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Miscellaneous Articles on Ginans

 
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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
Posts: 17613

PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:39 am    Post subject: Miscellaneous Articles on Ginans Reply with quote

Literary Reading: Imam as Divine Guide, Proof of God and Source of Salvation in Ismaili Ginanic Literature

The term Ginan is derived from the Hindi root-word Januna meaning ‘contemplative or meditative knowledge’. It is the Ismaili view that Ginans are religious poetry pertaining to the spiritual and higher values of life. Ginanic literature emerged when Ismaili Missionaries, designated as Pirs, came to India to preach in accordance with the orders of their Imams who were centered in Iran. It was a period (thirteenth century) when Islam was being propagated through Sufism, and many Sufi groups (silsila) were established then. At the same time, Hinduism was passing through the strong current of the Bhakti movement, which emphasized on the devotional element in religious attitude.

Thus the task of the Ismaili Pirs was to introduce Ismaili teachings in a manner not alien to the people. Hence, Ginans were composed on a pattern corresponding to the prevalent religious poetry. In terms of introducing the Concept of Imamat, the Ismaili Pirs incorporated terms like Purush, Avatar, Nar Naklank, Hazar Jomo, and Guru* in their teachings. Furthermore, the emphasis was also on the personal devotional element, and the Imamat was described in the Ginans in terms of its underlying influence on each individual.

According to the Ginans, the Imam is the source of guidance for mankind. He shows the right path, saves his followers from ignorance and acts as a Divine Light in the darkness. Thus it is said:

Murshid diwa hai Joog-ma,
jo aan dikhave ser-re;
E baatt bahot rariyamani,
jiya(n) chorasi nahi(n) fer-re [1]

Translation:

In this world the Master is the Light
who enlightens the Spiritual Path;
the Way is most wonderful
on which there is no failure.

And,

Nish andhari Gur chand-roora huwa;
Jot ahe Gur deevo, ho jire bhai [2]

Translation:

In the dark night of ignorance, the Master spreads the Light of Guidance like a moon;
Indeed, O brother! The Master is the Bright Lamp.

The verses quoted show that the Imam gives Divine Guidance. He is like a Light in the darkness and shows the travelers their way.

The absolute necessity for Divine Guidance through the Institution of Imamat is conveyed in the following verses:

Purush shan matra pag dharani na dharante,
Sansaar, chandra, suraj na dhrashtante,
Kuchh na dhrashtante,
Bhom kar, megh, dharti na aakaash bhave [3]

Translation:

If the Imam did not have his feet on this earth for even a moment,
then the world, moon, sun would vanish
and nothing would exist,
neither the heaven nor the earth.

The above verse correlates to a well known Hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad in which he is reported to have said that if the world were to remain without an Imam for one moment, the whole world with everything in it would perish instantaneously.

At the same time, the Pirs explain that the Imam is also the Vicegerent of God and Proof of God.

Noor Khalifa is joog mahe(n) aviya,
Ta(n)ki amar Jot likhani-ji [4]

Translation:

O brother! The Vicegerent of God has come in this world
and his Light has been made eternal.

And,

Qudrat apni zahir kidhi,
Pragatiya deen ka Imam [5]

Translation:

God revealed His nature
and with it manifested the Imam of the Faith.

Since the Imam is manifest in the world, it becomes necessary that he, as Proof of God, is sought out as mentioned in the following verse:

Pir Hassan Shah Ginan sunaya,
Jene dhoondiya tene Shah paya [6]

Translation:

Pir Hassan Shah says in the Ginan:
‘He who seeks will find the Imam.’

Being a Proof (hujjat) of God, everything (all knowledge) has been vouchsafed in the Imam as declared in the Qur’anic verse:

And we have vested the knowledge of everything in the Manifest Imam (Sura 36, Ayat 12).

The Pir speaks about this in the following verse:

Aashaji, Patal tani je soodhaj jane,
Sohi Dhani ya(n) aaya-ji;
Prathavi-na jene bandhaj bondhiya,
Sohi Nar avine betha [7]

Translation:

That Master, who even knows what is hidden in the depth of the earth
has come to you;
He who has the control of the world,
has come amidst you.

After the recognition of the Imam, obedience to him but follows naturally. This is emphasised in the Ginan thus:

Eji karo jo Gur farmave
Ta thi darshan Piya ka paave [8]

Translation:

Do whatever the Master commands,
so that you could be blessed with the vision of your Beloved.

And,

Eji Partak Patra-ne parkhi-ne,
Preme poojo ne pai,
Chaoud bhavan-no e dhani
Parghat chhe joog ma(n)he [9]

Translation:

Recognise and obey him (who is the Bearer of Divine Light)
Love and submit yourself to him,
who is the Sovereign of seven heavens and seven worlds,
he who is manifest on this earth.

Obedience to the Imam leads one to salvation. One who obeys devotedly succeeds in reaching the Divine, and one who turns away from the Imam goes astray as narrated in the following verse:

Hazar Jomo chhe jiwo no datar,
Tene tamey sahi kari manjo nar ne naar;
E Nur dekhi bhulshe je.
Ghor andhari ma(n) pursey te [10]

Translation:

The Imam is the Giver of salvation to the souls
so have true faith in him, 0 men and women!
He who turns away from His Light knowingly,
will find himself in total darkness.

The key points that emerge from this brief discussion are as follows:

(a) Imam is the Source for Divine Guidance and the presence of an Imam on this earth is necessary for its existence.
(b) The Imam is to be sought for and obedience and submission to him is necessary for understanding true Divine Knowledge and Divine Mysteries.
(c) The guidance provided by the Imam in his capacity as the Vicegerent of God and Proof of God represents the True Guidance of Allah.
(d) Salvation lies in the hands of the Imam.

______________

Footnotes:

* Some of these terms will be explored in a future Literary Reading.

The references for the squared brackets are as follows:


1. Satveni Moti, Syed Muhammad Shah, published by Ismailia Association for India, 1949.

2. Pir Sadardin-na Ginano-no Sangrah, published by the Ismailia Association for India, 1952.

3. Girbah Vali, Pir Sadardin.

4. See 2

5. Pir Hasan Kabirdin-na Ginano-no Sangrah, published by Ismailia Association for India.

6. Ibid.

7. Anant Akhado, Pir Hasan Kabiruddin

8. Buj Niranjan, Pir Sadardin.

9. Syed Imam Shah-na Ginano-no Sangrah, published by Ismailia Association for India.

10. See 2

______________

Article adapted by Simerg from “Imamat – A Ginanic Perspective” by Hakimali V. Surani, Ilm, Volume 7, Number 3 (December 1981 – February 1982), published by His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismailia Association for the United Kingdom (under the new Ismaili Constitution ordained in 1986 by the current 49th Imam of the Ismailis, His Highness the Aga Khan, this Ismaili institution has since been known as the Shia Imami Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board for the United Kingdom - or as the case may apply for each individual country)

_____________

Further reading on Ginans (and related) in this website:
Literary Reading: In Metaphoric Ginan “Eji Dhan Dhan Aajano” Pir Sadr al-Din Asks Mu’mins to Act Righteously and Gain Spiritual Recognition of Imam-e-Zaman
Literary Reading: Pir Sadr al-Din and the Da’wah in India – A Brief Note
Literary Reading: The Ginanic Literature of the Ismailis
Literary Reading: Text and Explanation of “Eji Shah Islamshah Amne Maliya”
Literary Reading: Ethics in the Kalam-i Mawla of Hazrat Ali, Part One
Literary Reading: The Munajat – Ya Ali Khuba Mijalas
Literary Reading: The Inward Odyssey in Two Key Ismaili Ginans, “Brahma Prakash” and “Sakhi Mahapada”
Literary Reading: Suddh-Buddh and Other Key Terms in Ginan “Bindrare Vann Manhe Sukh Charere Gavantri”
Parable Lesson: The Alchemy of Transformation, from Copper to Gold

//simerg.com/literary-readings/literary-reading-imam-as-divine-guide-proof-of-god-and-source-of-salvation-in-ismaili-ginanic-literature/

*****

Literary Reading: Imamat in Ismaili Ginanic Literature
Imam is the Threshold through which God and the creatures communicate; Imam is a Cosmic Necessity and the earth cannot be devoid of an Imam - without an Imam the earth and the universe would crumble; The Imam is the Proof, the Manifestation and the Organ of God and he is the Means by which human beings can attain the knowledge of God.

1. Introduction

There should always be a common point where inter-communication could exist between man and God. About the past the Holy Qur’an says:

“Lo, Allah preferred Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of Imran above all creatures. They were descendants one of another.” (Holy Qur’an, 3:33-34)

Allah’s preference in the above verse refers to the Prophethood and Imamat that continued in the families mentioned in the above verses. Regarding the time of Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) and the time after him, the Qur’an says:

“O Mankind! Verily a proof has come to you from your Lord and We have sent unto you a Manifest Light. As for those who believe in Allah, and hold fast unto Him, then He will cause to enter them into His Mercy and Grace, and will guide them unto Him by a straight road.” (Holy Qur’an, 4:175-176)

What is meant in the words ‘to hold fast unto Him?’ The answer to this is found in another piece of advice in the Qur’an which says:

“And hold fast all of you together to the Rope of Allah and do not be separated.” (Holy Qur’an, 3:103)

According to Shia belief, the Rope of Allah refers to the Imam. The Institution of Imamat therefore provides such an intermediary link and one can best understand it and the underlying concept in these terms.

The Holy Qur’an reveals the basic nature of Imamat in terms of Hidayat (Divine Guidance). Furthermore, since the Book of God is the sole criteria upon which we may evaluate the other interpretations of Imamat, we shall will first examine the Qur’anic conception of Imamat (i.e. Divine Guidance) before we discuss the notion of Imamat in Ismaili Ginanic literature.

2. Imamat in the Holy Qur’an

The Qur’anic conception of Imamat can be summarised as follows:

Man, in this world, is an imperfect being, who is seeking the Perfect Being – God. The limited knowledge that human beings have is shown by the following verse:

“They will ask thee concerning the Spirit. Say: The Spirit is by command of my Lord, and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little.” (Holy Qur’an, 7:85)

Due to this limit, man is not in a position to communicate directly with God and, hence, the need for Divine Guidance. Allah, in His Infinite Mercy, creates the channel of Divine Guidance through which man can reach Him. While the verse “Allah effaceth what He will, and establish (what He will), and with Him is the source of ordinance,” (Holy Qur’an, 13:39) empahasizes Divine Guidance as belonging solely to God’s, Allah delegates this authority to His Vicegerents on earth for the salvation of mankind.

Guidance in the form of Vicegerency has been established since the beginning of humanity and there has been no time when the world has been without it. This is clearly expressed in the following verse:

“And there never was a people, without a warner having lived among them.” (Holy Qur’an, 35:24)

Moreover, the Divine Guidance is compared with a Holy Tree (kashajaratin tayyibatin) which is ever-green and ever-fruitful. The Guidance does not fall short of its function because otherwise everything would perish as indicated in the well known hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad:

“If the world were to remain without an Imam for one moment, the whole world with everything in it would perish instantaneously.”

The Holy Qur’an has also laid down a pre-condition for man to seek the Divine Channel (wasilah) as a means for his salvation:

“O ye who believe! Be mindful of your duty to Allah, and seek the means of approach (wasilah) unto Him, and strive with might and main in His way in order that ye may succeed.” (Holy Qur’an, 5:35)

Moreover, it is also made obligatory for one to obey the Imam of the time, who is the means of approach (wasilah), for obedience to God is linked with obedience to the Imam of the time (Ulil-Amr).

“O ye who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and obey those who hold authority from amongst you.” (Holy Qur’an, 4:59)

This obedience results in the better understanding of Divine Knowledge and Mysteries because everything has been vouchsafed in the Imam (Divine Guide):

“And We have vested the Knowledge of everything in the Manifest Imam.” (Holy Qur’an, 36:12)

3. A Very Brief Note on the Ginanic Literature


Please visit www.iis.ac.uk to see images of other manuscripts at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, England.

As we have seen in previous readings (see links at end of article), Ismaili Pirs made use of the local religious terms as conceptual tools to present the teachings of Ismaili Faith. Ismailism was presented in a manner which suited the understanding of the people and that which did not disturb the Islamic Principles at all. In this connection Khawaja Hassan Nizami writes in the Urdu edition of Fatami Da’wate Islam :

“…for preaching of Islam the Ismaili dais kept before them exactly that Hikmat (wisdom),” which is suggested in the Qur’an:

“And call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom (hikmat) and reason with them in a better way.” (Holy Qur’an, 16:125)

The Concept of Imamat was explained in terms like Purush, Avatar, Nar Naklank, Hazar Jomo, Guru, etc. In addition the Pirs focused on the personal devotional element, which was the current then because of the Bakhti movement whose underlying emphasis was for a truer religious attitude.

4. Imam as Source of Guidance and Divine Light

According to the Ginans the Imam is the source of Guidance for mankind. He shows them the right path, saves the people from ignorance and acts as a Divine Light in the darkness. In Ginan Satveni Moti by Syed Imam Muhammad Shah, it is said:

Murshid diwa hai joog-ma, jo aan dikhave ser-re;
e baatt bahot rariyamani, jiya(n) chorasi nahi(n) fer-re.

Translation:

In this world the Master is the Light who enlightens the Spiritual Path;
the Way is most wonderful on which there is no failure.

Pir Sadr al-Din emphasized the same idea in the following verse:

Nish andhari Gur chand-roora huwa;
Jot ahe Gur deevo, ho jire bhai.

Translation:

In the dark night of ignorance, the Master spreads the Light of Guidance like a moon;
Indeed, O brother! The Master is the Bright Lamp.

The parable of the Holy Tree (kachajaratin tayyibatin) set forth in the Qur’an is expressed in Syed Ahmed Shah’s Si Harfi as follows:

Ohang Nirinjan ek vraksh kita,
Inko dali do-al dita;
Ek Noor Muhammad Mustafa,
Duja Noor Ali Murtaza;
Mai Fatima unke bhere,
Hasan Husayn is Noor mahe khele.

Translation:

God created a Tree
and gave it two branches:
one was the Light (Noor) of Muhammad the Chosen
and the other was Ali the Favourite;
Bibi Fatima was with the two
and Hasan and Husayn mingled in this Light.

The conception of the Qur’anic Holy Tree has been beautifully expressed in the above verses and linked with the Divine Light of the Imam.

These few verses have shown that the Imam gives Divine Guidance. He is like a Light in the darkness and shows the travellers their way. In this world, it is the Imam who determines for man a way of action for salvation, because man is liable to error and may go astray, confused by the complexities of life and varying conditions.

5. Necessity for Imamat, Imam as Mazhar-e-Allah, and Imam as Knower of Everything

The absolute necessity for the presence of the Imam on this earth is related by Pir Sadr al-Din in the Ginan Girbah Vali:

Purush shan matra pag dharani na dharante,
Sansaar, chandra, suraj na dhrashtante,
Kuchh na dhrashtante,
Bhom kar, megh, dharti na aakaash bhave.

Translation:

If the Imam did not have his feet on this earth for even a moment,
then the world, moon, sun would vanish
and nothing would exist,
neither the heaven nor the earth.

In this connection we had earlier quoted a Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad. Thus Imamat is a Divine Necessity for the world to exist, and is the source of Divine Guidance.

At the same time, the Imam is referred as the Mazhar-e-Dhat-e-Allah and this is explained by Ismaili Pirs as follows:

Pir Sadr al-Din says:

Noor Khalifa is joog mahe(n) aviya,
Ta(n)ki amar Jot likhani-ji.

Translation:

O brother! The Vicegerent of God has come in this world
and his Light has been made eternal.

And his son, Pir Hasan Kabirdin, notes:

Qudrat apni rahir kidhi,
Pragatiya deen ka Imam.

Translation:

God revealed His nature
and with it manifested the Imam of the Faith.

Both these verses refer to the Imam as the Proof (hujjat) of God.

Since Imam is manifest in the world it is necessary that he should be sought out, and here Pir Hassan Shah declares:

Pir Hassan Shah Ginan sunaya,
Jene dhoondiya tene Shah paya.

Translation:

Pir Hassan Shah says in the Ginan:
‘He who seeks will find the Imam.’

Being a Proof (hujjat) of God, everything (all knowledge) has been vouchsafed in the Imam of the Time. The Quranic declaration “And We have vested the Knowledge of everything in the Manifest Imam” (Holy Qur’an, 36:12) is reiterated in Pir Hasan Kabirdin’s monumental composition, Anant Akhado, where he says:

Aashaji, Patal tani je, soodhaj jane,
Sohi Dhani ya(n) aaya-ji;
Prathavi-na jene bandhaj handhiya,
Sohi Nar avine betha.

Translation:

He who knows what is hidden in the depth of the earth,
That (same) Master has come to you;
He who has the control of the world
has come amidst you.

6. The Importance of Obedience to the Imam

After the recognition of the Imam, obedience to him but follows naturally. This cardinal principle of Islam laid down in the Qur’anic verse (4:59) quoted earlier, is emphasised by Pir Sadr al-Din in the Buj Niranjan:

Eli karo jo Gur farmave,
Ta thi darshan Piya ka paave.

Translation:

Do whatever the Master commands,
so that you could be blessed with the vision of your Beloved.

And by Syed Imam Shah in the following verse:

Eji Partak Patra-ne parkhi-ne,
Preme poojo ne pai,
Chaoud bhavan-no e dhani
Parghat chhe joog ma(n)he.

Translation:

Recognise and obey him who is the Bearer of Divine Light.
Love and submit yourself to him
who is manifest on this earth
and who is the Sovereign of seven heavens and seven worlds.

It is because of the obedience to the Imam that one may achieve salvation. One who obeys devotedly succeeds in reaching the Divine, and the one who turns away from the Imam goes astray. Pir Sadr al-Din explains this in the following verse:

Hazar Jomo chhe jiwo no datar
Tene tamey sahi kari man jo nar ne naar;
E Nur dekhi bhulshe je;
Ghor andhari ma(n) pursey te

Translation:

The Imam is the Giver of salvation to the souls
so have true faith in him, 0 men and women!
He who turns away from His Light knowingly,
will find himself in total darkness.

Thus, Imam is the source of guidance for mankind and people should seek to recognise him and obey him to achieve salvation.

7. Conclusion

We have seen in the introduction that the Qur’an is the source which provides the doctrinal nature of Imamat (Divine Guidance). The above discussion shows that the basic element of Guidance as found in the Qur’an is present also in the Ginans.

Where the Qur’anic symbolism uses the allegory of the Holy Tree (kashajaratin tayyibatin) for Divine Guidance, the same simili is used in the Ginans to indicate the spiritual aspect of Imamat (Divine Guidance). Similarly, where the Qur’an refers to the essential function of Imamat as Guidance, the Ginans also refer to this by comparing it with the Eternal Lamp of Light, which enlightens humanity. According to the Qur’an, since Guidance is an eternal necessity, Imamat is made the Divine Ground in the world upon which it rests and the same idea appears in the Ginans.

Further analysis show that the Qur’an asks us to seek the means (wasilah) and similarly the Ginans also direct us to search for the Imam.

People should obey the Imam (Ulil Amr), says the Qur’an, for the Vision of Reality. The Ginans make it a necessary condition that one should obey the Imam of the time and submit to him completely. The concept that obedience results in the better understanding of Divine Knowledge and Mysteries found in the Ginans is expressed differently in the Qur’an, but with the same insight within the words:

“And We have vested the Knowledge of everything in the Manifest Imam.” (Holy Qur’an, 36:12)

With Imam being the Mazhar of Allah, it implies that whatever Imam says is the True Guidance of God. Therefore salvation lies in the hands of Imam. Hence Imam and his descendants (ahle-bait - people of the House of Imam to whom allegiance is due, i.e. the succeeding Imams) have been allegorically described as the Ark of Nuh (Noah) as in the following Hadith:

The People of my family
are like Noah’s Ark;
Whoever boards the Ark is saved,
Whoever stays away is carried off by the waves.*

It was this Ark which saved those who took shelter in it and destroyed those who did not board it. Pirs have asserted the same idea by saying that Imam is the True Guide, and whoever turns his face away from him is ignorant and misguided.

From the similarities which we have found in the Qur’an and the Ginans with regard to the Concept of Imamat, we may conclude that the primary ‘form’ of the Concept of Imamat in the Ginans has been taken from the Qur’an and there is no difference between them. However, in the Ginans, some of the elements of this concept have been explained in the context of pre-established culture whose influence prevailed during the time when our Pirs carried out their da’wa (invitation to Faith) in the sub-continent.

_______________

Reading adapted from Imamat – A Ginanic Perspective by Hakimali V. Surani, published in Ilm, Volume 7, Number 3, December 1981 – February 1982, (Ismailia Association for the United Kingdom, now known as the Shia Imami Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board).

______________

Ginan Reference Texts and Other Notes:

1. Satveni Moti, Syed Muhammad Shah, published by Ismailia Association for India, 1949.

2. Pir Sadardin-na Ginano-no Sangrah, published by Ismailia Association for India, 1952.

3. Pir Hasan Kabirdin-na Ginano-no Sangrah, published by Ismailia Association for India.

4. Syed Imam Shah-na Ginano-no Sangrah, published by Ismailia Association for India.

* This well known hadith is quoted on page 125 of “The Divine Guide in Early Shi’ism”, translated by David Streight (Publisher: State University of New York Press, 1994).

If this is your first visit to the web site, we invite you to visit the Home page and find out more about this web site. Please also see the What’s New page for all articles posted on this website.

______________

Other Ginan readings on this web site:

Literary Reading: In Ismaili Ginanic Literature Prophet Muhammad is Symbol of Moon-Light, a Mercy to All Nations, and Intercessor

Literary Reading: Pir Sadr al-Din and the Da’wah in India – A Brief Note

Literary Reading: The Ginanic Literature of the Ismailis

Literary Reading: Imam as Divine Guide, Proof of God and Source of Salvation in Ismaili Ginanic Literature

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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
Posts: 17613

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ameer Janmohamed’s Thank You Letter to Pir Sabzali and the Ismaili Pirs of the Ginanic Tradition

“Itmadi Sabzali has served me in such a manner that after his death, I honour him with the title of a Pir” – Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, 48th Ismaili Imam

//simerg.com/thanking-ismaili-historical-figures/ameer-janmohameds-thank-you-letter-to-pir-sabzali-and-the-ismaili-pirs-of-the-ginanic-tradition/
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ginans: A Tradition of Religious Poetry Amongst the Ismailis

http://www.iis.ac.uk/view_article.asp?ContentID=105313&l=en
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prophet Muhammad in Ismaili Ginans

/simerg.com/2015/11/25/prophet-muhammad-in-ismaili-ginans/[/b]
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Ismaili Ginan Tradition from the Indian Subcontinent, Middle East Studies Association Bulletin, Vol. 38, No. 2 (December 2004), pp. 175-185

http://www.academia.edu/19600311/The_Ismaili_Ginan_Tradition_from_the_Indian_Subcontinent_Middle_East_Studies_Association_Bulletin_Vol._38_No._2_December_2004_pp._175-185
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Music in Ginans is vital for invoking specific emotions

Ginans are poetic compositions which have been a central part of the religious life of the Nizari Ismaili community of the Indian subcontinent that today resides in many countries around the world. The term ginan is derived from the Sanskrit jnan, translated as ‘knowledge’ or ‘wisdom.’

Ginans served as secondary texts in the local languages to convey the teachings of the Qur’an and the esoteric Ismaili interpretation to non-Arabic speaking peoples. They were composed by Pirs and Saiyads, or preachers, who came to the Indian subcontinent as early as the eleventh century. Saiyads were distinguished from Pirs, a title which was interpreted as indicating formal appointment by the Imam. Most of the seventeen Saiyads who authored Ginans were descended from Pir Hasan Kabirdin’s son Imamshah or his other children.
Mal Khajina by Sayyid Ghulam ‘Ali Shah (Image: The Institute of Ismaili Studies)
Ginans were composed from the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries, by about thirty da’is, at a time when the written literary tradition was flourishing in the Indian subcontinent, with well-known figures such as Narasimha Maeta (15th century), Mirabai (1498-1557), and Narhari (17th century), Kabir (1440-1518), and Guru Nanak (1469-1539). Composition of devotional and mystical poetry among Muslims, especially the Sufis, was also developing at this time.

The language of the Ginans is mixed; its vocabulary is derived from Arabic and Persian, as well as Sanskrit and languages descended from it (mainly Gujarati). Ginans are distinguished not by their content, but by the melody (raga) and the names of the accepted author that appears in the last verse of every Ginan, similar to the rasa, a prevalent medium in Gujarat from the twelfth century on. The rasa, which was recited to a raga, was a frequently used medium for religious instruction and to express specific emotional feelings; each composition always ended with the name of the composer and with prayers for forgiveness.

Ginans are meant to be sung, therefore, music is an important characteristic of Ginans and vital for invoking specific emotional states; many manuscripts indicate their connection to rituals such as before daily prayer or at funerals.

Very popular in the Gujarati folk life is the garbi, a folk dance, with the word applied to the song as well as the singing party itself. The individuals move around in a circle and sing to the accompaniment of a rhythmical clap of hands and feet. Pir Shams composed twenty-eight Garbis.

Sources:
Azim Nanji, The Nizari Isma’ili Tradition in the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent, Caravan Books, New York, 1978
Aziz Esmail, A Scent of Sandalwood: Indo-Ismaili Religious Lyrics. London: Curzon in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2002
Ginans, A Tradition of Religious Poetry, The Institute of Ismaili Studies (accessed December 2015)

Compiled by Nimira Dewji
/ismailimail.wordpress.com/2016/01/21/music-in-ginans-is-vital-for-invoking-specific-emotions/
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harvard University’s Course on Ginans, with Professor Ali Asani

Muslim Devotional Literatures in South Asia: Qawwalis, Sufiana Kalam (Sufi Poetry) and the Ginans

RELIGION 1814 – Ali Asani

This course explores traditions of Islamic spirituality in South Asia through the lens of three genres: the qawwali, concerts of mystical poetry; sufiana kalam, Sufi romantic epics and folk poems; and the ginans, hymns of esoteric wisdom recited by the Satpanthi Ismailis. Since these genres represent examples of language, symbols and styles of worship shared across Islamic and non-Islamic denominational boundaries, we will also examine their relationships with other Indic traditions of devotion, particularly those associated with the so-called sant and Hindu bhakti movements. Special emphasis will be given to the impact of contemporary political ideologies, globalization and the revolution in media technology on the form and function of these genres and their relationship with contemporary communities of faith in South Asia and beyond. Eligible for cross-registration with permission of instructor/subject to availability. For Undergraduates. Offered jointly with the Divinity School as 3375.

Some of the Readings on the Ismaili Ginans from this new Harvard Course are listed at Ismailignosis.com
//ismailimail.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/harvard-universitys-course-on-ginans-with-professor-ali-asani/
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Professor Ali Asani to present on “Ginans as Performative Texts” at University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures and Director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University will present on “The Ginans as Performative Texts” as part of the Spring South Asia Seminar Series. The seminar series theme is – Text and Performance in India

Thursday, April 7 at 3:30 PM – 5 PM
UT Austin, Meyerson Conference Room (WCH 4.118)

/ismailimail.wordpress.com/2016/03/26/professor-ali-asani-to-present-on-ginans-as-performative-texts-at-university-of-texas-at-austin/
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Exploration of Eight Ismaili Ginans on Science, Spirituality and Pluralism

simerg.com/2016/08/15/an-exploration-of-eight-ismaili-ginans-on-science-spirituality-and-pluralism/
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Supreme Knowledge: A Sublime Gift of Ismaili Ginans

A COMMENTARY ON PIR SADARDIN’S KARSANAJI BHANARE ARJUN SAMBHARO [1]

By Shiraz Pradhan

https://simerg.com/literary-readings/supreme-knowledge-a-sublime-gift-of-ismaili-ginans/

Extract:

The Ginan “Karsanaji” begins on a joyous note saying it will bring new knowledge.

VERSE 1

Eji Karsanaji bhanere, Arjun sambharo
Aasha bhala gun nav nav thai re

Karsanaji recites, O Arjun listen to the discourse,
It will bring new knowledge

Jiya lagi Satgurji maliya nahi,
Tiya lagi taro Jiv fera khayere

Until you meet the true Guide,
You will be trapped in the cycle of repeated births

Atman tantve ne pankhe nahi
Tiya lagi tari dehi fana j thai

Until you understand the essence of your soul,
You will go through repeated birth

VERSE 2

Eji panch re tatve Arjun tame bujo bhan ne bhev re
Jiv pind shiv te jujwa nahi
Pind ma bole sohi devre

O Arjun, understand the five elements that make your body (these are perishable)
The eternal soul that resides in the body is not separate from the Supreme Soul.

VERSE 3

Eji Ginan aavyu re kem jani e,
Ane teno sarbhushan parman re

What are the signs of progress in the Path?
Its sign is that it will bestow a balance in your inner being.

(It is author’s belief that the Ginan word sarbhusan in the above verse is equivalent to the concept of Stithparjana, which is used in Shreemad Bhagvat Gita [2])

VERSE 4


Tin sar padam ne pankhi ye,
Tene jano aasal aandhan re

The flashes of Illumination will indicate to you that you are perfect in wisdom.
This is the genuine sign

VERSE 4

Eji van re gaye na chutie bhale tajiye vastra ne aan re
Ghruhasti marag nu bandhan nahi
Jo hoi nisijal man re

There is no need to go the forest or suffer penances
Nor is there a need to walk away from life,
A clean heart is the only requirement of this Path.

Eji telre kadai mahe kad kade
Mahe pankho punam kero chand re

Oil boiling in a hot pan reflects the moon

VERSE 5

Ema dekh ta dise pan daze nahi
Eme Hari algo Govind re

Yet it (the moon) is not scald or trapped by it,
Similar is the state of the soul in the body.

VERSE 6

Eji jal thi kamal jem algo nahi,
tem Hari rupe oocho re
Van re preme jal ma rahe,
nir sinche kem lopay re

A lily is not separate from the water it grows in just as
the individual soul is not separate from the Supreme Soul
Without love-attraction between the individual and Supreme Soul
this delusion of separation will remain.

(This verse is preparing for the next verse which the crux of the entire Ginan and culmination of the philosophy of divine Union which in Sufi terms is referred to as Baqa or eternal life in the Supreme Soul.)

VERSE 7

Eji ek re divo tari dehi ma
Ane bijo divo sat Paramatma
Te divo jiya sudhi male nai
Tiya lagi taro Jiv fera khai re

One flame burns in your body (reference here is to the soul that resides in the body)
The other flame is that eternal Supreme Soul
Until the two flames meet and merge, your Jiva (soul) will go through repeated births (this is the Sufi stage of Buqa, which is the stage at which Jiva (which is false egotistic aspect of the soul which thinks that it is trapped in the body) dies and the individual soul which is eternal merges in the Supreme Soul.

VERSE 8

Eji Pir Sadardin bolya,
Saheb che koi Visvapalak naam re
Ek mane srevo Sohi sham ne
To paamo Aamrapuri tham re

Pir Sadardin says, the True Guide is the Sustainer of the Universe
Channel your devotion to this Guide
And you shall attain to the eternal station.
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nuseri



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2016 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya Ali Madad.
Many of our Ginan do have Baatin essence and elements in it.
I will try to explain from one of it.
It is a Ginan that is recited almost every other day.
EJEE IMAAN AMARO SALAMAT RAKH JOO.
next verse is
BIJU ETLU MANGEYE KE VARAM VAAR HOVE TAMARO DIDAR.
We daily ask & pray for Zahir ,Baatin and Noorani Didars.
The first at zahiri level we ask for faith and wish to have regular didars.
Second at Baatin ,it mean to regular Baatin Didar as physical Didar is not possible every now and then.
When Pir prays they do eternal life and just one phase.
He already has strong IMAAN but seeks the same in next many phases.One can be born as Non Ismaili with strong faith in God.but the second requests binds ALI to make him an Ismaili as to be rebleesed with Imams Didar.
Varam vaar mean in each phases of next life.
This start noorani cycles of life understood at MAAD.
In same beautiful Imam begum asked PAKDI LEJO MARO HAATH.She skilfully seek to given a body after her death which Imam will hand hold her.As as all are aware after death the body mixes with the Earth.
There is Farman of IMAM SMS that if we UNDERSTOOD the Ginans then he would not need make many farmans.
The last level is the absolute essence of Sufi Tariqa.and second is our important Tariqa to seek Baatin Didar thru submission and Ibaadat.
Pit & Sufis seek more than what is written at layman's level.
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Ath Chronicles of Sofia and Henna: Ali Asani, Oct. 23

Last Monday, Oct. 23, we attended Professor Ali Asani’s Athenaeum talk “Hymns of Wisdom: The Ismaili Ginans of South Asia.” After reading the description, we were intrigued for two reasons: the obscurity of the topic and its relevance beyond its specific origin. Who are the Ismailis, and how is it that this little-known minority’s hymns have influenced a multitude of cultures?

While our Western education has provided us with general knowledge of Christianity and familiarity with popular Christian hymns, our curriculum spanned very little into the Islamic equivalent. Professor Asani, aware of this, began his talk with an overview on Ismailism, a branch of Shi’a Islam. He identified their roots, structure, and beliefs before entering into his main discussion on their influential hymns, the Ismaili ginans.

The essence of this tradition lies in the origin of its name, which is derived from the word gyan, meaning “knowledge.” The point of reciting ginans is to transmit emotive knowledge through melodic poetry, which, in turn, guides the audience to transcend the material world and connect with the divine. Asani went on to describe how ginans were originally only listened to in Ismaili prayer halls, Jamatkhanas. Later, recordings led to the integration of ginans into casual household listening.

From there, this obscure tradition gained global popularity and was adopted by many religions, both Eastern and Western. Asani demonstrated this phenomenon by interspersing his talk with various brief audio recordings of the same ginan, appropriated by five vastly different cultures.

Often, throughout the talk, Asani asserted the pluralistic nature of ginans. He also clarified that Ismailis, as a community, encourage the appropriation of its tradition by other cultures because it promotes the idea of a divine unity, which is key to the Ismaili belief. Asani believes that ginans act as a bridge between different cultures and unite people through art. He said that the global appeal of ginans is not just in its enticing musical and poetic nature, but mainly its ability to evoke emotion.

As we departed the Ath, we compared our thoughts on Professor Ali Asani presentation. Scattered with religious hymns and brief song snippets, we agreed Professor Asani maintained a truly unique and intriguing talk. He captured the audience upon the first hymn: the Ath audience turned silent and reflective, and all attention was devoted to lyrics displayed on the screen. We also noted how the music evoked a certain contemplative mood, and the ultimate appeal was not to the “sense,” as professor Asani so eloquently put it, but rather to the “emotion dimension.”

Finally, we thought of Professor Asani’s overarching message: The importance of cultural diversification. Too often CMCers are surrounded by an echo chamber of ideas and like-minded thinkers — Asani pushed us to confront alternative perspectives and varying viewpoints, particularly in the religious sphere. He gave us a sense of how difficult it is to restrict pluralistic religions. That is, to limit religious identities to certain ‘cookie-cutter boxes’ that simply cannot account for the nuances and intricacies of the religion at hand. Professor Asani truly reminded us of the value of cultural diversification and the ability of religious traditions to have a broader impact on different peoples in multiple contexts.

http://cmcforum.com/life/10302017-the-ath-chronicles-of-sofia-and-henna-ali-asani-oct-23
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ali Jan Damani’s Paper presentation on Ginans at a conference: Sindh Studies: Indus Valley Cultural Heritage

BY ISMAILIMAIL POSTED ON OCTOBER 12, 2018

Ali Jan Damani‘s submission for the “2nd International Conference on Sindh Studies: Indus Valley Cultural Heritage: New perspectives and Challenges”. His abstract is entitled “Gināns (The extent of Islamic legacy in Sindh)” which has been accepted.

Abstract and more at:

ismailimail.blog/2018/10/12/ali-jan-damanis-paper-presentation-on-ginans-at-a-conference-sindh-studies-indus-valley-cultural-heritage/
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aatimaram



Joined: 12 Apr 2018
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Institute of Sindhology:

Key people who played important role in establishment of Sindhology.
Prof. Latufullah Badvi, Prof. Ahsan Ahmed Badvi, Nabi Bux Khan Baloch, Muhammad Hanif Siddiqui, Pir Hassam-ud-Din Rashidi, Ghulam Ali Allana, Muhammad Qasim Maka.

Institute of Sindhology is one of the major resources on the history of Sindh. It was the first research institution of its kind, and brought Sindhology to the forefront of international research. Sindhology is referred to as knowledge about Sindh. The history and culture of Sindh has been shaped by the Indus river. The lifeline of Sindh, brings minerals and soil from the Himalayas to the region and flows into the Arabian Sea at the Indus River Delta located in Sindh. These factors define the scope of Sindhology: the study of antiquities, the relics, the history, and the culture both of ancient and modern Sindh, with particular reference to Sindhi society and literature. The institute provides a repository of this knowledge in the form of a research-oriented center of learning.

The history of the institute goes back to the establishment of the Sindhi Academy in 1962 by the University of Sindh. The objective was to develop a facility to archive books, manuscripts, and research papers from past and present. Another objective was to promote and publish research about Sindh in the Sindhi language in addition to other languages such as Arabic, English, Persian and Urdu. The research was to be promoted in all Pakistani universities. This was also the first time when Sindhology and its scholars were given well-deserved international attention.

In 1964, the nomenclature and the status of the Sindhi Academy were changed to the Institute of Sindhology to work on the similar patterns of Indology and Egyptology. The institute was to encourage further historical research on the Indus Valley Civilization as well as contemporary living in Sindh.

The institute was provided with a small room at the old campus of Sindh University in Hyderabad. On 10 December 1972 the foundation stone of the new building was laid just off the Super Highway in Jamshoro, adjacent to Indus river, located 12 kilometers from Hyderabad and 150 km from Karachi was inaugurated in 1978.

In 1970 Hazar Imam laid foundation of Library of Sindh University. Hazar Imam's speech was highly appreciated by elite scholars of Pakistan in which Imam endorsed philosophy of Al Hillaj in comparison to western philosophers.

Professor Dr. Ghullam Ali Allana (an Ismaili Scholar and then vice chancellor of Sindh University) played important role to induce Ginans in Masters curricullum of Sindhi literature.

It should be noted that our one Imam was born in Sindh.
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