Kadiwal Sayeds in India

In India, the Kadiwal Sayeds continued the tradition of Ismaili mission despite several impediments. Fourth in the line of Sayed Mashaikh bin Sayed Rehmatullah Shah bin Pir Hasan Kabir, was Sayed Fazal Shah; who operated proselytizing mission in north Gujrat with a tremendous effect upon the local peasants. His disciples islamized their names and forsook irrelevant customs. He is said to have visited Iran in 1035/1625 during the period of Imam Nizar and was appointed as a vakil. The tradition relates that Nizar also sent with him his one relative, called Pir Kassim Shah. Both of them not only conducted the proselytism afresh, but also accelerated the economical condition of the Ismailis. It appears that their secret mission was closely noticed by Aurengzeb at Gujrat. In the meantime, Sayed Fazal Shah died in the village of Jetral in 1068/1659, and left behind two sons, Sayed Hasan Shah and Sayed Mashaikh Shah II (1060-1108/1650-1697). Sayed Hasan Shah, known as Hasan Pir (1062-1126/1652-1715) became next vakil and continued to work with Pir Kassim Shah in place of his father. It is however related that Sayed Mashaikh Shah had strong proclivity towards Sunnism, and renounced his allegiance to the Imam. He is said to have visited the Mughal emperor Aurengzeb in the Deccan, and reviled the faith of his forbears to win the heart of the emperor.

Aurengzeb, who knew the Ismaili activities in Gujrat, had sent a certain Mir Shamsuddin in Gujrat with a troop when Pir Kassim Shah and Hasan Pir were on a trip of Kathiawar. Mir Shamsuddin read the royal decree before the Ismailis, impugning them to forsake Ismailism and espouse Sunnism, otherwise they would be beheaded with their children, and their properties would be confiscated. Sayed Mashaikh Shah also tried to convince them to give up Ismaili faith, and as a result, many Ismailis embraced Sunnism, but other 500 Ismaili families flatly refused, who became known as momins or later on mominas. The seceders were called, chilia in Gujrat. The momina Ismailis were imprisoned at Patan. In the meantime, Pir Kassim Shah and Hasan Pir rushed to Ahmadnagar, and filed suit before the chief judge, who, after the proceeding of three days, exculpated the Ismailis, declaring the Ismailis as true Muslims. This may be perhaps the first legal verdict in India if the tradition is genuine. Pir Kassim Shah and Hasan Pir came in Patan and relieved the Ismailis. Henceforward, the Ismailis broke their relation with the chilia, the followers of Sayed Mashaikh Shah, who died in 1108/1697 in Ahmadabad, and his followers later quarrelled as to whether he had been a Sunni or Shia, causing further internal splits. Pir Kassim Shah took about 250 Ismaili families to different villages of Gujrat, and other 250 families were flourished in Kathiawar by Hasan Pir. Pir Kassim Shah died around 1121/1710, and was buried at a village, called Mudana, two miles from Sidhpur. Thus, Hasan Pir had to administer the mission all alone in Gujrat and Kathiawar, and died probably in 1126/1715. Hasan Pir was revered as the saint of the Momina Ismailis. In addition to his mausoleum in Thanapipli, near Junagarh, the local Ismailis built a shrine in 1128/1717 at Ganod, Gujrat as a tribute to Hasan Pir. His shrine is flocked by the multitude of visitors, and one like visit is noteworthy that of Mahomed Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan, who as a child was taken from Karachi by his parents.

After the death of Pir Kassim Shah and Hasan Pir, the Momina Ismailis were severely in trouble without any other vakil for many years. The Mughal governors seem to have continued the tradition of Aurengzeb, and the circumstances did not allow the Ismailis to divulge their faith or perform prayers in thier prayer-hall. In Surat, the Momina Ismailis were yet tinged with the Hindu social customs and had to live sometimes under Shiite garbs. It seems that the Mughal authorities had made the Hindus and the Shias as their main target, and as a result, the Momina Ismailis had to face problems on either side. It is said that they built a secret prayer-hall in Surat, where both the Muslim-Hindu styles were significantly employed at two main entrances. The first entrance facing the Hindu locality, was ornamented like a temple. The second entrance lying at the street of the Shia Muslims, imitated the design of a mausoleum. The premises was known simply as Vada Bhuvan (big mansion). The Ismailis used secret codes at the entrances before admission. When the enemies hunted the Shia Muslims in their locality, the entranc in that area was to be closed, and another was opened instead. And if the Hindus were persecuted in their locality, the gate lying in that street was to be shut, and other was opened for the service. This was a sort of taqiya that could avoid the Ismailis from being domineered. In the middle of premises, there was a big hall, whose underground chamber was used for prayers. It must be noted that a like tradition of two exterior faces of the secret prayer-hall is reported to have been employed in Surat once again in the middle of 19th century, known as Dada'nu Ghar (house of the grandfather).

It must be noted on this juncture that Sayed Buzrug Ali, the son of Sayed Mashaikh Shah II (d. 1108/1697) is said to have settled in Tando Muhammad Khan in Sind, and died between 1153/1740 and 1158/1745. His son Sayed Hashim Ali Shah was the father of Sayeda Imam Begum, the last composer of the ginans in India.

Imam Nizar died in Kahek in 1038/1628 and was entombed in his small palace, which had been made a domed sepulcher. It is an eye-catching building in Kahek, consisting of different chambers. It also accommodated the graves of Imam's close relatives, but the dates inscribed in the graves are concocted. The mausoleum was renovated in 1805 by the Syrian pilgrims, who stayed in Kahek for many months, and it was again rebuilt in 1966 by the local Ismailis.

It is parenthetically worth mentioning that the dates of the Ismaili Imams of the early post-Alamut period are well recorded in the "Satveni'ji Vel"by Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah (d. 940/1534), down to the period of Imam Nuruddin Ali (d. 957/1550). It also prompted the Indian Ismailis to write down the dates of the following Imams. The Russian scholar W.Ivanow visited Iran in 1937 and noted the dates of Imams' death from the plaques on the existing mausoleums. While collating the dates of the inscriptions with the traditional records, it seems that the dates of few early Imams are almost in agreement, but other dates are in fair contrast, making a layer of confusion to reconcile them. For instance, the death of Imam Nizar is placed 1038/1628 in the traditional records, but the inscription of mausoleum places 1134/1722, indicating a discrimination of about 94 years. It is, however, much nearer to reasonable possibility that the Indian Ismailis had been in close contact with the Imams after Pir Sadruddin's time in Iran, and they had treasured up the traditional records in their memory with the same tendency which they had employed in learning the ginans, and therefore, the traditional dates cannot be ruled out. Besides, there is another testimony equally potent that Pir Sadruddin is said to have composed a daily prayer (dua) for the Indian followers, wherein the names of the Imams from Hazrat Ali down to the Imam of the time were recited. When an Imam died, the name of his successor was inserted in the daily prayer as the Lord of the Light (noor-shah). Under such practice, the traditional records seem more credible than that of the inscriptions. It seems probable that most of the mausoleums and their inscriptions existed long after the death of the Imams, and none can assert that the scribes had either written the actual dates, or the dates of their own time, or written on guess work. Take it for granted that the inscriptions provide true record, then one would have to brush aside few names of the Imams from the official list, so as to adjust the history with the dates of inscriptions. It also deserves notice that the Indian pilgrims most possibly had visited the mausoleums of the Imams and seen the inscriptions, had these really existed during their time. In spite of reading the extant inscriptions, the Indian pilgrims of later period seem to have clung with their own dominant records, which is ample to judge that they had discarded the uncertain dates of inscriptions. In all this, what should have become abundantly clear is that the dates of the inscriptions are not to be trusted.

It is related that some scholars in the Nimatullahi Sufi order had ignored the Sufic teachings of Imam Nizar in Khorasan. In his sayings, Nizar is reported to have addressed them as under:-

		Amruz baman pi nabrad aqeel wa farda,
		sajada'i  umid kund luh'i mazaram.
"The talented does not try to take benefit from me. When I will depart from the world, he will prostrate before the slab of my tomb as the source of accomplishing hopes."

It seems that the above qasida was preserved with the Nimatullahis in Khorasan of no avail. When Nizar returned to Kirman and died, many Nimatullahis began to realize its worth after a long time. They seem to have flocked at Kahek when the seat of the Imamate had been transferred from that village, and venerated the mausoleum of Nizar. It is also possible that they had either built Nizar's mausoleum, or had given the present shape to it most possibly in the period of Imam Kassim Ali (d. 1143/1730).

There are many folklores attributed to Nizar. One among them however relates a touching anecdote that Nizar was once sitting at the top of his house at night. Suddenly he heard the gallop of horses, and saw the Safavid horsemen approaching near Kahek, who were loitering for foods and provisions. They spurred their horses on the slopy tract of the village for taking a night respite. For a while, Nizar found himself between the horns of a dilemma. He did not like the hoof of a single horse be entered in Kahek and also avoided to check them through his sleeping guards. He came down at speed and relieved a bulk of lambs from the fold, directing them to make a stampede downwards to impede the mounting horsemen. The lambs jumped down like an advancing column. The horsemen angerily brandished their swords to cut their way in the lines of dashing lambs. The exhausted horsemen were at length forced to come down to the main tract and took flight. Nizar watched the occurrence from the roof, and did not sleep until morning. He however found that all the lambs were brutally killed. Suddenly, he saw a wounded lamb coming calmly from downwards. Nizar came down and took it with his arms lovingly, and made its bandages. The wounded lamb also died at the same moment. This story depicts the services of the lambs, and therefore, the lamp is customarily burnt in the mausoleum of Nizar, fed only with the oil of lamb's fat. It may be remarked as strange that the lamp bearing the oil other than the lamb's fat, it becomes extinguished at once.

It will perhaps be well at this stage to glance that the first western monograph devoted entirely to the subject of the Ismailis seems to be that of Denis Lebey de Batilly, a French official at the court of Henry IV in Europe. The author had become deeply concerned about the revival of political murders in Europe, after the stabbing of Henry III of France at the hands of a Jacobin friar in 1589. He set out in 1595 to compile a short treatise on the true origin of the word assassin, which had acquired a new currency in France.

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