our Lord the Q'im of the Qiymat always is present in the world, always was, and always will be." (51) He is also a world- sustainer, "the centre of the 'skies and the Qufb (pole) of the earth", as Tsi says, and, continues, "in order that everything which is rotating or standing would, through him, remain in its proper place." (52)

Qiyma and its implications depend entirely on the current Imm's divine will, not to be questioned by mortals. Regard- legs of external matters or events the Imm may appear, at will, in one of two aspects, as "Lord of hearts" or "Lord of slaves." (53) As the former, he may remove the shackles of the shari'a, or, as the second, punish believers by imposing the law. A comb A combination or the two aspects is possible, too, at least as Tusi sees it: advanced believers may be allowed to shed the burden of the shari'a, if the Imam so decrees. (54)

Every Imm is a potential Q'im, and, in Hodgson's words, "the Qiyma was a perpetual condition, made apparent however only occasionally-not only at the culmination of all things, but from time to time as a grace to be withdrawn at pleasure." (55)

In accordance with Hodgson's chart of prophets, executors, and Imms /Q'ims, one may agree with Corbin's observation that the Q'im is "le Grand Cycle dont les Imms sont les priodes ou cycles partiels. (56) The presence or absence of the shari'a reflects, then how the world is interpreted, in fact, what the world is, at any given time. The Imm, at times a deus absconditus, at other times the full-blown, unmediated truth, dictates that interpretation The cycles roll on, but come to an abrupt halt in the Qiyma.

In its turn, however, this hiatus of forty-seven years came to an end. How to interpret HassanIII's re-Islamization in light of the tripartite patterns pertaining to the Qiyma? Evidently, the Qiyma did not, after all, signify an eternal overcoming (a sort of Hegelian Aufhebung, as it were) of the dualistic pattern of zahir-btin. Instead, Hasan's new, doctrinaire ideology looks like a return to the deepest occultation- period.


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