A Modern Ismaili Prayer

June 24, 2008 at 2:59 am (Uncategorized)

An Ismaili Prayer and Ginan to the current Imam

 

Our Lord Nur Mawlana Shah,

Karim al-Husayni Hazar Imam!

We humble students pray to thee:

Give us your divine guidance to discharge our duties!

Give us the courage and strenght to obey the holy firmans!(1)

Our saviour,

have mercy upon us

and bless us with the holy Nurani Didar(2) in this world

and the next.

 

There is no salvation without our imam.

O ‘Ali! O ‘Ali! (3)

Better than written guidance, (4)

we have the living imam. (5)

O ‘Ali! O ‘Ali!

All-wise, omniscient, sinless.

 

The imam will give the kingdom to his followers

and they will rule until eternity.

Pay dashond

and obey his incarnation.

After these good deeds the soul attains salvation.

Pay your tithes to our teacher, the imam;

it will help you to secure salvation, bliss and happiness.

Without it you may be reborn 10,000 times.

O believers!

Pay your dues to our Lord accurately.

You will be doubly rewarded for all the things you offer.

O believers!

Come to the jamatkhana

and drink the water of purity.

 

While serving him devoutly

we recognize him as imam.

Only those who give all the dashond which they owe,

only those who sacrifice all they possess with love,

only they are the true believers.

 

He is true and just.

He is pure and sinless.

He is our gracious Lord,

sustainer of creation.

He is the judge of judgement,

the maker of us all.

Serve the imam,

we are his servants.

There is no salvation without the imam.

He is all in all.

O ‘Ali!

 

O Karim al-Husayni! Forgive our sines. Ameen.

O Karim al-Husayni! Fulfil our wishes. Ameen.

O Karim al-Husayni! Remove our troubles. Ameen.

O Karim al-Husayni! Overcome the enemies of our faith. Ameen.

O Karim al-Husayni! Grant us a temporal and spiritual glimpse. Ameen.

O Karim al-Husayni! Grant us health for our sick. Ameen.

O Karim al-Husayni! Grant is goodness to know you and belive in you. Ameen.

O Karim al-Husayni! Keep us perfect in partaking in sukrit and in paying dashond. Ameen.

O Karim al-Husayni! Make the community prosperous by giving them long life, wealth and       children. Ameen.

O Karim al-Husayni! Please bless those that give money generously. Ameen.

 

(1) These are the religious teachings of the imam which are binding upon all Ismailis. Only the firmans of the living imam or imam of the time are authorative. This allows the imam of the time to adapt the faith to new times and situations without being hampered by tradition.

(2) This is the Ismaili hajj. Everyone should seek to see the imam both in person and spiritually.

(3) Every imam is Allah’s Noor which first manifested itself as Ali the first imam of this cycle. So every imam is Ali.

(4) This referes to the Koran.

(5) The Ismailis have the only living imam of all the branches of Shiism. Other branches whose imam has gone into occultation stagnate at the level where the imam disappeared.

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The Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims: An Intro finally available on Amazon.com

May 19, 2008 at 10:43 pm (Uncategorized)

http://www.amazon.com/Shia-Imami-Ismaili-Muslims-Introduction/dp/1430315628/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211236863&sr=8-1

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Qiyamat Now!

November 8, 2007 at 1:29 am (Uncategorized)

Qiyamat Now!

Collected articles from the Zine:

Qiyamat: a newsletter for friends of the Imam

This is a collection of articles from my zine which ran for about a year 1998-9. I collected those articles which mostly dealt with the topic of Qiyamat from a Nizari Ismaili perspective. Also collected here are some Moorish Orthodox Science text which cover the same theme in a post-modern religious framework. There is a hard to find text by Hakim Bey on Anarchism which is a political philosophy that many Moors hold and is a stream of thought in the Qiyamat (the end of Law).

http://www.lulu.com/content/306796

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New Speech by the Imam Aga Khan IV

October 12, 2006 at 4:56 pm (Imam's Speeches, Uncategorized)

SPIEGEL ONLINE – October 12, 2006, 02:34 PM
URL: http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,442180,00.html
SPIEGEL Interview with Aga Khan
“Islam Is a Faith of Reason”

Karim Aga Khan IV, descendant of the prophet Muhammad and spiritual
leader of 20 million Ismaili Muslims, discusses the foundations of his
faith, the controversy over the pope’s recent statements about Islam
and ways of preventing a global clash between religions.

SPIEGEL: Your Highness, in a lecture Pope Benedict XVI quoted Emperor
Manuel as saying: “Show me just what Muhammed brought that was new,
and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as a
command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” This quotation
from the 14th century has caused great uproar in the Muslim world.
Why? And what was your reaction?

Aga Khan: From my point of view, I would start by saying that I was
concerned about this statement because this has caused great
unhappiness in the Islamic world. There appears to be momentum towards
more and more misunderstandings between religions, a degradation of
relations. I think we all should try not to add anything to worsen the
situation.

SPIEGEL: Benedict XVI did explicitly dissociate himself from the
emperor’s quoted statement. The pope’s own position with regard to his
lecture is that he wanted it to promote a dialogue; and since then,
several times, he has expressed his respect for the world religion
that is Islam. Was it just an unfortunate choice of words? Or was he
deliberately misunderstood?

Aga Khan: I do not wish to pass judgement on that, nor can I. And it
might also be unreasonable for me to presume that I know what he
meant. But that (medieval) period in history, to my knowledge, was one
of the periods of extraordinary theological exchanges and debates
between the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim world. A fascinating time.
The emperor’s statement does not reflect that, so I think it is
somewhat out of context.

SPIEGEL: The theme of Pope Benedict’s lecture was different, it was
one of his favorites: the link between faith and reason which, he
said, implies a rejection of any link between religion and violence.
Is that something you could agree on?

Aga Khan: If you interpret his speech as one about faith and reason
then I think that the debate is very exciting and could be enormously
constructive between the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world. So I
have two reactions to the pope’s lecture: There is my concern about
the degradation of relations and, at the same time, I see an
opportunity. A chance to talk about a serious, important issue: the
relationship between faith and logic.

SPIEGEL: If the pope were to invite you to take part with other
religious leaders in a debate about faith, reason and violence, would
you accept?

Aga Khan: Yes, definitely. I would, however, make the point that an
ecumenical discussion at a certain stage will meet certain limits.
Therefore I would prefer to talk more about a cosmopolitan ethic
stemming from all of Earth’s great faiths.

SPIEGEL: Does Islam have a problem with reason?

Aga Khan: Not at all. Indeed, I would say the contrary. Of the
Abrahamic faiths, Islam is probably the one that places the greatest
emphasis on knowledge. The purpose is to understand God’s creation,
and therefore it is a faith which is eminently logical. Islam is a
faith of reason.

SPIEGEL: So, what are the root causes of terrorism?

Aga Khan: Unsolved political conflicts, frustration and, above all,
ignorance. Nothing that was born out of a theological conflict.

SPIEGEL: Which political conflicts do you mean?

Aga Khan: The ones in the Middle East and in Kashmir, for example.
These conflicts have remained unresolved for decades. There is a lack
of urgency in understanding that the situation there deteriorates,
it’s like a cancer. If you are not going to act on a cancer early
enough, ultimately it’s going to create terrible damage. It can become
a breeding ground for terrorism.

Now to the issue of spreading faith by the sword: All faiths at some
time in their history have used war to protect themselves or expand
their influence, and there were situations when faiths have been used
as justifications for military actions. But Islam does not call for
that, it is a faith of peace.

SPIEGEL: It’s true that horrible crimes were committed in the name of
Christianity, for example by the crusaders. That was long ago, that’s
the past. But jihadists commit their crimes now, in our times.

Aga Khan: It is not so far in the past that we have seen bloody fights
in the Christian world. Look at Northern Ireland. If we Muslims
interpreted what happened there as a correct expression of
Protestantism and Catholicism or even as the essence of the Christian
faith you would simply say we don’t know what we are talking about.

SPIEGEL: “The West (will stand) against the Rest” wrote Professor
Samuel Huntington in his famous book “Clash of Civilizations.” Is such
a conflict, such a clash inevitable?

Aga Khan: I prefer to talk about a clash of ignorance. There is so
much horrible, damaging, dangerous ignorance.

SPIEGEL: Which side is responsible?

Aga Khan: Both. But essentially the Western world. You would think
that an educated person in the 21st century should know something
about Islam; but you look at education in the Western world and you
see that Islamic civilizations have been absent. What is taught about
Islam? As far as I know — nothing. What was known about Shiism before
the Iranian revolution? What was known about the radical Sunni
Wahhabism before the rise of the Taliban? We need a big educational
effort to overcome this. Rather than shouting at each other, we should
be learning to listen to each other. In the way we used to do it, by
working together, with mutual give-and-take. Together we brought about
some of the highest achievements of human civilization. There is a lot
to build on. But I think you cannot build on ignorance.

SPIEGEL: Nonethless, it is striking that a particularly large number
of Muslim-dominated states figure among the most backward and
undemocratic states in the world. Is Islam in need of an era of
enlightment? Is the faith even incompatible with democracy as others
claim?

Aga Khan: As I said before, one has to be fair. Some of the political
leaders have inherited problems that are in no way attributable to the
faith. New governance solutions have to be tested and validated over
time. Nor do I believe Muslim states are systematically economic
underperformers. Some of the fastest growing economies and some of the
most successful newly industrialized countries are in the Islamic
world. Now concerning democracy: My democratic beliefs do not go back
to the Greek or French (thinkers) but to an era 1,400 years ago. These
are the principles underlying my religion. During the prophet’s life
(peace be upon him), there was a systematic consultative political
process. And the first imam of the Shiites, Prophet Muhammad’s cousin
and son-in-law, Hazrat Ali, emphasized: “No honor is like knowledge,
no power is like forbearance, and no support is more reliable than
consultation.”

SPIEGEL: If pluralism, civil society and Islam can coexist
harmoniously, as was proven in the past, then why is this so seldom
achieved nowadays?

Aga Khan: I think we have a very diverse situation in the Islamic
world. Wealthy countries with enormous ressources, newly
industrialized countries, extremely poor ones.

SPIEGEL: Not many are functioning democracies.

Aga Khan: People speak about failed states. I do not think that states
can fail, but democracies certainly can. The failure of democracy is
not specific to the Islamic world. Indeed, about two years ago, the
United Nations carried out an in-depth analysis of democracy in South
America. About 55 percent of the population in South American states
said that they would prefer to live under a paternalistic dictatorship
instead of an incompetent or corrupt democracy that is not improving
their living condition.

SPIEGEL: Most of your Ismaili constituency lives in states that cannot
be called perfect democracies: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria and Iran.
What makes democracies fail?

Aga Khan: I ask myself every day what we can do to sustain the
multiple forms of democracy, to make these forms of government work,
whether it is in Latin America, Africa or the Middle East.

SPIEGEL: And what do you believe to be the answer?

Aga Khan: I admit that I live in a mood of frustration. What is the
point in these areas of the world of carrying out a referendum in a
population that essentially cannot read and write? What is the point
in testing a constitution with a population that knows no difference
between a presidential regime or a constitutional monarchy? Elections,
constitutions — all this is necessary, but not sufficient. I think we
have to accept that countries have different histories, different
social structures, different needs, so we have to be a great deal more
flexible than we have been.

SPIEGEL: Nor is democracy monolithic. The American model of democracy
is no panacea for the rest of the world. Has George W. Bush aggrevated
the situation with his particular way of bringing democracy to the
Middle East? Can the United States still win the war in Iraq?

Aga Khan: I am very, very worried about Iraq. The invasion of Iraq had
an impact across the world like nothing before in modern times. The
invasion has unleashed every force in the Islamic world, including the
relations between the Arabs and non-Arabs and the relationship between
the Shia und the Sunni.

SPIEGEL: You mean the war created a new terrorist base and radicalized
people?

Aga Khan: Indeed. It mobilized a large number of people across the
Islamic world, who before then were not involved, and indeed I think
they did not want to be.

SPIEGEL: Do you share the view of the American professor and Islam
expert Vali Nasr that the balance of power in the Muslim world is
undergoing a decisive shift, that Shiites could become the most
influential force from Baghdad to Beirut, that the future of the
Middle East will be shaped by wars between different Muslim factions?

Aga Khan: When the invasion of Iraq took place, we were told two
things: (that there would be) regime change and democracy. Well,
anyone who knew the situation in Iraq, as you did, I did, but what did
that mean? That meant a Shia majority; it could not have been
otherwise. Anyone who then concludes that the next issue is a Shia
majority in Iraq is going to start thinking, What does that mean in
the region, what does it mean in the Islamic world, what does it mean
in relation to the West? All that was as clear as daylight, you didn’t
even have to be a Muslim or a scholar to know that.

SPIEGEL: In your opinion, was it pure ignorance and naivete that made
the Bush government start the war? Was it really about introducing
democracy or a strategic decision about conquering oil fields and
military bases?

Aga Khan: I wish I could answer that question.

SPIEGEL: Are you in contact with the religious leaders in Iraq, like
Grand Ayatollah Sistani? And with the religious leaders of Iran as well?

Aga Khan: We have frequent contacts with important personalities in
both countries.

SPIEGEL: What would it take to get you to go to the region as a mediator?

Aga Khan: This is, at the moment, not one of my priorities. One day
maybe, we might consider (participating in the) reconstruction (effort).

SPIEGEL: When you compare the invasion in Iraq with the one in
Afghanistan, where the Taliban and al-Qaida worked hand in hand …

Aga Khan: … there I see a completely different picture. First of
all, the Afghan regime at the time was quasi totally detested by the
people; it was equally unpleasant for Sunnis as it was the for Shias
and it was totally unacceptable I think just in terms of overall
civilized life.

SPIEGEL: Afghanistan is currently being confronted with major problems
and the situation seems to be deteriorating by the hour. What went
wrong? And what can the West do to make the situation more stable?

Aga Khan: The security situation is indeed very worrying — it is
getting worse, especially in the south. Most of our projects are in
the capital and in the north where (the situation) is better but not
satisfying. We can supply energy from Tajikistan, we can provide civil
services. We try to avoid the danger that certain areas in Afghanistan
will be rehabilitated more quickly than others. If this development
overlaps with ethnic divides you have another problem. But the main
problem is that most people in Afghanistan have not seen an
improvement in their daily lives. The process of reconstruction does
not seem to be penetrating. We have not succeded in bringing a culture
of hope to this country. One of the central lessons I have learned
after a half century of working in the developing world is that the
replacement of fear by hope is probably the most powerful trampoline
of progress.

SPIEGEL: President Karzai is a personal friend of yours. Many people
see him as a weak leader, and some call him “Mayor of Kabul” because
he is unable to control large parts of the country.

Aga Khan: We should do everything to help him. He has an enomously
complex agenda to deal with. He is our best hope. And besides, he is
the elected leader and we have to work with the parliament.

SPIEGEL: Even if warlords and a former members of the Taliban are
represented in Afghanistan’s parliament?

Aga Khan: You either accept the results of democracy or you don’t.
Otherwise you talk about qualifying democracy.

SPIEGEL: That means the West should deal with the radical Islamist
Hamas as well?

Aga Khan: You have to work with whoever the population has elected as
long as they are willing to respect what I call cosmopolitan ethics.
Now, it’s true that Hamas has a record of conflict …

SPIEGEL: … of outright terror …

Aga Khan: … but it would not be the only time that movements that
have such a record make it into parliament, and even end up in charge
of government later on. Can I remind you of Jomo Kenyatta and his Mau
Mau movement in Kenya, for example, or the ANC in South Africa? Take
away the causes of extremism and extremists can come back to a more
reasonable political agenda. That change to me is one of the wonderful
things about the human race.

SPIEGEL: You know Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, very well. You
recently visited him again in Damascus. In contrast to the American
administration, the German government is trying to get him involved in
the Middle East peace process.

Aga Khan: I would like to compliment the German government and others
in Europe who have taken the decision to invite President Assad to be
a party to the peace process. The process of change from decades of
political directionalism is something that needs time, as you saw in
East Germany. I think there are many reasons to go out of our way to
assist Syria in making the transition from the past to the future.

SPIEGEL: If you look back at the years that have passed since World
War II — the Cold War between the East and the West, the ideological
conflict with communism — would you ever have thought that this
conflict could be replaced by one between the West and radical Islamists?

Aga Khan: I beg you, please get away from the concept of a conflict of
religion. It is not such a conflict. Nobody will ever convince me that
the faith of Islam, that Christianity, that Judaism will fight each
other in our times — they have too much in common. That’s why I am
talking about this global ethic which unites us all. That’s why we are
trying to work with the Catholic Church in Portugal on a program aimed
at immigant minorities. I am aware of a sense of disaffection with the
society that many young Muslims feel because they think that the
Western society has the intention of marginalizing or damaging them.

SPIEGEL: The German government just organized a conference with many
different Muslim groups and personalities who live in Germany. Do you
consider such a forum useful or is it just window dressing?

Aga Khan: We can avoid misunderstandings by having such a forum where
people from different faiths consult each other so they understand
what really affects them. Once you have committed an offense all you
can do is to try and reverse it. Anyone who knows the faith of Islam,
for example, would have known that the caricatures of the prohet were
profoundly offensive to all Muslims.

SPIEGEL: Again, this whole affair was misused by radical Islamists.
They added caricatures much more offensive than the original ones to
incite the masses.

Aga Khan: But I am told that there was an internal debate between the
editors of that publication and they actually knew what they were
doing. They took a risk and somebody should have said to them, Why get
into that situation? Now we are talking about civility, which is a
completely different concept. If we are talking about civility in a
pluralist society, then how do you develop that notion of civility,
particularly where there is ignorance. And that’s the thing that’s
worrying. And that’s why I get frustrated when I see these situations
that go on and on and on. Because I’m not willing to believe that they
are all inspired by evil intent.

SPIEGEL: Provocative, sad and distasteful. But the freedom of the
press is one of the highest values in our democracy. We have to
balance one thing against the other and we will allow non-believers to
express even outrageous opinions.

Aga Khan: I think that you are now referring to one of the most
difficult problems that we have and I don’t know the answer. The
industrialized West is highly secularized; the Muslim world is much
less secularized and that stems largely from the nature of the faith
of Islam, which you know and I know has an intrinsic meshing with
everyday life. And that is a scenario where people of goodwill need to
think very, very carefully.

SPIEGEL: In some of your speeches you mentioned Kemal Atatürk in a
positive context. Turkey followed his path and is one of the very few
countries with a predominant Muslim population where there is
separation of church and state. Would you like to see others go the
same way?

Aga Khan: I am not opposed to secularism as such. But I am opposed to
unilateral secularism where the notions of faith and ethics just
disappear from society.

SPIEGEL: Your Highness, we thank you for this interview.

Interview conducted by Stefan Aust and Erich Follath.

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Critique

September 11, 2006 at 9:31 pm (Uncategorized)

A Short Critique of Meherally’s

“A Brief History of the Aga Khans”

Meherally has devoted an website to propagate information he feels will damage the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim faith. It is from this website that naive anti-Ismaili Muslims get the files that they then post to various newsgroups. Most Ismailis have been very reluctant to engage him in debate since he has separated himself from their faith by violating his oath to the Imam of the Time, Imam Karim Aga Khan IV. Since I am not an Ismaili, tho I am sympathetic to its beliefs and practices, I have no problem taking this critic on. The following are just a few notes concerning Meherally’s text on the History of the Aga Khans (which is actually a short summary of Meherally’s two books attacking the Ismaili faith and its Imam).

One thing right off I noticed about Meherally is his envy over the wealth of the Imam and the Ismaili community. Page after page in his books and articles show an envy that borders on the pathological. He appears to resent having to pay tithes in cash to his religious institutions and feels that other should do the same. Yet all faiths collect funds from their believers in order to maintain their institutions and clergy. He fails to show how these funds are being misused. He merely shows how he dislikes the way they are collected. Considering how much the Imam spends on Third World development, the world would be a much better place if all religions would spend their monies in the same way (see Akbarali Thobhani’s Islam’s Quiet Revolutionary: The Story of Aga Khan IV).

Meherally states that “the Emperor of Persia” did not give the title “Aga Khan” to the current Imam’s great-great-grandfather since he was “an unsuccessful insurgent.” However, all histories, except for Meherally’s , all show that the Qajar ruler did bestow that title to him and even gave him one of his daughters in marriage. He also made him the governor of the City of Qumm. All of this was in compensation for the murder of his father the 45th Imam in 1817 CE. The Aga Khan I did resist the Qajar State in 1837, when an attempt was made to replace him from his acquired governorship of the province of Kirman, by armed struggle. There is evidence that his removal was related to a power struggle within the Iranian Sufi community with the Aga Khan supporting a faction that the ruling Qajar did not. He was pardoned for his revolt, however, and lived in peace for about two years. Then politics forced his hand (and one needs to keep in mind that Persia had numerous other rebellions during this period) and he led a failed uprising and was forced to go to India (this was in 1841 not in 1840 the date Meherally gives). So Meherally gives a very inaccurate account of Aga Khan I’s activities in Iran.

I find it very interesting that Meherally likes to quote Sir Richard Burton even after calling him an “orientalist” and “British Spy.” As for Burton’s comments that the Aga Khans revolt was “ridiculous” that is his opinion and not facts. The Aga Khan was forced to revolt or be murdered like his father.

Meherally makes a big deal that Aga Khan I assisted the British in their colonial undertakings. Many Muslims did the same during that time and the defenders of Sunni Orthodoxy, the Saudi’s, were British and American puppets.

He states that the British gave the Aga Khans a hereditary title of “Highness”. This is not true. This title must be given to each new Aga Khan upon their succession to the Imamate and is not automatically given (this is covered in Akbarali Thobhani’s “Islam’s Quiet Revolutionary: the Story of Aga Khan IV”).

Meherally makes the claim that the Khojah’s were originally Sunni Muslims before the Aga Khans were given authority over the Khojah community by the British Court in 1866. My question to Meherally is if the Khojah’s were Sunni why did they recite ginans in their services? These ginans can be traced back in written form to the 15th-16th centuries and contain religious teachings which Sunni’s would never have recited. Meherally tries in other texts to claim that the ginans were made up or revised to the current state during the last century thus they did not have the Hindu elements before the Aga Khans came. However, the history of the ginans is well documented and their contents can be confirmed as reflecting the true faith of Khojah Ismaili community. There were many split off groups from Khojah Nizari Ismailism ( which split off before the First Aga Khan came to India) and these groups preserved their own ginans which many are identical to the Nizari ones. The ones that are the most identical are those which present Islamic ideas within Hindu metaphors and myths. Of course, Meherally doesn’t like the ginans as they were the main evidence that the Khojah’s were Ismaili and this was confirmed by several court cases in India.

The Khojah’s used Sunnism during the period before the Aga Khan arrived as taqiyya (concealment of one’s true beliefs to prevent oppression). Also the Aga Khan I was practicing taqiyya when he practiced Sufism and Twelver Shiism. Taqiyya has been a historical Ismaili practice and Meherally is well aware of it. He chooses to ignore it to suit his own purposes. In Ismailism the outer form is always an illusion; the center of the faith remains the same. Taqiyya was ended only during the Imamate of the 3rd Aga Khan due to the spread of religious freedom under British rule. The Aga Khan III did not induces new doctrines and practices, he restored to some communities practices that were forgotten during the period of taqiyya. All of the doctrines and practices that the Aga Khan restored can be found in the ginans and in the Iranian Nizari literature on the Imamate written during the late Middle Ages.

I will end my critique now but I could go on and on pointing out the numerous errors which litter Meherally’s texts. I would suggest that those who are interested in Ismaili history to ignore Meherally and study the work of real Ismaili’s. Meherally, while once an Ismaili, is no longer one. Furthermore, he has a major axe to grind against his former faith and therefore is extremely bias against Ismailism. I would suggest reading the already mentioned book by Thobhani as well as anything by Farhad Daftary.

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Corbin and Massignon on the “Imam-of-one;s-own-being” by Corvus

September 2, 2006 at 12:59 pm (Uncategorized)

There is circulating among the qiyamati faction the legend of the Imam of one’s own being, a saying which comes most
directly from Peter Lamborn Wilson and his post-modern Islamic guerrilla
ontology. The Imam of one’s own being may be traced back to the work of Henry Corbin and his tawil on Imamat,
particularly in the compilation of essays entitled “Temple and Contemplation” (London, 1986) published under the aegis of the Institute for Ismaili Studies, to wit:

“To whom then does the present tawil lead us? To the Imam within, the
secret personal guide of each of us, to the rabb or lord of whom each
faithful vassal is
the knight According to our shaykh, there is an Imam Husayn within each
man: his intellect, whose divine splendour is a light that derives from
the Imam. But
this inner Imam is surrounded by enemies, and these are all the powers
of the carnal soul that issue from from the shadow of the Imam’s
enemies.” (pp.
45-46)

This is not a verifiably Ismaili teaching, the author, Corbin, cites a
work by KarimKhan Kirmani, a later exponent of Shaykhithought of the
19th century.

It is msitaken to presume that Corbin relates his ideas on Imamat from a
perspective of Ismaili “doctrne”.

Corbin’s views are heterodox culling from ghulat as well as 12er and
Ismaili shiism, zoroastrianism, manichaeanism, mithraism, mandaean and other sources. Not the least of which wasCorbin’s own gnosis, and indeed
he was an arif whose understanding of Imam was sublime.

This is where the conflict between the arif and the orthodox comes in:

revisit Hallaj and the orthodoxy of Basra.

Which brings me to another topic:

Apologists assert that Hallaj spoke from a state of ecstatic loss of
control:

In reading Massignon there is nothing t support that claim by orthodoxy.

Hallaj statements about Al Haqq were thought out deliberate and
premeditated, he spoke with a position of authority regarding the nature
of thr Divine and on more than a few occasions.

His ecstasies were the result of his sober realization of Ana ul Haqq,
his statements “ana-ul haqq” are not the result of ecstatic loss of
control and “fana” as orthodox among sufis have tried to maintain.

It is also known that Hallaj traveled extensively in India and Central
Asia and his views may also represent a synthesis of late Manichaean
thought, and Islam. This does not make them less valid since we are
admonished to “seek knowledge even in China”.

But I urge anyone who hasn’t tackled Massignon’s opus on the subject to
do so. I hope to discuss more on this topic.

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Thoughts on Ismaili mantra meditation

August 26, 2006 at 4:37 am (Uncategorized)

Silently chanting the names of God given to an Ismaili momen by the Imam-e-zaman is considered an important, tho not a mandatory, practice.

I had read that this name could be given by the jamatkhana leader acting in the name of the Imam, but this has been denied by several Ismaili’s on my mailing list.

Is this a case taqqiyya?

The ginans all suggest that the mantra chanting is a good practice. All of the ginans which speak of this practice are pre 1840. Also, these ginans were composed in India for the Indian jamat. The Imam never visited India til the Imamate moved there in 1841. So the name had to be given by someone else. Who is that someone?

The title of Guide is often given in the ginans which can mean either Pir or the Imam in a spiritual sense. This guide appears to have been able to give the name. Also, a book of farmans from an Imam was sent to India once and was given the status of Pir.

All of this would suggest that it was possible for someone else (and maybe even a book) to give the momin this important practice. If not, then the Khoja Ismaili community could have never practiced this practice til after 1841. Since the ginans speak of it as a current practice which should be undertaken, then someone had to have been given out the divine name.

Of course, an Imam can change the way the Ismaili faith is practiced. And is probably current Ismaili practice to receive the name from the Imam-e-zaman (especially in the age when he is accessible to almost the entire Ismaili community).

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Posts

August 20, 2006 at 2:16 pm (Announcements, Uncategorized)

I will be putting up selected posts from the Ismailism mailing list on this blog especially those from its earlier days. Feel free to make comments.

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A Batini interpretation of The Sprites 72.16-18

August 20, 2006 at 2:12 pm (personal interpretations, Uncategorized)

(16) If they would only keep straight along the highway,
We will let them drink plenty of water
(17) so We may test them by means of it;
while it will lead anyone away to mounting torment
who avoids mentioning his Lord.
(18) Mosques belong to God,
so do not appeal to anyone besides God (in them).

An Ismaili friend I met over the Internet pointed out this passage to me as pointing to the latter Khoja Ismaili rite of Ab-e-shifa (‘water of purity”). The rite of Ab-e-shifa consists of drinking water blessed by the current Imam of the Time. This is done daily after prayers (dua) and on special occassions like Chandraat. It is symbolic of cleansing the soul of karmic impurities which are created by everyone in the course of their everyday
lives. One takes up the cup of niyaz, offering prayers for other Ismailis and
oneself, then saying “Farman” drinks the Ab-e-shifa.

“It is only when you drink Niyaz with complete and true faith that your heart
will be cleansed.” Imam Aga Khan III

If they would only keep straight along the highway,

Islam is often called the straight path, which in modern terms is ahighway. It is the simplest way to liberation for most people. Therea are many believers who have started on the path to knowledge of Allah. Many fall away form this highway detouring into blind paths and alley ways. Often well meaning individuals retreat into the safety of fundamentalism and its ideology of absolute unchanging truth. This verse is a warning to such believers.

To keep to a straight path is to go straight towards a destination. The aim of Islam is to awaken to one’s fundamental unity with Allah. This destination, tho
transcendent, has a foci in this world and that is the imam-e-zaman, i.e., Imam of the Time. So to keep straight is to put into practice the farmans of the current Imam.

We will let them drink plenty of water
so We may test them by means of it;

The rite of Ab-e-shifa is not part of Sunni Islam as it has been handed down in our times. So this rite is a great stumbling block for those non-Ismaili Muslims who
first hear about it. This verse points that this rite is a test, a test of true community. All Ismailis share in
the drinking of niyaz daily. To share niyaz means that all Ismailis must come together as a group daily in their jamatkhanas. It is a major symbol of unity and union; a symbol of the reality of tawhid.

This verse also points to the Ismaili division of people spiritually into three
classifications: people of opposition (enemies of the imam-e-zaman), people of order (regular believers) and people of union. Those who oppose the imam-e-zaman separate themselves from the ongoing Qiyamat and have to continually experience rebirth. One should remember, that the people of opposition are in a state of spiritual non-existence
(which is the real meaning of hell). Tho, given time all people will enter into the Qiyamat and Hell itself will empty.

Jim Davis
3-9-2000

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A Few points concerning the Following article

August 12, 2006 at 1:19 pm (ethnic Ismailis, Uncategorized)

1. Ismailis pray du’a three times a day. It could be that the Chinese Ismailis pray twice a day due to circumstances not mentioned in the article.

2. Ismaili’s worship in jamatkhanas and not mosques

3. Ismailis only have one Imam at any given time. They do not call the leadership of their jamatkhanas “imams” which is a Sunni Muslim tradition.

4. Ismailis are also forbidden to drink alcholol tho they have no shariah system in inact penalities for those who choose to do otherwise. In practice, its basically an individual choice (you would be surprised at the number of Sunnis who drink in the West).  

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