Allah did choose Adam and Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of Imran above all people — offspring, one of the other, and Allah knows and hear all things.Holy Qur’an, 3:33-34, Surat al Im’ran (The Family of Imran); read seven parallel translations in Corpus Quran here
For hundreds of years my spiritual children have been guided by the Rope of Imamat; you have looked to the Imam of the Age for advice and help in all matters and through your Imam’s immense love and affection for his spiritual children, his Noor has indicated to you where and in which direction you must turn so as to obtain spiritual and worldly satisfactionMawlana Hazar Imam, Karachi, December 13, 1964.
The Knowledge of God for the People of Each Age is the Knowledge of the Imam of the Time to Whom They Owe Their Veneration
The first ontological plan of the Divine Being is the plan of the essence — indescribable, inconceivable, beyond all intelligence, intuition, or thought; this is the plan of the Unknowable, of God in His vertiginous, unmanifested concealment.
The other is the plan of Acts performed by the organs of God, the Imams, instruments capable of making known to the creatures what can be known of God; this is the plan of the manifest God; of the unknown aspiring to be known. It is also to support this sense that the Imam is described as being the “Proof of God” (hujjat Allah), the “Path of God” (sirat Allah), the “Threshold of God” (bab Allah), or described by such Qur’anic expressions as “the Supreme Sign” (al-ayat al-kubra, Qur’an 79:20), “the August Symbol” (al-mathal al a’la, Qur’an 16:60), “the Most Solid Handle” (al-’urwat al-wuthqa, Qur’an 2:256 and 31:22).
One might wonder whether in this division between Essence and Organ there is a transposition, on the divine level, of the omnipresent division of all reality into batin and zahir. The esoteric, the hidden aspect not manifested by God would thus become His essence, eternally inaccessible; His Organs, that is His exoteric, His revealed aspect, would be the Imam in his ontological sense including His historical manifestations, that is, the imams of all ages. Thus knowledge of the reality of the Imam is the equivalent to knowledge of that which can be known of God. In the words of Imam al-Husayn b. ‘Aly:
“God created His servants so that they might know Him, for when they know Him they worship Him and thus free themselves from the worship of anything that is not Him.” Someone then asked: “What is the knowledge of God?” “It is, for the people of each age, knowledge of the imam to whom they owe obeisance” — Excerpt from The Divine Guide in Early Shi’ism, by Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi, SUNY, 1994, page 45.
A SUPPLICATION BY PIR HASAN KABIRDIN
Eji, Aash Karine Ya Ali hun tere dar ubhi,
Kar jodine em mangu Ya Shah;
Dejo didar tusi mahavar datar Shah,
Hama tere charane lagu.
With hope I stand at Thy door,
O Ali! And sincerely beg of Thee;
Bless me with Thy Holy Didar, O Great Lord and Benefactor!
At Thy Feet I fall to prostrate.
Follow the Imam of your Time strictly, so that he may take you under his protection, helping you, granting you victory and relief. And obedience to the Imam, attention to his word, will bring about the healing of spiritual ailments and lead to soundness and clarity of the heart.Imam Mustansir billah, 32nd Ismaili Imam
FATIMID DA’I Muayyad din shirazi on a Joyous didar
I was taken near the place where from I saw the bright Light of the Prophethood. My eyes were dazzled by the Light. I shed tears of joy and felt as if I was looking at the face of the Prophet of Allah and of the Commander of the Faithful, Hazrat Ali. I prostrated myself before the one who is the fittest person to bow to. I wanted to say something, but I was awe-struck. I tried to speak but my tongue refused to move. People asked me to say what I wished to say. I could say nothing. The Imam said, ‘Leave him. Let his fear and awe subside’. After this, I rose. I took the holy hand of the Imam [Mustansir-billah], placed it on my eyes and on my chest and then kissed it. I left the place with immense joy.
All believers are urged to come into the presence of the Imam and to see him with their own eyes. Thus, the esoteric (batini) vision, realized through pious works and the constant remembrance of God during the nightly vigil, as well as the exoteric (zaheri) vision, achieved by travelling to the Imam’s residence and beholding the gateway of God’s mercy, becomes the ultimate purpose of human life. Piety should be for the purpose of recognizing and beholding God, which is achieved through the recognition and vision of the Imam of one’s Time.Imam Mustansir billah, 32nd Ismaili Imam
THE IMAM – A COSMIC NECESSITY
[The following excerpt including the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.S.) cited at the beginning is from the chapter “Conclusions” (pp. 125-131) in the text “The Divine Guide in Early Shi’ism” by Mohamad Ali Amir-Moezzi, published by the State University of New York (SUNY), 1994. The hardback book is now out of print. It is available as a Google Ebook via the SUNY Press, and may also be purchased as a new or used paperback at Amazon — Ed.]
“The People of my FamilyTradition of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.S.)
are like Noah’s Ark;
Whoever boards the Ark is saved,
Whoever stays away
is carried off by the waves”
“The Imam-Proof existed before the creatures, he exists with them, and he will exist after them.”  The Imam, the Divine Guide, in both his cosmic, ontological aspect and his historical aspect, dominates and determines the Imamite* “world vision.” Here, religious conscience perceives creation through the “filter” that the Imam is, in a dizzying vision that goes from a cosmogonic pre-existence to an eschatological super existence.
Without the Imam, the universe would crumble, since he is the Proof, the Manifestation, and the Organ of God, and he is the Means by which human beings can attain, if not knowledge of God, at least what is knowable in God. Without the Perfect Man, without a Sacred Guide the world could only be engulfed in darkness. The Imam is the Threshold through which God and the creatures communicate. He is thus a cosmic necessity, the key and the center of the universal economy of the sacred: “The earth cannot be devoid of an Imam; without him, it could not last an hour.  If there were only two men left in the world, one of them would be the Imam.”  The universal Order is maintained through the presence of the divine Man: “It is because of us,” say the Imams, “that the heavens and the earth are maintained”; it is because of the Imams “that God keeps the sky from crashing into the earth, and the earth from shaking up its inhabitants.”  Without an Imam, there is no religion; without esotericism, exotericism loses its direction, its purpose, its goal, as well as its meaning.
* Imamite – The term is generally used for doctrines professed by early Shia Imams who were common to both the Ismaili and Twelver Shias, that is upto and including Imam Jafar al-Sadiq, and thereafter to the historical Imams of twelver Shi’ism.
 Al-hujja qabla l-khalq wa ma’a l-khalq wa ba’da l-khalq, the words of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, al-Kulayni, Usul, “kitab al-hujja,” vol 1, ch. 5, p251, num 4; etc.
 There are different versions of this sentence so ubiquitous in the teaching of the Imams, e.g. al-Saffar, Basa’ir, section 10, ch. 10-22, pp 484-89; etc.
 “Law lam yaqba fi’l-’alam [al-ard] illa rajulan la-kana ahaduhuma l-imam [al-hujja]‘; the word of several Imams, ibid, section 10, ch. 11; etc.
 “Bina qamat al-samawat wa l-ard”/”Bihum yumsiku ‘llahu l-sama’ an taqaa’ala l-ard…bihim yahfazu’ llahu lard an tamida bi-ahliha”; Kamal al-din, vol. 2, ch. 37, p. 383, num. 9; etc.
THE Essence (noor) of Imam is Changeless by imam ‘abd al-salam
There is an ode of the 33rd Ismaili Imam ‘Abd al-Salam in which he says that the talisman (anything that has magical powers) that can open the treasure trove of spiritual meaning of the Holy Qur’an is the Imam. This ode is lucidly explained by Dr. Shafique Virani in his path breaking book The Ismailis in the Middle Ages.
In the ode the Imam observes that the true essence of the Imam cannot be recognized with earthly, fleshly eyes, for these can only see his physical form, perishing like all else with the passage of time. His true face is to be perceived with the eyes of the heart. He has thousands of physical habitations, but his true home is traceless; he has had a thousand names, but all of them refer to one reality.
The Imam continues by saying that today he is known as ‘Abd al-Salam, but tomorrow the physical body will be gone and the name will change, yet the essence will remain in the next Imam of the lineage. Those who look at the Imam as they squint will consider him like any other human being, but as soon as the eyes of the heart perceive correctly, his true status is discovered. In form the Imams change, but in meaning and substance they are changeless. Human language cannot attain to the majesty of the Imams. The Imam is the most precious ingredient in the supreme elixir (miraculous substance) of eternal life-red sulphur. He is not simply a pearl, but the ocean that gives birth to pearls. The existence of the Imam, who leads humankind to a recognition of God, is the very pinnacle of creation.
We search for a union with the family of the Chosen (Prophet Muhammad). We search for the truth of son after son. We are totally obedient to his offspring, one of the other. There is no other thing we can add to this but itself. We endeavour in our faith so that we do not turn out to be faithless.Ismaili poet Nizar Quhistani who championed the principle of direct hereditary descent of the Imam from the Prophet with the support of Qur’anic verses quoted at top of post
Date posted: December 9, 2021.
This post has been prepared from Simerg’s special 49 page series on the Imamat. Please download the PDF file by clicking HERE. Exact references and notes to material published above can be found in the PDF booklet.
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