Khaki Khorasani

He was a famous Ismaili poet, and his name was Imam Quli (slave of Imam), with a pen-name Khaki. Being a native of Khorasan, he became known as Khaki Khorasani. He was born in Dizbad in Khorasan. His parents were small land-owners in Dizbad, and most probably possessed some flock of goats and cows. He received his religious education at home. His biography is also shrouded in mist like others. It is however probable that he had composed his poems between 1037/1627 and 1056/1645, making description of Imam Zulfikar Ali (d. 922/1516) and Imam Nuruddin Ali (d. 975/1550).

His extant Diwan is still familiar among the Iranian Ismailis. His "Tulu-us-Shams" or "Tawali-us-Shams" in a mathnavi form is comprised of 1300 poems in seven parts. His two qasida, "Nigaristan" and "Baharistan" are also accessible. It ensues from his works that he also studied Holy Koran, having good command on Arabic and Turkish. He had identified himself as an old and sad, and described the trouble he faced during the Uzbek raids in Khorasan. He has shown the Ismaili doctrines very watchfully in his works. His works contain the mention of Anjudan, Sultanabad, Iraq etc. He however names Anjudan the place where he had an audience of the Imams. He also describes the influence of the Ismailis in Khorasan, Irak-i Ajam as well as Multan and Hind. About the Imamate, he says:-

Dar har zamano waqt badanid bud'east, zaati ke hast jailun fil arz wa sama. (verse: 1507)

"In all ages and all times, one Dhat is present. Be it known that his (Imam) designation has been made in the earth and heavens."

The Safavids did not spare Khaki Khorasani and imprisoned him till death. His date of death cannot be ascertained, but it seems that he died most probably around 1056/1646. His tomb is in Dizbad which stands in white amidst the green orchards, bearing no inscription.

Khaki Khorasani left a son, Ali Quli (slave of Ali), poet as himself, but of lesser talent, and is better known under the pen-name of Raqqami. His "Qasidat-i Dhurriat" is well known among the Iranian Ismailis, giving the list of the Nizari Ismaili Imams. It was published at Leningrad in the Journal of the Russian Oriental Society (L'Academie des Sciences De'Urs), Iran, 2nd vol., pp. 8-13 by Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Semenov (1873-1958). It must be noted that A.A. Semenov was a Russian pioneer in Ismaili studies from Tashkant and had acquired a small collection of Ismaili manuscripts from the western Pamir district of Shagnan and Rushan in 1901 for the Asiatic Museum like Ivan I. Zarubin (1887-1964).

The Ismaili mission in India was continued in peace, and the appointed vakils were in close contact with the Imams in Iran. Sarah F.D. Ansari writes in "Sufi Saints and State Power" (Cambridge, 1992, p. 17) that, "Many of the dais were continuing a trend developed by Nizari Ismaili Imams in Iran during the later Safavid period of cautiously expressing their ideas within a Sufi framework, and so entered the subcontinent already carrying within their repertoire a strain of mysticism rooted in Ismailism but tinged with the Sufi terminology of the time. Also important in relation to bridging the gap was the legacy of love and respect for the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad left by the Ismailis."

Mir Amir was an Ismaili ruler of Navahi, the district of Shagnan in Upper Oxus. He was also a scholar and well steeped in Ismaili history and doctrines, and was one of the sources of Mohsin Fani (1615-1670), the author of "Dabistan al-Mazahib" (comp. in 1064/1653). It is also said that Mir Amir had desired to see the Imam, but died on his way to Iran due to illness. His father, Mir Shah Amir Beg was a powerful ruler of Shagnan.

Imam Sayed Ali was made the governor of Shahr-i Babak by the Safavids because of his popularity. He had also a small army of Ataullahis. He died in 1071/1660 in Kirman after bequeathing the Imamate to his son, Hasan Ali.

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