Recognition of the Imam - Ivanow - Ismailism






(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. Pertersburg. 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.


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 whi at one

time may be (directly) know 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 completemanifestation

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 withmystery!

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 specialscript. The single man to whomSalman 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

posse4ssed 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 possessionof

the true knowledge. The reason (of their correct recotgnition) 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). Where 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


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 theDivine 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 do 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 taching 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 interpretaion (ta'wil). Just as Amir Sayyid Ali-I Wa'iz

(Kashifi), one of the orthodox, ina 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 thiry 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 suspision 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 othet haqiqat, is refutaion 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 every body 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 yer 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 persons 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

portionof 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 wront. 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. Defination 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 golry 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


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.