Friday, May 14, 2010
The selection below is taken from the khutba (sermon) of Mutamad ad-Dawla Qirwash bin Maqallid, head of the Uqayl tribe in Iraq and ruler of Mosul, Anbar, and al-Kufa, given on the fourth day of the Islamic month of Muharram (August 18, 1010 C.E.) in Mosul. This was the same year that he switched his allegiance from the Sunni 'Abbasid caliph (ruler) in Baghdad to the Fatimid Isma'ili Imam-caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (reign 996-1021). The translation was done by Prof. Paul E. Walker, a noted specialist on medieval Isma'ili Shi'i Islam and the Fatimid caliphate, contained in Orations of the Fatimid Caliphs: Festival Sermons of the Ismaili Imams, published by I.B. Tauris and the Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS). The IIS supports excellent scholarship on Isma'ili Shi'ism and medieval Islamic history generally, as well as for an enormously beneficial translation series of key Shi'i texts, with a focus on Isma'ili ones. I will be drawing from a number of IIS publications for Dar al-Hadith posts.
I have inserted a few notes in brackets, such as identifying the Qur'an as the source of citations, but have otherwise not changed the book's text. Refer to a hard copy for the full sermon and the Arabic text.
"O people, 'fear God with the piety He is due' [Qur'an 3:102]; seek His reward; beware of His punishment. You have seen what was recited to you in His book. God the Exalted said: 'the day We summon all the people by their imam [Qur'an 17: 71], and He said: 'O you who believe, obey God and obey the Messenger [Muhammad] and obey those with command among you' [Qur'an 4:59]. So beware, beware, O people, it is as if the present world were leading you to the next. Its conditions have become clear, the pathway looms up, interrogation is its reckoning and entry is according to its book: 'thus whosoever does an atom's weight of good he will see it; whosoever does an atom's weight of bad he will see it' [Qur'an 99:7-8]. Climb aboard the ship of your salvation before you founder; 'hold fast to the rope of God altogether, do not scatter' [Qur'an 3:103]. Know that He knows what is in your souls, so beware of Him. [Footnote: Qur'an 6:115]. Know that He knows what is in your souls, so beware of Him. [Footnote: Qur'an 2:235]."
"Obey your imam and you will be well guided; cling to the holder of the covenant and you will be led on the right way. He has shown you knowledge by which you are led rightly and the path by which you are guided. May God make us and you those who follow His wish; He makes faith his provision. He inspires him with his piety and good sense. May God the most magnificent grant us and you forgiveness and for all Muslims the same."
"O God, bless your radiant guardian and your greatest friend, 'Ali b. Abi Talib, the father of the rightly guided imams. O God, bless the two pure grandsons al-Hasan and al-Husayn [the second and third Imams of all Shi'is] and the righteous imams, the best and most excellent, those of them that stood forth and appeared and those of them that were concealed and hidden. [Footnote 1: see below]. O God, bless the imam who is 'The One rightly guided by You' [al-Mahdi bi-Ilah], and who conveyed Your commandments and made manifest Your proofs and who took up the cause of justice in Your lands as the guide for Your servants. O God, bless 'The one who takes charge by Your order' [al-Qa'im bi-amr Allah] and 'The one who is victorious through your support' [al-Mansur bi-nasr Allah], these two who expended themselves for Your satisfaction and waged holy war on your enemies. O God, bless 'The one who makes strong Your religion' [al-Mu'izz li-din Allah], warrior in Your cause who revealed Your authentic signs and prominent proofs. O God, bless 'The one who is mighty because of You' [al-'Aziz bi-Ilah], by whom the land is cleared and by whom the servants are guided. O God, extend all of Your blessings and the most perfect of Your favours to our lord and master, the imam of the age, fortress of the faith, head of the 'Alid da'wa [call, propagation] and prophetic religion, Your servant and guardian on Your behalf, al-Mansur Abu 'Ali al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, [the then Fatimid caliph] Commander of the Believers, just as You blessed his rightly guided forefathers and as You ennobled Your saints who were rightly guided. O God, bear in mind what You have appointed him to do and safeguard him in what You observe of him. Favour him in what You bring to him; support his armies; raise high his banners in the east of the land and its west, for indeed You are capable of all things."
Footnote 1: This is a reference to those imams in the Ismaili line-usually said to be three between Muhammad b. Isma'il b. Ja'far al-Sadiq and al-Mahdi-who went into concealment to avoid Abbasid persecution.