All posts by Furqan A. M. Virji

Leaving Ismailism: From Darkness to Light

darkness-to-light-wp-cover

Many times my friends and people I came across ask me about the specific clear verses of the Qurʾān which guided me from the darkness of shirk and kufr to noor-e-hidaya. Instead of giving a long list, I would like to go by the episodes that occurred in my life and how did these events help me to achieve the enlightenment of the Qurʾān.

I was born in the decade of twenties of the last century in a family which was a staunch believer in Ismāʿīli tenets of faith and rituals. Ismāʿīlism was drilled into our brains from the very formative years. I had to attend religious night school at the Jamatkhana with strict compulsion from my father. Through many years of brainwashing, I too became a staunch believer in Ismāʿīlism.
I was in my final year of my High School studies when Imām Sultan Muhammad Shah had come to Bombay for the celebration of his Diamond Jubilee festival. My family also reached Bombay to participate in this festival. Here on 29th December 1945, a religious decree (called a ‘farman’) was pronounced in which Aga Khan III, Sultan Muhammad Shah ordained that Ismāʿīlis do not have a book for guidance or hidaya and instead of a book, they have living Imām for guidance or hidaya. This was in accordance with the religious teachings provided in the religious night school.

Scanned page from Kalam-e-Imam-e-Mubin
Scanned page from Kalam-e-Imam-e-Mubin

Translation:

Haq Mawlana Dhani Salamat Datar Sultan Muhammad Hazar Imām ordained that:

“You are aware of the fact that the life and the world are under constant changes. In such situation only Hazar Imām can provide the proper guidance. There is no written book for guidance for the Ismailis, but, there is living Imām.”

Reference: Farman No.530/II/p-393 Bombay, Wadi D/-29-12-1945 Kalam-e-Imām-e-Mubin: Holy Farmans of Mawlana Hazar Imām Sultan Muhammad Shah, Part 2 from 1911 A.D. to 1951 A.D. Published by Hon. Secretary; Mr V N Huda Press and Publication Department on behalf of Ismailia Association for India. Ismaili Printing Press, Bhimpura Dongri Mumbai, 1951 A. D.

Everyone present in the gathering concluded the following key messages from the above speech of the Aga Khan III:

  1. The Final Holy Quran Revealed by Allah is not a book of divine hidaya or guidance.
  2. Only Hazar Imām can provide divine hidaya or guidance

I was very enthusiastic to practice upon this farman and was actively conveying this message to other members of the Ismāʿīli community.

After graduation, I migrated to Pakistan. As I had no money with me it took some years to settle down in Karachi. The tenets of the faith and rituals here in Karachi were the same.

In 1956 a new Ismāʿīli prayer (called duʿāʾ which Ismāʿīlis offer in lieu of the Muslim ṣalāt) was introduced and the old one was abrogated. To my astonishment this prayer was in Arabic while the previous one was in Gujrati language. All the parts of this Ismāʿīli prayer began with an āyah or verse of the Qurʾān.

This posed a great question to me: How it is possible that the same Imām in December 1945 who issued the farman that Ismāʿīlis do not have any written book for guidance, and thus played down the Qurʾān, comes back after a few years and imposes a new Ismāʿīli prayer (duʿāʾ) in which he picks up verses from the same Qurʾān? From this point, Allāh guided me to study the Qurʾān that enlightened and illuminated my soul and changed my thought process.

I went back to what Aga Khan III had claimed earlier as himself being ‘guidance’ and compared it with the following in Qurʾān 2:2-7:

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah

الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ

Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them,

وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ وَبِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُون

And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith].

أُولَٰئِكَ عَلَىٰ هُدًى مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

Those are upon [right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْهِمْ أَأَنذَرْتَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تُنذِرْهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

Indeed, those who disbelieve – it is all the same for them whether you warn them or do not warn them – they will not believe.

خَتَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِمْ وَعَلَىٰ أَبْصَارِهِمْ غِشَاوَةٌ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing, and over their vision is a veil. And for them is a great punishment.

In the above verses, Allāh is clear that this book is guidance wherein there is no doubt (that is from Allah). Therefore, it is perfect and eternal for the whole of humanity. But this guidance is only for the muttaqi, who have been defined as defined as those who have faith in the unseen viz. Allah, the Angels, Heaven and Hell, etc., and secondly those who offer ṣalāt regularly, and thirdly who spend money in the way of Allāh.

Allāh says that it is these people who are on the right path and are successful in this life and the hereafter. For those who deny any of these six points cannot be faithful to Allah even if the Prophet (pbuh) directly preached to them. Their Soul and Mind, Their Hearing and visual capability get sealed through their own deeds and unwillingness.

These are just the first 7 verses of the Qurʾān after the al-Fatiha in which it is clear that the only guidance is the book. There is no room for any ‘Living Imām’ in this chapter or anywhere else in the Qurʾān. In addition, there are over 20 proofs in the Qurʾān that the Qurʾān itself is to be followed for guidance:

Proof #1

Say, “Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel – it is [none but] he who has brought the Qur’an down upon your heart, [O Muhammad], by permission of Allah , confirming that which was before it and as guidance and good tidings for the believers.” (2:97)

Proof #2

And We have certainly revealed to you verses [which are] clear proofs, and no one would deny them except the defiantly disobedient. (2:99)

Proof #3

And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their religion. Say, “Indeed, the guidance of Allah is the [only] guidance.” If you were to follow their desires after what has come to you of knowledge, you would have against Allah no protector or helper. (2:120)

Proof #4

This [Qur’an] is a clear statement to [all] the people and a guidance and instruction for those conscious of Allāh. (3:138)

Proof #5

Certainly did Allah confer [great] favor upon the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error. (3:164)

Proof #6

O mankind, there has come to you a conclusive proof from your Lord, and We have sent down to you a clear light. (4:174)

Proof #7

And thus do We detail the verses, and [thus] the way of the criminals will become evident. (6:55)

Proof #8

Or lest you say, “If only the Scripture had been revealed to us, we would have been better guided than they.” So there has [now] come to you a clear evidence from your Lord and a guidance and mercy. Then who is more unjust than one who denies the verses of Allah and turns away from them? We will recompense those who turn away from Our verses with the worst of punishment for their having turned away. (6:157)

Proof #9

And when Our verses are recited to them as clear evidences, those who do not expect the meeting with Us say, “Bring us a Qurʾān other than this or change it.” Say, [O Muhammad], “It is not for me to change it on my own accord. I only follow what is revealed to me. Indeed I fear, if I should disobey my Lord, the punishment of a tremendous Day.” (10:15)

Proof #10

Alif, Laam, Meem, Raa: These are the verses of the Book; and what has been revealed to you from your Lord is the truth, but most of the people do not believe. (13:1)

Proof #11

Alif, Laam, Meem, Raa: [This is] a Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that you might bring mankind out of darknesses into the light by permission of their Lord – to the path of the Exalted in Might, the Praiseworthy (14:1)

Proof #12

Alif, Laam, Meem, Raa: These are the verses of the Book and a clear Qurʾān [i.e., recitation]. (15:1)

Proof #13

Indeed, it is We who sent down the message [i.e., the Qurʾān], and indeed, We will be its guardian. (15:9)

Proof #14

[We sent them] with clear proofs and written ordinances. And We revealed to you the message [i.e., the QurÕŒn] that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they might give thought. (16:44)

Proof #15

And We have not revealed to you the Book, [O Muúammad], except for you to make clear to them that wherein they have differed and as guidance and mercy for a people who believe. (16:64)

Proof #16

[All] praise is [due] to Allāh, who has sent down upon His Servant [Muúammad ()] the Book and has not made therein any deviance. (18:1)

Proof #17

And recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Lord. There is no changer of His words, and never will you find in other than Him a refuge. (18:27)

Proof #18

Blessed is He who sent down the criterion (the Qurʾān) to His servant, that it may be an admonition to all creatures (25:1)

Proof #19

These are Verses of the Book that makes (things) clear. (28:2)

Proof #20

Alif, Laam, Meem. These are verses of the wise Book, as guidance and mercy for the doers of good who establish prayer and give zakah, and they, of the Hereafter, are certain [in faith]. Those are on [right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful. (31:1-5)

Proof #21

And those who have been given knowledge see that what is revealed to you from your Lord is the truth, and it guides to the path of the Exalted in Might, the Praiseworthy. (34:6)

Proof #22

By the clear Book. Indeed, We sent it down during a blessed night. Indeed, We were to warn [mankind]. Therein [i.e., on that night] is made distinct every precise matter – [every] matter [proceeding] from Us. Indeed, We were to send [a messenger]. (44:2-5)

Proof #23

This [Qurʾān] is enlightenment for mankind and guidance and mercy for a people who are certain [in faith]. (45:20)

Proof #24

But those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, and believe in the (Revelation) sent down to Muhammad – for it is the Truth from their Lord, He will remove from them their ills and improve their condition. (47:2)

Conclusion

There is no reference in whole of the Qurʾān, in any one ayah that there can be a living Imām as providing guidance. Everywhere, only the is Qurʾān the guidance. Therefore, I earnestly request Ismāʿīli brothers not fall in the trap and deception of the myth of a ‘living Imām’. Believe not any one but believe in the words of Allāh for the guidance of humanity that are in the Qurʾān where there cannot be any misguidance.

Five Daily Prayers in Qur’ān and the Ismāʿīlī Rejection of Allāh’s Commandment

5 Prayers WordPress Cover

Ismāʿīlīs usually question if the five times prayer is proved by the Qur’ān. In this question, is hidden their rejection of all hadith and all prophetic traditions along with rejection of the method of the prayer. The only prophetic saying which the Ismailis believe in, is that of the hadith of Ghadir-e-Khumm. Other than this hadith, Ismailis even reject all hadith which the Shia believe in. Ismāʿīlīs have no collection of hadith at all. Ismailis also lie that they offer 3 prayers just like the Shia do. The truth is that Shia, just like the Sunni, offer five prayers but the Shia only join the five prayers, into three. The truth about Ismailis is that the ‘prayer’ which they offer is offered regardless of the sunrise and sunset. The ‘prayer’ which the Ismailis offer is nothing like the Shia or Sunni salat.The ‘prayer’ which the Ismāʿīlīs offer is just offered twice a day: once in the morning regardless of the sunrise, and the other two, joined together, conveniently after the 9am-5pm working hours regardless of the sunset time. 

Ismāʿīlīs openly reject the five daily prayers which are observed by Muslims. Not only do the Ismāʿīlīs reject the number of prayers, but they also reject the method of the prayer and performance of ablution (wuḍūʼ) before the five daily prayers as prescribed by the Qur’ān. In this paper we analyze basis on which the commandment of Allāh is rejected by the Ismāʿīlīs, the counter reasoning by Muslim scholars of the entire Muslim world and then three shocking revelations: one from early Ismāʿīlī text which actually commanded the five daily prayers, the other claim by Karim Aga Khan that he actually observes five daily prayers and then the fact that Ismāʿīlīs even reject the regular sunrise and sunset prayers even though publicly they align themselves with the Shīʿah interpretation of three prayers instead of five.

1. Evidence of Rejection of Five Times Canonical Prayers in Ismāʿīlīsm

In his book “Ismāʿīlīsm Through the Eyes of the Qur’ān”, author Shawkat Ali Dharshi writes quotes the following verse of the Holy Qur’ān on page 9:

“And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night; for good things remove those that are evil.” Qurʾān 11:114

As commentary for the above, Shawkat Ali Dharshi explains:

“Accordingly, we Ismailis say our Duʿāʾ three times a day. This is mentioned in the Qurʾān in several places. “…. and celebrate the praises of thy lord in the evening and in the morning” (40:55). “Remember thy lord much, and praise (Him) in the early hours of the night and morning.”(3:41). “And glorify Him morning and evening” (33:42) “So glory be to God when you enter the night and when you enter the morning.” (30:17).

Praying five times a day is not mentioned in the Qurʾān. In his translation of the Qur’an, Mir Ahmed Ali, while referring to another commentator, writes as follows:

“If the commentator, wants such minute details in the holy Qur’an, what would he say for the absence of the mention of the details of the prescribed daily ṣalāt in the Holy Qur’an…”

Therefore, according to Shawkat Dharshi, there is no mention in the Qurʾān of ṣalāt az-ẓuhr and ṣalāt al-ʿaṣr.

This is also the view adopted by many missionaries of the Ismāʿīlī Tariqa Board. Here in all these verses of the Qurʾān referred to by Mr. Shawkat Ali Dharshi viz. 40:55; 3:41; 33:42 & 30:17 contain the word sabih which stands for ṣalāt, also the original word ṣalāt (plural ṣalawāt) stands for the five daily prayers in the Qurʾān.

Herein the author in his book claims that there is no mention of the five times prayer in the Qurʾān. He claims that these prayers are three only viz. in Islamic terms fajr, maġrib and ʿišāʾ, though Ismāʿīlīs do not call them by the names of ṣalāt al-faǧr, ṣalāt al-maġrib and ṣalāt al-ʿišāʾ and instead name them as subuh ji duʿāʾ, sanji ji duʿāʾ, and somni ji duʿāʾ.

2. Evidence of Five Prayers in the Qur’ān

A summary of the Qur’ānic evidence of the five daily prayers, supplemented with references from both Sunni and Shia collection of hadith, is below:

Reference from Quran and Shia and Sunni hadith collections on the 5 prayers.
Reference from Quran and Shia and Sunni hadith collections on the 5 prayers.

Moving forward with providing additional references, I would first like to quote Abu Inshaa Qari Khalil al-Rahman from his book “Ṣalāt un-Nabi Kay Haseen Manazir”, meaning Beautiful Scenes of the Prayers of the Prophet (pbuh) on page 178 he writes under the heading: “Mention of Five Times Ṣalāt in the Qur’ān”:

“It is a universally accepted fact that the five times ṣalāt, and the method of ṣalāt which was the practice of the Prophet, his companions, the righteously guided caliphs of Islam. And all the generations following were and are offering five times ṣalāt, moreover, at the al-Kaʿbah and al-Masjid an-Nabawī in Madina Munawwara, all the five obligatory prayers have been offered without any break for more than 14 centuries. In spite of this established fact, those who have diseased mind, are trying to misguide the unwary Muslims by false statement that there is no mention of Five Times Ṣalāt in the Qurʾān. They further say that in the Qurʾān there is the mention of the Ṣalāt only for three times. Hereunder we provide the proofs from the Qurʾān. I pray for this mentally perverted and diseased person for the Shifa-e Kamila and Aajila.”

He quotes from the Qurʾān:

“And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night; for good things remove those that are evil.” Surah Hūd, Chapter 11, Verse 114

“Bear then with patience, all that they say, and celebrate the praises of thy Lord, before the rising of the sun and before its setting.” Surah Qāf, Chapter 50, Verse 39

The words indicating before the setting of the sun clearly stand for ṣalāt al-ʿaṣr.

“So glory be to Allah, when you reach evening and when you rise in the morning; To Him be praise in the heavens and on the earth; and in the late afternoon and the day begins to decline.” Surah ar-Rūm 30:17-18

Abdullah Yusuf Ali writes under the commentary of this verse:

ruku congregation portraitThe special times for Allah’s remembrance are so described as to include all our activities in life: when we rise in the morning, and when we go to rest in the evening; when we are in the midst of our work, at the decline of the sun, and in the late afternoon. It may be noted that there are all striking stages in the passage of the sun through out terrestrial day, as well as stages in our daily working lives. On this are based the hours of the five canonical prayers, viz.:

1. Early morning before sunrise (ṣalāt al-faǧr);

2. When the day begins to decline just afternoon (ṣalāt az-ẓuhr).

3. In the late afternoon, say midway between noon and sunset (ṣalāt al-ʿaṣr);

4. and 5. The two evening prayers, one just after sunset (ṣalāt al-maġrib) and the other after twilight has all faded from the horizon, the hour indicated for rest and sleep (ṣalāt al-ʿišāʾ).

Besides other prayers here is mention of the time just after decline of the sun and in the afternoon means ṣalāt aẓ-ẓuhr and ṣalāt al-ʿaṣr. These Prayers are in total all the five prayers in the Qurʾān.

Now I am quoting a few other verses from the Qurʾān:

“Therefore be patient with what they say, and celebrate the praise of thy Lord before the rising of the sun. And before its setting; you celebrate them for part of the hours of the night, and at sides of the day, thou may be pleased.” Surah Ţāhā 20:130

Now the prayer before sunrise is clearly ṣalāt al-faǧr; that before sunset is ṣalāt al-ʿaṣr, the part of the night will indicate ‎ ṣalāt al-maġrib (early night, just after sunset) and ṣalāt al-ʿišāʾ, before going to bed.

“Guard strictly your prayers. Especially the middle prayer, and stand before Allah in a devout frame.” Al-Qur’ān, al-Baqarah 2:238

cute boy offering prayers(a) Here there is command of Allah to stand in the prayer. This means that, the Duʿāʾ which Ismāʿīlīs offer while in sitting position is not in accordance to the instruction of Allāh and practice of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This is simply disobedience to Allāh and the Prophet (pbuh).

(b) This prayer is that of afternoon. Most of the commentators are in favor in interpreting this prayer as the mid-afternoon ṣalāt al-ʿaṣr. This is also born out of the context of revelation of the verse which is that during the Battle of the Trench (Ghazwah al-Khandaq), the fighting was very intense. During this situation there was no time for Asr Namaz and Prophet and the Sahaba could not offer the same. At this juncture this verse was revealed.\

“Establish regular prayers at the sun’s decline till the darkness of the night, and the recital of the Qurʾān in morning prayer for the recital of the dawn is witnessed.” (Qur’ān, Chapter 17:78)

Commentary by Yusuf Ali:

Here is the command for the five daily canonical prayers, viz. four from the declination of the sun from the zenith to the fullest darkness of the night, and the early morning prays are: viz. Zuhar, immediately after the sun begins to decline in the afternoon; Asr in the late afternoon; Magrib immediately after sunset; and Isha, after the glow of the sunset has disappeared and the full darkness of the night has set in.

We offer Ṣalāt only because of the fact that it is so ordained in the Qurʾān by Allah. No other person or authority can amend this command of Allah.

3. Evidence of Five Prayers from 20th Century Ismāʿīlī Text

Amongst Ismāʿīlīs there used to be a practice of five times ṣalāt. Here I quote a reference on page 94 under Kalaam 163 of the book Kalaam-e-Mowla published by Ismailia Association for Pakistan:

Kalam-e-Mowla 1
Scanned page from “Kalam-e-Mowla” (Urdu) published by Ismailia Association Pakistan
Scanned page from "Kalam-e-Mowla" (Urdu) published by Ismailia Association Pakistan
Scanned page from “Kalam-e-Mowla” (Urdu) published by Ismailia Association Pakistan

Above in Urdu version of Kalaam-e-Mowla, published by Ismailia Association for Pakistan, Karachi, indicate in clear terms that the canonical ṣalāt are for five times a day.

Below is one more reference from the book Namaz published by Ismailia Association for Pakistan, Karachi. Here the table of five times salat is provided with reference to the fard, sunnah and nafl prayers.

Scanned page from the book "Namaz" published by Ismailia Association for Pakistan,
Scanned page from the book “Namaz” published by Ismailia Association for Pakistan
Scanned page from the book "Namaz" published by Ismailia Association for Pakistan, indicating fard, sunnah and nafl prayers.
Scanned page from the book “Namaz” published by Ismailia Association for Pakistan, indicating fard, sunnah and nafl prayers.

Below is yet another reference from the book written by none other than the 48th Ismāʿīlī Imām Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III, titled “Khoja Komna Ketlak Mool Tattwo Tatha Kriya Sambath Nanu Pustak”. This book was published in Hijri year 1313 which is about 110 years ago. There is also the khojki script version. Here in it is clearly indicated that the namaz is for five times. This book is originally in Gujrati and the Khojki Script version is also published.

Scan from the book "Khoja Komna Ketlak Mool Tattwo Tatha Kriya Sambath Nanu Pustak" authored by Aga Khan III himself.
Scan from the book “Khoja Komna Ketlak Mool Tattwo Tatha Kriya Sambath Nanu Pustak” authored by Aga Khan III himself.
Scan from the book "Khoja Komna Ketlak Mool Tattwo Tatha Kriya Sambath Nanu Pustak" authored by Aga Khan III himself.
Scan from the book “Khoja Komna Ketlak Mool Tattwo Tatha Kriya Sambath Nanu Pustak” authored by Aga Khan III himself.

4. Rejection of Timings of ṣalāt al-faǧr, ṣalāt al-maġrib and ṣalāt al-ʿišāʾ in Ismāʿīlīsm

The modern-day Ismāʿīlīs do not even observe three prayers as they publicly claim. The testimony to this fact is that in summer in North America when the timings for sunset reach up to 10 p.m. in locations such as Calgary and Edmonton, Ismāʿīlīs continue to offer their evening duʿāʾ (which they claim is equivalent to ṣalāt al-maġrib and ṣalāt al-ʿišāʾ), at 6:00 p.m. which is five hours before the sunset.

Similarly, in winter when the sunrise timings in North America reach upto 7am in the morning, Ismāʿīlīs continue to offer their morning prayer at 5:30am which is well before the time of the Muslim ṣalāt al-faǧr.

5. Aga Khan himself claimed praying “five times a day”

Interestingly, in an interview published on the occasion of him marrying his first wife Sarah Frances Croker-Poole, Aga Khan IV claimed as follows:

“Wherever I am, with Moslems or Christians, I say my prayers five times a day.” – Karim Aga Khan

Snip of an interview where Aga Khan claimed to pray five times a day
Snip of an interview where Aga Khan claimed to pray five times a day

A sharp contrast indeed to what he preaches his community. The above was published in the Sunday Press, Binghamton N.Y., on October 26, 1969. It was never questioned, challenged or revoked by Aga Khan. Many people also wonder if the statement he made was ever actually practiced by him. Here is a scan of the complete newspaper page which contains the full interview:

Scan of the page from Sunday Times titled "Aga Khan Takes a Wife" in which Aga Khan publicly claims offering 5 times prayers. [High Resolution]
Scan of the page from Sunday Times titled “Aga Khan Takes a Wife” in which Aga Khan publicly claims offering 5 times prayers. [High Resolution]

6. Conclusion

Not only do Ismāʿīlīs reject the five daily prayers in Qur’ān and publicly claim to offer three prayers, in reality they even reject the Qur’ānic commandment to observe sunrise and sunset prayers. Their belief of rejecting prayer, coupled with rejection of all Islamic commandments such as fasting, hajj and zakat originates from their centuries-old belief that their name-less Imam, who is just called as Ala Zikrihis Salam which literally means “Peace be upon his name” abrogated all Islamic law at the fort of Alamut. For further details, see our paper titled “Who was Imam Ala Zikrihis Salam?” on the Inside Ismailism blog.

cute sujood

Esotericism in the Ismāʿīlī Tradition Part IV: “Taʾwīl” in the Qur’ān

In the last of our series of episodes on esotericism, we will analyze the mentions of the word taʾwīl in the Qur’ān and explore the exegesis and tafsīr of these verses, and look at how bāṭenists have been promoting their false interpretations.

The word taʾwīl means: to return, or to revert. The allusion is those who seek to give a twist to difficult passages and expressions in the Qur’ān to support their particular views, such as the Christian apologists’ twisting the expression, “a word from God” and “a spirit from Him” for attributing divinity to ‘Isa (pbuh). The right course always to understand the difficult passage in the light of the clear and specific statements, such as: “There is no God except Allāh” and that “He creates any way He wills.”  (Reference: Interpretation of Qur’ān by Muhammad Mohar Ali, page 156).

Ismāʿīlī missionaries have been promoting false bāṭeni interpretations of Qur’ānic verses which are clear and were explained and followed by the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions, including ʿAlī (ra). Here are examples of some verses which are misinterpreted by bāṭenists. The Qur’ān itself is witness to the false interpretation of the bāṭeni interpretation.

The word taʾwīl appears in the Qur’ān in the following verses:

  1. Surah Aal-e-Imran, Chapter 3, Verse 7
  2. Sūrah al-A’raaf, Chapter 7, Verse 53
  3. Sūrah al-Yunus, Chapter 10, Verse 39 and Surah al-Isra’, Chapter 17, Verse 25
  4. Sūrah Al Kahf, Chapter 18, Verse 82
  5. Sūrah Yusuf (12) verses: 06, 21, 36, 37, 44, 45, 100 and 101

Let us analyze these occurrences one-by-one:

1. Taʾwīl in the Qur’ān: Surah Aal-e-Imran, Chapter 3, Verse 7

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ۖ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ ۗ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّـهُ ۗ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا ۗ وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

Translation:

He it is Who hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture wherein are clear revelations – they are the substance of the Book – and others (which are) allegorical. But those in whose hearts is doubt pursue, forsooth, that which is allegorical seeking (to cause) dissension by seeking to explain it. None knoweth its explanation save Allah. And those who are of sound instruction say: We believe therein; the whole is from our Lord; but only men of understanding really heed.

(Surah Aal-e-Imran, Chapter 3, Verse 7)

This is a very important verse of the Holy and Magnificent Qur’ān with deep Guidance/ Hidāyah.  There are four words and their terminology must be understood otherwise we can be victim of misguidance and can be diverted away from the Sirat e Mustaqeem. These terms are muĥkamāt, mutashābihāt, zayghun and ta’wīl.

Muĥkamāt (مُّحْكَمَاتٌ)

Muĥkamāt are those verses of the Qur’ān whose language is simple, plain, clear, precise, exact, specific and whose meaning can be determined without any difficulty. Allāh says that these very clear verses are ‘The essence of the Book’, for they alone fulfil the aim and objective for which the Qur’ān was revealed. They invite the world to ʾIslām, and they teach morals and give warnings; they refute the wrong beliefs and practices and lay down, the right way of life; they expound the fundamentals and practices of religion and state beliefs and practices, morals and duties, commandments and prohibitions. This includes the whole Islamic law or the sharīʿah.

Mutashābihāt (مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ)

At the same time Allāh blessed the humanity with some understanding by similes; and tashābihāt — meaning some limited understanding by illustrations, parables and figurative presentation. By this we can have the glimpse of that which is ghayb. These are not realities but we can acquire the required understanding. Let me site an example: If we see a photo of the American President, we say that he is such and such person, but it is just a piece of paper, the real person is in Washington in the White House. This means the piece of paper picture is tashābihā only. Similarly Heaven and Hell are in ghayb for us but we can have some glimpse by the revealed verses in the Qur’ān which are tashābihāt. By these verses we do have some understanding but we can feel neither the pleasantry and bliss of Heaven, not the or torment and torture of the Hellfire. These verses are very important to style our life by conducting as per orders and commandments as specified and codified by Allāh in the Qurʾān. If we obey these commands then we can expect the eternal bliss of Heaven otherwise we are to be condemned to the eternal torment and torture and this the reality of the tashābihāt verses. Similarly the Self and attributes are tashābihāt for us. We can experience some of the attributes of Allāh such as his beneficence or raĥmā but we cannot experience the vast ocean of the his real beneficence.

Moreover, in the Qur’ān one word can have different meanings. The applicable meaning can be understood from the rabt (reference to context). This is very important to understand the mutashābihā verses. A very few commentators have taken the meaning as: these mutashābihā verses are ambiguous in meaning or not clear and some doubt, they have secret meanings and needs a divinely guided person for explanation. These and similar views are erroneous, misguiding divert us from the sirat al-mustaqim. There can never be any doubt in the verses of Qur’ān as these verses are revealed by Allāh and all the verses are easy to understand. This is repeated five times in sūrah al-Qamar that Qur’ān is kitab-e-mubin, also explained by similes, explained in detail and repeated many a times where necessary.

There are no secret in verses in the Qur’ān, but esotericists emphasize that the mutashābihāt verses have secret meaning and needs a divine person to explain this. This is total deviation and diversion from the sirat al-mustaqim. We shall discuss this point in the discussion of the succeeding word Zay-gun.

Zayghun (زَيْغٌ)

Zayghun means dissension, diversion, deviation and deflection. The Arabic language is very rich, fine and specific, therefore, there are many words for one word and one word can have different meanings, this makes the language very specific. For example, there are scores of names for the horse and camel. Similarly, kufra, taʾwīl, ayat have different meaning as per reference to context. This makes Arabic language very specific by rabt or by reference to context.

For example, the word yadullah (hand of Allāh) and wajh-Allāh (face of Allāh): these words are used for to elucidate specific meanings but never in human sense. But the esotericists are suffering from the disease of zaygin their heart have argued that these words indicate human hand and human face and this is how Allāh is humanized. Therefore this coined out entity is divine. This divinized human personality is addressed as the divine Imām and he knows the secrets and secret meanings of mutashābihāt.

This invented malevolent logic is total dissension, total deviation, total divergence and total deflection from Islam and the sirat al-mustaqim.

In Surah al-Ikhlās, there is clear guidance by Allāh that each and every human has taken birth from its parents Allāh has not been begotten and none is begotten from Allāh. Therefore, no human being is incarnated as god, nor the divinity of Allāh can be manifested in any person, nor the attributes can be manifested.

This is how the diversion takes place and one qualifies for the tortures torments of hell is the net result on the day of reckoning.  Therefore, we should never go after mutashābihāt and totally surrender and obey to themuĥkamāt of the Qur’ān which are clear commands, this is the only way to salvation. We should be always be satisfied with the limited knowledge Allāh has blessed us in regards to mutashābihāt and never to go aftermutashābihāt. This is the gist of 3:7.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّـهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ ۖ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّـهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا

Translation:

O you who believe, obey Allāh and obey the Messenger, and those in authority from among you. Then if you dispute about anything refer to Allāh and the Messenger if you are believing in Allāh and the Last Day. This is the best and fairest as a solution.

(Surah An-Nisa, Chapter 4, Verse 59)

In this verse containing the word taʾwīl there is one more word ul-il-amr, is very important to comprehend. Ul-il-amr means any person in authority like the head of the family, head of the tribe, any governmental and administrative authority lower as well higher level, head of any group.

But the persons with ulterior motives and intention have twisted the simple meaning so as to interpret as the Imām-e-zaman by using the tool of taʾwīl. Let it be as it may be. Let us see what is the field of operation by these persons bestowed with authority and the rights of the persons are under their authority. This authority consists of implementing the sharīʿah  i.e. law and jurisprudence contained the Qur’ān, the Code of Conduct and Sunnah the Procedural Code. Every person under the authority of the ul-il-amr has right to dispute with the authority. This dispute is to be settled strictly under the Hidāyah/guidance revealed in Qur’ān and Sunnah if one has faith in Allāh and the Hereafter, this results into the best of the solution and ends in the Bliss of Allāh. This is taʾwīl of the verse.

 

2. Taʾwīl in the Qur’ān: Surah al-A’raaf, Chapter 7, Verse 53

 

هَلْ يَنظُرُ‌ونَ إِلَّا تَأْوِيلَهُ ۚ يَوْمَ يَأْتِي تَأْوِيلُهُ يَقُولُ الَّذِينَ نَسُوهُ مِن قَبْلُ قَدْ جَاءَتْ رُ‌سُلُ رَ‌بِّنَا بِالْحَقِّ فَهَل لَّنَا مِن شُفَعَاءَ فَيَشْفَعُوا لَنَا أَوْ نُرَ‌دُّ فَنَعْمَلَ غَيْرَ‌ الَّذِي كُنَّا نَعْمَلُ ۚ قَدْ خَسِرُ‌وا أَنفُسَهُمْ وَضَلَّ عَنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا يَفْتَرُ‌ونَ

Translation:

Do they await except its result (taʾwīl)? The Day its result (taʾwīl) comes those who had ignored it before will say, “The messengers of our Lord had come with the truth, so are there [now] any intercessors to intercede for us or could we be sent back to do other than we used to do?” They will have lost themselves, and lost from them is what they used to invent.

(Surah Al-A’raaf, Chapter 7, Verse 53)

Here, ta’wil means interpretation or bringing out the truth and significance of something which has been said. Here, it means fulfilment of the warning of punishment and of the day of the Judgement contained in the Qur’ān. The meaning is clear when read with reference to the context of the verse and the preceding and succeeding verses.

3. Surah al-Yunus, Chapter 10, Verse 39 and Surah al-Isra’, Chapter 17, Verse 25

بَلْ كَذَّبُوا بِمَا لَمْ يُحِيطُوا بِعِلْمِهِ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِهِمْ تَأْوِيلُهُ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ كَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۖ فَانظُرْ‌ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الظَّالِمِينَ

Translation:

Rather, they have denied that which they encompass not in knowledge and whose interpretation has not yet come to them. Thus did those before them deny. Then observe how was the end of the wrongdoers.

(Surah al-Yunus, Chapter 10, Verse 39)

 

وَأَوْفُوا الْكَيْلَ إِذَا كِلْتُمْ وَزِنُوا بِالْقِسْطَاسِ الْمُسْتَقِيمِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ‌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا

Translation:

And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with an even balance. That is the best [way] and best in result.

(Surah al-Isra’, Chapter 17, Verse 35)

Here the word taʾwīl can be easily interpreted as the end result, ultimate result and eventual outcome. Bāṭenists would never quote this verse since they find it difficult to twist the meaning of the word taʾwīl in this verse.

4. Surah al-Kahf, Chapter 18, Verse 78

قَالَ هَـٰذَا فِرَ‌اقُ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنِكَ ۚ سَأُنَبِّئُكَ بِتَأْوِيلِ مَا لَمْ تَسْتَطِع عَّلَيْهِ صَبْرً‌ا

Translation:

[Al-Khidr] said, “This is parting between me and you. I will inform you of the interpretation of that about which you could not have patience.

(Surah al-Kahf, Chapter 18, Verse 78)

Here too, the word taʾwīl can be explained as: final sequel, end result, ultimate result. This means the final sequel of the three episodes in which al-Khiḍr explained to Hazrat Moosa, what was the final sequel of the three actions.

4. Surah al-Kahf, Chapter 18, Verse 82

Wa ammal-jidaru faka-na li gulamayni yateemayni fil-Madeenti wa kana tahatahou kanzul-lahuma wa kana abouhuma salihan fa-arada Rabbuka any-yabluga ashuddahuma wa yastakhrija kanzahuma rahamatam-mir-Rabbik. Wa ma fa-altuhou an amree. Zalika ta’weelu ma lam tas-ti-alayhi sabra.

Surah Al Kahf (18) verse 82.

And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and there was under it a treasure for them and their father was a righteous person. Hence your Lord willed that they attain their majority and bring out their treasure as a mercy from your Lord; and I did not do it on my own accord. This is the interpretation/taʾwīl of what were not able to have patience over. Reference: Surah Al Kahf (18) verse 82.

5. Sūrah Yusuf (12) verses: 06, 21, 36, 37, 44, 45, 100 and 101

The word Ta’wil is used for eight times in this Sūrah. Each and everywhere it is used for the interpretation of dreams. Every person is not capable to interpret the dreams. This knowledge, how to interpret the dreams is granted to His messengers by Allāh. Therefore, the dreams interpreted by messengers are correct and applicable as Hidāyah/guidance for the Ummah.  Other people’s dream, can be true and can be realized. Therefore that is applicable to the person concerned, then, it is called a basharat (plural mubasharat) if it has happy ending. These days great exploitation has taken place by unscrupulous persons and their tool is Istekharah. But we are not concerned here.

Now, here we are at the conclusion stage of this article. I have shared my views with you that Ta’wil does not mean the secret meaning of the Shari‘at-e-Islam consisting of the Qur’ān the divine code of conduct for each and every individual who seeks benefits in the Akhirat/hereafter. The procedure, how to act and adopt the principles laid down in the Qur’ān is the example i.e. /Sunnah of the Prophet Rasool Allāh (saw). There is not any shortcut to this.

All the persons who claim that they know or have any authority or secret knowledge of the verses of the Qur’ān or any part of the Shari’at; and all the persons who follow them are far away from the Hidāyah/guidance, blessed by Allāh to the humanity.

6. Surah al-Hadid: Chapter 57, Verse 13: Bāṭen and Ẓâhir

هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْآخِرُ وَالظَّاهِرُ وَالْبَاطِنُ ۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

Translation:

He is the first and the Last and the All-Manifest and All –Intrinsic, and He is of everything All-Knowing. (Sūrah Al-Hadid 57:3)

Sūrah Al-Hadid, Chapter 57, Verse 13

يَوْمَ يَقُولُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتُ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا انْظُرُونَا نَقْتَبِسْ مِنْ نُورِكُمْ قِيلَ ارْجِعُوا وَرَاءَكُمْ فَالْتَمِسُوا نُورًا فَضُرِبَ بَيْنَهُمْ بِسُورٍ لَهُ بَابٌ بَاطِنُهُ فِيهِ الرَّحْمَةُ وَظَاهِرُهُ مِنْ قِبَلِهِ الْعَذَابُ

Translation:

On the Day the hypocrite men and hypocrite women will say to those who believed, “Wait for us that we may acquire some of your light.” It will be said, “Go back behind you and seek light.” And a wall will be placed between them with a door, its interior containing mercy, but on the outside of it is torment.

(Chapter 6, Verse 120)

Conclusion

There is no concept of divine Imām/leader in the Qur’ān nor any priesthood. In Islam there is no priesthood of any type; as it is so is the case in Judaism Rabbi, Chazzan, Gabbai, Kohein, Levy, Rebbe and Traddik, in Christianity: Pope, Patriarchs, Archbishops, Cardinals, Primates, Vicars/Deans, Priests/Pastors, Diaconate, and Laity. And In Hinduism Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra.  In Christianity the hierarchy differs.

In Islam attempts have been made in the form of Imām, various Sufi Hierarchies and some Cults. But its application is not universal and these are considered as diversions.

The doctrine of Imāmate has been developed by the intelligent esotericist missionaries with evil genius, borrowing from the philosophy of Plato, Plotinus and Aristotle and twisted this philosophy to develop their desired point to suit their evil and malevolent designs. Their tool is taʾwīl to attribute divinity to a particular person, the imām.

I have placed before you the various verses of the Qur’ān where the word taʾwīl, ẓâhir and bāṭen. No where there is any mention of “secret” meaning of the verses of the Qur’ān.

Also there is not a single word in the Qur’ān indicating the possibility of the bāṭeni interpretation of universal soul, universal intellect and hereditary imāms.

The only human authority on Earth, is no one but the final messenger of Allāh who is mentioned in the Qur’ān as follows:

Say “I have no power to do to myself any benefit or any harm except as Allāh wills. And had I been in the know of the unseen I would have asked for a lot of wealth’ and there could not have touched me any evil. I am naught but a warner and giver of good tidings for people who believe.”  (7:188)

Say: “no power I have to do myself any harm nor any benefit except what Allāh will. For every people there is an appointed time. When their time comes they cannot delay  [it] an hour nor they can advance.” (10:49)

Their messengers said to them: “we are not but human beings like you but Allāh bestows grace upon whomsoever He will of His servants; and it is not for us that we can bring you any authority except by the will of Allāh. And upon Allāh should rely the believers.” (14:11)

Say “I am but a human being like you. It is communicated to me that your god is but God the One. So whoever is want to look forward to meeting his Lord, let do the right deeds and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone.” (18:110)

“And We have sent you not but as a mercy for all beings.”  (21:107)

“And We have sent you not but universally for mankind, as a giver of good tidings and as a warner; but most men do not know.”  (34:28)

All these verses indicate that there is no secrecy of any type in understanding the Qur’ān. It is made easy to understand. It is explained by illustrations and similes. But, whose hearts are diseased do not want to understand this True Furqan, for their malevolent aims they are misguided and misguide others.

Esotericism in the Ismāʿīlī Tradition Part III: The Antagonism between Islam and Ismāʿīlīsm

Esoterism in the Ismaili Tradition Part III Cover

Esoterism in the Ismāʿīlī Tradition Part III: The Antagonism between Islam and Ismāʿīlīsm

Continuing from the works cited from al-Sijistani’s works, we continue by quoting from another source on Ismāʿīlī bāṭenism or esotericism. Following are refereces from Dr. Marakem in his book Philosiphical Significance of the Imām in Ismāʿīlīsm.

“Knowing the imām is the perfection of īmān (Reference: M.K. Husayn (ed.) Al-Majalis al-Mustansiriyya, Cairo. p. 25). Thus, the Mu’min is to the Ismāʿīlīs he who believes and obeys the Imām. It follows that the belief in the Imām is the axis around which revolves the whole of the Ismāʿīlī creed. The author of Al-Majalis al-Mustansiriyya says that knowing the imām is the perfection of īmān. Thus, the mu’min is to the Ismāʿīlīs he who believes and obeys the Imām. It follows that the belief in the imām is the axis around which revolves the whole of the Ismāʿīlī creed.”

The above author also testified that faith on imām is everything – without the need for believing in Allāh, the Qur’ān or the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The author also says that:

“In other words this Will is God’s word that He willed. Now this word, in order to realize itself in this world must be manifested to man. In other words, this Will is God’s word that He willed. Now this word, in order to realize itself in this world must be manifested to man. In other words this Will is God’s word that He willed. Now this word, in order to realize itself in this world must be manifested to man.”

The author explains above that the word of Allāh is equivalent to Allāh himself and requires to be manifested in the form of a physical man. The author also mentions that:

“Proof (burhān) and manifest light (nur-e-mubin) are also interpreted allegorically to denote the Imām. Proof (burhān) and manifest light (nur-e-mubin) are also interpreted allegorically to denote the Imām roof (burhān) and manifest light (nur-e-mubin) are also interpreted allegorically to denote the Imām.  Proof (burhān) and manifest light (nur-e-mubin) are also interpreted allegorically to denote the Imām.”

In bāṭeni taʾwīl, the terms of noor and burhān are equivalent to the Imām.

“Then al-Kirmani proceeds to show that the act of Origination (ibda) is not apart from the Originator (God).  It is only an aspect of Him. He says:” (18)

Reference: Al-Kirmani, Rahat al-aql, p.73.

“After that, al-Kirmani goes on to show that the result of the act too, i.e. that which was originated (al-mubda al-awwal) is the same as the Originator and the Origination. Al-Kirmani says: (19)”   (ibid., p.73. Al-Kirmani, Rahat al-aql. p.73.)

The author explicitly mentions that origination is the creation and the originator and creator are identical and are the same.

“the Originator i.e. God, the Originated, i.e. the First Intellect, and the act of Origination are one. Thus, we have three hypostases of a trinity, three real and distinct subsistences in one undivided essence of God. This is obviously very close to the Christian belief in the Trinity and might reveal the Christian influence on the bāṭeni movement in Islam.”

Hence it is called the Second Intellect (al-aql ath-thani). Also it is called the Soul of the First Intellect, (22) and the Universal Soul (an-nafs al-kulliyya).”

Reference: See Masa’il majmu’a, in Gnosis-Texte der Ismāʿīlīten, ed. by R. Strothmann. Gottingen, 1955, p. 25.

1. The Proclaimer (an-natiq); his function is to proclaim the revelation (at-tanzil) 1. The Proclaimer (an-natiq); his function is to proclaim the revelation (at-tanzil)

2. The Foundation (al-asas); his function is to interpret the revelation (at-ta’wil); he is so called because he is the foundation of the inward knowledge (ilm al-batin)

3. The Imām; he carries on this inward knowledge and leads the community.

However in Nizārī Ismāʿīlīsm the imām occupies a higher rank than that given to him in most Fatimid works. He is considered higher than the nāţiq.

“As we have seen above, God’s word must in order to realize itself in this world, be manifested to man. The Imām who is the guide of the believers (those who comply with God’s Word) is therefore the embodiment of this Word. He is God’s Word manifested. The Imām, therefore, must always be present (muqim) in this world in order to guide the believers. In order to show that this Word of God must always be manifested in this world.

The Word of God, as was shown above, is the First Intellect or the First Originated Being (29). It follows that the Imām is the First Intellect manifested in this world. Consequently, the Imām is to the World of Religion (alam ad-din) what the First Intellect is to the Intelligible World.”

Reference: See also Sami Makarem, “Al-amr al-ilahi wa mafhumuhu fil-aqida al-isma’iliyya” (The divine Amr and its concept in the Ismāʿīlī creed), al-abhath, vol.1 (1967), pp.3 ff. See also Sami Makarem, “Al-amr al-ilahi wa mafhumuhu fil-aqida al-isma’iliyya” (The divine Amr and its concept in the Ismāʿīlī creed), al-abhath, Vol. 1 (1967).

“I have shown above that the Ismai’ilis consider their Imām to be the embodiment of God’s Will or Word. He is, therefore, the First Intellect manifested in this world. Adam (31) was the first to be entrusted with that Word or Will, i.e. with the Imāmate”.

(31) Al-Hamidi, Kanz al-walad, in a microfilm in my possession fol. 337.

“In other words the person of the Imām would be the embodiment of God’s Word which is the First Intellect or Origination as it was mentioned above. Thus, he is God’s Nasut, or manifestation; or, in other words, he is God as He appears to mankind. Whereas al-Lahut is God qua God, as He is in Himself.”

“In other words the person of the Imām would be the embodiment of God’s Word which is the First Intellect or Origination as it was mentioned above. Thus, he is God’s Nasut, or manifestation ; or, in other words, he is God as He appears to mankind. Whereas al-Lahut is God qua God, as He is in Himself.”

“Ali says O, Salman and Jundub, I bring humanity to life and make them die, I create them, and nourish them…”

Reference: (34) W. Ivanow, The rise of the Fatimids, Oxford, 1942, pp.73-76 of the Arab text.

“Al-Kirmani’s assertion  that the Imām is to the Ismāʿīlīs the human manifestation of God, or God’s Will manifested (an-Nasut). As for the Lahut, i.e. God as He is in Himself, He cannot be grasped or comprehended. The Nasut is an evidence (hujja) of the Lahut. Al-Mu’ayyad fi d-Din days about the Imām al-Mustansir: (36)”

Reference: (36) M.K. Husayn (ed.), Diwan al-Mu’ayyad fi d-Din, Cairo, 1949, pp.227.

“Jafar ibn Mansur al-Yaman in his book Sar’ir an-Nutaqa, says: (37) “It is related that  Abu Dharr said, ‘I have heard the commander of the Faith say: I am the face of God that He mentioned in His saying ‘Wither so ever you turn, there is the face of God.’ (Sura 11, 109).”

Reference: (37) M.K. Husayn (ed.), Diwan al-Mu’ayyad fi d-Din, Cairo, 1949, p.81 of the preface.

In another poem, al-Mu’ayyad says about al-Mustansir: (38)

“Your face is the luminous face of God, And your light is as a veil to His light.”

Thus, the Imām to the Ismāʿīlīs is God manifested. He is the Word of God and His Will, Thus, the Imām to the Ismāʿīlīs is God manifested. He is the Word of God and His Will.

“He is consequently higher than the Prophet. Al Muayyad made this clear when he differentiated between Nubuwwa (Prophethood) and Imāma (Imāmate). The position of Nubuwwa or Risala, he said, is the office of Trustees (istida), while that of the Imāma is the office of Permanence (istiqrar). (40)”   Reference : (40) M. K. Husayn (ed)., Diwan al-Mu’ayyad, p.80, quoting from al-Mu’ayyadiyya, Vol. 1, p. 68.

“It follows that Muhammad is considered by the Ismāʿīlīs to be inferior ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, the first Imām.”  In his esoteric work Zahr al-Ma’ani, Idris Imad ad-Din, speaking about Ali, says: (41) “… And this his position was exactly the same as that of Al Ima al-Qa’im bi Amrillah with regard to al-Mahdi.”

Reference: (41) W. Ivanow, Rise of the Fatimids, p.78 of the Arabic text.

“Being the Word of God, the Imām is, therefore, to the Isma’ilis as the Qur’ān is to the Orthodox Muslims. He is the ever living guide, the “up-to-date” word of God, so to speak. As there are some Qur’ānic verses which abrogate others, so the Imām can abrogate what was said previously. His word is God’s Word, and his legislation is God’s Legislation., while Ali was Mustaqarr.”

Reference: (44) Wilferd Madelung, “Das Imāmat inder frühen Ismāʿīlītischen Lehre”, Der Islam, 1961, vol. 37, pp.78-79.

“Being the Word of God, the Imām is, therefore, to the Isma’ilis as the Qur’ān is to the Orthodox Muslims. He is the ever living guide, the “up-to-date” word of God, so to speak. As there are some Qur’ānic verses which abrogate others, so the Imām can abrogate what was said previously. His word is God’s Word, and his legislation is God’s Legislation., while Ali was Mustaqarr.”

Reference: (44) Wilferd Madelung, “Das Imāmat inder frühen Ismāʿīlītischen Lehre”, Der Islam, 1961, vol. 37, pp.78-79.

Below are a few excerpts from Shish Fasal also called Rawashana’i-Nama by Nasir Khusraw Persian text translated by W. Ivanow. Ismāʿīlī Society Series B6, published for the Ismāʿīlī Society by  E. J. BRILL, Oude Rijn; 33a, Leiden. Holland.

“These four letters (with the help of which the word Allāh is written) He intended as symbols for four principles (hadd), – two spiritual (ruhani) and two material (jismani), [10] by which the oneness (wahdaniyyat) of God can be proved. One of them is an alif (letter A) which is a straight line, to which all letters can be joined, while it does not join any letter. All letters have developed (?) From it (az u tarbiyat yafta and), because all letters that exist from curved (junbanida) lines. The alif symbolizes the ‘Aql-i Kull from which all the spiritual and material entities have received existence, and all are connected (paywasta) with it, while it itself in its power depends on nothing, being above everything.”

‘The next is the letter lam (L) which consists of a line the lower part of which is drawn forward. (Thus it) possesses length and width, like a surface (sath). It resembles alif but all letters are joined to it, and it itself joins various letters. The lam symbolizes the Nafs-i Kull with which on all sides both the spiritual and material entities are connected, and which resembles the ‘Aql just as the lam resembles the alif.”

“The third letter is (also) a lam, similar to that preceding one. It is, however, equal to only half of the degree (importance) of the alif. It symbolizes the Natiq who all sides is connected with the Nafs-i Kull [11] and receives support (ta’yid) from it in his organization (ta’lif) of the system (or world) of religion, which is the “third world” (suwwum ‘alam).”

“The first world is the world of spiritual (latif) entities, the second is the material (kathif) world, and the third is the world of religion. The Natiq occupies in the last one the position of the ‘Aql, just as the second lam (in the word Allāh) resembles the alif.”

“The fourth letter in it (i.e. in Allāh) is ha (H) which symbolizes the material world, possessing length, width and breadth. It occupies the fourth place (daraja) from the alif, and is a circle in which (one) end (of the line) is brought down to meet the other end. It symbolizes the Asas which is connected with the Natiq, receiving from the latter spiritual support (ta’yid) by the power of the Nafs-i Kull in his (task of) the explanation of [12] the shari’at. This is just like the world which has length, width and height and reveals (sharh-i chiz-ha hami birin arad) various matters such as minerals, plants, animals and foodstuffs for the bodies of men. The Asas brings back the souls of the faithful (mu’minan) to the recognition of the oneness of God (shinakht-i tawhid) and the interpretation of the shari’at (in its relation to) the higher world (‘alam-i ‘ulwi), so that ultimately creation may re-join its source (awwal), like (the line in the) letter ha, which is a circle, whose ends are joined together.

(All of the above from Fasal 1 of Shish Fasal)

“The ta’wil of the “face” is the Imām, because the mu’min is recognized by his Imām,”

(Ref: Fasal 3 of Shish Fasal)

“It is just as the ‘Alawis, i.e. descendants of ‘Ali, who are at present in the world (as living) souls, and those who were before them, or will come after them, are all the substance (dhat) of the soul of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali [40] which contained them potentially. But so long as they were not connected with their bodies, it was impossible to take notice of or count them.”

(Ref: Fasal 3 of Shish Fasal)

 “in order that thy descendants, the Imāms, by the command of God, at their own time should [52] explain thy Book to people, bringing its meaning from the form (of the letter) of the Divine Revelation (tanzil) into that of the revelation of its inner sense (ta’wil) and spreading it in time amongst humanity. He, the Prophet, at the end of his life left the command to his descendants, who are the true Imāms, Imāman-i haqq, that they should convey to people its inner meaning; in order that thy descendants, the Imāms, by the command of God, at their own time should [52] explain thy Book to people, bringing its meaning from the form (of the letter) of the Divine Revelation (tanzil) into that of the revelation of its inner sense (ta’wil) and spreading it in time amongst humanity. He, the Prophet, at the end of his life left the command to his descendants, who are the true Imāms, Imāman-i haqq, that they should convey to people its inner meaning;”

(Ref: Fasal 5 of Shish Fasal)

Taʾwīl of kalima aṭ-ṭaiyibah

لا اله الا الله

محمد الرسول الله

This kalima is considered the key to paradise. This key has four components: Universal Intelligence, Universal Soul, the Speaking Prophets and the founder Asas followed by hereditary Imāms. This is the same thing we have studied before.

But, at the same time the operator is required and this operator in Ismāʿīlism is the Imām as all the four Roots/Hudud/Well Springs are merged in the Imām. Therefore, the key is the imām, consequently the Imām himself is the Kalima Tayaba. Result is: the Kalima can be reconstructed as: La Imām Illa Imām az-zaman, or more precisely La Ilaha illa Imām e zaman.

Adopted from (1) Wellsprings of Wisdom By Sajistani Translated by Paul E Walker and (2) Hamare Ismāʿīlī Mazhab ki Haqiqat aur Iska Nizam by Dr Zahid Ali.

When Prophet asked Allāh that I can have Your didar/visual glimpse. Allāh ordained that no human being can see Him and asked the Prophet Mūsa that look at the mountain near about, Allāh’s Tajjali was on the mountain and it was turned into dust and small stones.  Keeping in mind, this teaching of Allāh, how there can be a human being consisting of bones and flesh and other tissues can be Allāh. Therefore this Ismāʿīlī taʾwīl of kalima at-ṭaiyibah leads nowhere and lacks sense.

(Amiru’l-mu’minin), the one who subdued tyrants, the one who was the ascetic amongst ascetics, the devotee amongst devotees, the mihrab of the righteous and the qibla of those who recite the prayers of the Truth (namaz-guzaran-i Haqiqat), ‘Ali Murtada.

(Ref: Fasal 1 of Shish Fasal)

Taʾwīl of Qibla in Ismāʿīlism

Qibla is a cubical structure in Mecca which Qur’ān says Becca. Every Muslim, while praying must face towards this Qibla. This is obligatory and fundamental requirement, in the absence of which Salat/Namaz cannot be offered. Those who do not do face Qibla; their Iman/Faith is not according to Islam. And Allāh does not accept their worship.

Present day Nizari Ismāʿīlīs do not face towards Qibla in Mecca/Becca. But they do not offer ṣalāt but recite a shirk-infested duʿāʾ. Therefore, the Jamatkhanas are the only proclaimed places of ‘Islamic’ worship, which are not constructed in the direction of the Qibla in Mecca. They do not have any Masjid as all other Muslims have that. There is no adhān the call for prayers, nor any ṣalāt therein.

Their argument is that the structure that is in Mecca is just a small structure of black stone and a door, therefore, the true Qibla is the body of Imām which harbors the Noor of Allāh; therefore, the members of this bāṭeni creed face towards a photo/portrait of Imām while praying in Jamatkhanas or otherwise praying at home.

ʿAlī, the man god for Ismāʿīlis was strictly regular with his prayers i.e. ṣalāt facing the Qibla in Mecca. All the following hereditary Imāms have done the same. Who were the “Ismāʿīli Gods” worshipping? How is that the Imām can offer the ṣalāt and that the follows of the Imām, i.e., the Ismāʿīlis have a different prayer for invoking their Imām who they consider as God?

Second questionable action of Ismāʿīlis is the recitation of Qurʾān in the Ismāʿīlī duʿāʾ. Ismāʿīlīs have no belief in the Qur’ān whatsoever. Ivanow writes

Second thing is the recitation of Qur’ān in the Ismāʿīlī Du’a. Ismāʿīlīs have no belief in Qur’ān and they do not possess one. When W. Ivanow compiled the Index of Ismāʿīlī Literature, a Bibliographical Survey of Ismāʿīlī Literature, he referenced every book used in the Ismāʿīlī creed and theology, but did not name the Qur’ān in that list. The actually gave a reason that Ismāʿīlīs do not believe in the ẓâhiri Qur’ān and their belief in the taʾwīl cannot be published.

Ismāʿīlī prayers, or the Holy Duʿāʾ as they call it, was in Gujarātī and Khojki languages and it was said that it was formulated by Pir Sadardin a long time ago. In 1945, when Aga Khan III was in Bombay to celebrate his diamond jubilee of his Imāmat, I was there for the deedar (visual glimpse) of the imām. It was there when he uttered this farman:

Ismāʿīlīs have no written book for Hidāyah/ Guidance but they have living Imām for their Hidāyah Guidance.

Reference: Farman No. 530, dated 29, December 1945 at Wadi in Bombay

This same imām introduced a new duʿāʾ in Arabic and ordered to recite daily three times in Jamatkhanas. I was shocked to find that every part of all the six parts begins with a verse of the Qur’ān. On the contrary in the old Gujarātī and Khojki duʿāʾ, there were no verses from the Qur’ān whatsoever. It was a huge leap from Ismāʿīlīs having ‘no book but the imām’ to picking up many verses from the Qur’ān.

Was the masoom imām wrong in 1945? Was his claiming of having aql-e-kul incorrect as well?

Earlier in this article, it was evident how the taʾwīl of the word Allāh has been twisted to portray the imām as the deity who should be approached, invoked and worshiped.

The evil Ismāʿīlī missionaries first hijacked philosophical canvas presented by Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, interwoven there in the concept of Philosophical king, developed into ideal/perfect man by Aristotle and then after the Universal Intellect and Universal Soul of the Plotinus. Then this canvas was mercilessly mutated, mutilated and cut through with the knife called taʾwīl, to evolve the imaginary concept of Imāmat, planted into heredity of ʿAlī bin Abī Ṭālib. This is an example how a pious name of Ali is linked to this evident misguidance and concepts which are antagonistic to the basic concept of Islam. Not only these concepts are antagonistic to Islam but they are also appearing to be filled in with animosity.

Let us remember that in regards to takmil-e-deen, the will and Pleasure of Omnipotent Allāh unfolded by making Islam complete, perfect, flawless, faultless, divine, eternal, easy to understand, protected by Allāh  and suited to the demands of all times and climes for the humanity et-large. Muhammad the Blessed Apostle of Allāh, faithfully delivered the Message vouchsafed to him and he strived and practiced with all of his might to raise the Final Ummah, which could discharge the responsibilities ordained by Allāh and exemplified by the Holy Apostle. This Ummah is entrusted the charge of spreading the message of Islam. And this Ummah has been entrusted to safeguard the Qur’ān in its pristine purity against all deviations, innovations and to guide the humanity on the right path. Therefore, there is neither any need of a new Divine revelation nor any Prophet nor any personality in whatever name is needed.

I had submitted that a powerful antagonism exists between Islam and Ismāʿīlī taʾwīl concept. Let me elucidate this point:

1. First Antagonism: The Qur’ān

According to the Qur’ān, Ahadis and other Islamic literature, the Qur’ān is revealed by Allāh to the Apostle through Gabriel and there is no two opinions about this. Qur’ān is open and easy to understand and is meant for each and every human being till the end of this world for aakhirah.

In bāṭeni imāmi Ismāʿīlī creed. Qur’ān has two types of meaning viz. an evident one and other secret one. According to Ismāʿīlī bāṭeni taʾwīl the Qur’ān is authored by Apostle in ẓâhiri sense only and is liable to secret bāṭeni meaning by the Asas/Imām. This secret meaning can only be provided to a selected small group by the Imām.

2. Second Antagonism: Risālat or Prophethood

According to Qur’ān, Allāh revealed the Qur’ān to blessed Apostle by the angel Gaḇrîʼēl in the form of wahi in a time span of about 23 years. This blessed Apostle of Allāh faithfully conducted his life according to the hidāyah/Guidance contained therein. He invited the people to this hidāyah and a final Ummah emerged entrusted with this guidance and invite people to this hidāyah till the day of recon. This means that every Muslim has to adopt and conduct his/her life accordingly and invite the people to this hidāyah. This is the bounden duty for each and every Muslim. This means that the Qur’ān and the Sunnah of the blessed Apostle shall be the only law or sharīʿah till the day of recon.

In the bāṭeni Ismāʿīlī creed there is nothing like final Ummah. Here the Imām has taken up the work to propagate the bāṭeni teachings, alone or along with his Hujjat/Pir. Every Imām has his separate Ummah.

3. Third Antagonism: Allāh

In ʾIslām, Allāh is Hayul, Qayum and is ever functioning as suggested in to all the sifati/attributive names of Allāh without any break since infinite eternally. Everything between earth and skies belongs to Allāh. He hears the prayer and answers means decides immediately.

In the bāṭeni Ismāʿīlī creed the man god Ismāʿīlī Imām though, claims manifestation of divinity and all the sifati/attributive names and their functions, every Imām is supposed to be from the lineage of ʿAlī bin Abī Ṭālib,

4. Fourth Antagonism: Ma’ad/Akhirah:

In the blessed Qur’ān there is vivid description of the judgement day, heaven and hell. This is well-known and does not require further elaboration.

We have so far not touched upon the taʾwīl of heaven and hell. In Ismāʿīlīsm, the taʾwīl of heaven is knowledge hell is ignorance. This means that the knowledge or the acquaintance and the love for the imām is the only means to salvation and does not matter whether you have committed heaps of sins and crimes.

Here Salvation means that after the death if the follower has achieved the marifat of imām then his or her soul will migrate into the soul of the imām and this is Heaven. Otherwise all the other souls are damned.

This antagonism in the all the four foundation pillars, produced by the taʾwīl of the word Allāh, is heresy and their doctrine is heretical. This is dissent, diversion deviation, profanation and sacrilegious.

The hidāyah of Allāh in the Qur’ān in Surah al-Ikhlas (The Unity) – Chapter 112, Verses 1-4 is simple and straight-forward:

Say, He is Allāh the one Alone.

Allāh, the Universally Besought.

He begets not nor is He Begotten.

Nor is there to Him comparable anyone.

It is well-known that the wonders of Qur’ān will never end. This chapter is the example. Think of a very dark night and the darkness is such that one cannot see one’s own hand. But if a small candle is lighted, total darkness will cease to exist.

Say, He is Allāh the one Alone. Allāh, the Universally Besought. (112:1-2)

If the word Ahad is properly understood, the darkness of ignorance, taʾwīl fabricated under word Allāh, where, the imaginary, notional image of the man god Imām is emerged from the false interpretation of the philosophy of Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus, and mercilessly mutated, mutilated and cut to evolve a tailor-made imaginary icon of the man god Imām, will immediately vanish.

This chapter contains three names of Allāh viz. Allāh, Ahad and Samad, the last two are sifati/attributive ones. This whole Sūrah is the explicit and it is easily understood and explains Sifati name of Allāh: Ahad. Therefore, let us discuss it.

Ahad means Eternal one i.e. when there was nothing He was when everything will perish, He will be there. Can anyone claim or gain such position. Obliviously there is none. For all the Sifati/Attributive with prefix al are in the same unique position.

Let us now take as-Samad, everybody universally seeks Him for all needs, but He is not dependent to anyone or anything.  He hears the invocations of all and decides accordingly.  Ahad also contains this attribute.

Let us understand one more example: The attributive name of Allāh Al-Khaliq/Creator: Allāh is the creator of all living and material things. None else can create anything. Does Allāh need any help of anyone?  Does He need any partner to help? Answer is obviously no. Ahad includes this attribute also. Any claimant of the slightest creation is a liar, impersonator and bluffer.

The angels, the stars, the sun and the moon all are created by The Creator. Created ones are not similar to creator and any claim to divinity is null and void.

Lam Yalid, walam youlad. He begets not nor is He Begotten (112:1-2)

The door of Shirk is closed for many prevalent shirks. The false belief of Yahud that Uzair is the son of Allāh, in the light of this surah is negated in such a way that there remains no argument or any type of justification.

Similarly, Christian belief in trinity and division of divinity/elahiyat in three parts viz. Father, Son and Holy Ghost is highly prevalent these days. In the light of this sūrah there is no locus standi, nor any justification and the whole edifice of trinity crumbles down.

The Greek mythology and the gods and goddesses with different function are all human beings and born out of mothers’ wombs. Therefore, no one claim divinity; this is total diversion and deflection from the sirat al-mustaqim Islam.

In Indo-Pak subcontinent the Aryan/Hindu mythology is not different and similar to the Greek mythology with the same fate. But before the Aryan advent in the sub-continent there was pantheism where everything tangible; with life or not can be god; namely serpent/nag-dev &c. everything is created/makhluq that can never be a Khaliq.

Nor is there to Him comparable anyone. (112:4)

Now we’ll try to understand the placement of the Ismāʿīlī Bāṭeni creed’s hero the imām. This Imām is living human born out of a woman’s womb, therefore, in the light of this verse all the claims of his (imāmat) divinity are invalid, null and void and stand eliminated.

Heredity: Inheritance from the previous Imām is necessary, this also falls within the orbit of this verse and therefore, invalid, null and void. Detailed discussion of the inheritance is out of place in short article/essay like this.

But, I’ll like to invite your attention to the fact that: Allāh the Ahad is the provider of everything required for the sustenance of all the human beings and other creations, while, the Imām of the Ismāʿīlī Bāṭeni Creed exploits the unwary followers. How the present Imām exploits this situation to his personal monitory advantages,

Nor is there to Him comparable anyone.  Allāh is Ahad, then, how anything living or otherwise, created by him can have any sort of comparision?

In the next episode, we will look at clear Qur’ānic verses which are misinterpreted by Ismāʿīlī missionaries in the name of taʾwīl or esotericism to deceive the Ismāʿīlī community who are most of the time too busy to validate the far-fetched ideas of these Ismāʿīlī missionaries. May Allāh guide all of us to sirat al-mustaqeem.

Esotericism in the Ismāʿīli Tradition Part II: Tawil of Allah and the system of four roots

 

Esoterism in the Ismaili Tradition Part II Cover

Continuing our research into the deception of esotericism, let us go back to theological sources and find the definitions for both esotericism (the hidden reality) and exoterism (the external or the apparent).

Finding the Definition of Esotericism and Exotericism from Theological Sources

The definitions of exotericism (ẓâhir) and esoteric (bāṭen or taʾwīl) vary, the concepts are full of contradictions and many theologians have tried to explain this concept without using much reason and logic. The following important questions occur for while explaining the concept of taʾwīl :

1. What is taʾwīl or bāṭeni interpretation?
2. Who is entitled to provide taʾwīl or bāṭeni interpretations and what is the source of his authority?
3. To whom the taʾwīl or bāṭeni interpretation is provided?
4. What are the consequences of the answers to the above three questions?

Is Taʾwīl exclusive to Ismāʿīlīsm?

Every major world religion is tainted by esotericism. Thousands of books have been written on Christian esotericism which are of the view that Christianity is a mystery religion. The authors profess the existence and possession of certain esoteric doctorines or practices of which the general public is unaware, but which is understood by a small group of people. This is exactly how the Ismāʿīlīs view themselves as compared to the Muslim ummah.

In reality, Ismāʿīlīs have a conceited view that only the Ismāʿīlī creed is fortunate enough to have a living, divine Imām for the taʾwīl of the bāṭen of the ẓâhiri sharīʿah and that the Muslims have no such ‘facility’.

The synonyms for the word taʾwīl are esoteric, bāṭen, secret, sacred, ramz, reality (haqeeqat), wisdom (hikmah), gnostic and spiritual interpretation and edicts of the Imām.
The salient arguments raised by Dr. Zahid Ali, in his book Hamare Ismaili Mazhab ki Haqeeqat aur Iska Nizam “The Origins of our Ismaili Creed and its System” can be summarized in the following table:

 

ẓâhir

Taʾwīl

1. Ẓâhir is a dream. Taʾwīl is the interpretation of the ẓâhir dream.
2. Muslims have to believe in the apparent (ẓâhir) since they do not have the miracle of taʾwīl or bāṭen Taʾwīl is exclusive to Ismāʿīlīs and no one else has it.
3. Custom or traditions must be followed in the ẓâhir. There is no apparent or ẓâhir sharīʿah, no customs and no traditions are necessary to follow.
4. Ẓâhir lacks spirituality and depends on mandatory adherence to sharīʿah Bāṭen is spiritual where the effort to follow thesharīʿah is not required.
5. Ẓâhir is material and lacks spirituality Taʾwīl  is virtual image and is totally spiritual
6. Ẓâhiri sharīʿah is the peel of the fruit Taʾwīl  is the reality and is the kernel of the fruit
7. Ẓâhiri knowledge is full of contradictions Bāṭen is free of contradictions and defects.
8. Ẓâhir is mere blind following (taqlid) of a person and devoid of any reason of knowledge. Bāṭen is enlightenment and based on knowledge, reason and of permanent nature.
9. ẓâhir is shirk and kufr. Bāṭen is real tawhid
10. According to Pir Nasir Khusraw those who do not recognize or deny the IsmāʿīlīImāms are donkeys and dogs. According to Pir Nasir Khusraw those who recognize and follow the Ismāʿīlī Imāms are real believers

 Taʾwīl of the word “Allāh”

Now let me start with the taʾwīl of the word Allāh. Paul E. Walker has written two books on him: one on the life and works of Abu Ya‘qub al-Sijistani and other the translation and commentary of the book Wellsprings of Wisdom.

Using Wellsprings of Wisdom and wajh-e-deen by Nāsir Khusraw, the following is what is the taʾwīl of the word Allāh:

The word Allah consists of four (4) letters viz (1) Alif, (2) Lam long, (3) Lam Short, and (4) Ha.

Each letter stands for or symbolizes an entity (had, plural hudood) viz:

  1. alif (ا ) for Universal Intelligence,
  2. laam (ل) longer for Universal Soul,
  3. laam (ل) shorter for Prophet/apostle,
  4. ha (ہ) for Asas followed by Imams.

Each one has special function to perform:

  1. Universal Intelligence here after to be referred as UI, functions as tayed    
  2. Universal Soul to be referred as US functions as tarkib
  3. Prophet/Apostle functions as talif and
  4. Asas functions as taʾwīl. These hudood are also called the roots of truth.
# Letter Stands for hudood / roots / wellsprings  fx Origin Certain elucidation Element
1 alif Universal Intelligence / U.I. / Preceder tayed Amr Allah To help the following hudood Fire
2 laam (long) Universal Soul / U.S. / Follower tarkib UI Creation of physical & spititual universe Air
3 laam (short) Apostle / Speaking Prophet /Natiq talif US To author or compile Qur’ān Water
4 ha Assas / Founder (followed by Imams) tawil UI + US To elucidate the Secret/bāṭenimeaning Earth

The following is mentioned by al-Sijistani, Wellsprings of Wisdom, p.7:

“The whole system is impressive, especially in its remarkable symmetry.  At the top is intellect. Intellect holds the highest rank of originated being, at the summit of all the knowledge. It is the beginning and final end of all the principles. God does not enter the system because He is utterly and unqualifiedly transcends it. God is beyond both being and nonbeing, outside of all relationship to anything in the cosmos, whether that thing is sublime or mundane. Therefore, the God is not technically a “source’ or “wellspring” of knowledge, although the origin of that knowledge is an origination. As knowledge, however, the originating, and even the identity of God Himself, is nothing other than intellect. Knowledge is intellect: a simple tautology.”

Note the absence of Allāh from this hierarchy, there is nothing but the Imām.

The following is mentioned on p. 49:

“The Alif is the analogue of the Preceder, who is the well spring of divine inspiration; the first lam is the analogue of the Follower who is the wellspring of Physical composition; the second lam is analogue of the Speaking-Prophet, who is the wellspring of scriptural compilation; and the round spherical ha is the analogue of the Founder, who Is the well spring of interpretation.”

Note that the four letters in the word Allāh are the four roots or wellsprings or Hudod.

“As in the belly of the Earth, Water, Air and the Fire are all concealed, so likewise in the person of the founder (Asas/Imam), the divine inspiration of the preceder, the providence of the follower, and instructions of the Speaking- Prophet are merged together.” (ibid., p. 47)

Note that the system of all these four roots is merged in Assas and his progeny Imāms.

“Because there is no other intellect, it cannot be affirmed to be in another intellect, it follows then that intellect does not corrupt. And this is as God says, “all things perish, except His face.” (al-Qur’ān 28:88). The Preceder is God’s face, which does not perish and it is not destroyed. God has indeed removed from Himself all relationships. (ibid., p. 58)

Note that in Universal: the first Root is the face of God. Imām-e-Hazir which means that the Imām is the face of Allāh. The following is provided as a definition of the word ta’til:

“The Arabic word translated here is a “stripping away positive attributes” is in one place ‘mu’atil and the other ta’til. These are technical terms that cannot be adequately translated with adding explanatory language.” (ibid., p. 146)

It is very important to know that there is no position of Allāh in the bāṭeni Ismāʿīlī hierarchy. Everything which Allāh stands for, translates into the Imām, leaving no place for Allāh in the hierarchy. Therefore this bāṭeni interpretation implies that all power of the supreme creator, Allāh are vested into the Imām – so much so that Imām himself is Allāh. The following writings by al-Sijistani attest to this. In the same book (p. 27), he writes:

“God is not a knowable existent, even by mystical means. God does not respond to temporal appeals, but rather has already put in place existing structure, a divine structure, a divine hierarchy that rules the cosmos. It is this structure that must answer to the individual’s query; it contains the sources of all knowledge, divine and otherwise. Were this not so, he would have no order and would be incomprehensible, a mere chaos. The roots of certainty are not thus vague wisps of imagination and fantasy but the hard realities of scientific regulations and laws.”

Also, on p. 30, al-Sijistani writes:

“Significantly, God is not a member of this structure, nor for that matter is the divine command by which He initiates it and brings it into being from nothing.”

“The four roots are each responsible for one of these four functions. Intellect controls ta’yid; it inspires. Soul composes in the sense of tarkib it is the animating force that combines the physical elements in the natural universe into being that move and act. The Speaking –prophet, similarly, composes scripture and creates law, the act of ta’lif. The Founder interprets (provides taʾwīl of) what the other composes.” (ibid., p. 31)

Note: Here are the functions of the four Roots/Hudood/Wellsprings.

“With respect to God, more needs to be said. One area not yet explained is the role of revelatory knowledge. In a sense, al-Sijistani dares deny the connection between God and being because he believes that institution of root sources assumes knowledge of God in and of itself. Humans derive truth from these sources and only from them. God’s position is properly defined only by them and not by extra-systematic perceptions or personal fantasy. Therefore the most accurate understanding of God – in fact, the only valid means to it – is contained in the law and in the pronouncements of the Imam. What the law says is how God is to be known. This is, in the end, a total affirmation of Islam and its teaching of God. It is likewise, in this case, not an appeal to reason or rationality at all. Connecting God, reason is caught between attempted affirmation and repeated denial; it is thus impotent in this one respect.” (ibid., page 94)

The notable point from al-Sijistani’s writing is that there is no Allāh in the Ismāʿīlī hierarchy or the system of four Roots of Truth or four Hudood. What can be the reasons for this: The word Allāh can be only a symbol and each one of the letter can be a symbol for respective root of the truth viz Preceder, the Follower, Natiq Prophet and the Founder meaning Assa’s followed by Imams by heredity. And this is how a system of four roots of truths takes place to perform all the functions of Allāh.

As the word is only a symbol then this is a denial of Allāh; this is total Atheism. Therefore, whole of this system is out of the orbit of ʾIslām.

Denial of Allāh’s universal role in Ismāʿīlīsm

The doctrine of Ta’til says that Allāh is there but He has entrusted all His functions and attributes including and attributive (sifati) names to this system of four roots of truth. All the four roots are merged in the founder meaning Assa’s with following hereditary Imāms. This means that the present Imām is bestowed with all the functions of Allāh. Therefore, the Imām is de facto Allāh. This is therefore complete denial of Allāh’s active role in the universe. In Ismāʿīlīsm, Allāh himself has delegated absolutely everything to the Imām.

Ismāʿīlī history has shown that they have always tried to plant divinity in the Imāms through various means.

The Messenger is the ‘author’ of the Qur’ān in Ismāʿīlīsm

Now, let us consider the Qur’ān  in this system of four roots of truth or hudood. In this system it is not Allāh that revealed Qur’ān to the blessed Apostle Muhammad. According this Ismāʿīlī system the Apostle of Allāh is the author or compiler of the Qur’ān. This is the reason why Allāh has ordained in the Qur’ān to seek the protection of Allāh, before anyone begins to recite the Qur’ān. Allāh narrated in the Qur’ān, more than scores of times that He has revealed the Qur’ān to His Blessed Apostle. Now, should a person have faith in Allāh or these four roots of the so-called ‘truth’ of Ismāʿīlīsm?

This sort of propaganda was a powerful storm against Islam. The main point in this propaganda was that ʿAlī bin Abi Talib had deputed Salman Farsi as his Hujjat to reveal Qur’ān to Muhammad the Apostle even during the tenure of the final Prophet. The effect of this was to falsify (a) Allāh who reveals and (b) that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was not telling the truth. This is how the propagandists tried in vain to torpedo both pillars of Islam but Allāh did perfect His Islam. He took the cognizance and revealed in the following:

“When we send down one verse to elaborate the other and Allāh knows best what to send down, they say “you forge this Qur’ān yourself.” The fact is that most of them do not know the reality.

Tell them, “The Holy Spirit has brought it down piecemeal intact from my Lord so that He make firm the faith of those who have believed, and to show the Right Way, and to give good news, to those who surrender themselves to Allāh.

We know very well what they say about you: “surely a certain person teaches him.” But the person whom they allude speaks a foreign tongue, and this (Qur’ān) is in plain Arabic.

(Qur’ān Surah Nahl, Verses 101-103)

In the next episode, we will quote from other Ismāʿīlī sources and see further how the Imām is positioned above all else in Ismāʿīlīsm. We will quote references from  Dr. Marakem and al-Kirmani which are respected sources in Ismāʿīlī esotericism. May Allāh guide us all and enable us to practice ʾIslām as it was practiced by the Prophet (pbuh).

Esotericism in the Ismāʿīlī Tradition, Part I: Fragile Foundations

Esoterism in the Ismaili Tradition Part I Cover

After my previous article Takmil-e-Deen, a question was haunting my mind: If there is no place of the doctrine of Imamat in Islam, then what can be the origin of the prevailing doctrine of the Imamat?

Here I was caught in the wilderness of a novel doctrine: exoteric and esoteric concept. Here I quote Ivanow to show how difficult is this field:

In addition to these shortcomings of a purely individual nature, the text, in common with all works on haqaiq, presents much difficulty for understanding and interpretation because of the manner in which the argument suddenly leaps from philosophical matters into the field of theology, only to jump again into the sphere of mythology, Kabbalistic and other superstitious speculations, and so forth.

Source: Ivanov, English Translation of Shish Fasal by Nasir Khuraw

In my understanding the subject of taʾwīl, I had to toil much but Allāh blessed me to understand the concept of taʾwīl.

Four Preliminary Considerations

In this section, we will look at the preliminary considerations while exploring this subject which give us clear evidence of the fragile foundations of esoterism in the Nizari Ismaili creed.

Consideration #1: Lack of Evidence of taʾwīl in the Qur’ān

There is no indication in Holy and Divine Qur’ān that there is any point or narration or commands of the Qur’ān have any secrecy. On the contrary the Qur’ān teaches that:

i. Qur’ān is Ki’tab-e-Mubin that is the open book and no secret reservation.

ii. The Qur’ān is easy to understand. This is repeated in many places.

iii. The verses of the Qur’ān are also explained with similes and examples. This point has repeated at many places.

iv. The verses of the Quran are also explained through similitude or tashbih (plural tashbihāt) and can be easily understood.

The Qur’ān, the basic foundation of ʾIslām, is not philosophy. It is the guidance based on revelation by Allāh. Qur’ān is the complete eternal code of guidance and the complete eternal procedure code is in the form sunnah or the prophetic traditions. Every human being has to conduct his life according to these two sources, for this is the only route to salvation.

Consideration #2: Philosophical Foundations of Esoterism, tasawwuf and sufism

Both the system of batini interpretation and tasawwuf or sufism were seeded in the early third century Hijri, and nurtured in the fourth Hijri centuries. This means that both these systems came into existence after more than three centuries after the takmil-e-deen-e-Islam. Both these systems are based on philosophy. Therefore, as far as Islamic sufism is concerned, there is no word tasawwuf or sufism either in the Qur’ān, or in hadith, nor in the traditions of the companions, their next generation (tabieen) and the generation after them (taba tabieen). These words were adopted in the Arabic language in the late third or early fourth centuries Hijri, therefore these words have no ma’ada in Lugatul Quran.

Foundations of tasawwuf: The basis of tasawwuf is the doctrine of wahdat al-wujood and wahdat ash-shahood. Both these have origin in the Greek and Indian philosophies.

Foundations of bāṭenīyatThe basis of bāṭenīyat has its origins in the Greek doctrine of Universal Intelligence, Universal Soul from Plotinus and that of perfect person or Philosophical King of Plato and “Ideal Man” of Aristotle.

Consideration #3: Divine Wisdom or Human Wisdom?

The philosophers themselves did not mean any harm. The outcome of their thought process was placed publicly in the hands of the literary world. The only point which matters is this: Philosophy is human thinking and wisdom, while Qur’ān is divine and supreme wisdom. These two things cannot be compared. Different philosophers have different ideas of Allāh (or the creator), which will be explored in the next episodes of this article.

It is interesting to note that golden period of philosophy is about twelve centuries beginning from sixth century before Christ and about six centuries after the Christ. In this period very genius personalities produced much of the intelligent philosophies and many are referred to even today.

The important point that concerns us is the fact that Allāh blessed the Ummah and the humanity with the final Apostle Muhammad (pbuh) for all the time to come. This means that the origin of the final divine message final apostle of ʾIslām, perfection of the religion and the last ummah after the golden period of philosophy. The interesting point to note is this: There is no mention of any philosopher or any philosophy in the blessed Qur’ān. Human wisdom has very trivial importance, and the Divine wisdom of Allāh is the only source of guidance in the form of Qur’ān, the complete final and eternal code of life for the humanity and the method how to conduct our life in accordance with the sunnah of final Apostle.

Consideration #4: Inconsistent Application

The esoterians fail to consistently apply the doctrine of esoterism throughout the Quran. A prime example of this is Jihad which is referred to in the Qur’ān in two clear contexts: Fighting as well as struggle with the inner self. However, the concept of jihad in tasawwuf is only against one’s inner self (nafs). Therefore, they believe partly in the exoteric interpretation, while partly believe in esoteric interpretation without providing a sound basis of such inconsistency.

Concept of Jihad in the Nizari Ismāʿīlī creed: The concept of Jihad in the Nizari Ismāʿīlī creed at present is this: In the present era Ismāʿīlī Imām has no army but the notional benefit can be purchased on payment of five hundred rupees for five years service in the army, other categories are: nine hundred rupees for twelve years’ service and five thousand rupees for lifetime services in the Imam’s army.

In the next episode to this article, besides finding the definitions of esoterism and exoterism, we will analyze the taʾwīl and how it applied to the word Allāh, through the reference of the works of the noted Ismāʿīlī philosopher Abu Ya‘qub al-Sijistani.

Takmil-e-Deen and the Need for a Living Imam: Part 2

In this part, we will look at a number of ahadith signaling the end of prophethood and the perfection and completion of religion, scholarly references and Quranic evidences.

It is narrated from the Prophet (pbuh) that:

“I have been honored over the Prophets with six (things): I have been given jawami’ al-kalaam, I have been aided by (the ability to cause in the enemy) fright, the spoils of war have been made lawful for me, the Earth has been made as a Masjid and purifier for me, and I have been sent to all creatures, and with me Prophethood is sealed.”  — Jami` at-Tirmidhi, Vol. 3, Book 19, Hadith 1553

The Prophet (pbuh) of Allah also said:

“My position in relation to the prophets who came before me can be understood by this parable: A person erected a great building decorated and adorned this edifice with great beauty, but he left a niche, an empty space, for just one brick. People looked around the building and marveled at its beauty, but said: why a brick was missing from that niche? I am like unto that one missing brick and I am last in the line of the Prophets.”  — Kitab-ul-Manaqib, al-Bukhari

Regarding the finality of the ummah, he said:

“There is no prophet after me, and there is, no Ummah after my Ummah.” — al-Baihaqi: Kitab-ar-Ru’ya and Tabrani

An important historical point: In the terminal days of the blessed Apostle of Allah, one Musaylimah had claimed that he was a prophet. The Apostle of Allah termed him an arch-liar (al-Kadhdhāb) and ordered a war against him and collected an army. But in these days the Prophet breathed his last. When Abu Bakr became the first Caliph, he declared war against Musaylimah al-Kadhdhāb, the false claimant of prophet, their women and children were made slaves and every able follower of the false claimant was killed.

Thus, evidently, it was not the crime of rebellion for which the companions fought them but the crime was that a person had claimed to be a prophet after the Holy Prophet ʿalayhi as-salām. This action was taken immediately after the demise of the Holy Prophet under the leadership of the first Caliph Abu Bakr. There was complete and total consensus of the companions of the Prophet that the only punishment is death for the claimant of prophethood.

6. Scholarly opinions regarding Takmil-e-Deen

Now let me quote the opinions from the works of the learned scholars:

1. A man in the time of Imam Abu Hanifa (80-150 AH) claimed to be a prophet, and said, “Allow me to present proof of my prophethood.” The Imam ruled: “Anyone who demands a proof of prophethood from him, will also turn to disbeliever, for me Messenger of Allah has said: “There is no prophet after me.” Reference: Munaqib al-Imam –A’zam Abi Hanifa. Ibne Ahmad al-Makki vol 1 page 161. Hyderabad Deccan AH 1321

2. “Imam Ghazali (450-505 AH) says: “There is complete consensus of Muslim Ummah that there is no prophet after the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The whole Ummah is unanimous that the Holy Prophet by his words La nabbiya ba’di meant nothing but that: after him there will neither be a prophet nor an Apostle. Anyone who interpret this saying in any other way, falls outside the pale of Islam; his interpretation would be nonsensical and his writings heretical. Besides. the Ummah is unanimous that there is no scope whatever for any other interpretation than this; one who denies it, denies the consensus of the Ummah,” reference: Al-Iqtisad fil I’tqad. Egypt page 114.

3. Qadi Iyad (d.544 AH) writes: “He who lays a claim to prophethood for himself or holds that one can acquire it and can attain the rank of prophethood through the purification of the heart, as some philosophers and so called Sufis assert, and likewise one who does not claim to be a prophet but claims that be receives revelations; all such people are disbelievers and deniers of the Holy Prophet, for he has informed us that he is last of the prophets and that no prophet is to come after him. And he has conveyed this news from Allah that he has closed the prophethood and that he has been sent to all mankind, and the whole Ummah is unanimous that these words no other but apparent meaning, Therefore, there can be absolutely no doubt about such peoples’ being Kafir both according to the consensus and the Traditions.” Reference: Shifa volume II page 270-271.

4. Allama Alusi (death 1270 AH) writes in his commentary Ruh al-Mani: “… The Holy Prophet being Khatam al-Nabiyyin by itself requires that he should also be Khatam al-Mursalin and his being the last of the Prophets and Apostles implies that his being blessed by Allah with the Prophethood for any jinn or human being has been abolished.” Reference Ruh al-Mani volume XXII page 32. “Whoever after him claims to be a recipient of revelation of the prophethood, will be declared Kafir and there is no difference of opinions amongst Muslims in this regard.” Reference Ruh al-Mani volume XXII page 38.

The above citations are from Ahadis and eminent learned scholars of the past with intention that there can be none of my bias or prejudice in elucidating the dictates, decrees and injunctions of the basic concept and tenet of faith the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat.

Many a times we hear that there are or will be seventy two sects in Islam. Out of which only one is correct. Any sect that deviates from this basic tenet of faith and conception of Kham-e-Nabuwwat is not a true sect of Islam. Therefore the only correct and true one is that which is in total consonance and identity with this tenet of faith.

7. Is there any need of new Prophet?

Let us consider and ponder on this point of a new prophet. Prophethood is not a quality which anyone can develop himself by worship and righteous acts. Accept Allah no one can designate prophet or prophethood; therefore, no one can designate this office to anyone.  Prophethood is not a property nor a commodity that can be dynastically bestowed nor there can be devolution nor inheritance.

Now let us see in what circumstances we need a new prophet and whether these circumstances do exist:

  1. A particular nation stood in need of prophet because no prophet came to it before, nor had the message of a prophet sent to other nation reached it.
  2. The appointment of a prophet became necessary because the teaching of the former prophet had been forgotten, or tampered with, and it was no longer possible to know and follow his message in practical life.
  3. The people might have not received the complete message and guidance through the former prophet and more prophets were needed to supplement this teaching.
  4. A prophet might have needed another prophet to help and support him in carrying out his mission.

Obviously non of the above scenarios exist. The Quran tells us that the Prophet (pbuh)  has been raised for the guidance of the entire mankind. Therefore, there remains no need for separate prophets to be sent to separate nations. We have Quran in its pristine purity as the Code of Hidayat for the humanity and the Sunnah of the blessed prophet practiced during his long tenure of twenty three years in the most adverse circumstances is the  code of Procedure  and prepared the final Ummah.

8. Quranic Testimony of Takmil-e-Deen

مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَٰكِن رَّسُولَ اللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا

Translation:

Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets. And ever is Allah , of all things, Knowing. (Holy Quran 33:40)

These points in the above verse need some elucidation:

First, that Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah

and 

Second, that [he is] the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets.

8.1 Muhammad is not the father of any of your men

If we look at the history we find that there were emperors and their empires, kings and their kingdoms many of whom claimed divine rights to rule. Heredity and dynasties were established by direct blood relations. The son, after the death of any king or emperor claimed all the rights to the kingdoms and all the properties including even divine right to rule. And there were no constraints of any kind and many of them ruled as tyrants and despots.

In Islam, no one can claim divinity or the manifestation of divinity or any divine right to rule even if it happens to be a son or very near relative of the prophets. The door of inheritance of Islam is closed for ever. Islam is not a commodity or any tangible or non-tangible property that can be inherited by any one. Only Allah has total sovereignty over Deen-e-Islam and over all the creation of the universe and that cannot be hijacked by anyone however highly he is placed neither in authority nor even by any sort of blood relation or spiritual descent/inheritance. Islam is the guidance (hidaya) to all the mankind and forever.

Allah the Almighty is the knower of the past, present and future. Therefore Allah has guided that a believer (mu’min) should not fall in the trap of this sort of misguidance. Though Allah bestowed two sons to the Holy Prophet but both of them died as infants so that no heredity can be claimed. Amongst Jews the inheritance is through the female / daughter.

In Quran the Furqan we find two examples where at it is clearly indicated that no special or divine rights are available even to the sons of the prophets:

a. Son of Prophet Noah (Nuh); and

b. Progeny of Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim).

a. Son of Prophet Noah (Nuh): Let us contemplate and envisage on the verses of the Quran in Surah Hūd verses 42-43 and 45-47.

42. And it sailed with them through waves like mountains, and Noah called to his son who was apart [from them], “O my son, come aboard with us and be not with the disbelievers.”

43. [But] he said, “I will take refuge on a mountain to protect me from the water.” [Noah] said, “There is no protector today from the decree of Allah , except for whom He gives mercy.” And the waves came between them, and he was among the drowned.

45. And Noah called to his Lord and said, “My Lord, indeed my son is of my family; and indeed, Your promise is true; and You are the most just of judges!”

46. He said, “O Noah, indeed he is not of your family; indeed, he is [one whose] work was other than righteous, so ask Me not for that about which you have no knowledge. Indeed, I advise you, lest you be among the ignorant.”

47. [Noah] said, “My Lord, I seek refuge in You from asking that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have mercy upon me, I will be among the losers.”

b. Progeny of Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim):  As in regard of the progeny of Prophet Ibrahim let us envisage on verse 124 of Surah al-Baqarah:

124. And [mention, O Muhammad], when Abraham was tried by his Lord with commands and he fulfilled them. [ Allah ] said, “Indeed, I will make you a leader for the people.” [Abraham] said, “And of my descendants?” [ Allah ] said, “My covenant does not include the wrongdoers.”

The lesson that we can learn is:

i. It is the Mercy of Allah the Al-Mighty that He has bestowed upon the humanity a perfect code of life in the form of the Qur’an and the perfect procedure code in the form of the Sunnah of the Blessed Prophet.

ii. None of these two is a heritable commodity even if one is related to the prophet with blood relation, nor by any spiritual affinity.

iii. Islam is perfect and Allah has taken the responsibility of protection of the Qur’an the universal and eternal code of life for all the human beings.

iv. Any claimant, however highly placed he may be, he has to obey these codes of Islam. Any deviation from this, in the name of heredity, blood relationship or by the spiritual dynasty; is the deviations from Islam and he is to be considered as heretics.

In Surah al-Nisa, Allah says in verses 59-60 as follows:

59. O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.

60. Have you not seen those who claim to have believed in what was revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you? They wish to refer legislation to Taghut, while they were commanded to reject it; and Satan wishes to lead them far astray.

This verse is the basis of the entire religious, cultural and political system of Islam and is the first and the foremost article of the constitution of the Islamic state. The following four fundamental principles have been laid down permanently forever.

1. In the Islamic system the real authority is Allah, Who must be worshiped and obeyed. For, a Muslim is first of all the servant of Allah, and any other capacity that he may have is secondary.

2. The second fundamental principle of the Islamic system is allegiance and obedience to the Holy Prophet.

3. After these two allegiance, and subservient to these, is the allegiance to those invested with authority from among the Muslims themselves. The word Ūlī Al-‘Amr comprises all the persons who might be in any way at the helm of the affairs of the Muslims. Whether they are religious scholars, political leaders, administrators, judges of the law courts or village, tribal and community chiefs, etc.

4. The commandments of Allah and the Sunnah of his Messenger are the fundamentals of law and jurisprudence of Islam and the final authority in the Islamic system. Hence if there is dispute between the Muslims or between the rulers and the ruled, they will turn to the Qur’an and the Sunnah for the decision and all must submit to it.

This means that any person, however high he may be, must submit to the commands of the Qur’an and Sunnah. No one has any inherent or evident authority against these two dictates. This is also the reason for the basic tenet of faith: Khatm-e-Nabuwat.

As per the guidance laid down in the verse 60 of Surah al-Nisa quoted above it is ordained that any other system or person providing justice is an avowed enemy the Taghut/Satan.

It is mentioned in Surah al-A’raf, Chapter 7,  Verse 158:

O Muhammad! say: “O mankind I am a messenger to all of you from Allah to Whom belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth. There is no deity but He. He bestows life and ordains death. So believe in Allah and His Commandments. Follow Him: it is expected you will be guided aright.

It is clear that the blessed Holy Prophet is the Messenger/guide to the entire humanity.

In Surah Fuşşilat  Chapter 41, Verses 40-42, Allah (swt) mentions:

40. Indeed, those who inject deviation into Our verses are not concealed from Us. So, is he who is cast into the Fire better or he who comes secure on the Day of Resurrection? Do whatever you will; indeed, He is Seeing of what you do.

41. Indeed, those who disbelieve in the message after it has come to them… And indeed, it is a mighty Book.

42. Falsehood cannot approach it from before it or from behind it; [it is] a revelation from a [Lord who is] Wise and Praiseworthy.

Misconstruction Of the verses of the Quran falls in to the sin of tahreef. Whoever attempts to misconstrue the verses/Ayats of Qur’an has to find his place in the hell fire as per these verses 40-41. Verse 42 confirms that Allah is the protector of the Qur’an.

In Surah Al-Ĥijr, Chapter 15, Verse  9, Allah (swt) mentions:

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

Translation:

Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.

Qur’an is under the direct and divine protection of Allah, the Almighty and Omnipresent. It is the miracle that the Qur’an that we have in our hands is in pristine purity though more than 1400 years have elapsed. No other book can claim this status.

8.2 That [he is] the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets

Allah (swt) mentions in several places about the finality of the Message and the Prophethood. In Surah Saba’ Chapter 34, Verse 28, Allah (swt) mentions:

And We have not sent you except comprehensively to mankind as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. But most of the people do not know.

It is clear that the Sunnah of the Blessed and final Prophet is universal and eternal.

In Surah Al-Ambiya Chapter 21, Verse 107 it is mentioned:

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

Translation:

And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.

Comment: The Blessed and Final Prophet Is universal for all the mankind and his Sunnah has the authority over the entire humanity.

In Surah Al-Ambiya Chapter 21, Verses 92-93 it is also mentioned:

Indeed this Ummah of yours is one Ummah, and I am your Lord so worship Me alone. But they have broken up and differed as regards their religion among themselves. They shall return to Us.”

Therefore, Any deviation from the concept of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat is the breaking up of Muslim Ummah. In Surah Al-Muminun Chapter 23, Verses 51-52 it is mentioned:

O Messenger, eat of pure things and do righteous deeds, for I am fully aware of what you do. And you alone belong to one and the same Ummah, and I am your Lord so fear Me.

Holy Prophet is the part of the Muslim Ummah. Here there is a complete and total denial of any divine or any super human attribute. Surah At-Taubah Chapter 9, in Verses 32-33, it is mentioned:

32. They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah refuses except to perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it.

33. It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion, although they who associate others with Allah dislike it.

In Verse 32 the word noor appears twice. And for us it is very important. Therefore, we need to understand the same in the light of reference to context. For this reason I am quoting here also the preceding verse 31 and the succeeding verse 34.

31. They have made their there scholars and monks as their Lords beside Allah, and likewise the Messiah the son of Mary, although they were enjoined not to worship any other than Allah, besides whom there is none worthy of worship. He (Allah) is absolutely pure and free from what they associate with him.

32. They (the disbelievers) desire to extinguish Allah’s noor with puffs from their mouths, Allah wills to perfect His noor, even though Mushrikun be much averse to it.

33. He sent His Messenger with guidance and right way so that He cause it prevail over all other Deens, even though the Mushrikun be much averse to it.” Verse.33 (similar verses in Surah Fatah verse-28 and Surah Saf verse 9

34. O Believers indeed most of the scholars and monks of the Peoples of the Book devours the wealth of the others by evil means and debar them from the Way of Allah..”

With reference to Verse 31, let me refer here a famous tradition. When Hazrat Adi ben Hatim, who was formerly a Christian, came before the Holy Prophet to embrace Islam, he asked the Holy Prophet “this verse accused us of making our scholars and monks our God. What is its real meaning?” The Holy Prophet said, “Is not a fact that you accept as unlawful what they declare as unlawful and lawful what they declare as lawful?  Adi admitted that they did. The Holy Prophet replied, “That amounts to making them God.”

From this Hadis we learn that, that those who set limits to the lawful and unlawful, without the authority of Allah’s Book, assume for themselves rank of godhead, and those who acknowledge their right to make laws make them their Gods. In retrospect I think that in my former faith in the doctrine of Imamat was equivalent to make the Imam as God.

With reference to the verse 32 and 33: In accordance to this verse real object of the mission of the Holy Prophet is to make Deen (Noor/Guidance/Hidayat)  i.e. the right way, that he has brought from Allah dominate over all Deens.

Therefore we can draw the conclusion that the Noor means here Guidance/Hidayat of Allah. The Noor is not a creator but it is a created entity. The Noor is amenable to completion and perfection by Allah. If Allah is taken as Noor then question arises that Allah was imperfect and this is the misguidance and Kufr.

In reference to the verse 34 we learn that no money can be collected in the name of Allah or Islam unless it is in accordance with the guidance laid down in the Qur’an and Sunnah, otherwise it is unlawful.

9. Further Proofs from the Quran: Do we need a Living Imam or do we need the Quran?

In Surah An-Namal Chapter 27, Verses 1-3, Allah declares the following verses about the Quran:

طس ۚ تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْقُرْآنِ وَكِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ

Translation:

Ta, Seen. These are the verses of the Qur’an and a clear Book

هُدًى وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

Translation:

As guidance and good tidings for the believers

الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُم بِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ

Translation:

Who establish prayer and give zakah, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith].

In the second verse, the term kitab-im-mubeen has been translated as a clear book which means that the verses of The Book which presents its teachings, and its commandments and instructions clearly and plainly. Now this is clear that the teachings of the Quran need no Guru, Imam, Peer, Murshid, Sufi Buzurg, or anyone who claims to be a spiritual or divine guide.

In Surah Az-Zumar Chapter 39, Verse 41 it is mentioned:

(O Prophet) We have sent down to you for all mankind with this Book with the Truth. Now whosoever adopts the right way, will do for his own sake, and whosoever goes astray, will himself bear the burden of his deviation; you are not responsible for them.

This is a clear indication that this Quran is the final book of the final guidance and the proof of the Khatm-e-Nabuwat.

In Surah Suad, Chapter 38, verses 86-87 it is mentioned:

(O Prophet) say to them ‘I do not ask any recompense of you for this Message, nor I am an Imposter. This is only an admonition for all the people of the world.

In the text the word Zikra is translated as admonition and it stands for Quran. This is the eternal Guidance for ever and for all mankind. This is clear indication that this Quran is the final book of the guidance and the proof of the Khatm-e-Nabuwat.

Surah As-Saff, Chapter 61,  Verses 6-9 it is mentioned:

And remember what Jesus, son of Mary, had said: “O children of Israel, I am indeed a Messenger send to you by Allah, confirming the Torah which has come before me, and giving the good news of a Messenger who shall come after me, whose name shall be Ahmed.

Yet he came to them with clear signs, they said, “this is evident deception.” Now who can be wicked than he who forges falsehood against Allah even though he is being invited towards Islam? Allah does not guide such wrong doers. They seek to blow out Allah’s Light/Noor with their mouths, but Allah has decreed that He shall spread His Light/Noor to perfection, much as the disbelievers may dislike it. He it is Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true Religion that He may cause it to prevail over all religions, much as the mushriks may dis like it.

In Surah Al-Fatah, Chapter 48, Verse 28 it is mentioned:

It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and Deen-e-Haq (Religion of Truth), that He may prevail it over all religions. And All-Sufficient Allah as a Witness.

In Surah Ar-Ra’d, Chapter 13, Verse 7 it is mentioned:

And the unbelievers say: why is not the sign sent down to him (the Prophet) from his Lord? But thou art truly a warner and a guide to every people”.

This Ayat is clear and evident needs no further elucidation.

In Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter 2,  Verse 159 it is

Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by the cursers.

In the original text the words Al Bayinat and Al Huda need to be elucidated. Al-Bayinat means clear, evident and it is easy to understand. It does not need any spiritual guide or anyone who claims part of Divinity i.e. Elahiat or communion with Allah.

In Surah Chapter 5, Verse 3 it is mentioned (excerpt):

…Today the disbelievers have despaired of (vanquishing) your religion: therefore, do not fear them but fear Me. Today I have perfected your religion for you and completed My Blessings on you and approved Islam as the way of life for you…

The word today does not mean any particular day but it denotes the era in which this surah and verses were revealed. Moving forward, the verse says that “the disbelievers have despaired of your religion”, which means that after a long systematic resistance and opposition, they have lost hope of defeating your religion. Now they do not expect you will ever return to the former way of ignorance because your religion has become a permanent way of life and has been established on a firm footing. Therefore “do not fear them but fear me.” Now there is no longer any danger of interferences from the disbelievers that they will prevent you from the performance of your religious obligations. You should, therefore, fear Allah and observe His commands and instructions no ground of fear has been left for you. Now your disobedience to the Law will mean that you do not intend to obey Allah.

have perfected your religionmeans that “I have provided it with all the essential elements of the permanent way of life, which comprises a complete system of thought, practice, and civilization, have laid down principles and given down instructions for the solution of all human problems. Hence there is no need for you to seek Guidance/Hidayat from any other source.’

The completion of the “blessings” is the completion of the blessings of Hidayat/Guidance/Shariat.

“I have approved Islam as deen/way of life for you” because you have proved by your obedience and devotion to it that you sincerely believe in Islam which you have accepted. As I have practically set you free from every kind of subjection and servitude, there is no compulsion for you to submit to any other than Me in your practical life. ”It also implies: “as a gratitude for these Blessings of Mine, you should show no negligence in the observance of the prescribed limits.”

In Surah Al-Qalam, Chapter 68, Verses: 51-52 it is mentioned:

“When the disbelievers hear the Admonition (the Qur’an), they look at you in a way as though they will trip you up, and say, ”he is certainly mad,” although it is an Admonition to all the people of the world.”  

Please note the words all the people of the world.

In Surah At-Takvir Chapter 81, verses 27-29 it is mentioned:

“This is an admonition to all the people of the world, to each one of you, who wishes to follow the Straight Way: but, your willing is of no avail unless Allah, Lord of worlds, wills so.”  

Please note the words all the people of the world, yet again.

In Surah Az-Zumar, Chapter 39, Verse 41 it is mentioned:

“(O Prophet:) ” We have sent down to you for all mankind the Book with the truth. Now whosoever adopts the right way, we do so for own sake, and whosoever goes astray, will himself bear the burden of his deviation; you are not responsible for them.”

Please note this sentence; We have sent down to you for all mankind the Book with the truth.

The Quran is made easy to understand. Al-Zumar, Verse Number 41. We can find similar verses in this subject in Qur’an. Viz. XII-2, IXX-97, XXVI-195, IXL-28, XLI-3 AND 44, XLIII-3, XLIV-58, LIV- 17, 22, 32, XVI-103.

10. Legal Status of those who do not believe in Khatm-e-Nabuwat

Finally let us study the legal status for those who deny or disagree to accept this basic tenet of faith: Khatm-e-Nabuwat. Here we come across two aspects: (a) Legal status as per Islamic Fiqh/law and jurisprudence of Islam and (b) Prevailing law in Pakistan.

Please ponder upon the following quotations from the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Penal code of Pakistan and be a judge yourself where do we stand. Please keep in mind the doctrine of Shahpir/Pirshah.

10.1 Legal Status as per Islamic Fiqh

The following is a quote from Dr. Israr Ahmad’s book “Khatm-e-Nabuwat Kay Do Mafhoom Aur Takmeel-E-Risalat Kay Amli Taqazay”. On page 12 he writes:

“Any person who claimed that he is a prophet or may do in future is kazzab/liar, dajjal/antichrist, kafir/denier of faith, murtad/rejecter of faith and liable to suffer death penalty. Therefore, in the Islamic world, wherever there was Islamic Government, war was declared against anyone or any group of persons and such persons were killed who had claimed prophethood. Caliph  Abu Bakr declared war against the claimants of prophet hood, viz. Musailama Kazzab and other persons and they were killed without any reservation or exception. In Iran, one Bahaullah claimed prophethood. In Iran there was Islamic Government. The government declared war and Bahaullah with his followers were put to death and some fled and left the country. Even now any Bahai i.e. follower of Bahaullah, ventures to enter Iran/Persia he is supposed to be killed. But, unfortunately, Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani claimed that he was a prophet but no damage was done to him as this group was under the protection of British laws prevailing in India (where freedom of religion sects was a constitutional right).”

10.2 Prevailing Law in Pakistan

I will cite here some related Islamic provisions in The Constitution of The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and from Pakistan Penal Code Section 295-A, 295-B & 295-C.

In the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan we find the Islamic provisions: In the Preamble Para 01, 04, 05. In part 1 Introductory Articles 02,02-A and in the annex para 01 & 05. Article 31 (1)(2), Articles 227 to 230, chapter 5 Interpretation, Definitions Article 260 (3)(a)(b) here in we find definition of “Muslim”. I am quoting only the definition in Article 260-(3)(a) & (b):

In the constitution and all other enactments and other legal instruments, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,

(a) “Muslim” means a person who believes in the unity and oneness of Almighty Allah, in the absolute and unqualified finality of the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him), the last of the prophets, and does not believe in, or recognize as a prophet as a prophet of the religion reformer, any person who claimed or claims to be prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after Muhammad (peace be upon him); and

(b) “non-Muslim” means a person who is not a Muslim, includes a person belonging to the Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Budhist or Parsi community, a person of the Qadiani group of the Lahori group (who call themselves Ahmadis or by any other name), or a Bahai, and a person belonging to any of scheduled cast]”

11.  Conclusion

In conclusion, the religion of Allah has been completed – both in terms of revelations, i.e., The Quran and also in terms of interpretation and implementation of it, i.e., the example of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). There is no need to any changes of additions to the core Islamic values which have been taught by the Quran and ordered and exemplified by the Prophet (pbuh).