04. Traces of the Work
As we have seen, there are no traces of the Central Asian origin of the work ; does it belong to the pen of a follower of the Western Ismaili school in Persia ? We know almost nothing about the fate of Ismailism in Persia after the fall of Alamut in 654/1256, and it is impossible to ascertain whether the followers of the Musta'lian branch were found there in the eighth c. A.H., or later, when the Gulshani raz was in existence. The Western Ismaili authors, being Arabs themselves, were not in the least concerned with the matters of Ismailism in "Khorasan " (as they vaguely called Persia), even under the fatimides, when the Da'wat was still united and when most vigorous propaganda was carried in the East. (1) After the fall of the Fatimides, when the centre of the ismaili western da'wat was transferred to the Yemen and the connections with Persia completely severed, the Western Ismaili works of historical interest were completely absorbed in the petty quarrels and intrigues of local Arabs, and the stagnant life of this remote corner of the Islamic world. In the seventh volume of his great Ismaili history, the Uyunu'l-akhbar, Sayyid-na 'Imadu'd-din Idris (d. the 19th Dhi Qa'da 872 /the 10th, June 1468) mentions with a feeling of surprise and great disapproval a Nizari whom he met in Syria in 839/1435. The man was from Samarqand.
In full accordance with the spirit of the Eastern Ismaili tradition the author chiefly deals with the question of the moral perfection and the salvation in the spiritual sense, from the tortures of doubt and internal struggle. He entirely omits the philosophical and gnoceological portions of the Gulshani raz, and the chapters dealing with Sufic poetical terminology. We cannot be quite sure that the work is complete in the present Manuscript ; but there are no clear indications as to its incompleteness. The author picks up isolated verses from the poem, and recombines them, often even in very short quotations. In addition to this,he sometimes quotes verses by different authors, mostly from Rumi's Mathnawi, never, however, mentioning their religion. On the whole, the work is written smoothly and indicates a considerable literary skill and theological learning of the author.
1. It is remarkable that such an important phenomenon as Nasiri Khusraw, who left much traces even in general Persian literature,remained quite unknown to the Western Ismaili literature, in spite of his being an orthodox follower of the Fatimide doctrine.