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The Qiymah is true and will happen, but a full explanation of it, either in theory or in

common doctrine, is not easy.

Paul Walker, Abu Yaqub al-Sijistani: Intellectual Missionary, !"#
We, the $mms in descent from $mm %usayn, are present until today and we shall
remain until the Qiymah and e&en after the Qiymah.
' $mm (hh )* (hh +,l- (hh
$n $slamic thou*ht, the ideas and themes relatin* to the .end of the world fall under the doctrine
of qiymah .risin*, .resurrection#. The Qur/an contains hundreds of references to qiymah under
&arious names includin*0 the 1ay of 2esurrection, 30456 the 1ay of 7utual 1isillusion, 890:6 the 1ay
of 7utual ;allin*, 9<0"36 the 1ay of 1ecision, "!03=6 the 1ay they are raised up, !0=96 the 1ay of
>ud*ement, =096 the 1ay of ?atherin* to*ether, 5<0996 the 1ay they come forth @from the tombsA,
!<09"6 the 1ay of $mminence, 9<0=46 the 1ay when the %our comes, "<0=36 the 1ay of 2eckonin*,
Bor the people of the exoteric ahl al- hir #, qiymah is when physical world comes to an end and all
thin*s return to ?od for the final Cud*ment. They expectqiymah to be preceded by a series of natural
disasters and physical e&ents includin* earthDuakes, disasters, wars, the openin* of the hea&ens, and
other such thin*s.
%owe&er, the esoteric b in # perspecti&e &iews qiymah in an entirely different sense. $n this sense,
,bE Fa+DEb al'(iCistn- writes that the real meanin* ofqiymah is hidden from the masses and only
a&ailable to the People of the True 2ealities0
,mon* the *reatest of matters in which the People of 2ealities ahl al- aqiq # take pride
is the reco*nition of qiymah, its causes, and the tokens and si*ns that follow these,
about which the people of the exoteric ahl al- hir # are in the dark.
' ,bE Fa+DEb al'(iCistn-, Kitb al-Iftikhr, =4=#
$n the esoteric perspecti&e, qiymah is not a physical e&ent, but rather, it is a spiritual or soul'related
e&ent which has effects and manifestations in the physical world. This is because qiymah is related
to creation khalq#. $mm (ul n 7u ammad (hh explains that .the creation accordin* to $slam is
not a uniDue act in a *i&en time, but a perpetual and constant e&ent Memoirs of the Aa Khan#.
(imilarly, qiymah is an e&ent that occurs in e&ery moment and instant althou*h it is hidden and not
percei&ed by most people.
>ust as time is continuous, it can be felt, measured and a**re*ated in certain inter&als seconds,
minutes, hours, days, years, decades, etc, in the same way, the qiymah which is e&er'occurin* can
be experienced in inter&als. When a bein* fulfills and actualiGes the limit a!! # of its own existence,
this is the .metamorphosis of bein* which esoteric parlance desi*nates as qiymah,resurrection.
%enry ;orbin, "em#le an! $ontem#lation#. Thus, qiymah is a direct culmination and the recompense
i.e. reward, punishment# of the pre&ious actions and e&ents in the life of a particular bein*. ,ll
human bein*s under*oqiymah as they ascend from one le&el of consciousness to the next such as
the pro*ression throu*h the mineral, &e*etable, animal, and rational souls in earthly life.
Thus, we can speak of in&oluntary qiymah when the human soul experiences the death of the
physical body and is resurrected in the astral or ima*inal body. There is also the &oluntary qiymah
when the human soul under*oes the final death and attains union with ?od such as the
spiriual mi%rj of the Prophet 7u ammad. , collecti&e qiymah is somethin* experienced by a *roup
of human bein*s such as a community, a nation, a ci&iliGation, or e&en humanity as a whole.
When qiymah is understood as .the end of the world it is referrin* to a collecti&e qiymah.
This qiymah is foremost a spiritual e&ent which has conseDuences and effects in the physical world
as manifested in human history. %owe&er, the term .world in this expression .the end of the world
cannot be understood as the planet Harth or the physical uni&erse as a whole. , .world +lam#
refers to the entire way of life, sets of con&entional beliefs, paradi*ms of understandin*, and
discourses of knowled*e +ilm# that subsist amon*st human bein*s in a particular period of human
history called a cycle !a&r#. The .end of the world refers to the conclusion .death# of one such
historical cycle !a&r# and the be*innin* .birth# of a new cycle. This transition from one historical
cycle !a&r# to the next cycle is the qiymah or the .end of the world. The *reat $sm+-l- 7uslim
philosopher (ayyidn Ia -r al'1-n Es- explains as follows0
,mon*st these @worldsA is the re&olution that takes place when one cycle chan*es to
another, when one prophetic tradition sunnat# and custom chan*es to another, and one
reli*ion millat# chan*es to another. Hach one of these is a world, each of these is a
separate world, and when each chan*es, one may say that such and such a cycle, a
prophetic tradition and a reli*ion, which did not exist and then came into existence, was a
separate world which underwent non'existence and then existenceJ Thus, when one
cycle, which is another world, be*ins, the founder & i% # of the reli*ion of that cycle is
made manifest, and his appearance, form, lan*ua*e, dialect, speech, beha&ior, deeds and
spiritual path, both in whole and part, are completely different @from the pre&ious cycleA.
' Iasir al'1in Tusi, "he 'ara!ise of Submission, 84'8:#
1ifferent historical periods or cycles are marked by the appearance of ?od/s 7essen*ers and each
cycle or .world# lasts anywhere between fi&e hundred or fifteen hundred years. $n the lan*ua*e of
the ,brahamic scriptures, the cycles are referred to as the .1ays of ?od Qur/n =905# or the .1ays
of ;reation ?enesis#0
KoL Four Kord is ?od Who created the hea&ens and the earth in (ix 1ays. Then %e
established the Throne.
' %oly Qur/n !059
,ccordin* to the esoteric meanin* ta&(l# of this &erse, the six days in which ?od creates the hea&ens
and the earth are six historical cycles of prophecy and reli*ion. The .world created in durin* these
six cycles is the .World of Baith +lam al-!(n#.
The ;ycle of e&ery prophet is his +day/. The time in which we are now $ mean, the time
after the Hmissary, al'7u afa, was sent forth up to the time of the 2esurrection is the
+day/ of our Hmissary. The days of 7oses, >esus, and the other prophets are pastJ ?od
the Hxalted created the lifetime of this world durin* the span of the prophethood of six
prophets, each of whom had his cycle dawr # and his summons da+wat # in his +day/
rEG #, and durin* his day the Hmissary summoned people to ?odJ $f people were to
examine this interpretation, each prophetic community would occupy the position which it
indeed occupies0 the ;hristians established on the fifth day, the >ews on the fourth day,
the 7aGdeans on the third day.
' (ayyidn Isir'i Mhusraw, Netween 2eason and 2e&elation, tr. Hric Ormsby, =53'=5"#
$n each cycle of prophecy, the Hnunciatin* Prophet I iD # re&eals a (cripture and a reli*ious Kaw
shar-+ah#. ,ccompanyin* the I iD and later succeedin* him is the person of the Boundation ,ss#
who is the first hereditary $mm of the cycle. The ,ss is succeeded by a linea*e of $mms until
a Diymah when the prophetic cycle comes to an end and the next ItiD appears. The institution
of$mmah continues throu*hout these prophetic cycles ser&in* as an arc of *uidance, continuity and
permanence ;lick %ere to 2ead our pre&ious post on the continuity of the eternal $mmat in history#.
,n o&er&iew of these six cycles is as follows0
When the (ixth Prophetic ;ycle comes to an end, the (e&enth ;ycle be*ins. The (e&enth ;ycle, in the
Qur/anic &erse abo&e, is referred to as the establishment of the Throne. This (e&enth ;ycle is the
;ycle of the ?reat )iymah. This is because a cycle of prophecy consists of the dominance of the
reli*ious Kaw shar(%ah# in which spiritual truths aqiq # are concealed in symbols and only a&ailable
to the initiates. The ;ycle of )iymah is when the spiritual truths are un&eiled to the public. The
meanin* of qiymah is literally .risin* and the meanin* of the word .apocalypse is .re&elation.
Therefore, the qiymah or apocalypse is not the end of the physical world, but rather, the re&elation,
risin* or un&eilin* of spiritual truths to humanity.
$n the cycle of e&ery Prophet, the period of the manifestation of the exoteric hir #
dimension of the reli*ious law shar(%at# is called the cycle of concealment, and the cycle
of e&ery )im, when the manifestation of the esoteric realities of the reli*ious laws
haqiq-i shar(%at# of the Prophets occur, is called the cycle of un&eilin* !a&r-i kashf#.
' Ia -r al'1-n Es-, "he 'ara!ise of Submission, 8:#
The (e&enth ;ycle, which follows the pre&ious (ix Prophetic ;ycles, is the (pecial ;ycle of the
?reat )iymah because it happens only once in e&ery se&eral thousand years. This ;ycle
of )iymah lasts for one thousand years and is marked by special conditions and e&ents which are the
culmination, fulfillment and apex of the pre&ious (ix Prophetic ;ycles. When the (ixth ;ycle the
;ycle of Prophet 7u ammad reaches its climax and conclusion, it is then that the ;ycle
of )iymah be*ins0
$n the current cycle of human history, howe&er, it was still expected, as with the earliest
$sma+ilis, that full qiyama, or the ?reat 2esurrection qiyamat-i qiyamat #, would occur at
the end of the final millennial era after ,dam6 that is, at the end of the sixth era initiated
by the sixth law'announcin* prophet, 7uhammad. The ?reat 2esurrection, towards which
all the partial consummation of the precedin* cycles in history of mankind had been
tendin*, would inau*urate the final, se&enth era the culmination of the a*es in the
history of mankind.
' Barhad 1aftary, "he Ismailis: "heir *istory an! +octrines, $$, p. "4=#
The person who be*ins and initiates the ;ycle of )iymah is not a Prophet since 7uhammad is the
(eal of the Prophets. $nstead, the au*ust personality who be*ins this )iymah is called the )im al-
)iymah Kord of the 2esurrection# and he is the (e&enth , iq after the pre&ious (ix 7essen*ers.
(ayyidn Isir'i Mhusraw d. =<44# describes this as follows0
The interpretation of + establishin *imself u#on the "hrone / is the execution of the
command of ?od by the )im al-)iymat +Kord of the 2esurrection/#, which is the
Throne of ?od and which will be manifest after his (ix 1ays ha&e passedJ +Tomorrow/ is
the cycle to come. That +tomorrow/ in which the wise take such deli*ht is the day of True
2esurrrection, when the shadows of i*norance will be lifted from humanity by the li*ht of
%is knowled*e, Cust as ?od says, +"he earth &ill be illumine! by the liht of its -or!/.
' (ayyidn Isir'i Mhusraw, .et&een /eason an! /e0elation, tr. Hric Ormsby, =5"#
$t is true that within a sin*le prophetic cycle, i.e. the ;ycle of Prophet 7u ammad, there are
minor )ims as well approximately e&ery se&enth Immin the chain of Immat is the Imm-
)im of the minor ;ycle and brin*s a minorqiymah for the community of belie&ers. Hach
minor )im re&eals new esoteric teachin*s to the community of belie&ers relati&e to his own a*e.
(ome examples of the minor Imm-)ims durin* the ;ycle of Prophet 7u ammad are $mm
7u ammad ibn $sm+-l, $mm al'7u+-GG, $mm al' akim bi'amr ,llh, $mm asan + al !hirkihi al-
salm, $mm (hams al'1-n 7u ammad, and others. ,ll of these minor )ims ser&e as pre&iews or
foretastes of the actual )im the )im al-)iymah who is the (e&enth , iq while the
minor qiymahs are foreshadowin*s of the ?reat )iymah. %enry ;orbin explains that0
The name of )im, resurrector, is reser&ed #ar e1cellence for .he who will rise up, the
Kord of the 2esurrection, at the close of the final Period of our ;ycle. Fet each
partial )im at the end of each Period of the (eptenary, as well aseach Imm and each
member of the Order, is also, potentially, Kord of the 2esurrection, a limb of his mystical
body, an oratory in his Temple of Ki*ht.
' %enry ;orbin, "em#le an! $ontem#lation, =83#
Thus, the )im al-)iymah Kord of the 2esurrection# is not merely one of the se&en Imms, but
rather, he is the )im of the entirety cyclical history and hisqiymah is the ?reat )iymah. (ayyidn
Isir'i Mhusraw explains the difference between the )im (e&enth , iq # and the pre&ious Prophets
as follows0
The >ews respect (aturday and do not work on it because of this, i.e. ?od has rested on
this day. Nut they do not know that when the 7essen*ers told people this, they meant
that the people should know that, by the command of ?od, there will come to this world
(ix 7essen*ers who will instruct the people to work#. When the (e&enth will come, he
will not instruct, rather, he will *i&e them the reward of their work. ,nd they called it
(aturday and said to respect it and that day is the day of the Kord of 2esurrection 2)im-
i )iymat#, may peace be upon him.
' (ayyedna Iasir'i Mhusraw,
WaCh'i 1in, ;hapter P$$, tr. BaDuir 7uhammad %unGai, +Ilm Maa3ine, Pol. ==, Io. 9Q",
1ecember =:4! Q 7arch =:44, p. "8#
, &isual depiction of the (e&en Prophetic ;ycles of ,dam, Ioah, ,braham, 7oses, >esus,
7uhammad, and the Qa/im. Hach ;ycle spans approximately =,<<< years.
$ndeed, the &ery purpose of the pre&ious Prophets, 7essen*ers and Imms and their missions was to
prepare the way for the arri&al of the )im and the ;ycle of )iymah. The function of the )im is to
be the .lord of reckonin* instead of a .lord of shar(%ah like the 7essen*ers of ?od before him.
Throu*h the )im, ?od completes and fulfills his promise in the wayof bestowin*
intellectual emanations upon all souls. The )im is crucial to the completion of the cycle
of re&elation. %e is intrinsically related to the cycle in its *rowth and harmony or its
corruption and disunity. %e ne*ates all natural structures since the &ery e&ent of the
ad&ent of the )im symbolises the end of one order, the Cud*ment, and the be*innin* of
another order, different yet not discontinuous.
' Noustan %irCi, A Stu!y of /isalah al-.ahira, Ph1 Thesis, 7c?ill Rni&ersity, 7ontreal,
October =::9, =55#
7any reli*ions ha&e described the comin* of the )im under different terms and symbols such as
the Messiah, the Kalki A0atara, Matreyah, the Mah!i, and others. ,ccordin* to the $sm+-l- *nosis,
the )im is not some random person who appears out of nowhere, but he comes from the linea*e of
the Imms from the pro*eny of the Prophet 7u ammad and $mm +,l- ibn ,bi lib. $n the %oly
Qur/n, all the &arious names of qiymah such as the .%our, the .Kast 1ay, etc. are references and
allusions to the holy personality of the )im. The Prophet 7u ammad once said0 .I an! the *our
&ere sent like these t&o forefiners45 That is to say, 7u ammad is the final Prophet to appear before
the comin* of the )im. The Prophet/s analo*y of himself and .the %our as .two forefin*ers means
that they are both similar in the sense of bein* di&inely'inspired human bein*s.
$n $sm+-l- *nosis, the )im al-)iymah is the most eminent human bein* in the entire ;osmos. %is
soul encompasses and inte*rates the &irtues of all the Prophets, Imms, sa*es, saints, and luminaries
who preceded him. $n this sense, %enry ;orbin refers to the )im as the .Perfect ;hild because he
is the most perfect soul to be created by the Rni&ersal (oul and it is throu*h him that Rni&ersal (oul
actualiGes its own perfection.
$t is said, for example, that the )im , the aim and *oal of all the hu!6!, the de*rees or
.horiGons, is the ?rand ;ycle of which the Imms are the periods or partial cycles, Cust as
each Imm is himself a cycle in relation to his u!6! . J $t is also said that the )im is
the .coalescence majma #, the cor#us mysticum of all the u!6! 6 each of the Imms has
his own cor#us mysticum, his Temple of Ki*ht, and all are *athered to*ether and
inte*rated in the (ublime Temple of the 2esurrector.
%enry ;orbin, $yclical "imes an! Ismaili 7nosis, ::#
O&er one thousand years a*o, se&eral $sm+-l- #(rs, hujjats, !%(s, and philosophers offered prophecies,
descriptions, and explanations of the how the ?reat )iymahwould occur and what its si*ns and
effects would be. $t must be remembered that since )iymah is a spiritual e&ent, then all the &erses
and descriptions of it in the Qur/n and other scriptures must be understood symbolically usin* the
techniDue of ta&(l esoteric interpretation#.
$n a summary form, we now relate the maCor .(i*ns of the )iymah and the appearance of the )im
al-)iymah as outlined in the books of the $sm+-l- !a%&ah0
1) The Night of Power (laylat al-qadr)
,nd &erily, We re&ealed him in the Ii*ht of Power
,nd how can We con&ey to you what is the Ii*ht of PowerS
The Ii*ht of Power is *reater than a thousand months
The ,n*els and the (pirit descend in it upon all decrees by the permission of their Kord
Peace it is, until the risin* of the 1awn.
' %oly Qur/n :!0='5
The be*innin* of the ;ycle of )iymah is the appearance of the Ii*ht of Power laylat al-qa!r#.
Hxoterically and historically, the Ii*ht of Power was one of the last odd ni*hts of the 7onth of
2ama n. Nut esoterically in li*ht of theqiymah, the Ii*ht of Power, refers to an au*ust personality
in the World of Baith who be*ins the ;ycle of )iymah.
,ll ,tiqs were accompanied by their Ass the first Imm of the new ;ycle who ser&ed as
the ujjat proof# and .b *ate# of the , iq like $mm +,li was for the Prophet 7u ammad, or
$mm (hith (eth# was for Prophet ,dam. (imilarly, eachImm has a son who ser&es as
his ujjat Q.b and later succeeds him like $mm >a+far al' diD was for $mm 7u ammad al'NDir.
On the same lines, the )im al-)iymah is also accompanied by his own ujjat or.b except that
whereas the ujjat8.b8Ass of e&ery , iq or Imm came afterhim, the ujjat or .b of
the )im comes before him. That is to say, the )imsown father or the precedin* Imm instead of
his son or the succeedin* Imm# will ser&e as his ujjat or .b.
Nefore the ad&ent of the se&enth cycle, *o&erned by the )aim, comes
the-ahiq or *ujjat of the )aim4 This is noteworthy, as the hujjat of an $mam is *enerally
his contemporary. The *ujjat of the )aim, howe&er, is the harbin*er of the ad&ent of the
' (hafiDue Pirani, "he +ays of $reation in the "houht of ,asir Khusra&, $nstitute of
$smaili (tudies#
The )im, in the symbolic lan*ua*e of the Qur/n, is called the .Kast 1ay ya&m al-khirah# or the
(e&enth 1ay in the Nible#. ,nd therefore, the .Kast 1ay ispreceded by the *reatest of all ni*hts in
the lan*ua*e of the Qur/n, this is called the Ii*ht of Power laylat al-qa!r#. ,ccordin* to the science
of ta&(l, the Ii*ht of Power stands for the *reat Imm who functions as the ujjat or .b of
the )im and the entirety of S6rat al-)a!r is a metaphor for the exalted personality of this Imm.
the ujjat of the )im comes before him in the World of Baith and he is the Ii*ht of
Power 2laylat al-qa!r#.
' (ayyidna Iasir'i Mhusraw, 9ajh-i +in, 1iscourse ""#
The Ii*ht of Power 2laylat al-qa!r # is a symbol mathal # of his .b *ate#
and ujjat proof# who is *oin* to come before him. ,nd thus the .b of the )imis the
lord of uni&ersal explanation sahib al-bayan al-kulli# and the true un&eilin* kashf al-
' (ayyidna al'7u/ayyad fi/l'1-n al'(hirG-, al-Majalis al-Muayya!iyyah, Polume $$, 8=3#
The Ii*ht of Power is *reater than a thousand months. The inner meanin* of this is that the ujjat of
the )im shall be *reater than a thousand Imms. This is because the ujjat of the )im will be
.the lord of uni&ersal explanation and the true un&eilin* meanin*, his teachin*s will re&eal spiritual
truths and insi*hts in clear, succinct and unprecedented manner. $ndeed, the )ims ujjat will be the
*reatest Imm of all the ;ycles of Prophecy *oin* back to ,dam0
%is sayin*, +-aylat al-)a!r is better than one thousan! months/, alludes to the .bof
the )im, peace be on his mention, @who isA *reater than all of what is established by the
manifestation of the *rades of the intellects, from the le*atees of the possessors of the
reli*ious laws and their most radiant de*ree.
' (ayyidna al'7u/ayyad fi/l'1-n al'(hirG-, Majlis al-Muayya!iyyah, Polume $$$, 4#
"he ,iht of 'o&er is better than a thousan! months45 That is, the ujjat of the )im is
superior in knowled*e to a thousand $mams, althou*h collecti&ely their ranks are one.
' (ayyidn Isir'i Mhusraw, 9ajh-i +in, 1iscourse ""#
The meanin* of al-)a!r is the )im of the Pro*eny of 7u ammad qim-i l-i Mu amma! # and the
meanin* of -aylat al-)a!r is the ujjat or .b of the )im. The Qur/n explicitly states0 .9e
re0eale! him in the ,iht of 'o&er, i.e. .We re&ealed the )im in the personality of his ujjat . This
means that the )im will carry out his mission, re&eal his knowled*e and display his *lory in the
physical world throu*h the person of his ujjat .
This *ujjah or Ass of the )im will be the most publicly known and renownedImm in the entire
world the people of the hir and the b in Cust as the Prophet 7u ammad was manifest to both
*roups of people. (ayyidn ,bE tim al'2G- and (ayyidn Isir'i Mhusraw explain this as follows0
the !a%&ah is established in the name of the Ass in secret and will becomemanifest in
public in the presence of the Kast ;ompleter @the )imA.
' (ayyidn ,bE tim al'2G- , (hin Iomoto, :arly Ismaili "houht on 'ro#hecy, Ph1
Thesis, "<!#
the status of the Ass will be manifest at the time of the ad&ent of the (e&enth 2ank
ha!! #, namely, the )im, to the people of the exoteric hir # and the esoteric b in #,
as the rank of the , iq has become completely manifest to the people of the exoteric and
the esoteric prior to the @ad&ent ofA the (e&enth 2ank the )im#4
' (ayyidna Iasir'i Mhusraw, 9ajh-i +in, ;hapter =:, (ection !#
The ;ycle of )iymah is thus inau*urated in by not one, but t&o fi*ures the ujjat of the )im and
the )im al-)iymah. This idea of t&o messianic fiures is also paralleled in the ,brahamic
traditions. The (unni and Twel&er (h-+- 7uslims await the second comin* of the Prophet >esus and
the Mah!( of the pro*eny of Prophet 7u ammad. The >ews await 7essiah and the second comin* of
the Prophet HliCah who functions as the .interpreter of the 7essiah. These are all symbolic
desi*nations for the manifestation of the ujjat of the )im and the)im al-)iymah at the
be*innin* (e&enth ;ycle the ;ycle of )iymah.

2) The Sun and the Moon are united
, &isual depiction of a lunar eclipse. The lunar eclipse is a symbol of the union of the offices
of$mamah and Piratan durin* the ;ycle of Qiyamah.
,nd when the 7oon is eclipsed, and the (un and 7oon are united,
%oly Qur/n !504':
,ccordin* to &arious $sm+-l- texts i.e. Kitab al-%;lim &al-7hulm >a+far ibn 7an Er al'
Faman6 "a a&&urt Ia -r al'1-n al' Es-#, the (un shams# stands for the Imm and the 7oon
qamar# stands for the '(r or (upreme *ujjat .b#. The Imm is the spiritual father of the belie&ers
and the '(r or (upreme *ujjat .b# is their spiritual mother. 7etaphysically, the Imm is the locus of
manifestation of the Rni&ersal $ntellect and the '(r is the locus of manifestation of the Rni&ersal (oul.
The union of the (un and the 7oon at the time of )iymah means that the institutions
of Immah and 'iratan will be united in the person of the Imm durin* the ;ycle of )iymah.
3) When the Stars darken
When the (un is shinin*, the 7oon and the (tars are present but not &isible. This symboliGes the
manifestation of the $mam and the concealment of the 2anks of Baith hudud al'din# in the ;ycle
,nd when the stars darken
%oly Qur/n 4=03
,nd when the stars are obliterated.
%oly Qur/n !!04
$n all the cycles of prophetic history, the Imms deli&ered their ta%l(m and ta%&(lthrou*h a hierarchy of
representati&es and teachers the bbs, the hujjats, the!%(s, and ma!h6ns4 This hierarchy makes
up the .World of Baith +lam al-!(n# and is known as the .2anks of Baith u!6! al-!(n #. $n the World
of Iature, theImm is symboliGed by the (un, his .bs by the 7oon, and the rest of the u!6! by the
(tars. This is related to the &ision of the Prophet >oseph FusEf# when he saw .the (un, the 7oon,
and ele&en (tars see S6rat Yus6f# prostratin* before him.
When the ;ycle of )iymah be*ins and the )im appears in the physical world, the 2anks of Baith
i.e. .the (tars# will cease their formal functions and theImm himself will take o&er their roles. This
is the meanin* of the Qur/nic &erse0
The 1ay We shall summon e&ery people with their Imm.
%oly Qur/n =!0!=
This is because the Imm, as the (un of Baith shams al-!(n# will be manifest to the world and the
7oon and the (tars of Baith will no lon*er be &isible. When the (un is shinin* in its full *lory, the li*ht
of the 7oon and the (tars cannot be obser&ed, despite their continuous presence. $t is also related in
a prophetic a!(th 0
?oodness is knotted up in the forelocks of horses till the 1ay of )iymah.
Prophet 7uhammad,
Sunn Ab6 +a&6!, Nook 3=, Iumber 3=.=:.99#
Iasir Mhusraw explains that the ta&il of this is that the da+wat, th e summonin* of
humankind, will not be se&ered from the hujjats , symbolised by the horses, and the !a%i s,
symbolised by their forelocks, till the time of the )ims manifestation.
' (hafiDue Pirani, "he +ays of $reation in the "houht of ,asir Khusra&, ;lick %ere to
The $sm+-l- !a%&ah the formal and practical !a%&ah that acti&ely summons people to the reco*nition
of the Imm will be abolished alon* with the functions of the 2anks of Baith also confirmed by
%am-d al'1-n al'Mirmn- in hisKitb al-/iy#.
4) The Heavens are rolled up
, &isual depiction of the hea&ens bein* rolled up into a scroll. The ima*ery of a scroll ser&es to
symboliGe the .scroll of the shari/ah which is abro*ated in the ;ycle of Qiyamah.
The 1ay that We roll up the %ea&ens like a scroll rolled up for bookscompleted#,' e&en
as We produced the first creation, so shall We produce a new one0 a promise We ha&e
undertaken0 truly shall We fulfil it. Nefore this We wrote in the Psalms, after the messa*e
*i&en to 7oses#0 +7y ser&ants, the ri*hteous, should inherit the Harth.
%oly Qur/n 3=0=<9
The &arious terms in the Qur/n .hea&en, .earth, .mountains, .seas, .ri&ers, etc. all contain an
esoteric or ta&(l( meanin* because they refer not to the physical world !uny# but to the World of
Baith +lam al-!(n#. Therefore, the real meanin* of .hea&ens is the exoteric hir # and the shar(%ah,
and the inner meanin* of .earth is the esoteric b in # and the ar(qah . >ust as the physical hea&ens
surround and protect the physical earth, the hir protects and en&elopes the b in . The .rollin* up of
the .hea&ens means that the shar(%ahwill be abolished when the ;ycle of )iymah be*ins and the
Duakin* of the .earth means that the esoteric sciences will become re&ealed in a sudden way in the
manner of earthDuakes e&en thou*h people may not be prepared for it.
,l'(iCistn- explains that ta&(l is necessary for two cate*ories of Qur/nic &erses0 one,
&erses with physical obCects such as hea&en, earth, and mountains, and two, the
alle*orical &erses. $n chapter =3 of Kitb al-Iftikhr.The Nook of Pride#, al'(iCistn- *i&es
some examples such as Q 3=0=<50 .Nefore this We wrote in the Psalms, after the
messa*e *i&en to 7oses#0 +7y ser&ants, the ri*hteous, should inherit the earth/. This, he
su**ests, should not be interpreted in the literal sense since it is always the tyrants who
take the land. The earth on which &e*etation *rows is a source of nourishment for all
creatures6 therefore its inner meanin* is the nourishment of the soul i.e. spiritual
knowled*e#. $n another passa*e, Q 3=0=<9, ."he !ay that 9e roll u# the hea0en like a
scroll rolle! u# &ith the &ritins,5 the .hea&en si*nifies the shar(%a which will be
abro*ated on the Cud*ment day.
' 1iana (tei*erwald, .$sm+-l- Ta/w-l, "he .lack&ell $om#anion to the )urn, ed. ,ndrew
2ippin, ":=#
With respect to the abro*ation of the shar( %ah at the time of )iymah, (ayyidn Isir'i Mhusraw as
per Kh&n al-Ikh&n# explains that the shar(%ah of Prophet 7u ammad has two dimensions the
specified &a %( # shar(%ah and the intellectual +aql(# shar(%ah. The specificed shar(%ah refers to specific
formal or ritual practices as alh ritual prayer#, a&m ritual
fastin*#, 9u!6 ablution#, *ajjpil*rima*e#, etc. in their exoteric form without which mankind can
still sur&i&e and function. The intellectual shar(%ah refers to moral and ethical laws such as the laws
a*ainst murder, stealin*, and unethical beha&ior without which humanity would plun*e into chaos.
While I ir emphasiGes that in the physical world action is necessary for the
de&elopment and perfection of the human soul, he makes a distinction in the two types of
practices of shar(+a. %e di&ides the shar(+a into intellectual +aql(# and positional or
statutory &a %( #. The intellectual shar(+a is always necessary to maintain the order and
discipline of society. 7eanwhile the statutory shar( a is a temporary measure that conceals
certain realities 2 aqiq # that cannot be openly re&ealed due to the unfa&ourable time.
When the time becomes fa&ourable, these de&ices are no lon*er necessary.
' BaDuir 7uhammad %unGai, ,asir-i Khusra&s :thical 'hiloso#hy, =5#
$t may be wondered as to why the abro*ation of the shar( %ah must occur in the first place. This is
because all shar( %ahs were compiled and composed by a , iq in accordance with the culture and
needs of his time. Burthermore, each shar(%ahhas an outer form and an inner meanin* which is like a
spirit that inhabits a body. O&er time, it is natural that a shar(%ah becomes worn out and ineffecti&e
due to the pro*ression of history and human life as (ayyidn ,bE Fa +DEb al'(iCistn- explains0
,fter a lon* time, the shar(%ah becomes empty of the +spirit of the second a*e/,
particularly, after the ad&ancement of 7an with the expansion of the knowled*e, his
intelli*ence and his mental faculities.
' (ayyidn ,bE Fa+DEb al'(iCistn-, Ithbt al-,abu&&at, "9"#
When this happens usually after more or less a thousand years a new shar( %ahis established and a
new prophetic cycle be*ins and the new ,tiq abro*ates the old shar( %ah and compiles a new one.
%owe&er, after the Prophet 7u ammad, there are no more Prophets. Therefore, the )im will
abro*ate the specifiedshar(%ah while re&ealin* its inner meanin* ta&(l# and simultaneously,
spiritualiGe and transform the shar(%ah into a hi*her mode of ritual practice. The intellectualshar(%ah
as a set of ethics and moral *uidelines always remains in force and becomes more prominent in the
;ycle of )iymah.
5) The Intellectual Dawah and the Epoch of Knowledge (awr al!"Il#)
,n ima*e depictin* how knowled*e comes to li*ht. The ;ycle of Qiyamah is the Hpoch of
Mnowled*e dawr al'/ilm# and the Qur/anic description of .bein* raised from the *ra&es refers to
the manifestation of once hidden or concealed knowled*e out in the open.
Our )im will be*in a Iew (ummons !u%an ja!(!an#.
' $mm >a+far al' diD,
,mir'7oeGGi, The 1i&ine ?uide in Harly (hiism, ==:#
The )im al-)iymah will inau*urate a new intellectual and *nostic !a%&ah !a%&at al-ja!(!ah
al-%ilmiyyah#. This is the difference between the (ummons of the )imand the (ummons of the
pre&ious (ix Prophetic 7essen*ers. The (ummons of the Prophets was an exoteric hir( # and
physical +amal(# (ummons whereas the (ummons of the )im is intellectual +aql(yyah# and *nostic
(iCistn- specifies that the summons of @ProphetA 7uhammad, when likened to the %our,
are ritualistic whereas the summons of the )im is intellectual.The reason the )im is
absent at the time of the prophet is that his summons are different from that of the
prophetJ (ince the )ims call is intellectual !a%&ah is +ilmi(yah # the )ims knowled*e
is not &isible6 whereas the Prophet/s ra6l# call !a%&ah# is +amal(yah. Therefore, while
hypocrites may enter the !a&ahof a prophet, only the sincere can enter the !a&ah of
the )im6 and their souls will be recompensed accordin* to that effort of
sincerity. (iCistn- holds that ?od has ordained the !a%&ah of the )im as intellectual,
not ritualistic. $t is intellectual because it cannot be operati&e throu*h force since force
would make its followers hypocrites, not true belie&ers. Therefore, the belie&er must
possess knowled*e 2%ilm<, and the hib al-%ilm is he who deals with those who profess a
belief without the use of force, i.e. without an externally moti&atin* factor. Therefore, a
belie&er is defined as the one who is intellectually con&inced of the truth of re&elation and
accepts this as an intellectual con&iction and not as a mere acceptance and obser&ance of
the law.
' Noustan %irCi, A Stu!y of /isalah al-.ahira, Ph1 Thesis, 7c?ill Rni&ersity, 7ontreal,
October =::9, =55#
The )im be*ins a new phase of human history known as the Hpoch of Mnowled*e !a&r al %ilm#. $n
the periods before the )im, humanity li&es in the Hpoch of Practice where both reli*ion and worldly
life are oriented around actions +amal# and physical resources. ,fter the comin* of the )im and the
be*innin* of the ;ycle of )iymah= humanity enters into the Hpoch of Mnowled*le !a&r al-%ilm# in
which there is an abundance of knowled*e +ilm# a&ailable in a way that humankind has ne&er seen
The final epoch before the ad&ent of the )im is defined as the epoch of practice !a&r
al-%aml#, and is one in which reli*ious practices are obli*atory on the part of the
indi&idual practitioner. With the establishment of the )im and the commencement of the
epoch of knowled*e !a&r al-ilm #, e&en the practice of obedience ta%ah # to the hu!u! al-
!in is no lon*er reDuiredJ Therein arises another set of distinctions0 between the epoch of
practice !a&r al-%amal# and the epoch of knowled*e !a&r al-%ilm#. The !a&r
al-%ilm Hpoch of Mnowled*e# is the time of the )aim , and associated with this
is tayi!, purity, and more si*nificantly, .pure knowled*e al-%ilm al-mah! #J. Necause
the )aimis established at the end of the !a&r al-%aml, the epoch of the )aim is the
epoch of purity safa#, tayi! and +ilm, without reli*ious obli*ation in terms of practice
' HliGabeth 2. ,lexandrin, "he S#here of 9alayah: Ismalii "a&(l in 'ractice accor!in to
al-Muayya!, Ph1 Thesis, 7c?illRni&ersity, 3<<8, "33'""9#
,s a result of the be*innin* of the Hpoch of Mnowled*e, the esoteric meanin* ta&(l of all pre&ious
reli*ions and re&elations is un&eiled to humankind. The Qur/n foretells this in the &erse0
1o they not wait hal yan3ur6na# for its ta&(lS The 1ay when its ta&(l arri&es, those
who had for*otten it from before will say0 +Perily, the 7essen*ers of our Kord came with
the Truth.
' %oly Qur/n !05"
The )aim will un&eil the ta&il esoteric meanin*# of all scriptures and re&ealed reli*ions durin* the
Hpoch of Mnowled*e. $t is throu*h this ta&il that people will be able to reco*niGe the truth haqq# in
the messa*es and re&elations of the Prophets. This means that the esoteric, philosophical and
theolo*ical materials of all reli*ions formerly concealed and *uarded except from a select few will
be accessible in the ;ycle of )iymah. $n most periods of history, the belie&ers could not freely share
such material and had to maintain the &eil of taq(yya and secrecy. %owe&er, the ;ycle of )iymah will
allow such knowled*e and wisdom to be shared freely and in abundance0
$n fact, other (hi/ite factions likewise maintain that, with the comin* of the +messianic
fi*ure/, the obli*ation of taqiyya and kitman will be anulled and the belie&ers will be
permitted to di&ul*e their secrets. $n $sma+ili thou*ht, the secrets re&ealed at the end of
time are the truths haqaiq # or the inner aspect of reli*ion batin # in effect, the
philosophical, theolo*ical and esoteric knowled*e of e&ery kind. ;onseDuently, in $sma+ili
tradition, acDuirin* this knowled*e and transmittin* it to others entails a messianic
sentiment for the disclosure of this knowled*e is a clear si*n of the end of timeJ These
sciences are entrusted to the $mams, the descendents of +,li, and to their followers such
as >abir#6 with the appearance of the +messianic fi*ure/, the external aspect of reli*ion
3ahir # wil lose its primacy and will be replaced by the inner aspect, namely, the
philosophical and esoteric sciencesJ $n this era, +the tables will be turned/0 the hitherto
concealed $sma+ili knowled*e will be re&ealed to all, Cud*ment day will commence and
human history will reach its final end.
' 7ichael Hbstein, .(ecrecy in $sma+ili Tradition and in the 7ystical Thou*ht of $bn
al'+,rabi, >ournal Asiatique, 3:4.3 3<=<#, "38'"3:#
$n the Hpoch of Mnowled*e, the the )im will accept and affirm the ri*ht of each community to its
own reli*ious tradition. This is also because the spiritual and esoteric meanin* of scriptures will also
be un&eiled durin* the ;ycle of)iymah.
%e @the )imA will take the Torah and the other holy Nooks from the case and will Cud*e
the faithful of the Torah from the Torah, and the faithful of the ?ospels from the ?ospels,
the faithful of the Psalms accordin* to the Psalms, and the faithful of the Qur/an accordin*
to the Qur/an.
' $mm >a+far al' diD, ,mir'7oeGGi, "he +i0ine 7ui!e in :arly Shiism, 335#
1urin* the ;ycle of )iymah which lasts for one thousand years, the )im and his 1eputies khulaf#
all of whom are from the pro*eny of Prophet 7u ammad also work to rid the earth of inCustice and
sufferin*. This is in accordance with the a!(th of the Prophet0
H&en if there remains in the life of the world# only a sin*le day, ?od will prolon* it until
there comes a man, a descendant of mine, who will fill the earth with eDuity and
Custice e&en as it has been filled with oppression and inCustice.
Prophet 7uhammad,
(unn ,bE 1awEd, Kitab al-Mah!i, %adith Io. 93!<#
$) The %idden Qiymah
,n ima*e of the sunli*ht shinin* throu*h the clouds. This depicts the comin* of the Qa/im and his
spiritual influence in the sense that the Qa/imhimself will not be reco*niGed directly but his
knowled*e and inspiration like sunli*ht will permeate the entire world.
1o they only wait for the %our that it should come on them all of a sudden, while they
are unawareS
' %oly Quran 9"088
%e is called .mah!i5 because he *uides yah!(# to a hidden teachin*.
' $mm 7u ammad al'NDir,
,mir'7oeGGi, "he +i0ine 7ui!ein :arly Shiism, 335#
7any people expect the ad&ent of the ;ycle of )iymah to be an e&ent filled with fanfare such that all
human bein*s will reco*niGe it. %owe&er, the Qur/n indicates exactly the opposite. The )iymah is
the most hidden and most secret of all affairs because it is a spiritual or soul'related e&ent and is only
percei&ed by the hi*hest de*rees of souls in the World of Baith. 7any Qur/anic &erses point to this
1o they only wait for the %our that it should come on them all of a sudden
bahtatan< , while they are unawareS
' %oly Quran 9"088
1o they then feel secure from the comin* a*ainst them of the co&erin* &eil of the wrath
of ,llah,' or of the comin* a*ainst them of the %our all of a sudden bahtatan< while
they are unawareS
' %oly Quran =30=<!
Perily the %our is comin* 7y desi*n is to keep it hidden for e&ery soul to recei&e its
reward by the measure of its effort.
' %oly Quran 3<0=5
This means that when the ;ycle of )iymah be*ins, most of humankind will not be aware of it due to
its hidden and concealed nature. H&en the Nible describes how the )iymah .the 1ay of the Kord#
shall occur secretly without anyone noticin*0
Nut the day of the Kord will come like a thief.
Iew Testament, Peter "0=<
Bor you know &ery well that the day of the Kord will come like a thief in the ni*ht.
Thessalonians 503
,s in the manner of of the )iymah, the )im al-)iymah will likewise be &eiled and hidden. This
does not mean that the Q/im will enter into an occultation like the twelfth imm of the Twel&er
(h-+-/s#. The )im will appear in the physical world as a human bein* but his rank and spiritual status
will not be percei&ed or reco*niGed by most people. With respect to the appearance of the )im in
the physical world, the followin* a!(th is rele&ant0
$ndeed, $slam be*an as a (tran*er har(ban# and it will return as a (tran*er. Nlessed
are the stran*ers.
Prophet 7uhammad,
,mir'7oeGGi, "he +i0ine 7ui!e in :arly Shiism, 335#
This a!(th describes the state of the )im and how he will appear .stran*e to the people of the
world durin* his ad&ent. The Qur/n describes the &eiled appearance of the )im and the e&ents of
his time in the followin* &erses0
,nd your Kord shall come, with the an*els, rank on rank. %oly Qur/n 4:033
1o they not wait until ?od comes to them in shades of clouds, with the an*els and the
Duestion is thus# settledS but to ?od do all Duestions *o back.
' %oly Qur/n 303=<
These &erses describe the comin* of the .Kord rabb#. %owe&er, ?od %imself transcendin* time
and space is abo&e the process of .comin* or .*oin*. This &erse refers to the comin* of
the )im and the e&ents of )iymah indicated by the words .do they not wait hal yan ur6na #.
The .Kord refers to the )im and the ,n*els who accompany him refer to the 1eputies or
Pice*erents khulaf# of the )im who represent him and carry out his mission on earth. The
description of .?od comes to them in shades of clouds means that the )im comes to the World of
Baith and the physical world while bein* .&eiled from people/s reco*nition in the same way that the
clouds may conceal the (un from bein* looked upon directly.
This raises the Duestion if the )im will be unreco*niGable in the physical world, how does he
influence human bein*sS ,lthou*h the )ims status is hidden or &eiled in the physical world, his real
mission is carried out in the subtle world of human souls or the spiritual realm because )iymah is
primarily a spiritual e&ent. Thus, the )im cannot be concei&ed as a political warrior, a world
conDueror or ruler in the exoteric or physical sense. %is role and function is primarily spiritual, hidden
and intellectual. The )im allows human souls to ha&e access to the flow of spiritual illumination
n6r# inspiration tay(!#, and esoteric interpretation ta&(l# in the spiritual world in a form superior
to the pre&ious (ix Prophetic ;ycles. Isir'i Mhusraw writes that the )im, for this reason, is
represented and symboliGed by the +?! al-A!ha and its nam3:
The )im is represented by the +?! al-;!ha, the festi&al of sacrificeas well as by the
prayer recited on this occasion. %e is the lord of the two worlds, as the inner meanin* of
the di&ine scripture is re&ealed throu*h him and he deli&ers the belie&ers from the
torment of i*norance, extractin* symbols from concealment and explainin* them. The fact
that the expression +?od is ?reater/ 2Allahu akbar< is recited fi&e times before the festi&al
prayer indicates that durin* the cycle of the )im , the belie&ers recei&e benefit directly
from the fi&e spiritual a!!s 0 the Rni&ersal $ntellect, the Rni&ersal
(oul, >add ,Bath and Mhayl.
' (hafiDue Pirani, The 1ays of ;reation in the Thou*ht of Iasir'i Mhusraw, ;lick %ere to
,ll the Prophets of the past *uided human bein*s throu*h physical structures and symbols in (cripture
and reli*ious practices thus only pro&idin* an indirect experience of spiritual truth in accordance
with the limits of their times. ;on&ersely, the )im interacts with human souls directly and offers a
direct spiritual experience of metaphysical and spiritual truth haqq#. ,bE Fa+DEb al'(iCistn- explains
that the )im is called the .Mah!i5 because he *uides yah!(# each soul to its own inner reality0
The name of that person @i.e., Mah!(A is deri&ed from @the rootA *+Y @.to *uideA, which
implies that there is no way for anyone to a&oid him and his ;all !a &at #, or to escape
from his ar*uments and proofs, because he *uides the humans to that which is in their
own inner reality aq(qat-i (shn # and shows the way to those sciences to which +the
%oriGons and the (ouls/ bear witness and opens the way for the souls to know the
spiritual dominion of ?od, so that the souls become one with the True 2ealities aqyiq #
and the (piritual (upport @ ta y(! A.
' ,bE Fa+DEb al'(iCistn-, Kashf al-Mahj6b, tr. Kandolt, An Antholoy of 'hiloso#hy in
'ersia @olume A, ==:#
!# The ;ycle of 9: Imms
The ceilin* of ?len&iew >amatkhana features a pattern of se&en concentric septa*ons. Hach
septa*on stands for a 7inor ;ycle of (e&en$mams. The ;enter of the (e&en %epta*ons represents
the Qa/im al'Qiyamah who appears after the ;ycle of 9: !T!# $mams.
,nd We ha&e bestowed upon thee the (e&en 2epeated Ones and the ?reat Qur/an4
' %oly Qur/n =504!
(e&eral $sm+-l- !%(s of the Batimid period had prophesiGed that the comin* of the )im and the
be*innin* of the ;ycle of )iymah would take place after the comin* of forty'nine Imms in the ;ycle
of Prophet 7u ammad. This is based, in part, on the abo&e &erse. Hxoterically, the (e&en 2epeated
Ones refer to the se&en &erses of S6rah Btihah4 Hsoterically, the (e&en 2epeated Ones refer to a
minor cycle of se&en Imms bein* repeated in se&en heptads and the .?reat Qur/n refers to
the )im al-)iymah.
The (e&en Oft'2epeated al-sab% al-mathni# are symbols of the $mams from %a rat
+,l-. Whene&er (e&en Imms pass away, another (e&en Imms come like the (e&en 1ays
of the week, and this state remains until the 1ay of >ud*ement.
' (ayyidn ,bE/l'Qsim al'7al-C-, al-Majlis al-Mustans(r(yyah, ;airo, =:9!, 3:#
Nased on this &erse, (ayyidn %am-d al'1-n al'Mirmni propheciGed that the)iymah would take place
after the appearance of forty'nine Imms. This is summariGed in an academic study as follows0
Mirmn- firmly reCected 1ruGe statements about the imminent ad&ent of the)im by
reiteratin* that the )iyma was not near, but was to take place in the distant future when
the lon* cycle of forty'nine Imms was concluded. Only then would the )im remo&e all
the ranks of the world of !(n @+ lam a!-!(n A, which would no lon*er be necessary as
intermediaries for the knowled*e of the di&ine knowled*e would become pure, actual, and
no lon*er mediated.
' (imonetta ;alderini, .+)lam al'd-n in $sm+-l-sm0 World of Obedience or World of
$mmobilityS, .ulletin of the School of Criental an! African Stu!ies, Pol. 58, Io. " =::",
(imilarly, (ayyidn 7u ammad b. al' Er- the !%( of (yria wrote that the se&enth heptad set of
se&en# of Imms after the Prophet 7u ammad is the *reatest of all because it leads to the comin* of
the )im al-)iymah0
7u ammad b. +,l- al' Er-, a Batimid !%( in (yria who died around 94!Q=<:9, enumerates
the imms of the era of $slam in a lon* poem. ,ccordin* to him, the se&enth heptad
of imms in the era of 7u ammad is the most eminent one, because it precedes the
comin* of the )im.
' Barhad 1aftary, "he Ismailis: "heir *istory an! +octrines, 3<4#
The ad&ent of the ;ycle of )iymah and the manifestation of the )im are the climax of all human
history since the time of ,dam. One may wonder or e&en doubt the plausibility of such e&ents
occurrin* in actual history.