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Early Ismi'ïIi Thought

on Prophecy
According to
the Kitab al-lslah
• •
by Abu l.Iitim al-Rizï
(d. ca. 322/934-5)
Institute of Islamic Stuclies
McGill University, Montréal

• December 1999

A dissertation
submitted to the Faculty of
Graduate Studies, McGill University
in partial fulfillment of
the requirements
for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
in Islamic Studies

•• © SHIN NOMOTO, 1999

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• Aulhar:

Title of Dissertation:
Early IsmaclliThought on Prophecy According to
the Kitdb al-1lldlz by Abü I:fatim al-Rizï (d. ca.
Department: Institute of Islamic Studies,
McGill University.
Degree Sought: Doetor of Phllosophy

This dissertation attempts to elucidate early Ismal:w thought on various

aspects of prophecy during the 4th AH./IOth C.E. century in the light of Kittïb
al-l~Ia~ (Book of Correction) by Abu 1:Iitim. al-RiZi (d. ca. 322/934-5), one of the
leading dat:ïs (missionaries) in the Iran of bis day. Al-Illal}. is on one level an early
example of Neoplatonist influence on Ismicili thought, taking the form of a polemic

• aimed at bis coreligionist, M~ammad al-Nasafï. However, al-l.#ii~ aIso shows a

new doctrinal formulation of early Ismal:ili discourse on prophetology, especially
concerning the messianic figure of the Qi:)im.
In al-li/iil,l. al-Razi discusses the missions of each of the enunciator-prophets
(nu!aqii;') using the terminology of Greek-Hellenistic sciences, thereby implying
that the Qa:)im possesses a rank higher than any other prophet. In addition,
whereas he appears to assign the Qa3 im's political role to the leaders of the
Ismacilicommunity in the present age, al-Rizï desaibes a newera to be inaugurated
by the figure, constituting a purified version of this world. In this way the figure
of the Qa:lim is depoliticized and spiritualized. It is thus suggested that aI-Razi's
thought on prophecy in al-l~la~, while theorizing the place of the Qi:)im in sacred
history, represents a response to the crisis in bis own time engendered by the
postponement of the Qa:)im's final advent and victory.

• i

• Auteur:

Titre de la thèse:
La pensée ismicïlïe primitive sur la prophétie
d'après le Kitab al-Illa~ de Abu l:Iitim al-Ràzï
(m. ca. 322/934-5).

Département: Institut d'. Études Islamiques

Université McGill

Grade: Docteur en Philosophie

Cette thèse tente d'élucider la pensée ismiÇilïe du IVe A.H./Xe A.D. siècle au
sujet des divers aspects de la prophétie; en s'appuyant sur le Kitab al-/#tiJ:& (Livre
de Correction) de Abü I:fitim al-Razï (m. ca. 322/934-5) - un des prominent dacis
(missionnaires> de son époque en Iran. D'une part, al-/#tïfl. est un des premiers

• exemples de l'influence néoplatonidenne sur la pensée ismaÇïne, et ce, sous la

forme d'une polémique dirigée à l'encontre de son co-religioniste M~ad

al-Nasafi. D'autre part,al-/#tïfz. révèle aussi une nouvelle formation doctrinale de

la pensée ismiC:we sur la prophétologie, notamment en ce qui concerne la figure
messianique du Qi~im.
Dans al-llltï~, al-RiZi discute les missions de chacun des prophètes-énondateurs
(nu!aqif') en utilisant la terminologie des sciences gréco-helléniques; insinuant
ainsi que le Qi~im possède un rang plus élevé que n'importe quel autre prophéte.
En outre, alors qu'ü semble attributuer le rôle politique du Qa~im aux leaders de
la communauté îsmlc llïe de son époque, al-Razi décrit une nouvelle ère à être
inaugurée par cette figure - une version purifiée de ce monde. Ainsi, la figure du
Qa~im est dépolitisée et spiritualisée. n est donc suggéré que, tout en théorisant
la place du Qi:lÏli\ dans l'Histoire sacrée, la pensée d' al-lUzï sur la prophétie,

• telle qu'exprimée dans al-/#tï/;l, représente une résponse à la crise de son temps
engendrée par l'ajournement de la venue et victoire finales du Qa~im.


Nearly twenty years have passed since 1first became fascinated by the doctrine
and history of the Shilj sect known as the Ismilïlis. The first genuinely academic
studies that attracted my attention to this subject were Japanese translations of H.
Corbin's Histoire de la philosophie islamique (Islam Tetsugalcushi, translated by T.
Kuroda and H. Kashiwagi (Tokyo, 1974) ) and B. Lewis' The Assassins: A Radical
Sect in Islam (Ansatsu Kyôdan: Islam no Kageki Ha, translated by K. Katô (Tokyo,
1978) ).

Based on these works and others 1 was able to trace the course of the history of
Ismalilism from its birth in the mid-8th century C.E. to the culmination of its

radicalism in the mid-12th century C.E. Starting at first as a small group split
from a wing of ShiJism which later developed into the IthnaJasharis (or Twelvers),
the members of this ShiJï, Ismi.Jïlï sect" were eventually able to establish their

own "Caliphate" in North Africa and, later on, Egypt. From the very initial
phase of their founding this state they daimed that their supreme leaders were
the sole legitimate imims in a direct line from the household of the Prophet (abl
al-bayt). They thus threatened the very existence of the Abbisid Caliphate and

the Sunni establishment it championed.

However, in the late Ilth century C.E., i.e., after the heyday of its political
power, the FiPmid Ismi.ljlï community was split into two wings: the Musta llis,
who inherited the Fi\imid tradition, and the Niziris, who recognized Nizir, the
defeated claimant of the office of ïmim, as its legitimate heir. The followers of

the latter branch retreated to the remote mountainous regions of Syria and Iran
where an independent movement developed. It was likewise the Niziris who
voiced one of the most radical and shocking daims ever to come to the notice of

• Muslims, whether Sunni or Shï'ï. This was the declaration of the Resurrection
(al-Qiyimah ) in 1164 C.E., which abolished the sacred law of Islam.

The history of the Isma.'ws outlined above is emblematic of the diversity of

religious expression at the heart of the Islamic tradition. It aIso suggests to us the
diversity that existed within early Ismi'ïlism, which is perhaps most clearly
represented in the conflict between the current which tried to balance the exoteric
aspect (~a1Jir ) of the religion, particularly the .1Jarï'ah or sacred law, with its

esoteric aspect (ba!i11 ), and the current which laid so much emphasis on the
esoteric that the exoteric virtually paled in significance. In real terms, the latter
tendency was characteristic of the Niziri wing, while the former describes the
policy of equilibrium adopted by the Fipmids.
Of these two currents in Ismi.'ilism, it was the esoteric inclination which

• influenced the movement thatI chose ta focus on for my sotsugyô robun or graduation
thesis, which is obligatory in sorne departments at Japanese universities. 1 focused
particularly on the development of the esoteric tenèency from the 8th century
C.E. to the collapse of the Niziri state in Iran (13th eentury C.E.). This study
however was based entirelyon seeondary sources.
For my master's thesis, which by eontrast was based largely on primary
sources, 1 chose the topie of the concept of the imàmate according to al-Qi4ï
al-Nu'man (d. 974), an Ismi.'ilï jurist-theologian who served the Fi;mids and is
thought to have adhered to the equilibrium. between exoterism, especially
represented by sacred law, and esoterism. That study traced the outline of al-
Nu'min's doctrine of the imamate, and confirmed that bis theory of the office of
the imamate eoincided substantially with official FiPmid doctrine.

• As the topic of my Ph.D. dissertation, the present work, 1 chose to study Abu

l;Ii.tîm al-Ra2ï, a Ilmissioné11'Y'-thinker who is believed to have flourished during

• the fust half of the 1Dth century C.E., and who therefore represented a slightly
earlier phase of Ismi.'ili history than that of al-Nu'min's time. Sorne major studies
on al-Rizi hold that he was a propagandist for a dissident Isma'iB group opposed
to the Fi.;mid daim to the imamate. On the other hand, he can be said to have
manifested a somber" or "conservative" approach as a thinker; he was, for

instance, opposed to the esoteric-inclined antinomianism of bis peers and seems

to have been more prudent or even a little r eluctant," when it came to introducing

Neoplatonist philosophical concepts into Ismi.'ïlism.

In the course of researching and preparing the text of this thesis, guided by the
many outstanding scholars mentioned in my acknowledgments, 1 came across
severa! different layers beneath the IIconservative" surface of al-Rizi's thought,
including a more "radical" layer opposed to the common idea ranking of the

• prophets with respect to the Prophet M~mmad and introduced by the nature
of the messianic figure of the Qi.'im (the rising one). This is one of the senses in
which the diversity of IOth century Ismi.'ilism may be said to be reflected in the
thought of al-RiZi..
Yet even this, seemingly straightforward, conclusion necessitated a series of
preliminary studies, among which the following may be cited:

1. ''The Prophetie Figure of Jesus in Fi.~d Ismi.'ilism" (in Japanese), Reports of

Keio lnstitute of Cultural and Liguistic Studies 24 (1992): pp. 281-313;
2. Il An Essay on Early Isma'iB View of Dther Religions Based on a Chapter from

the Book of the Correction (Kiœ" al-#lilJ ) by AbU I;fi.tim al-Rizi (d. 322/934-5)"
(in Japanese), Reports of Keio Institute of Cultural and Linguistic Studies 26 (1994):

pp. 231-252;
3. "The Prophets' Encounter with the Angelic Beings according to al-Razi, an
Early Ismâ'ï1ï Thinker" (in Japanese), in Transcendence and Mystery: the

• Gedankenwelten ofChina, India and Islam, ed. by S. Kamada and H. Mori (Tokyo,
1994), pp. 231-52;

4. "The Cosmos and the Prophets: The Prophetology in The Book of Correction by
Abü I;fatim al-RaZi" (in Japanese), Orient 38 (1995): pp. 271-83;

S. "Early Isma'ïli View of Salvation History according to Abü l:Iatim al-Rizi (d.

322/934-5)" (in Japanese), a paper read at the Annual Meeting of the Mita
Society of History (Keio University), at Keio University, Tokyo aune, 1995);
6. 'The Place of Abü ~atim al-Ràzï' s Kitab a1-1~1~ in the History of Isma. 'Di
Thought 1: The Theory of the Prophets and the Qi.·im" (in Japanese), Reports of
Keio Institute of Cultural and Linguistic Studies 28 (1996): pp. 223-41;
7. "The Place of Abü l:Ii.tim al-RiZi's Kitab a1-1~1~ in the History of Ismi.'Di

Thought 2: Some Problems in the Study of al-Rizi's Life" (in Japanese), Reports

• of Keio Institute of Cultural and Linguistic Studies 29 (1997): pp. 135-54;

8. "Introduction," in Alû l:Iitim A~ad ibn l;Iamelin al-Razi, Kiti.b a1-1~J~, ed.l:I.
Minüchelui and M. Mohaghegh (Tihran, 1377A.H.S./1998C.E.), pp. 1-34.

It should therefore be noted that the earlier versions of chapter 2 of this work are
based on papers 7 and 8 above, that chapter 4 §4 is based on papers 4, 5, 6, and 8,
chapter 5 §4 on paper 2, a part of chapter 6 §1 on paper 8, a part of chapter 6 §3
on paper 3, and a part of chapter 7 §2-1 on paper 1. On being incorporated into
the dissertation itself, however, the contents of these studies were, of course,
extensively revised.

• vi
• Abstract
This dissertation studies the dynamics behind sudde~ negative shifts in the

corporate reputations of business firms, through three independent but related papers, a

phenomenon that we refer to as a reputational crisis. This issue is of critical importance

because the corporate reputation of a tinn is one of its most valuable but potentially

volatile intangible resources. Therefore, a better understanding of the situations where

business firms suffer significant reputational losses within relatively short periods of time

can contribute to both strategic management and business and society. From a strategic

management perspective, the examination of sudden major losses in corporate reputation

is an examination of the loss of what is potentially one of the most important intangible

finn resources, if not the most important intangible resource of the fmn. While, from a

• business and society perspective, an examination of sudden drops in corporate reputation

could reveal the reputational impact that such sudden events have in the network of

stakeholders (Freem~ 1984) who surround the firm and are, in a sense, the 'evaluators'

of its reputation.

The first paper of this dissertation consists of a theoretical exploration of the

management of reputational crises caused by sudden and unexpected incidents like

industrial accidents, scandais, and product failures. Drawing on the stakeholder and crisis

management literatures, a model useful in providing a better understanding of

reputational crises is developed. The second paper is an empirical investigation into the

impact that accidents can have on the corporate reputation of business firms. More

specifically the impact that a number of accident characteristics have on the reputational

• v

re-evaluations of two particular stakeholder groups, industry executives and financial

analysts, is investigated with data drawn from Lexis-Nexis and the America's Most

Admired Corporations (AMAC) survey of FORTUNE magazine. Finally, the third paper

of the dissertation examines the Brent Spar controversy to investigate two issues of

importance in the management of reputational crises: the reasons behind a company's

decisions to buffer or bridge when faced with a reputational crisis; and, the raie of

stakeholder salience in this decision.

• vi
A cknowledgm.ents

As was brief1y alluded to in the preface, this study needed not only time but

aIso the guidance, help and moral support of several people from bath the academic
and the non-academic worlds. It is my pleasure and honor to mention their
names here and express my gratitude to them for all their assistance.
First of aIl, 1 would like to express my humble but very deep gratitude ta
Professor Hermann Landolt, my academic supervisor at the Institute of Islamie
Studies, Mc.Gill University, for his painstakingly thorough reading, for bis keen
criticism of the draft of this work in its various stages, and for his generosity in
spending bis precious time discussing with me the problems presented by the

Arabie and Persian texts and my own interpretation of these latter. 1 am aIso
most grateful for the invaluable ideas and suggestions he unstintingly offered
me, without which 1 could never have solved the problems encountered while
researching and writing this dissertation.
Among the faculty at the Institute of Islamic Studies 1 would like to single out
for acknowledgment Professor A. Üner Turgayand Professor Donald P. Little,
each of whom rendered me invaIuable assistance. Prof. Turgay was very supportive
in helping me overcome various obstacles, both administrative and academic,
which lay before me, while Prof. Little was my first Arabie instructor and history
teacher at the Institute, and was director when 1 first came ta McGill. Over the
years 1 have come to admire bis uncompromising scholarsbip and to appreciate
bis warm personality.

1 am. aIso deeply grateful to two prominent former members of the teaching
staff at the Institute, Dr. Paul E. Walker and Professor Mahdi Mohaghegh (the

latter now with the University of Tehran and Director of the Tehran Branch of the

• McGill Institute of Islamic Studies). As my fast supervisor at McGill, Dr. Walker

helped me to develop a more serious study of Isma'ilism during the academic
years 1988-90. Even after he left the Institute (to its enormous loss!) he generously
helped to obtain for me copies of invaluable manuscripts. Prof. Mohaghegh
offered me the precious opportunity to write an introduction ta the first critical
edition of Ahii I:fatim al-Rizi's Kita6 a1-1~1~. This was excellent preparation for
before the aetual drafting of the dissertation. Moreover, he kinclly sent me a copy
of the printed edition, which greatly helped my reading of the text and analysis
of the complexity of its contents.
1 would a1so like to extend my gratitude to Mrs. Ann Yaxley, the administrative
secretary of the Institute, and to Mrs. Dawn Richards, her assistant, for their
expert help in resolving the official complications that stood in the way of my

• submitting this dissertation and in facilitating the reinstatement of my student

status at Mct:;ill.
The support received from individuais and academic institutions outside
McGill were aiso crucial to this project. Let me first of all mention here the
names of scholars of Keio University, Tokyo. 1am deeply grateful for the academic
and personal advice of my former supervisor and now vice-president of the
University, Professor Takeshi Yukawa, my former teacher and the one who
introduced me to the field of Islamic studies. 1 would like to thank Professor
Sei'ichi Sumi, the director of the Institute of Cultural and Linguistic Studies, and
the deputy director of the same institution, Professor Yûji Nishiyama, whose
remarkable generosity in granting me two years' leave of absence (1998-2000)
and whose constant encouragement were instrumental in the completion of this

• study. Also 1 am very much grateful to my senior colleagues at the Institute,

Prof. Michio Takahashi, Prof. Yukio Otsu, Prof. Naomitsu Mikami, Prof. Hisatsugu

• Kitahara and Prof. Minoru Shimao, for their understanding of the necessity of my
completing the present work and for offering their constant moral support. 1
would like aIso to thank Prof. Tsutomu Sakamoto, my former teacher, and my
colleagues at the Faculty of Letters, Prof. Satoru Horie and Prof. Fumihiko Hasebe,
for their constant academic advice and encouragement to my work. Another
name, that of Mrs. Hiroko Endo, the Secretary of the Institute, cannot be omitted
here. 1 very much appreciated her constant and sincere efforts in helping me to
maintain good communications with Keio University in Tokyo.
Several other scholars were extremely generous to me in a variety of ways. 1
would like to thank most sincerely Professor Abbas Hamdani (University of
Wisconsin at Milwaukee) for generously allowing me to use precious manuscripts
and other materials essential to my research from bis personal collection. My

• deep gratitude aIso extends to Prof. Shigeru Kamada (University of Tokyo), who
introduced me to McGill's Institute of Islamic Studies as weIl as to the field of
Shi' ah studies, and who offered unstînting acad,~c guidance and moral support.
Thanks are also due to Professor Andrew Rippin (University of Calgary) and Dr.
B. Todd Lawson for their generous assistance to me in the drafting of my dissertation
proposai in the academic year 1991·92.
Every person working in academia, especially in the field of humanities owes a
great debt to libraries and their staff for providing the "raw materials" essential
to research. Therefore my special and deep gratitude must be expressed with aIl
sincerity to the staff of Islamic Studies Library, Mc.Gill University, particularly
Mr. Adam Gacek, Ms. Salwa Ferahian, Mr. Stephen Millier and Mr. Wayne St.
Thomas. Special thanks must also go ta the staff of Keio University Media

• Centre, the University of Tübingen Library, and the University of Tokyo Library,

for searching out and providing the source materials for my research.

• 1 would like ta express my deep thanks to Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill

University for its generous offer of the Institute of Islamic Studies Fellowship
during the academic year 1989-90, and ta the World University Service of Canada
and the International Council for Canadian Studies for their remarkably generous
offer of the "Govemment of Canada Award" which was initially administered by
the former in 1990 and then transferred to the latter in the same year. It is my
great honour to have been a redpient of this prestigious scholarship offered by
Canadian government during the academic years 1990-1994. Without this financiaI
support, not only my studies and research but even everyday life in Montreal
would have been made extremely difficult.
It is my special pleasure to mention with most sincere gratitude my wonderful
friends in Montreal who supported me morally and academically: Mr. Stephen -

• Millier (for his sincere frlendship and aIso bis painstaking, devoted proofreading
of the draft in its various stages!); Professor John Calvert (Creighton University,
Omaha); Dr. Rizvi Faizer; Dr. Jeff Burke; the disciples of "the Landoltian School,"
especially Ms. Roxanne Marcotte, Mr. Abdul Muttalib and Mr. Perwaiz Hayat;
Mr. Khaja Misbahuddin; Mc. Mohammad Ghoussemi-Zavieh; Mr. Hyondo Park;
Ms. Patricia Kelly; Ms. Melanie Freeman and her family; Professor Teruko Taketo-
Hosotani (Royal Victoria Hospital Laboratory); Prof. Yoshio Takane (Department
of Psychology, McGill University); Prof. Yuriko Oshima-Takane (of the same
department); Prof. YahiroHirakawa <Tokyo Institute of Technology); Prof. Makiko
Hirakawa (Tokyo International University); Dr. Minoru Tsunoda; Dr. Hiroaki
l'ijima an Mrs. Ritsuko l'ijima; Dr. Makoto Sugita and Mrs. Chikako Sugita; the
congregation of St. Paul Ibar~ Japanese Catholic Mission in Montreal (led by

• Father Toru Asakawa, S.J.); and the congregation of the 5ign of Theotokos Orthodox

Church (1ed by Fr. John Tkatchuk and 5ister Stephanie Smith).

• My humble gratitude must be expressed to my family in Tokyo, Japan -my

parents, Prof. Kikuo Nomoto and Yoshie Nomoto, and my brother Kei Nomomto
and bis wife Chizuko Nomoto- for their finandaI and moral support and love.
My gratitude aIso extends to my parents-in-Iaw, Dr. Kojiro Watanabe and Mrs.
Tomiko Watanabe, and my brothers in law, Mr. Akinori Watanbe and Mrs. Yuriko
Matsumura, for their unceasing moral support and enthusiasm for my work. It is
my hope that this small work will be some recompense, however inadequate, for
their affection. Last but not least, 1would like to express my most sincere gratitude
to my beloved wife, Makiko: for without her patience, help, devotion, prayers
and love 1could not have solved the many problems and overcome the frustrations
that 1 met with in the course of writing this dissertation.

• xi
Technical Notes
• 1. Transliteration
In the transliteration of Arabie and Persian the present dissertation follows for
the most part ALA-Le Romanization Tables: Transliteration Schemes for Non-Roman
Scripts, compiled and edited by R. 1<. Barry (Washington, 1991).
2) Vowels and diphthongs

• -
• u
a l'-



.J -

.J - &W

i .J- ü '->- ay

·Here we depart from the ALA-Le transliteration scheme.

3) Letters representing non-Arabie consonants

g ch

p .J zh

4) The following exeeptional rules have been observed in transliteration of Persian:

• i) the letter .J is always represented as w;

ü) when the affix and the word are connected grammatically but written separately,

the two are eonneeted by a single hyphen (-), as in khinah-ha for L.~l>;
ili) i~ifah is not romanized in the cases of persona! names exeept either when it is

indieated in script (as (,$ or ~) or when it represents a filial relationship of sonship

or eonnects an adjective to mu~.

5) For other rules, see pp. 5-13 (on Arabie) and pp. 145-51 (on Persian) respectively
in ALA-Le Romanization Tables.

2. Translation

• Each and every translation of the passages from primary sources (in Arabie or
Persian) is ours, exeept in the case of verses from the Qur'an, for which we follow
A. J. Arberry (translator), The Koran Interpreted (originally published in two volumes,

• London, 1955; reprint, Oxford, 1998). However, we occasionally modify Arberry's

translation of certain words according to the context of the discussion.

3. Signs and abbreviations used in the dissertation

1) The following signs are used in the quotations:

i) [ ] enclosing a word or a phrase which is either a suggested

reconstruction of the text or a supplement to a translation;

u ) ... indicating a word or a phrase omitted from a translation;
ili) ...(. .. )... indicating one or more lines are omitted from translation.

2) We expIain the signs and abbreviations other than those mentioned above in a

• footnote when these appear for the first tinte in the main text of the dissertation.

4. Other Remarks
The technical terms da 1wa1J and umm are not italicized in the dissertation,

since they appear 50 frequently.

• xiv
Table of Contents
• Abstract i

Résumé ii

Preface üi

Acknowledgments vii

Technical Notes xii

Table of Contents xv

Chapter 1. Introduction 1

• §1. Preliminary Remarks on Prophecy and uProphetic Thought":

Revelation and Sacred History
§2. Ismi. lili uProphetic Thought" and Abii lJatim al-Rizi
§3. Modern Western Studies on al-Ri.zï

§4. Scope of Study 10

Chapter 2. The Historlcal Setting: Al-Kizi's Life and Works 17

§1. Abü ~i,tim al-BiBi's Life 17
§1-1. Al-Ri.zi and the Beginning of the Ismi. 'ili Movement 17
in the Ray Region of North-Western Iran: From a Report by
Nqi,m al-Mulk
§1-2. Identifying uAbii ~i.tim" and UAhii ~i.timal-Ri.zi" in 22
§1-3. Al-Razi and the Qarmatian Movement 26
§2. Al-Ri.zï's Works 29

• Chapter 3. The Text vf .1-1,li~

§1. The Text of aI-l,lilI and the Hamdani and Tübingen 36
Manuscripts~ and the Printed Edition

• §1-1. Introductory Remarks to the Text of .'-I,I.~

§1-2. A Description of the Two Manuscripts
§1-3. The Two Manuscripts in Comparison
. .
with the Printed Edition of .1-l.li1J
§2. The Contents of .1-1,lill 56
§2-1. Table of Contents of .1-1,lalJ Keyed to the Hamdani 56
MS., the Tübingen MS., and the Printed Edition (Tihrin, 1377
A.H.SJ1988 c.E.)
§2-2. Cosmology and Pmphetology: General Remarks 64

Chapter 4. Ri.zian Prophetology and the Doctrine of the Qi. tint 70

§1. Prophetology and Sacred History in Islamic Tradition 70
§2. Early Ismi. 'ilis on Sacred History and Prophetology 84
§3. The Framework of Sacred History According to aI-Razi, 95
al-NasaB, and al-Sijisti.lÜ: Adam and the Qi 'int

• §4, Al-Ri.zi on the Qi tint and His Place in Sacred History: Rizian

Chapter 5. Various Prophets and Religious Communities in
Sacred History
§1. The Ismi. 'ili Notion of the Unity of Religions According ta 123
§2. Patterns of the History of the Prophets According to al-Kazi 133
§3. The Idea of "Interval" and al-Rizi's View of Sacred History 140
§4. Prophets and Religious Communities in Sacred History 156

Chapter 6. The Prophets and the Cosmic Hierarchies 171

§1. Cosmology in .'-l,li~ 171
§1-1. Al-Nasafi and al-Razi on the Procession of and the Nature 171
of the Soul

• §1-2. Bazian Cosmogonyand Cosmology

§1-3. Bazian Anthropology: The Place of Human Being in
the Cosmos

§2. The Encounter with the Angelic Seings in the History of 185
the Prophets
§3. The Making of the Nu,.,i' (Enunciator-prophets) in 215
their Encounter with the Angelic Beings

Chapter 7. Hierarchies and Sacred History: Christology and 237

Qi. 'imology
§1. The Contact of the Ni';, and the A.i. with the Highest 237
Angelic Heings in Sacred History
§2. Rizian Christology 248
§2-1. Crucifixion and Typology 248
§2-2. Jesus' Contact with the Angelic beings and 263
His Typological Relation to Adam and the Messianic Qi. 'im
§3. The Contact with the Angelic Beings and Sacred History: 270
Qi. 'imology Revisited 1

• Chapter 8. The Parousia of the Qi 'int in Sacred History:

Qi. 'imology Revisited 2

§1. Ri.zian Religio-Politics: Al-Rizi's Attitude to the Current Leadership

of the Community? 285
§2. Al-Ri.zj's View of the Mode of the Parousia of the Qi. 'int 305

Chapter 9. Conclusion 330

Bibliography 341

• xvii

Chapter 1
• Introduction

§1. Preliminary Remarks on Prophecy and ITrophetic

Thought": Revelation and Sacred History

The concept of prophecy, that is, of the reve1ation of God's guidance and will
to humankind through the prophets or divinely chosen individuals, is an
indispensable e1ement of each of the monotheistic Abrahamic religious traditions
represented by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Therefore, the discourse on
prophecy, or more specifically "prophetic thought," touches upon one of the

• most pivotai doctrines in religious traditions of this type.

In the Abrahamic faiths "prophetie thought" is concerned with the vertical
dimension of the phenomenon of prophecy, name1y, the revelation referred to
above. However, prophetic thought" is aIso concerned with the development

of this revealed guidance in the chronological or horizontal dimension, that is, in

history. In the monotheistic tradition history follows a linear path towards its
goal, or telos, which is essentially that at the end of time those who have obeyed
the Divine guidance will escape the calamity of earthly life and/or eternal
damnation. This type of history can be called Heilsgeschichte , that is, salvation
history or sacred history directed toward salvation.1 It is a concept that contrasts

1 In a strict sense some types of llsaaed history/' i.e., a type of history which is ordered
by sacred rules or laws conveyed by number, lime, organization, etc., do not include the concepts
of salvation and the end of lime (see e.g. speculation on history in the andent Greek or Hellenistic
world and India). However the demarcation between l'sacred history" and "salvation history" is

• often not dear. In the intellectual history of any monotheistic tradition there are sorne examples
of historical theory which include symbolic speculation on time, number, etc., as well as the
concepts of saIvation and of the telos of the progression of the events. Consider for example

sharply with the notion of the past in Greek or Hellenistic thought, where history

• is seen in non-linear terms. In Greek thought there is no notion of the telas of

history, only that of its cydical and recurrent nature operating within the framework
of the etemal cosmos.2

§2. Ismi.· ili ITrophetic Thought" and Abü ~i.tim


Ismi.lili-Shi 1 ism likewise features these two dimensions of "prophetic thought."

For Ismi.'ilis, the horizontal dimension of history leading toward salvation, or
more simply, ~acred history, is represented in the Shï'j notion of lmi.mah, the
office of the imims or legitimate leaders of the Community. AlI of the imims

• sprang from the ab1 al-IJayt (the people of the household of the Prophet) and
represented the sole historical, authoritative continuation of prophecy, that is,

Joachim of Fiore's decision ta base bis theory of three ages of history on the doctrine of the trinity.
Cf. F. Heiler, chapters entitled '~ie heilige Zeil" and "Di~ heilige ZahI," in Erscheinungsformen
und Wesen der Religion (Stuttgart, 1961), pp. 150-75. As will be seen in the chapters below, Isma1w
speculation on history also has a strong tendency ta include the ideas of salvation and the end of
time, a periodicity based on the number seven, and the idea of hierarchy at the same time.
Therefore, in the present study, in order ta represent the type of historical speculation which is
focused on the elements of salvation and the end of history, we do not use the sPecific term
"salvation history" or Heilsgeschichte but adapt the tenn " sacred history [directed] toward salvation,"
or simply "sacred history" for the sake ofbrevity.
2 This represents a contrast not ooly between two notions of history, but aise between
two types of cosmology, one positing an etema1 cosmos and other a cosmos with a beginning
-God's creation- and end. This contrast is depicted, for example, in I<. Lôwith's dassic account of
the history of philosophy, entitled Weltgeschichte und Heilsgeschehen (Stuttgart, 1967), especially in
bis "Einleitung," pp. 11-26 (ori8inally published in English as Meaning in History (Chicago, 1949):
see his "Introduction," pp. 1-19). Also M. Eliade contrasts the concept of time as applied to
"primordial man," i.e., that everything is related ta the "beginning of man," i.e., "cosmogony,"
and hence repeats its exemplary "archetype," with its counterpart as applied to "monotheistic
revelation," i.e., that everything "takes place" at a "certain place" and at a "certain time," that is,

in "historical duration" and moving "one way," towards its end. M. Eliade, Cosmos and History:
The Myth of the Etenral Retum, transI. by W. R. Trask (Princeton, 1954; reprint, New York, 1959),
pp. 102-12.

divine guidance on earth after the Prophet M~mad. An even more

• representative Ismacïlï tenet regarding the horizontal or chronological dimension

of history is the concept of the cycles of the great prophets, i.e., Adam (Adam),
Noah (N~), Abraham (Ibrahim), Moses (Müsi), Jesus (clsa)3 and M~ad.

This history has its own final telos or culmination, which is the parousia of the
messianic figure, who is the seventh prophet called the Qi'im. 4 As for the
vertical dimension, its specifically IsD\i.·w character lies in the notion of two
hierarchies operating in heaven and on earth respectively- the same two hierarchies
which transmit the revelation to human beings. These two notions are among
the oldest elements of Isma'ilism.5
The best approach to take in trying to understand the elaborate and yet subtle
Isma cïli position on prophecy is ta analyze the thought of a single earlyauthor, in
an effort to understand how this position first emerged and then developed over

• time. Ta this end we have chosen to examine the writings of Abü ijatim ~ad

3 In our study, those pre-Islamie prophets who may be found in bath the Qur1an and the
Bible are first referred to by their Arabie equivalents, and thereafter in English only, in order ta
avoid confusing them with other common Arabie MusÜln names.

4 Each great prophet inaugurales bis own cycle and brings a new .IJarj'aIJ or sacred law
which replaces the previous one. In each cycle religious teachings are preserved by the prophet's
successor and seven ïmims. Eventually all the truths (al-lJaqa 'iq) hidden in sacred laws will be
revealed by the Qi'im. Thus, though this scheme of history appears cyclical, it has a telos. For
our understanding of this view of history, we owe much to W. Madelung, IIAspects of Isma"ili
Theology: The Prophetie Chain and the Gad Beyond Being," in ImJâ'iJj Contributions ta Islamie
Culture, 00. S. H. Nasr (Tehran, 1978), pp. 54-55. Compare also the still useful accounts by M. S.
G. Hodgson in bis The Order of Assassins: The 5truggle of the Early Nizan laDi'ilis Ilgainst the Islamie
World (Den Hague, 1955), pp. 16-20. The details of this scheme will be discussed below in chapter
4, §2 of the present dissertation.
S That the concept of history of seven cycles is one of the oldest Isma"ili tenets is pointed
out in the following studies, among others: H. Halm, Kosmologie und Heilslehre der frühen lma 'Diya:
Eine Studie %Ur islamischen Gnosis <Wiesbaden, 1978), pp. 18-37; W. Madelung, "Aspects of Ismi'ili
Theology," pp. 54·55. For the concept of the two bierarchies, see, for example, P. E. Walker,
"Cosmic Hierarchies in Early Ismi"ili Thought: The View of Abü Ya"qüb al-Sijistini/' Muslim

World 66 (1976), pp. 14-15. We will eonfirm in chapters 4 and 6 below that these notions were
rooted in Ismi"ïlism sinee hom the very beginning they are found expressed in the writings of
Ismi.'ili thinkers and extemal observers.

b. l;Iamdi.n al-Rizï (d. ca. 322/934-5),' one of the earliest and most influential

• Isma'ili authors, whose thought is representative of the development of the early

!sma'w discourse on prophecy.
Two doctrinal disputes in the early history of Isma'ïlism marked the intellectual
career of Abü I;fitim al-Râzï. One centered on the challenge posed by Abü Bakr
M~ad b. zakéUiyi al-Rizi (d. 313/925 or 323/935), known as Rhazes in the
Latin Middle Ages, a leading physician and a non-Ismi'ûï rationalist philosopher
who argued against prophecy by severely questioning its validity as a source of
knowledge.7 The record of this dispute is al-Rizi's work A 'ljm al-Nubüwa/J or
The 5igns of Prophecy. With this work al-Rizi became the first in a series of
Isma.'ili thinkers who refuted Rhazes' position during the 4th/IOth and 5th/Ilth
centuries, thinkers sucb as aamid al-IAn al-I<irmini (d. after411/1021 in Sth/llth
century),8 to cite but one.

• The other dispute involved a thinker from within the Ismi'ïli community,

6 Basic information on al-Razi's full name, lite and works can be found in: O. de Smet,
''Râzi, Abû J:fâtim al-," in Encyclopédie philosophique universelle, nI: Les œuvres philosophiques,
Dictionnaire (Paris, 1992), vol. 1: pp. 798-99; H. Halm, "Abü ijitem Ràzi," Encyclopaedia Iranica
hereafter referred ta as Elr, ed. E. Yarshater <London, 1983- ), vol. 1: p. 315; H. Landolt, "Abü
I;fitim al-RaZi, ~d ibn l;Iamdin (d. 322/933-4?)," in Encyclopedia of Arabie Literature, ed. J. S.
Meisami and P. Starkey (London and New York, 1998), vol. 1, p. 34; I<. Poonawala, Biobibliography
of IRDi'ïJj Literature (Malibu, 1978), pp. 36-40; S. M. Stern, "Abü ijitâm aI-Roizi," Encyclopaedia of
Islam, new edition (hereaiter referred to as El 2), ed. H. A. R. Gibb, J. H. Kramers, et al.
<Leiden/Londcn, 1960-), vol. 1, p. 125.
7 For an overview of the career of this famous philosopher-physidan, see: P. I<raus and
S. Pines, "al-Rizi, Abu Bakr Mupmmad b. Zakariyi," Encyclopaedia ofIslam (hereafter refened to
as El), 00. M. Th. Houtsma A.J. Wensinck, et al. (Leiden, 1913-1936) ), vol. 3, pp. 1134-36; L.
Goodman, "al-Razi, Abii Bakr Mupmmad b. Zakariyi," El2, vol. 8, pp. 474-77.

• For an overview of the series of attacks by Ismi'ili authors on Rhazes, see, for example,
the following worles by H. Corbin: Histoire de la philosophie islamique, 2d 00. (Paris, 1986), pp.
197-2011 Œnglish transI. by L.Sherrard with the assistance ofP. Sherrard: History of Islamie Philosophy
(London, 1993), pp. 136-42); ''Étude préliminaire," in NiF-i Khusraw, Kitab-i Jàmi' al-flikmalaya,
ed. H. Corbin & M. Mu'in (lUDin/Paris, 1953), pp. 128-44; '1ntroduetion et esquisse comparative,"

in Mubammad b. Surkh Nishipüri (?), Sbarl}-i Q.,idalJ-'i Püd-i KhrijaIJ Abü al-Hayfbam A,fuDad ".
QuaIJ Jurjiaï 1 M.,.üb biJJ M"f-mmad b. 8uddJ Nidli.piiti , 00. H. Corbin & M. Mu'in (Tihrin/Paris,
1955), pp. 64-74.

M~mmad al-Nasafï, or Nakhshabi (d. 332/943), the "founder of Isma'i1i

• philosophy,"9 that is, philosophy influenced by Neoplatonism. Al-Nasafi's views

on various subjects such as cosmology, psychology, anthropology and prophecy
are refuted by al-Rizi in bis Kitab al-l,li.fJ or Book of Correction. The latter work
aIso contains many quotations from al-Nasafi's Kitab aJ-Mafrfiil or The Book of the
Produd, one of the oldest Isma'ilï philosophicaI works, now unfortunately lost.

Al-l,l~ therefore constitutes one of the oldest swviving records of Isma 'Di
Neoplatonist philosophy in the 4th/IDth century.l0 Sorne Ismi.'ïlï thinkers
influenced by Neoplatonism in this century were designated "die persische Schule"
or "'the Persian school" by W. Madelung and H. Halm, since their activities were
concentrated in the region of IranY Al-Rizi is in fact often counted, along with
al-Nasafi and another leading thinker, Abü Ya'qüb al-5ijistini (fi. 4th/IOth century),
as a member of this "Persian School."

• A1-1,1~ actually sparked another debate within Isma'ïli circles influenced by

Neoplatonism. It was attacked by al-5ijistini, who supported in his now lost
Kitab al-Nrqrah (The Book of Aid ) al-Nasafi's positions on cosmology and other
such subjects. This dispute, including sorne of the more pertinent statements of
al-Nasafj, was summarized and commented upon by I;Iamid al-Dïn al-Kirminï in
his l(jtâb aJ-Riyitj (The Book of Gardens), where he tends to side with Abü l;Iatim

9 This is S. M. Stem's evaluation of al-Nasafi. See ''The Early Ismilili Missionaries in

North-West Persia and in Khuri8in and Transoxiana," chapter in bis Studies in Early &ma'iliftIJ
Oerusalem/Leiden, 1983), pp. 219-20 <originally published in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and
Afriam Studies 23 (1960): pp. 56--90; hereafter, in refening to S. M. Stem's paPel's on Ismililïsm,
we follow the pagination in his Studies in Early 1mJa 'îlimJJ. For a survey of al-Nasafts life and
work, see Poonawala, Biobibliography, pp. 4Q-43; idem, "a1-Nasali,I: Abu 1-~asan M~d b.
~d al-Bazdawi or al-BazdahI,· E.f, vol. 7, p. 968.

10Cf. De Smet, '1Uzt Abû ~âtim al-," p. 799; Halm, "Abü ~item Rizï," p. 315; and
Landolt, "Abü {fitim a1-R~ .•.," p.34.

• U Halm, Kosmologie, p. 16, and W. Madelung, "Das Imamat in der frühen ismailitischen
Lehre," Der Islam 37 (1961), pp. 101-102.

• al-RaZï.12

With these two polemical works al-Rizï placed himself firmly within the
ISmi.·ï!i intellectual tradition, exerting a considerable influence over later
generations of scholars. It can aIso safely be said that these same works offer a
unique window into early Isma'ûi views on philosophico-doctrinal issues, and
the Isma'jus' response to outside challenges.
In A'am al-Rizi asserts the necessity of prophecy for attaining knowledge
against Rhazes' anti-revelational, rationalist epistemology, pointing out the need
for an authoritative teacher -by which he implies a divine1y-guided leader, prophet
or imi.m- in aequiring science of any kind. However, al-Rizi's "prophetie thoughr'
as refleeted in A 'lim makes no clear referenee to such Ismi'ûi concepts as the
cycles of the seven prophets or to specifieally Isma'ïli terminology (for example,

• the nipq (pl. lJufaqi ') or enunciator-prophet). For due ta its nature as a polemieal
work defending ISmi.'ïlism against attack from outside, in A 'lam al-Razi may
have thought it pointless to present his ideas using Isma'ili terminology which
was unfamiliar to non-Isma'ïlis such as Rhazes. Therefore, while admitting the
signifieanee of A 'lam as an expression of al-Rizï's "prophetie thought," we are
justified in eonsidering a1-1~1~ , his other polemieal work, as an ideal source for
bis views on prophecy expressed in Ismi'w terms, sinee a1-/~Ii.fJ was written to
spark debate within the inte1lectual cirdes of bis own sectarian community.
In addition, a1-/~I~ eontains an extensive aceount of the history of the prophets,

quoting as it does related verses from the Qur-in. Thus, al-lfl~ ean be expected

12 Al-5ijistinis Kitib al-NUfnA is partially preserved in al-Kinnini's Kitib al-Riyifl in the

form of quotation. On Kirab al-Nrqra1J and KiralJ al-Riyisl, see: Poonawala, Biobibliography, p. 86

and p. 97; P. E. Walker, &,Iy Phüosophical 5hiïsm: The lsmaiIi Neoplatonïsm of AlJù Ya ',üb al-SijisWJi
(Cambridge, 1993), pp. 6Q.63. The printed edition of Kimb al·Riyasi is: Al-Kirminï, Kitib al·Riyifl•
00. lA. Tl.mir œayrüt, 1960).

to provide much information on al-Râzï's own uprophetic thought," which he

• regularly contrasts with the views of bis opponent, al-Nasafi. It aIso offers, as we
suggested before, an understanding of a variety of early Isma. cïli views on
phllosophical-doctrinal issues, of which it constitutes the unique surviving record.
For these reasons we suggest that a full-length, monographie study of al-l~l~ is
a neœssity, particularly given the dearth of Western studies on al-Razi's thought.

§3. Modern Western Studies on al-Rau

Modern Western scholarship on al-Rizi did not begin to appear until the early
1920s.13 The reason for this, by and large, was the inaccessibility of original
IsmaCili sources. For wlùle community itself had preserved them, it had nonetheless

• assiduously defended them from the eyes of outsiders up to the start of this
century as a precaution against persecution. Of al-Rizi' s two polemical works,
A 'lâm al-Nubiiwah was the first to receive attention from Western scholars, and

has continued to provide the basis for most textual study of al-Ràzi'5 thought
ever since P. I<raus edited sections of this work as part of bis 1936 studyof
Rhazes. 14 This tradition however has more to do with Rhazes, in spite of its
value in illuminating al-Rizi's ideas.15 Nevertheless, since the appearance of the

13 Poonawala (Biobibliography, p. 37) tites the earliest study on al-Ràzi as being that of L.
Massignon, ~uisse d'une bibliographie Qarmale," in A Volume of Oriental Studies presented ta
Edward G. Brmune, ed. by T. Arnold and R. Nicholson (Cambridge, 1922), pp. 329-38.
14 P. I<raus, "Extraits du kitâb a1âm a1-nubuwwa d'Abü lJâtim al-Râzî (Raziana m,"
Orientalia N. 5.5 (1936): pp. 35-36,358-378. Aiso d. idem, "La contribuité du philosophie: traité

• d'éthique d'AbU Mutwnmad b.Zakariyyâ al-RaD" <Raziana D, Orientalia N. S. 4 (1935): pp. 300-334.
15 See: Poonawala, Biobibliography , pp. 38; Walker, Early Philosophical Shiism, pp. ~.

critical edition of the whole text in 1977,16 bis thought on both prophecy and

• philosophy, again based on A 'lim , has received increased attention from scholars
such as F. Brion, H. Daiber, and A. S. Talbani: most of these studies, however,
with the exception of Talbani's, do not exploit al-l~lilJ as a source for al-Rizi's

ln the time since W. Ivanow evaluated lütib a1-1~1~ and summarized its
contents in an introductory essay,18 a number of other scholars have taken it up
and examined its significance. W. Madelung, for example, treats al-l,li.fJ as a
document reflecting the doctrines of the Qarma;an movement, a group which
started ta break away from the mainstream of the Ismi.'m movement around
286/899 after their leader, 'Ubayd ('Abd) Allih declared himself for the office of
imim and subsequently became the founder of the Fi~d imamate-caliphate.19
P. E. Walker has on the other hand traced the earliest development of Ismi'ili

• l~This task was accomplished by ~. a1-~wi and G.-R. al-A'wüü (TlhJj.n, 1977).
11 Based on the edition of ~. al-~wi and G.-R. al-A 'wiIJi, F. Brion, H. Daiber and A.
Shamsuddin Talbani have since written analyses of A'Jim within the context of the history of
1stm-4 tlism. See: F. Brion, "Philosophie et révélation: traduction annotée de six extraits du Kitâb
a1-a'âm al-nubuwwa d'Ablll:1âtim al-Râzi," Bulletin de philosophie médiévale 28 (1986), pp. 134-62;
idem, "'Le temps, l'espaœet la genèse du monde selon Ab1 Bakr al-Razi: Présentation et traduction
des chapitress 1,3-4 du <<kitâb al-a'lâm a1-nubuwwa» d'Abû f:lâtim al-Râzî," Revue philosophique
de Louvain 87 (1989), pp. 139-64; H. DéIlDer, "'The Ismaili Background of Firibi's Political PhiJosophy:
Abii Hatim al-Razi as a Forerunner of Firil:i:' in Gottes ist der Orient, Gattes ist der Olczjdent.
Festsdarift für Abdoljavad Falaturi mm 65. Geburtstag, 00. U. Tworuschka (Kain, 1992), pp. 143-50;
idem, "Abii f:litim a1-Razi (lOth century A.D.) on the Unity and Diversity of Religions," in
Dialogue and Syncretism: An Interdisciplinary Approach, 00. J. Gort, H. Vroom, et al. (Grand Rapids,
Mich./Amsterdam, 1989), pp. 87-104; A. Shamsuddin Talbani. "The Debate about Prophecy in
'Kiti.b A'lim al-NubiiwahlH (M.A. thesis, McGill University, Montreal, 1987).
W. Ivanow, UJ:arly Controversy," in his Studies in Early Persian Ismailism, 2nd 00.
(Bombay, 1955), pp. 87-122, and especially, pp. 87-94, pp. 116-22.
19 F. Daftary, The Imà'iIi;: Their History and Doctrines (Cambridge" 1990), pp. 104, 106-108;
H. Hahn, Das Reich des Mahdi. Der Aufstieg der Fatimiden (875-973) (München, 1991), pp. 64-67
Œnglish transI. by M. Bonner: The Empire of the Mahdi: The Rise of the Fatimids <Leiden, 1996), pp.
62-66); W. Madelung, ''Fatimiden und Bahraynqarmaten," Der Islam 34 (1959): pp. 34-88 (English

transL : ""TIte Fatimids and the QêlfIIlaIÏs of ~Yn," in Mediaevallsmll'ili History and Thought, ed.
F. Daftary (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 21-73); idem, '''Das Imamat," pp. 43-65; idem, Religious Trends in
&rly lslamie Iran (Albany, N.Y., 1988), pp. 95-96.

Neoplatonism in the text20 H. Halm edited and analyzed two excerpts from the

• text, one dealing with the symbolism of the Arabie alphabet and its esoteric
relation ta the prophets and the other with Moses' eneounter with the angelic
beings of the heavenly hierarchy, respectively.21 In a posthumously published
article, S. M. Stem analyzes a section from a1-1~1il} on Iranian religions and
religionists as a source for this topie in the early Islamie period.22 Hence, although
these scholars cover various aspects of al-l~i.fI, they all analyze only parts of the
text according ta their own fields of interesl
No attempt therefore has yet been made to write a monographie study of
al-l~l~ in its entirety. This has primarily been due ta the lack of a critical edition
of the entire text, a situation which was only remedied in 1998 with the appearance
of just such a publication.23 This new text provides us with a much clearer
pieture of this important work, allowing us to reeonstruct, so to speak, the

• Gedankenwelt of al-l~l~ as a whole. The present study is a preliminary step in

this direction. We will base this study on the two manuscripts of al-/~li4 as weil
as its printed edition, one in the Hamdani Collection in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,24

20 Walker, Early Philosophical 5hiism, pp. 51-55.

21 The edited excerpts on letter symbolism and on Moses are found on pp. 217-18 and pp.
225-27 respectively of bis Kosmologie und Hez1s1ehre, while the analyses of those two excerpts are to
he found on pp. 60-62 and pp. 70-71 of the same worle.
22 S. M. Stern, "Abu fJàtim al-Razi on Persian Religion," in Stlldies in Early lsmâ 'iJjsm
(Jerusalem/leiden, 1983), pp. 30-46. In chapter 5 of this present study below this article will be
referred to as Stern, "Persian Religions."

23 The important task of the editing of al-/~Ià.fJ was accomplished by 1:1. Minüchihrï and M.
Mohaghegh. The text was published as Abii l:Iitim Atunad ibn fJamdin aI-Ran, KifÜ al-l~la.fJ, 00.
1:1. Mînüehihri and M. Mohaghegh, English introduction by S. Nomoto (Tihrin, 1377A.H.
S./1998C.E.). Hereafter this edition of al-l~l~ will be referred to as the "printed edition" of
al-l,JâfI or simply the uprinted edition."

7A Concerning the acquisition of the photocopy of the Ramdani manuscript, 1 wouId like
to express here my heartfelt thanks to two leading scholars in Ismi 'Di studies: Professor Abbas

Ramdani of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee for generously granting me pennission to
use the precious manuscript of al-l,Ia.fa in his possession, and Or. P. E. Walker, my fonner superviser
at McGilI University, Montréal, for his kind efforts in the reproduction of bis photocopy of the

and the other in the University of Tübingen, Germany. Because they present

• sorne different readings from those contained on the three manuscripts on which
the printed edition is based, the Hamdani and Tübingen manuscripts are valuable
tooIs for the philologica1 study of al-l~lilJ.25

§4. Scope of the Study

Ta elucidate Isma'ili "prophetie thought" in al-RiZi's Kirab al-I~I~ , the scope

of our study will be wide-ranging. One subjeet to be treated for example is
al-Râ.zj's discussion of sacred history using the terminology of Ismi.'ïli thought,
an approach which leads, as we stated earlier, to the presentation of "prophetie
thought" within a chronologieal dimension. In order to explore this dimension _

• of "prophetie thought" we will not only sketch al-Ràzi's scheme of sacred history,
but aise analyze bis discussion of the mission of each of the great prophets or
Ilu!aqa' up to the Qa 'im himself. This will permit us to clarify the details of
al-Rà.Zi's speculation on the development of sacred history up ta the point of the
eschaton .
As weil as addressing its horizontal dimension, we will aIso look at the vertical
representation of prophetie thought in Isma'ilism, that is, the conception of how
the revelation was transmitted through the two hierarchieal orders in heaven
and on earth. Theoretically, in Ismi'ïlism the heavenlyand earthly hierarchies
serve jointIy as an intermediary between God, who is absolutely transcendent


2S These three manuscripts are presently preserved in Iran: two of them in MarkaZi

Library University of Tehran, and the third one in the personallibrary of one of the editors of the
printed edition, Dr. ~asan MinUChihri. M. Mohaghegh, llSar-ighàz" (Preface), in the printed
edition of al-l,li.fJ, p. xiv.

over all His creatures, and human beings.26 Furthermore the Isma'ilï notion of

• the dichotomy between the labir or exoteric and bi#z! or esoteric aspects of religion27
requires the presence of this hierarchical order on earth, through which the former
should be gradually transmitted to each member of the community in accordance
with bis grade of intellectual and spiritual maturity.

In view of the importance of hierarchicalism in Isma'ilism, we intend to raise

the following questions: How do these two hierarchical orders relate to each
other in transmitting the divine message? How did the prophets make contact
with the hypostases in receiving revelation? How do the ordinary faithful relate
to high dignitaries on earth and ta the heavenly hierarchy? AIl these questions
are concemed with the problem of how the two hierarchies function in transmitting
divine guidance ta human beings in the cosmos. The text of al-I,lâlJ may not
deal with all these questions, but we will keep them in mind in our analysis of .

• al-Rizj's explanation of how the prophets were related to the two cosmic
In addition, we will ask whether there is any possibility in Rizian thought for
interaction between the theme of sacred history and the hierarchical-cosmic and
revelational theme, which represents the third main subject we will address in
the present dissertation. From the beginning of the 3rd/9th century onward, the
influence of Greek philosophy became increasingly evident in the history of
Islamic thought.28 Following this period there emerged the Isma'iu thinkers

26 For an overview of the notion of the two lùerarchies, see A. Hamdani, "Evolution of
the Organizational Structure of the Fipmi Da'wah," Arabian Studies 3 (1976): pp. 85-114; W.
Ivanow, "The Organization of the Fatimid Propaganda," Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal
Asiatic Society 15 (1939): pp. 1-35; Walker, "Cosmic Hierarchies," pp. 14-28. Full references ta this
matter will be given on p. 18, n. 3 of chapter 2 below.
On this doctrinal dichotomy, see R. Radtke,
Xl ''Bà~,'' Elr, vol. 3, pp. 859-61 and H.

Halm, "Bi~niya," Elr, vol. 3, pp. 861-63.
2B On the introduction of Greek sciences to Islamic ci vilizatian, see, for example, the

influenced by N eoplatonism, or the "Persian school," of the first haIf of the

• 4th/IDth century, whose presence may be one of the earliest examples of the
influences of Greek philosophy on Shrj thought. Furthermore, Isma 'w cosmology
was influenœd by Greek philosophy in general and by Neoplatonism in particular,
not only among members of the so-ealled ''Persian school" but aIso at the more
remote FiPmid court (4th/IDth to the 5th/Ilth centuries).29 This age marked the
zenith of Ismà'ili intellectual activity, and it is no coincidence that, during the
4th/IDth century, their religio-political influence was aiso at its peak.JO
What interaction was there, furthermore, between the concept of sacred history
and the newly introduced Neoplatonist cosmology? How did Isma'ïli
prophetology in this milieu, and particularly in the thought of al-Razï (as reflected
in al-I~l~ ), justify itself in view of the sharp contrast in the sense of history or
time between the Abrahamic monotheist and Hellenistic traditions? How was

• following studies: Corbin, Histoire, pp. 38-47 (English transI., pp. 14-22); M. Fakhry, ''The Legacy
of Greece, Alexandria, and the Orient," chapter in A History of [slamic Philosophy, 2d ed. (New
York/London, 1983), pp. 1-36; O. leaman, '1slamic Humanism in the Fourth/Tenth Century," in
History of[slamic Philosophy, Part 1,00. S. H. Nasr and O. Leaman <London/New York, 1996), pp.
155-61; F. Peters ''"The Greek and Syriac Background," in the last-eited work, pp. 40-51; Y. Shayegal'lr
''"The Transnùssion of Greek Philosophy te the Islamic World," in the last-eited work, pp. 89-104.

2!1 The terms, "intellect" ('a.,l ) or "soul" (na!. ) were adopted into the cosmological
doctrinal system at the Fipmid court of the 4th lmim-Caliph al-Mu'izz (r. 334/953-365/975).
Halm, Kosmologie und Heilslehre, pp. 72, 135-38 and "W. Madelung, ''Das Imamat," pp. 86-101.
The introduction of Greek thought, induding Neoplatonism, to Ismi IW cosmology at the Fitimid
court reached its zenith with f:larrid al-Din al-Kirmini in 5th/l1th century. However, al-Kirmini
denied the classical Neoplatonist characterization of the Soul as the second hypostasis and the
intennediary between the Intellect and Nature. D. De Smet, La quiétude de l'intellect: Néoplatonisme
et gnose ismaélienne dans l'œuvre de Ijamid al-Dm al-1CinzWJi (~/Xf s.) (Leuven, 1995), pp. 229-44.

30 For an overview of the 4th/l0th century with emphasis on the rise of Shï'ism in
general, see M. G. S. Hodgson, The Venture of Islam: Conscience and History in a World Civilization,
vol. 2 <Chicago, 1974), pp. 36-39. For a general charcterization of the Fi1Ïmid period, see F.
Oaftary, A Short History of the l.mi 'Bis: Traditions of a Mllslim CommJmity (Edinburgh, 1998), pp.
63-65. During the 4th/l0th to 5th/l1th centuries, with the backing of their flourishing intellectual
activity, the Ismi'ïlïs are thought to have left sorne traces of their influence particularly on the
Muslim Neoplatonist thought of that Period. However, to what extent from 10th and llth

centuries on the Isma'ïlis were involved in and contributed to the development of Muslim intellectual
trends including Neoplatonism in Islamic àvilization still remains an oPen question in the history
of Islamic thought.

this sharp contrast mitigated in that age? Upon consideration, it can be said that

• our question is concemed with the broader problem of how a monotheist tradition

can legitimately absorb Greek philosophieal concepts.

In addition to the above questions regarding al-Razi's thought per se, the
historical background of the text of a1-1~1~ needs to be discussed, and therefore
constitutes our fourth subject. The Isma'ïli movement in al-Rizi's age (fust half
of the 4th/IDth eentury) was in " schism" which most scholars now maintain
divided the Fa!ÏJnid and Qarma~an wings in 286/899. The latter strongly advoeated
the return of M~ad b. Isma'ïl, a grandson of the last Imim recognized by
both ISmi.'ïlïs and Ithna' ashaJis (Twelver Shï'is), as the Qâ'im, this in opposition
to the Fi.~d daim that the imimah belonged to 'Ubayd ('Abd) Allah al-Mahdi
and bis line.31 Al-RàZi is thought to have conducted propaganda in North-West
Iran where the Ismi 'ïli movement was dominated by the Qarmatians.32 Does

• this mean that Qarma1Ïan dominance in the movement of that region is reflected
in the thought of a1-1~1i.fJ? Or, does the text reflect another position distinct from

that of the Qarma~ans on Imimah and the advent of the Qi,'im? In our scrutiny

of "prophetie thought" in a1-1~1~ we will bear in mind the fact that such questions
lie in its religio-political sectarian background. This will necessitate a re-
examination of the widely accepted thesis that al-RiZi's sectarian background
was Qarma~an.33

31 An overview of the Qarma;an movement and a description of its doctrinal differences

with the Fi\imid wing are found in the following works: H. Halm, Das Reich, passim., especially,
pp. ~7 and pp. 225-36 Œnglish trans!., passim., espeda1ly, pp. ~ and pp. ~); w. Madelung,
l'Fatimiden und Bahraynqarmaten," pp. 34-88 (English transI., pp. 21-73); S. M. Ste~, "Ismi.'ilis
and Qarma\ians," Studies in Early ImIà 'iJjsm , pp. 289-98 Coriginally published in L'Elaboration de
l'Islam <Paris?, 1961), pp. 91..108).
32 The Qarma~an wing was predominant in the Ismi 'ïli movement of the regions of Iran,
1raq, the present Gulf area, a part of historical Syria and Miwari al..Nahr. See the works cited in

the last note above.
11 The most formidable advocate of this thesis is W. Madelung. For references to his

In condueting our research into these four broad subject areas, needless to say,

• we shall refer not only to al-Ràzi's a1-1~1~ , but aIso to other Isma'ili works of the
Fipmid periode For example, we will look carefully at Asü al-Ta 'wfI of al-Qi.~
al-Nu'man (d. 363/974) and Sari';r al-Nu!2qi' of Jaffar b. M~r aI-Yaman (fi.
4th/I0th century), since the main subject of these two works is the interpretation
of the history of the prophets, a subjeet to which al-RaZi devotes many pages in
al-I~Ii.f:L34 Another reason is that since these two thinkers, unlike al-RiZi, were in

the service of the Fipmid court and served as exponents of its official Isma.'ilï
doctrines, the anaIysis of their writings will provide us with sorne information
on a different wing of the sect. Moreover, in view of the fact that the doctrinal
debate among those Iranian thinkers influenced by Neoplatonism continued well
after a1-1~1~'s attack on al-MaP~ül, we must aIso take into consideration the works
of other thinkers who were involved in this debate, namely, al-5ijistini and al- _

• Kirmini.

In presenting the results of our researches as outlined above, the study will be

divided as follows. Immediately following this introduction a second chapter

will sketch al-Rizi's life according to its most widely accepted reconstruction,

and describe bis works by tracing his influence on later generations. The third
chapter will describe the two manuscripts of Kitab al-I~l~ not accounted for in
the printed edition and compare them with the latter, as weIl as offer a detailed
table of contents of the texte After this we will make sorne general remarks on
works dealing with al-Rizj, see p. 8, n. 19 of this chapter above.

~ On the Asa. al-Ta'ri of al-Qi4i al-Nu"man and the Sari 'ir aJ-NuJaqi' of Ja'far b. Man~ür,
see PoonawaIa, Biobibliography, p. 63 and p. 73 respectably. Also on Am al-Ta'wU , see the study
by H. Corbin, "Herméneutique spirituelle comparée (1. Swedenborg, II. Gnose Ismaélienne)," in
Eranos-Tahrbuch 33 (1964), pp. 71-176 (reprinted in Face de l'homme, face de dieu (Paris, 1983), pp.
41-162; hereafter, page references will foUow the reprint edition) Œnglish transI. by L. Cox,
"Comparative Spiritual Hermeneutics," in Swedenborg and Esoteric Islam (West Chester, Penn.,

1995), pp. 35-149). Printed editions of the two texts are: al-Qi~ al-Nu 'min, Asàs al-Ta 'wil, 00. "A.
Timir (Bayrüt, 1960); Ja'far b. M ~ al-Yaman, Sari.'jr wa-Asr.ïr al-Nuraqà' ,00. M. Ghilib (Bayrüt,

the subjeet matter of aI-l~lilJ within the framework of "prophetie thought." This

• will eonclude the introductory part of our present study.

In the two subsequent chapters we will analyze al-Rizi's prophetology. The

fourth chapter will present an overview of the thought of al-Razi on the
development of prophecy in its chronological dimension, that is, sacred history
directed toward salvation. The fifth chapter will analyze al-Razï's views on
various religious communities and Muslim sects and their successive emergenee
in the eourse of history.

The next two chapters will deal with Rizian cosmology and explore its relation
to his "prophetie thought." The sixth chapter will outline al-RiZi's Neoplatonism-
influenced cosmology, most of which is reproduced in al-Riyip,3S and then examine
the cosmological strueture of the celestial and earthly hierarchies described in
a1-/~1i.fJ. AIso, we will describe how al-Rizi interprets the theme of prophetie

• history in particular, namely, the prophets' contact with the angels, Le., the members
of the celestial hierarchy in Ismi.'ilism, or even their contact with God. The
seventh chapter will investigate the interaction between the theme of sacred
history and that of the prophets' contact with the angels, as weil as between the
former theme and Neoplatonist cosmology. Additionaily, in the eighth chapter
we will revisit al-RaZi's scheme of sacred history by focusing on bis view respecting

35 Thanks to the relatively early publication of the printed edition of al-Riyàfl in 1960,
numerous scholars of Islamic philosophy have studied the debate on the philosophical topies in
al-I,lill in the context of the introduction of Neoplatonism te Isma'ilism, and have introduced
and extensively analyzed the philosophical part of the text. For example, see werks by P. E.
Walker such as "Abü Ya'qüb al-Si~stinI and the Development of Early ISmi 'iu Neoplatonism"
(Ph. O. diSSo, University of Chicago, 1974); Early Philosophical 5hiism, pp. 51-62; and "The UniversaI
Soul and the ParticuJar Soul in Ismi'w Neoplatonism," in Neoplatonism and Islamic Thought, 00. P.
MorewOOge (Albany, N.Y., 1992), pp. 149-66. Also see: H. Halm, "Abü f:{item RiZï," p. 315; U.
Rudolph, Die Doxographie des Pseudo-Ammonios: fin Beitrag ZUT neuplatonischen Überlie{erung im
Islam (Stuttgart, 1989), pp. 24-25; F. Zimmennann, 'The Origins of the So-called The%gy of Aristotle,"
in Pseudo-Aristotle in the Middle Ages: The The%gy and Other Tats, editOO by J..!<raye, W. F. Ryan

and C. B. Schmitt <London, 1986), pp. 196-208. Therefore in chapter 6 we willlimit ourselves to
summarizing the main topies relating te philosophical cosmology in the text, with a view to
elucidating al-Rizi's doctrine.

its culmination, the parousia of the Qi1im. This will allow us to investigate bis

• views on contemporary Ismi.'ilï "religio-politics" for whic..lt the parousia of the

Qi.1im was an important issue, and then reconsider his sectarian affiliation.

Based on our analysis of a1-1~1~ in the preceding chapters, the ninth and

concluding chapter of the dissertation will assess al-Rizi's "prophetie thought"

by, again, discussing it with reference te to the above-mentioned broader, universal
themes of the monotheist religious traditions, including the two, vertical and
horizontal dimensions of prophecy and the possible influence of Greek
philosophical thought on one or both of these two dimensions. Thus by re-
considering al-Razï/s thought in the context of broader themes we will he led to
evaluate bis place in the history of Isma 'ïlï thought.


Chapter 2
• The Historical Setting:
AI-Rizrs Life and Works

§1. Abü ~itim al-Rizi's Life

What do we know about the author of al-I~li1;J ? How did al-Razi. as a dit;

(Ilcaller' or missionary), live his life and conduct bis intellectual activities in the
bistorical context of bis age? In this chapter we will try to throw light on al-Rizi's
religious and politicallife in the first section, and then on bis extant works in the
second, basing ourse1ves on the primary and secondary sources presently available. _

• This will help us gain as dear a picture of al-Rizi as contemporary scholarship

can provide us with at the moment. It is hoped that we will then be in a position
to examine sorne of the mainstream theses on al-Rizi's life.

§l-l. Al-Razi and the Beginning of the Ismi 'ilï Movement in the
Ray Region of North-West Iran: From a Report by Ni,i.m al-Mulk

Few details of the life of al-Râ,zi are certain, in spite of his significant role as an
author of texts central to the early history of ISmi.'ilism, many of which we will
discuss in the following. Indeed the scardty of Isma Cïli historical sources obliges
us to rely on hostile Sunni accounts. Even important details, such as the year of
bis birth and the place of bis death, are unknown to us. 1 His name coupled with

• t 1. K. Poonawala tites both lsmi'ili and non-Isma'Di sources on al-Rizïs works and Iife.

his ••"ah is not even mentioned even in Ni~ al-MWk's (d. 485/1092) Siyar

• al-Muliik or Siyiat-lJâmaIJ,2 the most detailed report on Isma'm da'wah (the "call,"

"mission," or the organization for "mission"~ activity in Iran during the first
half of 4th/lDth century. Nevertheless, a summary of Nqa.m al-Mulk's aceount
may be useful for basic information.
Aceording to Ni~ al-Mulk, da'wah activity in Iran was initiated bya certain
!<halaf, appointed by the leader of the movement at that time. 4 A resident of
the district of Pashi.buyah in Ray,S this Khalaf preached that the advent of the
Qa' im, the long-awaited Messianic figure, was at hand. Khalaf was succeeded by

his son, AJ;unad, who was in tum suceeeded by Ghiyath, a man who seems to
have played a significant role in articulating the basie teachings of the da'wah
with bis knowledge of the Qur'in and the Prophetie traditions, and who wrote a

• See Poonawala, Biobibliography, pp. 36-38. The following description of al-Razïs works and life is
in a sense a re-examination of the accounts conceming al-Razi found in the works cited by

2 Ni~ al-Mulk, Si}'U' al-Mulük (Siyü:&t-DùmlJ), 00. H. Darke (TilUin, 1962) , pp. 265-67/00.
H. Darke, revised 00. (Tihrin, 1976), pp. 285-87 (hereafter referred to as Nipm al-Mulk: the first
pagination refers to that of Darke's 1962 edition and the second to that of bis revised 1976 edition;
1 would like to express my deep gratitude ta Professor Hermann Landolt of McGill University for
having drawn my attention to the importance of Darke's 1976 edition and for having sent me
facsimiles of the pages which contain material relevant to the study of the Hie of al-Razi) (English
translation by H. Darke: The Book of Government Dr Rules for Kings (London, 1960), pp. 214-17).
3 For the following description of the /nni'ili da'wah in Iran during al-Rizi's era, we
owe very much to S. M. Stem, "The Early Ismi'ili Missionaries," pp. 189-233. On various
connotations of the term da'wah in Ismi'ilism during the Fipmid period, a number of studies
have aIready been written, for example: H. Feki, Les idées religieuses et philosophiques de l'Ismae1isme
Fatimide (Tunis, 1978); H. Halm, Kosmologie und Heilslehre, pp. 67-74; A. Hamdani, ''Evolution of
the Organizational Structure," pp. 85-114; W. Ivanow, "The Organization of the Fatirnid
Propaganda," : pp. 1-35; S. M. Stem, "Cairo as the Centre of the Ismi'iU Movement," chap. in
Studies in Early lma'ilimJ, pp. 234-5; P. E. Walker, ""Cosmic Hierarchies,," pp. 14-28.
4 Nipm al-Mulk, p. 263/p. 283 (English transI., p. 214).

S S. M. Stem condudes that this name has survived in the modem fonn of "Fashipüyah"
or "'Pashipüyah" up to modem times as the name of a district in the suburb of the present Tehran.

• See his ''The Early Ismi'ili Missionaries," p. 191 n.4. We follow the 1976 edition's reading of the
name of the place in question, instead of the reading in the 1962 edition "Fashibüyah."

dietionary of religious technical terms, called al-Bayin.6 Ni~ al-Mulk reports

• that this Ghiyith faeed persecution from the people of Ray provoked by a fatlm
named 'Abd Allih al-Za'frini, and was forced to flee the city to Marw al-Rüd in
Khurisin. There he succeeded in converting the amir of that city, ~usayn-i 'Ali

Marw-i Rüdi, who himself Iater persuaded many people in I<hwisin to joïn the
After he returned to Ray hom Marw al-Rüd, Ghiyath apparently appointed a
certain Abü~atim, knowledgeable in Arabie poetry and "strange narrative" (~aditb-i

gharib ), to take charge of the da'wah Ni~im al-Mulk reports that the place of

Abü l;Iitim's origin was Pashabùyah, but no mention is made of the year of bis
birth.8 Most scholars identify this Abü l:Iatîm with the author of al-l~lafJ, Abü
~itim al-RaZi.9

In the meantime, Ghiyi.th continued to preach in Ray the imminent advent of

• the Mahdi, the expected messiah. He was discredited, however, when the predicted

time came with no Mahdi appearing. Since his faIse prediction led to his being
persecuted by the people of the city, Ghiyith fled from Ray.lo It can be surmised
that at that time the above-mentioned Abü l:Iatim was aise engaged in broadcasting

6 Ni~m al-Mulk, pp. 263-64/pp. 283-84 Œnglish transI., pp. 214-15). We adopt the
reading of the 1976 edition (p. 284), instead of that of the 1962 edition (p. 264) "Kitab al-Bayin."
Stem and Walker take this now lost text ta be a predecessor to al-Razi's Kirab al-Tmab, a lexicon
of religious, theological terms well- known even among Sunni schoIars (see below pp. 29-32). See
Stern, "The Early Isma'w Missionaries," p. 194; Walker, Early Philosophical 5hiïsm, p. 5t.
, Nipm al-Mulk, pp. 264-65/pp. 284-85 (English transI., pp. 215-16). P. E. Walker
identifies this &mir ijusayn-i Ali Marw·i Riidi with a certain al-Marwadhi or aI-Marwarrudhi

whom the zaydi heresiographer, Abü al~sim al·Busti (fi. ca. the 5th/l0th century), reported as
having discussed the possibility of the emergence of a rational soul from a sensuous being. See
Walker, Early Philosophiazl 5hiism, pp. 50-51.
• Ni~ a1-Mulk, p. 265/p. 285 Œnglish transI., p. 216).
, See for exampIe F. Daftary, The Ismâ'i1is, pp. 120-21; H. Halm, Das Reich (English

transI., pp. 289·90); Stem, "The Early Isma 'ili Missionaries," p. 195.
la Ni~im al-Molk, p. 265/p. 285 (English transI., p. 216).

Ghiyi.th' 5 prediction of the Mahdi's advent under bis leadership.

• After this event, one of Khalafs grandsons was selected as their leader by the
people of the Isma'Di community in Ray. At the lime of bis death he appointed
bis son, Abii Ja'far-i Kabir, to succeed hîm. However, this Abü Ja'far in tum fell
ill with "m e1ancholy" (südi). What then took place, according to N~im al-Mulk,
is as follows: 'There was a man whose name [was] Abü I;fatim. Kaynati (?, or
'1<ïnati"?): he (i.e. AbüJa'far) appointed him as ms substitute." From then onwards
this Abü I;fatîm became increasingly po\verful and eventually "stole" the leadership
from AbüJa'far. ll
Here we encounter a problem identifying this Abü I;fatim with the aforementioned
Abü I;fatim. The phrase "nâm-i ü" attached to the former person, translated in the
above quotation as "whose name...," is important. This is because the phrase
appears to introduce a different story applying to another person, contrasting it

• with the previous Abü lJatim's. Are they still one and the same person?1! The
fact that the Abü lJi.tim appointed by Abü Ja'far is referred to in conjunction with
a particular tJisbah (or adjective?) suggests the possibility that he may have been a
different person from the Abü l;Iitim appointed. by Giyith who lacks a tUsbah,
although most scholars identify these two as the same individual.13 Given the

11 And even after Abu la/far recovered bis health, this Abü f:litim did not respect bis

right, which led, according to Ni~m al-Mulk, to the following resuIts: "The leadership (ny:i$at)
left the household of Khalaf." Ni~im al-Mulk, pp. 265-66/pp. 286 (English transI., p. 216). The
name of Abü ijanm Kaynalï (or ''Kinati'') appears only in the 1976 edition but not in the 1962
edition. Professor Hermann Landolt of McGill University very graciously drew my attention to
the important fact that "Abü f:litim" is mentioned with a IJisbah (or adjective?) in this passage in
the 1976 edition.

12 The phrase in question can also he interpreted as a different version of the story which
refers to one and the same persan but in different reports.

13 See, for example: F. Daftary, The hma'Dis, pp. 120-21; H. Halm, Das Reich, p. 258
(English transI., p. 289); and S. M. Stem, 'The Early Istni'ili Missionaries," pp. 195-98. However,
H. Darke, the editor of bath the 1962 and 1976 editions of the text used here, seems to regard

them as two different persans. See for example the index of the 1962 edition (p. 376) and that of
the 1976 edition Cp. 364).

present stage of our research, however, we must leave the question open for the

• timebeing.
Upon taking over the leadership of the da'wah in Ray, Abü I;itim Kaynatï /I<ïnati,
or simply Abü ~itim, immediately sent di 'is to Tabaristân, Gurgin, I!fahin, and
Azarbiyjin, in order ta call the people there ta Ismi'ilism. According to N~âm.

al-Mulk he even succeeded in converting the amir or governor of Ray, ~ad b.

'Ali, who ruled the city from 308/919 until death in 311/924 and represented the
interests of the Siminid dynasty.14
It may have been aiter the troops afYüsufb. Abi al-Si.j, whose family had ruled

Azarbiyjin since 279/892, occupied Ray and killed the aforementioned governor
in 311/924 that Abü l:Iitim left for Tabaristin. 1S There he joined an uprising of

the population led by a certain Sayyir(?) ShïlÛyah Wardidwandi against the rule
of the zaydi Alid imim. 16 S. M. Stem identifies this rebel leader with a strong

• GDini chieftain of the time, Asfir b. Shirüyah.17

In jaining the rebellion this Abü l:Iitim seems ta have tried ta exploit the
situation for the sake of the da'wah, preaching that an Imim"(imjmi) wauld

shortly (bi-muddati nazdik) appear. Ni~iIn al-Mulk states that Abü l:Iitim's activity
in Tabaristan flourished during the time of the above-mentioned Sayya.r(?) Shirüyah,

althaugh "some [af his activity]" (ba '!li) aIso occurred during the time of Mardawïj.
The latter was the founder of the Ziyirid dynasty who in 319/931 won independence

14 Ni~ a1-Mulk, p. 2~7/p. 286-87 (English transI., p. 217). 1 follow S. M. Stero's

interpretation as ta the time of Abü l:Iitim's departure for Tabaristin. See Stem, "The Early
Ismi1m Missionaries," p. 198-200. On the numerous occupations of Ray by YiiSuf b. Abi aI-Sij, see
Madelung, 'The Minor Dynasties of Northem Iran," in The Cambridge History of Iran <Cambridge,
1975), vol. 4, The Period From the Arab Invasion to the Saljuqs. 00., R. N. Frye, p. 231.
15 Stem, ''rhe Early Ismi'm Missionaries,,, pp. 199-204.

Ni~im a1-Mulk, p. 266/p. 286 Œnglish transi., p. 217).


11 See aise Stem, ''The Early Ismi'w Missionaries," pp. 200-201.


in Western Iran from bis former 'Alid master in Tabaristin and from his new

• master, Asfi.r b. Shirüyah.t8 Thus, whether Stern's above-mentioned identification

of Sayyir with the GiIinï chieftain Asfir is correct or not, Nqim al-Mulk's report
does seem to mean that this Abü ~atim conducted his da'wah activity during the
transitional period preceding Mardi. wij' 5 coming to power and even for a certain
period of time afterwards.
However, Nqam al-Mulk reports, Abu ~itim finally lost the trust of the people
of Tabaristin because of his own prediction of the advent of the !mim, which
eventually proved false. He found himself forced to flee from the enraged populace,
and died in exile. tg His career thus ended in a way similar to that of one of his
predecessors, Ghiyith. After Abü I;fatim, the da'wah activity was taken over by
'Abd al-Malik Kawkabi and a certain Isbiq.20

• §1-2. Identifying IIAbii

~i.tim" and IIAhü lJatim al-Ri,zj" in the

As far as concerns the year of Abü l:Iitim's death, sorne information can be
found in a report made by Ibn l;Iajar al-'Asqalinï (d. 852/1449) in one of his
famous biographical dictionaries, Lisin al-Mizan. This report concerns a certain
Isma 'Di di.'i whom Ibn l;Iajar refers to as Atunad b. ~amdin b. ~ad al-Warsimi

II Nipm al-Mulk, p. 267/p. 287 (English transI., p. 217). On the year of independence of
MardaWij, we foUow W. Madelung and C. E. Bosworth. See: W. Made1ung, 'The Minor Dynasties,"
p. 212; C. E. Bosworth, "Mardawï2j," p. 319. Ibn Isfandiyir (fi. late 6th/12th century- early
7th/13th century) reported that Mardawij defeated Asfir b. Shïriiyah in the year 319. Ibn Isfandiyir,
Târi1dJ-i raban.tin, ed. 'A. Iql:al, vol. 1 (Tihrin, 1320A.H./1941C.E.), p. 294 (abridged English
transI. by E. G. Browne: An Abridged Translation of the History of raIJari.r.an (Leiden/London, 1905),
Ni~ al-Mulk, p. 267/p. 287 Œnglish trans!., pp. 217-18).


zo Ibid. (English trans!., p. 218).


Abü l;Iatim al-Laythï. It explains that Atunad was a well-cultured,literary individual

• with a knowledge of linguistics, who knew many ~dïth s. However, he became

"one of the !sri'fi missionaries"
(~ IDÛJ du'it a/-Istœ 'iliyah ) and died in 322/934-

The description of this Abü Il ~itim" and bis specialized area of scholarship fits
in perfectly with the fact that al-Rizi was weIl known as the author of Kitib
al-ZinaIJ, a book containing lexicographical and linguistic analysis of religious

and theological terms. 22 But several problems remain. For example, questions
about the validity of the identification of the Siyisat-tJàmah '5 Abü I:fatim (or the
Abü I:fatïms, if the two references by Ni~ al-Mulk do not pertain to one and the
same person) above with Abü ~itim al-Rizï, the author of al-lfli.lJ have not been

entirely put to reste

A comparïson with two ather Persian sources which report the beginning of

• the da'wah in the Ray region tends to support the above identification. Rashid
al-Dm Fa~l Alli.h.'s (d. ca. 718/1318) Jimi' al-Tawirïkb and Abü al-Qi.sim !<i.shini's
(d. ca. 738/1337-8) Zubdat al-Tawirïkh both mention a da'wah leader by the name
of Abü I;fatim, who bore the nisbah " al-Rizï." lhshïd al-Dïn has "Abü l:Iitîm
AJ,unad b. l:Iamdin al-Rizi," while Kishini has "Abü J:litim b. 'Abdan al-Razi
al-Warsanani.,,23 In other words, these two sources suggest that their Abü J:litim
al-Razi and the Abü J:latim. (or the Abü ~itims) ofNi~am al-Mulk's account played

21 Ibn f:fajar al-'Asqalini, LiÀIJ al-MizilJ, vol.l (Bayrüt, 1930/1971), p.l64. The msbaIJ
given by Ibn f:{ajar is, according ta S. M. Stem, a variant of "Warsanini." Stern aiso suggests that
"Warsanàn," from which the mshaIJ is derived, is the name of a village in the region of Pashibüyah.
As for the reading of this IJisbaIJ 1 follow that suggested by Stern in his 'The Early Ismi 'i1ï
Missionaries," pp. 195-96, n. 12.

2'lOn Kitib al-ruab, see p. 19, n. 6 above and pp. 29-32 in the present chapter below .

ZJ See respectively: Rashid al-Oin, JàtIJj' al-Tawi.ziJdJ, ed. M.T. Dinishpazhüh and M.
Mudarrisi (Tihran, 1338A.H.S. /1960) (hereafter referred ta as Rashïd al-Oin), p. 12; Kâshini,

Zubdat al-Talritiü, ed. M. T. Dinishpazhüh (Tihrin, 1366A.H.S. /1988C.E.) (hereafter referred ta
as Kiahini).

the same raIe in the same context, i.e., a Ieading raIe in the da'wah of the Ray

• region, and thus indicate the possibility that they are one and the same person.
However, since both these sources in fact postdate Ni~im al-Mulk, there is a
strong chance that they basica1ly follow bis account, and therefore do not constitute
an independent confirmation of it.
Tuming our attention ta earlier Arabic sources in an attempt to resolve this
issue, we find that the al-Fihrisl of Ibn al-Nadïm Cd. 385/995 or 388/998) refers ta
a certain Abü I;fâtim aI-Warsanini as the leader of the da'wah, and aIso to Abü
l:Iatim al-Râzj as the author of al-Zinah and al-Jamjl the only two works of aI-Razï

that he cites. 24 These two names are, nevertheless, mentioned in two different
contexts, that is to say, "al-Warsanini" in his account of the da'wah movement,
and "al-Razi" in that of the Isma1ili authors and their works. Furthermore, Ibn
al-Nadim never explicitly identifies these two figures as one and the same persona

• There is another Arabic text, dealing with the early history of the Ismi,lili
da/wah, i.e., 'Abd al-Qahir b. Tihir al-Baghdidï's (d. 429/1037) al-Farq bayn al-Firaq,
which falls into the genre of heresiography. Unfortunately, this important text is
of little help in resolving our problem, since it mentions only an Abü l;fitim.,,25Il

Thus, the issue of whether we can identify the Abü I;fitim (or the Abû l=Iatims) in
the Siyisat-namaIJ with the author al-Rizï contains much room for further discussion,
despite initial plausibility.
Besides the problem of the life of al-Razi, we should note that there are aiso
difficulties surrounding the history of the da'wah in North-West Iran. Thus, we

2C Ibn al-Nadim, Kil.àb al-Fibrisr, ed. G. Flügel, vol. 2 <Leipzig, 1868), p. 188 (Abü I:fitim
al-Warsanam) and p. 189 (Abü 1:Iitim. al-Rizï ) (English translation by B. Dodge, The Fihrist of Ibn
aJ-Nadim (New York, 1970), vol. 1: p. 468 (Abü ~itim al-Warsanini) and p. 472 (Abü I:fitim
al-RazU). As for 16Kiti.b al-Jamil," see §2 below, especially pp. 30-31, n. 36.

• Abd al-Qihir b. Tihir al-Baghdidi, al-Farq bayn al-Firaq , ed. M. M. 'Abd al-l:Iamid
25 1

(al~hirah, n.d.), p. 283.


find that the list of di'. provided by Ni~im al-Mulk differs substantially from

• those offered by Rashid al-Dm and Kishini. Rashid al-Din, for example, does not
cite the names of the di';:' before "Abü ~itim ~ad b. I;{amdin al-Rizï's"
immediate predecessor, a certain Ja'far-i Ma1}tiim,26 while Ki.shinï includes in his
list the name "Ma~ür al-I;{allij" which makes one think of the great ~üfj, l;Iusayn
b. M~ur al-I:fallij (d. 309/922).27 Interestingly enough. Ibn al-Nadim, who
wrote at a much earlier time than Kishini, cites a m~n called "l;{allij al-Qu~" or
"cotton-ginner" as the first di'jto the regions of Ray, Azarbayji.n, and Tabaristan.28
A charge was made against this I:fallij by the Sunni establishment in Baghdâd

that he preached the Qarmalian cause for the awaited Qi!im, as L. Massignon
remarks. 29 It is possible that this charge led later authors like Ibn al-Nadim and
Kishini to insert the name of al-~allij in their lists of the early di 'is .

• 26 Rashid al-Din, pp. 11-12. As for this list of the earliest da 'is, S. M. Stem points out that
there is "great confusion" in the account of Rashid al-Din. For example, according to him, Rashid
al-Din regards I<halaf as if he had been the first chief da'i of I<hurisi.n. Stem also considers this
Ja' far-i Maf.uiim a sucœssor of Khalaf. See Stern, "The Early Ismi'iIi Missionaries," p. 229.

'ri The list of Kishinî has Khalaf as "Khalaf-i f:{allij," which can be translated as "the
sucœssor of ~allij." This I<halaf appointed Ghiyith as his successor, who in tum converted Abü
Ja' far-i Matrim and Abü f:fitim b. f:farndin al-Ra al-Warsanini, known as Mun' im (or Muna' 'am?).
Kashini, p. 22.
Z8 This '1;fallijj" was tram the "Qad~id family" (Banü al-Qad~), and was succeeded

by bis son. Aiter this son died, Ghiyith succeeded him. He was in tum succeeded by his son
and a man called MaJ)%üm, who was succeeded by Abü I;fitim al-Warsanini. Ibn al-NadIm,
al-Fibrist vol. 2: p. 188 Œnglish trans!., The Fihrist of Ibn al-Nadim , vol. 1: p. 468). L. Massignon

raises doubt on the relation of the great,üfï al-~allijj to early da'is in Ibn al-Nadim (but he
discusses the possiblity ofI<halaf-i f:{allajj's relation ta al-I;fallij). L. Massignon, La passion d'al-Hosayn
ibn-MansouT al-Hallai, 1I7IlTtyr mystique de l'Islam, vol. 1 <Paris, 1922), pp. 77-80 and La passion de
Husayn ibn MamÜl' Hallaj, new 00., vol. 1, La vie de Hallai <Paris, 1975)1 p. 208 (English translation
by H. Mason, The Passion of al-Rallai, vol. 1, The Life of al-Hallai (Princeton, 1982), pp. 163-64). Cf.
G. Flügel Anmerkungen," in Ibn al-Nacrun, al-Fibrisr, vol. 2, pp. 79-80.

29 According to Massignon, sorne of the evidence behind the charge against al-I:fallij of

• being a Qarmalian was forged. L. Massignon, La passion, new ed., vol. 1, pp. 559-60 Œnglish
transi., p. 521).

§1-3. Al-Razi and the Qarm~ian Movement

• How much did al-Rizï truly involve himself in the QarmalÏan movement?
Made1ung painfs a picture of al-Rizi as an active leader of the Qarma\ian movement

in what is now Western Iran. According to him, al-Razï's da'wah activity was
related to the dedaration as the Mahdi of a young l".!fahini in Bahrayn in 319/931,
and to the subsequent disappointment among the QarmalÏans when this man
proved to be a false Messiah.30 Among our original sources we have Abü al-Qisim
Kashi.ni's report of Abü ~itim's correspondence with the leader of the Bahrayni
Qarma\Ïans, Abü Tihir al-Jannibi, as weIl as the account of the great Mu'tazilï
theologian, Qi~ (Abd al-Jabbir al-Hamadhini (d. 415/1024-5), who mentions the
name "Abü I:fitim b. I;{amdin al-Ri,2i al-Kilibi" among the Qarma\Ïan di 'i s that
condemned Abü Tihir for having yielded his authority to the faise Mahdi.JI

• Madelung further argues, relying on various sources, that Abü aitim al-Razï
"spread the prediction" that the advent of the Mahdi would take place in 316/928,
astrologically calcu1ated as the year of conjunction of Saturn and ]upiter.J2
The connection between al-Ràzi and the Qarma!ian movement that Madelung
suggests seems plausible. However, a few details have yet ta be elucidated. Can
we, for instance, link the above-mentioned prediction of the advent of Mahdi of
316/928 and Abü l;Iitim's subsequent disappointment over the faIse Mahdi with

~ w. Madelung,Religious Trends, pp. 96-102; idem, "~arma\Ï," EI z, vol. 4, pp. 661-62. Q.

also his "Fatimiden und Bahrainqarmaten," pp. 74-79 (English transI., pp. 45-48).
31 I<iahini, p. 22; "Abd al-Jabbir, Talb6;t DaJa'il aJ-Nu6uwwab, ed. 'A. K. Uthrnin (Bayrüt,

1970), p. 392.

32 Madelung, Religious Trends, p. 96: also see p. 97. It seems that Madelung's argument is
mainly based on al-Baghdadi's Firaq and the work of an important philosopher-scientist, Abï
al-Rayl}ân aI-lùünï's (d. 442/1050) AI-AdJiir al-Baqiyab 'u al-Quma aJ-Kbi.1iyah. See also his

"Fatimiden und Bahraynqarmaten," p. 77f. and p. 78, n. 1 (English transI., p. 47f., p. 69, n. 254);
idem., "~anna~," p. 662.

N~m al-Mulk's account of Abü ~itim (or Abü ~itims)? Certain corresponding

• events might substantiate Madelung's scheme.

Let us begin our scrutiny of Madelung's thesis by examining al-Razj's prediction
of the advent of the Mahdi. In Ni~im. al-Mulk's account, during the career of Abü
ijitim, the da'wah of Western Iran spread propaganda predieting the advent of a
messianic figure on two separate occasions. The first was Ghiyith's announcement
of the advent of the Mahdi. The second was when AbU ijitim himself (if he is the
same persan as the one under the leadership of Ghiyith33) spread his own prediction
of the coming of "an imim" (imam;) in Tabarist:àn. Bath predictions proved faIse,
as we leamed above.
But, inNi~im al-Mulk's account no actual evidence exists to prove Abü l;Iitim's
involvement in the propaganda surrounding Ghiyath's prediction: we can only
surmise that he would likely have been engaged in such propaganda under

• Ghiyath's leadership. And what about Abü l;Iitim's use of the appellation lIimim"
rather than '~ahdi"? This does not, in fact, necessarily exclude the possibility
that he predicted the coming of the Mahdi. The Mahdi-Qi.1im is the seventh
imam of the age of the Prophet Mu~ammad according to the teachings of early
As for Abü l;Iitim's activity in Tabaristin, Ni~a.m al-Mulk's account can be
interpreted to mean that it flourïshed in the transitional period priar to the rule of
Mardi.wij and for a certain time after the latter gained independent power in
319/931. That is ta say, the astrologically significant year of 316/928 may or may
not have fallen within the period of his activity, whereas the declaration of the
Mahdïship of the young Iffahinï and his exposure as a fraud took place in 319/931.

33 This problem was touched upon above in §1-1 of this chapter above and will be
revisited shortly in the present sub-section.

We cannot provide a decisive answer to this issue, since we cannot determine

• exactly when this Abü ~itim started bis da1wah activity in Tabaristi.n given the
present stage of our research. But this chronology still seems to fit Made1ung's
scheme that Abü ~itim spread the news of the advent of a messianic figure in the
year 316/928 but that the aftermath of the exposure of the false ~fahanï Mahdi in
the year 319/931 compelled him to abandon his followers in Tabaristin. In other
words there remains the possibility that al-Rizi might have been involved in
Qarma~an propaganda for the faIse Mahdi.
However, we still need to solve a different problem before we confirm the
possibility of al-RaZi's involvement in Qarm.a~anpropaganda. This is the problem
of the identification of the uAbü ~itim," who was Ghiyith's deputy, described as
well-versed in literature, and the UAbü ~itim" in Tabaristin, an issue which we

discussed in the last sub-section. That is to say, we need to take into consideration

• the possibility that there may really be two "Abü

account of Ni~im
~itims" distinguishable

al-Mulk. Which of these "Abü ijitims" then is the more

identifiable with our author al-Razi?W At the moment the following possibilities
in the

cannot be entirely excluded: that one of these IIAbü ~itims" can be identified
with our author; that neither of them can be; that they are one and the same
person and yet not our author; or that they refer to a single individual who is the
subject of our study. We cannot however say with any certainty which of these
opinions is the most likely, given the present study of our research.
There remains one more problem. Ni,im al-Mulk writes: "When they (i.e. the
Daylamis) saw that the time which he (Le. Abü ~itim) had predicted as the

~ The depiction of the first Abü ~itim" as a man of literature, might suggest his

identification with the author of Kirab a/-Zinab mentioned above on p. 23, which aIse deals with

• Arabie poetry. By contrast, is there any particular connection between this would-be author of
al-ZiaalJ and the di fi in Tabaristan except their common kurJya, Abilf:litim"?

Imam's advent had just passed, they said, 'fuis religion does not have any base...

• (~li na-Iarad in madbbab... ).",35 This passage suggests that the elapse of the
predicted time led to the discrediting of Abü ~itim among bis Daylamï followers.
But the fact is, according to Madelung, that a Mahdi did not arrive on the scene,
even though bis millennialist, antinomian reign lasted ooly a short period before
it was exposed as a fraude Thus Ni~ al-Mulk's account here does not accord
with Madelung's conclusion that after the Mahdi proved false, he fled from his

followers and hid himself. Which propagandist activity in Ni~im al-Mulk's account
relates to the event of the false Mahdi in Bahrayn? Is the account of al-Razi's
prediction in Tabaristin different from that of the Qarma~an leadership in Bahrayn?
We can only make reasoned guesses as to the answers to these questions because
of the paucity of historical sources available at this moment. But although al-Razi's
involvement in the Qarmalian movement seems plausible, there still remain

• questions concerning its nature and extent.

§2. Al-Razi's Works

In his Biobibliography of Isma 'ni Literature, 1. K. Poonawala cites five books as

comprising Abü l:Iatim al-Ra,zï' 5 oeuvre. They are Kîtab al-Zinab fi al-Ka1imàt
al-lslimiyah al- ' A12&iyalJ, Kità& a1-1#~, A 'lim al-NubüwalJ, Kitâb al-Raj'ah fi al-Radd

lala A,lJib al-Raj'ah , and K.ita& a/-Jami l fi al-PiqIJ.36 At the moment there is no

3S Nip.m al-Mulk, p. 267/p. 287 (English transI., p. 217).

36 Poonawala, Biobibliography, pp. 38-39. As for the last work, we have corrected
Poonawala's Kir.ab al-Jàmi' li Fiqh to read "Kilib al-Jimj' fi al-Fiqh " after consulting the
Il Il

follwing text: Ml$lmmad b. ijusayn al-Daylami, BayiQ Madbbab al-Bâpmyab wa-Bu~âni-bi, manqü1

min Kitib Qari 'id Al MIIIPmrrpd, 00. R. Strothmann (Istanbul, 1938), pp. 43,94, and aise in light of
the index of works dted in the text by its editor, p. 118: See also C. Brockelmann, Geschichte der
arabischen Litteratur, Supplemnet Bd. 1 (Leiden, 1937), p. 323). This work is the one Ibn al-Nadim

analysis available of the last two works, Ki,." al-Raj'ah and Al-.Tàmi'• other than

• that found in Poonawala's Biobibliography. Here we will therefore concentrate

first of all on lütab a/-ZinaIJ and its influence on later generations, then diseuss
A 'Jam , an important poiemicai work. Our investigation of al-I~l~ will be reserved

for a separate chapter.

Kitab al-Zinah is a lexicographical work which defines the terms used for the

attributes of God and in heresiography, !slamic rituaIs and Arabie poetry. Possibly
because of its more technical than specifically Ismi.'ill nature, Kitab al-Zinah was
the best known of all al-Razi's works among non-Ismi'ffi authors. The earliest of
the latter to realize its importance was the famous Ibn al-Nadim: we already
briefly diseussed bis citation of the work above.37 ather important Sunnï authors
who mention al-Zinab are TalaI al-Dm al-Suyü~ (d. 829/1427), and ~ajjï Kha]jfah,
known aIso as Kitib Çelebï (d. 1067/1657).38 Al-Suyü~ used the text of al-Zinah

• as a source for his study of foreign vocabulary in the Qur in.39 In addition, a

19th century Ithni'asharï author, M~ammad Biqir zayn al-Dïn I<hwinsiri (1811-
1895), mentions Abü I;fitim al-Rizi's name, citing al-Radd 'ala al-Qavrl bi-al-Raj'ab,

refers to, besides al-ZiIJaIJ, in his al-Fibds" calling it "Kitib aJ-Jimj,1I and adding the note: "in
which there is [the discussion of] jurisprudence and other[s]" (Ji-hi fiqh ln-ghayr dlWika). Ibn
al-Nadïm, al-Filuist, vol. 2: p. 189 Œnglish transI., vol. l, p. 472).
37 Ibn al-Naclim, al-Fibris" vol. 2: p. 189 Œnglish transI., vol. 1, p. 472). On Ibn al-Nadim's
mention of this work, see also above p. 24 in the present chapter. The three parts of al-Zinah have
been published in the following editions; fascicles 1 and 2 were edited by H. al-Hamdini (al-Qihirah,
1957-58); Fascicle 3, the part on terms of heresiography, was edited by 'A. S. al-Simarni'i in his
AI-Ohulüw wa-aJ-Firaq al-ohaliyab fi aJ-lfadinIJ aJ-Islamïyah (1972), pp. 248-312.

38 ijiiji IOWifah incorrectly attributes this work to Abü ~tim Salù b. MutJammad al-5ijistani
who, according to him, died in 250 AH. See ijijjî Khalifah, Kuhf al-~UlJÜIJ 'u "ami al-Kutub
wa-al-FunÜIJ, vol. 2 Ostanbul,1362A.H./1943C.E.), p. 1323. AI-5uyüli's works are: al-Mucnnkkùi
<Dimashq, 1348A.H.), pp. 8-9; idem., al-Ilqin fi 'U1üm aJ-Qur'in (al-Qihirah, 1370A.H./1951C.E.),
pp. 138-39.
39 Al-5uyil1i abridges al-Rizi's explanations of words such as"al-~r:i~" (path) and "al-
rabbamyüa wa-rabbiyülJ" (rabbis): accarding to al-SuYÜ\i, al-Razi ascribed the origin of the former

• ward to Greek Oughal al-RÜID), and that of the latter ta 5yriac. AI-Suyù~, al-MuravvakJrjJj, pp. 8-9;
idem. al-Irq an, pp. 138-39.

very likely the same work as the above-mentioned Kirab al-Raj'ah fi al-Radd tala

• A~~ al-Raj'ah, and aJ-ZùJaIJ. quoting the latter's definition of the word "Shi'ah.,,40
Al-ZùJab is aIso mentioned by severa! of al-RâZi's fellow ISIl\i.'ïlï authors, such

as Idris 'Imid al-Oïn (d. 872/1468) and the compiler of a famous Ismâ'ili
bibliography, Ismi.'D b. «Abd al-Rasiil, known as Majdü' (d. 1183 or 1184/1769-70).41
According to Idris, the second Fi\imid Caliph, al-Qi'im, sent his son and eventual
successor, al-MaIlfür, a copy of al-ZÜJah part by part, and ordered him. to teach
the di 'is the text one section at a time. The authenticity of this report is, however,
questionable, both because of the distance between Mahdiyah, the Fà~d capital
of the time, and Iran, and because of a possible doctrinal conflict between the
Fapmids and thinkers like al-Rizï who, as we saw, may have been involved in the
Qarma1Ïan movement.42
In addition to its being weil known among both Ismi.'ilis and non-Ismililis,.

• al-ZÛJaIJ shows a wide range of influences, containing as it does quotations from

sources in such genres as ~wwuf or ~üfism, Arabie linguistics, Prophetie traditions
and Greek philosophy.43 This ref1ects al-Rizï's extensive knowledge in the fields

Khwinsiri, Rawf.ïl al-Jazmil 6AfJwil ~-' UIUDi' wa-aI-Sidit <Tihran, 1390-1392A.H./1970-


19ne.E.), vol. 1, p. 323.

"1 Idris 'Imid al-Oin, 'UyUrJ aI-Akhbâr wa-FWJIÏlI aI-Afbir (Bayrut, 1973),00. M. Ghâlib, vol.
5, pp. 167-70; Majdü', Fabruat aI-Kutub wa-al-Rasà'il wa-li-man biya min al-'u/ami' wa-al-a 'immah
wa-al·,fJudüd wa-aI-afi.~, 00. 'A. -T. MunzaWi (Tihrill, 1344A.HS./1966C.E.), pp. 74-75.

.Q Cf.: Halm, ,.Abü l:iitem Rizi," p. 315; A. Hamdani ,"Kirab az-ZiDah of Abil fJitim,"
Actes du XXIe congrès internatioruzl des orientalistes (paris, 1949), pp. 291-94. But if a1-RâZi established
intelleetual contacts with the thinkers working for the Fi~imid court and developed some pro-~\Îmid
tendencies, the authenticity of this episode would have some validity. The possibility of such
contacts will be discussed below in chapter 8. §1: aise d. chapter 6, p. 201, below.
43 On the variety of authors quoted in al-ZiDa4 see P. E. Walker, Early Philosophica[
5hiism. p. 50. According ta B. Radtke, moreover, one of the earliest quotations of the early
influential I<hunisanian ~üfï theosophical thinker, al-l:iakimal·Tinnidhi, is to be found in al-Zinab.

B. Radtke. '~inleitung," in al-I:fakim al-Tirmidhi, Drei Schriften des Theosophen von Tirmii- Das
Buch vom Leben der Gottesfreunde;Ein Antwortschreiben nach Sara!Js; Ein Antwortschreiben nach Rayy,
00. and transi. by B. Radtke, pt. 1 (Beirut, 1992), p. 36. The passage is found in aI-Zinah, fascicle. 2

of knowledge of the philology of both Islamic and non-Islamic philology." It is

• this breadth. of leaming, furthermore, which bas drawn the attention of non-Isma cm
Muslim scholars to the text, given its value as a source for many branches of the
re1igious sciences.
A 'lam al-Nubüwab on the other hand is al-Râzi's record of the doctrinal debate

between him and the renowned physidan-philosopher, Abü Bakr al-Razï (Rhazes)
on the subject of prophecy and its validity as a source of true knowledge, as
mentioned above in chapter one. Rhazes is quoted and attacked in A 'lâm as a
"heretic" (aJ-mullJiJ).45 Rejecting the latter's assertions on the basis of the 5hï'i
concepts of nubüwaIJ and imàmab. , al-Rizï argues for the validity of the teachings
of prophets and imams as the sole source of true knowledge. 46 In the first part of
A 'lam especially, al-RiZi quotes and criticizes Rhazes's philosophical doctrines,

for instance, his cosmological-ontological principle of the "five eternals" (al-qudama'

• al-khamsalJ ) and bis cosmogonical myth of the faIl of Soul into Matter, etc.47
Moreover, in bis criticism of Greek philosophy in general, al-Ràzï quotes the

(al-Qihirah, 1958), p. 8.
~ Also there is the possibility that al-Rizi's description in al-ZinaIJ of these issues reflects
bis contemporary religious and intellectual milieu common to Muslims and non-Muslims. This is
suggested by G. Vajda, "Les lettres et les sons de la langue arabe d'après Abii ~itim al-Razi,"
Arabica 8 (1961), pp. 113-30, especially, pp. 124-26. In this article Vajda compares al-Rin'S view of
the Arabie alphabet with the linguistic views expressed in the commentary by a 4th/lDth century
philosopher, Dünash b. Jamim, on an anonymous Jewish mystical treatise, Sefer Ye#rih, in terms
of their respective notions of the cosmogonicai roles of alphabets, suggesting a common ground
for Gnostic thought.
This text was edited and published as: A 'làm aJ-Nu6üwalJ, 00. with introduction by ~.

al-~wi and Gh.-R. A 'wiIi, and English preface by S. f:f. N~r (Tihrin, 1917).

46 For an overview of the debate between the two Râzis, see: L. E. Goodman, "al-Rizi,
Abü Bakr MuJ:1ammad b. Zakariyi."; P. I<raus and S. Pines, "al-Ran, Abü Bakr Mul}ammad b.
ZakaIiyi."; M. Mohaghegh, "Notes on the "Spiritual Physiek" of al-Ran," Stlldia Islamica 26 (1967):
pp. 5-22; idem., ''Razi's Kiti.6 al-'Dm al-Hibi and the Five Etemals," Abr-Nahrain 13 (1973): pp.
16-23; A. Shamsuddin Talbani, "The Debate about Prophecy." Also cf. the following translation

of parts hom A 'Jim on prophecy: F. Brion, "Philosophie et révélation," pp. 134-62.
47 This part is found in pp. 3-28 of the al-~iWi-A'wini edition.

teachings attributed to, or rather freely concocted in the name of, philosophers

• ranging from pre-Socratics to Late He1lenistic Neoplatonism. 48 In this sense,

A 'Jam shows us how in the 4th/IOth century Greek thought had already been

received into the intellectual milieu of Islamic society.

This debate is reported also by ~d al-Dîn al-Kïrmini in bis work al-Aqwil

al-DIJalJabiyah, a polemical work criticizing Abü Bakr al-Rizï's theory of soul and

intellect. Al-Kirmâtû mentions that the debate was held in the presence of Maniawïj
himself (li...lJadrati-bi ).49 Just as it had come under attack from Abü I:fatim
al-RaZi and al-I<îrmi.ni, Abu Bakr al-Rizi's philosophy gave rise to counter-polemics

from Isma'ïli critics of later generations as well, such as the commentator on the
qa,idah of Abü al-Haytham al-Jurjinï who may have heen identified as Mu~ammad
b. Surkh NishipiiIi (fi. Sth/llth century), and the great poet-philosopher, N~ir-i
Khusraw (d. between 465/1075 and 498/1104).50

• However, in the passages attacking Rhazes penned by the latter two Iranian
thinkers, there is no mention at all of the name of Abü Hâtim al-Rizi. 51 Nor is

48 These are the characteristics of a genre of Iiterature called doxography. For indentification
of those sayings "quoted" byal-Rizi hom Greek philosophers, see U. Rudolph, Die Doxographie,
pp. 11-17, 23-32: in the latter study, U. Rudolph identifies the source of those sayings as the
anonymous doxographical text Kitab AmürJiyür fi Ani al-Falùüa1J, which he believes was composee!
in the middle of the 3rd/9th century.
49 Al-Kirmini writes that the debate which IItook place between him (Le. Abü Bakr) and
al-shaykh Abü ~itim al-Rizï, the leader of the mission <,à.fib al-da 'wall) about prophecy and the
rites of revelationallaw (al-lIJalJÜik al-sbar'iya1V." A1-Kïrmini ,al-Aqri1 al-DbababïyalJ, ecI. ~. al-~wi
(1UU'in, 1397A.H./1977C.E.), pp. 2-3. See also S. H. Nasr, "Introduction,1I in Al-Kinnàni, al-AqwiJ
al-Zhababiyab, in the edition just dted above, pp. 2-4 and Poonawala, Biobibliography, p. 36. O. A.
5hamsuddin Talbani, 'The Debate about Prophecy," p. 25.

50 See Poonawala, Biobiblography, pp. 111-12. On the polemics of these two thinkers, see
H. Corbin, IIIntroduction et esquisse comparative," pp. 64-73; idem, ''Étude préliminaire," , pp.

51 Passages critical of Rhazes are to be founel in: Nqi r-i I<husraw, ICitib-i Jjmj' al-~ibmatayn,
pp. 126, 137f., 213; idem, Zid al-MuAfirin, ed. M. B. al-~n (Berlin, 1341A.H./1923C.E.), pp.

• 73, 77-83, 84f., 88f., 92-96, 114f., 116f.; Mul}arnmad b. Surkh Nishipüri (?), Sbu1)-i Q&1ïda4 pp.

any trace of al-Rizï to be detected in their words, not even when ~ir-i Khusraw

• turns to the subject of prophecy.S2 Thus, the only noticeable response to al-Razï's
A'lâm is to be found in f:lamid al-Din al-!<irmini's al-Aqlril al-Dmbabiya1J. In this

text al-KïrmiJü reproduœs from A 'lim the passage from the debate on the neœssity
of having a teacher or uguide" in the quest for knowledge.53 In addition al-Kirminï
states that he intends to "answer" (ujibu, "1 answer") aIl the points al-Razï
IIneglected" (alunala) in bis discussion.54

The suggestion that the only direct response to A 'lim is found in al- Kirminï' s
al-Aqri1 al-Dhababiyah but not in the anti-Rhazian polemics of other authors

raises a question concerning the place of al-Rizï in the history of Ismi'ili thought
How much influence did al-Razi exert on later generations of Ismi.'ilis? An
analysis of both texts, the al-Aqwâl al-Dhababiyah and Kitib al-Riyi~, in which

al-I<ïrmini quotes al-Razi extensively, might shed light on the issue of al-Razï's

• place in intellectual history, and on the extent to which al-Kirmini utilized al-Razi's
thought to formulate bis philosophical and theological paradigms, whether as
source-material or as provider of sorne insights. 5ince this problem would take

52 Nifir-i Khusraw, Kiûf)-i Jimi' al-(ükmataya, p. 137f. <French transI. by 1. de Gastines as

Nisir~ Khosraw, Le Livre réunissant les deux sagesses (KilÜ-e Jimi'a1-Hikmata~ (Paris, 1990), p.
156f.); idem, Zàd al-MuAruinr p. 78. In Zàd ~r-i Khusraw attacks Rhazes' rejection of prophecy,
asserting its authentiàty and the taw~d or unity of God, while in Jami' al-Hilcmataya he reports
that Rhazes held that the revelation to prophets should be ascribed to the whisperings of a
demon (diw). Thus no notable influence from A 'lcim can he found in either passage. In the same
passage of Jimi' al-HiJcmatayn, he mentions that in bis now lost work, BusWJ al-'U'lW, he presents
his criticism of Rhazes's attack on prophecy. Thus at present it is not fully po~sible to investigate
the influence of A 'làllunNa,ïr-i Khusraw's critiosm of Rhazes. O. H. Corbin, "Etude préliminaire,"

53 The passage from al-~iwi's edition of al-I<irmï.nï, al-A'lwi1 al-Dhahabiyab, extending

from p. 10, 1. 1 to p. 14, 1. 16, is almost a verbatim version of the text in the printed edition of
A '~ from p. 3, L 3 to p. 7, ,. 16.

54 Al-I<irmini otes the issues which al-Rizi "neglected" such as singling out of the prophets
for their excellence in comparison to the worldly people (ta1dJJ;, al-anbiyi' min bayua al-'ilamiyin
bi-al-fa!lSiah) and their priority over the latter (taqQUDu-bum 'alay-JUm). Al-Kirmàni, al-Aqril al-

• Dhahabiyab, p. 15. However, since these issues are actually discussed in A'IaD4 al-I<irmini may
have felt the necessity to elaborate on them further.

us beyond the scope of our present study, it must be reserved for future study.


• The Text of al-lsliih
• •

§1. The Text of .1-1,li~ in the Hamdani and

Tübingen Manuscripts, and the Printed Edition

§l-l. Introductory Remarks to the Text of al-l,lj~

The text of al-/~l~ deals with various topics which may roughly be divided
into those having a philosophical theme, such as psychology and physics, and
those related to the theme of prophecy. The topics discussed under the heading

• of prophecy include: interpretations of the history or narratives of the prophets,

based mainly on the Qur'an; discussion of the scheme of sacred history directed
toward salvation; and the prophets' encounters with angelic beings. Onlyabout
one-ninth of the text is devoted to philosophical themes per se, 50 that prophecy is
the dominant focus of the work. In addition to these two main themes we might
mention the separate issue of the ethics of the administration of the hierarchical
organization. The discussion on topics relating to prophecy takes the form of
conunentary on or interpretation of the Qur'inic verses dealing with the history
of the prophets. 1
Another point to be remarked in the text of al-I~Ià.fJ is how the author introduces

1 Two eontemporaneous texts, Asù al-Ta 'ri of a1-<Ji~ al-Nu 'min and Sara'u a]-Nu!&9&'
of }a'far b. Ma~r al-Yaman, interpret the history of the prophets using a sirnilar format. Cf.

• ehapter 1, p. 14 above. This topie will he revisited by citing some examples below in §2-2 of the
present ehapter.

the daims of his opponent. At the beginning of part two of the text, al-Rizi

• dedares bis intention ta begin with "correction of the fault[s] occurring in the

book" e'wa-al-ina nabtadi'u fi l~l~ mi waqa la min al-ghaJal fi al-kîti6.. ."), thus

indicating the object of his critidsm Cf. 9r., IL 14-15/f. IOr., 1. 2/p. 23).2 In the
text, many sections (sg. fa.11) and sorne chapters (sg. bib) start with the formula
lias for the statement on that..." ("amm i al-flawl 6 anna..."). By this formula

al-RaZi introduces the particular statements of an opponent, which he then refutes

in a ~l following those statements. This constitutes one of the standard formats

in the arrangement of the text of al-I~li.fJ .
Although neither the name of the opponent nor the title of the work attacked is
identified in al-I~liJ),3 we can safely ascribe the above-mentioned "statements"
to the Kirab al-M~ül of al-Nasafi (or al-Nakhshabi) on the basis of the following
considerations. Without naming its author, for instance, al-I<irmanï in his al-Riyi~

• quotes various passages from al-M~ül which al-RiZï quotes again and refutes in
the part on philosophical issues and in his chapter on the prophethood of Adam.
As for the identification of such "statements" in other parts, there is indirect
evidence as to their source bath inside al-l~liJ) a~d outside it.4 It should aIso be

2 Hereafter, in dting from the text of al-l~J~ , the folio number of the Hamdani manusaipt
is referred te first, that of the Tübingen manuscript second, and the page nurnber of the printed
edition third. AIso hereafter any line referred to in the two MSS or the printed edition is designated
by the abbreviation 1. (plural Il.).

3 Cf. P. E. Walker, Early Phz1osophical 5hiism, p. 52 and p. 171, n. 27.

4 In the text al-Nasafi is referred to ooly as the "author of al-M~ûl " (~i.fJib al-~ûl ),
whereas in the introduction al-Kirmirü names the author of al-l,I~ and that of al-Nu,rah as
"al-Shaykh Abü ~itim al-Rizi" and "a l-Shaykh Abü Ya1qüb al-SijiZi." See al-Kirmini, aJ-Riyi;, p.
49, and passim. Also, it is to be remarked that when a1-Kirmini quotes al-l,Ij,fJ, it seems that he is
not always very faithful to al-Rizi's text: one encounters the omission of sorne lines, changes of
wording, and sorne re-phrasing of al-I,l~ in the corresponding passage in al-Riyi!l Compare, for
example, p. 164,1.9- p. 165,1.8 of al-Riyi!l with f. 23r., 1. 11/f.23r., 1. 8/p. 50,1.4- f. 26r., 1. 11/f.
26r., 1. 4/p. 56,1. 1. This problem in al-I<irmini's quotation from al-Razi might be ascribed to the
former's "summarization" of the latter and/or sorne alteration attributable to sorne unknown

• intention on the part of al-I<irmini. However, we should reserve any judgment on this matter at
this stage of our research, mainly because a thorough comparison of these two texts would fall

pointed out that al-Nasaf'j's authorship of al-M~ül can be eonfirmed in non-Isma'ïlï

• as weIl as Ismâ 'ïli sources.5

However, as will be seen in §2 below, sorne sections do not follow the above
format of exposition and refutation, but feature instead narrative of history of the
prophets which in most cases takes the form of Qur'inic commentary.6 Thus
the work itself can be regarded as a sort of "mixture" of not on!y the history of
the prophets and philosophical discussion, but also polemies dealing with these
two fields. This aspect of the text may give readers the impression that it is
somewhat loosely composed rather than coherently and systematically arranged.
There are certain other features that reinforce the above impression. Identieal
topies with commentary on the same Qur'inic verses are repeatedly reintrodueed
at several points in the text? This 11oose" arrangement of subjeet matter and its

outside the scope of our present study: this would provide a useful theme of future study of

• al-I<irmâni.

5 For identification of the authorship of al-Ma.fqü1 with a1-Nasafi.. see for example, Nisir-i
Khusraw as an ISIllà'w witness to it (Khri12 al-lüritJ, ed. Y. al-Khashshib (al-Qihirah,
1359AH./194DC.E.), p. 112 and the same author's Jâmi' aJ-8iJanatayn , p. 171, where "Shaykh
al-NajiShi" cited in the latter as the author of al-M~ü1 should be corrected to read "Shaykh
al-Nakhshabi," his mshab in Persian fonn). Al-Baghdidion the other hand provides a non-Ismi'ili,
rather hostile Sunni heresiographer's witness (al-Fuq baya al-Firaq, pp. 283 and 293-94). We owe
these references to Poonawala, Biobibliography, pp. 41-43. For further references to citations and
quotations of al-M~ül, see Walker, Early Philosophical Shiism, p. 169, n. 58. W.lvanow casts some
doubt on al-Nasafi's authorsbip of aJ-MafJ,ü1 , since bis name and the name of the book are not
mentioned in al-l,lâfJ and al-Riyi~ W. Ivanow, Studies, p. 89. However, in the present dissertation,
we follow the opinion on this matter of present-day mainstream scholarsbip represented by, for
example, Poonawala and Walker.
6 For example, see: the very beginning segment of the text which discusses the moral
conduct of the di 'i s; a long segment in part two of the text on the Unarratives of prophets such as
David, Salomon, and others" ('li,~ al-UJhiyi' IlÛn Di 'üd wa-Sulaymjn wa-gbayri-himi); and a chapter
entitled lIon the story of Job -Peaœ upon him!- " (Bib fi q#,at A'y'yüb 'alay-hi al-saJim) toward the
end of the text (for references to these three portions, see, below on pp. 58-60 and 64 respectively
in the table of contents in the present chapter).
7 For example, see rePeated interpretation of Jesus' resembling Adam (Q 3: 59); Mary's
pointing to Jesus in the cradle (Q 19: 29) ; Jonah's being swaUowed in the fish (Q 37: 140-145) ; and
the story of Solomon, the "ant" and the Queen of Sheba (Q 27: 16 and 24 ete.) (for references to

these examples, see below pp. 59 and 62-63 in the table of contents in the present chapter: and d .
§2-2, especially, below, pp. 66-68, in the present chapter).

organization in the text may nevertheless provide us with sorne clues to the

• formation of the text itself. For example, the text might have had its origin in a
series of '"'lecture notes."s However, the solution to fuis problem must be left for
future research.
Another problem related to the organization of the text is that of the transmission
of the text or Us manuscript tradition. The formation of the text as we now have
it, must inevitably have been influenced by its transmission in manuscript forme
The problem that we face in this regard, as will be seen in the sub-section following
the next, is that the text lacks bath its beginning and ending, as weil as certain
portions from the body of the texte The text has thus survived only in an incomplete
state. Moreover, the defective quality of its transmission is reflected in sorne
philological problems which can be observed in severa! passages.9 Consequently
our study of a1-1~1â.fJ will inevitably be of a somewhat preliminary nature, certain

• questions having to await the discovery of a complete version of the text or of

fragments hitherto unknown. These points mus t be borne in mind when
undertaking a thorough, text-based analysis of the topics in a1-1~1â.fJ.
As a background to our analysis of the text, this chapter will first describe the

two manuscripts of the work in the Hamdani and Tübingen collections, and then
compare them with the printed edition, which is based on three other manuscripts
(See §1-3 below). It will be seen from our examination that all surviving manuscripts

8 This was suggested to us by Professer Hermann Landolt. We might also consider the
possibility that the polemical material and the '1ecture notes" as such may have been combined
by the Ismi"His of a later generation or in the course of the transmission of the texte
9 For a discussion of these passages, see, for example: p. 161, n. 78 in chapter 5 (on f. 82r.,
Il. 9-10/f. 8lv., 1. 12/p. 166, ,. 1: the passage has several variants which make it difficult to
determine the correct reading); and pp. 291-92., n. 22 (on f. 46r., 1. 10/f. 45., L 3/p. 93f., ,. 7 and
132v., 1. 1 If. 131 v., 1. Il/p. 260: although these two passages discuss the same topie with the same
Qur'inic verse, they have wordings oddly different from each other ) and p. 293, n. 24 (on f.46v.,

1. 6/f. 45r., 1. 17/p. 94, 1. 5 and f. 133v., 1. 2/f. 132v., ,. Il/p. 262, 1.6: for the same reason as the
previous case) in chapter 8 of the present dissertation, below.

of a1-1,1~ have come down to us in an imperfect state, lacking in each case (and

• to a greater or lesser extent) its beginning and end. Moreover, sorne of the
manuscripts seem to lad< internaI portions of the text. We will aise attempt to
shed light on the formation of the Hamdani and Tübingen MSS. with additional
reference to the newly published printed edition. Finally, we will present an
analytical table of contents of the different versions and offer sorne general remarks
on them, in order to base our textual analysis on firm foundations.

§1-2. A Description of the Two Manuscripts

The Hamdani manuscript, which will be referred to in the following as MS.

Ham., consists of 169 folios, and is written in clear nukbi script. The handwriting
of the manuscript appears to resemble that of the unique manuscript of al-Sijistini's

• Kiti.b al-Maqilid which is aIso preserved in the Hamdani collection in Milwaukee,

Wisconsin. lo Each page has 16 lines (without exception) and bears a page number.
The first page of the text Cf. Iv.) is numbered page "1" and the last (f. 169r.)
numbered page "338." The folio 1 recto of MS. Ham., serves as the title page for
the manuscript: here we find the title given with the name of its author as Kitib
a1-Ifl~ li-sayyjdi-ni Abi ijitim al-Rizi. AIso on the title page there is a short note

by a former owner which reads as follows:

10 AI-5ijistini, Kimb al-Maqilid (Hamdani MS., Milwaukee, Wis.). Again 1 would like to
express here my heartfelt thanks ta: Professor A. Hamdani of the University of Wisconsin at
Milwaukee for generously granting me permission to use the precious manuscript of al-Maqilid
in bis possession, and Professor Hermann Landolt, my sUPervisor at McGill University, Montréal,
for kindly permitting me to reproduce of bis photocopy of the manuscript. On the text of Kirab

al-Maqilid and its unique manuscript, see 1. K. Poonawala, "AI-5ijislini and His Kimb al-Maq;Uid"
in Essays on Islamie Civilization: Presented to Niyazi Berkes, 00. O. P. Little (Leiden, 1976), pp. 274-83.

" , . ~.J~~I&..J 'V ~ 'fYA~~~JI~jL:..~~U~IJ...~JI

• .j.,-J'! 'JI ~ ( 1.lS) Y9~

("This book has come, thanks to the most Exalted and His favor, into the
possession of the humblest one, Tihir b. Sayyidi MuJ.1ammad-' Ali (?) al-Hamdini
as a second (possessor) without any dispute or conflict [in] the year 1328 on
Rabi' al~khar 17th/ [in] the year 1910 on April 26 (sic.)l1.")

The nisbah of the owner cited in the above quotation indicates that he was a
member of the Hamdani family, which is prominent in the Di 'üdï community in
India. This community is a branch of the Tayyibi Ismâ'ïus, i.e the heirs of the
Fa~d interpretation of Isma.'îlism. 12 This individual may therefore have obtained

the manuscript for his family library. The fact that it was in the possession of a
member of the Hamdani family makes it likely that the manuscript is of Indian

• There is aiso an octagonal stamp written in Arabic script which is so illegible

that only three names ''M~ammad,'' U'Ali" and "Hamdinï," can barely be
identified. This further confirms the ownership by the Hamdani family of the
manuscript. AIso there is another stamp written in Latin script which reads:
'~ohsin T. H. AI-Ramdani. B. A. H. T. Ouowid. (...)para.13 Surat." This apparently
denotes another member of the Hamdani family who was in possession of the
manuscript. As this manuscript lacks an ending , and hence a colophon, the

11 In fact the date corresponding ta "the year 1328 on Rabi' al-ikhar 17th" is April 29th,
1910. Cf. F. R. Unat, Hicri Tahùrleri Milâdî Tarihe Çeuinne Kilavuzu (Ankara, 1940; reprint, Ankara,
1994), p. 90.
12 This community was split into the Di'üdi and 5ulaymani wings in the late 10th/16th
century. For a survey of the developments of the Musta'lian Ismi'w communities, see F. Daftary,
"Musta'lian Isma'ïlism," a chapter from bis The /stü'üis, pp. 256-323.

13The first few letters of tlùs word are illegible. This ward can be read as "Nurpara," in a
second instance of this stamp appearing on the next to last page.

name of the copyist and the date of transcription remain unknown. 14

• The Tübingen manuscript, which will hereafter be referred to as MS. Tüb.,

consists of 167 folios, written in clear nukJü script. Each page has 17 lines on
average and is numbered. It would appear that the text is rubricated (we were
working with a microfilm reproduction) where the f~l (ilsection"), bib (ilchapter")
and juz' (Upart") headings are written. The first page of the text (f. Iv.) is numbered
page "2" and the last page (f. 167r.) 11333." In addition, there is one fly-leaf
preceding the first folio.
At the top of fly-leaf recto of Tüb. MS the title of the work is given as Kifj,b
al-l~lâ.tJ with accurate vowel marks. There is also the collection number which
reads ....iJf\ \ r. Below the number we can observe an oval-shaped stamp which
reads (in Latin script) "MADRASAH-l-HAKIMlYA LffiRARY, BURHANPUR"
This denotes the possible Indian provenance of the manuscript as well and one of

• the institutions which had preserved the manuscript before the University of
Tübingen aequired it.15 This stamp appears on the other side of the same leaf.
At the top of the title page of the MS. Tüb. (f. Ir.) there is an octagonal-shaped
stamp which reads as follows: ~ ~Ua.L..... ')L. ~ ~ Ja.il;.1 ~ 1~ 1~~ ~.J
(Al-~~ Tayyib b. Mulli Sul~n-lAli donated [this book] ta the cause of the
5upreme Gad). This is followed by the Arabie numerais ,y Af (1284). We can
interpret this stamp to mean that this manuscript once formed a part of waqE
(religious endowment), possibly belonging to the Tayyibi family, although exactly

The name of the copyist of the unique manuscript of aJ-Maqilid may be read in the
colophon as 'Isi ibn al-Shaykh al-Fi~l Di 'udbhi'i ibn al-Shaykh al-Fi~l IAbd al- 'Ali ibn al-I:fadd
Oadd?) al-'Allimah Sayyidi Ibrahimj Sayfi. He could be the same copyist as the one responsible
for MS. Ham. For the reading of the colophon, we consulted: 1. K. Poonawala, "AI-5ijistini and
His /üœb aI-MatlàJid, " p. 280.

15On the previous ownership of this manuscript before the University of Tübingen
acquired it, see also Poonawala, Biobibliography, p. 38.

which branch of the family cannot be determined. The number may denote the

• min year when the manuscript came into the possession of the w:aqf. 16 Below the
stamp there is a note in handwriting, which reads the same as the above stamp
but which lacks the number. Below this note there is stamp which can be read as:
(!) J~(;, (!) (,1*'--:. > ~ \ . "'" (M~ammad 'Ali lJasanjï (?) NikyUr (?) ).

This records the name of another owner of the manuscript. Below this note the
tiUe of the text is given as Kitàb al-l#afJ without the name of its author. 17 Below
the title we can see the same octagonal stamp on the left side and the oval-shaped
stainp IlMADRASAH-l-HAI<IMIYA UBRARY..." on the right sicle.
There is likewise no colophon on the last page of the MS. Tüb. For this reason,
we have no information as to the name of the copyist and the date of transcription.
However, the repeated appearance of the aforementioned W2ilf stamp bearing the
number 1284 suggests that this was the hiiri year of its dona tion, providing as

• with a date ante quem for its production.

The script in MS. Ham. is a model of clarity. In most cases the copyist follows
the modern orthography of Arabic faithfully.18 As for the orthographie

16 The year 1284 A.H. corresponds to the period from May 5th, 1867 C.E., ta April 23rd,
1868 c.E. F. R. Unat, Hicrî Tanhleri , p. 86f.

17 The name of the author is mentioned on the first page of the text in conjunction with
the title, thus: Kiû& al-l#afJ li-sayyidi-na Abi Ifatim a/-Raz;.
18 Nevertheless, the manuscrïpt still has orthographie idiosYncrasies and peculiarities.
For example, there are several misquotations from the Qur'in: on them, see pp. 44-45 in the
present chapter below. Also, the copyist spells the name Zoroaster (Zardusht> in a quite a variety
of ways between f. 78r. and f.8Or. such as:~~.J (f. 78r.l. 13);";"':J~.J~ (f. 7Br.l. 14);~.Jj (f. 78v.l.
6); ~.J~ (f. 78v.l. 14); ~.,; (f. 79r.l. 2) ;~.JJ (f. BOr. li. 3 and 8);~.J.J (f. BOr. 1. 4). 5imilar
errors abound in MS. Tüb. , where the copyist sPells the name in four different ways, viz.: ~~.J (f.
77. 1. 10); ..;.;S.Jj.)~ (f.77v. 1. 11); ..:-:....J~ (f. i'8r. Il. 3 and 12; f.79v. U. 3 and 7); ~ (in the margin
beside 1.4, f. 79v). These many "misspellings" lead us to question the copyjsts' understanding of

the background in the subjects discussed in the texte Nevertheless, there is a POssibility that the
exemplars which they copied from already contained corrupted spellings of the name Zoroaster.

characteristics of MS. Tüb., one trait which is frequently observed is the replacement

• of hamzah with other letters, a practice which does not take place very often in
MS. Ham. For example, we can observe replacement of bamzah with yi in the
following instances: ~U> for ~l..i> Ce.g. f. Iv. 1. 16); ~.JlJlfor ~.J~I; ~~I for
~~ 1(f. ISr. 1. 7). This indicates some Persian influence and perhaps a Persian

or Indo-Persian copyist. AIso the bamzah ending of the word c ~ is often changed
to w:iw, and is therefore spelled J~ at the outset of each new part Cf. 63r., f. 99v.,
and f. 156r., 1. 10),19 whereas the copyist of MS. Ham. is more strict in retaining
hamzah in the spelling of fuis and other words. This practice is another example
of Persian influence.
In addition, in MS. Tüb. rà marbü~ is occasionally written with 0 -, as though
it were the silent hë in Persian, although only in rare instances. Thus, the technical
term ~..J'11 ('"'four-ness,,)20 is spelled ~..J'11 Cf. lOIr., 1. 3). This spelling is not

• found in MS. Ham., a fact which tends to confirm. our suspicion that the copyist
of MS. Ham. had more of an Arab background because of his relatively rigid
respect for Arabic orthography than did the copyist of Tüb. MS, who demonstrates
a more Persian-influenced background.
The next point that we will deal with here is how the two copyists respectively
quote Qur'inic verses in the manuscripts. For example, the interrogative phrase
;.;U-I Lo in the verses Q 69: 2-3 is spelled ;.; u. L. in f. 63r. 1. 3 of MS. Tüb., while

In the MS. Tüb., where the ending of the "fifth chapter" is dec1ared (tamma al-juz'
al-juz' is spe11ed ~I (f.l56r. 1.8). The omission of bamzah can also he found on the
following pages of Tüb. MS: ~ t..: is spelled W (e.g. f. I58v.l. 2); ~U"'ll is SPelled U"'ll (e.g. f. 158.1.5
and passim); ~ UI is spelled UI (eg. f. 51r. 1. 10: this is also spelled as UI on the same page 1. 11).
However, this spelling is not the "rule" in the MS. Tüb., since the hamzah is occasionally spelled
in accordance with correct orthography, as seen in the case of ~ I~I (passim in f. 13r., f. 14v., f. 2Ov.
etc.), and that of ~ I.S.J.I (for example, f. 17r.).

• 20 This term will he discussed in chapter 4, §4, below.


MS. Ham. retains the standard spelling in f. 64r.I. 6. Similarly, another interrogative

• phrase ~JWI L. in verses Q 101: 2-3 is spelled inf. 63r.,I. 4 of MS. Tüb. ~JLiJ L"
while in f. 64r. 1. 7 of MS. Ham. the correct spelling is maintained. Quoting verse
Q 19: 6 furthermore on f. 116v. L S, MS. Ham. drops the word Y..>=; '.! from Ji
y J-; '!. Another example of mistakes in Qur'i.nic citation in MS. Ham. can be
found in the case of verse Q 53: 13, where .L-Ü.J is spelled ,.,J.J. Another is an
example of misquotation of the same verse Q 34: 14 in both two manuscripts. On
f. 146v. 1,5 of MS. Ham. the copyist writes 4,il-.:..o instead of 4,il-:.o of the original.
In MS. Tüb. it is spelled4,iL-.. ~. These mistakes in Qur'inic quotation suggest
the possibility that neither copyist was in fact a ~aJi?

§1-3. The Two Manuscripts in Comparison with the Printed Edition

. .
of al-lslah.

• Much can be leamed as weIl from how the two different manuscripts and the
printed edition of al-l#~ treat the beginning and ending of the text. The peculiar
beginning and the ending of al-l~liQ in its extant form as seen through the

Hamdani and Tübingen manuscripts and the printed edition give an incomplete
appearance to the text as a whole. Furthermore, each of the two manuscripts has
a different beginning and ending, which in turn differs from the opening and
closing words of the printed edition.
In f. Iv. of MS. Ham. the text begins abruptly with a quotation from the Qur'in
(verses Q 24: 27-29), ie., without the usual humalahand other introductory formulae
such as ammi ha 'du (/land now then..."). AIso it should be remarked that the
copyist of the manuscript begins the quotation of these verses after leaving the

preceding space (equivalent to five lines) blank. The exemplar which the copyist

used may therefore likewise have lacked the beginning and contained the same

• blank space in its stead.

MS. Tüb. resembles MS. Ham. in beginning abruptly on f. Iv. by quoting the
Qur1â.nic verses Q 24: 27-29, again without bumalah. This is further confinnation
of the possibility that the texts of a1-#1~ were already defective at an early
period. The copyist of MS. Tüb. however does not leave any blank space preceding
the quotation of the Qur1inic verses. These different versions of the beginning of
the text in MS. Tüb. and MS. Ham. suggest the possibility that the exemplars of
the two manuscrïpts had different beginnings, one with a blank space and the
other without one. If this is correct, the two manuscripts may represent independent
transmissions. However, this suggestion is only conjectural.
Towards the ending of the text MS. Ham. contains a small blank space one and
a third lines in length occurring on the second to last page Cf. 168v., Ll. 14-15).

• The last line preceding this blank is evidently incomplete. This sentence reads:
J- Ï2! ' Re ft aJl ~~I l.a C.,..:, ~ J.".iJ1 ([His] statement in commenting upon this
weak chapter (or field) becomes narrow... ).21 After the blank space, which extends
from the bottom of the second to last page to the beginning of the last, there is a
list of tapics which may have been the headings far sections in al-Nasafî's work,
cited as fallows:

~LS 4,j1 ~I.J .;S: ~J ~ LiJa;J1 ~L,;. ~ ~lS ~I 2l( ] JJJJI 1»' ~ ~ ( ]
~ Ja.liJ1 ~ ~r: L.o .J ~I~I ';L.., ~.J 'JI ~ ~ ~I .J ~ l..ikJ1 ~IJ ~

21 Preceding this ineomplete sentence or phrase there are four Prophetie traditions quoted.
However, the beginning of the phrase wa-al-qawl" is al-Rizts formula for introducing a new

statement by his opponent, al-Nasafï.

• 22Each of these two sets of empty brackets represents a blank in the manuscript. Hereafter,
ail sueh blanks are represented by empty braekets.

("[ ] [On] what was (i.e. happened) in this cycle [ ] that he (?)23 resembles

• the fifth enunciator-prophet (Le. Jesus). And on the mention of the fourth
[imim.?]: that he resembles the fourth enunciator-prophet; that bis path in
terms of this ufour-ness" (a}-arba 'ïyab) is [that of] other stars. And [on] what
mistakes took place (i.e., mistakes byal-Nasafj) in this chapter.24")

Following this list, al-Ri.Zi introduces on the final page sorne of al-Nasafi's views
on the fifth enunciator-prophet and bis resemblance to the third imim of this
cycle. His criticism of one of these views, however, is abruptly eut off. 2S This
interruption represents aiso the end of the text in this manuscript, but without
the ward tamma or any other traditional ending formula. Thus the condition of
the ending of MS. Ham. as described above (f. 168v., 1. 14 - f. 169r., 1. 13) shows
quite clearly that the manuscript is defective at the end.
It is noteworthy that the ending passage of the text in MS. Ham. (from~ L..

• J.JJJI I..t. of f. 168v., 1. 15 to the end of the text, Le., f. 169v., 1. 13) is entirelyabsent
from the ending of Tüb. MS (f. 169r.). Furthermore, the Iast two words ..., _

and ~ from the last sentence preceding the blank line in MS. Ham. are missing
ft a JI

from MS. Tûb. The sentence in MS. Tüb. thus becomes even more incomplete,
reading: . y ~ 1I.u. c.""':' ~ J..,.iJ I.J (. ..And the statement on the commentary on
this chapter (or field ?) ... ) (See f. 169r. li. 7-8). MS. Tüb. does however close with

23 This 'lle" is difficult ta identify. However, al-Razï discusses extensively the resemblance
of Jesus, the fifth enunciator-prophet, to 'Ali b. Abi Tilib, as will be seen in chapter 7, §2 below.
Thus, there is the possiblity that al-Razi uses 'lle" in this instance to refer to 'Ali b. Abi Tilib who
lived in, needless to say, the age of the Prophet, Le. "this cycle."

24 The phrase " ... fi badba al-bib" can also be translated as "in this subject-matter."

2S At the end of the text al-Rizi is in the midst of refuting al-Nasafi's idea that the third
imàm, who is 'Ali Zayn al-'Abidin according to the Ismi1ws, resembled Jesus because neither of

them had a father or a mother. This tapie will be revisited in chapter 5, pp. 147-49., especially pp.
148-49, n. 56 below.

the traditional ending formula: yL:.S:JI f (the book ends).26 We aIse see on the

• last page that the lines gradually decrease in length as they approach this formula,
forming as a result the shape of an inverted triangle, giving the impression of a
colophon. This suggests that the copyist of MS. Tüb. wanted te show that, although
the last sentence is evidently incomplete, bis exemplar ended at that point.
Thus, based on our analysis of the beginnings and endings of the Hamdani and
Tübingen MSS., it can be said that the text is preserved in an incomplete form in
at least these two manuscripts. Also it can be noted that they represent a manuscript
tradition that had become similarly defective at sorne time previously. In addition,
the many differences in ending between the two manuscripts strongly suggests
that they represent two different manuscript traditions and that they were copied
from different exemplars.
Let us next look at the beginning and ending of the text as found in the printed

• edition. The printed edition is based on three manusaipts: a. (co pied in 1313A.H.);
b. (copied in 1278A.H.); and j. (copied in 1355A.H.).27 The a. andj. manuscripts
lack the bumalah at the beginning of the text, while the b. copy has it. 28 The

26 This phrase could be also read: ~l.:,S;J1 .;.J. If this reading is correct, it follows that the
copyist thought that kidh is feminine, as is 50 often found in manuscripts.
17 According to Prof. Mohaghegh, the first and second manuscripts seem te have been in
the possession of the late W. lvanow and were later donated in microfilm form to University of
Tehran. At the university's Markéuï Ubrary these microfilm MSS. a. and h. arenumbered as 1413
and 1507. AIse the two MSS. in photocopy form preserved there are numbered as 6180/1 and
6180/2, and 6087 and 6088 respectively. M. Mohaghegh, uSar-i,hiz." p. xiv. (The MSS. a. and b.
correspond to the MSS. mentioned as '7ehran-Markazi F 1431, F 1507 ... microfilms of Indian and
Adina MSS" in PoonawaIa, Biobibliography, p. 38; however, the first microfilm number should be
corrected to read F 1413 according te M. Mohaghegh, "Sar-ighiz," p. xiv). See also above, chapter
1, p. 10, n. 25 of the present dissertation. Cf. aIso the colophons of the three manuscripts reproduced
in the note ta 1. 4 on p. 331 of the printed edition: in this reproduced colophon the copyist of MS. j.
writes that he composed this manuscript in Bürhinpür, which is in India. Unfortunately the
places where MSS. a. and h. were composed are not mentioned in the reproduced colophons.
However we can presume that their provenance was the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent, assuming

that W. Ivanowacquired them there.

28 See the note te l. 1 on p. 5 of the printed edition.


printed edition therefore adopts the beginning of the b. manusaipt with the

• bumalah , and yet the text of the printed edition stilliacks other beginning formulae

and abruptly starts with the quotation of Qur1inic verses 24: 27-29. 29 Therefore
the printed edition still shows an "incomplete" beginning, which supports our
suggestion that the text of al-I~I~ in extant form lacks a complete beginning. On
the first page of j. one finds the title given as Kitab Il al-I~I~ 1i-ayyidi-na Abj J:latim

aI-Rizi .,,30 This resembles the beginning of MS. Tüb.

As for the endings of the various versions, the printed edition lacks everything

after f. 168v., 1. 15 of MS. Ham. (from J.J.JJI I~ ~ Lo ta the end of the text). MS.
2. is the on!y manuscript which preserves nearly the same ending as MS. Ham.
but in the printed edition it is included in the form of an "appendix" (zayl ).31
Based on the a. and b. MSS., the printed edition adopts the following sentence as
the ending of the text, ~_ 4.= ~~I 1..iA c.~ ~ J.,...iJI., (The statement on the

• commentary on the chapter becomes narrow... ),32 but the j. manuscript lacks the
last word ~_ 4!,33 just as does MS. Tüb. seen above (y~1 l.a c.~ ~ J,.,.iJI.J) .
This is further proof that the text of aI-I~I~ in extant form lacks both its beginning
and ending sections.
Now, let us examine the core structure of the text of a1-1~1~.34 Bath the
Hamdani and Tübingen MSS. show exact correspondence between the ending
and beginning of each part (juz') (with an exception in the case of part 1), up to

29 The printed edition, p. S.

30 See the note te 1. 1 on p. 5 of the printed edition.

31 See the note te 1. 4 on p. 331 of the printed edition.

32 The printed edition, p. 331.

11 See the note ta 1.4 on p. 331 of the printed edition.

• For references te this issue, see the synoptic table of contents of the text provided

below on pp. S6-64 of the present chapter.


the beginning of part 4. However, neither manuscript clearly indicates the

• beginning of a new juz' (part) 5, as it appears in the printed edition (p. 229 ) (see f.
115v., 1. 11/f. 116v., 1. 7 which respectively correspond ta the beginning of part 5
in the printed edition).

As for the ending of part 5 and the beginning of part 6, MS. Tüb., find the

following in f. 156r. Il. 8- 12:

yL:.S ~ (,JMJl.-J1 cl ; . ;,.,J.J 4U1 ~ C~'ll ,-:-,L:.S ,;.,JI ~U.I ~ ~I f

••• ~}I ~)I ~I ~ 'C~~I
(The fifth part of the Book of Correction is ended with the help of God and the
success [granted) by Him. The sixth part of the Book of Correction, in the
Name of Gad, the Most Merciful the Most Compassionate...).

In MS. Ham. f. 157. Il. 7-12. the corresponding passage reads:

• .(
.~,.,JJ4UI~C~'lI,-:-,l:S~( ]~~If(
]36 c.~'J1 ~L:..S ~ [ ] ~~I.[

.~ 4.!.J ~)I ~)I4U1 ~


([ ] the [ ] part of the Book of Correction is ended with the help of Gad and
the success [granted] by Him. [ ). The [ ) part of the Book of
Correction [ ). In the Name of God, the Most Merciful the Most
Compassionate: we ask for His Help...).

The two blanks before and after lIal-juz'" in MS. Ham. suggest that the copyist
was uncertain over which part the exemplar indicated.37 The presence of other

35 The blank is two lines long.

36 The blank is one line long.

'S1 As for the statement on f. 157v. of MS. Ham., the owner, Professor Abbas Hamdani,

• has confinned to me in a letter, dated September 27, 1995, that based on bis reading of the
manusaipt, il seems Iikely that the copyist left the space vacant, reserving it for the numbering of

longer blanks (Il. 8-9 and 1. Il) in MS. Ham. which cannot be found in the

• corresponding passage in MS. Tüb., suggests that the copyists of the two
manuscripts used different exemplars.
The above examination of the beginnings and the endings of chapters in MS.
Ham. and MS. Tüb. suggests to us the possibility that the body of the text of
al-l~l~ is incomplete as weil, i.e., that the text lost sorne passages in the course of
its transmission. This assertion can be supported by the state of the beginning
and ending of the texts of the two manuscripts and of the printed edition as well.
However, we should refrain from passing any definitive judgement, since the
printed edition does not provide us with any variants for the beginnings and
endings of the internai portions of the text examined above. Thus we cannot
exdude the possibility that the different beginnings and endings of sections internaI
to the text in MSS. Ham. and Tüb. are limited to these copies alone.

• The last issue that needs to be addressed is how the blanks in MS. Ham. are
treated in MS. Tüb. and the printed edition. In the cases to be discussed below,
MS. Tüb. appears to ignore the blanks in MS. Ham. or to fill them with words or
phrases that complete the sentences. The larges~ blank in MS. Ham. is found on
the margin in f. 96v. Just prior to this there is a quotation from Q 6: 79:~.J ~I
~J ~J.J ~I".....JI ):U ,,=,.lJJ ~.J ('1): have turned my face to Him who originated

the heavens and the earth"). The copyist then left the whole of the next page
blank except for writing the following note at the beginning and ending of the
blank:UJ.J •• b; cr r
~ 1 ~ J~ 4 at is noted in the exemplar that a leaf of paper
is missing). However, on the corresponding page of MS. Tüb. (f. 97r.) there is
only a small blank left, less than half a line long, without any such note. MS. Tüb.
however omits the quotation of Qur1i.nic verse 6: 79. Of the three manuscripts on

parts, perhaps out of uncertainty. Again, 1 express my gratitude to Professer Hamdani for bis
generous support ta my work.

which the printed edition is based, the a. manuscript provides a note on the long

• r
blank (UJ -, ,·,lLi " ~ ~I 'JI ~ ~), similar to that of MS. Ham. (f. 96v.). MS.
b. has exact1y the same note as MS. Ham., while the i . manusaipt lacks the note

and the quotation from Q 6: 79. Thus i. treats the blank in a way similar ta MS.
Tüb. (f. 97r.).38

There are other examples of different treatment of the blanks between MS.
Tüb., MS. Ham. and the printed edition. MS. Tüb. has a few passages which
supply phrases or words for the blanks found in MS. Ham. For example, the
passage in MS. Ham. f. Iv. 1. 15 reads:

.••• ,.,.~ 1~J...p ~'J.J [ ] 391.,,:..ï ,..+i'J ~.;.. ~ f'+Ï

('Thus, they are all believers because they have believed [ ] and because
they have had faith in the exoteric teaching...").

• The passage corresponding to this in MS. Tüb. f. 2v.l. Il reads as follows:

.••• ,.,.~ I~-,-" t*''J 1~.wJ'I.,,:..ï ,..+i'J ~.;.. ~ f'+Ï

(Thus, they are aIl believers because they have believed and have had failli
because they have had faith in the exoteric teaching...).

In this case the presence of ~'J-, (and because they) in MS. Ham. deserves sorne

attention. This is because this phrase, with the connection of the conjunction
"wa" to l'Jj_anna_IJum," appears to make sense only if "'Wa-~addaqü " does not
be10ng ta the text, yet MS. Ham. has a blank spaœ where MS. Tüb. has " wa-,addaqü."

31 See the note ta 1. 5 on p. 192 of the printed edition.

The manuscript has: .,,:..i.


40 The manuscript has: ~I.


This fact is further evidence that the latter used an independent exemplar from

• MS. Ham.
As for the above passage, the printed edition adopted the reading of the b. and

j., manuscripts, which is nearly the same as that of MS. Tüb. (f. 2v. 1. 11) ~~

~~ ,..+i~ l''';~.J t,.:..ï {p. 5).41 In addition, the editors cite the reading of the

a. as a variant, which is coindd~~tally the same as that of MS. Ham. f. 1v. 1. 15.
And yet the editors do not mention whether there is blank in this sentence in any
of the three manuscripts.42
The next example for filling-in phrase fits the contexte The passage with the
blank reads in MS. Ham. f. 2v. 1. 12 as follows:

J'4 ;;1 ul ~,Ja;. '=.;

~YI ~ [ ]
' (i.e. the
(. ..For they (i.e. wrong-doing di 'j 5 or missionarles) associate them
novice members of the hierarchy) to themselves [ ] of the explanation).

• The above sentence is obviously incomplete. The corresponding passage in MS.

Tüb. 3v. 1.4 reads:

••• ~~I ,;,.J'~~ltll.! J'"

;;1 ~I r+'J;. '=.;
(l' .. .For they associate them to themselves with what they explained to them
of the explanation...").

Thus the filling-in phrase in MS. Tüb. gives the sentence a complete meaning.
The printed edition adopts here the following reading: Il d ;;1 ~I r+'J; _ '=.;
~Le-JI ~ ~ I.".:;'-!I 4 {p. 7). "Abaoü la-hum" seems grammatically more correct

41 The note to 1. 8 in p. 5 of the printed edition.
42 Ibid.

than "a bitJü-IJum." The editors note that the phrase,....s I~~I 4 is missing from

• MS. a., but do not mention whether there is a blank found in this sentence in any
of the three manuscript examined. This means that MS. a. once again has the
same defective reading as MS. Ham. f. 2v. 1.12. Moreover, we may note the
slight difference between MS. Tüb., and the b. and j. manuscripts with regard to
this passage.43
The next example is of the conflict between MS. Ham. f. 140v. 1. 9 and MS. Tüb.
f. 14Ov.1. 12. The clause from the sentence in MS. Ham. reads: [ ] ~~ U
_. -v-'L-.. ~I u-1! ("...when he entrusted ( ] to the QU' (i.e., 'fundament,' the
person who leads the community after the enunciator-prophet) )," whereas the
corresponding clause in MS. Tüb. reads: - .. ~ L.., ~ 1 uJ! ~ 11 ~~ U ("... when
he entrusted the communities ta the uâs " (?». In this case the supplied term in
MS. Tüb. is useful in reconstrueting the meaning of the phrase which is not clear

• in MS. Ham. However, this supplied term may be incorrect.

The printed edition replaces ,..,. ~ 1(from b.) or ....~ 1 (from j. ) with ~~ 1(the
"authority" or "mission") which does not appear in any manuscript but is adopted
by the editors out of consideration for the contexte Assuming this conjecture to
be correct the clause must be read in the passive voice (p. 275).45 The editor aIso
states that MS. a. leaves a blank in the same position,46 another evidence of
resemblance between this manuscript and MS. Ham.
How, finally, can we explain MS. Tüb.'s treatments of the blanks in MS. Ham.?

G See the note to 1. 2 on p. 7 of the printed edition.

" It is also possible ta read this sentence in the passive voice. This can he translated as: III
] was entrusted to the fundament."
~ The sentence would then read as follows: ~L..;, J! ~O, ~~ U. See the note te 1. 13 on

p. 275 of the printed edition.
46 Ibid.

As we observed when discussing the differences between the two manuscripts in,

• the beginning and ending of the text, they probably represent different
transmissions.47 But, there is still the possibility that the copyist of MS. Tüb. took
the liberty of filling in the blanks when they were brief and of ignoring the
page-long blank preserved in MS. Ham. However this still does not expIain why
MS. Tüb. lacks 50 much of the material preserved towards the end of MS. Ham.
In relation to the formation of the latter manuscripts, there are two points
which may be made regarding the three manuscripts on which we are partially
informed through the printed edition. MS. a. appears to be very similar to the
text provided by MS. Ham. in terms of the four blanks found in the former, as
well as with respect to the beginning and ending. Likewise MS. j. has a certain
similarity and resemblance to the version provided by MS. Tüb. in terms of their
treatment of the passages containing blanks in MS. Ham., as weil as with respect

• to their respective beginnings and endings. Do these facts suggest that MS. Ham.
and the aJjf manuscript represent one group of manuscripts, while MS. Tüb. and
MS. j. drive from another? In addition, the provenance of MS. j. is said to be
Burhânpur, India,48 whereas MS. Tüb. was once preserved in the l:Ii.kimïyah
Madrasah, located in the same city.
However, we should abstain from any final judgement, since we have not
examined any of the manuscripts used as the basis of the printed edition, but
have relied on the apparatus criticus to the latter alone. In any case, at the
moment since our information is still incomplete, a final verdict on the textual

47 H this is correct, there could be two other possible explanations: either that the two
manuscripts come from two dHferent groups of manuscripts; or that because of the presence of
one more page and a note on a missing page in it MS. Ham. is a few generations older than MS.
Tüb. In the second case the two manuscripts would not be totally independent.

• chapter.
411 See the note te 1. 4 on p. 331 of the printed edition and above p. 48, n. 27 of the present

history of al-l#~ must await a fuller study of the work's stemma.

• §2. The Contents of al-I,li.f.t

§2-1. Table of Contents of .l-l,lill Keyed to the Hamdani MS., the

Tübingen MS., and the Printed Edition ITibJan, 1377 A.H.S/1998

(The first number denotes the pagination of the Hamdani MS, the second that of
the Tübingen MS, and the third the pagination of the printed edition)

The Front Page f. Ir. If. Ir.

(Part One) on the da 'wall and the ethics of the du 'it 49 f. Iv. If. lv./p. 5 -

• PartTwo (al-juz ' al-tbini)

Preface to Part Twoso
§.S1 On the statem.enf2 that when the Soul (al-nai. ) was not complete, she
f.9r. ff. 9r./p. 23
f.9r. If. IOr./p. 23

came to need the benefits of the Intellect (aI- 'aq1 ). f.9v. If. IOr./p. 23

G The text stans abnaptly with the quotation of Q 24: 27-29 ("O Believers, do not enter
houses other than your houses until you first ask leave and salute the people thereof..."). Hence,
presumably, the reference to a "part one" was lost along with an indeterminate portion of the
beginning of the text. However, since "part two" follows this unnamed part, it may provisionally
he named "part one."

50 The expression" 'alj lJuab mi qadamai al-qawl bi-bï. "at the outset of this part indicates
that the philosophical discussion had already started in Part 1.
51 In this synopsis "hfl" in the original text is translated as "section" is indicated by the
symbol "§" in this dissertation. However, since most of the sections are not indicated in MS.
Ham., we follow the sections indicated in the printed edition and MS. Tüb.
52 As we pointed out in §1-1 of the present chapter above, in most cases the argument of
al-Nasafl on a certain issue is quoted at the beginning of each section followed by the formula

• "~a-ammi al-qawl fi aJUJa•••" (liAs for the statement that..."). Therefore, in tlùs table of contents
"the statement" refers here to al-Nasaf'i's argument.

§. Al-RaD' 5 remarks on movement (al-fJarakaIJ) and rest (al-.ukiitJ): for these

• sages Cal-{Jubma 1 ) have many symbols (rumuz htlJïralJ), whereas the people
follow Many directions on this matter until these (i.e., directions) lead them
to heresy U1.fJad>. f. Il r. If. 12r./p. 26
§. Al-Ri.zï's request to readers: that they should carefully consider what he says;
and that the teaching that the Soul is incomplete being but that She would
become complete someday... f. 12r.ff. llv./p. 28
§. On matter (bayüli ): al-Nasan's argument and al-Razi'S refutation.
f. 12 r. If. I2v./p. 28
§. On the statement that the parts {aj%i.'} within us are parts of the first
substance (al-jawbar al-awwal). f. l4r. If. I4v./p. 32
§. On the statement that the human being (basIJar) is the first being formed in
the Soul, and is the fruit of what the Soul acquires from the Intellect (tlJa.marat
lari 'idi-lJi!3al-must:ûi.dah min al- 'aql ), and al-Razi's refutation.
f. 14v.ff. l4v./p. 33
§. Al-Rizï's further refutation of al-Nasafï's anthropology.54

f. 14v. ff. 16r./p. 34
§. Al-Rizï revisits the issue af the Saul, particularly, Her completion or
campleteness (tamàm).5S f. ISr. If. l6r./p. 34
§. On the statement that bath the matter and the form (al-~ürah ) are the spirit
of movement (al-!Jarakah ) and rest (al-sukÜlJ). f. 17r. If. 17r./p. 37.

53 In consideration of the context, we have adopted the reading of the printed edition,
~':I"';, instead of the reading, .':1"';, in MS. Ham. Cf. 14v., 1.6) and MS. Tüb. (f. 14v., 1. 15).

5& To this statemental-Rizi adds: "as we have already mentioned" (Ka-maqad dlJahmà).
This phrase can be interpreted as referring ta bis previous statement on the same page: "We say
that the humankind is the fruit of this world in its entirety, and [that] for the sake of him(min
ajli-lJi, i.e. for the humankind) there (occurred] the generation of this world, in its entirety, from
its roOts and basis..." (Nqül illlJa al-lJuhar lIuwa tbam...., bida al-'ilam bi-afri-1Ji wa min-ajli-1Ji
bWD adbi al-'ilam kuUi-bi mitJ rquli-bi wa-uüi-bi.).

55 At the beginning of this section in the text al-RiZi writes: "We are now retuming to the

issue of that completion, Perfection and defection here" (Nu'id dhilu al-ramam wa-al-1wJW wa-al-
auqfÜ hahlUJi ).

§.S6 On the statement that the produced beings (marilid) fall into one of the

• four divisions (adJa 'at aqsim): the liquid bodies (aJ-ajam aJ-mudhiball ), the
non-liquid (ghayr aJ-mudlJjbaIJ ), the vegetable (al-namiyalJ) and the sensitive
(al-lJissiyah ). f. 18v. If. 18v./p. 40
§. On the statement that a1-Qa~a' means the sabiq (the preceder, i.e., the
Intellect), and aJ-Qadar the tâJi (the follower, Le., the Soulle Al-Nasaii's
argument and al-Rizi's refutation. f.21r. If. 21r./p. 45
§.SI On the statement on the sacred laws and the errors ta be found in this
regard in that book (i.e. Kitü al-M~ül). f.26r. If. 26r./p. 56

The chapter on the difference between sharPaIl , 'azimah, and the cycle (dawr).
f.27r. If. 26v./p. 58
§. The refutation of al-Nasafi's argument that the first nipq did not bring a
sacred law and is counted among the u1ù a/-'azm. f.31v. If. 31r./p. 64
§. On the statement regarding line (al-ldJalf) and square (al-'aqa1J ), and on
what geometry (al-handuaIJ) makes necessary. f. 37v./f. 36v./p. 76

• §. On the statement that the first nifÎq (Adam) called [the people] to the
doctrine of the unity of God (al-ta1V~d) without any labour (aI-'amaI ).
f. 38v./f. 37v./p. 79
§. On the statement that Adam called [the people] to himself and to those after
him from the beginning to the end, as a commentary on and an allusion to
the image of the structure of the world (mitIJaJ rarla-" al-'à/am ).
f. 40v./f. 39v./p. 82
§. On the statement regarding what each of the u1ü a/-'azm , [such as] Adam,
was endowed with. f. 41r./f. 4Or./p. 83
§. On the statement that Noah was endowed with [the right of] installment
(iqimaIJ ) of the a.ris (fundament) and the enactment of sacred law ($har'
al-$hari'ah ), and that Adam did not have a sacred law f. 41v./f. 40v./p. 84

56 Only in this instance in MS. Ham. is there mention of a 111811" (f. l8v., 1. 1), whereas
there is no mention of it in MS. Tüb. (f. 18v., Il. 9-10).

• $7Both manuscripts Jack the ward "f3fl" here. However, because the topie obviously
changes, we have indieated the start of a new section.

On the narratives of prophets (qi,~ al-anbiyi' ) such as David, Salomon, and

• others.58 f.44r. If. 42v./p. 88

§. Starting with the quotation of Q 37: 139, ("And Jonah (Yünus) was one of the
dispatched...," meaning that he was one of the Ja~9 (lieutenants, sg. Jjfriq),
followed by further interpretation of Jonah's story in Q 37: 140-146 and 21: 87.
§. Starting with the quotatian of Q 3: 35 ("When the wife of 'Imrin said...,"
that is to say, [she was] one of the la~q, while "'Imrin" refers to the
m utimm (completer, i.e. imim) of the age, etc), followed by further interpretation
of the birth of Mary (Maryam) and story of her childhood in Q 3: 36-37.
f. 50v./f.49v./p. 103
§. Starting with the quotatian of Q 3: 38 ("'l'ben, Zachariah (ZakéUiyi.) prayed ta
bis Lord, saying: I{.ord, grant me from you a good progeny... !'," whereby he
(zachariah) confirmed the completion of bis mission (tamim amri-hi ), etc.),
followed by further interpretation of the staries of Zachariah, Mary, and
Jesus in Q 3: 39-49,52-53,55 and 59,5: 112-119, 19: 4, 16-18,22-33,43: 57 and

• 59-61. f. 51r./f. 50r./p. 104

§. Starting with the quo ta tian of Q 62: 2 ("He (Gad) is the One who dispatched
to the common people [ignorant of the scripture] an apostle," the "pagans
ignorant" meaning here the lawilUq , and the apostIe the uü acting on behaH
of the apostIe (al-uis al-qj 'im-maqimal-ruü1 ), etc.), followed by interpretation
of the verse of the Prophet's llnight journey" Usra' ) (Q 17:1), and of other
verses such as Q 2: 78-79, 234, 29: 14,28,33: 6,33,53: 6-9, Il, 13-18,53: 6-9, Il,
13-18 f. 57v./f.56r./p. 117
(§. Starting with the quotation of Q 54: 1 (''l'he hour has approached: the is
split," hour here signifying the known time, that is, bis parousia, when the
mission of the fundament is disclosed, which is marked by the splitting of the

SI This is not the titIe of a ehapter. Both manuscripts lade the word "bàb." However, we
infer that this long section is almost equivalent to a chapter for two reasons: the topie is changed
from Adam to David and Solomon, with whom this section exdusively deals; the eopyist of MS.
Tüb. seems to regard this section as equivalent to a chapter, since he writes the beginning of the
passage in larger letters, with which deviee he normally indicates the titles of ehapters. The
original in both manusaipts reads: "[It] is mentioned in the report of narratives of prophets such

• as David, Solomon, and others up to the last of them"(Jj 'a li bayin qip, al-mbiyà' min Dà'üd
wa-SulaymjD wa-,bayri-bimà iIi jldJirj-bïm>.

moon, etc.), followed by interpretation of the verses on the Day of Judgement

• such as Q 52: 30, and 54: 2,6 and 8. f. 59v./f. 58r./p. 122f9
§. Starting with the quotation ofQ 33: 45-46 ("Indeed We dispatched you as a
witness, good-tiding-bringer, warner, and caller to God with His permission,
and as an illuminating lamp," which signifies that the Prophet Mu1;Iammad
was granted five grades (al-mariti" al-ldta". ) ), followed by interpretation of
another verse on the Prophet, Q 48: 29. f.60r./f.58v./p. 123
§. Starting with the quotation of Q 94: 1 (''nid We not open your breast
(,adra-ka) for you?," that is to say, the "stream" (al-jiri )60 was opened to him
(i.e. the Prophet), which had gone out (~adara) from him at the time of test
(al-im~ ) because of its having been cut off), followed by al-Rizi's
interpretation of verses Q 9: 3,37: 102,81: 1-2, 11-13, 15, 17-18 and 29, and 94:
2-8, 108: 1-3 which, in his eyes, are concemed with the installation of the
fundament. f. 61v./f. 6Ov./p. 126
§. Starting with the quotation of Q 97: 1 ("Indeed We sent it down upon the
Night of Power (layla' al-qadr )," the ''Night of Power" meaning the fundament,

• and the "deaee" the ta1; (follower, Le., the Universal Soul), followed by his
interpretation of verses Q 97: 2-5, 68: 1-3, and 101: 1-3 related to the issues of
the fundament, the Qi'im, and the da/wah activity. f. 63r./f. 62r./p. 129

Part 3 (aJ-juz' al·t1JjJjt1J) f.64r. /f.63r./p. 135

On how _hari'ab. is established: al-Nasafi's argument and al-Razi/s refutation.
f.64v. If. 63r./p. 135
§. On the statement that one particular nature (aJ-~b' al-wapid) would not
emerge in the sensible [domain] (a/-~••), as long as it does not mix with
another nature. f.70v. If. 69v./p. 145

59 Qnly in this instance in the printed edition is there mention of "t..,1 " (p. 122, 1. S)
which is based on the &. manusaipt, whereas there is no mention of il in MS. Ham. (f. S9v., 1. 3) or
MS. Tüb. Cf. S8r., 1. 14).
6DThe jiri ("stream") is the flow of the spiritual substance and guidance from the heavenly
hierarchy to the earthly hierarchy. See chapter 6, §3, below.

• 61 After this passage the text bas combines a summary statement referring to the first and
second IJâpqs, .1Jarj'ah, and '.pma h Aise he writes: "in this chapter" (Ii bidba al-bib ). See f. 72r.,

The chapter containing the argument on the third ü,;q (Abraham).

• Al-Nasafi's argument and al-Rizi's refutation.

f.72r. If. 71v./p. 148
On the Zoroastrians, which sacred law theyembraced, and the Iranian religions:
f.72r. If. 71v./p. 148
According to al-RiZi, the Zoroastrians were originally the dissident people
in the cycle of the fourth -liq (Moses).. f.. 77v. If. 76v./p.156
§. On the statement on Mazdak whom Kisri (I<husraw) Anüshirwin killed..
f.78v. ff.78v./p.159
The chapter on the statement on Ishmael (!smi 'il) and Isaac USI}i.q)..
f. S3r. If. 82v. Ip.. 167
§. On the statement that those who stayed away from Abraham and devoted
themselves to idols corresponds to the account of the people who were
transformed into "apes" in verse Q 7: 166. f.86r. ff.. 85r./p.. 172
§. On the statement on Ishmael and Isaac: One of them was a "slaughtered"
(dIJabilJ), and another one was a male sheep (h_h). f.89r. If. 89r./p. 178
§. On the statement on the interpretation (ta'ri ) of the verse on the story of

• Abraham ("Then, when the night befell him, he saw a star" (Q 6: 76) ).
f.91v. ff. 92r./p. 183

(Folio. 96v. of MS. Ham. consists of a large blank nearly a page in length, on
the margin of which the copyist has written as follows: "lt is noted in the
original that a piece of paper is missing" (Nubbiha fï al-umm anna-hi .aqalat
waraqah). However, on f. 97r. of MS. Tüb. there is neither such a note nor a
large blank.)

Part 4 (al-juz' al-db;') f. 99r. If. 99v./p. 197

The Chapter on al-Nasan's argument on the fourthna~q (Moses)
f.99r. ff. 99v./p. 199
On the statement on the fourth napq : The [part, or degree] of the manifestation
of the divine Word, [that is,] what had not been completed for any of the
other nutaqi r, was completed for him (Moses). f.99r. If. 99v./p. 199

• 1.7/f.71r., '. 16/p. 148.


§. On the correspondence between the sacred letters (K-W-N-Y-Q-D-R), and the

• six masters of the saaed laws.

§. On the mission and characteristics of the fourth napq.62
f. l06r. If. 107r./p. 211

f. l11r. If. 111v./p. 221

§. On the refutation of al-Nasafi's statement that the fourth lJapq was granted
victory over bis enemies, which none of them had been ever granted.
f. 11Sr. If. 115v./p. 227

(Part 5 (al-juz' al-kbjm;$) p.229)63

The chapter on al-Nasafi's argument on the fifth na!iq cresus).
f. 115v./f. 116r./p. 231
On the statement that the fifth na~q came into union with the Divine Word
(al-kalimah) without any intermecliation of the lord of the age (~afi" al-zatlJàJJ).
f. 115v./f. 116r./p. 231
§. On a quotation: It is said thatJesus had no father and was related to bis
mother, etc. f. 119r./f. 119r./p. 237

• §. On Q 19: 29 e'...How do we talk with him who is (still] a boy in the cradle?,"
cradle signifying the first rank (aW'lnl al-lJudiid ), etc.), followed by al-Rizi's
interpretation of certain verses on Jesus such as 3: 59 and 21: 104 to mean the
resemblance between Adam, Jesus and the Qi'im in terms of their missions.
f. 121v./f. 121v./p. 241
§. On the statement that the fifth [ni!iq] resembles the seventh (lJa~q) (the
Cli)im) because he was hidden (ghiba), elevated (ruEi'a) to heaven, and will
then retum (ya 'üd), just as the seventh was hidden and will then return.
f. 122v./f. 122v./p. 243
§. On the statement that the Messiah (al-Ma~ i.e. Jesus) did not compile the

Q This section starts with the following statement by al-RiZi: "As for the fourth ajP9, he

was the renewer of the first sacred law..•" (Wa-ammi rib;' al-IIUlqi' fa-lcina mujaddid al-dJari'ah
al-wi...). We adopt the reading of the printed edition ";~'11 ~~I (p. 221, 1. 2), instead of the
reading of the Hamdani and Tübingen MSS. JJ'lf 4&...".:Jf (f.lllr.,l. S/f. I11v., ,. 10).

63 The beginning of this part is indicated only by the printed edition. See the passages in

• the two MSS. (f. 115v. ,. 11/f. 116v.l. 7) corresponding to the beginning of the text of part 5 in the
printed edition <p. 231). And see pp. 50-51 of the present chapter above.

Gospel and did not compose any saaed law, etc. f. 126r./f. 126r.1 p. 249

• §. On the statement that the Messiah appeared [to bis disciples) several times
after the perishing of bis body.

The chapter on the narrative (qi~~) of Salomon.

f. 128v. If. 128r./p. 253

f. 13lr. If. 13Dv./p. 258

On the sun-cult of the queen of Sheba and her subjects in the Qur~c verse
27:24. f. 132v./f. 13Iv./p. 261
§. On the statement on Jesus' prayer to Gad in Q 5: 114 (".. .Send down to us a
table from heaven..."), which is interpreted ta mean that Jesus asked Him ta
send the iii; down upon them, particularly upon one of bis lieutenants,
without the intermediacy of the Messiah. f. l39r. If. 138v./p. 273
§. On the statement on the interpretation of the verse (al-iyah ) dealing with
the story of the Messiah" in this chapter (bidbâ al-bib ).
f. 141v./f. 140r./p. 278
On the story of Solomon. f. 146v. If. 145r./p. 286
§. On what is said [byal-Nasafi] in bis interpretation of Q 27: 16 ("...0 people!

• We have been taught the language of the birds and have been given of
(On the story of the Queen of Sheba (Bilqis).
f. 147r. If. 146r./p. 287
f.147v./f.146r./p. 288)65

The chapter on the story of Dhü al-Nün, i.e. Jonah son of Amittai (Yünus b.
Matti.). f. 149v. If. 148r.1 p. 292
On the statement on Dhü al-Nün that he was the completer (imam) of the age,
but abandoned bis work, and did not endure the trouble of bis people, taking
refuge with bis lieutenant (Ji.f:Jiqu-hu). f. 149v. If. 148r./p. 292
§. On what is mentioned in the statement in this chapter (hidba al-bah) that
most of the doubt and misdeeds come from the mustajïb (novitiate-hearer)
and the mustaœi' (listener), not from the knowledgeable listener (al-mustami 1

" Aetually in this section al-RiZi deaIs with the verses on Jesus, Q 5: 516-19. O. p. 278, n.
3 of the printed edition.
65 MS. Ham. takes "the story of the Queen Sheba" as if it were the title of a section,

leaving a space the length of two or three words before and after it (f. 147v., ,. 8). Neither MS.
Tüb. (l46r.l. 15) nor the printed edition (p. 288) treat it in this way.

al-'alim ). f. 1541'. If. 152v./p. 300

• §. On the statement that Jonah was the master of the age and the completer
(imàm) in charge of the da'wah.

The chapter on the story of Job (Ayyüb).

f. 154v. If. 153r./p. 302

f. 155r. If. 153v./p. 303

Part 6 (al-juz' aI-adi. )." f. 157v. If. 156r./p. 309

The chapter on the statement on Jethro (Shu'ayb), Lot (Lu~), others like them
occupying their rank, and on the story of Sergius (SirjiS).67
f. 157v. If. 156r./p. 311
§. On Jethro, spedfying that he was not the completer but the entrustee
(m,.ta1Vda~. f. ISSv./f. 156v./p. 312
§. On the position (manzilaIJ ) of the entrustee: the cases of Lot, Jethro, and
Zachariah. f. 164v./f. IMr./p. 324

( With f. 169r. the Tübingen manuscript ends and lacks the following passage

• found in MS. Ham. beginning with: liMa fi IJad" al-dawr anna-bu lcina $babiIJ
IrhjmÎ$ al-IJUfaqi '''; AIso the printed edition's ending in p. 3311acks this passage.)
On the third mutimm of this cycle (i.e. 'Ali zayn al-'Abidin): Al-Nasafi's argument
and al-Razï's refutation. f.169r.

§2-2. Cosmology and Prophetology: General Remarks

Based on the table of contents given above, two main subjects stand out in the
text of al-l~l~ : philosophy and prophetology. The philosophical discussion

f6 This is based on the printed edition, pp. 309 and 311, and on MS. Tüb. f.156r. L 8 and L
10. In MS. Ham. f. 157. 1.7. we read only "Tamma al-juz'•••," while on 1. la we find "al-juz' (blank)
IIJÜJ KifÜ al-r,l&fJ.M

The editors of the printed edition (p. 311, 1. 4) adopt the reading of MS. a., i.e., ~~

Oirjis, or George). However, sinœ the other two MS. on which the printed edition is based and

bath Hamdani and Tübingen MSS have the reading~".... (SirjïS, or Sergius) (f. 157v., ,. 14ff.
l56r.,I. 13), we have temporarilyadopted the latter reading.

covers the nature of Soul (al-IJaf.), that is, the hypostatic or Cosmic, Universal

• Sou! in N eoplatonisrn; matter (al-lJayüla ) and form

movement (al-~araka1J) and
(aI-~üraIJ) and their relation to

rest (aI-.ukün); the human being (6..har) and his

place in the cosmos; the divisions of the cosmos (f.9r., 1. 14- f. 21r., 1. l3/f. 1Or., 1.
2- f. 2Ir., 1. IO/pp. 23-45). Most of these philosophical topies are mainly related to
cosmology. This discussion can therefore be said to deal with philosophical
cosmology which is elaborated in relation to such issues as the doctrine of soul,
the physics of matter and form, etc., and anthropology.
The approach towards prophetology in the text seems on the other hand to
deal with the theory of saaed history, that is, the discussion of how the prophets
inaugurate the eras, what missions they aceomplished in the course of history,
and the history or narratives of the prophets (based mainly on the Qur'in). As
for the theory of sacred history, it is dealt with, for example, in the discussion of

• the following topies: the mission of the first enunciator-prophet, namely, Adam;
the ulü al-'um (the possessors of resolution), that is, the series of great prophets
whose specifie mission in sacred history is debated in the text; the definition of
the ~lJâb aI-adwiror masters of the cycles; and the definition of sbari'ahor sacred
law and its establishment in the course of history Cf. 26r., 1. 12- f. 44r., 1. 4/f. 26r., 1.
6- f. 42v., 1. 12 /pp. 56-88 and f. 64v.,I. 2- f. 72r.,I. ll/f. 63r., 1. 7- f. 71v., 1. 2/pp.
In addition, al-Rizi discusses Zoroaster, Zoroastrians, and other Iranian religious

leaders and their communities (f. 72r., 1. 12- f. 83r., 1. 2/f. 71v., 1. 4- f.82v., 1. 6/pp.
148-167). Through this discussion he endeavors to determine whose sacred law
Zoroaster and bis followers originally followed, then presents bis own ideas on
why and how deviations like Iranian religions emerged in the course of history.

• Thus, starting with the Iranian religions, al-RaZi extends the scope of the discussion

to other religious communities and to the Muslim sects including his own, in

• which he attempts to place them within bis framework of sacred history.68

Another matter that is key to his prophetology is revealed in his discussion of
the correspondence between the six prophets, the six of the seven sacred letters
K-W-N-Y-Q-D-R which symbolize the two highest hypostases of cosmos, and the

six bodily parts of a human being who represents the miCI'ocosm {aI-'a/am aI-,aglürl
Cf. 102v., ,. 9- f. 107v, 1. 13/f. 103r., 1. 12- f. 10Br., 1. 16/pp. 204-214).69 This
argument suggests one of the theoretical bases of prophetology: the natural-
philosophical principle of the correspondence of macrocosm and microcosm. AIso,
there is another suggestive passage dealing with the issue of "one particular
nature" (al-fab 1 al-~d), which emerges in the "sensible" domain (a1-~.ü ),

this in the midst of the discussion of prophetology and its link to the formation of
.1Jari'ah Cf. 7Ov., 1. 7- f. 72r., 1.4/f. 69v.,I. 14- f. 71r., 1. 13/pp. 145-47). This passage

• reveals some influence by the terminology of Greek-Hellenistic physics on a1-1~1àlJ.

These passages suggest another problem worth investïgating: Did the principle
of correspondence, not to mention other ideas of natural philosophy and Greek-
Hel1enistic sciences, provide al-Rizï with bis theory of sacred history? If so, how
and to what extent? Such an investigation would likely provide clues to
understanding what possible relation existed between Greek-Hellenistic science
and the Ismi.'ilï theory of prophetology reflected in al-Rizi's view on sacred
Another subject belonging to prophetology, i.e., the history or narratives of the

61 See chapter S, §4 below.

69 The letter Y out of the seven letters is reserved specifically for the seventh enundator-
prophet, the Qi 'ïm. He sees it as corresponding to the spirit-Iike, incorporeal substance which

• gives life ta the whole body. For the description of these ideas in detail, see below in chapter 4,
pp. 109-112.

prophets based mainlyon the Qur'in, is discussed extensively in the text of

• a1-I,I~ There are for instance chapters on the "narrative" (9j~ ) of particular
prophets such as Solomon (Sulayman) (f. 131r., 1. 9- f. 149r., ,. 16ff. 130v., ,. 7- f.
148r., L 3/pp. 258-92), Jonah (Yünus) (f. 149v., 1. 2- f. 15Sr., ,. 1ff. 148r., 1. 4- f.
I53v., ,. 7/pp. 292-303), and Job (Ayyüb) (f. 1SSr.,1. 3- f. 1S7v.,1. 6/f. IS3v.,1. 8- f.
156r., 1. 8/pp. 303-309), and a chapter on the narratives of groups of prophets
(qif~ al-anbiya' ) such as David (Di.'üd), Salomon and "others" (f.44r., 1.5- f. 64r.,
1. 7 ff. 42v., 1. 12- f. 63r., 1. 4/pp. 88-131). These chapters contain interpretations of
or commentaries on various Qur'inic stories of the prophets, for example: the
sun-cult of the queen of Sheba and her subjects (Q 27: 24) (f. 132v., 1. 9- f. I33v., 1.
l/f. I32r., ,. 2- f. 132v.,I. 10/pp. 261-62); the repentance of the people of Jonah (Q
10: 98), bis embarking to a ship (Q 37: 140) and bis repentance to God from inside
the stomach of a huge fish (Q 21: 87 and Q 37: 143) (f. 150v., ,. 1 - f. 152v. 1. 4ff.

• 149r., 1. 4- f. 1Slr., ,. 10/pp. 294-98); JOb'5 falling ill and bis supplication to God to
heal him. of his disease (Q 38: 41), and God'5 answer to this prayer and restoration
of Job's family and property (Q 38: 42-43; 21: 84) (f. 1SSr., 1. 3 - f. 157r.l. 3ff. 1S3v.,
1.8- f. ISSv., 1. 6fp. 303-307). These are just a fewexamples of episodes from the

history of the prophets the meanings of which are interpreted and debated in


How then do al-RàZi and al-Nasafi, generally speaking, interpret these episodes
from the history of the prophets? What methodology do they apply to their
interpretation? In early (4th/I0th œntury) Isma'il interpretation of these narratives
one finds that the prophets, including not only the greatest ones such as Adam,
Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and the Prophet MuI}ammad, but aIso relatively
minor figures, are regarded as dignitaries belonging to an organization of mission

• or convocation, that is, the da'wah of the pre-Islamic age. In early Isma'ilism it

was believed that their da'wah organization had been in operation since the

• beginning of the cosmos and had been administered by each of them in turne
Thus the history or narratives of the prophets in the Qur'in. are interpreted as the
history of the da'wah, which is the drarna of saaed history itseH: the main characters
or dramatis personae , as H. Corbin puts it, being the prophets themselves.7D
In this drama each prophet is given a certain rank (fJadd) in the earthly
hierarchy. The higher ranks, such as enunciator-prophet and îmim, are inherited
from generation to generation or from era to era within the organization of the
da'wah or the earthly hierarchy. That is, the earthly hierarchy is administered
and guided in the framework of saaed history.l1 However, the earthly hierarchy
is not self-sustaining in terms of its reception of divine guidance. It has rather its
counterpart in heaven which transmits divine guidance to the prophets. Thus
the earthly hierarchy always needs its heavenly counterpart. These two hierarchies

• are the two indispensable constituents of the religious cosmos: they are in fact the
religious cosmos itself.72 Considering the principle of the heavenly and earthly
hierarchies and the interpretation of the history of the prophets it can be suggested
that there is a linkage between prophetology and cosmology in the sphere of
sacred history.
In his interpretation of the history of the prophets in al-l~l~ , al-RaZi in fact

desaibes the contact between the greater and lesser prophets, the highest ranked
members of the earthly hierarchy, and the angels who are the members of the

7D On the early Ismi 'w view of the prophets and their history, we owe very much of our
description to the interpretation by H. Corbin in bis '''Herméneutique spirituelle comparée," pp.
108-62, especiaUy pp. 114-19 Œnglish transI. , pp. 91-134, especially pp. 96-1(0).
71 Cf. Corbin, Histoire, p. 135f. ŒngIish transI., p. 90).

n Cf. Corbin, ibid., pp. 134-36 Œnglish transl., pp. 89-90); A. Hamdani, "Evolution of the
Organizational Structure," p. 87f; Walker, "Cosmic Hierarchies," pp. 24-28

heavenly hierarchy. For example, according to al-Rizi, the angel's Annunciation.

• to the Virgin Mary in verses Q 3: 42~3 inwardly signifies that some members of
the heavenly hierarchy visited a certain dignitary to elevate him over bis colleagues
of the same ranI< at the dawn of the cycle of Jesus (f. 51v., 1. 16- f. 52r., 1. 7 If. SOV.,
1. 15- f. SIr., 1. 6/p. 106). Another example is the story of Abraham's denial of the
cult of astral bodies (Q 6: 76-78), over which al-Rizï and al-Nasafï hold a debate
on the possibility that this signifies direct recognition on the part of an enunciator-
prophet of the second highest member of the heavenly hierarchy: in interpreting
the story the two thinkers compare the stars which are said to have been in
succession by Abraham, to the heavenly spiritual, or angelic, dignitaries. 13
As seen from the above two examples, the relation between prophetology and
cosmology is established in aJ-I,li.fJ through interpretation of the history of the
prophets. Thus the prophet's contactwith the heavenly angelic beings represents,

• one might say, an issue of the boundaries separating the areas of prophetology
and cosmology or the domain overlapped by these two concepts. This is the
third field of our investigation. 5ince the theme of contact with heavenly or
angelic beings is a field that takes in both prophetology and cosmology, it will be
seen that there was considerable interaction between the theory of sacred history
and of cosmology, particularly that of a Neoplatonist variety.

• 7J This passage has already been analyzed and edited by Halm in bis Kosmologie, pp.
70-71 and pp. 225-27 respectively.

• Rizian Prophetology and
the Doctrine of the Qa'im

§1. Prophetology and Sacred History in Islamic


In the last chapter we briefly discussed the textual history of al-l,lafJ and
surveyed the contents of the texte Having done sa, we are now in a position to
examine the Razian view of the prophets.
According to Islamic re1ïgious tradition, the Une of prophets began with Gad's .

• creation of Adam, the first man or the "father of humankind" (Abü al-bubar).l
In the following Qur1inic verses this continuity of the line of prophets is clearly

God chose Adam, Noah, the House of Abraham, and the House of 'Imràn
above all beings (~a1a &1- ~àlamïn)2 / the seed of one another; God hears, and
knows. {Q 3: 33-34)3

1 J. Pedersen, Il Adam" in U, vol. 1, pp. 176-78.

2 As for the meaning of "al·'ilamiiti' in the Qur1àn, R. Paret maintains that it is "die
Bewohner" (inhabitants). R. Paret, Der Koran: Kommentar und Konkordllnz (Stuttgart, 1971), p. 12.
This interpretation is close ta A. J. Arbeny's translation '''aU beings."
3 We should also note another verse, which is generally interpreted as showing that God

• expressed His decision to entrust His divine will to Adam on earth: "1 am setting in the earth a
viœroy' (Q 2 : 30).

Among the commentators on the Qur'in of later generations, the continuity of

• the line of prophets represented in the above verse was interpreted as extending
to the Prophet Mul}ammad, though it makes no explicit mention of him.4 As
with the continuity of the line of prophets, the Qur'il\ seems to proclaim the
continuity of prophecy and divine guidance (IJudi ) in the following verses, though
it omits the name of Adam:

We have revealed to thee (i.e., the Prophet Mul}ammad) as We revealed to

N oab, and the prophets after hïm, and We revealed to Abraham, Ishmael,
Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, Jesus and Job, Jonab and Aaron, and Solomon.
And We gave to David Psalms, land Messengers We have aIready told thee
ofbefore, and Messengers We have not told thee of... (Q 4: 163-164)

Here the continuity of prophecy and divine guidance is extended to the Prophet

• Mu1}ammad, who received the latest divine message, that îs, the Qur'an.
Throughout the line of prophets, the content of this divine guidance is regarded
as essentially one and the same, that is, total submission to God's will and
commands.5 However, according to the Qur'i.n, this message has been distorted
by the people of scripture (alJl al-kitab), Le., Jews and Christians.6 Therefore, to

4 M. Ayoub shows that commentators such as al-Tabari, al-Qurlul:i, Fakhr al-Dïn al-Râzï,
ete., endeavored te include the Prophet M~d and bis family in the line of prophets mentionOO
in this verse. M. Ayoub, The Qur'an and its lnterpreters , vol. 2, The House of'bJuitJ (Albany, N.Y.,
1992), pp. 85-93.
5 On the idea that divine guidance bas been revealed in history, see: A. Falaturi, "Experience
of Time and History in Islam," in We Believe in One God, 00. A.-M. Schimmel and A. Falaturi
(London, 1979); T. I<ha1idi, Arabie HistoriClll Thought in the ClassiCJl1 Period (Camb"'dge, 1994), pp.
6 See: G. Vajda, "Ahl al-Kitib," El, vo!.l, pp. 264-66; H. Lazaru~Yafeh, "Talpif," Et,
vol.IO, pp. 11-12. On the distortion of the divine message by Christians and Jews, d. Q 5: 12-19;

5: 65; 5: 78 (against bath Jews and Christians); 2: 75; 4: 46; 5: 41 (against Jews). Also cf. Paret, Der
Koran: Kommentar und Konkordanz, p. 11lt.

correct these "distortions" God revealed to M~ad His divine Message,

• which is understood to be the final and most complete or perfect one that
humankind has ever received. Furthermore, the following verse can be interpreted
as stating the finality and eompleteness of the message which the Prophet
M~ad received: ''roday 1 have perfected your religion for you, and 1 have
completed My blessing upon you, and 1 have approved Islim for your religion."
(Q 5: 5).

N oting the existence of ideas in the Qur'in such as the continuity of divine
guidance through the prophets' Une, and the final and perfect nature of the
message revealed to the Prophet M~ad, we are led to conclude that the
substance of divine guidance deve10ped as it was revealed to successive prophets,
culminating in the coming of the Prophet with God's final message, which is to
be in effect until the Day of Judgement. But this raises an important question:

• How does God guide humankind after His revelation of the final message to the
Prophet M~mmad? This question is closely related to the doctrine of the
finality of the prophethood of M~ad. This doctrine emerged gradually in
tandem with the formation of Muslim identity during the early phase of the
development of Islam? While the dogma of the finality of M~ad's
prophethood gradually formed, the various branches within the Islamic
community-the Sunnis, Shi'ïs, and ~üfis-had to grapple with the problems of
the continuity of divine guidance and prophecy after the completion of the Prophet's
mission, and how to eonnect the prophetie line up to M~ad with the divine

7 For our understanding of the doctrine of the finality of the prophethood of Mu{1ammad,
we are greatly indebted to Y. Friedmann's excellent study of the development of the Muslim
interpretation of the Qur'inîc term "kbâlallJ aJ-aabiyà'" and of the tenets conœming prophecy in
part 2, enlitled "Qassical Background" of bis Prophecy Continuous: Aspects of A.fJmadï Religious
Thought and Ifs Medieval BacJcground <Berkeley, 1989), pp. 49-101. On p. 71 of the same work

• Friedmann holds that the process of systemalic incorporation of this doctrine into the arlides of
faith in theology could have been completed as Jate as the second half of the lOth œntury C.E.

guidance that Muslims should continue to receive.8

• Refleeting upon the Qur'inic teachings on the continuity of prophecy, we are

faced with another question: Can the notion of salvation history or sacred history
direeted toward salvation, or any idea similar to it he found in the Qur'in, and/or
in later Islamic intellectual and religious tradition~ This question is suggested

by the historical continuity of the three Abrahamic monotheist religions: Judaism,

Christianity and Islam. lo It is well-accepted that the two other Abrahamic-
monotheist religions, namely, Iudaism and Christianity, exhibit aIl the features of
this type of history. According to this historical category, history is understood
to move gradually toward its goal or telas, which is the salvation granted to the
faithful after the F'mal Judgement. The Qur·i.n, of course, contains the idea of the
Day of Resurrection (yawm al-qiyillJah) or of Judgement. In addition, the
development of the prophetie line serves as a further reminder of the idea of _

• 1 See Y. Friedmann, part 2 of Prophecy Continuous. AIso, for a Shri perspective on this
issue, d. R Corbin, Histoire, pp. SO-SS Œnglish transI., pp. 24-28).
9 For the terminology on consciousness of history, see chapter 1, pp. 1-2, notes 1 and 2.
above. The foUowing should also he pointed out conceming this tenninology: in order to represent
the esoteric aspect of Shi1i speculation on history, H. Corbin proposes the concept of hiérohistoire .
H. Corbin, Histoire, pp. 98-107 and 128-39 Œnglish transI., pp. 61-68 and 84-93). This is a tyPe of
history which is believed ta result hom "the mode of the perception... of the supersensible
[being)." Corbin aise maintains that it is "absurd" ta taIk about meaning of history ""without
meta-history" that is, without the p~history "in heaven" Ce.g. humankind's pre-historical covenant
with God), and "'without eschatology." Thus, according to Corbin, in Shï1iau.. finding its own
meaning in its sacred prototype in heaven, history moves toward its esduIton. Ibid., pp. 98-101
(partial transI. mine: d. English transI." pp. 61~). Because of its emphasis on the "Perception of
the supersensible" and on eschatology, bis concept of hiérohistoire may comprise bath the categories
in the strict sense of '''sacred history" and "salvation history.""
However, Corbin contrasts his concept of hiérohistoire with Christian '''historical conscience"
which presupposes the manifestation of the Divine in history through the Incarnation. Therefore,
since we must find an inclusive term representing any monotheist thought on history which
contains ideas of salvation and the telos, Corbin's concept unlortunately cannot be adopted. In
this chapter we attempt to praye the continuity of a historical conscienœ through three monotheist
religious traditions.
10 B. Radtke, Weltgeschichte und Weltbeschreibung im mittelalterlichen Islam (Beirut, 1992);

idem, ""Towards a TYPOlogy of Abbasid Universal Chronicles," Occasional Papers of the School of
Abbasid Studies3 (1990), pp. 1-18.

history's moving toward a culmination or goal. But what is meant by "salvation"?

• The answer to our question of whether or not the idea of sacred history directed
toward salvation, or simply, sacred history, is present in Islam depends on how
we define "salvation."
If atonement for and redemption from the original sin committed by the first
human couple (Adam and Eve (l;Iawi1) ) is in Christian theology considered to be
an indispensable constituent of the idea of salvation,11 the very existence of this
idea as such in the Qur1in is a highly debatable matter. 12 However, we do not
necessarily have to understand the idea of "salvation" in a specifically Christian
sense: rather, we can interpret it in a broader, more general way. That is ta say,
salvation can be generally interpreted as deliverance from the earthly, temporary
calamity of life (which is not essentially the original state of humankind) and the
resulting achievement of bliss, an idea which can be found in almost every religious

• tradition.13
Bearing in mind this broader definition of salvation, let us summarize the
Qur1i.nic description of the sequence of historical events from the Creation to the
End of our world. Sïnce the time of Creation, humankind has been, and still is,
led by the divine guidance channe1ed through the prophets, a guidance that will

11 In the very early phase of its development, Ouistian theology connected the idea of
the "fall" of humankind from a primordial paradisiacal state ta that of salvation, as shawn in
Pauline letters such as Romans 7: 13-15,1 Corinthians 15: 21-22, etc. In these letters, the figure of
Christ is depicted as the "second Adam" and the "new Adam," that is, the Messiah, as the
redeemer or atoner for Adam's sin. See J. Ries, 'lfall, The," transi. A. S. Mahler, in The Encyclopedia
of Religion (hereafter referred to as ER ),00. M. Eliade et al., vol. 5 (New York/London, 1987), p.
266; M. Fishbane, '1Adam'" in ER, vol. 1, p. 27.
12 For example, maintaining that the Qur'in has a strong sense of the etemal quality of
llsurrender ta God" and "divine guidance'" A. Falaturi holds that there is no sense of linear
history, nor its supposed goal, i.e., of "salvation" as such, in (slamic scripture. A. Falaturi,
I~enœof Time and History in Islam."

13 See N. Smart, "Soteriology: An Overview," ER, vol. 13, pp. 418-23 and F. Bammel,

"Erlosung. I. Religionsgeschichtlich," in Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 3rd ed., ed. K.
Galling et al. (Tübingen, 1986), vol. 2, pp. 584-86.

continue until the end of our world, namely, the Day of Judgement (yawm al-QUJ)

• or Day of Resurrection (ya:wm al_qiyâlJJab).14 On that day, the faithful, meaning

those who listened to and observed the teachings of the prophets dispatched
from God, will be delivered from damnation, and thus will be allowed to enter
paradise and live there in eternaI bliss, whereas non-Believers, or those who
refused God's guidance, will be doomed to live in the abode of hell, or the "fire"
of damnation (nir), forever. 1S Thus the faithful will be rewarded for their endurance
in the face of the hardships of daily life, their persecution by powerful unbelievers
for their response to the call of the past prophets, their diligent, sincere faith in
God, and their fight for God's cause. AIl this can actually be interpreted as
deliverance from earthly hardship. Such a doctrine strongly suggests that the
Qurfin does contain its own version of salvation history. It is aIso possible that
the later Muslim view of history henceforth came to indude the idea of sacred

• history toward salvation.16

These issues of the continuation of prophecy and the existence of a sacred
history provide us with a frame of reference for understanding early Ismi.·w
thought on prophecy and history, since the Ismi.·i1is formed a sect within the
Muslim community. We hope to be able in what follows to clarify the doctrines
of the continuity of divine guidance and sacred history toward salvation as it
was understood by this sect.
However, before undertaking our presentation of early Ismi.'ilï thought on

14 Q 17: 70-71; 21: 16-17; 30: 7, etc.

IS Q 19: 66-76; 56: 88-94; 69: 18-37; 84: 6-15 etc.
16 B. Radtke maintains that there is a sense of salvation history in Islamic saipture, since,
according to him, this scripture teaches that the creation and humankind have their "beginning
and end through and in God." This sense of salvation history or saaed history toward salvation

• is then, according to Radtke, present in Iater historiographical writings by Muslims such as

al-Tabari and al-Mas-üdi's. B. Radtke, "Toward a Typology," p. 3.

these subjects, we need to sketch the early Ithni.'ashari discussion of the two

• issues, i.e., the continuity of prophecy and the question of saaed history toward
salvation, by referring ta the fJaditbs attributed to their Imams. This is necessary
not only because Ithni.'asharism provides us with a doctrinal reference point for
another major Shi'i branch, but aise because the Ithni'asharis share a common
origin with the Ismi.'Dis as followers of the Imim Ja'far aI-~i,diq (d. 1451768),
whose teachings were revered as authoritative and are quoted constantly in Fi~d
religious works.17 Thus the doctrines of these two main branches of Shï'ism
have certain simiIarities. Moreover, it is worthwhile to locate Ismi,'ilism within
the broader context of Shi'ism before attempting a more specific discussion. Shi'ism
presents one of the clearest exampIes in Islam of a tradition in which the issues of
saaed history toward saIvation and the continuity of prophecy were held to be
fundamental. As regards sacred history, 5hï'is maintain that divine guidance

• continues through the line of the Imams belonging to the abl al-bayt or the
household of the Prophet, even though actual law-establishing prophecy is
acknowiedged to have been completed with the Prophet M~mmad. It is in
virtue of this doctrine that Ismi,'ïlism as a bra~ch of Shi'ism shares features in
common with other 5hi'i groups.
In Ithni'ashari 5hi 'i thought on prophecy, the notion of a 1)ujjah ("prooi" or

"evidence of God's will") plays an important role in proving the existence and
the continuation of divine guidance on earth}8 This teaching of l;Jujjah is unfolded
in the a1}idith, or traditions attributed to the Imims. 19 The term I}ujjah is used to

11 See, for example, al-Qi4i al-Nu'min's Da'i'im al-I.lim, 00. A. A. A. Fyzee (ai-Qihirah,
1955), 2 vols.

In the foUowing description of the Ithni· ashari doctrine of !,JujjaIJ we mainly foUow M.

G. S. Hodgson, "~udjdja (in Shi'i Terminology)," in El 2, vol. 3, pp. 544-45.

• 19 For sayings attributed to the imams regarding this doctrine, 1consulted "I(jlib al-i;lujjah"
in one of the most authoritative collections of Ithna'ashari ~dir1J, M~d b. Ya1qüb al-Kulaynï,

refer ta a persan who represents and demonstrates God's guidance to humankind.

• Were it not for such lJuiiab, His guidance would not be accessible to humankind,
and humankind would thus be unable to serve Him, because of His great
transcendence. Every age is therefore in such great need of lJujjab that the world
could not exist without him: this is why the prophets, the best of His creatures
<,afwaIJ mÜJ kba19i-1Ji), were sent to humankind, with their commands spelling out
what to do and their prohibitions telling of what not to do. 20
But who was to take over this role of ~ujjaIJ after the Prophet M~mmad? A
lJadith attributed to lmim Ja'far al-~diq provides an answer to this question.

After the Prophet, the Qur'in cannot alone constitute the lJujjah , since Murji'ites,
Qadarites, and even dualist-heretics (zanadi9, sg., zitJdi9) can utilize it in their
disputes. Thus, the Qur'i.n needs a custodian (9ayyim al-Qur'an). The only persan
capable of taking on this raIe after the Prophet was, according to Imâm Ja'far

• a1-~adiq, 'Ali b. Abi Tilib, that is, the Prophet's cousin and son-in-Iaw.21 The

saying also implies that he was the lJujjah on earth. This role of
according to another ~adith ,

inherited by the descendents of Imâm Ali b. Abï


Ti.lib who were known as the ah1 al-bayt.22 Each of these descendents was
appointed by the nomination (~,) of bis predecessor in keeping with God's
will: this means that the Imims were divinely-guided and -appointed leaders of

Al-U,wmüJ al-Kifi (hereafter referred to as al-Kulayni, al-KjJj), ed. MutJammad Biqir aI-Bihbüdï
& 'Ali Akbar al-Ghaffirj with commentary and Persian transI. by Mul}ammad Biqir al-I<amara'i
(Tihri.n, 1382/1962), vol. 1. Also, on the Shi' i in general, and the Ithni'asharï in particu1ar, in
tenns of their understanding of .pdilb, see E. I<ohlberg, "Shi'i I:fadith," in Arabie Literafure to the
End of the U""'YYad Period, 00. A. F. L Beeston et al. (Cambridge, 1983), pp. 299-307.
2D AI-Kulayni, al-JCjfj, vol. 1, p.313f. See also Hodgson, '~u~," p. 544.

21 Al-Kulayni, al-Iafj, vol. 1, p.314f.

22 Ibid., pp. 318-22 ( especially p. 320) and p. 365f. This is a definition of the term in
general Shi'i context. For the various definitions of the "ab] al-bayt," d. 1. Goldziher- C. van

• Arendonk- A. S. Tritton, "Ahl al-Bayt," El2, vol. 1, pp. 257-58 and 1. K. A. Howard, "Ahl-e Bayt
(Ahl al-Bayt)," Elr, vol. l, p. 635.

humankind, like the prophets.

• This role of demonstrating divine guidance to humankind was proclaimed in a

letter sent by the eighth Imam 'Ali al-Ri~i to one of his companions, which is
quoted in a tradition. 23 In it the lmim 'Ali al-Ri4a is reported to have written
that after the Prophet -the trustee of God (amüJ AIliIJ ) among His creatures- it is
the people of the Prophet's household (i.e., the Imams, including 'Ali al-Rip
himself) who are bis heirs (waratlJatu-lJu). A1so, according to 'Ali al-Ri~, the
imims and their "party' (6bi'atu-na , literally, "our party") made a contraet with
God, and this party will reach the watering place (maWJid) of the Imims, and will
enter the latter's entrance (madkbal): henœ orny this party and the imims constitute
the community of Islam Cmillat al-161im).24 In effect the saying attributed to
al-Ri~ grants exclusive membership in the Islamic community ta the Imims and
their "shï'ah."

• Furthermore, this same ,fJaditIJ quotes Q 42: 13 ("He (i.e., God) has prescribed
to you the religion (,,"m) with which He charged Noah, that which We revealed ta
you, and what We charged Abraham, Moses, and Jesus..."), which Imam 'Ali
al-Ri4a interprets in the same letter as having being addressed to the family of
M~mmad (Al MuftammaJJ. On the basis of bis interpretation of this verse,
al-Ri4& proclaims that the verse denotes that Gad transmitted the knowledge of
those great prophets ta the imims, making them the heirs of the "possessors of
resolution," or the great prophets (ulii al- 'azm).2S To sum up, this teaching attributed
to lmi.m 'Ali al-Ri~ emphasizes the continuity of prophecy through the line of

%1 Ibid., p. 431f.

U Ibid., p. 431. In the text the "entrance" is referred ta as ""our entrance" Cmadklalu-aj).
This could be intel pteted as "our entranœ ID the paradise." However we keep the final intel pletatïon

open to discussion.
15 Ibid., p. 431f.

the imams of the household of the Prophet.

• There is aIso another ~dit1J attributed te Ja'far al-~diq which confirms that the
people of the Shi' ah hold exclusive membership in the Islamic Community:

Amïr al-Mu'minin is the gate to God (bah AH~, Who cannat be reached
except through it, and the path ta Him (_abDu-hu), other than which if someone
treads, he will perish, and likewise [this] is applied to [other] lmi.ms one after
another0 26

The above can be interpreted as suggesting that salvation will be granted only to
the "s hi'ah" of the imams. This notion is confirmed in two ~dit1J s recorded by
Imam Ja'far and bis father, Imam M~ad al-Bàqir, dealing with the Day of
the Resurrection (yawm al-qiyimah ) or Last Judgemento According to these lIaclitlJs,
the imams will testify against the unbelievers but attest to the faith of those who

• accepted their authority.27 This means, we suggest, that at the end of our world
the imams will take on a salvationaI role for true believers by testifying on their
To sum up, then, the above Ithni.'ashari doctrines on the Imamate extracted
from alli.dïtb indicate that the imims from the abl al-bayt took on the raIe of
IJujjah after the Prophet, becoming the heirs ta bis prophecyo Some a.fJadïth attributed

to the imams aIso imply that they were possessed of prophecy of such a nature,
that while they could not receive the .hari'ah or sacred law, and did not have
visions of angels in a waking state, they nevertheless did hear angel's voices in

216 Ibido, p. 379.

Ibid., p. 360 (the ,fJadilb attributed ta lmim Ta'far al-~diq) and po 360fo {that attributed
ta the imim M~mmad a1-Biqir)o The phrase 1 paraphrased as "the imams will testify against
the unbe1ievers but attest to the faith of those who accepted their authorityo is in the following

0 0"

two ladïtls, resPeCtively:" Pa-1IJaIJ pddaqa,addaqlJi-buyaw-ma al-.,iyimab OmimJa'far}; "Pa-man

o ••"

pddaqayawma aJ-qiyiDMb pd.qlJi-bu 00." Omim M~d a1-Biqir).


dreams.28 Receiving divine guidance, their task was to lead the faithful on the

• right path, and help them gain salvation on the Day of Judgement. In other
words, prophecy or the prophetie line was maintained even after the Prophet by
the Imims from his household and will continue to be maintained throughout
history down to the Day of Resmrection, that is, the day when the faithful are
granted salvation. Thus it is clear that the idea of the sacred history, or sacred
history directed toward salvation, is represented in Shi'j sources.
One point which should be noted is the emergence of a doctrine featuring a set
of messianist ideas among members of a Shi'j group known as the Kaysilüyah:
this movement antidpated that an 'Alid by the name ofM~db. al-~anafiyah,
who had been the Mahdi of the failed Shi'j rebellion led by al-Mukhtar (66/685-
67/687) against Umayyad rule, would return as the messianic figure, despite his
apparent death in 81/700-701.29 The doctrine, specifically Shj'j in inspiration,

• featured: a messianic figure or Mahdi ("the rightly guided"), who is expected by

Shi'js and SUIUlis alike to restore justice and eradicate injustice at the end of lime;
his ,hay&ah (occultation), or state of being hidden in the unseen dimension of the
world; and his rujü'. or return to our world. Thus, from the lime of the rise of the
I<aysi.niyah, ideas such as these gained considerably in popularity and were
further elaborated by other Shi'j groupS.30
The introduction of these ideas added a sense of culmination ta the Shi'j
scheme of history. According to this scheme, the last imim. descended from the

21 Ibid., the third bib of Kilib aJ-ijujjah (pp. 329-31).

251 For a general overview of the development of the docbine of the Mahdi in Islamic
traditions, see W. Madelung, "Al-Mahdi," Et, vol. S, pp. 1230-38. For thoughts on the connection
between millenarian-messianist ideas and the Kaysini movement, see the following studies: W.
Madelung, l'l<aysinyya," Er, vol. 4, pp. 836-38; A. A. Sachedina, lslamic MessÜlnism: the Idetl of the
MiIJuli in Twelver Shi'ism (Albany, 1981), p. 10.

• H. Halm, Die Schia (Darmstadt 1988), p. 25 (English transI. by


Œdinburgh, 1991), p. 19).

J. Watson: Shiism

ah1 al-llayt is believed to be presently in ghaybab, yet is expected to return toward

• the end of time, bringing final victory to the faithful (in this case, the Shï'iS) and

defeat to the unbelievers, allowing justice finally to prevail over injustice. That is
to say, history continues to develop under the direction of divinely appointed
leaders, prophets and îmims, and will eventually reach its climax with the final
triumph of the true religion.
The îmal triumph is to be brought by the Mahdi and is meant to help prepare
the world for the Final Judgement which willlead the faithful to salvation. With

this concept of the advent of a messianic figure, the Shi'ï scheme of history takes
on a sense of the culmination which is to mark at the end of the line of prophetie
guidance.:u In other words, history culminates in the advent of the Mahdi,
which in tum precedes and prepares the stage for its achievement of a telos or its
goal, that is, the Day of Judgement or the Day of Resurrection. In brief, Shi'ism

• has the concept of sacred history toward salvation which has its own culmination
or telos.

In Ithna'ashrï Shi'ism, the messianist doctrine respectively the advent of the

Mahdi was developed on the basis of the doctrine of the gbaybaIJ of the twelfth
Imim. This particular doctrine developed gradually through the efforts of the

first generations of representatives of the Imimï community, as well as through

those of the theologians who had to speak up, given the lack of sole leadership
after the death of the eleventh Imam (260/874).32 Hence, a unique scheme of

31 That is to say, in Shi'ism, the advent of the messianic figure is regarded as the goal of
this continued Une of prophecy. This doctrine distinguishes Shi'is from SunnIl who advocate the
continuation of divine guidance by the 'ulamâ' or the leamed in religious sciences after the
Prophet, even though Sunnis maintain a belief in the advent of the Mahdi at the end of âme. Cf.
A. A. Sachedina, Islilmic MessiJmism, p. 41.

32 On the development of the doctrine of the ,baybah of the twelfth imim, see the following

studies: A. A. Sachedina, Islamic Messianism, particularly, chap. 3 entitled '7he Occultation of the
lmamite Mahdi," pp. 78-108; H. Modarressi, Crïsis and Consolidation in the Formative Period of
Shi'ite Islam (Princeton, 1994); S. A. Arjomand, ''Imam Absconditus and the Begïnnings of a

sacred history toward salvation, the culmination of which is the parousia (1Qhiir)

• of the hidden twelfth imâm, was deve10ped in Ithni.·ashari Shi'i theology. Ever
since, the Ithni.· ashaIi Shi'! faithful have steadfastly believed in bis future parousia.
Comparison of the particular Ithna'ashari concept of ghaybaIJ with its Ismi.·iIï
conceptual counterpart, i.e. the doctrine of the concealment (.atrl of the lmi.m,
leaves many avenues open to investigation, even if there is reason to think that
the Ismi'iBs originated in the Imimi group which was itself reformulated into
the Ithni.'asharïyah in 4th/IOth century. The reason why the question remains
unresolved lies, we think, in the different historical experiences that each Shi'j
community underwent after their split in the second half of the 2nd/3rd century.
It would therefore be an enormous task to compare those different experiences,
situations and events, one by one, and to determine what effect these might have
had on their respective doctrines on the concealment of an ïmim.

• As an example of these historical experiences from the Ismi.'ilï standpoint, we

can point to the beginning in 286/899 of their propaganda on behalf of their
leader 'Ubayd ('Abd) Alli.h's declaration that he was the lmim, in spite of the
widespread bellef that the concealment of the seventh Imam was still in force.
This induced the dissidents known as the Qarmalis or Qarimi~h to split from
the main body of the sect. This event, for those loyal to 'Ubayd ('Abd) Allih and
his Une, marked the end of the concealment of the imi.m and bis emergence,
whereas the Qarma~ thought differently, still believing in the parousia of
Mul}ammad b. Isma'il as the awaited Qi lim. Each group developed its own idea
of concealment which henceforth resulted in the shaping of its own scheme of

Theology of Occultation: Imami 5hi'ism ciral 280-90 A.H./900 A.D," Journal of the AmeriCQn Oriental
Society 117 (1997): pp. 1-12. Also on the process of the formation of Ithni1asharidoctrine on the
py6aA and the return of the twelfth im~ see, for example: Halm, Die 5chia , pp. 34-56 (English

transI., pp. 29-50); E. Kohlberg, ''From lmimiyya ta Ithni·' ashariyya," Bulletin of the School of
Oriental and African Studies 39 (1976): pp. 521-34.

saaed history toward salvation.

• Even after this event, the Fipmid Imamate-Caliphate could not safeIy manage
to avoid dispute over the question of succession to the Imamate. This can be
observed in such cases as the conflict between Nizir and al-Musta'lï over the
succession to the lmamate of al-Musl:éln?ir bi-Allih (d. 487/1094), and the disarray
in the Fi,timid court between the lime of the death of Imam al-Amir (524/1130)
and the enthronement of al-~~ (526/1132).
Each of these conflicts resulted in schism. Out of the dispute between aI-Musta 'li
and Nizir there emerged a faction, the Niziriyah, aIso known as the new calling"

or "new propaganda" (al-da 'waIJ al-jal/il/ab) which supported the Imamate of the
latter and which later deveIoped the doctrine of his concealment and that of the
first few generations of bis descendants. The other dispute which arase after the
death of Imam al-Amir brought about a further schism within the Fi~d Isma'ïlis

• who split into the Tayyibiyah, who believed in the imamate of al-Tayyib and bis
state of concealment up to our age, and the I;fifipyah, who sided with the Fi.pmïd
court of the time. Thus, even within the framework of Ismi'ilism, each Isma 'ni
sub-sect developed not only its own idea of concealment but aIso its own scheme
of sacred history toward salvation as a doctrinal response to their historical
experiences. Each scheme of sacred history as weIl as each idea of concealment
could serve as the subject of a fully detailed monograph. However, we must
remember that our focus is on that version of sacred history which developed at
the time of the FiPmid-Qarma1Îan l'schism,'' namely, in the first half of the
4th/10th century.


§2. Early Ismi. 'ilis on Sacred History and

• Prophetology

To begin our exposition of the early Isma'Di version of sacred history, let us
confirm and further eluddate their "cyclical" scheme of human history. In the
following description of the scheme we follow the mainstream of contemporary
scholarship.33 This scheme basically consists of seven cycles (adrir, sg., dawr),
each of which is inaugurated by a -~9 (pl. IJufaqa') or enunciator-prophet.
According to this scheme there are seven IJu~'la' in human history, nameIy,
Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, the Prophet MuJ:1ammad, and the awaited
messianic figure, the Qi.1im or the "rising one.,,34 Each tJi.1i'l brings a new shari'ah
(pl.•lJani'j' ) or sacred law, that is, the~, or exoteric, outer aspect of religion,
abolishing the law in effect in the previous cycle.

• Each ntifi'l in his cycle is followed by an

stimit (silent one) or ~i,
ua. (fundament), aise known as a
(will-executor) who founds the teaching of the btifin, or
inner, esoteric aspect of religion but does not bring law, thus being "sUent" on it.
Succeeding the aü, seven imams maintain the order of religious community,
and preserve and teach the bi!ÜJi aspect of religion as well as its ~ihiri aspect.

The ""Pni aspect of the religious teachings is revealed by the ta 'wiJ (esoteric
interpretation) of the written words of the scriptural text, a specific hermeneutical

31 The following description of the basic scheme of history owes a great deal to studies
such as: H. Corbin, Histoire, pp. 131-36 Œnglish trans!., pp. 86-90); F. Daftary, The Isma'ili., pp.
139-41; Halm, Kosmologie, chapter 1 entitled "Die Zyklen der sieben Propheten," pp. 18-37; W.
Made1ung, "Aspects of Ismi'm Theology," pp. 53-65.
3& On this titIe and its dHference from another title given the messianic, eschatological

• figure known as the ''Mahdi,'' see: W. Madelung, '~i'im AI M~d," Ef, vol. 4, pp. 256-57:
ide~ "a1-Mahdi," d, pp. 1235-1237.

method, which is the function of the ua. and the imimS.3S In the bipn of the

• religion there lie its ~,i 'i, (the hidden truths or the realities, sg.
an be contrasted with .bari'ab. Then at the end of each cycle, the seventh in the
series of the imims is installed as the nafÎq of the next cycle. In this manner,
~qi,ab ) which

divine guidance is transmitted and renewed on earth.

Within this scheme we can recognize the element of continuation of prophecy
or divine guidance. There also seems ta be a sense of culmination of human
history, that is, the advent of a messianic figure, the Qi1im who discloses inner
meanings, i.e., the inner realties (laqà 'iq) of all the laws that were held in the
past.36 The rest of this section will be dedicated to outlining the characterlstics of
this scheme of early ISmi'w sacred history.
The pattern described above is aIso seen in two Imimi 5hï'j heresiographicaI
works, Abü MuJ.tammad a1-~asan b. Müsi al-Nawbakh6's Fira, al-S1Jj çaIJ and

• Sa'd b. 'Abd Allah al-Qummi's Kitib Maqâ1it wa-al-Firaq. Al-Nawbakhti is believed

ta have composed bis Firaq before 286/899, while Sa'd b. 'Abd Allih wrote his
Maqilàt, basing himself on al-Nawbakhtï's work, before 292/905. These texts

contain two of the oldest extant accounts of the Ismi.'Di doctrines for which
provenance is clearly known, although they are reports from outside the sect.31

3S On the la 'ri , see, for example, H. Corbin, Histoire , pp. ~37 ; idem, "Étude préliminaire,"
pp. 65-73; A. Heinen, 'The Notion of ta 'ri in Abü Ya'qüb al-5ijistini's Book of Sources," Hamdard
Islamicus 2 (1979), pp. ~S; 1. K. Poonawala, "Ismi'ili ta'wiJ of the Qur'in," in Approaches to the
History of the Interpretation of the Qur'ü , ed., A. Rippin (Oxford, 1988), pp. 199-222; Walker,
chapter 12 entitled "Interpretation and its Institution," in bis Early Philosophical 5hiism , pp.

J6 The first and the last tlu~a' constitute two exceptions to the pattern described above,
since the former, Adam, being also the first human being, does not have any previous law ta
abolish, while the latter only abolishes the one previous ta him at the same lime as he discloses
the NfÜJ, or esoteric aspect of ail the laws preceding him. Cl. Madelung, "Aspects of Ismi. 'Di
Theology," p. 50. This issue will be discussed in the next section below.

:r1 The descriptions of early Ismi'ilism by these two authors are to be found in: Abü
MlJbammad al-I:fasan b. Müaa al-Nawbakhti, Firaq al-Shi'aIJ (hereafter referred to as al-Nawbakhti>,
00. H. Ritter Qstanbul, 1931), pp. 57-64 (French transI. by M.-J. Mashkür: Les sectes shiites, (Tehran,

Al-Nawbakh6 and Sa'd b. 'Abd Allih reported on the doctrine of the prophets

• held by the Qarimitah or Qarma~ans,who believed in the imamate of M~ad

b. Isma'il b. Ja'far. This doctrine held that there are seven u1ü al-1azm, "possessors
of resolution" or great prophets, these being Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus,
M~ad, 'Ali, and Mul}ammad b. Ismi 'il. 38 Furthermore, according to these
two authors, the Qarma\ians believed that only seven Imims came after the
Prophet M~mmad: 'Ali b. Abi Tilib, al-~asan, al-l:Iusayn, 'Ali b. al-l;Iusayn,
M~mmad b. 'Ali, la'far b. M~ad, and Mul}ammad b. Isma'il b. Ja'far.
The last of these was believed to be still living and still Imâm as weIl as the
"Mahdi-Qi.' im" (al-Imam al-Mahdi al-Qi 'im), and an apostle (ruül).39 On the
figure of MU\1ammad b. Ismi'i, our two authors report that the Qarmatians
meant by the title "the Qi.1im" the one who had been dispatched (yub'atIJu) by
God with the apostleship (ri,ilah) and a new sacred law (sbari'ah jadidah), with

• which he was to abolish (Jr.ansakhu) the law of the Prophet M~ad.40

These accounts clearly suggest the idea of a series of seven great prophets, one
of the basic Ismi.'Di tenets, although they nlake no clear mention of the seven
cycles.41 However, when compared with later sources written by Isma'iJj authors,
these accounts can be seen to contain certain mistakes or distortions, including,
for example, the counting of 'Ali among the great prophets with resolution (u1ü

al-'azm ) and the notion of a new,bati'ah given to the Qi' im.

AIso of importance in this scheme is the Ismi'm doctrine of~, or designation
1980), pp. 83-91); Sa'd b. 1 Abd AIJih al-Ash'ari al-Qummi, Ki,.b MatliJa' wa-al-Pirq (hereafter
referred te as Sa Id b. 1 Abd Allah), ed. M.-J. Mashkür (Tïhrin, 1963), pp. 8D-86. On these two texlS,
see the bibliography by H. Halm in bis Kosmologie , p. 188.
31 AI-Nawbakhti, p. 62 <French transI., p. 88); Sa'd b. a Abd Allah, p. 84.
39 AI-Nawbakhti, pp. 61-62 (French transi., p. 87); Sa ad b. 'Abd Allah, pp. 83-84.

40 AI-Nawbalchti, p. 62 <French transI., p. 88); Sa' d b. 1Abd Allih, p. 84.
41 See Halm, Kosmologk, p. 18.

and transmission of authority, a doctrine referred to by both al-Nawbakhti and

• Sa'd b. 'Abd Allah. According to it the apostleship was supposed to have been
removed (in'la~'at ) from the Prophet and passed on to 1 Ali on the day of the

latter's designation by the former at the pond of Ghadir I<humm. This termination
of the apostleship of the Prophet during bis lifetime is interpreted as the precedent
for God's change of dedsion in terms of the imimah of Ja'far and Ismi 'il. 42 This
reported doctrine raises several issues. One of them is the question of whether
the tenure of prophethood or imamate is lifelong, or whether it can be interrupted
during the lifetime of an incumbent. This issue is crucial to al-Razi's interpretation
of the history of the prophets, and will be revisited below in greater depth in the
fifth and sixth chapters of this study. At any rate, these ideas on the series of
seven prophets and the transmission of prophetie authority show that the reported
doctrines do contain the idea of the continuation of prophecy up through the .

• ""A


The accounts of al-Nawbakhti and Sa'd b. 'Abd Allâh raise another issue,
which is the starting point of divine guidance through prophecy. Why does the
series of the "possessors of resolution" (ulü a]-'azm) or the great prophets begin
with Noah and not with Adam? What is Adam's position in human history? This

42 Al-Nawbakh6, p. 62 (French transI., pp. 47-48: 1 follow the reading and translation of
M. -J. Mashkiir; d. p. 88, n. 1 in his translation); Sa'd b. 'Abd Allàh, p. 84. This argument which
both authors ascribe to the Qarma;ans is similar to the notion of bada' (Cad's changing of His
own will) which sorne Imini, and later Ithni'ashri, theologians utilized ta explain the succession
of the Ithni'asluis' seventh Imim, Musa al·Ka,~ ID the lmimah, which is beIieved to have taken
place after the premature death of Imam Ja'far's eldest son, lsmi.'i1. Why then did the Qarmapans
resort to a notion which their opponents on the issue of the lmimah actually utilized? It may be
suggested that this report reflects confusion or polemical tendency on the part of al-Nawbakhti
and Sa'd b. 'Abd Allah, a question which should he investigated in sorne future study. On Imàmi
or Ithnà'ashri notion of IJada', see: M. Ayoub, "Divine Preordination and Human Hope: A Study
of the Concept of Bada' in lmimi Shi'i Tradition," Journal of the Amerian Oriental Society 106
(1986): pp. 623-32; I. Goldziher- (A. S. Tritton), '~adi.'," fI2, vol. 1, pp. 850-51; W. Madelung, "The
Shi'ite and Khirijite Contribution to Pre-Ash'arite Kalim," in Islamie Philosophiazl Theology, ed., P.
Morewedge (Albany, N.Y., 1979), pp. 120-39. On the Ismi'i1i rejection of the notion of the "ada J,

• see D. Steigerwald, Ul pensée phJl0s0phique et théologique de Sba1uv1âlJi (m.548/1153). (Saint-Nicolas,

PQ, 1997), pp. 251-52.

problem cannot be explained away by presumed misunderstanding on the part.

• of our two !mimi reporters of Ismi.'ili sources. This is because we have the
evidence of al-l,l;q. itself that Adam's position in human history and bis mission
as -liq were a point of dispute in the Ismâ 'ili community of the 4th/lOth century-
a dispute in which not only al-Rizï and al-Nasa!i partidpated, but also al-Sijistini
and al-I<îrmini at a later date, as we will see below in this chapter. The following
quotation from the "oral traditions on the Qa' im" (akhbar al-Qi ';m ) illustrates
this. Al-Nawbakhtï and Sard b. 'Abd Allah bath report that:

...God -He is blessed and exalted!- granted Mul}ammad b. Isma'il the paradise
of Adam (jannat Adam). Ils meaning is, according to them, the releasing of the
forbidden things, and of the sum of what was created, in this world (al-;b~a1J
li-l-mu.fJjdm wa-jami' mi klJuliqa li al-durJyi )... 43

• In the above passage M~ad b. Isma'il's, that is, the Qi'im's, role in human
history (IIreleasing") is somehow related to Adam, in whose paradise there was,
it is implied, no forbidden matter. In other words, the salvational function of the
Qi'im is to release everything forbidden to humankind, and it is this that will
lead to the restoration of the "paradise of Adam." This issue of the relation
between the beginning and the end of the human history was introduced ta the
debate over the mission of Adam. We will retum later to a more detailed discussion
of the mission of Adam and its relation to the Qi 1 im.
The reports of al-Nawbakhti and Sa'd b. 'Abd Allâh also contain dichotomous
descriptions of the 1abir and biPn. which are defined as the sum of that which
God enjoined upon bis servants, and of that which bis prophets established as

• G A1-Nawbakh~ p. 63 (French transI., p. 88); Sa 'd b. 1 Abd Allah, p. 84. In his quotation
of this passage Sa1d b. 'Abd Allah reproduces al-Nawbakhtï's text word for ward.

custom respectively. The Scripture and .utJlJah are coined parables (amrIW

• ma Fiibab). Within these parables are inner meanings in which salvation (najar )
is to be found, whereas in the practice Ci.Ii'mil ) of the 1abir, or the external aspect
of religion, there are destruction CbaJak ) and calamity (.mqa' ).44 H we compare
this passage on the ~-6ifÏn dichotomy with the Qa'im's mission mentioned
above, his salvational function is to release everything forbidden according ta the
1aJUri aspect of religion. However, among later generations of Isma.'ilis, this
Ilreleasing of the forbidden" is always a matter for debate and is, of course,
somehow related to the eschatological discussion conceming the function of the
Qi' im and the time of bis advent.
Based on the above analytical description, it can be said that, despite their
mistakes or possible distortions, the accounts of al-Nawbakh6 and Sa 'd b. cAbd
AI.lah touch on many of the essential issues with which later Isma'Dis had

• continuously to grapple. Some of those issues will be revisited later in our study.

From the oldest accounts of Isma'Di doctrine written by outsiders, we now turn
to two anonymous texts from within the community: Kitab al-Kabf, which consists
of six independent treatises (nui 'il, sg. risâlah ), and Kitib al-Rushd wa-al-Hidayah.
Many parts of these two texts date back to the Pre-Fi.pmid period. 45 Specifically
we will investigate how these texts present the concepts of the continuation of
divine guidance through prophecy and the advent of the Qi 'im as the culmination

~ AI-Nawbakhti, pp. 63-64 <French transi., pp. 89-90); SaId b. IAbd Allah, p. 85.

45 For basic infonnation on these two texts, see Poonawala, Biobibliography" p. 73 {onKitib
al-KuM and p. 34 (on KilÜ al-R..1JfIJ. The editions we use in this study are: ICitab al-Kubl
(hereafter referred to as Kimb al-Kubl), ed. R. Strothmann (London, 1952); Kiràb 81-R..lJd wa-81-
Hidiyab (hereafter referred to as Ki,.b al-RaAd ), 00. M. Kâmil ijusayn in Collectanea vol.l

• <Leiden, 1948}, pp. 189- 213. On the dating of these two texts, 1 have consulted Madelung and
Halm. See Madelung, 'I()as Imamat," pp. 51-61; Hahn, Kosmologie , pp. 18-37, 169.

According ta Kitab al-Rœhd, the twenty eight letters of the Arabie alphabet

• symbolize the seven nu,.qa', the seven a"",iya', the seven ranks of the religion
(maritib al-düJ al-sab') found in every age, and the seven completer-imams (al-sab'aIJ

al-a 'immaIJ al-lIJutimmiitJ ).46 Although it is not explicit as to which letter aetually

corresponds to which -#9, .",.."i, martabaIJ (sg. of maritib ), or imam, the work
does clearly indicate that the last letter, yi', denotes the Mahdi, who is the last
imim as weIl as the last aàpq.47
In addition, Kilib al-Rœhd tell us that just as Moses predicted the coming of the

'Messiah" (al-MasiJ}), i.e. Jesus, and just as the latter announced in bis turn the
coming of the Prophet M~mmad, M~ad announced the coming of the
Mahdi, who is ta seal, or end, the "two grades" (yakhtimu al-rutbatayu), that is, the
"grade of the apostleship" and the "grade of the will-executorship" (ru"'at al-ririJaIJ
wa-rutbal al-vri~yab ).48 This Mahdi is the seventh tJi#q (sabi 1 al-nu!&qa? and the

• "tenth" (al-'ühir ) after the Prophet, •Ali, and the seven imams.49 Thus, by
presenting the idea of the nafiq ,s announcement of the next tJà#fl to come, this
text shows the continuation of divine guidance and the line of the prophets up to
the Qi. 'ïm, who is described as a sort of complet~r of this line of guidance.
The author of Kitab al-Rushd descrïbes the roles of the apostle and the wa#, or
will-executor. He suggests that verse Q 48: 8 ('We dispatched you as a witness,
good-tiding-bringer, and warner (sbüidan wa-mubarhshiran wa-nadhiran)") denotes
that the apostle brings the good tidings of ~a1Jjr al-talJzi1 or the exterior meaning

46 KitâIJ d-RuslJ4 p. 198.

47 Ibid.

41 Ibid., pp. 198-99. In this passage the famous verse Q 61: 6 ("(1 am indeed the Messenger... l
giving good tidings of a Messenger who shall come after me, whose name shall be ~ad") is

quoted as Qur'inic evidence for Jesus' prediction of the coming of the Prophet.
49 Ibid., p. 199.

of revelation. The author tells us besides that the tnJ!i brings the good tidings of

• what the apostle hid from the eyes of the believers, that is, 'ilm al-ta 'wil, or the
knowledge of esoteric interpretation, referring to the phrase riyi.fJ al-busJmi"
(winds of good tiding) which is based on verse Q 7: 57 ("He is the One Who

dispatches the winds as good tiding (bw1Jri ) in the presence of His Mercy")
already quoted.50
With regard ta the number of the imams in a cycle, the other anonymous text,
Kitab al-Ku1Jf, offers us in its first treatise an interpretation of verse Q 7: 142 on

God's contract with Moses ("And We made a promise during thirty nights
(tbalit1JüJa laylatan» and completed them with ten [more nights]. Thus the appointed

time of his Lord [for Moses] (m;qit Rabbi-hi) was completed during forty nights
(uba 'inah laylataIJ ).•."). Paying particular attention to the phrase "thirty nights,"

the anonymous author of the treatise interprets it as the number of the "completers"

• (atimmi r, sg. IDUfimm. or completer of a cycle of religious affairs, that is, an imamS1)

extending from Adam to ~ad (i.e., M~ammad the Apostle of Gad), since
there are "six completers" between every ni~q and the next of the six nu~qi '. 52

As for the number IIten" added ta "thirty nights," this consists of the eight 1)ujaj

or "proofs," also called atimmi', between "Atunad" and "M~mad" (who

appears ta be the Mahdi in this context) in addition to these latter two figures
themselves. These lJujaj or atimmi' are referred to as the "carriers of the throne"
(~alat al- 'anb): here the "throne" means the knowledge ('ilm ) which is
interpretation (ta 'ri). After these forty leaders the "appointed time" is fulfilled:

50 Ibid., p. 104.
51 ln another treatise (the 6th) of the same text there is a phrase connecting "imim" and
llmutimm": 'Iimim mulimm li-.bari'ab bi-aI-ra'ri " (an imim completing the sacred law with his

interprelation). Kitü aI-Kubl, pp. 164-65.
S2lbid., p. 15. O. Madelung, l'Das Imamat ," p. 54.

this l'appointed time" is thus the parousia of the I l-liq of the naliqs" (~ür -liq

• al-lJufatli 1 ).53

According ta the passage desaibed above, the line of divine1y-guided leaders

was continuously developed from Adam to ~d or M~ad, then ta another
Muttammad, right up to the parousïa of the "na,;q of the lJi1Ïqs." This passage
raises another issue: does this other ''M~ad'' refer to Mul}ammad b. Isma'il,
namely, the awaited Qi-'im of the Qarmapans and Pre-Fapmid Ismi'iJjs? This
would seem plausible, and there seems to be no strong argument to be made
against this idea.54 But there is no mention of the name of any lmim here. And
the problem of the number of atimmj' or imims, i.e., that it is not seven but eight,
remains. 5înce the eight imims in addition to "~ad" and 'M~ad"make
up "ten," this problem should he examined in the light of Kitab al-Rushd's mention
of the Mahdi as the "tenth" one coming after the Prophet, 'Ali, and the seven

• Imams.55 This situation makes it difficult to identify the second

and leaves the question open to further discussion.56

The fifth treatise of Kirab al-Kasbf, confirms the names of the 1Ja,#qs and refers
ta their respective fields of operation as "buJlÜt" (houses [of Gad]), a word borrowed
from verse Q 24: 36. According to the anonymous author of this treatise, in these
"houses" the sacred laws (_hui 'i 1 ) must be proclaimed, and the things entrusted
(wadi.'i' ), by which is apparently meant the religious knowledge or teaching,

must be made visible or made clear with miracles (mu 'jizit). This means that
these "houses" are the "houses which announce the sacred laws in every age and

53 Kilàb aJ-Kubl, p. 16

sc O. Halm, Y.osmologie, p. 28.

55 For this problem, see Madelung, '1)as Imamat," p. 54.

56 We will revisit the problem of numbering in these two passages hom al-RudJd and
al-Kasbtin chapter 8, §3, particularly pp. 316-18 beIow.

time" (al-buyiit al-lIJu'azzinÜlJ (sic) bi-al-.bari 'j' li lr.ull'a,r wa-zamjn). These "houseS'

• are furthermore the lJu~'la' who enunciate the revelation (tanzü ) and sacred
laws. The IJUfa'là' here are Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus,
(aIso ca1Ied Atamad), and a seventh referred to as Mul}ammad al-Mahdi.57

The above passage makes apparent not only the names of the lJufa'la or 1

enunciator-prophets, but also the continuation of divine guidance through

prophecy, that is, the announcement of sacred law. Nevertheless it fails ta articulate
the role of the Mahdi or Qi.'im., who could be misunderstood as being no different
from other lJufa'li '. In addition, in the passages from al-RU81Jd and al-Kubf
described above, the role of the Qi.'im is not very clearly spelled out. Therefore
we will discuss other passages from these two texts, in which the anonymous
authors describe the role of the Qi'im and bis place in sacred history.
In Kjeib a]-Rushd severa! passages mention the seventh ni!i'l and bis parousia.

• In these passages the author develops the idea of ,"ab;' or "m aking-sevenfold,"

by which he implies that sorne .üra1J. of the Qur'in, especially those bearing
numbers which are multiples of seven, denote the seven imams and the seventh
lJà!i'l.S8 One remarkable passage states that .ü,-aIJ 112 (.urab a1-~ on the

laW'flid. or absolute unity of God), which is the seventh chapter after .ürab 105 of

the Qur'ân, means that the perfection of the unity of God has been called the
moment of the parousia of the seventh napq (mi 'liJa kamiJ al-lalV~d waqt ~u1Jûr

.abi' al-lJu~qa' ). The author is saying, in other words, that this denotes the

completion of the seven completers (tamam al-.ab 'at al-muÛmmioa ) in terms of

number -that is, seven- and aIso that this denotes the seventh nafÏq in terms of

/Ci,." al-Kubf, p. 104•


51 See, for example, /Cita" d-R.bd, pp. 192-98


the perfection of both tawfüd and the faith. 59 Thus, the parousia of the seventh

• lJalif, i.e., the Qi.1im, is regarded as a culmination of the development of re1igious

knowledge in saaed history.
Two passages from the Kitab al-Kubf treat of the same theme. In the 5th
treatise of this text, the author writes:

...The Religion of God (trm AHiIJ ) -He is Mighty and Glorious!- continues
(muua,il ) from Adam in the hands of the lJu~9a' and imims until God
perfects His Religion and His Order (~lJu) with the seventh rightly-guided
lJa~, (al-na';, al-sibi' a/- mahdi).60

This passage declares the continuation of divine guidance, or the "Religion of

God" and the perfection to be brought by God with the seventh _#'1.61
Another passage from this same treatise, defines the seventh lJiliq as follows:

• "the master of parousia, of unveiling of the hidden, and of the seal of the ages,
times, and eras: whoever knows [him], bis pÜgrimage will be perfected and his
[religiousl affair completed" (~a.fU" al-~ubür wa-wlJf al-mutÜT wa-kbàtim al-a 'far

wa-al-azm;naIJ wa-a/-dubür alladbi t.rUUJ 'arafa[-bu] bmaJa !aji~bu wa-tamma amru-

hU).62 The phrase "seal of the ages, times, and eras" shows that the seventh lJa,;q
is regarded as the "summum" of human history and the culmination of the
development of sacred history. The latter half of this passage, "whoever knows

59 Ibid., p. 196.
fia Kiràb aJ-Kuhf, p. 109.

61 Following this passage, the author of the treatise states that the sacred laws (al-sbari 'i?
were completed with the Prophet M~d's dJarj'a1J , and that the Prophet was the "lord of
manifesting of the authority" (,~" iPJü a1~aar ). Ibid., pp. 109-110. Dy this, we can say, the
anonymous author of the Sth treatise meant that the Perfection of religion would he accomplished

by the Qi 'im, whereas the sbui. 'i' had been completed by the Prophet Mut-ammad.
Qlbid., p. 114.

[him -referring ta the seventh -fi9] ...," is related to the salvational function of

• the Qi.1im, and also ta the issue of membership in the true Community. The
statement that anyone who reeognizes the authority of the Qa 'im will perfeet his
IJajj and complete bis religious obligations implies that anyone who fails to know

the messianic figure fails ta fulfill bis religious obligations. We will retum to the
issue of membership in the true Community in the next chapter.

§3. The Framework of Sacred History According to

al-Ri.zi, al-Nasafi and al-Sijisti.ni: Adam and the

In this section we will address the RiZian notion of prophetology. To begin

• with we will consider the issue of Adam, the fust man and therefore IIfather" of
humankind. The prophethood of Adam is virtually the sole issue within this
topic debated among al-Nasafj, al-Razi, and al-5ijistini, as issue which l;Iamid
al-Din al-Kirmini revisits in bis Kitab aJ-Riyi!l.63 In the debate in al-Rjyi~one can
see furthermore that the topic of the prophethood of Adam is discussed in relation
to the missions of the Qi.'im. This suggests, as pointed out above, that the roles
of these two prophetic figures in sacred history require theoretical clarification,
since Ismacilïs believed from very early on that Adam was the inaugurator of
history and the Qi'im its termïnator. In other words, in early Ismi.'ilism discussion
of the respective missions of Adam and the Qi'im resulted in the development of
a framework of sacred history How did Adam start history? And how will the

• Q I:famid al-JAn al-Kirmini, chapter 9 (al-bàb al-füi 1

(Bayrüt, 1960), pp. 176-212.
) in Kitab al-Riyi!l, 00. 'A. Timir

Qi.J im take history to its end, or telos? Already in the debate between al-NasaD

• and al-Rizi on Adam we can recognize the doctrinal debate on the relation of
Adam to the Qi.Jim.
In a1-I~I~ the debate unfolds in a long chapter entitled "l'he Chapter on the
Difference of the Sacred Law, Resolution and Cycle" (Bib aI-farq a/-shari'aIJ wa-
a/-'azimaIJ wa-al-dawr) (f. 27r., 1. 3 -64r., 1. 7 If. 26v.,I. Il -63r., 1. 4/pp. 57-131). As

the title of the chapter indicates, the relation of $1:JarjlaIJ to the prophethood of
Adam forms the core subject of the debate. In the beginning of the chapter
al-Râzi presents the definition of $barilaIJ :

Know - May God have mercy upon you! -: Sacred law consists of the rules
of the religion which the enunciator-prophets - Peace be upon them! -
composed with their external expressions. And they called the people to it
(i.e. sacred law) through the rules, ordinances, and the external duties with

• order and prohibition (l'lam -

~lIJa-ka Allah - alUJa

'alay-bim al-ali.m min TU$iim aI-dï12

al-$bari'aIJ biya mi allafa-hu
bj-~ab.ir alfi#-billJ wa-da 'au al-12Ü
Hay-ha mirJ al-afllcjm wa-al-$urJaI1" wa-al-fari 'i!l al-,ahiraIJ 65 bi-al-amr wa-al-nahy).
(f. 27r., IL 3-5 If. 26v.,1l. 12-15/p. 57)

Furthermore, al-Razi provides us with another definition of shari'ah: it is "the

fundamentals of the religion (~ü1 al-gm )," i.e., the extemal rules of the faith. The
debate therefore deals with the issues of whether he brought the sacred lawor
.hari'aIJ (defined above) and whether Adam can be treated as other nUfaqa' who

taught .hari'aIJ to humankind. Another issue at stake is that of the differences

" We foUow the reading of the printed edition, p. 57, 1. 8, and of MS. Tüb. f. 26v., 1. 14,
.;,\-JI, instead of that of MS. Ham. f. 27r.,I. S,.;-JI.

fiSFollowing p. 57, L 8 of the printed edition, we adopted the grammatically correct
spelling,,.10. The spelling in the Hamdani and Tübingen MSS i~ll;.

among the lJu~'la '.

• At the end of the previous chapter al-Rizi had already pointed out certain
"errors" (ghalaE) in al-Nasafi's understanding of the issue of the sacred laws
(.1Jani 'i' ), such as bis statements that the first nalÏq had no .btui'ab; that the ul;;;

al- 'azm or the possessors of resolution are seven; and that the first and seventh

nap'ls belong ta the latter group Cf. 26r., 1. 12- f. 27r, 1. 2/f. 26r., 1. 6- V., 1. Il/p.
56-57). The term ulü aJ-'azm is found in verse Q 46:35: "50 be patient just as the
"possessors of resolution" (ulü al-'um) among the apostles were patient." This
verse can be interpreted as referring to the existence of a distinguished dass
among the apostles.
In the context of the prophetological debate on Adam between al-Nasafi and
al-Razi, another verse, Q 20: 115, deserves attention: it reads, 'We made a contract

with Adam before, but he forgot, and We find in mm no resolution ('azm).,,66

• This verse can be interpreted to show that Adam is differentiated from other
prophets because of his lack of "resolution." This notion of 'azm" becomes a Il

focal point of aI-Razi's refutation of al-NasaIi and aIso of one of the major issues
in the later debate reported in al-Kirmini's al-Riyafl, as we shall see below.
With regard to Adam and whether or not he possessed "'azm ," we find tha t
al-RiZi uses the word "'azimah " in discussing the function of the "masters of

resolutions" (a,~b al-'aza'im ). It is this phrase which al-Razï uses to refer to the

"ul;;; al-'azm" (f. 28v.,I. 2- V., 1. 8/f. 27v., 1. 10- f. 28r., 1. 14/pp. 59-60). Al-Rizi
holds that the meaning of l''azimah'' is: "...derived from lIal-'azm ." The 'azm is
the decisive matter (al-amr al-~tm),67 "tying fast" ~am), and cutting off' (qat)

66The verses mentioning the word "'azrD" in the Qurlin are indexed in: M. F. 'Abd
al-Biqi, AJ-Mu'iam al-Mufabri.li-AJfàl al-Qur'ü al-Karim (al-Qihirah, 1406A.H./1986C.E.), p. 461.

Conceming this wor~1 and the preœding word in the text, the printed edition (p.

59,1. 1) and MS. Ham. Cf. 28r.,I. 3) have,..=J-1 ~'ll, whereas MS. Tüb. (f. 27v., 1. 10) has ~I "..'lL In

(f. 28r.,IL2-3/f.27v.,Il.lO-11/p.59). The "masters ofresolutions" (~~b al-'aza'im),

• al-Rizi continues, are so called because the sense of the root word'azm clearly
designates their function, namely, that of renewing the sacred laws, and abolishing
the rules of the prophets (an6iyi' ) who had preceded them. In the process they
"eut off" (9aJa'O ) the people from those mIes, and "tied fast" ~ü) to them
what they had brought of a similar nature, thus abandoning the rules of the past
(f. 28r., 1. 15 -V., 1. 2/f. 28r., IL 4-9/p. 59). The prophets who practice those
functions have all the characteristic of II
azm ," i.e. "cutting off" and "tying fast."
This is, we can assume, al-Rizi's definition of u1ü al-'um..
Next, al-Rizi relates bis definition of the ulü al-'azm. to the discussion of the
character of Adam in the following passage which summarizes bis view of Adam,
the U/Ü al-'azm, and the scheme of sacred history:

• As for the masters of the sacred laws (~.fJib al-sbari'i'), they were six (sillat
anfar) in number, since every one of them prescribed the rules of the religion
(af'tâm al-din ) and its ordinances (sUlJalJu-hu ) as an indicator by which the
people are guided to that within which their salvation (najitu-hum ) lies. The
first of them was Adam -Peace be upon him!-: he was the first enunciator-
prophet and the first master of the sacred laws, since he was the first one to
prescribe the rules of the religion exoterically and esoterically (1Ü1Ïran ln-

"i~nan). And the last of them was MuI}ammad -May God bless him and bis
household!-, since after him there will be no enunciator-prophet to prescribe
ordinances, inducing the people to [observe] them. And the masters of the
resolutions were five, of whom the first is Noah -Peace be upon him!- since he
abolished the law of bis predecessor, Adam, "cut off' the people from it, and
"tied them fast" to what he brought. (f. 29r., Il. 4-10/f. 28v., Il. lO-16/pp.60-61)

This is to say, according to al-RiZi. that Adam was the l'first enunciator-prophet

• the original, could this have been r-L1 ",.1, which is in the more grammatically correct form?

and the first master of the sacred law," whereas the first of the "masters of

• resolutions" (a,,fJab al-'ua 'Un) or u1 U al-'azm was not he but Noah, since he
abolished the law of bis predecessor, Adam.
Thus it would seem that, according to al-Rizi, since there had not been any law
before Adam, he did not fulfill the funetion of Il,azm " (f. 29r., Il. 10-14/f. 28v., 1.
15- f. 29r., 1. 2/p. 61). This is why al-Rizï includes Adam among the "masters of
sacred laws" but not among the "masters of resolutions" or "possessors of
resolution," who are Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mul}ammad. Furthermore,
according to al-Rizï, the Prophet M ~ d was the last naP9 to compose .hari'aIJ
: this sacred law williast up to the Day of Resmrection (al-Qiyimah) (f. 29r., 1. 2-
v.l. 3ff. 28v., 1. 7· f.29r., 1. 7fpp. 60-61), that is, until the end of the cosmos. 68 In
this argumentation we can see the first step in al·Râzï's refutation of al-Nasafi's
view of Adam, and his notion of the development of sacred laws through the

• series of the prophets.

In addition to bis saying that Adam did not bring any sacred law, al·Nasafi
held that he led the people of his age to the teaching of the unity of God (eawfJid),
which can be achieved without labour (dÜDa al-'amaI). However, according ta
alooRizi. this idea cannot be confirmed by any means since the knowledge of the
unity of God cannot be grasped without the labours (al-a'maI), rules (al-ru8um ),

and instructions (a}-i.1Jarit ), which are brought by the enunciator-prophets (f.

38v., IL 12· 16/f. 37v., Il.8- 12/p. 79).
In another passage as well al·Rizï emphasizes that in Adam's cycle sacred law
was already indispensable to religion. He states that since Adam's cycle was the

68 As authority for bis argument regarding the five ''holders of resolution," al-RiZi quotes
the foUowing tradition asaibed to llnim Ja1far al-~diq: 'lfie Oa1far) said: 'The masters of the
progeny of Adam (.adat wvld AcItm) are five. Around them the band miU (a1-~a) revolves: They

• are the holders of the resolution (ulü al-'azm) among the apostles, [namely,] Noah, Abraham,
Moses, Jesus, and MutJammad'" (f.29r., 1. 15- v., 1. I/f. 29r., Il. 3-6/p. 61).

longest one (alwal al-adwar ), the people of bis age could not have dispensed with

• labour, subjugation U.ti'6id), or external rules Crœüm p1Jjra1J ) (f. 32r., Il.8-14 ff.
31v., IL 4- 9fp. 66), since:

...If there is neither labour, subjugation U.ti'6id)"g nor external rules, there is
neither esoteric interpretation (ta'wil ), nor inner teaching (bilin ), nor true
mission (da'lnIJ ~9ifa1J). This is because: the mission is established on [the
basis of] sacred law; the esoteric interpretation requires revelation (tanp1 );
inner teaching requires external teaching (~ ); the inner meaning (ma 'ni)
requires a symbol (matbal). Therefore if there is no extemal teaching (~),

there will be no inner teaching. If there is no revelation, there will be no

esoteric interpretation. If there is no sacred law, there will be no mission. (f.
32r.,1. 13 -v., 1. 2ff. 31v., 1. 9-1. 12fp.67)

In addition to the argument on the sacred law of the first cycle, al-Rizi

• differentiates Adam and the Qâ'im from other prophets and represents them as
holders of unique positions in sacred history in the course of a discussion where
he compares the series of prophets and their saaed laws to the days of the week.
According to al-Razi, the institution of the seven days of the week (al-ayyim
al-.ab'aIJ) is laid down in every sacred law. AIso every sacred law stipulates that

there is labour ('amaI ) during six days, and that the seventh day is a feast day
('id) (f. 30v., I. 14- f. 31r., I. 9ff. 30r., 1. 14- 31r., 1.7fpp. 63-64).

As for the six days for '1abour," al-Rizï compares the first of them, Saturday

(al-.abat ), ta the first-lif, and the other five days to the five members of the U/Ü

al-'azm. Although those six prophets follow the path of '1abour" and "stipulation"

69The printed edition reads i~u..:-I (p. 67,1. 1). However, considering the context of the
passage, we adopt the reading (.a~I) of bath MS. Ham. (J. 32r., 1.3) and MS. Tüb. (f. 31v., 1.9),

and also of the three manusaipts on which the printed edition is based (on the readings in these
manusaipts for the word in question, see the editors' note to 1. 1 on p. 67 of the printed edition).

(tanim ), the first of them does not share with the other five the funetions of

• abolition (al-lJasü) of a predecessor's sacred law and its renewal (al-lajdid ).

That is, each of the ulü al-'azm follows the same path of abolition and renewal of
bis predecessor's sacred law. 50 the first nariq has a unique position differentiating
him. from the others. The seventh day, Friday (al-jum'ah ), is compared to the last
(al-iIrbir ), the seventh na1Ïq, who does not compose new sacred law but abolishes

bis predecessor's law (f. 3Ir., Il. 1-15/f. 30v., iL 1-15/pp. 63-64). Thus, al-Rizï
represents the first and seventh enunciator-prophets as possessing unique
positions, as may be seen in the following passage:

And no sacred law preceded the first [napq], which he would have had to
abrogate [, but he did not have to do sol. And the last [lJa~q] will not compose
any sacred law, which he would have had to abrogate [, but will not have to
do 50]. Friday (al-jum ,~70 is not counted with them (i.e. other days); rather

• Friday is unique in the name of feast (bi-ism al-'iJ), just as the first is unique in
the name of the beginning ("i-Âm al-i"tidi'). That is, it (Le., Friday and the
Qi- im) is a unique one in the name of the seventh cycle (bi-ism al-dawr al-$i"i').
And at its (Le. the seventh cycle's) end the authority will retum to the way it
was when it began. This is just as the first possesses alone the beginning. (f.
3Ir.,1. 13- v., 1. I/f. 30v., Il. I3-16/p. 64)

In the passage quoted above the first and last nipqs are differentiated fram the

others because of the unique positions of these two in sacred history, which find
correspondences among the seven days of week. In other words those two nipqs
and their cycles are regarded by al-Rizi as exceptions ta the development of
sacred history, since theyand their cycles do not follow the pattern of the

• 70This word is missing from MS. Ham., f. 31r., 1. 14, but found in f. 30v., 1. 14 and the
printed edition, p. 64, 1. 6.

"possessors of resolution."n In this sense the beginning and ending eras resemble

• each other.
Let us here remind ourselves of the reports of the Imimi authors al-Nawbakhti
and Sa'd b. 'Abd Allih, referred to above. These two authors suggest that the
Qarmalians at the end of the 3rd/9th century held to this particu1ar interpretation.
According to these sources, the Qarma~ans believed that the Qi.1im. was granted
the l'paradise of Adam" (jarmat Adam) in which an the forbidden things were
liberated.72 In other words a lawless, antinomian state prevails over the world in
the cycle of the Qi lim, just as it did in that of Adam.
Al-Nasafi's insistence on the lawless state of Adam's cycle leads one to assume
that he embraced the same interpretation of sacred history as the Qarmapans did
(according to al-Nawbakhti and Sa'd b. 'Abd Allih), namely, that the Qi1im and
Adam resemble each other because of their lack of a sacred law.73

• Supporting al-Nasafï in the controversy, al-Sijistini too makes the statement

that Adam and the Qi1im resemble each other because neither of them brought a
sacred law. In bis Kitâb al-N~rah or Book of Aid, a polemical work attacking
al-Rizi, al-5ijistini presents bis own view of sacred law. He holds that sacred law
has the function of maintaining the religious order by prohibiting the people
from neglecting the hierarchy, from obeying the antagoniste Likewise he presents
a negative view of the external rules (al-aw~ü' ), instructions (al-isharit ), and
labours (al-a 'màl ) of which sacred law is thought to consist. According to him,

7t Cf. Madelung, "Aspects of Ismilili Theology."

n AI-Nawbakhti, p. 63 (French transI., p. 88); Sa Id b. 'Abd Allah, p. 84. See also above,
pp. 87-89 of the present chapter.

• 7J Sorne scholars such as F. Daftary and H. Halm assume that al-Nasafï held this idea.

See: Daftary, The /smà'üis, p. 236; Halm, Kosmologie , p. 121 and also cf. p. I02f.

these hinder people from recognition of real tawlüd. 74 Basing himself on this

• view of $1Jarj'ab, al-5ijistini refutes al-Ri,zï's position thus:

Does the author of this discourse (~i.fib hidba al-maqilah, i.e., al-Razi) say that
the people in the great cycle (al-dawr al-'apm) did not recognize tavr!Jjd,7S
whereas there was no outer, obscure sacred law ($1Jarî'aIJ #.lJiralJ mutubabihah)
among them? Or else, does he say that the Qi1im will engage in the abolition
of the representational sacred laws (raf' aI-$b:ui'j' al-mumathtbilaIJ), nullifying
the recognition of taw~d and pushing people to deny the divine attributes
(al~avrl bi-al-ta'fil)? However, since humans were not ignorant of the ravr.füd,
and nor will they be 50 in the cycle of the Qa1im in spite of the abolition of the
sacred laws, it is conceivable that Adam called people to tavrf:üd without
instructions (bi-ghayr j$hitit), and coined the parables for this in bis own
word. 76

• In this passage al-5ijistini clearly sides with the aforementioned view of al-Nasafï

that Adam called the people ta rawlJjd without any labour (dütJa al-'amaI ) being
required. His is equivalent ta saying that he did not bring any sacred law.Tl
This mission is aIso compared ta that of the Qj.1 im. That is, al-5ijistini implies in
the above passage that just as without any legal instruction the people will be led
ta the recognition of ta W'fJid in the age of the Qi.'im, Adam did the same for bis

74 AI-Sijistani, Kirab al-Ntql3h. quoted in I:famid al-Dn a1-Kirmini, KiIâIJ a1-Riyà~ p. 190.
7S This word 1#a1-r.a'W~d" is found in the Hamdani MS of al-Riyàfl (Milwaukee, Wisconsin),
p. 294,1.6, but is lacking from the printOO edition of Tamir, p. 198,1.6. [ would like to express
my gratitude te the possessor of the manuscript, Professar Abbas Hamdani (University of Wisconsin,
Milwaukee), who generously permittOO me to use it, and to Dr. Paul E. Walker, my former
supervisar at Md:;ilI University, Montreal, who kindly reduplicated his photocopy of the manuscript
and sent it to me.
76 AI-5ijistizü, Kitàb al-N~rab, quoted in al-I<irmini, al-Riyà!l, p. 198. Cf. the German

translation by Halm of this passage in his I<osmologie , p. 102.
77 AI-Sijistani, lib bat al-Nubürit,OO. 'Arif Tamir (Bayrüt, 1960), p. 180.

people in bis age?8 Now here, we have confirmed that there was a tendency

• among sorne early Isma1ï1is, such as al-5ijistini and the Qarma1ians (according to
the reports of Imimï heresiographers) ta believe that at its close, history will
return ta the primordial, lawless state of its beginning, namely, that the telos of
sacred history is a return to its beginning. This teaching, as we saw above, does
not appear to apply ta al-Ràzi.
On this issue of the beginning and the ending of the history, however, al-Ràzi
presents other statements on sacred history. He argues for instance that there
had not been any sacred law before the first napq and that neither would there be
any law after the seventh (f. 38r., 1. 14- v., 1. 2/f.37r., IL 11- 15/p. 78). In this
passage al-Razi points out that the lawless state is a characteristic common to
both pre-history and post-history. Furthermore, al-Ri.zi states, "in the seventh
cycle the [religiousl affair would return to "what it emerged from" (ya 'üd fi

• al-dawr al-sibi' al-amr jJj mi min-hu bada), quoting Qur'inic verse 7: 29: ''Just as

He (i.e. God) started you, you will return" (f. 38v., li. 6- 8/f. 37v., Il. 2- 4/p.

In the sentence quoted above, the phrase "what it emerged from" (ma min-hu
bada ) apparently refers ta the primordial, original state of amr, or religious

matter. If this assumption is correct, al-Rizi may be implying that religion at the
end of time would return to its original state. But what was the original state of
religion? How are the states of pre-history and post-history related to the sacred
history of our world? How would the religious matter return to its original state

18 For the interpretation of this passage, we follow Halm in bis Kosmologie, p. 102.
19 This passage is preœded by the following account. AlI the lJufaqi' agreed that there is
'1abour," wbich consists in praeticing the extemal aspect of the saaed laws (iqamat ~ al-sbali 'i'),
during the six cycles, but that there is no 11abour" in the seventh cycle. This idea of seven cycles

• is compared by al-Rau to the idea of the six days of creation (ldJalq ) and the seventh day with
lIno creation" (li IdJalq ), i.e. repose.

in the seventh cycle? Al-Razi does not give any details on these issues. Thus, we

• are forced to acknowledge that some ambiguity is entailed in these two passages.
Al-Razï'. statem.ents on the lawless state of pre-history and post-history, and of
on religious matter's return ta its original state, do not seem to be compatible
with bis ideas already discussed above on the existence of law in Adam's cycle
and of the first and last cycles as two exceptions to the pattern of prophetie
history. This is because the former two statements resemble the teaching on
history of al-Sijistini and the Qarmatians reported by al-Nawbakhtï and Sa'd b.
'Abd Allah, a teaching which argues for the return of history to its original.
primordial, and lawless state. Thus, there is the possibility that these statements
show sorne "vestige" of old Qarma9an doctrine in al-Rizi's thought.
As to this point in al-l~là.fJ we can again refer to the passage mentioned earlier
in which al-Razj implies that the mission of the Qa'im embodies the telos or

• culmination of history. Al-Râzi implicitly compares the Qi.1im to Friday, Le. the
seventh day of the week and a feast-day, while each of the other rJi#qs is given a
day of the week corresponding to him Cf. 30v., 1. 13- f. 3lr., 1. 10ff. 30r., l. 14- V., 1.
ID/pp. 63-64).80 However, this tells us very little of substance about the mission
and characteristics of the Qi'im. Moreover, there is a lack of consistency between
bis statements Cexamined above) on the end and beginning of sacred history. For
these reasons al-Rizj's view of the mission of the Qi.'im, who is the master of the
final cycle, cannot be fully understood from the chapter on Adam in a1-I~la.fJ. For
this reason we need to investigate other chapters of al-l~là.fJ for further dues to
al-Razj's view of the culmination of sacred history .

• 80 See above on pp. 100-101 of the present chapter.


§4. Al-Ri.zi on the Qi 'im and His Place in Sacred

• History: Ri.zian Qi 'imology

There is a long discussion of the mission of the Qi. 'im in aJ-/~li.fJ. This cornes in
the context of the debate conceming the rank of the fourth lJi#q, i.e., Moses, in
the chapter entitled 'lOfhe Chapter of [al-Nasafi's] Statement on the Fourth
Enunciator-Prophet" (Bib al-Qawl fi Ribi f
al-Nu~qi' ) (f. 99r.,1. 14- f. 11Sv.,1. 10

If. 99v., 1. 9- f. 116r., 1. 7/pp. 199-228). Nevertheless, al-Razi does not deal with
the actual story of Moses in the Qur'in or the Oid Testament. In this chapter the
idea of correspondence or sympathy between several beings in the cosmos and
between them and human beings is strongly emphasized. Some scholars point
out that this idea of correspondence or sympathy was influential in pre-modern
on classical and medieval Islamic thought. 81

• At the beginning of this chapter al-Rizi quotes the following statement of


...As for the fourth enundator-prophet, the [part, or degreeJ of the manifestation
of the [divine] Word (~hür al-kalimah ), [that is,] what was not perfected for
any of them (Le., the enunciator-prophets),82 was perfected for him, since he

81 See 'Aziz al-'Azmeh, chapter 2, "Metaphysical Foundations, 2: Relations of Creation,

Sympathyand Analogy" in Arabie Thought and Islamic Societies (London, 1986), pp. 55-105. The
foUowing studies locus espeda1ly on the theory of correspondence between the macrocosm (al-'jJam
aJ-,a6mr) and microcosm (al-'i/am al-bbÜ'): J. C. Bürgel, The Feather of Simurgh: The Licit Magic of
the Arts in Medieval Islam (New York, 1988); S. H. Nasr, An Introduction to Islamie Cosmological
Doctrines, revised 00. <London, 1978), pp. 66-74; M. Takeshita, "Microcosm and Macrocosm in
Islamic Thought," chapter 2 in Ibll 'Âr.abï~ Theory of the Perfect Man and its Place in the History of
lslamie Thought (Tokyo, 1987), pp. 74-108.

S2 For the interpretation of the term blima4 see Madelung, "Cosmogonyand Cosmology,"
pp. 322-26. Also it should he remarked that MS. Tüb. (f.99v. 1. 10) lacks ~ hefore this phrase
pmiir al-blimab, whereas both the printed edition (p. 199,1.4) and MS. Ham.(f.. 99r. 1. 14) have it.

• This ~ is necessary, because this sentence would not make sense, otherwise, given the ~... r..-.
construction (the phrase is: min ~ubüral-b1imab mà lam ~rimma li-a.f;aad min-bum•. •).

gained the rank of four-ness (J.Jadd al-uba 'ïyab ) with the support of time

• (bi-musa 'adat al-zamjo). This is because the IIfourth one" is the most perfected
of the ranks (atamm al-lJudüd). For the sun, which is located in the fourth
sphere (al-talait al-ribi'), is the most perfect and most luminous of the celestial
bodies (atamm al-rJujÜDJ wa-anwaru-œ ).•. (f. 99r., 1. 14- V., 1. I/f. 99v., II. 9- 13/p.

Al-Razï explains al-Nasafi's position in the above as being that the manifestation
of the divine 'Word" was more perfected for the fourth na#q , Moses, than for
any other enunciator-prophets by virtue of his "rank of four-ness," a rank which
the sun, the fourth planet in the cosmology of his day, shares. 83
If we accept al-Ri.zi's quotation as being faithful to al-Nasafi's original, the

latter's statement clearly means that he saw the fowth napq as having the perfection
of the number four. Theories of natural philosophy contemporary with our two

• Ismi.1ill authors found evidence of this perfection in the world of nature. 84 Basing
himself on these theories, al-Rizï aise recognizes the significant role pIayed by
certain units, each of which is comprised of four members in the formation of

83 A typical arrangement of these celestial bodies in Islamic astrology is: Satum; Jupiter;
Mars; Sun; Venus; Mercury; Moon. See: Abü Ma'shar, The Abbreuiation of the Introduction to
Astrology: Together with the MedieuaI LAtin Translation of Abelard of Bath, 00. and transI. C. Brunette,
K. Yamamoto and M. Yano (Leiden, 1994) p. 14 (Arabie text>/p. 15 (English transI.); S. DiwaId,
Arabische Philosophie und Wissenschften der En..~kJopiidie, Kitib l.f}ritJ al-~afâ' (m), die Lehre lJon Seele
und Intelle1ct <Wiesbaden, 1975), p. 60.
N Madelung bas already drawn attention ta aI-Razi'S numerological argument regarding
the fourth -fi", but he does not deal with its natural-philosophical background. See Madelung,
'1)as Imamat," p. 128, n. 128. In this natural-philosophical theory, that is, symbolism of numbers,
the significance of the number four is emphasized, since many beings in the world of nature such
as elements, seasons, humours, directions are comprised of this number. As an example of the
emphasis of this number in medieval Islamic thought, we can point to the IkhWin al-$afi" a
sodety of intellectuals who flourished in Ba,rah in the 4th/lOth century, and whose identity has
not yet been satisfactorily established. See the following text: Rua'il I1dJwiD a1-~i' (Bayrüt,
1378A.H.l1957CE.), vol. 1: pp. 51-54, vol. 3: pp. 178-98. Cf. M. Fakhry, "N~Pythagoreanism
and the Popularization of Philosophieal Sciences," chapter in A History of Islamic Philosophy, pp.

163-81; B. R. Goldstein, "A Treatise on Number Theory from a Tenth Century Arabie Source,"
Centaurus 10 (1964): pp. 129-60.

existent beings in the world of nature. As an example of this roIe, al-Razï cites

• the formation of a new form (~iiralJ ) after the coalescing of the four elements
(al-ummabat al-ar6a t)85 (f. lOOr., Il. 8-10/f. 100v., li. 4-S/p. 200).86 This statement

reflects his knowiedge of Greek-Hellenistic science by exploiting its theory that

the coalescing of four elements Ieads to the formation of a new being.
However, in spite of his recognition of the significance of the number four,
al-Ri.zi takes exception to ai-Nasafi's thesis, or to what he understands to be
al-Nasafï's thesis, i.e., that the number four applies directly to the ranks of the
enundator-prophets. In his criticism of al-Nasafi's particular assertion regarding
the fourth na!iq, al-Rizi hoids that the truly superior one is the seventh nalÏq , that
is, the Qa'im. This argument suggests that al-Rizi preferred the more common
and oider, so to speak, Ismi.'ili doctrine of the superiority of the seventh na!iq to
explanations based on natural philosophy or science.

• In a further counter-argument to al-Nasafi, al-Razï redefines the missions of the

six lJupaqa 1 by dividing them into two groups, which are "the first in enunciation"
(al-aWlValiyiJn 6i-aI-nu~q) and "the last" (aI-ikhirün). Each of these groups consists

of three nu~qa'. The nulaqi 1 of the first group brought new sacred laws, which
were in turn renewed by those of the second group (f. lO2r., l. 3- V., 1. 15/f. 102v.,
1. 4- 103v., 1. 3/pp. 203-204). Therefore, virtually three "pairs" of sacred laws
have existed in the course of sacred history. The mission of the fourth na!iq is
explained as follows:

85This thesis is also found in a passage in the previous part of al-J,Ia.f1 (f. 7Ov.-f. 71 v./f.
69v.-f. 70v.). We will revisit this thesis in the next chapter below.
16 The following passage is missing from MS. Tüb., f. 100v., 1. 5r l.:.$'J ... i~ ~ ~~~

~.J--:II J.J. ~I • ~ (••• with their coalescing a form would emerge, and like the completion of

the light of the sun by virtue of the four-ness).


...When the fourth naliq appeared, he repeated the sacred law of the first one

• (i. e. the first Dàpq ), carried ouF that regulation (t/hàUta al-rum), and ensured
it (i.e. regulation) [of the sacred law] by increases which he established (f.
102v., IL 12-13 If. 103r.,l. 16- V., 1. l/p. 204).

Thus, the fourth œ#q renewed the sacred law of the first. 88 Ho\vever it is not
this fourth na#q but the Qi.'im who is the true possessor of the quality of the
number four, i.e., the number of perfection.
To prove the above point, al-Rizi resorts to the symbolism of the seven sacred
letters K-W-N-Y-Q-D-R (read Küni-Qadar), aIso called the "seven upper letters"
(al-~urüf al- ' ulwiya1J aI-sab'aIJ) (f. 102v., 1. 16- f. l04v., 1. 8/f. 103v., 1. 4- f. 10Sr., 1.

16/pp.204-207).89 These letters represent the two hypostases, the Kiini (imperative
of the verb kana ('lJ3e!") in the female singular) and the Qadar ("determination")
in the scheme which is thought to belong to the earliest notions of Ismi. 'ilï

• cosmology: these two are respectively the female and male principles of the
formation of our cosmos.90
In al-Rizi's argument it is implied that each of the sacred letters corresponds to
a particular enunciator-prophet (f. ID3v., II. 13-16/f. l04v., IL S-9/p. 206). Just as

ffl We follow the reading of the printed edition ~I (p. 204, 1. 12), whereas MS. Ham. has
.. Wa.-I (f. lÜ2v., 1. 12).

According to aI-Razi, the fifth m!iq renewed the sacred law of the second, while the

sixth did the same to that of the third. Also d. Madelung, "Das Imamat," p. 128.

19 On this argument by al-RiZi on the symbolism regarding the letters, see also Halm,
chapter entitled "Küni und Qadar" from his Kosmologie, pp. 53-66, espedally p. 61f. However,
Halm here does not hazard a guess as to al-RâZi's intention in his argument on the symbolism of

90 This cosmological scheme is preserved in Abü 'ISi al-Murshid's (fi. 4th/IDth century)
untitled treatise, which was edited and analyzed by S. M. Stem in bis posthumously published
article entitled "The Earliest Cosmological Doctrines of Ismi'ilism" in Studies in Early !mJi'ïlism,

pp. 3-29. We will revisit this cosmological scheme and the two hypostases of lrüIIi and qadarin
greater detail below in chapter 6, p. 186.

the second three letters QDR generate from the first four letters KWNY, the

• above-mentioned second group of tJu~qi' "emerges" from the first group.

Following this principle, al-RiZi gives one letter of KWNY ta each tJi~q of

group, and one letter of QDR to each of the second group (f. 103r., 1. 12- v., 1. I/f.
the first

104r., IL 2-7/p. 205). However, according to al-Rizï, in the due course of this
process the last letter of KWNY, i.e., Y (yi " which is also the fourth letter, is left
without any ni#q corresponding to it, thus proving to hold a unique position
among those seven. Because of this, the fourth of the seven letters,~ is ta be
related to the seventh napq, the Qi,lim, who aIso possesses a unique mission of
kubf or "unveiling" (f. 103v., Il. 1-3/f. 104r., 7-9/p. 205 and f. 104r., IL 6-13 If.

104v., 1. 14- f. 10Sr., 1. 4/pp. 206-207). In ISmi1ïlism the hshf or unveiling"


means the "unveiling" of the hidden truths (al-!Jaqâ 'iq ) of all the sacred laws.
This is the task which is actualized by the Qi'im. The cycle of the unveiling" lI

• (dawr al-kasbf) follows the dawr al-satr or the cycle of concealment, in which the

sacred laws regulate the religious order of the world

remain concealed.91
50 that the inner truths

The above unique relation between the seventh nâpq, the Qi. im, and the fourth

letter, ~ denotes, al-Razi implies, that the Qi.'im emerges as a fourth (ribi l
) in a

series after "three pairs [of nU~'li 1 }" (al-azrij al-thalithab ), so that he has the

91 Therefore, although al-Rizi does not mention the da," al-sau in this passage, it cannot
be assumed that he did not see it as having a raie in this connection, seeing as it is paired with the
concept of da.",. al-Wlû. On da"" aJ-wbl and da," al-nu, see al-5ijistini, ibid., pp. 181-83;
Mutwnmad b. Surkh Nishipiiri (?), SbM.fJ-i Qalidab, p. 106. This pair of concepts was preserved
and re-interpreted by the Ismi lïl~ in post-Fi~imid period. In the case of the Yemani TayytDis, see,
for example, al-l;Iusayn b. 'Ali b. M ~ d ibn al-Walïd (d. 667 /1268),Risà1aIJ al-Mabda' wa-a}-
Ma 'id, ed. and transI. into French by H. Corbin in Trilogie ismaélienne (Tehran/Paris, 1961), pp.
121-23 (French transI. pp. 181-83). For the case of Nizan Ismi1ilis who split from the Fipmid
da"wah, see, for example, Nafir al-Din al-Tüsi (d. 672/1274), RaW'!*at aJ-Tulim, ed. and transI. into
English by S. J. H. Badakhchani in his "The Paradise of Submission: A Critical Edition and Study
of Ravneh-i Tullm, Commonly Known as Tapwwr.rit by KhWijeh Na~ al-Din-i TilSi (1201-1275)"

• <Ph.D. dissertation, University of Oxford, 1989), pp. 359-60 (English transI., p. 194). Also cf. :
Halm, Kosmalogie, p. 99f; Walker, Early Philosophical Shiism, pp. 139-140.

listage of four-ness" (martabat al-arba'ïyah ) (f. 10Sv., Il. 8-14/f. 106r.,1. 14- V., 1.

• 3/p. 210). His mission of sealing "the three [pairs of] sacred laws" (al-shara 'i'
al-thalitIJ ) brought by three pairs of nu~qa' also makes the Qj,lim a IItrue" fourth

na~q (f. 106r., Il. 3-10/f. l06v., Il. 8-14/p. 211).

In addition, al-Ràzi tries to relate each prophet and bis mission to each part of
the body of a human being, itself a microcosm (al-'ilam al-~ag1Jjr ) containing

within itself all the parts of the cosmos (jami' ajza' aJ-'âlam). Adam is related to
the right foot; Noah to the left foot; Abraham to the beUy; Moses to the left hand;
Jesus to the right hand; M~ad ta the head (f. 106v., 1. 2- f. 107v., 1. 6ff. 107r.,
1. 5- f. 108v., 1. 9/pp. 211-12). These six bodily parts (al-ab'i!l al-sirtab) thus
denote the six lJuraqi'. The Prophet M~ad is aIso described as a figure who
incorporated aIl the religious teachings, and by whom the sacred laws were

• completed (yatammu) and perfected (yakmalu ), since bis name written in Arabic
script symbolically represents the form of a human being, an aH-inclusive
microcosm (f. 107r., 1. 16- V., 1. 13/f. 108r.,Il. 3-17/pp. 213-14).92
What part of the body then is the Qi1im and/or bis mission compared to?
Al-Rizi situates the Qi'im in the human body in the course of bis argument by
comparing him and his mission to the spirit-like "seventh substance" or the
"substance as the seventh one" (al-jawbar al-sib;') which provides every part and
organ of a human body with lllife" (~yit). Just as this "substance" gives life to
the human body, through his esoteric interpretation (ta 'vn1) the Qi. lim reveals the

9Z This idea of al-Rizi is reminiscent of the concept of the Prophet as an ali-inclusive

66perfect man" in the history of Islamic thought. For the appearance of this idea in ISmi 'ïlism, cf.
for example, A. Ivry, IIIsmi'ili Theology and Maimonides' philosophy," in The Jews of Medieval
Islam: Community, Society, and Identity, Proceedings of an International Conference held by the Institute
of Jewish Studies, University College London 1992, ed. O. Frank (Leiden, 1995), pp. 271·99. On this

• idea in the more general context of Islamic thought, see Takeshita, 6~icrocosm and Macrocosm
in 1s1amic Thought," chapter 2 in Ibn 6Anbï'S Theory ofthe Perfect Man, pp. 74-108.

inner meanings of aIl three pairs of sacred Iaws, which, al-Razï implies, provides

• the religion with new "life" (f. 106r., Il. S-13/f. 107r., IL 9-17/p. 212 and f. 10Bv.,Il.
5-11/f. l09r., Il. 8-14/p. 215-16).
Al-Rizi aise holds that the Qi,'im possesses the "final point of the esoteric
interpretation" (lJibayat al-ta'wiJ). That is to say, the esoteric interpretation of
scriptural texts and sacred law reaches its culmination with the Qâ'im. This can
be interpreted as meaning his role of "unveiling" (wh!) all the hidden meanings
of the previous sacred laws, which bestows new life to the religion, as seen
above. It may be for this reason that the Qi'im is called the l'master of the cycle
of unveiling" (~a.fUb dawr al-wh!) (f. 106v., Il. 9-13/f. l07r., Il 12-17/p. 212).93
The Qi'im is thus to lead humankind into a new phase of sacred history.
The culmination of the ta'wü accomplished with the Qâ'im is described aIso in
the following passage in terms of the concept of "ether" (al-athir ):

• And bis metaphor in terms of four-ness with the enunciator-prophets is that

of the ether with the elements (al-us,uq~àt). This is because: just as the ether
(al-atlur) encircles (mu.!ü,) the three elements, while being a grasper of them
(masik la-hi ), likewise the master of the seventh cycle encircles the six," II

namely, the masters of three [pairs] of sacred Iaws, while he carries them in
this world in potentia, his potentiality (al-q üwalJ ) being in the esoteric
interpretation (al-ta'vn1), in which there is found the basis of the sacred laws
(qjrim al-sbari 'j'), and the final point of esoteric interpretation (nibiyat al-ta 'wi1)
[belongs] to him, and through him there will emerge their forms (?Uhür ~uwari­
mm) in the simple world... (f. 111r., 1. 12- V., 1. 2ff. 11lv., 1. 14- f. 1121., l. 2fp.

93 The text implies that the function of Ia'ri develops from its potential state ta its full
actualization. We will revisit this passage with its translation below in chapter 8, pp. 321-22.

• AIso, for the development of the function of Ia'ri from age ta age, see chapter 7, pp. 244-248

The above passage compares the Qi,1im.'s role of ta'ri to the effect of "ether." In

• philosophical contexts "ether" is usually related to the notion of the higher, prime
element which is distinguished from the other four elements, and of which the
superlunar celestial bodies (spheres and stars) consist; in fact, the first elaboration
of this concept is found in the works of Aristotle.94 However, apparently using
the terms "ether" and "fire" interchangeably, al-RiZi holds that just as "ether" or
"'fire" can fuse with the other three elements (al-us!uqussit aJ-thalithah), 50 ta'ri

is applicable to any of the three pairs of sacred laws in unveiling the inner
meaning hidden within them. Thus, as the "fourth one," the Qi'im plays bis role
of esoteric interpretation up to its final point (nibàyah ) after the three pairs of
sacred laws have been revealed. In this argument we can recognize another
example of al-Rizi's use of technical terms from Greek-Hellenistic science, such
as "ether" and "elements," although their usage, particularly the interchangeable

• use of "ether" and fue, seems to differ from their original signification in Aristotelian

94 This element was regarded as more complete and is often called the "fUth element."
We will discuss al-Râzi's possible utilization of the concept of the "fifth element" in chapter S, pp.
163-66 below. On this important concept of the prime, fifth element, see, for example: P. Moraux,
"Quinta essentia," in Paulys Retzlencyclopiidie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, 00. G. Wissowa,
W. I<roll and I<. Mittelhaus, vol. 47 (Stuttgart, 1963), cols. 1171-1263, 1430-32; F. Solmsen, Aristotle's
System of the Physical World: A Comparison with his Predecessors (Ithaca, N.Y., 1960), pp. 287-303
and 304-309. Also, on the later developments of this concept including its rejection, see, for
example: S. Sambursky, The Physical World of Late Antiquity (London, 1962; reprint, London,
1982), pp. 122-32; R. Sorabji, "John Philoponus," in Philoponus and the Rejection of Aristotelian
Science, ed. R. Sorabji Othaca, N.Y., 1987), pp. 1--40, especially, pp. 24-26. On the acceptance of
this concept in the Islamic milieu, see, for example: P. I<raus, Jjbir ibn ~ayyâtJ: Contribution cl
l'histoire des idées scientifiques dans l'Islam (Cairo, 1942-1943), vol. 2, pp. 152-57; Diwald, Arabische
Philosophie und Wissenschaft, pp. 110, 118 and p. 190.
95 Interestingly enough, S. Diwald reports that the IkhWin al-~a' identified the ether
with the fire. She then suggests that this identification might have had an Iranian origin, pointing
out its possible etymological relation to the Persian word "ital' (fire), which is also the name of
the son of the god of light, Ahura Mazdi. In addition, according to her, the Stoics regarded the
ether as the celestial fire. S. Diwald, ibid., p. 152f. If we follow the suggestion of Diwald, there

• arises the possibility that al-Razi's peculiar interchangeable usage of the ether and fire might have
originated in a non-Greek-HeUenistic milieu.

In relation to the Qi.1im's raIe, the above passage also suggests that bis position

• might be more inclusive and even higher than those of the other six enundator-
prophets. This is particularly evident in the phrase " .. .just as the ether encircles
the three elements ..., likewise the master of the seventh cycle encircles the 'six,'
namely, the masters of three [pairs] of sacred laws.,,96 The passage thus raises
the question of the ranking among the enundator-prophets, including the Prophet
In bis further discussion of the "fourth one," al-Rizî offers a more elaborate

account of the mission of the ~ 1 im, which can be related to the issue of ranking:

And the seventh [lJa~CJ] becomes lia fourth one" ta them (Le. three pairs of
nUlaqa '), since he is the completion of knowledge and action, and the perfection
of it (tamim al_film wa-al- 'amal wa-lGunilu-hu), just as the sixth [na,;q] became
the completion of action and perfection of it without [that of] knowledge (dÜlJa

• al_film ). (f. lllr., Il. 1-3/f. Illv., Il. 4-6/p. 220)

In this statement as weIl as in his previous arguments, we see that while the

Prophet Mul}ammad is regarded by al-RiZi as the culmination of the development

of sacred history through the .hari'i', the Qi.1im is defined as the inaugurator
who leads humankind to a higher stage. The Qa1im seems to be given an even
greater range of attributes than the Prophet Mul)ammad: he is "the completion of
knowledge and action, and the perfection of it.,,97 Does this mean, however, that

96The same passage also implies, apparently, the Qi'im's position of leadership among
them in both this world and the world after the eschaton. See the last phrases of the quoted
passage: he carries them in this world in potentia, his potentiality..."; "...through him there
I# • • •

will emerge their forms (PJbür,uwari-bim) in the simple world..." In addition, the second phrase
MaY imply that the full execution of the Qi'im's raie of ta'wil is actualized in this world in a
higher state of the cosmos (the l'simple world"). We will discuss in fuller detail the eschatological

meaning of the Qi'im and his relation to other dimensions of the cosmos in chapter 8, §2 below.
tf1 Regarding the attribution of the Qi'im by al-Razi, al-5ijistini writes a remarkable

the Qi'im is ranked higher than the Prophet Mu\1ammad?

• Regarding this issue of the ranking of the prophets in general, and of the
Qi.·im in particular, al-Sijistini gives us cIues for further consideration.98 He
argues that we can find lldisparity" (tafiwut ) or lldifference" U1chtilif) in every
sort of being in our cosmos. Because of this principle every sort of being is
hierarchized and every member given its own rank.99 Thus al-Sijisti.ni aIso finds
lldisparity" among the prophets, i.e. the QuraQi 1 in this context, resulting in the

Prophet Mul}ammad being ranked the highest. 1°O But al...Sijistini maintains that
the ultimate end of everything that has been brought by the messengers is the
Qi.'im (nj1Jiyat al-ku1l min al-rusul ili al-<Ji ';m lalay-hi al-salim). He compares the

line of prophets to the six stages of development of the human body in the
womb, after which a seventh, a spiritual stage, occurs at the time of birth. The
Qi.·im corresponds to this seventh stage, aIso called another (i.e., new) creature" -

• (al-1dJa1q al-ühar), in that he represents a new spiritual phase, when compared to

passage in chapter 9 of bis Kitü al-Urikhû, entitled "On the Recognition of the Resurrection" (Fi
Ma 'rUat al-Qiyimah ). See the edition of M. Ghilib (Bayrüt, 1980), p. 82f. He presumes that there
are questions on the advent of the Qi'im, such as where this Qi 'im is, and how one can know
him in occultation, when there is no trace of him in the state as such. Replying te these presumed
questions, al-5ijiswu holds that the da'wah of the Qa'im is a "da'wah by knowledge" (da'walJ
'i1miyah) unlike that "byaction" ('amaliyab), which is thatof the apostles (da 'wat al-rusul). According
to bim, the da'wah "by knowledge" is open only to one possessed of endeavor (dhü al"9a,d>
whereas that "byaction" is accessible to anyone, with or without this endeavor (gbayr dM al~~t1),
50 that bath a believer (mu'lIIÏIl ) and a hypocrite (mUDiliq) can partidpate in the latter. Therefore,
the da'wah of the Qi'im and the Qi'im himseIf are not visible to anybody. With this argument,
it can be suggested, al-SijistiDi aIso implies that the da'wah of the Qi'im is ranked higher and is
more spiritual than that of the apostles: there is the possiblity that he would not be far from
al-Ràzi in estimation of the mission of the Qi'im. 1 am most grateful ta Professor Hermann
Landolt for providing me with the infonnation on this important passage by al-5ijistini.
98 AI-SijisliJû, Ith"." pp. 4143.
99 On this concept of "disparity," see Walker, Early PhilosophiCllI 5hiism , p. 109.
100 Quoting the Qur'in 3: 110 ('~ou are the best community which has been brought forth

• in humankind"), al-5ijistui writes that because the community of the Prophet is the best among
humankind, he himself is the best of the messengers Ucbayr al-rusuJ). AI-5ijistini, Ith".t , pp. 41-42.

bis predecessors.101 They aIso regard the Qi.'im as an embodiment of the ultimate

• goal of sacred history, while reserving the '1>est" position and the culmination of
the development of the sacred laws for the Prophet M~mmad. (Here let us
remind ourse1ves of al-Rizi's comparison of his position to the 'llead.") A further
reference to the ranking of the Qi'im is again provided by al-5ijistini. Here we
can recognize certain similarities between al-5ijistini and al-Rizi's arguments.
For not only do they both make an analogy with the human body.l02
In the 34th section of Kitab al-Yanàbi l , where he discusses the perfect nature of
the number six, al-5ijistini cites other examples in which this number plays a
significant roIe: the six ontologicai categories of our cosmos, the six directions in
nature, the six parts of the human body, the six days of the creation of the
cosmos, and, most notably, the six IJUlaqi' and their six cycles. 103 In this section

101 Al-5ijistini, IIb"i" pp. 1~9, especially p. 168. The phrase "another creature" UebaIq

• ikbar)is derived from the Qur'in 23: 14. P. E. Walker was the first scholar to point out the
importance of this passage by al-5ijistini in terms of his understanding of the development of
human history towards a spiritual stage. See WaIker, "Eternal Cosmos," p. 365.
102 It is also to be reminded that al-Ràzï refers to al-Nasafis interpretation of the formation
of the human body depicted in the Qur'in 23: 12. But al-RiZi himself suggests that the meaning
of this verse can al50 be related to the formation of the da'wah organization under the leadership
of the tlipq, though leaving its detailed interpretation to future discussion which is not found in
al-#I. Then, he quotes al-Nasafi's saying that just as the human body emerges into the outer
worId from the womb head first, 50 history enters the new phase of "opening' (k;uhf) with the
completion of the sacred law of the Prophet M\$lDUl1ad (&iI.tJWD .barï'at .adi. al-ou!&qi? who is
compared to the "head." To this remark al-RiZi only repeats bis idea that the second group of the
three lJuraqâ' confirmed the sacred laws brought by the mst group. (f. 10Sv., 1•• 15- f. l09r., 1. 16
If. l09v.,I. 1- f. IlOt., ,. IIp. 216f.). Thus al-RaZi abstains trom drawing an analogy between the
formation of the human body in the womb which both al-Nasafï and al-5ijistini utiIize, while
using the image of the human body to explain the enunciator-prophets and their sacred laws.
Initially we ascribed this saying ta al-RUj (5. Nomoto, "Introduction" to the printOO edition of
aJ-I,I&fJ, pp. 1S-19). We follow the editors' asaiption of the saying in question to al-Nasafi in the
note to 1. 12, p. 216 of the printed edition.
103 As for the six physical categories, in this section (called, like the other sections in this
work, a yan"ü' or "fountain"), al-5ijistini cites matter &mddah ), fonn (,ûrab), movement (~ab),
rest (.uküo), time (zamin), and space CmaürJ). Al-Sijistini, Kiti" al-Yani"i', 00. & partially tr. into
French by H. Corbin in Trilogie ismaélienne (Teheran/Paris, 1961), pp. 79-S1 (French tr. & notes by
H. Corbin, pp. 102-107; hereafter referred ta as French transI.) Œnglish translation and commentary

• by P. E. Walker of al-Yazà"i', The WeI/springs of Wzsdom: A Study of Abü Ya 'qü" al-Siji.WJi's Kitib
al-Yanibi' including a complete English Translation with Commentary and Notes on the Arabie Text

al-SijistiDi refers ta the Qi'im and relates him. to the fulfillment of the mission of

• all the nU~'la '. Acknowledging the correspondence between the six nUfa'la', the
six directions, and the six parts of the human body, he ranks the Qi.'im as the
head which is related to and sustains all. t04 Therefore, the Qj.'im is regarded here
as the ultimate goal of sacred history because of bis relation to the fulfillment of
da'wah. His rank in history is compared to a central point from which aIl
directions depart, i.e., one individual." There is an implied correspondence

between the head, the most important part of the body, and the Qi.' im.
The later poet-philosopher N~ir-i Khusraw provides us with other dues to
our investigation. In his work Kbrin al-IkJnrin, much of which is a paraphrased
Persian translation of al- Yanabi l, Ni!ir-i I<husraw provides us with a diagram
consisting of concentric cirdes epitomizing the discussion of the 34th section of
al-Yanabi l , a diagram which is lacking in extant manuscripts of al_Yamibi l • 10S What

• is remarkable about this diagram is that the Qa'im is placed in the central cirde
accompanied by the Sabbath (al-$abt) and essence (/a}7l ), whereas other nUJaqa "

(Salt Lake City, 1994), pp. 98·99; pp. 18Q.81; hereafter referred to as English bansl.).

lot AI.Sijistini, al·Yanibi', p. 79 Œnglish transI., p. 98; French transI., p. 103). AI·Sijistini
unfolds the theory of correspondence also in his other work, Kubf al-MalJiüb, which is extant only
in the form of a Persian translation today. In this work, al-SijisWû enumerates six movements
{tarakat-hà} in the cosmos: generation (ka,",); corruption([uâJ); increase(alzüni ); decrease(bmi };
alteration (isti~at ); transference ÛlJûqiJ). In the cosmos the movement of the Soul {.fJarakat-i
mfs} combines all these movements. Each of these six movements finds its counterpart in the
human body. Aiso the movement of the Soul in the cosmos bas a being corresponding ta it in the
human body. That is ta say, bodily being (jism ) has six Iimits (ash lJadd) , and a seventh being
<wtum) after those six is the substance of rational soul (jawJar.i Dais-i JJâliq), which is the sustainer
(dÙ'alJdaIJ) of the six: this function of the substance, we suggest, can be compared to that of the
movement of the Soul. Furthermore, a1-Sijistini maintains that each of those six movements in
the cosmos corresponds ta each of the six directions in nature. AI-5ijistiDi, Kubf al-MaNiib, ed. H.
Corbin (Tehran/Paris, 1949), pp. 29-30 {French translation by H. Corbin, Le dévoilement des choses
œchées: recherches de philosophie ismaélienne {Paris, 198B}, pp. 63-64; hereafter referred ta as French
transi.). Once again, 1 must thank most sincerely Professor Hermann Landolt for drawing my
attention to this passage

105 The circle figure in question is found in Nifir-i Khusraw, KJJ1vân al-Ilcbwin, 00. Y.
a1·I<hashshab, p. 155. O. Walker, The Wellsprings, pp. 99, 181 and Corbin, Trilogie ismaélienne, p.
106, n. 219.

including the Prophet M~mmad, are placed in the circle closest to the center.

• Mention is aIse made of the six days of the week, the six directions, and the six
physical categories, which have their own place: each member of a group
corresponds te a ü#q and is placed within a concentric circle. In this figure, the
Qi.'im is given a more central, if not higher, position or rank in the series of

IJuraqi' than any other. 106

In another text, Waj/ri DÜJ , N~ir-i Khusraw attempts to grasp the rank of the
Qi' im in the context of the correspondence between the lJutaqi "s religious duties,
seven days of the week, the planets, the organs of the human body, and the
stages in the formation of the human body.l07 For example, the Qi.1im corresponds
to the seventh (baftum) being, " spirit" (rüp ), which completes the previous six
stages of the formation of the human body, and to "wa1iyat " ("wa1ip1J " in
Arabie, signifying love and devotion to the imâm, and recognition of his authority)

• which completes the six other religious duties.10a This seventh being is not exactly
the same as al-Rizi's "seventh substance," but both the "seventh" being and the
" seven th" substance exert a decisive influence on the state of the human body,

106 P. E. Walker assumes that the original figure had another concentric drde showing
the six parts of the human body, and because of this the center tirde had the '1tead" as the bodily
part corresponding to the Qi.'im. See Walker, The Wellspring, pp. 99, 181. If this is correct, the
Qilim's central rank could be confirmed, since al·Sijistini confers higher estimation upon head
than other bodily parts. AI-Sijistini, a}-Yanibi", p. 80 (English transI., p. 99/French transI., pp.

107 Nqir-i Khusraw, Wajb-i Dm, 00. Gh.-R. A Iwalli (Tihrin 1398A.H./1977C.E.), pp. 64-65,

245-46, 25~57.

101 Nqir-i Khusraw cites the other six duties as "ablution" (~,), "worship" (tJaIIJàz),
"fasting' (riizab>, "almsgiving" <zaD'), "pilgrimage" <flaii) and "holy wal" (jibaJ). Waj1J-i DÎnr p.
257. On waliJ'll' (lnlayab) in the broad context of Islamic thought, see H. Landolt, 'Waliyah,"
ER, vol. 15: pp. 316-23. On the Ismi lm notion of the seven pillars of religious duties including
walayab , see al-Qi4i al·Nu lmin, Da'a 'im aJ-/dim, vol.l: pp. 3-120 (English translation: A. A. A.
Fyzee, The Book ofFaith (Bombay, 1974) ). AIse cf. A. Nanji, "An Ismi'üï Theory of Walayah in the
Da 'a 'im aJ-l.lim of Qi~i al-Nu lmin," in Essays on Islamic Civilization Presented to Niyazi Berkes , ed.

• D. P. Little (Leiden, 1976), pp. 260-73; 1. K. Poonawala, "AI-Qi~ al-Nu'màn and Ismacili
Jurisprudence," in Medieval/.ma 'Hi History and Thought, pp. 117-44.

either in the completion of the bodys formation or as a life-bestowing function.

• Examination of a1-1~li!r and some contemporaneous texts (as weIl as others

dating from up to one and a half centuries later) shows a common tendency to
rank the Qa'im as a more central, more inclusive figure than other enunciator-
prophets, even if not more highly esteemed than the Prophet M~ammad. The
same motif is even common ta the three above-mentioned authors, where it may
be seen in their comparison of the formation of the human body to the development
of sacred history. This analogy either explains the Qi.'im as a culmination of the
development of history, or implies bis advent and mission as the next phase of
human history.
Our analysis of these texts shows that some motifs or "topoi" of the doctrines

of the Qi.'im in al-l~lâ.fJ are aiso found in contemporary and Iater texts. These
motifs are based on the idea of correspondence between the existent beings in the

• world of nature (such as parts of the human body) and those in the worid of
religion (such as the prophets). Using these motifs, ai-Rizi and the other two
authors tried to comprehend and schematize the ranks and missions of enunciator-
prophets including the Qat im.
The utilization of the motifs examined above can be interpreted as an example
of a new tendency to theorize in the discourse on the messianic figure of the
Qâ.' im among Ismi cm thinkers. But who started this theorization of the doctrine

on the Qi.'im, indeed, the entire theology surrounding the Qi.'im (what we caU
Qâ'imology)? In other words, who introduced the theory of correspondence
between the two worlds of nature and religion into the doctrine on the (Ja'im?
Bearing in mind that a1-I~li!r is one of the oldest extant examples of an Ismi. Cili
text influenced by Neoplatonism, we may be tempted to presume that al-Razi,

• together with al-Nasafî, his opponent, introduced the theory of correspondence,


derived partially from related Greek-Hellenistic sciences, into prophetology in

• general, and the doctrine on the Qa' im in partiClÙar. Certainly there are differences
between the doctrine on the Qi'im or Mahdi found in certain anonymous texts
such as Kit:ib al-Kashf, Kitâb al-R,.bd wa-aJ-Hidâyah , and Kitab al-'Alîm wa-aJ-Ghulim,
aIl of which are thought to have been composed at least in part during the
pre-Filimid period,109 and the theorized doctrine of the Qi'im or Qi 'imology of
al-Razï, al-5ijistini, Nifir-i Khusraw, and their forerunner, al-Nasafi. For example,
Kitâb al-Kuhf desaibes the eschatological role of the Qi' im or Mahdi as follows:

he will conquer Makkah and Madinah with the support of the Archangel Gabriel
Oabri'il) at the end of time, and with bis adverit God's religion will be perfected. 110
What is obviously lacking here is ·the theorized doctrine of the Qâ'im found in
al-Razï and other later authors, that is, what we call Qi'imology.
In addition, the historica1 background of al-Razi should he taken into consideration

• with regard ta Qi·imology. In al-Razi's time (the first half of the 4th/10th century)

there was among the Isma'ilis, and especi.ally among the Qarma~an dissidents, a
strong sentiment of millennialist-messianist expectation with regard to the advent
of the Qi.'im, and a corresponding feeling of betrayal when expectations were
disappointed. These two sentiments seemingly swayed the Ismi,'ffis several times
from the late 3rd/9th century to the first half of the mid- 4th/IOth century, that
is, in the period when they grew from a clandestine, underground religious
group into a movement encompassing influential religio-political powers such as

109 For references te the critical editions of Kaabf and Rusbd, see above on p. 89 n. 45 of the
present chapter. The critical edition of the text of ICirab al-'Alim. .. is: Kitab al-'AIim 'tVa-al-Obulam,
ed. M. GhiIib in Arba' Kutub 1ja4l9üùyab (Bayriit, 1403A.H./1983C.E.), pp. 13-75.
110 See ICigb al-Kuhf. pp. 32-35 on the Mahdïs conquest of Makkah and Madinah, p. 109,
on the completion of God's religion with the Ol'im, and p. 103 in which the age of the Qi'im is

• called "the seal of the ages" (k1J;itam aI-azmiub ). We consulted the interpretation and German
translation of the first passage by Halm in bis Kosmologie , pp. 28-30.

the Fi1imid caliphate and the Qarma9an state in Bahrayn. This can be observed,

• for example, in the way in which sorne of the di. lis behaved before the dedaration
of the daim to the imimah by their leader in Salamïyah and the failure of the
young qfahim's mahdïship, and in how they reacted after these events.lll
On the basis of the above discussion, we can suggest at least one possible

explanation: that the sentiment of unfulfilled expectation brought about speculation

on the rank, mission, and position of the Qi' im in sacred history among Isma 'Di
intellectuals. 1U If we consider this possibility with regard to a1-I~l~, another
possibility arises: that the theorized doctrine on the Qâ'im and its context, i.e., the
prophetology of al-I~lâp, are al-Rizi's response ta bis contemporary religio-political
situation. l13
Let us retum to our fust question of whether al-Razi, along with al-Nasafi,
initiated the theorization of the doctrine of the Qi'im. This question is difficult ta

• answer at the moment, because of the scarcity of texts surviving from the time
prior to these two thinkers. AIso, there are two facts which invalidate this
assumption. One is that speculation on the correspondence of the existent beings

111 On early Ismi'ili millenialism and its historical milieu as discussed here, see, for
example: F. Daftary, The lsma'üis, chapters 2 and 3 (pp. 32-143), and a part of chapter 4 (pp.
144-64); Halm, Das Reich, chapters 1 and 2 {pp. 15-132}, pp.148-62 and pp. 222-36 (English transI.:
chapters 1 and 2(pp. 5- 140), pp. 159-176 and pp. 247-64); Madelung, "Fatimiden and
Bahraynqarmaten" (English transi.: 'The Fatimids and the Qarma\Ïs of ~ayn"); S. M. Stem,
''Ismi'ilis and ~ans,"chapter in bis 5tudies in Early lsmi 'ilism, pp. 289-98 (originally published
in L'élaboration de l'islam (paris, 1961), pp. 99-108). Aiso d. Sachedina, [slamie Messianism,
espedally its introduction (pp. 1-38).
112 This suggestion is close to Madelung's thesis on a]-1,1i,fJ , in that he also points to a sort
of theorization of the doctrine of the Qi'im, that is, the differentiation of the states of the Qi'im
after the first advent, in concealment, and then after the second advent, using texts such as
al-RiriJah al-Mudhbibah, attributed to al-Qi4i al-Nu'min. However he pays Iittle attention to the
type of theorized doctrine reganiing the Qi 'im that contains philosophical and sclentific elements.
See Madelung, ''Das Imamat," pp. 87-89.
113 This could be compared with the situation of the elaboration of ChristologicaI and
eschatologicaI speculation in the first centuries A.D. after Many disappointments with messianic

• expectation. See: B. R. Daley, S.}., The Hope of the Early Church: A Handbook of Patristie Eschatology
(Cambridge, 1991), pp. 2-3, 221 and G. O'ColIins, "Jesus," ER, vol. 8, pp. 15-28.

in our cosmos can be found in texts that are thought to have been written at least

• partIy in the pre-Fitimid period, for example, speculation on numbers, the twenty
eight letters of the alphabet, and their relation to the prophets 114 al-Rizi himself
depends on the symbolism of the letters in his argument on the identification of
the Qi,'im. with the "real fourth -#9," as seen above. ns
The other counter-evidence is that speculation on the macrocosm-microcosm
correspondence, as seen in al-Razi's depiction of the cosmic figure of the Prophet
Mul}ammad, was rooted in the religious and intellectual traditions of the Middle
East since pre-Islamic times. 1l6 However, as for the introduction into Ismi.'ili
prophetology and discussion on the Qi'ïm of Greek-Hellenistic philosophical
and scientific e1ements, which are closely related to the idea of correspondence,
we still cannot deny the possibility that it may have been a novelty which al-Razï
himself introduced.

lU See Kitib aJ-Kubf, pp. 48-49 on the correspondence of alphabets, nu~i.', and imâmS,
and p. 78 on the comparison of man-woman relations te superior-inferior relations in the da'wah
hierarchy. See aise KitifJ al-Rœhd, pp. 197-201 (several statements on the correspondence between
alphabets, prophets, and imims): on this passage, also d. its partial description above on p. 93 of
the present chapter.
115 See above pp. 108-110 of the present chapter.

l1(i P. E. Walker points out that in aJ-ZiIJaIJ .a1-Razi refers to the philosophers' theory of
man as a microcosm. Walker, Early Phüosophical 5hiism, p. 51. Though the two partial editions of
the text of al-Zinab do not include it, this passage would prove that al-Razi asaibed the theory of
microcosm and macrocosm found above in aJ-I,l~ te andent Greek philosophers. For an overview

• of this theory, see Takeshita, chapter 2 '~icrocosm and Macrocosm in Islamic Thought," in Ibn
'Ar.abï'5 Theory of the Perfect Man, pp. 74-108.

Chapter 5
• Various Prophets and
Religious Communities in
Sacred History

§1. The Ismi. 'Iii Notion of the Unity of Religions

According ta al-Razi

At the initial stage in its history, the Islamic religious tradition started to take a
keen interest in other religions, especially those of IIthe people of the book" (ahl
al-kitâb).l Later on, as cultural activities in Muslim-dominated areas began to

• reach a stage of maturation, particu1arly as of the 3rd/8th century, knowledge of

other religions began to be integrated by Muslim intellectuals into their works, a
phenomenon most commonly seen in those compositions which take the form of
the heresiography.2 In addition, the doctrines of various Muslim sects were
frequently recorded in this literature. One can usually detect in such works the
heresiographer's own religious identity, which is reflected in the way in which he
presents the characteristics of other faiths and sects. 3

1 For an overview of this issue, see the following studies: G. Vajda, "Ah! al-Kitib," El 2,
vol. 1: pp. 264-66; J. Waardenburg, ''World Religions as Seen in the Ught of Islam," in Islam: Past
Influence and Present Challenge, 00. A. T. Welch and P. Cachia Œdinburgh, 1979), pp. 245-75; A. T.
Welch, "Muhammad's Understanding of himself: The Koranic Data," in Islam's Understanding of
Itself, 00. R. G. Hovannisian and S. Vryonis,Jr. (Malibu, Ca., 1983), pp. 15-52.
2 See Waardenburg, "World Religions...," pp. 245, 270 n.1. Also cf. W. Madelung,
"Hàresiographie," in Grundrip der Arabischen Philologie (Wiesbaden, 1987), vol. 2,

Literaturwissenschaft, 00. H. Gatje, pp. 374-78.

3 Cf. Waardenburg, ''World Religions...," pp. 245-47; Welch, "Muhammad's


Given this religio..cultural context, the present chapter aims at investigating

• and eluddating the Razian view of various prophets, religions, and Muslim sects,
trying in particular ta determine what theories or ideas al-Rizi imparted into the
Isma'Uï scheme of sacred history.4 It is hoped that any answers arrived at will

enable us to further define Rizi's viewof Ismi'Di identity, which should emerge
from bis evaluation of other confessional groups within the context of ms O\\tn

scheme of sacred history.

One of those concepts which provide al..Rizï with a theoretical framework for
understanding confessional communities other than bis own is bis idea of the
unity of religions.5 This notion has its roots in the very origins of the Islamic

community. Sorne Qur1inic passages on the history of the prophets for instance
suggest that M~ammad followed the genuine old religion, i.e., the one from

• which Judaism and Christianity had deviated. 6 AIso in the Qur1an the unity of
religions depends on the notion of Abraham as ~t; a purely monotheist figure
transcendent over the differences between Judaism and Christianity (Q 2:135 and
Understanding...," pp. 30,47-50.

C With regard to the issue of "'Ismà'w heresiography" of the Fatimid age, W. Madelung
and P. E. Walker recently edited and published with thorough introduction a chapter on various
Muslim sects from the /(j'ib aJ-Sbajarab by Abû Tammim, a 4th/l0th century di 'i, entitIed Bi"
al-Sba}1àn IDÛJ KiIÜ al-Sbajanb in An lsmaili Heresiography: The Bi" al-Sba}1jll' {rom Abü Tammim'5

Kitib al-Shajarah (Leiden, 1998). In this work P. E. Walker provides an example of an Ismi'ilï
view of how dissension arase within the Islamic community, and tries to search for the sources of
the text and te sort out the new information on sorne "sects." However, the investigation of the
Ismi'ili view of faiths other than Islam is not within the scope of Walker's study. See aise P. E.
Walker, Abü Tammi.m and bis Ki,." al-Sbajarah: A New Ismaili Treatise from Tenth-

Century Khurasan," Journal of the American Oriental Society 114 (1994): pp. 343-52; idem, "An
Isma'ili Version of the Heresiography of the Seventy-Two Erring Sects," in Mediaevallsma',1i
History and Thought , pp. 161-77.

5 We are indebted for having our attention drawn to this issue ta the following studies:
Daiber, "Abü ~itimal-Rizi ... on the Unityand Oiversity," pp. 87-104;Shamsuddin Talbani, "The
Debate about Prophecy."

• 6The concept of the tafuïlor "distortion" of the scriptural texts committed by the people
of the book is related to this idea. See chapter 4, §1. above.

140; 3:64-67; 16:120; cf. 98:5). The Prophet and Muslims are therefore commanded

• in the Qur'in to embrace and hold fast to the religion of Abraham (Q 2:135; 3:95;

4:125; 6:161; 16:123; 22:78; cf. 10:105 and 30:30). This religion îs, the Qur'in states,

not only the religion revealed to the Prophet, but aIso the same revelation which
had been given to other prophets (Q 4:163; cf. 3:68 and 22:78).7 These verses
suggest that the Prophet and bis eommunity are the restorers of the religion of
Abraham, that is, the one and only religion that God has continuously revealed
to humankind. In addressing these issues this chapter will first focus on al-Rizi's
discussion of the Qur 'inie history of the prophets, and test his ideas by analyzing
a chapter from al-I~lâl) on Iranian religions.
We have aIready seen that al-Rizi had earlier expressed bis concept of the
unity of all the religions in A 'lam al-Nubüwah, bis other polentie directed at Abü

Bakr M~ammad b. zakariyi al-Razi or Rhazes. As a part of his attack on the

• idea of prophecy, the latter held that there are mutual differences and contradictions
between the doctrines of religions.8 According to Rhazes, these differences and
contradictions can be found between the statements of Moses, Jesus, Mu~ammad,
Zoroaster, and Mani, and among their followers on such issues as: whether Gad
can have a son; whether Jesus died on the cross; and on cosmology and cosmogony,
etc.9 In response to this statement, al-Razi criticizes Rhazes for mixing the
"absurdities" (al-mu.f;JiJât) forged by fabrica tors (al-mubtadi ' ÜD ) among the
Zoroastrians and Manicheans with the contents of the revealed scriptures (al-kutub

1 For the Qur'ànic references ta Abraham and the concept of Il!JaDif,'' we are indebted to
R. Bell and W. Montgomery Watt, Introduction to the Qur'an (Edinburgh, 1970), p. 16; Montgomery
Watt, "l;Ianif," FJ2, vol.3, pp. 165-66.
8 See, for example, A'am. pp. 69-71,102-104, and l71f.

• In this passage al-Rizï cites the contradiction between Moses' depiction of God as the

Omnipotent and more anthropomorphic depiction of Him in the Torah, etc. Ibid., p. 69f.

al-IIJUtlZalaIJ) and the traditions of the prophets (ithir al-anbjya' ).10 That is, al-Rizi

• clearly distinguishes Abrahamic monotheist religions from Iranian monotheism,

evaluating the former as more authentic than the latter.
Why then do the three Abrahamic monotheist religions still seem to contradict
each other? First of aU, al-Rizi states, the accounts from the Torah, the Gospel
(al-min), and the Qur'in taken by Rhazes to be mutually contradictory are, in

fact, "coined parables" (amtlW ma!frübab), which contain in themselves both clear
(ri~j~ ) and obscure (mustagbliqab ) meanings. Between their inner meanings
there is no actual difference (ikhtilâf) or contradiction (talJiqu~.l1 According to
al-Ràzi, the differences and contradictions appear in the outlook, that is, the outward
expressions (alfi1) of the accounts in the scriptures, in spite of their essential
agreement. 12 AIso the sacred laws conveyed by the prophets are consistent in
their inner meanings, with which the salvation of humankind in the hereafter is

• made possible.13 Thus al-Razi concludes: "The goal of aIl the holders of the sacred
laws (~~i" al-sbani'j' ajma 'ina) is to found the true religion (a]-din al-~aqïqi ) in

which there is neither division (tafarruq ) nor difference (ikht.ilâf).,,14 The unity of
the religions thus exists at the level of their inner meanings.
How then does the unity of religions actually manifest itself? Al-Razi delineates
the common message of all monotheist religions as follows:

As for the prophets (al-anbiyi') --Peace be upon them!--, although their

expressions differ from each other in terms of coining parables (flarb al-amthiJ),

10 Ibid, p. 7Of.

11 Ibid, p. 71.

12 Ibid, p. 72. Cf. Shamsuddin Talbani, "The Debate about Prophecy," p. 119.

13 Ibid, p. lOS: also cf. p.72.
14 Ibid, p. 109.

their meanings (ma 'w-hi) are in agreement [with each other] (muualiqab), and

• they (i.e. the prophets) did not differ [from each other] in the fundamentals of
religion (~ü1 al-düJ), nor in the doctrine of the unity of God (taW'~d Allih)

is mighty and glorious! They agreed [on the following]: that God -mention of
Him is glorious!- is one god (ilü 1ri.fJiJ), other than whom there is no god; that

He is Eternal (Qadim), with Whom there is no [other] Etemal Being; that He

has never come to the end and will never do so, since He is the Creator of all
the beings ex nihilo (li min $hay'), and there is no creator other than Him....
And they agreed that He dispatched the prophets (al-nabiyün) as bringers of
good-tidings (mubuœ1Jirün) and warners (mundhirüIJ ), chose them from His
creatures, and purified them in order to make them reach the [stage of]
messengership (a/-ri$jJaIJ ).15

Thus, the teachings of every prophet essentially agree on the doctrine of the unity
of God and on the prophets' role in conveying His message to humankind. Al-Razi

• gives further examples of this the common message: that they are the two abodes
(darin), i.e., this world, which is meant for effort and work, and the hereafter
which is for reward and punishment; and that the people will be judged according
to their attention to religious duties such as worship, almsgiving, fasting, rituais
(manûik ), sacrifices (qaribin ), etc.16

However, despite the common ground underlying their tenets, the prophets
differed from each other on sorne details affecting the enforcement of their sacred
laws (fi warJl al-$hari.'i'), such as the times of worship and frequency of kneeling
(aW'qit al-~it wa-'adad rah 'iti-ha), the regulations as ta the aimsgivings (~udiid

al-zakarit ), the appointed times for fasts (mariqit al-#y:im), and other practical

regulations (ghayr dhilika min al-furii / ). Al-Rizï interprets these differences as a

15 Ibid, p. 156. Cf. Shamsuddin Talbani, "The Debate about Prophecy," p. 119.

• Ibid. In this passage al-Ri,zï adds "other duties and traditions which are among the

fundamentals of religion" (s. 'Îr al-fari. 'i~ wa-al-suaan alla ri fi u,ül al-dia ).

kind of "test" (jmti~). That is, these differences were introduced through the

• prophets in order to test the people, 50 that the disobedient, the erring and the
haughty should be distinguished from the obedient, the correctly-guided, and
the humble. 17 One example of such a test was the introduction of a new direction
for worship (qiblah). Although each and every prophet ordered bis people to
engage in worship, it was Moses who introduced the qiblab of Jerusalem, and
Jesus who changed its direction to the east (al-muhriq). These changes, according
to al-Râzi, may seem outrageous to those who cannot understand the intentions
behind them.18
Al-RaD does bis best to explain how these changes should be understood. A
"learning" (muta 'a/Hm) person needs someone who can uanalyze" (ya.fJullu) obscure
points in the teachings of the prophets in order to understand them: fuis someone
is a teacher, Le., one who is "Iearned" ('iJim). Otherwise, a "learning" person

• might easily misunderstand the prophetie teachings and take them to be mutually
contradictory.19 This idea, wbich advocates for the necessity of an authoritative
guide, is based on the Isma IDi principle of "disparity" (ta/iwut ) among human
beings, which teaches that these latter are hierarchized according to their qualities.
Because of this principle, human beings are categorized as either ''leamed'' ('ilim),
''learning'' (muta laJ1jm), uellte" (kb~~) or "common" ('âllm).20 This principle aiso
provides a theoretical framework ta the doctrine of the duty of obedience ta the

17 Ibid, pp. 156-58.

18 Ibid, p. 157.
19 Ibid., p. 72. Al-Râzi also points out that one will go astray if one daims to hold the
knowledge of the beginning and end of the cosmos without the success-blessing (lawtiq) from a
"prophet assisted with inspiration from Gad" (abi mu'ayyad bi-wafJy tDÜJ AlliJJ). Here we have
another Ismà'Di technical term "mu'ayyad," which is passive participle of uayyada" and means

divinely "assisted" or llsupported" in the context of prophetolgy.
20 Ibid

prophets and ïmims.

• As we saw above in A 'lam , al-Razi, while relying on a few Isma'ili concepts,

tends to construct bis arguments using general, less-specifically Ismâ'ili terms

compared with his approach in al-l~lj~ AIso in a1-1~l~. he presents the idea of
the unity of religions in the context of bis discussion of the ulii al- 'azm ' s two roles
of abolition (nulcb) and renewal (tajdid) or alteration (tabdü) of his predecessor's
sacred law (f. 33v., 1. 16- f. 37v., l. 15ff. 33r., 1. 5- f. 36v., 1. 13fpp. 69-76).21 This

discussion is further developed in the debate on the ulü al- 'azm and the prophethood

of Adam.22
In his discussion, al-Rizi dedares Noah to have been the first of the ulü al-'azm,

since he was the first man ta exercise both the roles of abolition and alteration of
the sacred law of his predecessor. Moreover, ever since Noah, the "possessors of
resolution" have fulfilled these two raies bestowed upon them. (f. 34r., l. 15- V., 1. _

• 15ff. 33v., 1. 5- f. 34r., l. 2fpp. 70-71). According to al-Razi, every "possessor" has

te face the anger directed at him by the followers of the sacred law of bis predecessor,
since its "abolition" and "renewal" or Ilalteration" will seem intolerable to them
(kabura 'alay-bim). This is a sort of pattern they must follow. Thus the Prophet

Mul.tammad faced the anger of the people of the scripture (ahl al-kitib) over his
abolition of their outmoded sacred laws. The following Qur'inïc verse is, al-Rizi
implies, closely related to this situation: "50 be patient just as the possessors of
resolution were patient" (Q 46:35). (f. 34v., 1. 13- f. 35r., 1. 13ff. 33v.,I. 16- f. f.34r.,
1. 17fpp. 71-72).
The anger of the people at the introduction of a new law is, according to

21 In f. 31r., Il. 9-14/f. 3Or., Il. 8-14/p. 64 in al-l$latJ, the two functions of each of the u1ü
al-'azm are mentioned as "abolition" (1IU1dù and "renewal" (taidie/) of his predecessor's sacred

22 See chapter 4 above on the discussion of u1ü al- 'azm and the prophethood of Adam.

al-Razi, caused by their persistent devotion to the externals of sacred law (p.1Jir

• al-sbari'aIJ) without true recognition of it (bi-li ma'riiati-bi), and by their lack of

recognition of the realities (ma 'diat al-~qâ'i'l). In other words, these people do

not understand the inner aspect of religion but only adhere ta its outer forme
This process of change of old sacred laws, al-Rizi adds, is equivalent to the
meaning of the "test" (imli~) which is imposed byGod on humankind in order

to distinguish the obedient from the disobedient. Thus the people who do not
take offense at these changes and are obedient to the nU!-a'la' can be described as
IIpeople of knowledge, recognition, and the pure religion" (abl aJ- 'üm wa-al-ma lri/ab
wa-al-din al-k1Jali~) (f. 34v., 1. 16- f. 35r., 1. 15/f. 34r., 1.2- V., 1. 2/pp. 71- 72).23 They

are the ones that God has guided to the true knowledge (al-lilm a1-~a'li9i). This
leads al-Rizï to conclude:

• Therefore they recognize that the IIpure religion" is one: in it (Le., the "pure
religion") there is neither division nor difference (li tafarruq fi-hi wa-li ikhû1if),
although the lJu!a9i' differ from each other over the exterior of sacred laws
and in the abolition and alteration which they introduced (fi mi sannü-bu24 min
al-nuldJ wa-al-tadbil). (f. 36r., Il. 1-3/f. 35r., Il. 3- 5/p. 73).

This is al-Râ,zï' s clearest statement on the unity of religions in a1-1~Ji.{1. He aiso

offers the explanation that al! the nU!aqâ' invited humankind to one religion (din
w;qücl). Moreover, al-Razi adds, the meanings of the sacred laws (ma lini-bi) are

ZJ o. Shamsuddin Talbani, "The Debate about Prophecy," pp. 117-22.

U At the suggestion of Professor Hermann Landolt of McGill University, we follow the
reading of the printed edition on p. 73, 1. 2:.~ l. ~. Bath MS. Ham. (f. 36r.,I. 2) and MS. Tûb. (f.
3Sr., 1. 4), as weil as aU three of the manusaipts on which the printed edition is based, have the
reading.~ t.-:-i ("while theyascribed it..."). For the reading in the three latter MSS., see the
editors' note ln p. 73, 1. 2, in the printed edition. The reading in aIl five MSS. does not make much

• sense in this contexte This suggests that this particular phrase in this text may have already been
conupt at a relatively early phase of the manuscript's transmission.

in agreement with each other (mutt.afaqah), although the expressions of the nU!aqi'

• (a1fi~lJum) are different from each other (mukbtalifah). (f. 36r., iL 11-13/f. 35r., II.
12- 15/p. 73). Thus, the idea of the unity of religions is elaborated byal-Razï as

"[...there is no debate between us and you. God shall gather us together,] and
onto Him is the result (al-m~ïr )" (Q 42: 15). That is to say, aIl the sacred laws
(jamï' al-sbar:i 'i' ) indicate His -He is glorious and mighty!- oneness (walldinïyatu-
hu). [AIso these sacred laws indicate:] that the reality of the manifestation of
the "spiritual forms" (?Ubür al-,uwar al-rü~yab) is [establishedl with the esoteric
interpretation of the exoteric aspect of the sacred law (ta 'wü 1ihir al-slJari 'i' );
that the end of that [interpretation] in its entirety and its result (ma,iru-hu) are
the unveiling of IIthese subtle beings" (mM 'an badhihi al-la~ 'if) which point
to the unity of the Creator (taW'~d al-Biri') -He is glorious and mighty! Cf. 37r.,
Il. 3-9/f. 36r., Il. 3-9/p. 75)

• Although al-Ri.2ï does not explain the meaning of "these subtle beings," it is clear
that for him the end result of the esoteric interpretation (also called the "unveiling"
(ktubf) ) of all the sacred laws shows their unanimous confession of the unity of
Thus far we have analyzed the passages from both texts on the concept of
unity of the religions. Our analysis has yielded sorne of the common ideas

linking the two texts under discussion. These are: that religions and sacred laws
appear to differ from and contradict each other only in their outward appearance
(~1Jir); that in their inner meanings (ma'jlJi-bi) they are in agreement with each
other; that the agreement in the messages of the prophets and the sacred laws
indicates an invitation to one true religion; that these messages and sacred laws

• unanimously confess the doctrine of the unity of God; and that the differences

between the sacred laws and the changes introduced by the prophets are imposed

• upon the people as a lites t" to distinguish the obedient from the disobedient.
Besides these common ideas, there is a concept which is dealt with in the
discussion on the unity of religions in A '/am, but not explicitly mentioned in
al-I,lâfJ in the same contexte This is the concept of the necessity for an ïmim, i.e.

the doctrine of itDÜlJah. The lack of expücit mention of imamah in this context in
al-I,lafJ can be explained as due to the fact that al-Ri~'s focus in this text was on

al-Nasafi, his co-religionist. For both these Ismi'w-Shpj thinkers the necessity of
an Imâm for ensuring the certainty of knowledge and the duty to obey him made
up a crucial part of their common doctrinal ground. In the case of A '/am , however,
al-Razi's opponent was Rhazes, an outspoken critic of prophecy, and of the 5hi'i
bellef in its continuation in the Imamate.2S Therefore al-Rizi was forced to argue
the necessity for an imam in his A '/am , at the very Ieast in order to defend the

• possibility of recognizing the agreement of the various messages of the prophets. 26

However, except for the lack of mention of the doctrine of imimab in al-I,lip,
both texts not only discuss the unity of religions but also use the same ideas to
elaborate on this concept. This suggests that ~l-Rizï applied exactly the same
argument to the two debates in different contexts, and aiso that the concept of the
unity of religions is one of the central ideas in his doctrine of prophecy.

2SMohaghegh, ''Notes on the "Spiritual Physick" of al-Razï," Shtdia Islamica 26 (1967): pp.

5-22; idem, ''RàZi's ICitib al-'Dm al-Ilihiand the Five Etemals," Abr-Nahrain 13 (1973): pp. 16-23.

26 Cf. Mohaghegh, "Notes on the "Spiritual Physick"; idem, "RàZi's Ki~b al-'Dm al-Ilibi."

§2. Patterns in the History of the Prophets According

• to al-Razi

In addition to and in connection with the concept of the unity of religions there
are severa! other ideas that al-Razi offers in justification of his interpretation of
the history of the prophets found in the Qur'in. As seen in the last section,
al-Razi states that the differences between the sacred laws and the changes

introduced by the prophets were a trial imposed upon the people as a "test" in
order to distinguish the disobedient from the obedient. Thus, with few exceptions,
most people would prove disobedient ta the newly arrived prophets and reject
their abolition, alteration and renewal of the oid sacred laws familiar to them.
This scenario is but one motif in the interpretation of the meanings of the Qur'inic

passages on the history of the prophets in al-l~l~. This motif can be divided into

• certain variations or "sub-motifs," which are further developed in the history of

the prophets in al-I~la!J. These "sub-motifs" are as follows:
i) The people's refusaI to submit to the divinely-guided leaders because of their
insistence on old or ~jJJirï teachings.
ü) The prophets' voluntary relegation of authority to their successors.

iü) The "antagonist" (~idd, pl. a~did) who spreads faise teachings among the
people of the da'wah, thus causing then ta disobey the prophets.
Sorne examples of sub-motif i) can in fact be seen in the case of the people of
the book, both Jews and Christians: neither group in fact showed a willingness to
accept the sacred law of the prophet sent to abolish their own sacred law. In his
presentation of the concept of the unity of religions, al-RiZi identifies both as
embodiments of his negative tendency to reject new prophets and their messages.

• According to ai-Razi, when Jesus abolished Jewish precepts and nullified the

Sabbath (al-sabat), this was offensive to the Jews who despised those changes.

• And when the Prophet M~ad abolished sorne aspects of both Jewish and
Christian laws and changed the direction of worship from Jerusalem (Bayt al-
Maqdis) to the standpoint of Abraham (Maqâm Ibrihim), these innovations were
aIso offensive to them. The people of bath religious communities, al-Razi implies,
could not grasp the inner truths of these sacred laws but instead clung to the
superfidal features that distinguished them (f. 35r., 1. lS -v., 1. 16/f. 34v.,I. 1- f.
35r., 1. 2/pp. 72-73).
In spite of the people's disobedience manifested in sorne of the cases mentioned
above, a few of the prophets voluntarily submitted their authority to the mission
(amr) of the new prophets. Al..Rizi holds that sometimes the mission of a niP9 or

a mutimm was completed before he departed this world. In such instances,

according to hîm, a divinely guided leader would have voluntarily renounced

• and submitted bis authority to his successor, even though he himself remained
alive Cf. ISOr., LI. 1.. 9 /f. 148v., Il. ~13/p. 293 and f. 154r., 1.9- v., 1. 9/f. 152v., 1. 17-
f. 153r., 1. 16/pp. 301..302). This idea is presented in refutation of al-Nasafï's point
that Jonah was a mmim m , i.e. Imim, of his age, but feU from this rank to that of a
li.fJiq. Al-NasaD aIso daimed that the latter abandoned his duty, lost patience

with his people, and departed from them (f. 149v., Il. 1-10/f. 148r., 1.. 3- v., 1. 13/p.
In reply to al..Nasafï's remarks on Jonah, al-Rizi explains that the highest
dignitaries, Le., the na#qs and murimm s never fall from their ranks because they
already know the miserable consequences of sum a faIl !rom the heavenly realm
(al-maJaküt) (f. 149v., 1. 10- f. IS0r., 1. l/f. 148r., 1. 13.. v., 1. 4/pp. 292-93). Also,
according to al-Rizi, just because a certain mutimm (or imam) relinquishes his

• authority to bis successor, this does not mean a degradation in rank but the

completion of bis mission before bis death. This submission of his authority is,

• al...Razi holds, a kind of "tesr' put to him, after overcoming which he is rewarded
with "elevation" (rif'aIJ) and "increase in his grade" (ziyidah fi darajati-bl' (f. 154r.,
1. 12- V., 1. 6/f. 148r.,I. 2- V., 1. 13/pp. 301-302). One example of this is, according
to al...R izi, verse Q 12: 100 from the story of Joseph:

And as God -His remembrance is glorious~- said: "He (Joseph) helped his
parents (Jacob and bis wife) c1imb up to the throne, and they threw themselves
down to him. in prostration." This is to say that the completer (al-mutimm ) and
bis "gate" (bâbu-hu, Le., the highest dignitary after the imam) submit ta him,
recognize in him the rank of completeness (!Jadd al-wnüzüyalJ ) and gained the
[spiritual] stream through his intermediation. But this does not constitute
demotion from the grade of the imamate [for the previous mutimm J. Rather,
this is excellence (fa!lüah ) and increase in grade after the completion of the
[religious] task (ba'd tamim al-amr). As for doubt, this cornes from one who

• lectures (al-mumJÎ') and one who attends (al-mustami'), and from the
knowledgeable one (al-'jJjm) and the apprentice (al-muta la1Jjm), since the
"wings" (al-ajtJi~a1J,sg. jal1i~ , i.e., di '; s) and the lieutenants are all benefactors
and beneficiaries and from them come the misdeeds and the demotion. We
ask God for protection from failure (al-kbidhlin). (f. lS4v., Il. 2...9/f. 153r., IL
9...16/pp. 301-302)

In short, Jacob (Ya'qiib), Le., the "completer" of bis age, and ms wife, Le. his
"bib" surrendered their authority to their son Joseph, thus gaining "excellence

(fa!lùah) and increase in grade.,,27

'ZI These concepts of "elevation" or "excellence" and "increase" in grade are not defined
in the text. However, it would have been quite impossible, given this scheme, for Jacob and bis
wiEe and Jonah to be actually "elevated" to higher rank such as "fundament" or "enundator-
prophethood," since it would have thrown the succession of the prophets and their classification

• in the hierarchy into disarray. Therefore, we might assume that al-Rizi means "elevation in
virtue" when he refers to "elevation" or "excellence" and "inaease" in grade.

However it is also stated in the above quotation that some dignitaries such as

• lari!ü9 or '1ieutenants:' who are ranked below imams, may be liable to punishment

apparently because of their disobedience to the order to submit their authority.

This too falls within the definition of the first sub-motif, that is, the people's
refusai to submit to divinely-guided leaders, while at the same time straying into
the third sub-motif dted above, which is that of the "antagonist," or the opponent
of the authenticda'wa1J which represents the true message of religion.
As examples of such "antagonists" in the past, al-Rizi names in al-l~l~ severa!

well-known arch-enemies of Moses in the Qur'in such as Pharaoh, Haman (Hi.man),

Korah (Qiriin), and Samaritan (al-Simïri). Moreover, the following are aIso cited:
the unnamed individual who occupied the throne of Solomon for a while; Judas
(Yahüd) !seariot; the "Pharaoh" of Abraham (Fir1awn Ibrihim)28; the " an taganists."
These were aIl, aceording to al-Razi, the lawi.lUq (lieutenants), each of whom was .

• head of his regional sector. However, they refused to submit their authority ta
their successors, clung to their offices, and then beeame arrogant and tyrannical.
Finally, al-Rizi adds the "antagonists of the fundament in this cycle" (a~did al-uas
in hidba al-dawr) ta the list of those rebellious and tyrannical figures (f. lS0r., 1. 6-
V., 1. I/f. 148v., 1. 10 - f. 149r., 1. 4/p. 293). This "fundament" is none other than
'Ali b. Abi Tilib.
This word 11 antagonist" is a key term in the Ismi.'ili interpretation of the
Qur'anic and Biblieal history of the prophets. H. Halm points out that the concept
of the "antagonists" aIready has an important role in the thought regarding the

21 Al-Rizi does not spedfy the narne of the "Pharaoh of Abraham." However, this could
mean the persan referred to in verse Q 2: 258 who became tyrannical, although conferred the
kingship by Gad, and in spite of bis having disputed with Abraham over the subject of God. In
anather passage of a1-r,1i~ al-Rizï quotes the same verse and declares the persan in question to

• be an "antagonisr' who claimed the authority for mission. See f. 97v., 1. 3- f. 98r., 1. 3/f. 97v.,l. 14-
f. 98r., 1. 16/pp. 193-94.

history of prophets in Kimb al-Kuhf, sorne parts of which date back to the

• pre-Fa~d era. 29 In the first treatise of al-Kuhf, its anonymous author holds
that every prophet had bis "enemy' ('adûw). According to the author, Adam
had Cain (QihU), Noah the "people [drowned] in the deluge" (~pib a1-~iifàtJ);

Abraham had Nimrod (al-Nimrüd b. Kana'in), Moses had Korah, Jesus had the
Israelite priests (a.f.abir Bani lm. 'il), and the Prophet Mutwnmad had two Qurayshis,
namely, Abü Jahl b. Hishim and Abü Lahab.30
Likewise in connection with the subject of antagonists the next passage from
KjQb al-Kasbl maintains that both the communities of Moses and Jesus were put

to a test during the absence of their master-mi#9s. Thus the people of Moses
betrayed Aaron <Hirün) by following Samaritan (al-Simirj). Likewise the people
of Jesus disobeyed their leader, Simon (Sham1ün), and chose to follow Haylas (?).
Even IIthis community" (badJUbi aI-ummah ) -here the author is referring to Muslims

• as a whole- were put to the test and failed when they turned away from the
Commander of the Believers (Amir aJ-Mu'minin) in order to follow the first and
second caliphs, Le. Abü Bakr and 'Umar.
Even though the term lIt/id({' or "antagonist" does not in fact appear in the
pages of al-Kashl, it refers nevertheless to arch-enemies of the prophets, sorne of
whose names can be found also in al·/~li.fl, as already seen above. There is
another point of comparison between K"b! and a1-/~li.!J : in both texts the
history of the prophets functions as a reference to a particular past event dose to
the present age, that is, 'Ali b. Abi Tilib's succession to the divinely-guided
leadership of the Prophet. In both cases the succession was hindered br

2t Hahn, Kosmolagie, pp. 27, 32-34.

30 Kir.ib a]4Cub{, p. 30. We consulted the list of antagonists" compiled by Halm based


on the same passage: Halm omits the "enemies" of Noah and Jesus cited in the passage. See bis
Kosma/agie, p. 27f.

"antagonists." This suggests the possibility that ai-Rizi sometimes draws on the

• events of the distant past to explain or serve as models for more recent phenomena.
We can cite another
example in al-#l~ of this use of the history of the prophets
in general, and of stories of the "antagonists" in particular, for understanding the
events of the latest cycle. This cornes in his interpretation of verse Q 5: 115,
wherein we are informed that Gad toid Jesus that He would punish the disbelievers
after He sent down the "table" (al-mà'idah) which bis disciples had requested.
This means, al-Rizi holds, that God would punish those who violated His rules
and played the hypocrite even after He had sent down the "table," that is, the
blessing of appointment of the fundament (ub ). Actually, according to ai-Razi,
it was one of Jesus' disciples who rebelled against him by handing him over to

murder (ulama-hu li-l~atl). Moreover, he rejected the fundament appointed by

Jesus. This rebellious disciple is apparently Judas Iscariot. He then points out

• that a similar rebellion took place in "this cycle" (hadba al-dawr): an unnamed
"antagonist" (!Üdd) followed the path of Judas in rebelling against the &.rÜ of his
age, Le., 'Ali b. Abi Talib (f. 137v., 1. 5 -f. 139r., l. 13ff. 137v., 1. 14 -f. 138v., 1. 5/pp.

The history of the prophets is similarly put to use in the works of two other
Ismi.·w thinkers who were nearly al-Râzi's contemporaries, i.e., Ja'far al-Man~ür

al-Yaman and al-Qi.~ï al-Nu'man, both of whom devated their careers ta

formulating official doctrine for the Fi~d imamate-caliphate. Ja'far b. Man~ür

held that the Prophet Muttammad confronted "two Pharaohs" (Fir'awnin), i.e.,
"two antagonists" (tjiddan) who expressed their envy of him when he reached the
rank of prophethood (a]-nu"üwab). These "antagonists" were 'Abd al-"'uzzà,

• 31 The issue of the crucifixion of Jesus will be further discussed in sorne detail in chapter
7, §2-1, below.

(identical to the Abü Lahab mentioned above) and AbüJahl b. Hisham.32 Ja'far b.

• MaIlfÜr aIso compared 'Ali to Abel (Hibïl) and Abü Bakr to Cain,33 thus likening
the strife between 'Ali and bis supporters over the succession to the leadership of
the Community to the quarrel between Cain and Abel. This comparison suggests
to us that the conflict between the two sons of Adam which led to fratricide,
served as a prototype for the quarrel over the succession to the Prophet

In bis Am al-Ta 'wil, al-Qi.4i al-Nu'miI\ likewise discusses the same conflict

over the succession to the leadership of the Community. According to aI-Nu'min,

on the occasion of a prophet's appointment of a certain person as his aas. or
fundament of the esoteric teaching, sorne of bis lJujaj (sg. lJujjab) will inevitably
turn jealous and be envious of that future successor, just as Iblis became jealous
of Adam and was followed by many of bis fellow-angels. 3S And quoting verses

• Q 5: 27-30, which describe the quarrel between Cain and Abel, al-Nu'man implies
that a similar situation befell those two brothers after Abel was appointed as
Adam's executor (~i , another title of the asÜ).36 Al-Nu'min then returns to
his interpretation of what lay behind the strife over the succession to the Prophet's

32 Ja'far b. Mal\!Ür al-Yaman, Sari 'ir wa-AS'tir aJ-Nu!-Zqâ', 00. M. Ghilib (Bayrüt,
1404A.H'/1984C. E.), p. 82 (hereafter this text will be referred to as Ja'far b. M~, Sari 'ir
wa-Asnir). On the identification of 'Abd al-UZZi with Abii Lahab in süralJ 111 of the Qur'in, see R.
Paret, Der Koran: Kommentar und Konkordanz" p. 528.
33 Ja'far b. Mélnfür', Sari'ir wa-Asm-, p. 45. The OOitor of the text, M. Ghilib, omits from
bis edition certain names, possibly in order to avoid disturbing certain groups, such as Sunnis.
For identification of these two names, we consulted the following manuscript: Ja'far b. MallfÜr b.
Yaman, Asrâr al-Nu!-&9â, MS. University of Tübingen, p.43f. Accoding to Poonawala this Asr.iris a
"verbatim" reproduction of Sari 'ir al-Nu~qâ'. Poonawala, Biobibliography, p. 72.
3t Ja'far b. Mallfiir, Sari 'irwa-Asr.ir, p. 44.
3S Al-Qi4i al-Nu'màn, Asis al-Ta'wil, pp. 358-60 (hereafter this text will be referred to as

al-Nu'man, A_).
36 AI-Nu'min, Am, p. 360.

leadership of the Community.

• In many historical instances (such as in the case of the community of Moses), a

people's jealousy of its prophet's successor would evolve into sympathy for his
enemy. Al-Nu'min cites the examples of enemies of prophets such as ThIis, Cain
and Samarïtan. In the Community of the Prophet, al-Nu'min reports, the mi~nah

or civil war took place after a similar situation. In the course of the mi"nab the
first "antagonist" (al-!lidd aJ-awwalzg), who is left unnamed in al-Nu'min's text,
ordered Khilid b. al-Walid to kill'Alï b. Abi Tilib. However, this attempt ended
in failure. 37 The above descriptive analysis of some passages on the "antagonist"

from four early texts confirms that the Isma.'ilïs of the 4th/IDth century referred
to and utilized the history of prophets ta explain certain events which, while in
the past, dose to the present time.

• §3. The Idea of l'Interval" and al-Ri.zi's View of Sacred


ln addition to the sub-motifs of the history of the prophets analyzed above,

there is another important idea in a1-1~1a.fJ which should be introduced. This is

the concept of fatrah (pl. fatarit ) in the sense of "interval" or "interregnum," Le.,
an absence of divinely guided religious authority, espedally that of an imim.38
This term "fatrah " is projeeted back to the pre-Fi~mid period of the second half

'SI Ibid, pp. 361f.

38 We fol1ow H. Halm's definition of this term as: "eine Zeit ohne politische Macht des
Imam" (an age laclcing the political power of an ïrnim). H Halm, "Zur Oatierung des ismi 'ilitischen
'Buches der Zwischenzeiten und der zehn Konjunktionen' (Kitib al-fatarit wal-qirânat al-'aiara)
HS Tübingen Ma VI 297," Die Welt des Orients 8 (1975): p. 98. On the idea of farrab, we aiso

• consulted the following studies: Halm, Kosmologie, pp. 32-34; idem, Das Reich, p. 335f. (English
transI. : pp. 378-80>; W. Madelung, ''Cas Imamat," pp. 104-106.

of the 3rd/9th century, since it is desaibed in the third treatise of Kitâb aI-Kuhf

• as the l'interval which stands between a certain enundator-prophet and another.,,39

Before the da'wah emerged fully in the 260s/870s in 1riq and spread within the
next two decades to other places such as Yemen, Eastern Arabia, Algeria, and
Sind, the Ismâ 'Di movement had remained underground. 40 Their imim. had in
fact stayed hidden before the declaration of the imi.mah by their leader, 'Abd
Allah or 'Ubayd Allih.41 In arder ta explain this long underground phase of the
movement, presumably, the early Isma!i1is deve10ped the notion of fatrah and
incorporated it into their doctrine.
Even after the consolidation of their power in the Islamic Middle East, Ismi'fis,
bath Fi~d and Qarmalian, still needed a theological justification for the absence
of their divinely-guided leaders, particularly, their îmims, within the framework
of their concept of sacred history. Thus, with the start of the systematization of

• Isma'ilism in the 4th/IOth century, the idea of fatrah was expressed in various
ways. For example, al-5ijistini explains in his Ithbàt that the fatrah is the period
during which human souls cannot receive spiritual "assistance" or "support"
(al-ta 'yitl) from higher celestial beings. This "assistance" is the revelatory and

inspiring guidance conferred upon the highest earthly dignitaries, such as the
Prophet, the au , and the imims of the CUITent cycle.42
By the above statement al-5ijistini implies that, during the period of fa trab,
there is no persan suitable to receive the ta 'yid. AIso, he believed that such

39 lCubf, p. 74. Cf. Halm, "Zur Datierung," p.98.

40 Halm, Das Reich, p. 47f. Œnglish transI.: p. 42f.) and Daftary, The I.ma 'üü. p. 118f.
41 However, this declaration resulted in a schism between the dissidents from the main
group who followed 'Ubayd ('Abd) AIlih.

• 42 Al-SijistiDi, It.hbal, pp. 190, 192f. Also see Halm, Kosmologie, p. 53. As for
discuss it again below in detail in chapter 6, §2.
la 'yïd, we will

periods of "interval" had taken place over the course of many cycles (al-advnir)

• up to bis own time. According to him, each cycle lasts 1,500 years and is governed
by seven imâms, each of whose reigns is around one hundred years in length.
Therefore, during the rest of the cycle there occur periods of fatrah, during which
the "lieutenants" (al-/a~9) and the "wings" (ajniJ:œh , sg. janiIJ, i.e. di 'is) take
over the authority of the imam.43
Al-Ràzï explains that the fatraIJ is so-called only because there is no completer
(mutimm) during it (f. 166r., Il. 13-14/f. 164v.,ll. 5-6/p. 327). Therefore it is a

period marked by the absence of an imim. 44 As for the issue of when the fatrah
normally takes place, al-Razi holds that every cycle ends in a fatrah. Moreover,
the "interval" sometimes occurs in the middle of a cycle (wua! al-dawr) (f.165v.,
Il. 9-13/f. 162v., IL 1-5/p. 326).~
In support of bis statement (quoted above) on the definition of the "interval,"

• al-Rizi cites a tradition attributed ta Imim Ja'far al-~idiq.

imim is asked who the imi.m of the tinte of the Prophet had been before he was
summoned, to which he replies that there was no imàm then since it was an
In this tradition, the

"interval." Imim Ja'far adds therein as weIl that.during that same period there
was a "proof of Gad" (IJujjat Allah) among the entrustees (fi al-mustawda 'in), which
was then transmitted to the "appointed deputies" (fi al-mustakb1ûm)46 (f. 166v., Il.

a AI-Sijistini, Ilhll.r" p. 192.

44 In bis article on the reIigio-politicaI issue of imjmab Madelung extensively discusses

al-Râzi's notion of farrah. Although our own discussion of the concept focuses more on its place
in al-Rizi's thought on sacred history, we are still indebted ro Madelung's analysis. See Madelung,
"Das Imamat," pp. 104-106.
45 O. Madelung, ''Das Imamat/' p. 104, n. 335.
46 Only MS. Ham. has the reading ~... , 1 (a1-m..~apa, the appointed proteetors" or

"entrustees") (f. 166v., 1. 8), while the printed edition (p. 327, 1. 12) and MS. Tüb. Cf. 164v., 1. 17)

have ~.iI ;,. J L Here we foUow the reading of the printed edition and MS. Tüb., although remaining
open to the possiblity of another reading.

5-8/f. 164v., 1. 14- f. 165r., 1. l/p. 327).47 The term mustawda' or "entrustee" in

• this tradition plays an important role in al-Rizi's notion of fatra1L 48 This may be
seen in the way he develops the idea that one of li.fUqs should take charge of the
affairs of the da'wah and thus become, sa ta speak, a chief li.fUq during the
absence of the imim (or fatrah). These two positions, therefore according to
al-RiZï, are set up to maintain the affair of the da'wah.
Let us first discuss the term Jalûq (pl. lalri.lUq) with regard to the age of fatrah or
l'interval.'' David and Solomon are described as lâfaiqs of the age as such. David
was chosen from amidst the lalri!Jiq ta become an arbitrator (l'abm) among them:
he is thus called an "appointed deputy" in the da 'wah (musta1dJ1al fi al-da 'wall) (f.
7r., Il. lo-16/f. 7v., Il. IO-IS./p. 16).49 Salomon succeeded David by taking over
the "successor-ship" (khilafab). He was aise a lâ.fU9 but gained the ability to
arbitrate between his fellow la~q after the mission of David was accomplished

• (f. 131r., ,. 8- f. 136v., l. 13/f. 130v., 1. 7- f. 136r., 1. 7/pp. 258-68). These examples
of David and Solomon show how each achieved the status of, so to speak, "primus
inter pares."sa The text thus conveys the moral that the people of the da (wah

C Al-Ràzi does not quote any i.üd or chain of transmission for this tradition.
41 In the late Fi\imid period, as may be seen in the 6th/12th century text Gayat al-Mari.lid
by al-I<ha~b b. al-~asan al-Hamdini (d. 533/1138), an idea conceming the imimah started ta
develop that there are two categories of leadership: mlUtaqarr and mlDtawda' imams, namely, a
legitimate and absolute one and a guardian who is " en trusted" with the affair of the da'wah but
who is not an 'Alid. F. Daftary, The ImJi'ili., pp. 114-16. Also cf.: W. Ivanow, Ismaili Tradition
ccmceming the Rise of the Fatimids <Bombay /Calcatta, 1942), pp. 54-56; idem, The Alleged Founder of
lsmailism (Bombay, 1946), pp. 169-74. ft is difficult to establish the relation between al-RiZi's
notion of m • • and the notion of the two categories of the leadership at the present time. In

al-Rizi's case even though, as will be seen shortly, the m..tawda' is entrusted with doctrinal
" properties" (wa!Ü'û), he is not a1ways identified with the chief li.lUq. However, we cannot
exclude the possibility that the notion of the two categories of leadership may have had one of its
roots in al-Rizi's notion of m....wcla'.
49 Cf. Madelung, "'Das Imamat," p. 104.

• With this expression H. Halm describes the position and function of the chief lLfUq

reigning in the fatrah. Ha1m, Das Reich, p. 336 (English transI., p. 379).

should abey the chief 1~'l during the time of the imim's absence.

• The argument respeeting the 1IJ"lawda' (entrustee) is to be found mainly in the

section entitled the "Chapter on [al-Nasafi'sJ statement on Jethro (Shu'ayb), Lot
~), the people who resemble these two and what is like their rank, and the
discourse on Sergius" (Bab al-Qa"1 fi Shu'ay" wa-L~, wa-man kitJa min uh"W-bimi
wa-fï mirlJ1l1Janzilati-hi wa-dlürSarjis) (f. 157v.,1. 13- f. 168v.l. 13/f. 156r.,I. 12 - f.

167r., l. 8/pp. 311-31). In this chapter al-Rizi refutes al-Nasafï's statement that
each of the figures mentioned here was a m utimm of his cycle. That is to say, he
maintains that Jethro, Lot, and zachariah were only lawilU'l and IIJlUlawda'Ütl (f.
160r., IL 13-15/f. 158v., IL 5-7/pp. 315), and that Sergius was neither a mutimm
nor a lalûQ (f. 166r., 1. ID- V., 1. 9/f. 164v., 1. 1- f. 165r., 1. 2/p. 327).
Interpreting the phrase "men of a remainder" (u/ü baqiyab), who are said to
have forbidden "corruption on earth" in Q Il: 116, al-RàZi explains the function

• and role of a IIJlUtawda' or "entrustee" as follows:

...50 [the phrase] "men of a remainder" (ulü "aqiyah) means the holders of the
"entrusted properties" (~.fJi" aJ-wadi 'i' ), just as we commented. Hence we
explained the nature of the entrustees" (al-muslawda 'ün ) in bygone ages; that

they were the guarantors (Ilmani' ) of the "entrusted properties'" which were
the "remainders" (baqâya) of the enunciator-prophets, the completers and the
"entrustees" in every "interval"; that they were the holders of that remainder,
prohibiting the faithless and the unjust from corrupting the da 'wah at the time
of the concealment of the completer of the age in the period of the "interval"...(f.
163v.,I. 16- f. 164r.,1. S/f. 162r., Il. ID-15/p. 322f).

The "entrustees" were thus the caretakers of the "entrusted properties" left by
the enundator...prophets, the completers, and previous entrustees, and operate

• against the corruption of the da'wah during the concealment of the imim. Although

left unexplained, it can be assumed that the "remains" ànd "properties" referred

• to in the above include the imâmab and leadership in general belonging to the
divine1y-guided leaders.
Al-Rizi quotes and interprets the Qur'inic story of Jethro as a typical example
of Iientrustee" -ship in operation. According to hîm, Jethro stood against Pharaoh,
a rebellious Ij~q who illegitimate1y ruled the da'wah and coveted the rank of the
na,;q of the coming cycle during the absence of the mutimm at the end of the age
of Abraham (f. 1SSv., Il. 3-7 If. 156v., 1. 14- f. 157r., 1. 1/p. 312). He was entrusted
with the "remains of the completers and their "entrusted properties" in order to
submit them ta the master of authority (~b al-amr )," that is, Moses. Thus he
offered a refuge ta Moses from the corrupted members of the da 'wah (who
constituted the majority) led by an antagonist (f. 161v., Il. 2-15 If. 159v., l. 8- f.
160r., 1. 5/pp. 317-18 and f. 162v.,l. 10- f. 163r., 1. I/f. 161r., Il. 3-11/p. 320).

• Al-Rizï also states that ]ethro was an entrustee in the time of the absence of
imim.: this is a part of the tradition (al-SUlUJah ) which had been observed in the

previous cycles (f. ISSv., IL 3-7If. 156v.,1. 14- f. 1S7r., 1. IIp. 312). For an example
of the tradition as such, we need look no further than Lot, who, as a IItrusted
entrustee" (mustawda t ma'mün), stood against the corrupted, disobedient people
in the "interval" at the end of the second cycle. When Abraham then appeared,

Lot submitted the uentrusted properties" ta him (f. 164r.,l. 12- V., 1. l/f. 162v., Il.
S-10/p. 323). Zachariah too was a mustawda in the age of fatrah prior ta the

coming of Jesus. In another passage al-Rizï holds that in the lIinterval" he trod
the "path of appointed deputies" (sabil al-mustakblûUJ), since he succeeded in
being appointed guardian over Mary (aJ-tüaltul bi-Mazyam) prior ta other la wi.fJiq
(f. 116r., 1. 16- V., 1. 11/f. 116r., 1. 12-f. 117r., 1. 7/p. 231).51

• 51 According ta al-Razi, this is what is meant by the episode in Q 3: 44, where people

In the case of Zachariah, he appears ta have been both mœta vrda 1 and chief

• Ij.fJi9 , since he trod the path of appointed deputies." Recalling that David was

called an appointed deputy" and that other "entrustees," such as Shu'ayb and

Lot were also la~9, the question arises whether the term. musta1Vda 1 was regarded
as another title for clüef lâfJiq? This may be the case, but we need further examples
before declaring this to be so. One such is provided by al-Râzi in bis interpretation
of the verse Q 2: 248.
In Q 2: 248 a IIprophet" is said to have notified the Israelites of the coming of

their new king, Saul (Ti1üt), and to have referred to the Ark of the Covenant"

(al-tâbüt), which contained the sakïnah or "divine presence," as the sign of bis

kingship.52 According to al-Ri.zi, this IIArk of the Covenant" means the entrustee" lI

(aI-lIJwtawda'), Saul, who was to preserve the "entrusted properties" (al-wadâ';'),

that is, the IIremainder" (ba9ïyalJ ) of the "completers," and the 1I1a~q"53 (f.

• 165r., 1. 3- V., 1. 11/f. 163r., 1. 11- f. 164r.,1. 3/pp.32S-26).

One important point in this interpretation is that al-Rizi regards the above-
mentioned "prophet," whom he identifies with Samuel Oshmü'ïl), as the l~q

lion whom the axis of the da'wah (madir al-da'waIJ) depended before David."

This means that Samuel was a leading li.!Uq (if not chief la.fUq) before David.
Also, al-Razï holds that Samuel ordered the Israelites to obey Saul. Thus the
people came ta IItrust in" ($akanü ) Saul54 (f. 165r., Il. 8- f. v., 1. I/f. 163r., 1. 17- v., 1.

threw lot into the river to settle a dispute over the right to norture Mary.
52 On this event, cl. 1 Sam. 10: 24-27 in the Hebrew Bible. This .akinah corresponds to
"dlkbiDJi " (the "inhabitation" of the divinity) in Hebrew. T. Fahd points out that ntinah 's
meaning is accompanied by the sense of the divine aid rendered ta the prophets and the beIievers
in battle. T. Fahd, "Sakinah," El2, vol. 9, p.888E. Also cl. Paret, Der KOTan: KommentaT und
Kon1wrdanz, p.52.
According to ai-RaD. the "clan of Moses" (Al Müaa) and the "clan of Aaron" (AI Hirün)

who leave a "remainder" in verse Q 2: 248, Mean the "completers" and the "lari.fJiq" respectively.
~ The fact that the Israelites "trusted" in (akuü ) Saul is, according te al-Rizi, the inner

9/p.325). This episode in al-Ri.zi's interpretation suggests the following possibility.

• He may have maintained that, at least sometimes, the mœtawda 1 was not a
One thing at least is certain: the role of mUSlalVda 1 was genuinely a temporary
emergency position on the one hand, while the 1~9 was a more permanent one

except in the case of "chief liJJiqs," such as David and Solomon. This may also
point to a difference in the position of the mUllawda 1 from that of the lilU'l-
The following quotation from al-Rizï sheds more light on his understanding of
the nature of fatrah , particularly as it affected the affairs of the community, by
referring to an event in this cycle. The passage starts with a short commentary on
the verse Q Il: 116 which explains that, although there were sorne truly faithful
people in the past, only a few ever gained salvation:

That is to say: a few of the people of the convocation (ahl al-da 'wah) are saved

in the "interval" (li al-fatrab). The hypocrites are [neverthelessl victorious because
of the weakness of the authority of the entrustees (fla 'f amr aJ-mU$lawda 'ÜJ)
during the absence of the completers (gbaybat a/-atimmi '). And when the
lieutenants, around whom the authority revolves, stand firm (istaqama), the
awliyi' are victorious, just as was the case with the event of "divine presence"
(amr aJ-sakinab ) in the days of Saul which fell in the midst of [the reign of] the
saaed law (a 'W'Ual al-s1wi'aIJ) in the age of David, as we have already mentioned.
This is because David was a lieutenant, not a completer, as we have stated
above. And something similar to this (i.e. the saldnah trust bestowed on Saul
in this context) has already happened in this cycle ('lad jari fi bidha al-dawr) in
the midst of [the reign of] the saered law. We will comment on this in the
chapter on the discourse devoted ta the third completer (bib dbikr thiJith al-
atbnmà'), if God wills, for with Him are the power and the strength. Cf. 166r.,
Il. 2-9/ f. 164v., 1. 11- v., 1. l/p. 326)

• meaning of saJcinah in Q 2: 248.


In this passage, al-Rizi mentions the crisis of the da'wah, that is, the prevalence

• of the "hypocrites" over the "entrustees." However, al-Razi holds that this crisis
was te be overcome by the right actions of the la ~9, which would result in the
emergence and subsequent victory of the awüyi.'. Hence this passage may suggest
a difference in nature between the la~q and the mIBtawda'ün .
Furthermore, just as in the age of David {which falls within the cycle of Moses
and the reign of bis sacred law),ss there had oCCWTed within the cycle of al-Rizj's
day (qad jari li IJadha al-da,") l'something similar" to Saul's installation as
"entrustee" and his winning the obedience of a few faithful, i.e., his sakinah. The
event in question is implied above to have occurred in the time of the third imam
or "completer" according to Ismâ'iu reckoning, i.e., 'Ali Zayn al-'Àhidïn (the
fourth imam according to the It:hni.'ashati scheme), although this event is not
fully discussed.S6 The above quotation therefore suggests that al-Rizi utilized the

• 55 Since Saul is mentioned together with David, the victory of the &W'Hyi' which occurred
in the age of David is thought to refer to the latters defeat of Goliath (Ja1üt) and bis troops. In the
Qur'in this story follows verse Q 2: 248, which al-Rizi quotes (as mentioned above on pp. 146-47
of this chapter). See also verses Q 2: 249-51.

56 As he announces with regard to the IIthird completer" or third imim mentioned above,
he discusses the third imim of this cycle, «Ali Zayn al-'Abidin, in a later passage. According to
mm, even though there existed a lDutimm alter the death of the second imim, al-f:I usayn, a lieutenant
acted as an "entrustee" {f. 169r., Il. 3-13: only in MS. Ham.}. Unfortunately, the authenticity of this
passage must also he questioned, since the contents of the last page and the part of the second-to-Iast
page which only MS. Ham. retains are very fragmentary, as seen in chapter 3 above. Moreover,
because of the abrupt ending of the text, al-Razï's argument in support of bis statement is lacking.
But, it could he sunnised that al-Rizi would hold that the da'wah needed the usual existence of
an "entrustee" during the presence of the third mutimm to overcome the situation caused by
al-fJusayn's "martyrdom" at Karbali in 61/680. That is, the third muûmm or imim would have
still needed a guardian, i.e., a ID_farda'. Al-Razis statement on the third imam is in refutation of
al-Nasafj's remark that the third imim did not receive bis education (rarbiyab) from bis father or
bis mother. Presumablyal-Nasafi presupposes the deaths of both the father and mother of the
third imim at Karbala. Conceming the third imim or mUfimm, remarkably, in bis voluminous
work of history ('UyürJ a/-Akbbir wa-E'uaÛIJ al-Atbir, ed. M. Ghilib, vol. 4 (Bayrut, 1973) ), the later
8th/15th century Ismi'w thïnker,ldlis 'Imid al-Din al~rashi holds that lmim al-f:lusayn b. ' Ali
appointed M ~ d b. al-fJanafiyah, bis half brother, as a "sbield" (saran and "proof" (lJujjab)
for 'Ali zayn al-'Ahidin ( p. 147), entrusted to him Ci.rawda 'a-hu) bis llpeople" (abl~bu) and

"party" blJi'&'~hu) (p. 94), and entrusted ta him 'Ali Zayn al-'Abidin (p. 202). These aceounts can
be related to al-Razts statement on the guardian at the time of 'AII Zayn al-'Abidi. In his analysis
of this very issue in al-Râzïs al-l,li~, W. Madelung already pointed out that the guardian at that

history of the prophets in arder to explain past events that were close ta the

• present, namely, the events of bis own era or cycle.

In the above quatation there is one word, i.e., al-awüyi', left unexplained. We
need in fact to examine the meaning attributed to titis term in a1-1~1~, as weIl as
al-Ran's utilization of history, in order to understand better bis view of his own
cycle. Let us then grapple with each of these two issues in turne
As far as the word awliyi' is concerned, there is a verse (Q 8: 72) which states
that the true believers are awüyi' or "friends" one to another, who fight for the
cause of God. Yet, according to another verse (Q 8: 73), the unbelievers are
aW'liyi.' or Ilfriends" to one another as weIl. Thus, in the Qur'anic context, the

term aW'Hyi.' can refer to either true believers or unbelievers.57

There are as weIl several references in Shï'ism to the awliyi.' of God as the
imims of the people of the household (ahl al-bayt ).58 It would be stretching a

• point to assume, however, that the above quotation in al-/fl~ refers in any way
to the ïmi.ms. This is because the emergence of the awliyi' is mentioned there as
an event occurring in the lIinterval," i.e., the era awaiting the coming of the next
nafiq as a divinely-guided leader (or the hidden completer in the case of this
cycle), but not the emergence of a series of ïmims. This is because another series
of imims would not be able to get underway as long as the sole legitimate imâm
at the time, i.e., the third one, aIready existed on earth. AIso the sentence reading

time was seen as being M~mmad b. al-f:lanafiyah. However, Madelung does not cite textual
reference on which he relies for bis statement. Madelung, "Das Imamat," p. 105, n. 342. For the
life of and the traditions concerning cAli Zayn al-'Abidin, see W. Madelung, "'AU b. al-ijosayn,"
fiT, vol. 1, p. 849f.

57 Aiso d. Landolt, "Waliyah," pp. 319-22.

51 See, for example, Corbin, Histoire, pp. 53-55, pp. 74-75 and p. 105-107 Œnglish trans!.,
pp. 26-28, pp. 4345 and pp. ~). On the Ismi'ïlï-Shi'i understanding of the termawliyi' AJJjb
as refening ta the imims hom the abl al-6ayt, see al-Qi\fi al-Nu'man" "I<itib al-Waliyah" in

• Da'j'im al-Islam, 00. A. A. A. Fyzee, vol. 1 (al-Qihirah, 1380/1951), passim (cf. English transI.: A.
A. A. Fyzee, The Book ofFaith ).

" ...w hen the lieutenants... stand firm, the awliyi' become vietorious" can be

• interpreted as implying that the latter are to be differentiated from the former,
the second highest leaders after the imam. The awliyi.' can thus likely be identified
with the faithful believers, namely, the members of the Isma'ïlï da'wah under the

direction of the lieutenants, which is dose to the above-mentioned, more general

Qur'anic sense.
In addition to the above passage, there is another in which al-RiZi seems to
refer to the awliyi' in the sense of "faithful believers." In this passage al-Rizi
refutes al-Nasafi's statement that Adam called the people of his age to the teaching
of divine unity without imposing any prescribed labour, giving the reason as

This is because the knowledge of the divine unity ('ùm al-taw!üJ) is not attained

except by means of the [prescribedl actions (al-a 'mâl ), rules (al-rusüm), and
indications (al-is1Jinit) [derivingl from the enunciator-prophets through their
traditions (bi-ithiri-bim), which they prescribe, and through their sacred laws,
which they compose in order that they (Le., the sacred laws) become indicators
and witnesses for the awHyi' who will come to exist after them. 50 they (Le.,
the awliyi') will organize the da/wah upon the ~rof their (i.e., the enunciator-
prophets') sacred laws and traditions, and the auspicious people (aI-su 'a di. ' )
willlisten ta it (the da'wah)... (f. 38v., 1. 13- v., 1. l/f. 37v., IL 10-13/p. 79)

Here the awliyi' are depicted as the future recipients of the sacred laws of the
previous enunciator-prophets, and aIso as the people who, based upon the ,ilJiri
teachings of those laws, conduct the da'wah (convocation or missionary work),
and attract "auspicious people." This suggests that the awliyi' are those who
constitute the hierarchy of the da'wah and participate in its activity, although it is

• not clear from the text whether they can be thought to include all the believers of

the da'wah, its leaders, or the di'; s of lower ranks. 59

• Let us cite another example of al-Rizi's treatment of the term awliJ'i.' : this is
al-Razj's interpretation at Q 24: 27 in the beginning of a1-1~1iJ;J in its present form,
which instructs the "believers" on how one should act when visiting one's
neighbours. According to al-Rizi, those being addressed in this verse are the
"entire hierarchy of the true da'wah" (lWfat lJudiid abJ al-da 'wall al-fJaqiqiya1J ): in
other words #lthey are aU believers in reality' (fa-hum kuI1u-hum mu'minün tali
al-fJaqi '1q). The phrase "houses other than yours" in the verse, al-Rizi holds,

refers to the "da'wah of others," which apparently means other regions of the
da'wah under different leadership. Al-Rizi then recommends to bis readers that
they not enter another da'wah until they recognize the rank (~add) of each of its
members as we11 as its leadership (f. Iv., l. 1- f. 2v., 1.9/f. Iv., 1. 1- f. 2r., 1. 2/p.5).
Then he writes as follows:

• "That is better for you; perhaps you will remember" (Q 24: 27). What God
chose for you, [namely,] the haIt of it (Le., entering the da 'wah under the
different leadership) and the utilization of what God presaibed with His awliyi "
is better for you and better-guarded (~waa , more secure) for your religion. (f.
2r., IL 9-11/f. 2r., Il. 24/p. 6)

In the above quotation the addressees ("you"), who constitute the entire da'wah
in this context, can be identified with "His awliyà' " who are the people for whom

Gad prescribed the rules of the true religion. For this reason we can presume

that they are the members of the da'wah.

59 Following this passage al-RiZi also contrasts the "auspidous people" with the unfavorable
people who persist in the exoteric teachings, and who show arrogance and opposition to God's
awJiyi'. They are deviators of a sort against the awliyi' who are the practitioners of the authentic
teachings inherited !rom the previous prophets. Here we might look upon the deviators as a

• group of antagonists militating against the awüyi'. Thus there rises a possibility that al-Razi aise
juxtaposes the awliyi' as the faithful believers with the antagonistic deviators.

There is another passage which features the word awHp', this one coming after

• the explanation of the deputy-Ieadership of David. Following the mention of

David's status, al-Rizi turns his attention to Uriel who was, according to him, one
ofhis fellow-la~q,and describes bis role as follows:

Urie! was aIso of the rank of lieutenant (~dd al-law;ijûq), and yet David was
more effective in the da'wah [affairs] <awu'a da 'watan) and had a more copious
[followingl among the ranks (i.e. the da'wah members) (aktlJara ~udüdan) [on
the one hand], while Urie! was limited in terms [of his followingl among the
ranks (~ayyiqa a1-~i11i a1-~udiJJ) [on the other]. That is [however] not what
demotes him from the grade of the lieutenants. This is because the awHy'i'-
Peace be upon them! - do not attain this status by virtue of their greater or
lesser effectiveness in the da'wah [affair],60 but [also] because their grades
(darajatu-IJum ) are [decided] by God in accordance with their pious faithfulness
and the purity of their intentions ('ali ~$i" ildJJ~i-bim wa-~aIà' nIyiti-him) and

in the light of what God sees of their conscience. (f. 7v., lI. l.(;/f. 7v., 1. 17- f. Sr.,
1. 6/p. 16)

In the above passage, al-Rizï juxtaposes David as the more effective li.fûq with a
greater number of followers in the da'wah and Uriel as the less effective one with
the less numerous following. However, al-RiZi maintains, this does not "demote"
Urie! from the status of lifUq -ship, since each of the awliyi' is assigned his own
status in accordance with his "faithfulness" and inner sincerity but not with his
effectiveness in running the da'wah.
In the following passage al-Rizi cites other examples of the awliyi' as follows.
Although Noah was a tJiEiq, his effectiveness in the da'wah affair was '1imited"
(~iqa al-amr 'alay-hi fi al-da 'wah) (that is, he had only a few followers as described

• Q) In the text this phrase can be translated literally: "by virtue of the effectiveness of the

da 'wah and its limitedness."


in Q Il: 40) for a long time. ButJonah, though only a li.fû9 , was able to attract a

• hundred thousand or more followers, as mentioned in Q 37: 147-48 (f. 7v., Il.
7-16/f. Br., Il. 6-17/pp. 16-17). The rule of the appointment of the awllyi' to their
positions can thus be applied to both the ranks of -lit and lafû9. This also
suggests that the group includes various ranks of divinely-guided leaders (such
as Noah) as well as various non-divinely-guided ones as implied in the above
quotation (Iltheir grades ..."), giving the impression that the category of awllyi'
consists of those occupying any rank in the da'wah. This confirms what we
conclude regarding the previous passages on the awllyâ', i.e., that the word awllya'
means the entire da'wah or all the believers.
Using the history of the prophets to explain the recent past is, as has already
been mentioned, aIso characteristic of the writings of other Isma'w thinkers such
as Ja'far b. MélIl4ür and al-Qi.~ aI-Nu'min. For example, in a passage fromJa'far

• b. MansÜl', we are told that Lot did the same work for Abraham as did the da 'j s
of MuI}ammad b. Isma'il for him. This work consisted in both cases of seeking for
and acquiring an "abode of emigration" (dar bijrah ).61 Then, after describing the
spread of the da'wah after MuI].ammad b. Isma'il, Ja'far b. Maz,.ür writes as

And the "teacher" (al-mu 'allim ) travelled on his (an imim's) arder ta the
Maghrib at the moment of the perfection and the time of the parousia ('inda
waqt al-kamil wa-awin a1-~uhür ), and [at the time of] the fulfillment of the
promise of the Apostle of God of "the sun's rising from the West of it" (tamam
l n 'd Ruül AlIiIJ bi-Julü 1 al-mams mitJ maghribi-bà). And [indeed] when his
authority was strengthened, bis da'wah perfeeted, and his sign (ayatu-bu) made

• 61 Ja'far b. MatlfÜr, Sari 'iT wa-Asr.ir, p. 263.


apparent, he corresponded with bis lords (IDa rili-bj )62 regarding [bis plan] to

• trave1 to hïm, just as Lot did with Abraham. [That is,) when he (Lot) left the
home of bis father and prepared for himself the "abode of emigration," Abraham
abolished the sacred law of bis father with bis own sacred law, made a trip to
the abode of bis "antagonist" (dir !Üddi-hi ), and destroyed them (sic., abJa1ca-

Ja'far b. M~ür is telling us here that a di.'i (called the "teacher") was clispatched
to the Maghrib where he prepared the way for the imim's coming to power. The
depiction of the activity of "teacher" in this passage parallels to a certain degree
that of Abü Abd Allah al-Shi'i: by converting Berber tribesmen and waging jihad

against Sunni powers and other opponents, he prepared the ground for 'Ubayd
('Abd) Alli.h's accession.64 Thus, there is a strong possibility that in this passage
Ja'far b. Man,ür utilizes the history of the prophets in order to explain the much

• more recent past or perhaps even bis own time, rather than 'Ali's succession to
the leadership of the Community.
Similarly al-Qi~ al-NU'min divides the followers of the da'wah among the
Berbers into those who migrated to the abode of their da'ï ,described as "emigrants"
(al-muhijirUn), and others who stayed in their home villages, referred ta as

"supporters" (al-an,ar).65 Thus al-Nu'min applies the model of the Prophet's age

62 The Tübingen manuscript of Jt.nïr al-Nu!alla' has just "ilay_bi " for "mawàH-bi" on p.
263, 1. 16 of the printed edition. See p. 399, 1. 9 of the manuscript version.
63 Ja'far b. Mél1lfÜr, Sui. ';r .-a-A.IV, p. 263. Cf. Engüsh translation of this passage by W.

Ivanow in bis IsmaiIi Tradition concerning the Rise of the Fatimids , p. 303.

" He actually built the "abode of emigration" Cdir aj·bijnJJ). Halm, Das Reich , pp. 100
and 103 (English transI., pp. 103 and 107).

6S Al-Nu'min, Kitàb I/ti~ al-Da'wab, ed F. Dashrawi (Dachraoui) (lunis, 1975), pp. 95-97.
We follow H. Halm's interpretation of this passage in bis Das Reich , pp. 56-57 Œnglish transI., p.

53). Also d. T. Nagel. Friihe lsmailiya und Fatimiden im Licht der Riftlar I/ti~ ad-Da'wa (Bonn,
1972), p. 23.

(and ultimately of saaed history) to clarify ta bis explanation of the foundation

• of the Fi.\imid Imamate-Caliphate, which was an event almost contemporary

Compared with these two authors who served the Fi\imid Imamate-Caliphate,
al-Razi makes no explicit reference in a1-I~làfJ to near contemporary events in the
development of the Ismi'm movement. This at least can be said of the surviving
text of al-I~J~, since he might have discussed more directIy the events of bis day
in the part that is now lost to us. The incompleteness of the text thus forces us to

limit our investigation to possible allusions to current events in al-Rizi's own

There is at least one feature in al-I~li.!J which can help us discern al-Razi's
intentions in utilizing and referring ta the history of the prophets. This is his
(aforementioned) refutation of al-Nasafi's contention that sorne prophets such as

• David, Salomon, Jethro, Lot, and zachariah were IIcompleters/' i.e. imams. As
we saw above, he regarded them as holding instead the post of chief di 'j. N amely,
he may have emphasized the role of chief di 'j in bis discussion of the leadership
of the da'wah in the very midst of an ongoing schism within the Isma 'ïli community
over the legitimacy of the imi.mah of Vbayd Alli.h and bis household. Does his
argument have any implications for the debate that went on in his own era?
The dispute over the Queen of Sheba and her subjects may provide us with a
possible key for resolving fuis question. According to al-Razi, these subjects
refused ta recognize the authority of the then current chief 1~'l, and insisted
instead on following the absent imam (f. 133r.,I. 11- V., 1. 3/f. 132v., Il. 3-12/p.

" o. Landolt, "Waliyah."

• 67

§1 below.
We will revisit the issue of al-RiZi's possible discussion of bis recent past in chapter 8

262).68 As far as the imimah was concerned, there were parallels between the

• two "ages," that is, the age of Solomon described in al-I~l~, and al-Ran's own
era, at least in the eyes of the non-Fi;nud, dissident Ismi.Jilïs who still awaited
the paTOUSÛl of the Qa1im or the hidden seventh imim. What made them parallel
was the fact that both ages lacked an imâm.
The above parallelism suggests to us that, by ms statement, al-Razï may have
been implying that the people of the da'wah had chosen ta obey a chief li.fUq in
ms own era, that is, during the absence of the imim of his age, just as the people
of the age of Solomon did. This could be the reason whyal-Rizi asserts that the
figures of the previous cycles such as Jethro, zachariah, Lot, etc., were not imams.
Here the history of the prophets functions as a llmirror' of the events of the
immediate past in RiZian prophetology. The issue of al-Razi's view of bis own
day will be revisited in the next section and in chapter 8 §1 and §2 as weIl, below.

• The discussion of the issue will take place in the context of how al-Rizi formulates
the scheme of sacred history. This discussion will shed light on the issue from a
different angle.

§4. Prophets and Religious Communities in Sacred


The discussion in this section will focus on the chapter on Iranian religions
from al-l,l~. Rather than concentrating exclusively therein on Zoroaster and
other Iranian religionists, though, al-Rizi touches as weil on other religious

• In chapter 8 §1 below, we will revisit this passage and another on the story of Solomon

and the Queen of Sheba.


communities such as Jews and Christians and some Muslim seets as welle The

• chapter in question was in fact already introduced into Western academic

discussion by the late S. M. Stern in a posthumously-published article where he
analyzes in some depth al-Razi's reports on Iranian religions,69 yet makes only
brief reference to al-Razi's treatment of various non-Islamic religions and religious
groups or "sects" within Islam. It is in this latter material, however, that we
might expect to find some of al-Rizi's typically Isma 'm views on these subjects.
By taking into account certain of al-Rizi's positions on various prophets,
religious communities, and Muslim. sects which fail outside the scope of Stem's
account, we will investigate in the remainder of this section al-Ran's evaluation
in the said chapter of non-Islamic religions such as Zoroastrianism and of certain
groups within Islam. This approach will, we hope, shed some light on the question
of how al-Rizï perceived his own Ismi'ili religious identity, and, finally, on the _

• Isma'iU intellectual basis for al-Rizi's argument regarding various religions. The
chapter in question is found in the third part and is entitled "The chapter on the
saying [of al-Nasafïl on the third enunctator-prophet (Abraham)" ("bab al-qawl fi
tbalith al-lJufaqi' " f. 72r., 1. 11- f. 83r., 1. 2ff. 71v., 1. 3- f. 82v., 1. 6/pp. 148-67). We
will summarize the contents of this chapter below.70
Al-Razi begins his discussion by refuting al-Nasafï's opinion that Zoroastrians
are the followers of the shari'ah of Abraham (Ibrahim), i.e. the third ni#q or
enunciator-prophet According to al-Râzi, Zoroastrians have no precepts which
are in accordance with certain of Abraham' 5 such as circumcision Ckhitan) or the

69 Stem, "Persian Religion." For a full reference ta this article, see chapter 1., p. 9, n. 22
above. See also: Ivanow, ''Early Controversy in Ismailism/' pp. 116-22, which pravides a brief
introduction to the text of al-1#i.lJ.; Madelung, Religiolls Trends, pp. 95-100.
70 Since the details of a1-Razi's views on !ranian religions have already been discussed by

• Stem, this paper follows only the outline of the former's argument, in arder ta avoid duplicating
Stern's textual description and analysis.

taboo against consanguineous marriage (f. 72r., 1. 12- f. 73r., 1. 10/f. 71v., 1. 4- f.

• 72v.,I. 2/pp. 149-50). Al..Razi aIso holds that all doctrinal idiosyncrasies of that
kind are novel deviations (hi. 1, sg. "id'ab) caused by the antagonists (afldid, sg.
flidJJ (f. 73v., Il.8-11 If. 73r., IL 3-5/p. 150).11
As the next step in bis refutation of al-Nasafi, al..Rizi asserts bis own view of
Zoroastrians and their place in sacred history. According to a tradition from the
"forefathers" (al-salai), al-RâZi holds, the precepts which Zoroastrians follow came
from the la~9 or lieutenants, who lived in the period of Moses (Müsi), i.e the
fourth nafiq. Thus al..Rizi implies that those precepts did not come down from
Abraham (f. 75r., Il. S..8/f. 74v., Il. 1-3/p. 153).72 Again, based on the same
tradition, al-RiZi maintains that one of these lieutenants was Zoroaster, whose
authentic religious precepts were altered and distorted by those who came after
him (f. 7lr., Il. 6-14/f. 76v., Il. 1"11/p. 156).73 Such deviations from the original,

• true teaching of a shari'ah, al-Razi continues, had taken place many times in
several different religious communities, up to his own day. An example of this
could be seen in sorne cases of dualism advocated by the founders of Iranian
religions such as Mani and Mazdak Cf. 78v., Il. 9-16/f. 78r., Il. 6-15v./p. 159}.74 In

71 Cf. Stem, "Persian Religion," pp. 36-37.

12 Cf. ibid., p. 39.

7J Cf. ibid., pp. 38-40, especially p. 39. W. Madelung points out that in al-RiZi"s argument
the rank of Zoroaster and other founders of Iranian or dualist religions is "distinctly degraded,"
compared with al-Nasafïs ranking. According to Madelung al-Nasafï evaluated the leaders of
Iranian religions as either one of the disciples of Abraham (Zoroaster) or one of those of Jesus
(Mani, Mazdak and Marcion). Madelung, ReIigious Trends._ pp. 97-100. However, in the whole of
al-l,a~, we could not find a quotation from al-Nasafi identifying any of those figures as disciples
of Jesus, although we do find it as al-Rizi's own statement ta this effect.
,. In the same passage al-RiZi daims that these religious leaders taught the transmigration
of the soul (falJÜuü). On these figures, see for example: C. E. Bosworth, "Mâni b. Fittik or Fitik,"
El 2, vol. 6, p. 421; C. Colpe, "Development of Religious Thought," in The Cambridge History of Iran

(Cambridge, 1983), vol. 3 (2), The Se1eucid, Parthian and SasanÜln Periods, 00. E. Yarshater, pp.
819~; M. Guidi [-M. Marony), "Mazdak," El 2, vol. 6, pp. 949-53; E. Yarshater, "Mazdakism," in
CJmbridge History of Iran, vol. 3 (2), pp. 991-1024. Again concerning the issue of dualism in Iran

addition al-Razi dtes another dualist outlook in the case of the ~bi'an eommunity,

• a Gnostic baptist sect which he identified as a deviation from Christianity (f. 77v.,
Il. 1- f. 78r., 1. 2/f. 76v., 1. 14- f. 77v., 1. 16/pp. 157-58),75 and in that of Bardesanes
(l)aySin or Ibn J;>aysan in Arabie), a Christian heresiarch with Gnostie tendencies76
(f. 78v., 1. 15- f. 79r., L 8/f. 77v., 1. 13- f. 78r., l. 6/pp. 159-60).
After discussing Iranian religions, al-RiZi tums bis attention te other non-Islamic
religious communities and Muslim "sects" or groups. At this point we begin our
own analysis, since we will discuss the part of the text which Stern did not treat.
First of aIl, al-Rizï cites four such religious communities, which he declares that
"God mentioned" in the Qur'in,i.e. the Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians and ~i.bi'ans.
Of these, the Sibi'ans should, al-RiZi maintains, be induded within the Christian
community in its broader sense (f. 80r., 1. 12- V., 1. 1/f. 79v., IL 12-16/pp. 162-63),
since they originated as a dualist deviation from the latter. This leaves three

• religious communities, which al-Rizi implies, can be related to three Muslim.

groups or "sects" on the basis of certain doctrinal similarities. This is made dear,
according ta al-Rizi, in a Prophetie tradition, which he cites as follows: the Murji'ah

we should point out Stem's high estimation of al-Razi's report on another important religionist
and rebelleader in Iran, BihifaJid (fi. the 2nd/7th century). According to Stem, the infonnation
provided byal-al-RiZï regarding Bihifalid is the earliest that we possess, and coincides with the
reports of Ibn al-Nadim (d. 385/995 or 388/998) and al-Shahrastâni (d. 548/1153). Stem, '~ersian
Religion," pp. 43-44. AIso d.: B. S. Amoretti, "Sects and Heretics," in The Cambridge History of Iran
vol. 4, pp. 481-519; Madelung, Religious Trends, pp. 1-12.

7S Cf. ibid., pp. 33-36. With regard to the ~i'ans, the Mu'tazili theologian al-zamakhshari
(d. 538/1144) also counts them as a Christian sect in his commentary on Qur'an 22:17; see his
al-Ku_baE ~&II ~.9i 'if al-Tuu:il wa-'Uyüa al-Aqi"';l • WLjülJ al-Ta'wil (Beirut. n.d.), vol. 3: p. 28.
Cf. the translation of al-zamakhshari's passage in H. Gatje, The Qur'an and its Exegesis: Selected
Texts uith Classical and Modern Muslim Interpretations, transi. and ed A. T. Welch<London, 1976),
p. 130. For the Sabi'ans, see the following studies: C. Buck, ''The Identification of the Sabi'un,"
Muslim World 74 (1984): pp. 1720086; B. Carra de Vaux, "al-~abi'a," El , vol. 4, pp. 21-22; J. D.
McAuliffe, "Exegetical Identification of the $ibi'iin," Muslim World 72 (1982): pp. 95-106.
76 On Bardasanes, see: A. Abel, "Da}liniyyah," El 2, vol. S, pp. 1110-18; W. Madelung,

"Abü -(si al-Warriq über die Bardasaniten, Mardoniten und Kantaer," in Studien zur Geschichte
und Kultur des Vorderen Orients: Festschrift für Berthold Spuler %Ur siebzigsten Geburtstag, ed. H. R.
R~mer & A. Moth <Leiden, 1981), pp. 210-24.

correspond to Jews in the Islamic Community; the Rafi4ah to Christiansj and the

• Qadmyah to Zoroastrians (f. BOv., Il. 2-3/f. 79v., 1. 17- f. BOr., 1. 2/p. 163; also d. f.
BOv.,I. 3- f. 81v., 1. 16/f. BOr., 1. 2- f. BIv., 1. I/pp. 163-65).17
The doctrinal similarities between non-Islamic communities and Muslim groups
may be seen in the question of which prophetie figures these religious communities
and Muslim groups recognize. We can see, for instance, that whereas Jews recognize
only Moses, Christians recognize both Moses and Jesus. Likewise, whereas the
Mwji1ah recognize only the Prophet Muhammad, Le. only one of the a.,rin or

MO l'fundaments'' who appear as the religious leaders ranked highest in each

cycle or era (dawr) according to early ISmâ'iJis of the Fapmid period, the Rifi~ah
recognize the authority of both, Le. the Prophet and Amïr al-Mu'lDÛJin, 'Ali b. Abi
Tilib. Therefore while the Murji'ah and Jews are related to each other because
each recognizes only the first of two prophets or asisan, the Rifi4ah and Christians

• are related since they eachrecognize both figures in their respectiye cases.
Al-Rizï mentions the ~i.bi'ans a second time when drawing a parallel between
them and the "Mariqah" (the Khawirij)78 which he adds to the three Muslim
groups or "sects." Just as the ~ibi' ans' origin may be traced to their defection
from Jesus' community, so did the Miriqah desert from 'Ali' 5 camp. The four
religious communities ijews, Christians, Zoroastrians and ~ibi'ans) according to
al-RaZi, make up the "reproachable religions" (aJ-millah al-madbmiimab), since they

TI For this badillJ , d. Concordmrce et indices de la tradition musulmane, ed. A. J. Wensinck et

al. <Leiden, 1936-1988) vol. S, p. 318. In al-Tuab al-RâZi quotes a sunHar ~dirb" but enumerates
the five sects as the Shi'ah, the Murji'ah, the Rifi~ah. the Qadariyah, and the Miriqah on the
authority of the "companions [of the Prophet]" (aI-p,fJaba1J) and "the following generation" (al-
Tabi'ÜtJ). Al-ZimIJ , Fascide 3, p.209.

,. For the identification of the "Miriqah" with the I<hawarij, see al-Shahrastini, Kirab
al-MilaJ ....aJ-Nilal
, ed. M. F. Allah Badrin, vol.l (al-Qihirah. 1910), p. 18, pp. 197-98 and pp.

• 201-202 (French translation of the text, Livre des religions et des sectes, transI. D. Gimaret and G.
Monnot, vol.1 (Paris, 1986), pp. 124,366, and 370).

do not accept the prophethood of Muhammad (f. BIr., 1. 2... V., 1. 16/f. Bar., 1. 17... f.

• BIr., 1. 1/pp. 163-65).

Above and beyond these four communities, al...RaZi holds, we find the people
of the fifth community (a1J1 al-miIlaIJ aJ-kbimisah ), namely, the Muslims, whom he
calls the "'praiseworthy community" (al-millah aJ-maf'awïdah) because of their
recognition of the prophethood of Muttammad. The passage quoted below
summarizes al...R izï' 5 evaluation of the five religious communities:

The four religious communities of the cycles of the two enunciator-prophets

(i. e. Moses and Jesus) deny the cycle of M~ad -May God grant him and
his family His grace!- and do not acknowledge him or recognize bis rank
(~dda-hu) and position (manzilata-hu), whereas the people of the fifth community
of Islam recognize him (i.e. the Prophet) and bis prophethood, and recognize
all the prophets [who came before him] and aIl sacred laws, from which all

the religions branched...(f. 82r., Il. 4-S/f. 81v., Il. 5-10/p. 165)

Corresponding to the fifth religious community, moreover, there is a fifth

Muslim sect in addition to the four aIready mentioned. Whereas the first four
groups are called the "reproachable sects" (al-firaq aJ...mad1Jmünah) (f. Blv., 1. 14ff.
SIr., Il. 15-16/p. 165), the fifth one is called the "people of the pure religion" (ahl
al-QUl al-kbali~), the IIpeople of reality" (ahl al-!Jaqiqah) and the "Believers" (al-
mu'IDÛJÜIJ) (f. 82r., Il. 2-3/f. Blv., Il. 3-4/p. 165). That is, whereas the other four

"reproachable groups" recognize either only the Prophet M~mmad or both

him and Ali b. Abi Tilib, those belonging to the fifth group, called the "people

of reality" (ah/ al-laQiqah),79 recognize not only the authority of both as divinely

" 5ince the group which can be identified with the Ismalilïs is called; ; _ ; 1.1 J-I in the

previous passage Cf. 81v., 1. 3/f. 82r., L 3/p. 165), we tentatively follow the reading of the printed
edition; ; _ ; J..I J-l Cp. 166,1. 1). It is very difficult to determine the correct reading of the phrase,
because there are too many different readings provided by the manuscripts. The printed edition

guided leaders, but aIso the rank (.fJadd, literally '1imit") and position (mazuilah )

• of the master of the coming cycle (~a.fJib al-dawr al-al;), namely, the Qâ'im or the
awaited Messiah (f. 82r., IL 8-l2/f. Blv., 11. lO-15/pp. 165-66). Thus, both the fifth
community and the fifth Muslim group are conferred a much higher evaluation
than the others.
It would appear that, in making the above statement, al-Rizï also implies that
in his own time the ideal Muslim group awaited the Qi' im, who had not yet
appeared. or whose advent had only been partially actualized, thereby inaugurating
the next cycle. Thus al-Razi's entire argument may have pointed in theoretical
terms to the situation of the ideal Muslims of his time. In due course we will
revisit the issue of al-Rizi's view of his contemporary era.
Furthermore, the above statement conceming the recognition of the Qi.'im
suggests that al-Rizï most likel y meant by the fifth group of people, whom he

• esteems more highly than any other group of Muslims, his own community, Le.,
the Ismi'ilis. Moreover, we should also note that al-Razï classifies the Rafi~ah as
one of the reproachable groups, although they recognized both the Prophet
M~ad and 'Ali, the Commander of the Believers. These facts suggest that
al-Rizï attempted to exclude sorne Shi'i groups from bis ideal vision of Shi'ism,
and even to distinguish his own group from others as being the genuine Shï'is.BO
seems to adopt that of MS. b., whereas MS. &. bas ~I-, 4J~1 ~I and But Ms.j has4i.,a,l1 J..-1. See
the editors' note te 1. 1 on p. 166. Besides, MS. Ham. has ~14i,..A11 Jal (f. B2r., Il.9-10), while MS.
Tüb. has4j",a11 Jal (f. Blv.,l. 12).

.. In aJ-ZiIJab al-Rizi endeavors to explain etymologically the appellations of sorne Shi'i

groups (altla" tinuI al-Shi'ah ), among whom he includes the '1sma'wyah" and their sub-66sect",
the 6'Mubirakiyah" (II1·Tmab, pp. 287-89). In ms explanation al-RiZi reports the assertion by the
6'Ismi'iliyah" of the legitimacy of Ismâ'il b. Ia'far and his son, MuJ].ammad, for the imimah .
Although in aJ-Tmab he sticks to an impersonal, objective style in describing the Shï'i llsects,"
there is the plssibility that in 50 doing he is covertly attacking non·Isma'ili Imami groups. However,
at present we can only suggest the possibility. In addition we should remind ourselves that

a1though al-Rizi esteems the fifth group more highly than any other Muslim group, he never
refers to it explicitly with the name used by the lsmi'iUs of the Fipmid period in referring to
themselves, i.e. the llrightly guiding mission" (~·c1&'waIJ al-bidiyab). On this tenn, see A. Hamdani,

Toward the end of the chapter in question, al-Râzj aIso outlines the following

• argument on the fifth religious community and the fifth Muslim group:

It has already been transmitted from one of the ancestors that he (the
Prophet Mul}ammad?) said: "the religions are five: one [of them] belongs to
God; four [of theml belong to Satan." Thus, the image of the four religious
communities (midJjJ al-milaJ al-arba') is like the four e1ements (al-fIIDlDa1Jat al-
arba '). Therefore, just as it is the case with two of the religious communities
(amr tnHlatayn)81 -they are the people of Book- that they are apparent <1ilUr),82
and with the two others that they are hidden (khafiya),83 50 it is with the
elements of which there are two coarse ones (itlmaean katbifatàn ) and two
others that are subtle (iclJnati.nlapfadn ).84 Then, just as [onlyl with the coalescing
of the four elements (bi-ijma' ulla 'at al-ummahit) does the [newl form. (a1~ürab)
appear that is a fifth being (al-Icbjmiab), the fifth religious community is likewise
the completion of the religious communities (tamam al-mi1al), and with the
termination of its (Le. the fifth religious community's) mission ('inda inqi~i 1

• amri-bi) the form of the subtle world (~iht al-'ilam a1-1a~f) will emerge. Likewise
this is the image of the four religious sects in this Community. The people of
the reality (a1Jl al-ltaqiqab) comprehend those sects (yajma 'u-IJa)85: they (i.e., the

"Evolution of the Organizational Structure," p. 86. f. Daftary suggests a shorter fonn "al-da 'wab.."
See Daftary,The Isma'ilis, p. 93.
IlWe foUow the reading of the printed edition (p. 166, 1. 14) and that of MS. Tüb. (f. 82r.,
1. 15): ~."..L MS. Ham. lacks.".1 Cf. 82v., L 11).

There is a possibility that the phrase "amru-bum" Oheir affair) is missing, since the

presence of this phrase would paralIei the next sentence.

13 Also al-Rizi maintains that the scriptures appeared evidently to bath Jews and Christians,
while they were hidden to Magis and ~bi'ans. Moreover, al-Razi continues, to them no saipture
bas ever appeared which cantains sbari'a1J. See f. BOv., 1. 8- f. 81v., 1. 81E. sOr., L 7- v., 1.7 Ip. 163f.

" One can interpret the "two coarse [elements]" as being water and earth, and the "two
subtle [elements]" as being fire and wind.
as We follow the reading of the printed edition, ~ (p. 167, ,. 2). MS. Ham. has ,-+'. ~

(with the total of them) Cf. 82v., 1.16), while MS. Tüb. bas ~ (with a gatheringof them) (f. 82v.,

people of the reality) are the fifth group which is the form of the subtle world

• in potentia (6i-al-qüwaIJ ), and it (i.e., the form of the subtle world and the fifth
group) will emerge in actu (bi-al-fj'l) at the time of the completion of the
mission of the awliyi' ('inda tamim amr al-aW'liyi') - Peace of God upon them
and His mercy [as well][ (f. 82v., 1. 9- f. 83r., 1. 2/82r., 1. 13 - V., 1. 6/pp. 166-67)

Just as the form (,iiraIJ) of any composite being in the world of nature appears as
a fifth entity only with the coalescing (jjma') of the four elements (uba' al-grnmab:it),
the fifth religious community, namely, the Muslims, emerged as the uperfection
of the religious communities" (ramam al-milal) after the coming into being of the
four communities, and after the fifth Muslim religious group, that is, the I1people
of the reality" had emerged.
With the termination of the Muslim mission in sacred history, that is, presumably,
with the termination of the Prophet's cycle, the form of the subtle world (al-'alam _

• al-lafil) started to make its appearance. In other words, the religion gradually

developed from a coarse state to a more subtle, spiritual one. Indeed, as he

reaches the end of the chapter on Iranian religions, we may notice that he utilizes
the language of physics, using terms such as "four elements," and in potentin
(bi-al-qüwah) and in actu (1Ji-al-fi'l), in his efforts to explain the emergence of the

fifth group which he calls the "people of the reality," Le., the Isma'ili da'wah as
the community of the true, faithful believers.
The Ismi"ili da'wah is also called the aW'liyi', the completion of whose mission
(amr ) can be interpreted as bringing forth the actualization of the "form of the

subtle world.,,86 That is to say, after the avrliya' finish their work, sacred history

16 As seen in the previous section, the ariyi' are referred ta with the following invocation
of Divine blessing: "Teace of Cod upon them and His mercy [as welI]" (Salàm A1WJ "day-bim l n
niIIID.'",hu), which resembles the expression used for prophet{s), angel(s), or imim(s), namely,

• alay-bi <-l al-salam. This may however be a later interpolation, because none of any of the groups
of the divinely-guided leaders really fits the context.

would enter into the new, more spiritual phase. Thus, the meaning of the awfip'

• becomes important for understanding of the Razian view of sacred history and,
particularly, of that of its ending.

The whole concept of a "fifth being" in the form of a fifth re1igious community
and a fifth Muslim group community, and especially bis references to a fifth
element, reminds us of the Greek-Hellenistic physical notion of the fifth element
(quinta essentia or pémptë ousia). This fifth element, also called "ether," is of
higher quality than the other four; it is of this that the celestial bodies (stars and
spheres) are made, as seen above in the previous chapter.87 Sïnce in A'Jj,m al-Rizï
mentions a "fifth body" (jism khimi$ ) as one of the cosmological prindples according
to Aristotle,88 it is very possible that he utilizes the concept of the fifth element as
a background to bis argument concerning the emergence of the fifth community

• and the ftfth group.

However, the idea of the emergence of the fifth being due to the convergence
of the four elements still remains to he explained, since the fUth element should
be by nature different from other elements in Aristotelian tradition.89 We thus
confirm that the flfth being emerges with convergence of four elements but is a

ri On this important concept of the fifth element, see, for example, P. Moraux, "quinta
essentia," in Paulys Realenqclopiidie derclassischen Altertumswissensdraft, 00. G. Wissowa, W. Kroll
and K. MittelhaUS, Bd. 47 (Stuttgart, 1963), cols. 1171-1263, 1430-32. AIso, on the later developments
of this concept induding its rejection, see, for exampIe: S. Sambursky, The Physical World , pp.
122-32; R. Sorabji, "John PhiIoPOnus," pp. 1-40, especiaIly, pp. 24-26. On the acceptance of this
concept in the Islamic milieu, see, for example: P. !<raDs, Jabir i6a {layyàtJ: Contribution à l'histoire
des idées scientifiqutS dans l'Islam (Cairo, 1942-1943), vol. 2, pp. 152-57; DiwaId, Arabisdte Philosophie
und WissensduJft, pp. 110, 118 and p. 190.
• AI-Rizi, Â'Jim, p. 138. AI-Rizi called this "fifth body" as "ether" (;aJ-athïr ) and the
"most exalted matter" (al-'Ulqir al.. '~). Here it should be recaIIed that al-Razi regards in
al-I,Ji.fa the ether a1most as the tire and aIso compares its function to the raIe of the Qi'im, i.e., the

Ia'ri. See pp. 91-91 of chapter 4 of the present dissertation.

19 Cf. Sambursky, The Physical World , pp. 122-23.


more subtle, higher being, not just a new composite being coming after the four

• elements. This we have to take as one of the starting points in our search for the
origin or sources for Rizian physics or the Rizian utilization of physics. 90
Another argument utilizing the terms of physics can be found in an earlier
discussion in the same part of al-lfl~ (part 3). In this discussion al-Rizï aims at
refuting al-Nasafi's thesis that unless it mixes with another, a particular "nature"
(al-tab 1 al-wilUd), which can be either heat, dryness, humidity or coldness, cannat
appear in the sensible domain (al-!JuÂ$ ) (f. 70v. 1. 7- f. 72r., 1. 4/f. 69v., 1. 14- f.
71v.,1. 13/pp. 145-47). Behind al-Nasafi's statement there lies bis idea that there
emerges a sacred law between the two enundator-prophets: here he compares
the two enundator-prophets to two natures and the sacred law to the sensibility
of one particular nature (see, e.g., f. 64v., 1. 2- f. 65r., 1. 9/f. 63r., 1. 7- v., 1. 17/pp.

• According to al-Ri2i, each of the four natures (al-faba 'i' aJ-arba 'ah), can appear
by itself in the sensible domaine But each nature, al-RaZi continues, is essentially
a being that is composite (mwatbb ) and mixed (mumtazijah) with other natures.
Upon the mixture of one particular nature with another there emerges an element:
the four elements (aJ-UIlUDabat aJ-arba 'ah, sic) in fact emerge in this way (f. 70v., Il.
B-12/f. 69v., 1. 15- f. 70r., 1. 3/p. 145).

In addition ta explaining the emergence of "nature," al-Rizi aiso holds that

10 One possible source for the origin of RiZi's idea of a llfifth being" is Proclus's concept
of œlestial bodies being made of the four elements, with fire being predominant. In saying this
Produs attacks the Aristotelian notion of the ether or fifth element which is different from the
four elements by nature. That is ta say, even a supralunar, celestial being as weil as the famous
"vehide" of soul moving it ta a higher world can be made of the four elements. Since al-RiZi
highlyesteems Produs as one of "andent sage-philosophers" (al-talüilaIJ aJ-~uIcatrJj' al-qudama' )
who used symbolic language (A 'lâm. p. 107), he could have learned of Proclus's idea of higher
being made up of four elements. This remains ta be verified, however. On Proclus's idea, we
mainly c:onsulted L Siorvanes,Proclus: Neo-Platonic Philosophy and Science (New Haven and lDndon,

• 1996), pp. 232-41. See also: P. Moraux, "quinta essentia," cols. 1231-56; R. Sorabji, Matter, Space
and Motion: Theories in Antiquity and Their Sequel (London, 1987), pp. 107-109.

each product (mawlid , pl. mawilid), i.e., every being formed in the world of

• nature, emerges with the gathering of all four natures (f. 70v.,I. 13- f. 71r., 1. 1/f.
70r., Il. 3-7/p. 146). After declaring this prindple to hold in the physical realm of
the cosmos, al-Rizi turns bis attention to religion: ''Except with the coalesdng of
the four members all together" (iDi bi-ijtimi' al-u6a'ab kulli-bà ), the hidden birth
(al-wilidaIJ al-mwtajannah) in them (i.e., sacred laws) does not appear" (f. 71r., Il.

15-16/f. 70v., IL 7-8/p. 146). By "four members" here, al-RâZi means the 1üir
and the "afin of the sacred laws, and each enunciator-prophet and bis "fundament"
(a.sü) (f. 71r., 1. 15- V., 1. 3/f. 70v., IL 8-13/pp. 146-47).91
The "hidden birth" in question, although left unexplained by al-Rizi, could
refer to emergence of a new order of the religion or a new development in that
order. In another passage al-Rizi points out that the emergence of the sacred law
and the missionary hierarchy, the da'wah, results from the conjunction of the two

• highest hypostases in heaven with their counterparts on earth. He aIso compares

this conjunction, which results in the formation of a new .shari'ah and da 'wah,
that is, the emergence of a new order of the religion, to the union of male and
female, which results in the birth of a child (f. 70r., IL 4-12/f. 69r., Il. 6-15/p. 144).
In describing the birth as "hidden" (mœtajannab), however, al-Rizi suggests that
this type of "birth" means a further stage or new development coming after the
establishment of the sacred law and the da'wah. 92 This is because the adjective
"hidden" implies the existence of the inner phase or 6alin which is to be revealed
through some outer aspect, such as dJ:ui'ah , after the latter is made public.

91For the roles of these Ilfour membersll of the hierarchies, we consulted the foIIowing
studies by P. E. Walker on al-5ijistini, "Cosmic Hierarchies," pp. 24-28 and Early Philosophical

5hiism, pp. 18-19.

• 92We will revisit the issue of l1>irth" in the worId of religion or in sacred history in
chapters 7 and 8.

Examining the expression '1tidden birth," we can see in the above statement a

• notion which al-Rizi has expressed elsewhere in the arguments we dealt with
before. That is, he posits that the emergence of a new being or coming of a new
situation results from the coalescing of four members of a particular group, whether
this be in the domain of religion or that of nature, for example, the four religious
communities and the four Muslim " sec ts." In brief, the same principle or law
operates in the realms of both religion and nature. Examining these arguments,
we can infer that this idea of the coalescing of four members and the emergence
of a new being has for al-Razi the status of an intellectual framework providing
the theoretical basis for his own argument on various religions which move
toward new phases in sacred history. 5îmilar ideas can be recognized not only in
al-Razi's Kitab a1-I~âJ:1 , but also, we would suggest, in works by other Isma'ili


• An example of one such work by another thinker is the argument of Abü

Ya'qüb al-Sijistànï on dualist religions induding sorne Iranian faiths. 93 According
to him, sorne founders of those Iranian religions such as Zoroaster, Mazdak, and
Bihifarid, were the people who strayed from the teachings of Abraham, whereas
other dualist religionists, Bardesanes, Marcion, another gnosticist Christian
heresiarch, and Mani deviated from those of Jesus. Thus, consequently, aligning
himself with al-Nasafi on this issue, al-SijistanI explains the reason for this religious
deviation: AlI existent beings in the world of composition (laJam al-tarJgo, the
world of four elements) can be divided into two groups, those in a "s tate of
goodness" (~âl al-plâJ:1) and those in a "state of wickedness" (~aJ al-fuaJ).94 By
the same token, human beings can be divided into these two groups. On the one

93 AI-5ijistini, Ithbàt al-Nubü'àt, pp. 82-85.

te Ibid, pp. 83-84.


hand, among those in the "state of goodness" there are the apostles (ruul, sg.

• ra.iil), who lead others to salvation, while on the other hand among those in the

IIstate of wickedness" there are the "fabricators" (mukhtui 'ÜlJ), to whom, al-5ijistini
implies, the founders of dualist religions, including Iranian faiths, belong. 9S To
sum up this argument, the same prindple of states of goodness and wickedness
operates in the reaIms of both nature and religion: the realm of the latter develops
in sacr~d history.

Another example is presented by ijamid al-Dm al-Kirmini in bis Kili." al-Riyitf6:

Any being possessing a given quality moves from a state of potentiality ("i-al-qüw:ûJ)
to that of aetuality (bi-al-fi'J), whereas a being which has a quality contrary to the
former mayes in the reverse direction, i.e., from actuality to potentiality.91 As an
example of titis prindple, al-Kirmani dtes some pairs of states of opposite qualities,
each of which appears alternately, such as coldness and heat, dryness and humidity,

• etc. This prindple operates also in the realm. of humankind: whenever knowledge
( 'ilm) is in actuality, ignorance (jabl) is in potentiality, and vice versa. The process

of movement of knowledge from potentiality to actuality was, al-Kirmàni holds,

begun by Adam..98 This manifestation of knowledge will culminate in the advent
of the awaited messiah. Al-Kirmilli's argument suggests that the principle in
question operates also in the realm of religion in general, and in sacred history in

95 Ibid, p. 84.

96 Al-Kirmiri, al-Riyi;, pp. 195-98. Actua11y, this is an excerpt from al-Kirmâri'S attempt
te reconcile the proposititons of al-Nasafi, a1-RiZi, and a1-Sijistini in their debate on the prophethood
of Adam. On this debate, see chapter 4, §3, above.
97 W. Madelung already mentions this argument in al-Riyid . However, he does not try to
investigate an intellectual basis behind the argument, although he does sucœed in placing it in
the context of the development of the doctrines of imimah and the Qi'im. Madelung, ''Das

Imamat," pp. 124-25•
91 AI-Kirmini, aJ-Riyi!#, pp. 197-98.

To conclude, al-Râzi's argument regarding various religions and Muslim

• groups, as weil as the passages quoted above from bis two coreligionists, are
based on an intellectual idea that the same principle underlies the realms of
religion and nature. In other words, the same principle operates in the realm of
nature and in sacred history. This idea aIso led al-Ri.zl ta establish bis own ideal
image of a religious community and a Muslim religious group. Our analysis of
al-Razj's text on various religions shows clearly that he relies for the most part on
the device of analogy as the pattern for bis arguments. 99 According to this pattern,
since the same principle or '1aws" operate in several realms of the cosmos, a
phenomenon that occurs in one realm will have its counterparts in the others. By
examining al-Rizi's text and selected passages from other Ismâ'ïlï thinkers, our
study demonstrates that the analogical pattern of thinking exerted a strong influence
on Ismi.'w philosophy.

99 For this pattern of thought, Dr. P. E. Walker has already pointed out similarities in
al-Sijistani's cosmology: "Cosmology, for al-SijistanL is analogy..." Walker, Early Philosophical
Shiism, p. 69. AIse see his "Cosmie Hierarchies," p. 27.

• The Prophets and
the Cosmic Hierarchies

§1. Cosmology in al-l,la.fJ

§1-1. Al-Nasa& and al-Rizi on the Procession of and Nature of

the Sou!.

Al-Rizi's cosmology in al-I,Ji,fJ can be reconstrueted by scrutinizing bis debate

with al-Nasafi on philosophical topics. This debate, recorded more or less intact_

• in the extant portion of al-l~J~ , begins with a quotation from al-Nasafi's exposition

in al-MaMü1 of his thesis on the Universal Soul, that is, the cosmic hypostasis just

below that of the Universal Intellect.1 This is also the beginning of al-Rizi's
exposition of his cosmology in a1-#li~. After discussing the nature of the Soul,
al-Razi deals with the topics of the formation of the cosmos, her role in it, and her
relation to individual human souls. This assignment of the topic of Soul to the
beginning of his discussion of philosophical issues reflects the importance of the
Universal Soul in the cosmogonical and cosmological visions of both al-Nasafi
and al-Razi. This arrangement aIso suggests that the Plotinian notion of the Soul
as being responsible for the creation and organization of the cosmos2 had a

1 On the Soul as the hypostasis and the Soul as the Cosmic Being, see H. Blumenthal,
"Soul, World Soul, and Individual Sou! in Plotinus," in Le NéopÙltonisme, 00. P. Hadot (Paris,

1971), pp. 55-63.
2 Cf. J. Rist, Plotinus: The Raad ta Reality (Cambridge, 1967): pp. 112-29.

major influence on Ismi.'ili cosmology in the 4th/IDth century.

• Al-Nasafi's argument quoted in al-l~li1) maintains that, since the Soul is not
perfect Cghayr fjmmah)/ she strives after the benefits of the Intellect (fari'id
al-'aql) in order to become perfecto Seeking these benefits, the Soul cornes into a

state of unrest (j~#rib), from which movement (.fJarakah) emerges. However,

when she gains those benefits such as "nourishment" (ghidhi') from the Intellect,
she caIrns down, finally coming to rest (.,UkÜrJ ): movement and rest are the two
"traces" bom of the Soul (athaniIJ mutawalJidin min al-nais) by means of the power
acquired from the Intellect (";-al~üwa1J al-mœtafidah min al-'aql) (f. 9v., Il. 9-14/f.
lOr., IL I l...16/pp. 23-24).

Against al-Nasafi's thesis that the nature of the Soul (nais) is not perfect,
al-Ri.zi maintains:

• The Soul is perfect in her essence (tàmmab fi dhiti-hi ), since she (the Soul)
proceeded (in". 'atha)4 in a perfect state (timman) from the first Intellect (al- 'aql
al...aW'W'a1, i.e., the Univers al Intellect). This is because it is perfect procession
(in"i '4th tïmm ) from the perfect, for the first Intellect is the complete (or perfect)
(al-ramm). (f. 9v., 1. 16- f. IOr., 1. 3/f. IOr., l. 1· V., 1. 4/p. 24)

3 In al-l,lç al-RaZi seems to use interchangeably the adjectives rimm and 1dmiJ in the
sense of perfect, and the nouns f&mim and hmàJ in that of perfectness. Therefore, in this section,
each of the two adjectives and each of the two nouns will be respectively translated "perfeet" and
llperfectness," when they appear alone in the text. But, when they appear in pairs, làtDm and ümil
are translated "complete" and "perfect/' and camam and katzJjJ as "completeness" and "perfectness,"
C This verb "jnba'atba" and its verbal noun "inbi'itIJ" respectively can be translated as
"to emanate" and l'emanation'' in the context of the emergence of the Soul from the Intellect.
However, on the meaning of this verb P. E. Walker writes: l'... it conveys the idea of the eruption
of a living, moving thing from something solid and quiescent as water might spring from sorne
mountain source:' Thus he suggests "procession" as the translation of inbi'àth. P. E. Walkerl
'The Ismaili Vocabulary of Creation," Studia Islamica 40 (1974): p. 82f. See also bis Early Phl1osophical
Shiism , e. g., p. 82f. Ba 'atha, the root verb of inbi'itb, has the meanings of ''bestowing life,1I
"resurrecting," and "reviving": these correspond more c10sely to the idea Walker suggests for

• i1Jbi'itIJ than Ilemanation" which denotes a static, abstract process. Therefore in our present work
we follow Walker's translation of "inba 'aria" and 'lilJbi'i2h.

His point is that, since the Sou! proceeded from the perfect being, i.e., the Universal

• Intellect, she is aIso perfecto However, al-Rizi continues, the Soul is in need of
perfection in her actual state (Jill al-nais). For while the Soul may have been
perfect when she proceeded from the Intellect "with time" (ma&a al-zamin),s her
actual state became imperfect "through time" (bi-zamjn) (f. IOv., 1. 16- f. llr., 1.
3.ff. llr., Il. l5-l7/p. 26). In short, al-RaD asserts that the Soul is perfect in her
essence, though she is imperfect in actuality, i.e., through time. There is no time
preceding the origination (li zamin qabla al-ibdi 1 ) which is God's volitional act of
creation according to early Ismi.1w philosophical terminology;6 thereafter, the
origination (al-ibdà ') and the Intellect are one and the same being ( ~d). Thus
both the Intellect and time are aIso one and the same being (f. lOr., Il. 3-8/f. IOv.,
Il. 4-9fp. 24).1

The above argument shows that al-Rizi's concept of time plays a key role in

• consolidating bis assertion of the perfectness of the Soule Nevertheless, al-Rizï

has no use for the Plotinian idea of the origin of time, i.e., that the Soul starts to
move because of her desire for domination, independence, and possession, and

5 P. E. Walker describes this event of the procession of the Soul and time as follows:
"Soul and Time, then, proceed simultaneously trom Intellect aceording to him (i.e. al·Rizï: noted
by Nomoto)." ''EtemaI Cosmos and the Womb of History: Time in Early Ismaili Thought,"
Internationallournal of Middle &stern Studies 9 (1978): p.361.
6 We follow P. E. Walker in our translation of this technical tenn. See bis Early Philosophical
5hiism, p. 53 and also bis "The Ismaili Vocabulary of Creation," p.82f. Also d. H. Corbin, Trilogie
ismaélienne, p. 20, n. 20 (a note to bis French transI. of al·Sijistin's al-Y_hi? This term is not
exclusively Ismi·ili. Al-Kindi (d. 260/873) reportedly mentions the "movement of the ibdj'" in
eontrast to that of the "eoming to be": J. L. I<raemer holds that the ibdà' in Abü Sulayman
al-Sijistini's (d. ca. 985) commentary on al·I<indi "signifies the constitution of entities without the
effort of an agent (fi'1 ) or craftsman C,am' )." And I<raemer maintains that this term means
"primordial innovation" and "absolute creation" in the eontext of "Arabie philosophie texts."
Aise tbis tenn appears in the lexts introducing Greek-Hellenistic sciences compiled in the 3rd/8th
eentury, such as Pseudo-Ammonius and Kalam fï M~!I a]·Kbayr (Uber de Causis). See J. L.
I<raemer, Philosophy in the Renaissance of Islam: A6ü SulaymjzJ al-Siji$ti.tJi and his Circle CLeiden,
1986), pp. 196-97.

• 7For our description of al·RiZi's theory of time we owe a great debt to: P. E. Walker,
Early Philosophical 5hiism, p. 53.

that this movement of hers is what produced time. 8

• As for movement (~ab ) and rest (.utüa ), al-Ri2Ï defines them as "two
traces (i.e., the effects of the two following hypostases) united with the first being
(i.e. the Universal Intellect) and the second being (i.e. the Universal Soul)" (athanin
mut~din bi-al-awwal wa-al-thiIJi). According to al-Rizi, in the Intellect these

"two traces" still remain in a state of potentiality (bi-al-qüwa1J ) Cf. llr., Il. 9-14/f.
llv., Il. 6-11/pp. 26-27). But through the procession (inbi'jth ) of the Soul from
the Intellect the "two traces" enter into a state of actuality (bi-al-fj'l ) within the
Soule One of these IItwo traces" is movement, which is higher in ranI< than the
other "trace," that is, rest9 (f.llr., 1. 16- V., 1. 4ff. Ilv., IL 13-17fp. 27).

Furthermore, movement is defined in detail as the first being's bestowing

(ifidab ) of al! existent beings (al-aysiyit kul1u-ba ) upon the second being, and also

as the first being's encompassment of aIl of them (i.1Jûmâlu-lJu 'alay-lJj ), while

• rest is the second being's receiving of these existent beings from the fust. 10 Here
we encounter another technical term, aysiyit. This is derived from ays. coined
from the word Lays , which is in turn a manufactured infinitive form of the verb
of negation, laysa. These two words, ays and lays, respectively denote opposing
categories, being and non-being in the ontology of early Neoplatonism-inclined

1 For Plotinus' concept of time and its relation ta the Soul, see A. M. Armstrong, ''From
the Intellect ta Matter: The Retum to the One," chapter 16 of part DI, "Plotinus," in The Cambridge
History of Later Grea and Early Medieval Philosophy, ed. AR. Armstrong (Cambridge, 1967), p.
251-52. For the concept of time in al-Rau and other Neoplatenist-influenced Ismi'ilï thinkers, see
P. E. Walker, ·'Etemal Cosmos," pp. 355-66, and idem, Early Philosophical 5hiism, p. 53. Also cf. F.
Zïmmennann, "The Origins of the So-called Theology...," pp. 202 and 208; W. Madelung, "Cosmogony
and Cosmology VI. In ISOli'ilism," Elr, vo1.6: p. 323.
9 After reiterating the union of movement and rest with the Intellect and the Soul,
al-Razi compares this superiority-inferiority of the former two te that of the latter two hypostases.
Al-Rizi also holds that while one of these "two traces" is the essence of the procession (d.'
al-ÜJbi'ith), another trace is that of the proceeding (dIW al-lDwlJa'itlJ). See f. 1Ir., L 15- r., 1. 4 If.

1Iv., Il. 13-17/p. 27.
10 We follow P. E. Walker's interpretation. See his Early Philosophical 5hiism, p. 54.

Isma'ilïsm. 11

• Al-Razï aIso compares the above-mentioned bestowing-receiving relationship

of the two hypostases, the first and second beings, to God's act of writing with
the "pen" (al-qalam) on the "tabler' (al-laW'~), both of which are significant symbols
in traditional Muslim cosmology.12 The moving of the "pen" on the "tablet"
causes movement, while the latter's receiving of the former's movement is rest (f.
Ilv., IL 4-l4/f. Ilv.,1. 16- f. I2r.,I. lO/pp. 27-28).

What is remarkable about the above debate on the origin and nature of
movement and rest is the fact that the phrase "two traces" is used differently by
al-Nasafi and al-Rizi, as we saw above. Moreover, while no other important
mention of the term "trace" can be found in the quotations from al-Nasafi's
al-Ma.fJ1ü1 , it plays an important role in al-Rizi's theory of the Soul and human

soul, as we will see below.

• §1-2. Ri.zian Cosmogony and Cosmology

How then did the process of cosmogony get underway according to al-Razï's
cosmogony? According to bis scheme, as the Creator (aI-Sâri') Gad originated
(abda 'a) all the "existent beings" (al-aysiyit1ml1a-ba ) at one time (daf'atan ) (f. lOr.,

Il. 8-9/f. 10v., 1. 9/pp. 24-25). God or the Creator is thus called the Originator
(al-Mubdi 1 ) (for example see f. 16r., 1. 13 and 1. l5/f. I6v., Il. 17 and 9-l0/p. 36).

11 See: al-5ijistini, al-YatJÜ;', pp. 37-40 (English transI., pp. 65-67 and d. the translator's
commentary on this passage on pp. 121, 128 and 149); idem, Kirab aJ-Maqi1id, p. 103f. For the
interpretation of &}7and 1&}7, we owe much ta P. E. Walker, Early PhilosophicalShiism, pp. 83-85.

12 Both the "pen" and "tablet" are mentioned in the Qur'in (qdam in Q 68: 1 and law,fJ in
(particularly) Q 85: 22). Their appearance in this context conferred on them a significant status in
traditional Muslim cosmology, that is, as the two first beings created by God. See: C. L Huart-

• [A. GrohmannJ, '~a)aJ1\" Er, vol. 4, p. 471; A. J. Wensinck- [Co E. Bosworth], "LawJ.1," d, vol. S,

Al-Râzï also discusses who the Creator is: He is the One to Whom no attribute

• (~üah) can be attached. In other words, Gad is beyond any definition. Consequently,

No attribute (,ifah) can ever belong to the Originator (al-Mubdi') -He is glorious
and exalted!- And we do not desaibe Him [even] as the perfectness" (tamam) II

or the "perfeet" One (Wnm). (f. 16r.,Il. 15-16/f. 16v., IL 9-10/p. 36)

The attributes perfectness" and "perleet," along with their eounter-attributes,


"imperfectness" (auq~ia) and lIimperfeet" (aiqq), al-Ri2i maintains, can only be

said, necessarily, of an existent being. Therefore, these attributes can never apply
to the "Giver of being" (mu'aJ'YÏs aI-ays), i.e. God (f. 10r., 1. 12- V., 1. 6/f. lOv.,l. 12-
f. 11r., 1. 5/p. 25). Furthermore, al-Razi holds: ''We do not say either that He (i.e.,

God) is perfeet, that He is perfectness [itself], that He is not perfectness [itself],

nor that He is not perfect" (fa-li naqülu13 ilUJa-lJu tamm, wa-li ilUJa-lJu tamim, wa-li

• ilJtJa-Hu li tamam, wa-li inna-hu li tamm) (f. 16r., 1. 16-


Al-Ri.zï's view of God may be regarded as encompassing the via negativa or

1. l/f. 16v., Il. ID-Il/p.

negative theology. This is a type of diseourse which attempts to state what Gad
is by stating what He is not, namely, by stripping Him of all His attributes. His
opponent, al-Nasafl, seems to favour the same method or approach to recognizing
God. 14 He rejects the attribution of any form, simple (basil) or composite (munUdcab),

13 We foUow the reading of the printed edition..,;1 ~ ~ (p. 36,1. 10). MS. Ham. bas J.,i;.i
..,;1 (f. 16r., L 16), while MS. Tüb. has ~I J.,..i.;.i (f. 16v., 1. 10). If we adopt the reading of MS. Ham.,
we may need te insert the supplementary word faWfl& (ll above") in between ~I and rU of the first
statement in f. 16r., 1. 16 in order to maintain the meaning of the argument of double negation.
This is the suggestion of Professor Hermann landolt of McGill University, Montréal.
14 Unfortunately in al-I,I&fJ al-Rizi does not provide us with enough material to reconstruct
al-Nasafl's view of God and cosmogony. Therefore in order to do 50 we cannat help but rely on

• the quotations from al-Ma.fqü1 by al-Kirmini in his Ki&ib al-Riyi~, particularly, its chapter 10, pp.
213-30. Also d. P. E. Walker, Early Philosophical 5hiism, p. 57.

to His essence (IJulriJl:&W-bU).15 The via negativa approach finds another strong

• advocate in al-5ijistini, who shares with his opponent al-Razi a specific method in
negating God's attributes, which P. E. Walker calls "double negation.,,16 For just
as al-Rizï states that he would not say that God is not "perfect," al-5ijistini maintains
that God can neither be described (là ma~üI) nor not-described (là là maw,üf) in
attempting to avoid anthropomorphism and abstract elimination of every attribute
of GOd. 11

Having defined God as best he can by means of the via negativa, al-Ri.zi goes on
to say that it was God who originated the Intellect as a being possessed of
"p erfectness" (al-tamim). Therefore the Intellect is called the l'first originated"
being (al-mubda al-awwaJ). However, since God originated all existent beings, the

Universal Intellect, namely, the first originated being, is the summation of the
existent beings (majma 1 al-aysiyit ). Al-RaZi specifies that the Universal Intellect

• was brought into being by God's "0rder" (amr): the first originated being always

IS Al-Nasa6 furthermore advocates denying Him the attnbutes of "thing" and "no-thing."
This is because bath are created beings. This statement is based on his views on cosmogony:
According to him, God is the Originator of thing and no-thing (al-sbay' wa-al-la-dJay'), whether
"rational" ('qli), "estimative" (waIuDi), "thinking" (fùcn1 or "speaking" (mmpqi). AIso he holds
that He origjnated the things trom no-thing (/i-.bay?, that is, that He perfonned creatio ex nihilo.
AI-Nasafi, al-Ma.fqü1, quoted by al-Kirmini in his al-Riyj!l, p. 214f and p. 217.
P. E. Walker is the first one te have pointed out that this method is shared by these two

thinkers. P. E. Walker, Eilrly Philosophiazl Shiism, p. 53.

17 Al-Sijistinï, Kifàb a/-MqaIid, p. 74. For more references to al-Sijistini's method of
double negation, see bis Kubf a/-Ma.lJiüb, p. S, whkh refers to God as subject neither to any
"division" (qimaat> nor to any '·division" of non-division (qimJa,-i aa-flismat) (French transI., p. 34).
See also the partial English translation by H. Landolt in An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia, vol. 2,
eds. S. H. Nasr and M. Amin-Razavi (Oxford, forthcoming), p. 13 (in manuscript) (hereafter
referred to as English transi., when it is available): 1 would like to express my deep gratitude to
Prof. Hermann Landolt for his generous offering of a copy of his forthcoming work and pennission
to us for its use for our dissertation); Kitib al- Yaaibi', p. 13 (English transI., p. 48/see aIse French
transi. p. 25 and p. 31f, n.54), which refers to Him as ·'not indicated" (Ja mœbar 'aJay-bi) and as
"not not indicated" (la li mœbü 'alay-1JI1. For the interpretation of al-Sijistini's double negation
we foUow P. E. Walker, Early Philosophical Shiism, pp. 72-82. Also d.: H. Corbin, Histoire, pp.
122-27 (English transI., pp. 80-87); S. Kamada, "The First Being: Intellect as the Link between

• God's Command and Creation according to AbU Ya'qüb al-5ijistini," The Memoirs ofthe Institute of
Oriental Culture (University of Tokyo) 106 (1988): pp. 4-6

needs the unity bestowed by this Order to gain benefit from it (f. IOr., IL 5-13/f.

• lOv., Il. 6-14/pp.24-25). This Order is also called the Word of the Creator (lraUmat
al-Biri ') which is expressed in the imperative ''Be!'' (Kun O. Al-Sijistini aIso holds

that the Intellect was created by the Divine Order "Be!" as the first originated
being. 18 In early Ismicw cosmogony influenced by Neoplatonism, although aIl
the existent beings were originated by God's Order of Creation, their
"manifestation" was gradually actualized by the Intellect and other hypostases,
but not by God Himself. Thus, God transcends every one of his creatures.19
From the Intellect, the Soul proceeded as a perfect being in the manner seen
above. Next, the Soul made visible (aPtara) the form (~iJrah) that is nature (Jabjrah),
out of the matter (hayülà). This form or nature is the substance of the middle
world (aJ_rjJam al-ana,), also referred to as the spheres (al-al1ak). In addition
there is the substance of the lower world which is aise called the elements .

• (ummabât).20 Beneath the spheres there are the composite beings of the world
(muraldœbàt al- riJam ) and its (Le., the world's) products (maw:i.lïdu-bu)

al-RâZi implies minerais, plants and animais (f. 13r., iL 1-6/f. 13r., Ll. 11-16/p. 30).
by which

Al-Râzi aIso enumerates the types of matter of which our cosmos is composed.
The first type consists of movement (~raka1J) and rest (sukûn), aiso called
imaginative beings (walJmiyât ), caused by the SOul. 21 The second is constituted
of the four natures (al-afrid al-arba 'ah), Le., moisture, heat, coldness and dryness.
The third consists of the four elements (al-ummabat al-arba r ), which are themseives

18 Al-5ijistini, al- YatJibi~ pp. 22-24 (The 5th yu6ü' (section): On [the proposition] that the
first Intellect is a first originated being (Pi Uda aJ-'Â91 aJ-aYnVal awwal mu6da' ) ), especially p. 24
Œnglish transI., pp. 54-56; French transI., pp. 4246).

19 See W. Madelung, "Aspect of Ismi 'ili Theology," p. 56f.

20These are presumably the four elements: according to P. E. Walker, al-Rizi sees these

elements as generating from the spheres. P. E. Walker, farly Philosophical Shiism, p. 54.

21 We follow Halm's interpretation in bis "Abü ~item Rizï," p. 315.


composed of the four natures (f. 17v.,I. 16- f. 18r., 1. 7/f. 18r., Il. 8-13/p. 39).

• Al-Ri.zï aIso debates al-Nasafi how the existent beings in titis cosmos are to be
categorized. According to the latter, the produced beings in this cosmos (maW'ilid
al-'âlam) can be categorized according to four divisions (uba 'at aq_im): liquid

bodies (al-aj_im al-mudhibab); non-liquid (ghayr al-mudbabah); vegetable (al-

namiya1J); sensitive (al-~.iyab).. Each of these divisions has its counterpart among

the four stages (arba' maritib) by which every human being is conditioned. That
is: the body (al-jimJ) of a human being is the counterpart to non-liquid bodies; bis
vegetable part to the liquid bodies; bis sensitive part ta vegetable bodies; bis
rational part (al-na#q) ta sensitive or animal (al-~yarin) bodies (f. l8v.,Il. 1...5 /f.
l8v., IL 10-14/p. 40)

Al-Razi counters that the existent beings in the cosmos are, if human beings are
included among them, to be categorized into four substances (uba 'at jawihir),

• four compositions (uba 'at tarüJo) and four divisions (uba 'at aqsim). According
to him, if except human beings, then these beings may be categorized according
to three substances, three compositions and three divisions (f. 18v., Il. 5..9/f. 18v.,
1. 10- f. 19r.,1. 1/pp. 40-41). Leaving the "four compositions" and "four divisions"
undefined, al...Razi explains the "four substances."

The first substance, according to al-Rizi, indudes al-Nasafi's categories of

liquid and non-liquid, and other types of material body such as calcifiable
(mutabJlis), crushable (mutafatlit), etc.. These bodies have neither the faculty of

growth nor that of increase, but have change (;_ti~) and transition (intiqil) in
their various states. The second substance includes various genera such as trees
and other plants and is united with the vegetable soul (al-nais al-nimiyab) by
virtue of which their parts can increase. It is also this soul which makes this

• substance excel the fust. The third substance is comprised of the bodies of the

various animaIs united with the vegetable soul and the sensible and animal soul

• (al-tJafs a1-~.ïyah al-babimiyah), by virtue of the latter of which, al-Razi implies,

this substance excels the other two. As for the last or fourth substance, Le.,
human beings, it is united with the rational soul (al-nais al-IJa#qah ) in addition to
the aforementioned three souls, according to al-Razï. The rational soul makes the
fourth substance superior ta all other substances Cf. 18v.,I. 9- f. 21r., 1. 13/f. 19r.,1.
1- f. 21r., 1. 10/pp. 41-45).

Another notable aspect of the cosmological vision of al-Râzi is his emphasis on

the distance between our world and the Universal Intellect and the Universal
Soul, Le. the two highest hypostases, called the ~lin ("two roots,,).22 Al-Rizï
elaborates this distance as follows:

Nothing of the parts of these worlds (shay' min al-ajzi' hidbihi al-'awilim) and

their substances (jarihir) are of the substance of the two "roots" (the two
highest hypostases) united with the Word of the Creator (jawilUr al-~layn

al-mu~dayn bi-kalimat al-ban ') -He is glorious and mighty! It cannot be said
that anything of their (i.e., these worlds') parts or aU of them are produced
from the two [beingsl. Rather, the two [beingsl are higher and nobler than
that (Le., being the origin of the parts and substances of our "worlds"). (f. 13r.,
li. 6-9/f. 13r., 1. 16- V., 1. 3)/p. 30)

This, according to al-Razi, is due to the fact that, whereas the two highest hypostases
were aeated as the mines of light, pwity and sacredness (ma ldin al-IJÜT wa-al-rahirah
wa-al-quds), the substance of this world are dark turbidity which is generated

from matter and form (kudrah ~mâtJiyah mutawallidah min al-bayüli wa-al-fürah),

22 On the afliIJ or the l'two roots" as the technical term for the pairing of the Intellect and

• the Soul, see: Halm, Kosmologie, p.53 and p. 59; Walker, EIlrly Philosophical 5hiism, p. 49, pp. 95-96;
idem, "Cosmic Hierarchies," pp. 17-18.

i.e., the "two bases" of our composite world (u.rsa al-badba al-'ilam al-murakkab )

• (f. 13r., IL lO-12/f. 13r., 1. 16v., IL 3-S/p. 3D).

The above emphasis on the distance between the two highest hypostases and
our world is presented by al-Razi as a sort of a prolegomenon to bis refutation of
al-Nasafi's thesis on the parts of the human being in general and on the human
rational soul (al-nais al-naEïqa1J) in particular. In keeping with bis own anthropology
al-Nasafï asserts that the parts of human being are parts of the "first substance"
(al-jawhar al-awwa1J and that this substance is united with the Divine Word (al-

blimah) (because of this union the ~1i.n, the Universal Intellect and Univers al

Soul are implied by the "rust substance,,23) (f. 14r., li. 11-13/f. 14v., li. 4-S/p. 32).
This al-Razï attempts to refute. Thus the course of the debate moves on to the
next issue, i.e., cosmic anthropology, where the place of the human being in the
cosmos is discussed. Here the nature of the rational soul becomes one of the

• focal points, as will be seen below.

§1-3. Rizian Anthropology: The Place of Human Being in the Cosmos

How, then, do al-Rizi and al-Nasafï respectively describe the place of human
being in this cosmos? Al-Nasafï for bis part holds that human being (al-bashar)
is the first being formed within the Soul (awwa1 m~wwar fi al-nais). It is aiso
called the "fruit (thamarah) of the benefits (fan 'id)" that the Soul acquired from
the Intellect (f. 14v., 11. 5-6/f. 14v., IL 15-16/p. 33).

In his refutation of al-Nasafi, al-Rizi maintains that the human being is the fruit
of the cosmos (thamarat al-'ilam). It was for the human being (min aili-hi) that

• ZJ P. E. Walker identifies this llfirst substance" more specifically with the Universal Soul.
See bis Early Phüosophical 5hiism, p. 59.

the cosmos was created and exists in its entirety from lIits roots and basis" (~ülu-1Ju

• wa-uiS'u-hu). Then al-Ri.zi once again enumerates sorne stages in the cosmogonical

process from matter (al-bayiili) up to the emergence of the form of the human
being (~ürat al-buhar) "ready for receiving" three souls (aJ-an/u$ al-tIJalith):

vegetable (tJimiyalJ), sensitive (~"iyah), and rational (nafÎqah), with the convergence
of which the form of the human being is completed (f. l4v., Il. ID-16/f. ISr., Il.

With regard to the rational soul, there is a clear difference of opinion between
al-Râzi and al-Nasafi. This difference is reflected in their divergence of opinion
concerning the doctrine of soul. According to al-Nasafi, the rational soul is part
(juz') of the higher, Universal Soul.24 In contrast to this, al-Ri.zi holds that the
rational soul is a trace (atbar) of the higher world (f. 14r., 1. 13- v., 1. 3/f. 14v., Il.
S-l3/pp.32-33). Citing convincing textual evidence, a recent study suggests that

• al-Nasafi follows the lead of Plotinus, whose doctrine of soul asserts that a small
part of every human soul remains in the world of intellect, never descending to
the level of this world. Al-Rizi, however, is doser to Proclus in terms of bis
overall doctrine of soul, in that he holds that the entirety of every human soul
descends into this world.2S
Differences between the two thinkers over the doctrine of Soul aIso lead them
ta follow two different directions in explaining eschatology or the fate of the
cosmos and humankind. AI-Nasafi attempts to connect the fate of the Soul with
that of the human being. This is clear from his statement that with the human

24 We fol1ow P. E. Walker's ïnterpretation. See ibid., pp. 54 and 59.

2S P. E. Walker bas already drawn attention to this. See bis Early Philosophical Shiism, pp.
55,99-100 and ''1be Universal Soul and the Particular Soul," pp. 149-66. For Proclus' doctrine of

• the soul, see bis The Elements of Theology, transI. and 00. E. R. Dodds, revised edition (Oxford,
1963), prop. 211 (pp. 184-85), and Dodds' commentary on it (pp. 309-10).

being the Soul will emerge from state of potentiality (lladd al-qüwah ) into one

• actuality (al-fi'l). Therefore, with the completion of human being, the Soul will
also become perfect (f. 14v., Il. 7-8/f. 14., 1. 17- f. ISr., 1. l/p. 33). Of course,
al-Ri,zi does not accept this statement as valide This is because in bis view there is
no defidency (tJuq~in) clinging to the Soul by virtue of her procession as a perfect
being, which implies that she does not need perfection Cf. 15r., IL 8-11/f. ISr., 1.
17- V., 1. 4/p. 34). It is aIso because, presumably, al-Nasafï's statement is based on
bis theory of the closeness of human soul to the Universal Soul.
In bis refutation of al-Nasafï's eschatoIogy, al-Razï maintains that the human

being will be perfected (yakmalu ) at the end of the affair of this cosmos (intiJJi'
amr hidba al- 'ilam). He aIso states that since this cosmos was created for the sake
of human beings, its termination will coindde with their perfection (kamàl al-bubarl
(f. 14v., Il. 10-12 and 1. 16- f. ISr., 1. 2/f. ISr., Il. 4-5 and Il. 9-11/pp. 33-34). For him

• the human being in the cosmos has attained such high status therein that one can
speak of a sort of "anthopocentrism" in bis thought. Moreover, al-Razi holds that
the human being is called the "microcosm" (al-'ilam al-~aghirl because he
synthesizes aIl the parts of the world (jimi' li-jami' ajza'i-hi) (f. 20v., Il. 8-11/f.
20v., Il. 7-9/p. 44).

Although al-Razi emphasizes the unique role of the human being, this emphasis
does not lead him to link bis fate to that of the upper, intelligible world in
general, and the Universal Soul in particular. Al-Rizï holds that the human being
is larger than this world itself in terms of nobleness (Ii al-sharaf). This is, according

to al-Razï, because of its unity with the "'trace'·' of the upper world (by which his
rational soul seems to be implied) (f. 20v., 1. 11- f.21r., 1. 13/f. 20v., 1.9- f. 21r., 1.
ID/pp. 44-45). Thus al-Razi offers another challenge to al-Nasafi's theory of the

• human soul's being part of the Universal Soul. Al-Rizï does not extend the

human being's eschatological role into the upper, intelligible world like al-Nasafi

• did. Quite the contrary, for he writes:

...We say: Every existent being (kuIl ays min aysïyit ) of this composite world
(lJâdba al-'ilam al-muraltbb ) will be perfected and completed only at the time
of the perfection of the human being (Jwnâl al-basbar). And at this [time] (i.e.,
of the perfection of the human being~6 there will be perfection of the cosmos
(al-'ilam ) with its contents (bi-ma 6-hi ), since it (i.e. the cosmos) [proceeded]
from the first being (i.e. the Intellect) in potentia and [then, was formedl through
the second being (i.e the Soul) in actu through time after [the origination of]
time (bi-zaman ba 'dazamàn). And we do not say that the Soul would be perfected
at the time of the perfection of the human being, for as we said (ka-mi qulni ),
every existent being of this composite world will be perfected only at the time
of the perfection of the human being. This is because she (i.e. the Soul), as we
said, proceeded in complete and perfect state (timmatan kamilatan) from the

completion and the perfection (al-tamim wa-al-kamil ) together with time (ma 'a
al-zaman). Rather, we say: the effect of the Soul (tmf'ül al-nafs ) will be perfected
at the time of the perfection of the human being, and no deficiency (a1-nuq~in )
adheres to the Soul: rather, the deficiency adheres to the effect of the Soul,
which is every existent being of this composite.worid ... (f. 16r., lI. 4-12/f. 16r.,
1. 14- V., 1. 6/pp. 35-36).

Since the dause explaining the reason for the perfection of the cosmos refers ta
the cosmos formed "through time after time," the "cosmos" (al-'i/am ) in the
abave passage can be thought ta refer to the cosmos which represents a composite
of matter and form. Thus, al-Razi restricts the extent of the eschatological role
which the human being plays in this world.

26 Considering the context we translate thus #l'ioda-hi" in the text (f. 16r. 1. 5/f. 16r. 1.
16/p. 35, L 17). There is also a possibility that this phrase can be translated as "with ail the
existent beings" by interpreting ha as referring back to a plural noun.

As far as we have been able ta discover to this point, the difference between

• the two thinkers over the doctrine of saul, so to speak, results in a split between
two religio-philosophical theories: first, the theory of the human being's relation
to the higher, spiritual world and such hypostases as the universal Intellect and
Sou!; and secondly, that of eschatology.

The above fact reminds us of the Islamic theme of the revelational relation
between prophets, God, and His mediators, the angels. In the first theoretical
domain this revelational relation develops along the vertical dimension linking
heaven and earth, while in the second theoretical domain it develops along the
horizontal or chronological dimension, since the eschaton is the final goal of human
history, toward which God guides human beings by means of His messages to
the prophets (for whom the angels play the role of a mediator). These issues
provide a starting point for an inquiry into how philosophy is related to revelational -

• doctrine or prophecy in more general terms in al-Râ,zj's thought

§2. The Encounter with the Angelic Beings in the

History of the Prophets

It should be recalled that there is another early element surviving in ISmi.'ilism,

i.e., hierarchism, which explains the graduaI order of the formation of the cosmos
and the transmission of religious knowledge by certain dignitaries to common
be1ievers.27 And if we follow the hypothesis of S. M. Stern that the treatise on
cosmogony of Abü '1. al-Murshid, a da '; of the lime of the lmim- Caliph al-Mu 'izz,

27 See al-Nawbakhti, and Sa 'id al-Qumml Cf. S. M. Stem's translation of a1-Nawbakhti's
passage on hierarchical order in bis ·'Ismi'i~ in Firaq al-Shi'ah," in Studies in Early Ismiitilism, p.

contains elements of Ismi lïIï cosmology from before the phase when the influence

• of philosophy was fe1t,28 we can state with some confidence that the concept of a
hierarchy of heavenly, spiritual beings or angels had already been elaborated
before the introduction of Neoplatonist e1ements into Ismi.'ili thought.
According ta al-Murshid, the process of the formation of the cosmos began
with God's creation of the küai, the female imperative of the command KUIJ !" Il

("Be!"). AIso at God's order this kiiDi created the qadar (lldetermination") as its
(or her) vizier (wazü) and helper (mu'm). Through these two highest hypostases,
God gradually brought forth all beings, spiritual and material, and determined
their respective fates. There are two series of spiritual beings following these two
hypostases: the seven cherubim (sab 'at kariibiyalJ ) created by the küni ; and the
twelve spiritual beings (al-ithni 'ahan al-~iniyah) created by the qadar upon
the order of the küni .29

• In Neoplatonist philosophy the concept of a hierarchical cosmos flied with

gods, angelic beings, and semi-deities was developed after Plotinus, espedally by
Procius in the 5th centuryC.E.30 After ProcIus, the Pseudo-Dionysius developed
N eoplatonist theory regarding the hierardùcal orders both on earth and in heaven. 31
5ince both Isma IDism and Neoplatonism favour heavily the concept of a hierarchical
cosmos, these two movements have a certain inte1lectual affinity with each other.
Thus it is like1y that Neoplatonist cosmology must have been partially incorporated

28 The text was edited and analyzed by S. M. Stem in bis 'The Earliest Cosmological
Doctrines of Ismi.'ilism," in Studies in Early Ismiiciüsm, pp. 3-29. See also Halm, Kosmologie, pp.

29 See S. Stem, 'The Earliest Cosmological Doctrines," especially, pp. 7-9 (Arabie text)/pp.
18-21 Œnglish transI. and commentary).
30 See, for example, E. R. Dodds' commentary on Proclus, The Elements of Theology, pp.

• See, for example, I. P. Sheldon-Williams, 'The Pseudo-Dionysius," in The Cambridge

History ofUlter Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy, pp. 457-72.

into the system of Ismi cm doctrine through the channel of hierarchism, i.e. the

• element common to these two movements. There arises therefore the issue of
how, after the Ismi'Dis began coming into contact Neoplatonism, its cosmology
could have exerted an influence on or left a "trace" in the Ismi.'w theory of the
relation of the prophets to the higher, spiritual hierarchy.
Before dealing with the above-mentioned problem, we should first present an
account of the heavenly and terres trial hierarchies, employing the terminology
of al-Râzi's time applied to members of those two orders.32 The members of the
heavenly hierarchy were called the "spiritual ranks" (al-~udüd al-~ya1J ), and
were comprised of the (universal) Intellect (Iaql ), the (universal) Soul CrJafs ) -
bath of which are obviously Neoplatonist terms - , "fortune" (jadd ), "opening"
(fa~ ), and "imagination" (lcbayil). The last three beings are spiritual faculties

granted to divinely-guided leaders, and are respective1y likened to three archangels:

• Gabriel Q"abri'il), Michael (Mïki.'ïl), and Serafiel (Isnifû).33 Al-5ijistani also calls
these five spiritual beings the "upper five" {al-ldJamah al-ulwiyab ).34
The members of the terrestrial hierarchy are called the corporeal ranks" Il

(aI-~udiid al-jismàniyah ). Among them, the leaders, who are granted the three
spiritual or angelic faculties described above, are also called the mu'ayyadiin or
the "divinely supported." They consist of the nifiq (enunciator-prophet), the a$is
(fundament) or ~i (executor) who founds the esoteric teaching of religion, and

32 Our description of these hypostases and dignitaries is based on the following studies:
H. Halm, "Die oberen Fünf," chapter in bis Kosmologie , pp. 67-74; A. Hamdani, '~volution of the
Organizational Structure," pp. 85-114; P. E. Walker, "Cosmic Hierarchies," pp. 14-28.
33 For example, see: al-5ijistini, the chapter on the recognition of jadd, faq;a, and ldJayaJ
from Kitjb al-Iftilcbar, ed. M. Ghilib (Bayrüt, 1980), pp. 43-46; Ja'far b. MallfÜr al-Yaman, the
introductory chapter from Sari'ir wa-Asrir, pp. 18-26 (espedally p. 24f.). In his Sari 'ir wa-ASN,
Ja'far b. Ma~ apparently adopts Neoplatonist terminology in the description of the heavenly

hierarchy. See again Sari 'ir wa-Asr.ir, p. 19. Also cf. Halm, Kosmalogie, p. 72.
3& Halm, Kosma/agie, p. 69.

the imim or lDutimm (/lcompleter") who maintains the religious order after the

• departure of the first two figures. The latter two are thought to have the function
of esoteric interpretation (ta'wil) of scripture, enabling them to reveal the inner
aspect of the religion. Below these two there are twelve la~q (sg. l~q) or
'1ieutenants," each of whom exercises jurisdiction over a jazirah or /lsector," and
the du 'at or "missionaries."
The members of this spiritual heavenly hierarchy are called in the present
study the "angelic beings." This is because, in the works of 4th/IOth century
Ismi.'Di thinkers influenced by Neoplatonism, they are likened to the angels, as
explained above, and are given the role of transmitting divine guidance to the
prophets, if not in fact identified with the angels depicted in the traditional sense.35
It should aIso be recalled that the active intellect (al-'aql al-fa "i/), which energizes
the human intellect into a state of actuality, is compared by both al-Fari.bï and Ibn

• Sini. to the angel of revelation.34i Thus, we can safely say that it is appropriate for
us to apply the term "angelic beings" to those spiritual beings with whom only
the prophets can communicate for the purpose of receiving divine guidance,
especially in the context of Islamic thought within a milieu influenced by Greek-
Hellenistic sciences. To return to the question of how Neoplatonist philosophy
may have come to leave its influence on the Ismi'ili scheme of prophetology as

35 For example, see again aI-5ijistini, the chapter on the recognition of jadd, fa4J, and
ldJayil from Kitjb al-UtildW', pp. 43-46.

36 See for example, H. Corbin, Avicenna and the Visionary Recitals, transI. by W. Trask
<Princeton, 1960>, pp. 46-68 and R. Walzer, Al-Farabi on the Perfect State: Abü Na,r al-Firi6i's
Mabidi' Ar.ï AM al-Madina al-Fiflila (Oxford, 1985), pp. 363ff., p. 373f. See also the following
article which not only discusses the comparison of the intellects to the ange1s in medieval Christian
Neoplatonist tradition, but also points out the possible interaction between Christian intellectual
activity and its Muslim counterpart on this issue: K. Allgaier, ''Engel und Intelligenzen. Zur
arabisch-lateinischen Proklo&-Rezeption/' in Orientalische Kultur und Europiiische MittelaIter, 00. A.

• Zimmermann and 1. Craemer-Ruegenberg (Berlin/New York, 1985), pp. 172-87. Also cf. O. de
Smet, La quiétude de l'intellect, p. 385.

developed by al-RàZi, the following must first be reemphasized. Whether

• influenced by Neoplatonism or not, Ismâ'ill hierarchism is founded upon the

idea that various forms of guidance from the spiritual and celestial realm are
transmitted to the human being along specific channels. In the second half of the
4th/lOth century, this idea was further articulated by the major thinkers of the
As one example, al-Qi~ al-Nu'min comments on the hierarchical order,
focusing on its necessity for the transmission of religious knowledge to believers
on earth, writing as follows:

He (God) -He is mighty and glorious!- rises [far above] Cirta!a 'a} the hierarchy
(al-ltuducl). He established it for His creatures below Him in order that they
(i.e., the members of the earthly hierarchy) might through it come to His [esoteric]
knowledge and convey His order and prohibition to the human being through

• its intermediation ("i-w~itaU-ha ).37

Likewise, in bis elaboration of the concept of the graduai transmission of this

knowledge, Ja'far b. Ma~ür al-Yaman holds, according to Professor Abbas
Hamdani, that re1igious knowledge gradually descends to the enunciator-prophet,
then from mm to the will-executor, then to the imàms, then ta the 1;Jujaj, then to
the da 'iS, and then to the believers (al-QJU 'llJÜJün): in the meantime the tlU~qa' and
the a 'immah acquire religious knowledge from God.38
In texts from the pre-Fi.pmid period as weIl, though it is not so clearly
articulated and systematic as in later works, the idea of the transmission of religious

37 AI-Nu'min, Am al-Ta'wiJ, p. 39.

Hamdani, "Evolution of Organizational Structure," p. 89. We consulted the original

Arabie of this passage, quoted in the same article, p. 106, n. 19., from la'far b. MélIl!Ür, Kirab
Pan 'i!l wa-~udüd(Ramdani Collection MS., Milwaukee, Wis.), p. 5.

knowledge through a hierarchy is expounded. In Kitab al-R..hd wa-al-Hidi.yah,

• one of the oldest extant texts, the hierarchical religious order is described thus:

The ordinances of God are [the order of] the ranks of the apostles, the will-
executors, the imims, and the proofs" (maqamat al-rusul
II wa-al-a~iyi' wa-al-

a'immah wa-aJ-!,ujaj), and the duties [set upl by God and His customs (fari'i~
Allih wa-.unanu-hu ) which they practice.39

Then, in reference to verse Q 15: 22, the terms IIheaven" (al-sami 1 ) and IIwater"
(al-ma' ) induded therein are interpreted respectively as "apostle" and "knowledge"

(al-'ÜlD ).40

In bis interpretation of verse Q 7: 57, the author of al-Rushd compares "water"

to the knowledge of religion (or "the sole true religion") ('ilm al-din), by which
human beings tise from a state of ignorance (Le., death) to that of knowledge (i.e.,

• life).41 Also, according to the author, the "drizzle" (al-wadq) in verse Q 30: 48
refers to the knowledge of esoteric interpretation ('Dm al-ta 'wü ) which falls from
the da 'i s and the IIgates" (al-abrib), i.e., those who occupy the highest positions
in the hierarchy aIter the imam. Again, in his interpretation of Q 30: 50, the motif

of knowledge as life (~yit aI-'ilm or '1ife of knowledge" in the text) is cited with
reference to the 1;Jujaj, aIso the hierarchs, whose conduct of the mission (al-da 'wah)
raises those people who respond to it from the death of ignorance to the life of
knowledge.42 The mention of certain terms in these passages in al-RU$bd such as
al-du'it, al-alnrib and al-lJujaj suggests that the life-bestowing knowledge is

39 Kitib al-Rusbd, p. 203.

40 Ibid., p. 205: also see p. 203.

41 Ibid., pp. 205-206.

42 Ibid., p. 207.

transmitted through the hierarchy according to the author of the text.

• The motif of life-bestowing knowledge, or "water," can aIso be found in IUtab

al-Kubf, many parts of which date back to the pre-Filimid era, although there is

not 50 much emphasis there on hierarchical order. The anonymous author of the
first treatise of the text maintains that the "water" in verse Q 67: 30 means the
descendants of Amie al-Mu'minin 1 Ali b. Abi Tilib, by whose knowledge the
world is resusdtated.43 In other words the world gains lllife" from the knowledge
of the imams.
Later, in the second half of the 4th/l0th century, al-Qi~ al-Nu'mi.n aIso uses
the symbolism of water as knowledge. According tO al-Nu'man, verse Q 72: 16
("And if they are sincere on the [rightl path, We would water you with abundant
water") means that if the people are sincere with respect to the lliP'l or imam, i.e.,
the possessor of the authority (wali al-amr) whom the "(right] path" indicates,

• God will be generous to them with knowledge.44 This would mean that knowledge
is transmitted from the lJiP'l to the samit (the silent, Le., the asas), and then from
hint to the believers. Thus al-Nu/min compares the ni~'l or imam of the age to
heaven, since he transmits the knowledge that enables believers to live, just as
heaven pours rain down upon the earth. 45
In the passages described above, it appears as if religious knowledge or
guidance was seen as being transmitted directIy from God to the earthly hierarchy.
Actually the transmission of this guidance cannot bypass the celestial spiritual

This passage is followed by another one in which the Ilspring water'1 (al-ma' al-ma 'in)

means the Qi. 'im coming from the clan of MUJ:Jammad. J(jt;ib aJ-Kub/, p. 24.
4& AI-NU'min, Am, p.39f.

~ In addition al-Nu'mân that the believers grow by knowledge, just as the plants are
made to grow by rain from heaven. This passage discusses the interpretation of verse Q 51: 20

• ("And on earth there are the signs to the believes"): the "earth in this verse means the ~uiialJ of

naliq or imim of the age, that is, the high dâ'; ranked next to them. Ibid., p. 43.

hierarchy, since the latter has a specific function in the transmission of knowledge

• or guidance. This is called ta 'yid, which may be translated as either the "support,"
"assistance" or "inspiration." According to al-Sijistirü, the ta 'yid affects the llJu'ayyad
(the divinely-supported) in helping him to discover various beings without the
aid of the senses, causing him in turn to seek after intelligibles, and not sense
data. At this point he cornes into conjundion with the ta 'yid. Al-5ijistani furthermore
implies that the mu'ayyad is led to perceive the realities of the "sciences of the
unseen" (lJaqa 'iq min 'ulÜlZJ al-gbayb). Thus, he cornes ta be able to subjugate the
people and establish a "basic law" (lJâmÜS' &fli) in his era.46 In short, the ta 'yid is
indispensable to gaining the perception of the unseen and to establishing the
revelatory law.
As stated in the previous chapter, the ta'yid is bestowed upon the highest
dignitaries such as the nip9, the "ü, and the imams of this age, according to _

• al-Sijistini.47 However he also states that the ta'yid cornes to the nap9 and asü
from the simple world (al-'jJam
follower (al-~),
al-bui~ ) through the preceder (al-sa6i.û and the
that is, through the Universal Intellect and the Universal Soul,
respectively. This statement appears to conflict with the last remark by al-Sijistini
mentioned above.48 The reconciliation of these two statements is a difficult task
to accomplish within the scope of the present dissertation, yet it leads us to the
following question: Which rank is the lowest in the earthly hierarchy that can still
gain access to the ta'yid? In ather words: What is the furthest rank that the ta 'yid

" AI-5ijistini, a1-Yani6i~ p. 95f. Œnglish transI., pp. 110-11; French transI., pp. 125-26)
41 AI-5ijistini, Ilbbit, pp. 190, 192f. See also chapter 5, p. 141 above.
48 The statement on the ra 'yid which mentions only the tJi~q and uùis found in Al-5ijistini,
Itbbit, p. 98f. According to P. E. Walker, al-5ijistiDi points out in this passage that the ta 'yid
reaches other members of the hierarchy beyond the tJi~q and uâs. However, as far as only tbis

• passage is concerned, such an idea is not founel. See Walker, f.arly Philosophical Shiism, pp. 118,
184 n. 32.

is able to reach in the earthly hierarchy?

• Al-Sijistini does however provides a possible clue regarding the extent of the
ta'yid's reach. He points out that there are two modes to the human soul's

reception of the benefit of the Universal Intellect and the Universal Soul (ifi.!lit
al- 'aq1 al-ku11ï VIa-aJ-nais aJ-ku11i). The first of these is the IIreception of ta 'yid "

(qulüb al-ta 'yid ), whereas the other is the "reception of the instruction and the

training, through both of which their life and their attainment of the furthest rani<
are [established]" (qubül al-ta 'lim wa.:..a1-riyidab alladlJam bi-mma ~yitu-lJa wa-

bulügIJu-hi Da iq~a maritibÎ-1Jj. ).49 This passage implies, we can say, that the ta 'yid

is accessible only to the highest members of the hierarchy in a certain age, such as
the nalÏq, ais, and imams, whereas the members below them in the hierarchy can
obtain access to this religious guidance only through ta'lim (instruction) and
riyiflah (training).

• Regarding these two important terms, ta 'yid and ta 'Iim, a passage from the
commentary on the Q~ida1J of AbU al-Haytham-i Jwjioi, attributed

b. Surkh Nishapüri (fi. Sth/l1th century), provides us with a definitive explanation

to MuJ.1ammad

of the ultimate range of the ta 'yid. In his interpretation of a bayt which indicates
the necessary existence of angel" (firishtab ), "fairy" (pari ), "demon" (dïw), and

human being, the cammentator compares each of these categories of supematural

beings, and human beings as well, ta a certain rank in the hierarchy.so
According to the commentator, any being that can both receive knawledge
from above and transmit it ta others below him through ta'yid can be called an
ange!. The prophets (paygambaritJ ), will-executors (~iyiD, Le., œus or pl. of

49 AI-5ijislini, "al-Risilah al-Bihirah," 00. B. Hirji in TalJqiqât-i lsJami 7 (t 992): p. 38f.

• 50 Dar Firisbtah wa-Pazj wa-D;.," (On Angel, Fairy, and Demon), a chapter fram MutJ,ammad

b. Surkh Nishipüri (?), SbufJ-; Qa,idab, pp. 26-35.


.... ), and imams are capable of this and may thus be called "angels" (firi.1JtagirJ) •

• He who can receive knowledge through ta 'yid but can transmit it only through
ta'lim is, on the other hand, a "fairy": this title may be attributed to the "proofs"

(lJujjatan ), i.e., the IarilJiq (lieutenants) or the highest ranking members of the

hierarchy next to the imim of the age. And he who both receives and transmits
knowledge only through la 'lim is a human being (idami). Even though it is not
stated, we can safely say that this 11luman being" corresponds to the members of
the hierarchy at ranks below that of the IaW'ilJiq. The final category is the rebellious
diw who, we can say, may be compared to those people who faU completely

outside the sacred hierarchy.Sl

In short, the above argument of the commentator on the Qa,idaIJ suggests that
the zone separating those who are capable of bestowing la 'yid and those who are
not allowed to exercise that function oecupied by the Ialri.f:Uq. They benefit from

• ta 'yid in reeeiving knowledge, but are able to rely only on ta 'Hm or instruction in
transmitting it to the ranks below them.
This issue of ta 'yid and the range of its effeetiveness in respect to the earthly
hierarchy is closely connected with another significant question: How do the
Ismi'ûiS (and al-Razi in particular) explain the relation of the prophets and other
members of the earthly hierarchy to the eelestial spiritual hierarchy within the
framework of sacred history? Or, to put it another way: How do those ranks
below the prophets and imims receive guidance from the eelestial hierarchy? In
order to answer this question we will analyze passages from al-I~Ii.fJ that touch
on the prophets' encounter with the angelic beings.
In his explanation of the prophets' contact with the angelic beings, al-Razi
introduees a specifie word: aI-jin (llstream." or "flow"). This word is used by

• 51 Ibid., p. 35.

al-Razï in his discussion of this theme 50 frequently that it can be thought of as a

• technical term, as will be seen below.S2 According to al-Rizï, the angelic spiritual
beings send down to the earthly hierarchy this jan, or IIspiritual stream," which
flows out of the two highest hypostases, i.e., the sibiq or upreceder" and the tali
or "folIower.,,53 In the same context there is another frequently used term, that
is, middah (literally, "substance"). The term middah is used to denote the
spiritual benefit that the members of the da1wah actually receive through the
hierarchy. This benefit is called also barahIJ (blessing). We will investigate how
these terms - jan, maddah , and ta'yid - function in al-Rizi's description of the
contact of the members of the earthly hierarchy with their celestial spiritual
Al-Rizï's interpretation of verses Q 51: 24-28 presents us with an example of
interaction between prophet, angelic beings, and jan. Al-Rizï explains the meaning

• in these verses of the strange guests of Abraham (!layf Jbrihim ) who visited him

on the way to the people of Lot to wam them of the impending Divine punishment.
These "guests" were, according to al-Rizi, angelic beings whom he describes as
the "two khayils/' and who may presumably be identified with the jadd and the
ldJayil.S4 Then, Abraham came into conjunction (itra,ala) with these two angelic

52 There is the possibility that it is al-Razi who introduced this word as a religious
technical term into the literature on prophecy. J. Oam mentions that the root oRY, from which the
tenn jüi is derived, is used te signify the metaphor of Ustream" denoting fay!lUflux" or "emanation"
in three short treatises by a later Tayyibi author 'Ali b. M~d b. al-Walid and in a work by a
19th œntury anonymous author, ail four of which are compiled and edited by R. Strothmann in
Gnosistat der lsmailiten (Gëttinge~ 1943). However, ail the examples Clam cites are in the form
of adjectives, not in that of nouns as in the case of al-R&Zi. J. Oam, "Zum Problem der Deutung
der Emanation in islamischer Philosophie und Gnosis," Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenliindischen
Gesellschaft, Supplement 8 (1990): pp. 23446.

53The Universal Intellect is always called al-âlJiq and the Universal Soul is al-tali in the
discussion of the history of the prophets in al-I,Ji.lJ .

5& The identification of the two .tba,y.U; with these two angelic beings does not conflict
with the number of the hypostases of the celestial and earthly hierarchies, the sum of which
al-Razi counts as ten, since that is the meaning of the "ten days" which constitute a part of the

beings, and through their intermediation acquired the jan from the "two roots"

• (al-~lin ),

i.e., the Intellect and the Sou! (f. 90r., Il. 7-12 If. 90r.,1. 13- V., 1. 2/p.

In bis interpretation of Q 2: 258, aI-Razi explains in greater detail bis conception

of ho\V' the prophet's contact with the angelic beings took place. In the course of
rus dispute with an antagonist (as event aIso related in this verse), Abraham
declares that he came into conjunction with the talï who spiritually supports
(yu'ayyidu ) anyone that it, Le. the talï, installs (man yuqïmu-hu ) in bis office.55 In

telling this story, Abraham identifies the taU as his Lord. That is, '~e who
bestows life and gives death" (Q 2: 258) means that the tilï bestows life upon
humankind through the jan, but deprives a corrupt person of the "substance" or
mâddah until he eventually dies Cf. 97v., Il. 4- f. 98r., 1. l/f. 97v., 1. 15- f. 98r., 1.
13/pp. 193-94; aIso f. 159r., 1. 15- v., 1.9 If. 157v., lI. 8- f. 158r.,1. IIp. 314).

• Furthermore, interpreting another statement of Abraham. in the same verse (

"God raises the sun from the east 50 raise it from the west!" ), al-Razi holds that
"God" here means the ti1ï , by means of whom Gad spiritually supports (ayyada,
the verb from which the term ta'yid is derived as a verbal noun) the hierarchy,
whereas "the east" indicates the mutimm and uthe west" the lif.Uq or lieutenant (f.
9ar., Il. 1-5/f. 98r., 1. 14- v., 1. l/p. 194). Al-Rizi summarizes this argument as

That is ta say: The tilïsupports (yu'ayyidu) the mudmm 50 that the jân rises
from him [shiningl upon the lilJiq: Therefore, [Abraham toid his antagonist:]
waiting period imposed on a woman who wants ta marry after a previous divorce, prescribed in
verse Q 2: 234: the latfJ, and the "twokbayils"; the seven mutimms. See f. 58r., Il. 6-10/f. S6v., 1. 17·
f.57r., 1. 4/p. 119.
55 Here, upon consideration of the context of the passage than the latter, we adopt the

reading of the printed edition and of MS. Tüb. Cf. 98r.l. 4), ~ ~, instead of that of MS. Ham. (f.
97v. 1. 9), ~ ~.

if you are a [spirituallyl supported one (mu/ayyad) with regard to this as you

• daim, then make that (Le., the emergence of the jan) appear in the rank of
lieutenants (fladd aI-Iawi.fUq) into whom the jiridescends so that we know that
you are trustworthy in your daim! (f. 98r., Il. S-S/f. 9Sv., Il. 2-4/p. 194)

The passages described above that comment on verse Q 2: 258 pl'ovide us with
information on severa! other matters as weIl, such as the respective natures of the
ta 'yïd, jârï, and middah. As for the ta 'yid, al-Razi does not elaborate very clearly

how he conceives of it, nor does he present any definitive explanation of its
extent. It is just maintained that the tjJ; is assigned by God the task of spiritually
supporting (anada, or yu 'ayyidu ) one of the earthly hierarchs, or that Gad does so
through the raI; .
In the above passage a person supported by the tili (or God Himself?), i.e., a
mu'a,»'ad, who is in this case a mutimm (or ïmi.m), can thus make the jârï (the

• life...bestowing "spiritual stream" from the tili) appear even at the level of the
rank of lieutenant. Do these sentences suggest that the limit to the reach of the
ta 'yïd and that of the jan, two forms of the spiritual benefit derived from the
~lÜJ, extends to the rank of lieutenant (~dd aJ-l~q)? In trying to answer this
question, it should be recalled that the commentator on the Q~;dah of Abü al..
Haytham limits the influence of the ta 'yid ta the rank of the fJujjatan," which is

equivalent ta that of the lawilJiq. In bis discussion of 'Ali's initiation to the office
of &s", al.. Rizi for his part mentions "rus (i.e., 'A!i's) lari.fJiq" as the ones
"[spirituallyl supported with the blessing" (al-mu'ayyadün bi-aI-bazabb) (f. 58v., 1.
13 If. 57v., Il. 7..8/p. 120).56 This passage suggests that al-Rizi saw the ta 'yid as

being capable of reaching the Iari.fJiq. This issue is also related ta the question of
which ranks can have direct access to the spiritual benefit that proceeds from the

• 56 The entire passage is translated and analyzed below on pp. 223-24 of this chapter.

upper, spiritual hierarchy.

• As for the jiri, this radiates from the tali, and is related to the life-bestowing

function of the tali. The miclclah is likewise related to l1ife," since if sorneone is
deprived of it, his death, at least in a spiritual sense, is the inevitable result. This
life-bestowing function of the jiri and the middah is unmistakably similar to that
of l"knowledge" ('i/m) described in the passages of aJ-Kubf, al-Rushd, and al-Qi.~
al-Nu' man's writings in general, in that it also gives life to believers and is cornpared
to water, because it nourishes them as water nourishes plants.
Al-Ri.zï further elaborates upon the relation between the jan and the middah .
He interprets the IItable" (al-mi'idah ) which Jesus asked God to send down in
response to the request of bis disciples (Q 5: 112-15) as follows: Il ••• Thus the
IItable" means the middah from the "spiritual stream" (min al-jan ) which they
(i.e., Jesus' disciples) were waiting and longing for..." Cf. 137v., Il. 13-14/f. 137r.,

• Il. 6-7/p. 270). In this passage the middah descends through thejiri down to the
people. The IIspiritual stream" here can be interpreted as the medium of
transmission of the middah to earth.
In bis interpretation of verse Q 5: 114, in which Jesus is depicted as praying ta

God for the IItable," al-RiZi offers the following explanation of middah :

Il And sustain us" (Q 5: 114). That is: Open [the substance] to us! This is
because that [which Jesus asked God for] is IInourishment" (gbidha') for their
(i.e., Jesus' and bis disciples') souls and "aliment" ( or IIsustenance," rizq ) for
them. And l'YOU are the best of sustainers" (Q 5: 114). That is to say, what
II s treams" (yajn1 from the preceder (al-sabiq) is the most predous and the
highest of that which can be gained by both the members of the upper spiritual
and lower corporeal hierarchies (al-lJudüd al-'ulwïyab wa-al-sufliyah ) below it
(i.e., the sabiq). (f. 13Sv., IL 4-7ff. 137v., Il. 14-17/p. 270)


In addition to having this life-bestowing function (as seen above), the maddaIJ is

• compared to nourishment" (gbidhâ' ) and sustenance" (rjzq) for souls.57 Then,


again, the passage impUes that the maddah is the content of jâri ,which is suggested
by the phrase what 'streams' (yajd, the imperfect verb form of the jan) from the

preceder." This content, middah , is the most precious benefit from the sabiq or
Universal Intellect Thus we can interpret the maddaIJ as spiritual "sustenance"
or the content of the s tream." Therefore if one loses the jiri , he will also lose its

spiritual sustenance, maddah.

Maddah, as a technical term meaning the spiritual sustenance afforded the

members of the earthly hierarchy, may date back to the pre-Fa\ÏtnÏd age since it
appears already in Kitab al-Kasbf, the very early Isma'ili text which we referred to
earlier. According to the author of this text, the "aliment" (or "alimony," rizq )
supplied ta divorced women during the lactation of their children (Q 2: 233)58

• signifies the sustenance of a believer with knowledge" (middat a/-mu'min bi-


Based on the above-mentioned passages from al-I~l~ and al-Kub/, it seems

clear that early Ismâ'iU thinkers saw the maddah as a soul-feeding sustenance or
spiritual nourishment. This nourishment" may be interpreted as: either a

metaphor for knowledge and guidance transmitted through the celestial and
earthly hierarchies; or spiritual, supematural energy flowing down from the upper

!il Another example, which we can ate from aJ·r,li.fJ, on the benefit gained through the
jiriis al·Rizï's interpretation of the food which Gad prepared for Mary in the verse Q 3: 37. This
"food" is the "allobnent" (~1) from the jàri. See f. 117r., 1. ~ v., 1. 3ff. 117v., Il. 2-14fp. 233f: this
passage will be revisited belowon pp. 201·202 of the present chapter.
This is the sustenance that divorced women are entitled ta receive from their former

husbands during the presoibed two year period of lactation.

• 59 And this phrase is followed bya relative dause: "... with which their da 'is are supported"
(alladJJiyumuddu bi-hi al·du 'à.). Kiti6 al-Kubf, p. 165.

hierarchy to its earthly counterpart. It seems that both or either of these two

• possibilities can be applied to the interpretation of the term used in a1-1~1i.fJ.60

If the content of the jan is the soul-sustaining middah, then al-Rizi appears to
suggest that the members of the hierarchy below the imâm can gain it through
hierarchs such as the latter or those superior to him. Al-Qi.~ al-Nu'min, writing
at a later date, main tains that it is the privilege of the ones holding the office of
"prophethood" (al-nubiiwah ) to receive the middah without the intermediation of
any other lower earthly rank (lJadd sufhî.61 This means that a prophet is a sort of
"relay-point" in the transmission of the maddah between the celestial spiritual
hierarchy and its earthly counterpart.62
Al-Razï for bis part interprets the wind that God subjugates for Solomon in
verse Q 38: 36 as the jin or spiritual"stream." Thus, even though Salomon held
only the rank of li.fti9 and should only therefore have been able to receive barakah

• from the completer of the age, he nevertheless had acquired the authority to hand
down the benefit of this "spiritual stream" to anyone who wanted to receive it.
As the chief la.fU9 of the age, he was unique in playing this role that no one had

ever filled before him (f. 134v., 1. 12- f. 136r., 1. S./f. 134r., l, 5- f. 136r., 1. 15/p.

60 The latter interpretation we suggest here is similar to H. Corbin's definition of middah.

He translates this term as "sève divine, force, énergie surnaturelle, préétemelle" in a note to his
translation of RiaJat al-Mu".' wa-al-Ma'adby al-~usayn b. 'Ali b. Mu.tJanunad b. al-Walid (fi.
7th/13th c.). See Corbin, Trilogie Ismaélienne, pp. 159-60, pp. 170-71, and the index of this term in
pp. (186)-(187). However, it is neœssary for us to investigate whether Corbin's interpretation is
applicable to the usage of the tenn in early texts in the period from 3th/9th c. to 4th/IOth century.
61 Al-Qi~ aI-Nulmin, Asü al-Ta''friL p. 52. It is not very clear whether this "prophethood"
means Qape,-ship" (au,,) in the text. That is to say, there still remains the possibility that the

holder of this prophethood" could indicate any persan holding the highest rank in his age which

could mean aa!Ïq, uù or ïrnim.

Q Cf. ibid., p. 70.

• p.143.
61 See below in chapter 8, pp. 289-90. On the position of Solomon, see above in chapter S,

It is remarkable furthermore that the 4th/l0th century Ismi.1ilï thinker Ja1far b.

• Mélllfür should interpret Solomon's subjugation of the wind in Q 38: 36 in a way

similar to al-Rizi. According to Ja1far b. M~iir, God allowed Solomon to receive
the spiritual allotment from the jan or "spiritual stream" which he implies to he
the "wind," and to distribute the allotment to his lieutenants: thus Solomon gained
the unique grade that no one had he1d before him.64
In addition the following two cases show thatJalfar b. M~ür seems to use the

word jirï in a technical sense. In one passage he interprets Adam's creation as

being a tale of the initiation of a candidate for the ni#q-ship. According to him
the "two hands" which created Adam mean maddab and ta'yid which were
intermediated through the jan or "stream.,,65 Here the middah can be interpreted
to be the content of the "stream," which is close to the usage of the term by
al-Ri.Zï. AIso in another passage Ja1far b. Manfiir implies that the "'spiritual

• stream" takes the role of an intermediary transmitting "inspiration" and

"revelation" to the prophets.66
One of the other examples that al-Rizï cites as a source of spiritual benefit is
that of Mary, one of the la riltiq as weil as the mother of Jesus in this context she
was given food from none other than God Himself while she remained alone in
her room (Q 3: 37). Al-Ri.zi interprets this story as meaning that Mary obtained
"that food" (dhj1j1ca al-rizq), which is an allotment (~~) from the "spiritual stream"
(al-jiri ) through the kbayiJ of the completer of the age, even though he was then

absent, but not from Zachariah, her superior and the chief là.fJiq of the age (f.

"Ja'far b. Man~r, Sarâ'ir wa-A.mir, p. 197.

'5 Ibid., p. 22.

"Ja1far b. Mall!Ür there holds thatthe "statement (al-qawl )••• [which is] called inspiration

• and revelation (~y wa-tuJZil)" cornes from the "power of the Ward" (qùwar al-hlimab ) through
the conjunetion of the "stream" (bi-rri,aJ al-jiri). Ibid., p. 24.

117r., ,. 3- V., L 6/f. 117r., ,. 16- f. 118r., ,. 1/pp. 233-34).

• The implication here is that Mary did not receive any benefit from the jiri on
her own but had to be initiated into it through the imâm of the age, in spite of bis
being absent. This is because, as al-Razi emphasizes, the la~q can obtain their
allotments from the jâri through the intermediation of the kbayàl of the mutimm (f.
117r.,I. 11- V., 1. 3/f. 117v., Il. 7-14/pp.233-34). In another passage al-Razï holds
that the kbayil never proceeds from the tâli directIy to the lâ.fJiq ; rather, the latter
can gain access to the kbayil only through the mUlimm of the age (f. 151r., ,. 12- V.,
1. I/f. 149v., 1. 17- f. 150r., 1. 5/p. 295). Thus al-Rizi holds that the l~q can gain
access to the jan through one angelic being, Le., the khayil , but only through the
intermediation of the mutimm of the age. AIso, as suggested in other passages, the
kbayil contacts the di 'is through the intermediation of the divinely-guided

leaders.61 The khayiil, moreover, as an angelic being who mediates between the

• clivinely-guided leader of the age (aipq, ua. or imam) and the two highest
hypostases, transmits the jüi, barakah, and middah to the members of the hierarchy
below him.68 The exception to this rule may have been Solomon, since Salomon

61 This idea is also apparent in another example from al-I,J~ : the "khayiJ of the absent
completer" contacted Abraham, prior ta the latter's elevation ta the 1Ji!i~ship (f. 95v., 1. 12- f.96r.,
1. 4/f. 96v., Il. 2-11/p. 191). The meaning of this passage on the future prophet's initiation to the
Ailiq-ship will he discussed in §3 of the present chapter, especially on pp. 217-32 below. There is
a still further possibility: the appearance of the Icbayil of the hidden mutimm may he related to
the appearance of the deceased divinely-guided leader as a "mental image" which is another
meaning of ldJayj1. In another passage a1-RàZi hoIds that 'Ali b. Abi Tilib appeared (la1dJâyala) as
a mental image ta bis successor- imims and lieutenants (f. 63r., Il. 14-15/f.62r., Il. 11-13/p. 129).
This passage wiU be translated and discussed again below in p. 243-44 of chapter 7. For more on
the POssibility of the appearance of the kbayilas a "mental image," see below in pp. 207-208 of the
present chapter.
68 For example, the klJayàl of the œP9 transmits the "spiritual stream" to his BU (f.

128v., 1. 10- f.129r., L 8/f. 128v., L 1- f. 128v., 1. 14/p.254). Tacfar b. Ma~ür also reports the
appearance of the klJayil in his role as mediator with the higher dignitaries ta certain biblical
figures. For example, after the death of Saul the lcbay;i1 of Samuel (Shamü'il) appeared ta
Luqmàn, a legendary pre-Islamic 'Arab sage who appears in the Qur'an (31: 12-13 and 16-19),

announdng ta him bis installation as king, but he declined il: Thus David was appointed as
deputy, - effectively a "king"- ruling over the corporeal hierarchy (al-al-~udüd al-ji.müiyab).
Jacfar b. ManpUr, Sari'ir wa-Amïr, p. 189. In the Muslim tradition of 9i,a, al-an6iyâ , it is believed

is described as having had full access to the jan and his control of the "wind,"

• that îs, the jan .

We can aise confirm that the office of the lifUq was, according to al-Rizi, the

last point in the hierarchy having access to the jâri through the ta 'yid of the tali
(ilthe rank of lieutenants (~dd al-lawi.fUq) onto whom the jâri descends"), and to

an angelic being through the lIJUtillUD. To sum up, all the passages examined
above from al-l~li1J and other early Ismi'ili texts on the jari, ta 'yid, baralcah and

maddaIJ, show us that the l'wo celestial and earthly hierarchies are closely connected

to each other through the transmission of knowledge or guidance from a higher

to a lower leve1. 69 Moreover, according to al-Razi and other early Ismi'lli thinkers,

the members of the earthly da'wah are sa dependent on knowledge or guidance

in terms of their spiritual lives that its absence would cause their spiritual death.

• We have seen so far that, according to the text of al-l~li.fJ,

have access to the ltbayil is that of the mutimm (completer, Le., imim). However,
al-Razj's interpretation of the tale of Q 27: 18 regarding Solomon and the ant
the lowest rank to

proves the exception ta this ruIe. According to him, the "ants" in the verse are

that Luqman Uved in the age of David. See B. Heller - [N. A. Stillman], "Lutanan," EI-, vol. 5: pp.
811-13, especially p. 812. Also constituting a form of spiritual support, the ra'yid, intermediated
through Aaron's kbayil , warned his son of the crisis of the troops of Joshua (Yüshi' b. al-Nün),
that is, the seduction of Israeli men by the women of their enemies. Ibid., p. 179f. This could be a
Muslim variation of a story in the Hebrew Bible, i.e., Numbers 22-25.
(Il It is still difficult to detennine whether this fonn of hierarchism has its equivalent in

any other intellectual movement in Islam during the same era (4th/1Dth œntury). However, in
the 2nd ta 3rd centuries, we find a parallel between the ecclesiology of the Valentinian Gnostics
and early Ismàlilism in that there is a close connection between the œlestial and earthly hierarehies.
The Valentinians maintained that there are two churches: one in heaven and the other on earth.
The church in heaven is a primordial form of its counterpart on earth. Also the "spirir' is
"poured" from the heavenly church upon its earthly counterpart. K. Rudolph calls this "spirit"
the "immortal seed of Ughl" See K. Rudolph, Gnosis: the Nature and History of Gnosticism, translation
from German edited by R. MeL. Wilson <San Francisco, 1987), p. 206f. Could this "spirir' eould

• be equivalent ta middab. in early Ismi'ili hierarchical theory? This is another issue which warrants
further study.

the licensees and the listener-novices (al-ma'd1JÜIJ wa-al-mwtajïbÜlJ) of Solomon's

• time (f. 45v., Il. 8-9/f. 44r., 1. 17- f.44-v., 1. IIp.92). A low-ranked liant" who
warned his fellows of the marching of Solomon's troops is, al-RaZi hoIds, one of
those who correctly recognized Salomon' 5 authority or leadership over the entire
da'wah, as follows:

" ...an ant said..." (Q 27: 18). It is said that this ant was building a wall. This
means that to one member of the bierarchy (ha 'd al-~udüd ), the kbayil appeared
to [the mitror of] bis soul (w-aya la-bu). It is thus that he perceived that
authority had come into [the hands of] Salomon.
Il 1 Ants, enter your dwelling-places,...' " (Q 27: 18). He ordered them (Le.,
bis fellow licensees and listener-novices) to keep away from the da'wah until
the authority of Solomon was renewed to them, because it (Le., the authority)
had ended up with him. (i.e., because Solomon had gained the ultimate authority).
Il ' ••• lest Solomon and his hosts crush you, being unaware!' " (Q 27: l8). He

• wamed them that if they did not wait for bis arder, bis reproach and destruction
would befell them from bis part, and then they would be demoted from their
Il ' ••• being unaware!' " (Q 27: 18). This is ta say that these dignitaries were
not aware of what this [man or liant"] was aware of, because he had seen the
"But he smiled, laughing at its words,..." (Q 27: 19). This is to say that he
(Solomon) showed that [matter] to the lieutenants, and taught them: he had
seen through bis kbayil (bi-lcbayiIi-hi) what appeared to [the mirror of the soul
of] that rank (i.e., the man compared to an ant) through bis ldJayil ... (f. 45v., 1.
9- f. 46r., 1. 2/f. 44-v., Il. 2-11/ p. 92)

Here al-Rizï points out that it is the ldJayil which allowed the low-ranked liant"
to recognize Solomon's authority over the entire da'wah. Therefore, as the text

implies, the liant" knew of his duty to obey the new legitimate leader, i.e., Salomon,

which even sorne dignitaries "were not aware of." The #ant" then urged his

• fellow licensees and listener-novices to "keep away from the da'wah" until the
new order of Solomon reached them.
The question is, however: How could the khayil approach a low-ranked
ma 'dhün or mustajib? Ooes this episode mean that the khayil of the five spiritual,
angelic beings appears directly to the low-ranked "ant"? The "ant" is after all tao
low-ranked (ma 'd1JÜIJ or mœtajïlJ ) to receive the kbayil, according to the examples
dted in al-l~lilJ and works by other authors.
The key ta the above questions may lie in another passage on Solomon which
comes prior to the one quoted above. There al-Rizï ïnterprets Solomon's arder to
the "wind" (al-ri~ ) as effectively constituting an order issued to the kbayàl s
(al-kbayilit). The text reads as follows: "...thus he took over the [task of] allobnent

of the barakah among bis felIow lieutenants (qi.mat al-barakah bayn al-la~q),

• while the lchayi1s (al-ldJaJlilit ) carried out bis order (bi-amri-bi )" (f. 45r., IL 8-10/f.
43v., 1. 17- f. 44r., 1. 3/p. 91). This passage can be interpreted as meaning that
Salomon, as a unique l~q, is allowed to distribute the barakah through the
1chayiliL These kbayilit subjugated by Salomon could not be one of the five

spiritual hypostases, but rather the lesser spiritual beings which belong to a series
of angelic beings distinct than that of the five hypostases. Thus the possibility
arises that one of these lesser spiritual beings could have appeared ta the liant"
through the intermediation of Salomon, instead of through the concealed imàm
of the age.
Angelic beings distinct from the five hypostases are found also in Ismi.'ili
literature dating from the 4th/10th century. As we saw above, in the cosmology
of Abü 'Isi. al-Murshid there are two series of spiritual, angelic beings: the seven

• "cherubim" (karü"iyab) and the twelve "spiritual beings" (rü~yab ), the latter of

which nevertheless include the jadd, the faq. , and the kbayiJ.:70 Moreover, the

• Ri.i1ab al-MudlJbibah (The Treatise Eliminating [Doubts]), attributed to al-Qi4ï al-

Nu'min,71 mentions series of twelve spiritual beings, again including the three
ange1ic beings and seven "cherubim."n The angels, known as "spiritual beings"
and IIcherubim" are found aIso in al-Rizï's al-Zinah, bis most ~âbiri, non-Ismi'ili

wode according to al-RaZi, the former are the angels of mercy (mali 'ibc al-rafunaIJ)
while the latter are the angels ofpunishment (mali'iht al-'adhib).73
However, there still remain some problems in identifying these angelic beings
with the "ldJayilat " and the ant's khayâl. First, the series of the riiPanïyah already
includes the jadd, the faq. , and the lcbayâl. Second, in bath al-Murshid's treatise
and al-MudbhibaIJ attributed to ai-Nu'mân the seven "cherubim" are seen as related
ta one of the seven heavens (al-samant), whereas the twelve "spiritual beings"
are said ta be related to the twelve signs of the zodiac (al-burüj al-itlmi 'uhara f4:

• 70Stem, "the Earliest Cosmological Doctrines," p. 16 (Arabie text)/p. 2Sf. (commentary).

See H. Halm, Kosmologie, pp. 91-100.
71 Edited by 'A. nmir in KhamsaIJ Rasà'il1smi.'üiya1J (Salamiyah, 1375A.H./1956C.E.). 1.
K. Poonawala questions the authentidty of al-Nu'min's authorshipof this work. See 1. I<. PoonawaJa,
Biobibliography, p. 67. AIso S. Stem reportedly had sorne doubt on al-Nu1man's authorship of this
work. O. R. Bryer, "Preface: An Analysis of Samuel M. Stero's Writings of Ismi.'i1ism," attached
in S. M. Stem, Studies in Early lsmà~ilism, p. xx.

72 Pseudo(?) al-Qa~ al-Nu'min, al-Mudbbi6ah, pp. 50, 53f, and 78.

7J There is a chapter specifically dedicated to the discussion of the angels in al-Ri2.i,
al-TUJab, vol. 2, "Bib al-Mali'ikah" ("Chapter of the Angels"), pp. 160-70: the particular passage on
the "cherubim" and the "spiritual beings" is found on p. 163 of this chapter, where they are
referred to however "Drü6iyütJ" and "~yab." O. Stem, ''TIte Earliest Cosmological Doctrines,"
p. 28. In this chapter al-Rizi discusses the etymology of the ward "angels" (al-mali. 'ilcah ) and also
their severa! types, sorne of whose names are familiar ta mainstream Muslim tradition, such as
Gabriel Qabra1ïl), Michael (Miki'il), Serafiel Osr.ifil), Munkar and Nakir, and Mubashshir and
Bashïr (the last two of whom are added in Imimi tradition). AIso see O. B. Macdonald and W.
Madelung, '~ala"ikah," El, vol. 6, pp. 216-19.
74There are sorne subtle differences between the two texts. In al-MudbbibaIJ each of the
seven "chembim" dwells in one of the seven heavens (al-amaril ), while the stars (seven planets

in the heavens?) are the "looks" (~ri.hir) serving as a "model" (matbal) for these "cherubim";
moreover, the twelve signs of the zodiac (al-6urûj al-;rluJi.'ubara) are the '100ks" (~wilJjr) and
"places" (manazi1) of the twelve "spiritual beings." Pseudo(?) al-Nu 1mi. n, al-Mudbbi6a1J, pp. 53f,

thus we are left having to explain how these angelic beings related to celestial

• bodies could have been subjugated by Solomon and made to appear ta a low-ranked
da1wah member.

In the same al-Zinab, al-Rizï quotes a tradition attributed to Imam Ja'far

al-~idiq that the jinn are divided into three Ilparts" or categories (tlJalithat ajza '),
one of which remains with the angels (ma la al-mali 'ikah).7S AIso in the same text
al-Razi mentions that the Arabs caU the angels (al-mali 'ikah) "jinn," quoting Q

18: 50 which mentions Iblïs after the angels and yet counts him among the jinn?6

Thus it is possible that these supematural beings are somehow equivalent to the
ldJayilit in al-Rizi's thought. However, given the SUnni nature of al-Zïn.ah, it

must be admitted that this exposition of the relation of the jinn and the angels fits
in more with mainstream, particularly Sunni, angelology or "demonology."

Therefore we can only with difficulty connect al-Rizi's discussion of the jinn in

• al-ZÜJah to his Ismâ'ïU angelology" in general, or to

Il his view on the kbayil in

As we have seen, each of the two explanations of Solomon's kbayil appearing

to the liant" is problematic. Another possible explanation therefore is that the

liant" receives the "kbayiJ ," not as an angelic being, but as an "image" or "vision"
appearing in his soul: this is closer to the more common meaning of the word

and 78. In AbU lisa al-Murshid's treatise the ''heavens'' are made an "indicator' (da/il) to the
cherubim, whereas the twelve zodiacs are an "indicalor" to the "spiritual beings." These "heavens"
could be the seven planets. Stem, "The Earliest Cosmological Doctrines," p. 16 (Arabie text)/p.
2Sf. (commentary). Also see H. HaIm, Kosmologie, pp. 91-100
15Another "parr' of them fly in the air, and last "part of them are with animais and

dogs <ma'a lani' wa-kilib). Al-RiZi, al-Zinab, fascicle 2, p. 171.

16 Ibid., p. 176f. From this Qur'inîc verse, the demarcation of the angels from the jinn-

• bath being supematural, non-eorporeal - is not very clear in mainstream Islamic tradition. See
Macdonald and Madelung, "MaJi.'ikah," p.217f.

than to its specifie, technical sense." In the case of the liant" its IlJebayil" could

• be a sort of a mental image," since the meaning of the word used here

(or tari'a ) denotes the appearance of something like an lIimage" or even the
appearance of something in a mirror.78
IItartiyi "

Based on this suggestion, it is conceivable that through this IImental image" the
liant" recognized the event of Solomon's installation as highest leader of the
da'wah. Likewise, through this newly-gained "mental image," Solomon became
aware of the liant" '5 recognition of him. This could be the meaning underlying
that section of the passage quoted above which reads ''he (i.e., Salomon) had seen
through his khay:il (bi-khayili-bJ1 what appeared to the mirror of [the soul of] that
rank (Le., the ant) through his khayil." However, there are hardly any other
examples of references to the appearance of the khayil as a IImental image"
unrelated to angelic being in aJ-I~l~ or in the other contemporaneous texts we

• have seen 50 far, none at least which would support our interpretation. 79 Also,
the demarcation of the khay:il as l'mental image" and the angelic being kbayil as
appearing in the image of a certain human figure is not always very dear.80

71 Ibn Man~, LjSÜJ al-'Anab al-M~" reviewed and completed by Y. Khayyit and N.
MirashIi, vol. 1 (Bayrüt, 1970), p. 932; Murta~al-Zabidi, Tai al-'Arœ am JariJJjr al-Qimüs (al-Kuwayt,
1965), vol. 14: p. 221. See also: E. W. Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon (London/Edinburgh, 1966;
reprint, Cambridge, 1984), vol. 1: p. 835f. (volume and page references are to reprint edition); A.
de Biberstein Kazimirsk~ Dictionnaire arabe-français, nouvelle édition, (Paris, 1960) vol. 1: p. 657f.
Cf. s. More~ "KJu.yâl," in Encyclopedia of Arabie Literature, vol. 2: p.44H.

78 Ibn M~, LiÜIJ al-'AnlIJ aJ-M,." vol. 1: pp. 1094, 1096; Murta~i al-Zabidi, Tai aJ- 'Anis,
vol. 19: pp. 437f., 439. Also see: E. W. Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon, vol 1: p. 1000; A. de Biberstein
Kazimirski, Dictionnaire arabe-français" vol. 1: p. 797.

79 The only other example is the appearance of 'Ali b. Abi Tilib's "mental image" ta bis
successor imimS and lieutenants (f. 63r., 11. 14-15/f. 62r., Il. 11-13/p. 129). See above in p. 202, n.
67 of the present chapter and belowon p. 243-44 of chapter 7
80 For example, while al-RiZi depicts the coming of the "Spirit" or Gabriel ta Mary in Q
19: 17 as " ... the khayiJ came her over (~araqa-hi)," he interprets his appearance in the form of a

man to her in the next verse as "...then the Itbayil appeared [Iike an image] ta her (taldJayala la-bu)
in his form" (f. 53v., 1. 16- f. 54r., 1. 4/f. 52v., 1. 14- f. 53r., 1. l/pp. 110-11). The verb "taklJayala"
used here bas the meaning of the dim or shadowy appearance of something or the appearance of

Though it avoids some of the problems associated with the "angelic being" or

• "supernatural being," this interpretation has its own problems.

Thus each of the above possible identifications of Solomon's "kbayâl" or
IIk1Jayilit" presents us with difficulties, showing how hard it is to find a theory

which fully explains the peculiar nature of the k1Jayil at the present stage of our
research. The only explanation may lie in the peculiar nature of the kbay:il in this
instance. As we saw earlier, we confirm, in his interpretation of Solomon's story
al-RàZi emphasizes his uniqueness in the history of the prophets. The uniqueness

of Solomon consists in his exceptional right of distribution of the allotment from

the "wind," that is, the "spiritual stream" or the khayiJit, to ms fellow lieutenants.
Because of this uniqueness, the khayaJ intermediated by Solomon might have
performed sorne exceptional acts such as appearing to a low-ranked da'wah
member: this however is no more than speculation.

• Solomon's uniqueness and consequently that of his kbayiJ are also discussed
by al-Sijistani: he relates the Qur'iI\ic story of Solomon ta the unique position of
the messianic Qa'im in sacred history.81 According to al-Sijisti.ni, the "wind"
subjugated by God for Solomon is the Jebayil which blows to the lieutenants at
the latters command.82 In the case of the Qi'im the khayàl flows to his lieutenants
and aIso to uthose whom Gad -Glory to Him!- authorized for propagation of the

sorne image, which is dose to another verb taldJayyala ("to imagine" IIto appear"). In other words
the lcbay;il appears as a "concrete angelic being" in the interpretation of Q 19: 17, while it seems ta
appear more as an image of a liman" in that of the next verse. It can thus be suggested that, as its
name indicates, the ldJayal could appear as an imaginary being to human beings. 50 could this
happen te the "an r' of Salomon?
Il Al-5ijisbini, SuUam al-Najj" ed. by M. A. Alibhai in his "Abü Yatqüb al-5ijistini and
Kitab Sullam al-Najj, : A Study in Islamic Neoplatonism" (Ph. D. dissertation, Harvard University,
1983), pp. 78-83. Here al-5ijistiri quotes and interprets Q 27: 15,40 and Q 38: 36-38. The relation
of the interpretation of SoIomon's Qur'inic tale to the discussion on the Qi'im will be revisited in

chapter 8, §1, below.

82 Al-5ijistant ibid., p. 78f.


[true] sciences and the realities among the people of the world in the days of his

• (the Qi.'im's) concealment.,,83

The above expression "those whom God... authorized..." could be interpreted

as denoting all those than the lieutenants, i.e., the people below these latter in the
da'wah hierarchy, since the lieutenants are the highest ranked after the imam.
Thus it can be suggested that al-5ijistinï too may have conceived of the possibility
of the khayiJ's appearance to a low-ranking da'wah member. However, just as
was seen in the case of al-Rizi, in the works of al-5ijistini a lower-ranked person's
accessibility to the khayiJ (a celestial, angelic being) is mentioned very exœptionally,
or almost only in the context of Solomon's story. This problem is one that needs
to be addressed in a future study. For the time being, however, and bearing this
problem in mind, let us proceed ta describe and analyze the passages in which
various Isma'ïlï authors discuss the possibility of access to the angelic celestial

• beings, including the kbayal, specifically by divinely-guided leaders. 84

The earthly hierarchy's contact with the celestial, angelic beings is further
discussed by al-Râzi in the context of the history of the prophets. For instance,
the above-mentioned deprivation of the jan or middah (spiritual"sustenance") in
the stary of Abraham's dispute is applied ta the interpretation of the histary of
the prophets. This application of the theme of deprivation is aiso related to other
motifs in the history of the prophets already analyzed in the previous chapter.
These motifs include, for example, the completion by certain prophets of their

83 The original of the passage reads as follows: mu waJduala-lJum AU;iIJ subÜIJa-1Ju b;-nashr
al-'uliim wa-al-~i'iq baJ'D ab1 al-'aJam aY,Yjm 6uybaû-bi. Ibid., p. SU.

N However access to the last hypostasis is still open to the lieutenants, as we have seen in

a couple of cases 50 far. See above on pp. 202-209 (in the case of al-Rizi: Solomon and even the
"anr'?) and on pp. 209-210 (in the case of al-Sijistàni: Salomon and bis fellow lieutenants) in the
present chapter, respectively.

missions before their death and their subsequent submission of their authority,

• followed by the rebellion of the antagonists against the legitimate heirs of that
authority, etc.
As for the prophets' completion of their missions, al-Rizî explains the theme of

deprivation of the jan or maddah in bis interpretation of verse Q 39: 42 (IlGod

takes the souls at the lime of their death..."). The meaning of souls" in this II

verse refers to the allotments [made] to the possessors of the blessing"

Il (!Ju~

~.f1ab al-barakab). God therefore deprives a person whose mission is completed

of jari,85 thus putting his obedience to the test (yam~na) by cutting off His
barakah (f. 136v. Il. 1-13/f. 135v.,1. 10- f. 136r., 1. 7/p. 268),86 an action that usually

leads to death. Abraham was put to just such a test through deprivation of the
jan (jlJqj~ ç al-jan), and was thus forced ta join the ranks of the dead (.f1add

al-mawti) (f. 136v., 1. 14- f. 137r., 1. S/f. 136r., Il. 7-1S/pp. 268-69).87

• In a passage discussing verse Q 12: 100, which concerns the story of Joseph and
Jacob, al-Rizi presents one of the ways in which a prophet should behave at the
time of the completion of bis mission. Jacob and bis wife, as the mutimm of the
age and bis bib, respectively, passed on the rank of completeness (.f1add al-
tamimiyah) 1 which we can think of as grade which only the nu~qa', usus, and

atimmi' (pl. of muÛlDm) can attain,SB to their successor, Joseph. In so doing, the

as In this passage aI-Razi points out again that Gad entrusted responsibili ty for the "spiritual
stream" (amr al-jin" to the tà1ï, who spiritually supports the earthly hierarchy (al-~udijd aj-.uf1ïyab,
literally "the lower ranks"), as seen above.
86 In this test God watches te see whether the prophet obediently submits te bis authority

trl Aise cf. f. 14Sr., L 12- V., 1. 4/f. 144r. Il. 3-12/p. 284 Even the Prophet MutJammad
himself was suspended from receiving the revelation (aI-~y) for 40 days before .iirah 103 al-flutJi.
(the dawn) was revealed: this was a test God gave him. See f. 145v., Il. 4-14/f. 144r.,I. 12 -V. , 1.

• 88 It can he presumed that this lJadd aJ-WZJimiyah is interchangeable in meaning with the
grade (al-martabah) called aJ-WDàmïyab which is exclusively given only to the lJuJaqi.', USUS, and

two of them continued to receive the jâri through their successor. In retum for

• this submission they were, one might say, elevated in terms of virtue89 (f. 154v.,
Il. 2-6/f. 148r., Il. 9-13/pp. 301-302).
The deprivation of middah also functions as a punishment meted out to the
disobedient, particu1arly those who are actively antagonistic. Al-Râzi cites the
case of the disobedient people in the age of Moses who asked him to show them
God Himself (Q 4: 153). In al-Rizi's interpretation they actually asked for "what
flows into him at the rank of enunciation" (ma yajri ilay-hi bi-l;aadd al-nu!q), which
is thought to be the guidance specifically granted to an enunciator-prophet. Thus,

in asking for a nipl{s privilege, they refused to recognize the authority of the
&Sis, the legitimate successor of the ni.fiq Moses,90 and instead dose to follow an

antagonist as their leader. This rebellious deed led to their incurring a punishment,
which consisted in the deprivation of middalL, identified by al-Razi as the

• "thunderbolt" (al-~a 'a'lah ) which bit them according to verse Q 4: 153 (f. 140r., l.

6- f. 141r., 1. 3/f. 139r., 1. 10- f. 141r.,I. 5/pp. 274-76).

The above passages on Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses thus confirm that
sorne of the motifs of the history of the prophets are connected to the theme of
the deprivation of jan or middab, which is one of the modes that relate the

alilnmà'. On al-tamamiyab, see f. 84r., il. 2-15/f. 83v., 1. 6 -84r., 1. 4/pp. 168-69. In this context this
~add or martabah seems to he related more to the mutimm (completer) or imim, because of its
common three consonant root common to tamimi'yah •
The case of the submission of their authority by Jacob and bis wiEe to their son, Joseph,

was already mentioned in the last chapter, p. 134-35 above.

90 ln this passage the name of the uis of Moses is not given. However, in another
passage al-RâZi explains that after he handed the Torah to Joshua (Yüshi· b. Nün); Moses asked
the Israelites to bear witness to rum. According to al-Rizi, this event means: "he (i.e. Moses)
appointed him to the uis-ship (al-uüïyah). See f. 127v., Il. 2-3/f. 127r., li. 14-16/p. 252. This can
he interpreted that al-Rizi believes Joshua ta have been the uis (or the fundament> of Moses. We

will revisit the issue of ua$ -ship of Moses in chapter 7, p. 243, especially n. 14. As for the
antagonist, a sort of counter-ua$ whom the dissidents supported, his name is not mentioned in

members of the earthly da'wah to the celestial spiritual hierarchy. This suggests

• that sorne modes of the encounter between members of the da 1wa1J and the upper

hierarchy have a role to play in the course of sacred history.

This issue, illustrated by the above-mentioned case of the dissidents in the age
of Moses, provides us with a clue for further investigation into how sacred history
is formulated. We can see for example that the installation of a legitimate asü,
which is, needless ta say, an indispensable constituent of the scheme of sacred
history. This installation must not be questioned, otherwise one would be deprived
of the jan or middah. This is the punishment for refusing to recognize the master
of the age succeeding the ni#q, a temporary, yet key, role-player in sacred history.
Let us here revisit al-Razi's interpretation of verse Q 5: 112 where Jesus is said
to have prayed to God to send down the "table" (al-ma 'idah). In interpreting this
verse, al-Razi discusses aIso the issue of the installation of the asis. He explains _

• the situation in which Jesus and his disciples found themselves as follows:

"And when the Apostle said, '0 Jesus son of Mary, is thy Lord able to send
down on us a Table out of heaven?' He said, 'Fear you God, if you are
believers' " (Q 5: 112), [quoted] until the end of the story [of the "table"]. They
(i.e., the disciples) asked him for this (Le., they prayed to God to send down
the "table"). This is only because they were put to a test (mumta.fJaniin ) by
being deprived of the [spiritual] sustenance (bi-inqi!2- al-middah lan-hum ),

when the Messiah intended to install his "as, and promised that he would
appoint the a$i$ among them so that they would gain [once again access to]
the "spiritual stream" through him. Thus, when their "test" was prolonged
because of the deprivation of the "spiritual stream," they asked him to carry
out for them what he had promised, Le., the installation of the asas (iqimat
al-aü),so that the [spiritual] "sustenance" would return ta them and they
would be sustained with the "stream." (f. 137v., Il. 5-12/f. 136v., 1. 14- f. 137r.,

• 1.. 4/p.270)

In short, Jesus' disciples, who asked for the lltable," did so because they had been

• deprived of middah. 5ince they rememberedJesus' promise ta appoint his asa.r,

through whom they would be able to obtain middah or spiritual sustenance (which
is the meaning of the "table"), they implored him ta fulfill his promise (see aIso f.
137v.,I. 12... f. 138v., 1. 4ff. 137r., 1. 4- f. 137v., 1. 14/pp.270...72).

The above interpretation presupposes that only the legitimate asü can guarantee
the delivery of middah and of allotments from the jiri to the members of the
da'wah after the death or disappearance of a certainna#q. This can be related to
the above-mentioned motif of punishment. This is to say that the presence of the

uas. who plays the key role in sacred history after the ni#q. is indispensable ta
the members of the earthly da'wah in obtaining the jirï or middah from the
higher angelic beings.
In the above examples of the installation of the uas it may be observed how

• sorne modes of contact with the higher spiritual hierarchy do play a raIe in the
evolution of sacred history. Similarly, the da'wah members' relation with the
one playing the key-raIe and their reaction ta crucial moments in sacred history
seem ta determine the mode of their contact with the higher spiritual hierarchy.
Whether one recognizes or rejects this key figure, it is nevertheless how one
reacts to the installation of the legitimate asas that determines which mode of
contact with the higher spiritual hierarchy a person or persons will be able to
attain. Thus, we can safely say that the modes of contact with the angelic beings,
if these are pursued indirectly through higher dignitaries, are incorporated into
the scheme of sacred history.


§3. The Making of the Nu,.,.'


• in Their Encounter with the Angelic Beings

The last section was devoted mainly to an analytical description of how the
members of the earthly hierarchy, including the nâ~q, are influenced by the higher
spiritual beings. However, the discussion in this section will focus mainly on the
nUEaqâ"s contact with the angelic beings in arder to elucidate the structure of the
communication between the two hierarchies in greater detail.
As seen in the aforementioned passage from al-Sijistini, the Universal Intellect

and the Universal Soul shower their benefit on human souls in three modes, Le.,
through ta 'yid, ta 'Iim, and riyiflaIJ, only the first of which apparently cornes directly
from these two highest celestial hypostases, the Universal Intellect and Universal
Soula Furthermore, access to ta 'yiel from those two hypostases is limited on earth

• to the highest dignitaries of the hierarchy, i.e. the nâ~9, uà$, and ïmam. 91
Al-5ijistâni goes on to speak of the relation of the two celestial hypostases,
called the ~Iân or two IIroots as seen above, with the earthly hierarchs, particularly

with the two highest ones, Le., the lJâll9 and the uà$. In our discussion so far we
have seen the close connection between the enunciator-prophets and the highest
hypostases in terms of relations between the two hierarchies. Citing other
appellations of the two highest hypostases, al~a~a 1 ("divine fate") and al-'laelar
("divine decree"), respectively, al-5ijistini holds that these twO exert their power
over the "relations of existent beings" (al-ifà~ât al-aysiyah ),92 the highest of which
is the "goal of the enundatar-ship and of the fundament-ship" (j~âbat al-lJàli'liyah

91 See p. 192 of the present chapter above.

92 This expression "relations of existent beings" seems ta denote the hierarchical relations

• of earthly creatures. On the meaning of the term ays or aysiyàt in a faction of early Isma"iUs
influenced by Neoplatonism, see p. 174f. of the present chapter above.

wa-al-uasiyah ).93

• Furthermore in other passages al-Sijistini implies that the napq and

called the uüan (two bases), representing two corporeal counterparts in the
earthly hierarchy. For instance, in Kim" al- Y:uJibi', the ~Iin and uüin are
ui.$ are

described as symbolicaIly representing the four words of the first half of the
.hahidah (confession of the faith) Ui iIiJJa HIa ADiJJ), the esoteric meaning of

which is the 'Word of Gad" (kalimat ADm), i.e., the Divine Word of Creation.
That is to say, whereas in the case of the ~Iin the Intellect represents all the
existent beings in the cosmos, spiritual and material, and the Sou! their composition
and order, for the as&sin, the nipq represents the actual words and the orders
based on revelation and the asü their esoteric interpretation.94 In short, the
~Iin denote the arder of the entire cosmos, whereas the asâsan represent the
religious order on earth.

• We can aIso find in

~Iàn and
al-I~I~ a passage wbich implies a close Unk between the
the asuin expressed in terms similar ta those found in al-Sijistani's texte
For example, al-Rizi mentions that the hypostases in heaven and the dignitaries
on earth form pairs which parallel each other in terms of their positions in their
respective reaIms (f. 63r., Il. 8-10/f. 62r., 11. 6-8/p. 129; also cf. f.58r., Il. 6-10/f.
56v.,I. 17- f. 57r., 1. 4/p. 119). AIso, in bis interpretation of Q 73: 9 ("The Lord of
the east and the west..."), he maintains that "the Lord" in this verse means the
tàJi , while the "eas t" and "wes t" are the asisan.95 The lali in this interpretation

93 Al.Sijistini, aJ·Utikbü, p. 40. This could, we believe, mean the œ~qs act of reveiationai

legisiation. The sacred Iaw brought by this act becomes aiso object of the uài interpretation.
94 Al-Sijistini, 30th yaabü' "On the Meaning of the Confession of the Faith" (Fi ma"ni
al-shahidah) fromal-Yanàbi', pp. 70-73 (English transi., pp. 91-93 and commentary on it, pp. 175-77;
French transi.: pp. 92-96). See aise 39th y;uJbii' liOn the Meaning of the Word of the Creator" (Fi
mala al-KaIimah Ii-l-Mubdi l ) from the same text, pp. 90-94 (English transI.: pp. 107-109 and

commentary on it: pp. 185-89; French transI.: pp. 118-24.
9S In consideration of the context of the passage in question, we adopt the reading of MS.

is the "ti.1ï who instructs the two (i..e. the asùâlJ)" (al-t2li al-murabbi la-huma). (f..

• 66v., IL 7-16/f. 65v., Il. 1...11/pp. 138-39).96

In addition, there are sorne passages describing the contact between the ni,pq
and the ~Jan, The aforementioned interpretation of the verses touching on the
"guests of Abraham" (in Q 51: 24-28) is one of those passages: Abraham is said to

have gained access to the jàri from the ~lin through the intermediation of the
khayil and jadd, who took human form as his "guests.,,97 Also, due to his ultimate

rejection of the cult of astral bodies (Q 6: 76...78) Abraham came into conjunction
with the two ~lan (itra,ala bi-aJ-~layn) and reached "completeness" (baJagha aJ-

tamimïyah) (f. 96r., IL 4-12/f. 96v., 1. Il... f.. 97r., I. 3/p. 191). This ucompleteness"

is the privileged "grade" (aJ-manzilalJ ) which only dignitaries such as the nu~qa',
œus , and atimmi' (completers) can hold. It is only on achieving this grade that
these dignitaries can come into conjunction with the ~lin and profit from the

• result of this occurrence (f. 84r., IL 2-15/f. 83v., 1. 6 -84r., 1. 4/pp. 168...69).

Besides the nafÏq' s contact with the ~lan there are two other issues to remark
upon in the above passages on Abraham: first, bis or any future prophet's attainment
of a certain rank in the hierarchy before or at the time of conjunctïon with the
~lin; and second, the na#q 's acquisition of the "spiritual stream" from the ~ljn,
through the intermediation of the two lesser angelic beings, the khayil and the
jadd. The first issue can be related to the early Ismi'ili idea of the gradual
formation of enunciator-prophethood or nà1iq-ship in a future prophet, a process
developed through encounters with the angelic beings of the higher spiritual

Ham, uaJ-asi.ft.ya," in f. 66v.,1.. Il, instead of that of MS. Tüb., ual-ari.$," in f. 6Sv., 1.6.
96 However, in this passage and others where he mentions the relation of the highest
spiritual hypostases with the earthly hierarchy, al-Rizi seems inclined ta exdude one of the &flan

or one of the uüan from his discussion.
97 See pp. 195-96 of this present chapter above.

hierarchy.98 As for the second issue, it is related to another problem, i.e., that of

• the accessibility of the highest spiritual beings of the celestial hierarchy. In other
words, it becomes problematic whether the contact with the ~lan is accomplished
directIy or indirectly through an intermediation. This is one of the focal points of
dispute between al-Nasafi and al-Rizi, and will therefore be discussed in greater
detaillater in this section.

The idea of the graduaI development of the prophetie faeulty in a future

prophet through encounter with the angelie beings can be found aIready elaborated
in Kitab al-Kashf. In the fifth treatise of this text there is presented a pre-Fi!imid

Isma ilï tradition ascribed ta a leader of the sect ealled IIthe sage" (al-frakim ),

which touches on the case of Abraham as one example of the formation of

prophethood.99 Aceording to the text, Gad elevated Abraham grade by grade

• (darajab ba 'da darajab ) by means of the ta 'yid and by His guidance (hidiyatu-hu ),

His heip (tawfiqu-bu ) and His inspiration (ilhamu-hu ), until he became worthy of
the position of enunciator-prophet (maqàm al-lJi~q). Thus, the arder of God
finaIly conjoined with him. IOO
Among later thinkers, al-Qi~ al-Nu'min applies the idea of the graduaI
formation of prophethood through encounter with angelic beings or their influence
ta his interpretation of verses Q 28: 29-30, which deal with Moses' contact with
"fire" (nir) burning on a mountain (~ür), which in tum corresponds ta the ''bwning
bush" in Exodus 3. 1-6 of the Hebrew Bible. lol According to al-Nu'min, this

98This idea was a1ready pointed out by H. Feki in his Les idées religieuses et philosophiques
de l'ismaélisme fatimide, especially, pp. 223-27.
99 Kitàb al-Kubf, pp. 112-14.

tao Ibid., p. 113.

lOt AI-Nu'màn, Asis al-Ta'vril, pp. 190-92. The episode of Moses' encounter with "tire" is

Qur1inic story reveals that the rank of the ta.'yid of prophethood (lJadd ta 'yid

• al-lJubüwab ) came into conjunction with Moses. That is to say:

The metaphor for the "fire" [in verse Q 28: 29] (matbal aJ-lJÜ) is that for the
rank of enunciator-prophet (~dd al-lJj~q) [which cornes] from the light of
divine support (nür al-ta 'J'id): he (Le., Moses in the verse) says "1 fee! the light
of divine support in myself." The metaphor for the mountain is that for the
grade of enunciator-prophet, that is, the messengership itself (nai. al-riSaJa/J).l02

In brief the "fire" in verse Q 28: 29 denotes the rank of enundator-prophet, while

the mountain on the other hand represents the position of enunciator-prophet.

Thus, al-Nu'mi.n's interpretation of Q 28: 29-30 cited above shows that the
story of Moses' encounter with "fire" represents his initiation into the office of
enunciator-prophethood. Likewise, in the interpretation of AI-Nu'min's

• contemporary, Ja'far b. Man,ür, the same story signifies that Moses was filled
with knowiedge of the apparently absent imim of his age and with the ta. 'yid, sa
that in the end he became a tJi~q of the next cycle. 103
There are aiso the passages in which al-Nu'man interprets the tales concerning
Jesus found in the QurJin and other sources, possibly even the Gospels. 104 In

found in the verses Q 20: 9-13 as weIl. Also cf. the verse Q 19: 52. For the cross references of the
Qur'inic verses and the passages from the Hebrew Bible, we consulted Paret, Der Koran:
Kommentar... p. 331.
102AI-NU'min, A_, p. 191. Al-Nu'min aise emphasizes the nature of gTadual formation
of a being as a general rule.
103 Ja'far b. Mal'\!Ür quotes only the verse Q 28: 29. Ja'far b. Mal'\fÜr, Sari'ir wz-Asr.ïr, p.

10.&AI-Nu'mân, chapter 5 from Aas, pp. 299-314. Also d. H. Corbin, "Herméneutique

spirituelle comparée," pp. 151-62 (English transI., pp. 125--43); S. Nomoto, ''The Prophetie Figure
of Jesus in Fà~mid Ismi lilism" (in Japanese), Reports of Keio Institute of Cultural and Linguistic

Studies 24 (1992): pp. 290-96; idem, ''The Prophets' Encounter with the Angelic Beings according
to al-Rizï, an Early Ismi W Thinker" (in JaPallese) in Transcendence and Mystery: the Gedankenwelten

of China, India and Islam, ed. by S. Kamada and H. Mori ITokyo, 1994), p. 242f.

explaining the formation of Jesus' prophethood, al-Nu'min presents the story

• that Mary saw in Jesus the power of divine support (qùwat al-ta 'yid), even though
he was still in the state of instruction (lJaIat al-tarbiyab ).105 Furthermore, according
to al-Nu'man, it was reported to John the Baptist, to whom al-Nu'II\in refers as
the imim of that age, that the "beings at the upper spiritual ranks" had come into
conjunction with Jesus. Receiving this report, John the Baptist recognized that
revelational inspiration (al-wafly) had been handed down to Jesus. 106 In other
words John became aware that, through bis conjunction with higher beings, Jesus
had reached the rank at which he could receive inspiration.
On the issue of the graduaI formation of prophethood, we must consider sorne
passages by al-5ijistini, who is more systematic in presenting ms thought. Al-
5ijistini hoids that prophethood (al-nubùwah) does not suddenly come into
conjunction with just any prophet; rather, the prophet must first experience .

• significant change (al-;sti-!Wah ) in his spiritual status until he reaches the rank of
enunciator-prophethood (~dd al-napqiyah ).107
In addition, al-5ijistini seems to hold that there is a specifie angelic hypostasis
which plays a decisive role in the formation of prophethood by virtue of its
coming into contact with a future prophet.10S That is to say, he emphasizes the
jadd'5 alighting (wuqü' al-jade/) on the napq as a privilege which is granted to a

lOS AI-Nu'min, AAr, p. 307.

106 AI-Nu'man tries to connect this episode to a tradition reporting that a "white dove"
(fJam.imab lJayfli? flew down and entered into union with him. Ibid., p. 30S. This tradition is
presumably taken from the accounts of the baptism of Jesus and the subsequent visit of the Holy
Spirit in the four Gospels: Matthew 3: 16; Mark 1: 10; Luke 3: 22; John 1: 32.
AI-5ijistini, ItlJWt, p. 100. On this passage cf.: H. Feki,Les idées religieuses et phz1osophiques,

p. 224; P. E. Walker, Early Philosophical 5hiism, p. 119.

108 This sort of specification of ange1ic being(s) is difficult to find in al-Nu'man's text. For
example, in the passages on Moses and Jesus discussed above, it is not indicated which of the

• "beings at the upper ranks" played the decisive role in the formation of the prophethood of these
two IJàPqs. Am, pp. 190-92 and pp. 299-314.

prophet at bis birth ('inda al-milâd), while at the same time describing the

• development of the role of nâpq as a process lasting throughout bis entire life
span.109 Thus, although a prophet is granted two other faculties, i.e.,
faculty of esoteric interpretation) and 1dJay:il (imagination of the future of the
fa~ (the

community), it seems to be suggested in the text of al-5ijistini that the jadd is the
indispensable and decisive faculty which qualifies a nâpq to occupy this rank.
The jadd ' s role as such is more clearly represented in al-5ijistini's description
of its multifaceted nature: it is the "fortune" (al-bakht) which makes a "pure soul"
(nais zakiyah, Le., a prophet), become a lord (rabb) of the people of his age; it is

his vehicle (markab) into the divine realm (maIaküt); it helps him in compiling
revelation (ta 'lU laozjli-bi) in the form of a clear instruction consisting of speech
and written words (literally, "voices and letters") (talqin mubâyin 'an al~rit

wa-al-!Uuijf').110 This is to say, many of the ni#q '5 attributes are provided to him

• by virtue of the presence of the jadd.

Therefore, since above these three angelic beings there exist the two highest
spiritual hypostases exerting their influence upon the napq and the asâs. we must
ask ourselves what the interrelationship is between the three angelic beings, the
aflin, and the nU!aqa' in the formation of prophethood and in revelation. In this

interrelationship, according to al-Razi. the three angelic beings play an intermediary

role between the aflitl and the asâsitl, as we have already seen in the case of
Abraham gaining the "spiritual stream" from the aflÜJ through the intermediation
of the jaddand ldJayil. This gives tise to another question, however. 1s there any

109 A1-5ijistini describes the grades of deveIopment of the career of the IIcomplete1y fortunate
one" (al-mu'üd al-Iimm ), that is, the niP9, using the term "three fortunes" (al-A 'âdât a/-tbalâthah)
consisting of: 1) the alighting of jadd [on him] at the time of bis birth ( WU9ü' d-jadd 'inda al-milâd);
2) the gift of intellect and leadership at the [attainment of] maturity (hibat aJ-'aqi wa-a/-$iyâsah
'jnda al-bulü,h); 3) the success of the testamentary commandment at the time of his death (rawtiq

aJ-W'afiyah 'ÜJda al-ma rit). AI-5ijistini, Kim" aJ-lftilcbN, p. 45•

110 Ibid., pp. 42-43. See also Halm, Kosmologie, pp. 68-69.

ather connection between the ~lilJ and the uüilJ, besides the intermediation of

• the three angelic beings? This question is closely related to the one which we
already raised conceming the prophets' accessibility to the two highest spiritual
hypostases without the intermediation of anyone else. In the remainder of this
section we will attempt to shed light on these issues and on the relation between
the earthly and celestial hierarchies through an analysis of al-Razï's interpretation
of the stories of the prophets.
As for al-Razï's discussion of the idea of graduai formation or elevation toward

the attainment of ni!iq-ship, one of its most typical expressions can be found in
bis interpretation of the Qur'inic verses 33: 45-46. These verses declare that God
dispatched the Prophet M~ad as a "witness" (sbahiJ), a "bringer of good
tidings" (mubumbir), a "wamer" Cnadhir), a cal1er" (di 1;), and a "bright lamp"

(sirij munir). The meaning of these verses is, according ta al-Razï, that the Prophet

• had bestowed upon him. the five grades of the hierarchy by Gad. He then writes:
'Therefore he was elevated from one grade to another (min martabah iJi martabah) .. ."
The five grades with which the Prophet was graced were the ranks of ma'dhÜll
(licensee), janall ("wing," another appellation for da Ij), l;quq (lieutenant), mutimm,
and nap'l (f. 60r., lI. 4-14/f. S8v., l. 14- f. 59r., l. 9/p. 123).111
The issue of the decisive role of angelic beings in the formation of prophethood
is aIso discussed by al-Rizi in the context of his interpretation of a well-known
Qur'inic verse on the Prophet M~ammad. This is the verse on bis "night joumey"
(isri' ), Le., 17: l, which has been oft-quoted and interpreted in various genres of

lU Following this passage, in which he replaces mufimm with asu, aI-Razi presents the
correspondence between each title of the Prophet and each hierarchical rank. The "witness"
corresponds to aapq; "good-tiding bringer" to ua.; "wamer" Caadbirl to mutimm; "caller" (da 'i) to
lilUq; "luminous lamp" to iuj~ Interpreting the same verses, also al-Nu'min tries to find

correspondences between the five tities of the Prophet and the five ranks of the earthly hierarchy.
He cites the same ranks as al-Ran's, but the correspondence he presents is different from al-Rans.
AI-Nu'min, Am, p. 350.

Islamic intellectual and religious literature. l12 The following is al·Ra.zi's

• interpretation of the verse:

"Glory to Him, who carried His servant by night from the Holy Mosque to the
Further Mosque" (Q 17: 1). That is to say, he was elevated from the conjunetion
with the tali to the conjunctïon with the sabiq (the preceder, Le., the Universal
Intellect) and gained the rank of the enunciation (martabat a1·nu~) which is the
furthest of the hierarchy (aq~i aI-f:JudüJ>. "By night," that is to say: it (i.e., "In
one night") was a thing hidden, conceming that which is between the lJa!iq and
the ~lan: none but he was aware of the reality of bis rank in relation to these
two. And he rode Buriq, "from the holy mosque to the further mosque" (Q 17:
1). That is, he came into conjunction with the jadd from the side of what shone
(baraqa) upon him through the kbayil of the tali (bi-khayil al-taJj). And then
he mounted the ladder (al-mi'râI1, thus ascending to heaven. That is to say, the
jadd joined him with the sabiq (bi-al-sibiq) until he rose to the f:Jadd of enundation.
[The expression] "the precincts of which We have blessed" (Q 17:1) means the

• DÛ and his la ~q spiritually supported with the blessing. (f. 58v., IL 5-13 / f.
57r.,I. 16- v., 1. 8/p. 120)

In the passage quoted above it is the sibiq, i.e., the Universal Intellect, which
allowed the Prophet M~am.mad, after rus conjunction with H, to attain the rank
of enundator-ship through elevation from the conjunetion with the t:ili. In addition,
the text seems to imply that this conjunction entails another conjunction, that is,
with the jadct That is, the Prophet ascended from the conjunction through the
khayil of the tàli to the conjunction with the übiq through the jadd. Briefly stated,

tt2 The scholarly references to the tradition of the Prophet's linight joumey" are nearly
innumerable. Here we ate the following studies: G. BOwering, IiMi~ràj," ER, vol. 9: pp. 552-56; the
relevant passages from E/lrly Islamic Mysticism: Sufi, Qur'ù, Mi'raj, Poetic and Theological Writings,
transI., edited with introduction by M. A. Sells (New York, 1996); the articles from Le voyage
initiatique en terre d'Islam: ascensions célestes et itinéraires spirihlels, ed. M. A. Amir-Moezzi

• (Louvain/Paris, 1996), including Y. Marquet, "L'ascension spirituelle chez quelques auteurs

ismaïliens," pp. 117-32.

this passage on the llnight journey' shows that the conjunction of the Prophet

• M~mmad with the sibiq and the jadd elevated him to the rank of nipq -ship
according to al-Ran's interpretation.113 Thus, the latter suggests that those two
hypostases played a decisive role in the Prophet's attainment of the rank of
In our attempt to understand the above interpretation of the "night journey"

verse the question still remains as to whether this insistence on conjunction with
the highest angelic hypostases is applicable to other prophets in the thought of
al-Razi or that of other Ismi1ili thïnkers. This is the problem we raised earlier

regarding the ability of the prophets to have access to the highest hypostases,
such as the a,lin. One due to solving the problem is provided by the aforementioned
polemic over Abraham's denial of the cult of the astral bodies (Q 6: 75-78),114 and
al-Ran's discussion of another Qur'inic verse 7: 143 dealing with Moses' encounter

• with God on Mount 5inai Although this polentic has already been edited and
analyzed by H. Halm, neither his text nor bis analysis covers al-Rizi's own
interpretation of Abraham's story written in reply ta al-Nasaiï's one.us This part
will be discussed and analyzed in our present study in order to present an overall
picture of al-Rizi's concept of the prophets' contact with the angelic beings.
The original story of Abraham's denial of the cult of astral bodies in the Qur'ân
develops as follows. God showed Abraham the Urealm of the heavens and the
earth" (malaküt al-samawit wa-al-art!) (Q 6: 75). After night fell, Abraham saw a
star, believing at first that it was his Lord, but when it set on the horizon he did

113 Also al-5ijistini interprets this verse of llnight joumey' as the Prophet's attainment of

the rank of the nafjq-ship (~dd aJ-nifjqiyab). And yet he holds that he was elevated to that highest
eartlùy rank from the rank of the imamate (~dd al-imûDiyab). AI-5ijistini, Ithbat, p. 44. On this
passage by al-Sijistini, cf. Y. Marquet, "L'ascension spirituelle," pp. 117-20.

114 See aIse p. 217 of the present chapter above.

115 In Halm, Kosmologie, pp. 70-71 (the analysis of the text), pp. 225-27 (Arabie text).

not believe 50 any longer (6: 76). Next he saw the moon, and believed that this

• was bis Lord, but it too set (6: 77). Finally, he saw the sun, and, impressed by its
splendor, came to believe it was his Lord. However, this too set. From that point
onwards he consistently confessed rus belief in the unity of God (Q 6: 78). In the
original story of Moses (Q 7: 143)/ he implored God on Mount Sinai ta show
Himself. Replying to Moses, Gad ordered him to turn his eyes to the mountain
where He would appear. Unable to bear such a glorious vision, Moses fell to the
ground unconscious. After he recovered, Moses repented his arrogance in trying
to see God.
Following the pattern of his polemic against al-Nasafi, al-Riozï begins by
introducing his opponent's interpretation of the story of Abraham's denial of the
cult of astral bodies as follows (f. 91v., 1. 15- f. 92r.,1. 11ff. 92r., l. 8- V., 1. 4fpp.
183-84).116 According to al-Nasafi, the /Istar," which Abraham first thought was

• the Creator (aJ-mubdi'), was the jadd. 5ïnce this "star" set, he became aware that it
is impossible to believe that a /lbeing which ends at another above it" (mut:anihin
ni fawqi-hi) possesses the Divinity (al-ilaJüyab). The next astral body, the "moon/"
was the Universal Soul (al-nafs) by itself (bi-hüwïyaû-bi): Abraham saw its light
(niira-hu), beauty (baha 'a-hu), and grandeur (/a~amata-bu).117 However, the I Imoon"

aIso set over the horizon: this meant that the Soul had reached its limit (padda-hu),
that is, the preceder or the Univers al Intellect. Finally, when he saw the /lsun/" he
recognized the rank of the Preceder (fJadd al-sibiq), thus finding it glorious and
confirming the se rvitude" (al-'ubüdiyab). That is to say, the sun" symbolized

the Universal Intellect.

To begin with" al-Rizi maintains in his refutation that Abraham had already

n6 o. Halm, ibid., p. 70.
117 AI-Razi refers ta the Soul using a masculine pronoun.

reached the rank at which he could be aware of the ranks of the jadd and the ~lan

• by the time that the story of Abraham's denial took place. (f. 92r., Il. 11-13ff. 92v.,

Il. 5-7/p. 184). Even the relatively lower ranked people such as the "wings," Le,
di.Çis, and licensees (al-ma'dhünün) know that the authority of every rank ends

(mutanihin) at its limit and that no creature can gain the Uvision of God" (ru'yat

Allah) (f. 92r., 1. 13- v., 1. 8/f. 92v., 1. 5- f.93r., 1. 3/pp.184-85). Rather, al-Ri.zï also

rejects al-Nasafi's statement that Abraham saw the "beauty" and IIgrandeur" of

the Universal Soul, holding:

For this (Le., the Universal Soul) is a degree (manzilah) which they (Le., the
human beings) will not attain in this world (fi hi.dhi. al-'j,Jam). They will not
recognize its (the Universal Soul's) light and beauty only with recognition and
knowledge in its essence (bi-hüwïyati-hi). It cannot possibly be believed that
they will attain the vision of the "two roots" Cru'yat a1-~Jayn) in their essences

• in this world. (f. 93r., Il. 2-S/f. 93r.,1. 15- v., I. 1/p. 185)

That is, it is m1.possible even for prophets to grasp the vision of the Universal
Intellect and the Universal Soul in their essences in this world.
In an attempt to base the denial of the vision of the two highest hypostases on

scriptural authority, al-Rizi quotes and interprets verse Q 7: 143, which has been
often analyzed and utilized for the discussion of whether the vision of God is
possible or not. n8 To begin with, al-Ràzi maintains that the '~ord" of Moses in
this verse is the Follower (al-fjJj), who instructs not only Moses and other nuraQi'

118 On the various interpretations of this verse in the context of debate over the possiblity
of the beatific vision of God in the hereafter since the 3rd/9th century, see the following studies:
M. Allard, I.e problème des attributs divins dans la doctrine d'al-Airad et de ses premiers grands disciples
(Beirut, 1965), pp. 264--69; A. K. Tuft, "The Origins and Development of the Controversy over

RuYab in Medieval Islam and its Relations to Contemporary Visual Theory" (Ph.D. dissertation,
University of Califomia, Los Angeles, 1979), pp. 59-89; G. Vajda, "Le problème de la vision de
dieu (ru'J'3> d'après quelques iilites duodédmains," I.e shi'isme imâmite (Paris, 1970), pp. 31-54.

but also some of hierarchs ranked below the lJu~qi " such as the USU$ (fundaments)

• and the aÛmma' (completers, Le., imams). Then, it is the ra/i which is entrusted
(al-mutawalli) with bestowing spiritual benefit upon them (ifâdatu-hum) from itself

and the $ibiq through such intermediaries (a1-risi~t) as the jadd and the khayil
(f. 93r., IL 6-14/f. 93v., Il. 2-12/pp. 185-86).119
In his interpretation of the tale of Moses in verse Q 7: 143 al-Razi indicates that

even -!iqs like Moses cannot contact the ~lin except through those intermediaries.
In addition, al-Ri.zi implies, the spiritual benefit is channelled through the taJi to
the nipq, and from him. to other da'wah members, just as the t4l1i plays a crucial
role in bestowing the ta'yid on the napq, and on the earthly hierarchy. The dose
relation between the tali and ni#q is mentioned and described also by al-5ijistini.
For example, in his interpretation of verse Q 17:1, al-5ijistini writes that the taJï
carried the Prophet up from the ~add of imamab ta that of enunciator-ness

• (napqiyah).t20

Then, what, according to al-Razi, is the "mountain" (al-jabal) in verse Q 7: 143,

ta which the ''Lord'' (that is, the tali) ordered Moses to turn bis eyes? We can
safely say that he holds that the mountain is the jadd, since he interprets the arder
of the ''Lord'' as being to look attentively at the state of the tili by way of the
jadd. Al-Ri.2i continues bis interpretation of the verse as follows:

Il And when bis Lord revealed Himself to the mountain, He made it crumble ta

119 Also, al-Razi writes in the same passage, though ail of them receive spiritual guidance

from the ~laa, it is nevertheless delivered by the rali through the intermediaries, i.e., the jadd and
the ldJayil.

120 AI-5ijistini, IlhA'. p. 43. Also according te al-5ijistini a Qiliq is always in either the
state of asœnt to the rank of the liJi through which he gains bis allotment from the Divine Word
(.fJç~bu min al-blimah ), or that of descent for bestowing the benefit upon (üid~ the people
below him. In other words the -fÏq is always between the two states of receiving benefit from the

• Iâli and delivering it to the members of earthly da'wah. Al-Yaaabi p. Il (English transI., p. 47;
French transi., pp. 23-24).

dust" (Q 7: 143). That is to say, when (the Follower (al-dü ) appeared to it (Le.

• the mountain) in its own way [of manifestation], it broke into fragments and
could not sustain in that [situation]. " ...and Moses fell down swooning" (Q 7:
143), when he saw the matter of the jadd and recognized that he could not
acquire what the jaddcould not (f. 93v., Il. 2-5/f. 93v., 1. 17- f. 94r., 1. 3/p. 186).

Therefore, according to al-Razï, even the jadd could not sustain direct vision of
the tjJj, let alone a IJâpq like Moses.
In addition to verse Q 7: 143, al-Razi quotes two famous ~diths as authoritative
evidence of his understanding of the roles of the intermediaries. In the first of
these the Prophet describes how revelation (al-wa.!Jy) came to him, saying that the
severest of it (ashaddu-hu) affected him as though it were the sound of a bell
ringing.121 In another ~dith al-Rizï quotes the reports that the appearance of the
youth called Di~yah al-Kalbi coindded with one of the Archangel Gabriel's visits

• to the Prophet M~ad.l21

Al-Ri.zi deals first with the angelic being depicted in the second padith. This
being was "what came to him from the tali through the khayiI." Al-Razï also
mentions another being from the sibiq through the jadd" (ilchar bi-al-jadd min

al-sibiq). Presumably al-Rizï relates this other being to the revelation reported in

the first !Jaditb. For, immediately after referring to "another being," he tries to
turn readers' attention to the revelation depicted in the first p;tdith, which is

described using a superlative form: ubaddu-bu 'alayya e'the severest of it for

121 The quotation by al-Rizi of this .fJadith is identical with the version recorded by al-Bukhari.
On this fp.dim, also d. Concordance et indices de la tradition musulmane, 00. A. J. Wensinck et al. ,
vol. 4, p. 199. The quotation of another famous .fJadith immediately follows this: the second lJadith
is transmitted from 'A'ishah reporting the coming of revelation on a day which was severely
cold. On these two .fJaditls, see al-Bukhiri, al-,f.lJ, ed. L. I<rehl CLeiden, 1862}, vol.l: p. 1-

122 On this ~ad;th, see: al-Bukhiri, ibid.,; Ibn ~anbal, Musnad, vol. 2(Bayrüt, n.d.), p. 107.

• Also cf. Concordance et indices, ed. A. J. Wensinck et al., vol. 3, p. 429 and J. Pedersen, Il!2iabr.i'il,''
El 2, vol. 2, p. 363.

me"). What is meant here by "severest" is that the revelation is of the '1tighest

• grade" (aria 1 al-darajat ), which results from the sabiq or the Universal Intellect
coming into contact with the Prophet through the jadd (f. 93v., 1. 16- f. 94r.,1. 13/
f. 94r., 1. 17- V., 1. 16/pp. 187-88).

In short, al-Rizï seems ta interpret these !Jaditbs as telling us that the Prophet
could come into contact with the two highest spiritual hypostases, the Intellect
and the Soul, but that this contact is mediated through the lower angelic beings,
the khayil and jadd. Thus al-RiZi appears ta confirm the prophets' limited access
to or recognition of the highest hypostases, a doctrine which forms an important
part of bis thought on the office of prophet in terms of the latter's contact with
the higher, angelic beings.

After analyzing al-Razi's rejection of the possibility of unmediated contact with

• and recognition of the two highest hypostases, we should briefly consider his
own interpretation of the story of Abraham's rejection of the cult of astral bodies.
First, al-Razi hoIds that when the "night" fell (Q 6: 76), Abraham reached the
domain of the "true mission" (al-da 'wa1J al-~aqïqïyah ), that is, the hierarchy of the

true religion.l23 Thus, according to al-Razi, God Himself describes about his ascent
by stages (irtiqa 'u-hu fi al-maràtib ) in the following verses Cf. 94v., 1. 14- f. 95r., 1.
6ff. 95v.,lI. 2-11/p. 189).

The "star" (Q 6: 76) means the da 'i who became Abraham' s first instructor

123 Al-Ràzï also maintains, "he (Abraham) was qualified [by GodJ for the stage of enunciation
(mu'abIJal li-marra"ar al.."IIftl), and that was precedent [to bis actual installation to it) in God's
knowledge <Daa dlalih "biqan fi 'ilm ADiIJ)." Furthermore al-Razi interprets the urealm of the
heavens and earth" CmaJa1cür a/-,amanr wa-al-ari) God showed Abraham (Q 6: 75): The "realm"
means the jirior spiritual"stream," whereas the "heavens and earth" are the lJu~à' and the usus
(fundaments). These accounts of al-RaZi seem to mean that when Abraham was initiated into the

• da'wah, he was already predetennined ta become a œ#q in future. See f. 94v., 1. 14- f. 95r., L 3/f.
95v., Il. 3-9/p. 189.

(mura"bi-bi). This is the reason why he was initially Abraham's "Lord" (,~bu-hu).

• However, the "star" set, meaning that the religious knowledge of the di li "sank"

(;staghraqa). That is to say, after Abraham had finished assimilating the knowledge

of the dj,li, the latter was no longer capable of answering any of Abraham's
questions (f. 95r., IL 6-14/f. 95v.,1. 12· f. 96r., 1. 5/pp. 189-90). The "moon" (Q 6:
m is the lJi#q of the age whom Abraham obeyed as his Lord and instructor.
However, when the "maan" ar nalÏ9 "set," hypocrisy appeared in the da/wah,
because it had already entered the age of the fatrah or "interval" (f. 95r., 1. 15- v., 1.

12ff. 96r., 1. 5- V., 1. 2/p. 190).

As for the "sun" mentianed in verse Q 6: 78, al-Ra,zï states that it refers ta the

then absent mutimm. He devotes in fact an entire passage ta explaining that the
rising of the sun is the visit of the kbayil of the mutimm absent in that time (khayil
al-mutimm al-gm 'ib) ta Abraham because he was deemed suitable far the "awaited"

• matter (mu'ahhal Jj-l-amr

rank of completeness
2-11/p. 191) which only the

(~add al-tamimiyah)

In addition, the kbayil showed him the

(f. 95v., 1. 12- f. 96r., 1. 4/f. 96v., II.

usus, and atimmi. 1 (pl. of mutimm) could

presumably hold, as seen above in the last section.124 In brief, the khayil foretold
ta Abraham that he would be the tla#9 of the next age after the fatrab.
In the next stage, even the "sun" set. This can be interpreted as signifying the
termination of the authority of the imim of the age (ami" mutimm al-zamin). Thereafter
Abraham gained the support from the ~lanl2S and reached "completeness"
(tamimiyab), by which al-Razi means that he was elevated to the highest categary

af the members of the earthly hierarchy, presumably, lJipq-ship in this context. 126

12' See p. 217 of the present chapter above.

125 Al-Razi writes that Abraham " came into junction with the ~làn I l (ir~a bi-al-~lan>•

126 On the "completeness (tamjmïyab), cf. p. 209 and p. 215.


At that stage all suspicion (al-irtiyib) and doubt (al-rayb) disappeared from bis

• heart. He eventually dedared to the followers of the antagonist

age his final break from them: this is the meaning of Abraham's cutting his ties
with the polytheists (Q 6: 78) (f. 96r., 1. 4- V.,
(a1-~idJ) of his

1. 1/f. 96v., 1. 11- f. 97r., 1. 9/pp.

191-92). Thus, ta conclude, he reads the Qur'inic story of Abraham's denial of
the cult of astral bodies as an exemplary tale of bis progress from his initiation
into the da'wah hierarchy and gradual recognition of the higher hierarchical
ranks ta bis final attainment of "completeness" or the rank of nipq-ship.
The above two interpretations offered by al-Rizi and al-Nasafï of the same
Qur'inic story leads us ta the question of what led them ta adopt opposing views
on the recognition of or contact with the two highest hypostases. This difference
has triggered a debate on the interpretation of the story. A possible solution is
offered by Dr. Paul E. Walker, who discusses at length in one of bis articles the

• nature of human soul and its relation to the higher intelligible world according ta
the participants in the debate recorded in I:famid al-Dm al-Kirmini's al_Riyi!l-l27
Walker points out that among the issues debated in al-Riyi~, there is one which
is concemed with the problem of whether each human soul is either a "part"
(juz') of the Universal Soul (al-Nasafï's view) or just a "trace" (athar) of that
second highest hypostasis (al-Rizi's view). As we saw in the first section of the
present chapter, the two different views on human soul were originally found in
the Neoplatonism of late antiquity. Thus in terros of rus doctrine of soul al-Nasafi
follows the line of Plotinus, who asserts that a part of the human soul remains in
the intellectual world, whereas al-Rizï is, however, closer ta Produs in maintaining
that human soul, in its entirety, descends into our world. 128 Walker also suggests

127 P. E. Walker, "The Universal Soul and Particular Soul," pp. 149~.

128 See above p. 182 of the present chapter. This is based on P. E. Walker, Early Philosophical

that the issue of the difference between the two views is related to the

• epistemological question of whether it is possible for human soul, while dwelling

in the sensible or corporeal world, to recognize the intelligible and spiritual world

to which the Universal Soul belongs.l29

Furthermore, in the background to this debate, there is the cosmological
problem of whether the distance between the intelligible world and the corporeal
world should be emphasized because of the former' s transcendence (ai-Ran's
view); or whether the relation between the two worlds should be emphasized
because of the human soul's being a part of the Universal Soul (al-Nasafi's view).130
This cosmological problem is also related to the anthropologicai issue of how
human being can relate to the intelligible and spiritual world in the entire cosmos. 131
With regard to the issue of prophecy, we suggest that these problems involving
the human sou!' 5 relation to the intelligible world are aise related to our present

• issue of the prophets' contact with the angelic beings. This is especially true of

5hiism, pp. 55, 99-100 and 'The Universal Sou! and the Particular Soul," pp. 149-66.
129 P. E. Walker writes: "Because al-Rizi would deny that man knows about the intelligible
world precisely because he is part of it, he seriously undercuts the epistemological basis of
al-Nasafi's kind of Neoplatonism." P. E. Walker, ''TIte Uni versai Sou! and the Particular Soul," p.

130 Discussing his cosmogony and cosmology, al-Razi maintains that no part (juz') of this
world can be a part of the substance of the "two roots" in union with the Word or Logos of the
Creator (al-a,lan al-mu'~ddab bi-kalimat al-Ban'). This is because the substance of this world
consists of the coarse matter (al-bayü1j) and fonn (al-~ürab), whereas God created the Intellect and
Soul as the "mine of the complete nobility, the complete light, and ... the ultimate of ail of them"
(ma 'di" al-dJanf aJ-r.amm wa-al-nÜT a/-ramm wa-al-tJibayab fi lmJ1i.bi). Thus, even the most excellent
part of the material world, the national soul (al-ais al-oifiqab) of humankind cannat be part of
the substance of the two mots. See al-l,l~, f. 12v., 1. 7- f. 14v., 1. 5/f. 13r., 1. 2- f. 14v., 1. 15/pp.
29-33 and pp. 180-81 of the present chapter above. Also d. P. E. Walker, 'The Universal Soul and
the Particular Sou!," pp. 155-56.
131 AI-Nasafï regards the human being as the first being fonned in the Universal Soul
(awwal mrqaW"WU' li al-ml.): thus he is the "fruit of the benefits gained from the Intellect" (tbamarzt
al-iari'ïd al-musaEidah mi" al-'a91). Against this anthropological view which emphasizes the

human being's c10seness to the Universal Soul, al-Rizi posits his own view that humankind is the
"fruit of this world" (thamuat bâdlâ aJ-'iJam): Because of mm, this world exists in its bases and
foundations. See al-/~lâlJ, f. 14v., Il. 5-16/f. 14v.,I. 15- f. 15r., 1. 9/p. 33.

the debate on the Qur'inîc story of the denial of the cult of astral bodies, where

• the discussion is precisely concerned with the Universal Sou! as well as the Universal
Intellect, Le., whether it was possible for Abraham, a naliq, to recognize directIy
the two highest hypostases of the intelligible world. Concerning this focal point
of the discussion, al-Rizï maintains that even lJu!aqa' like Abraham and Moses
can gain only a sort of indirect recognition of the two highest hypostases through
intermediaries of the lower angelic beings, because human souls are merely IItraces"
of the Universal Soul. In opposition to this view, al-Nasafï holds that those
lJu!aqi' can recognize those highest hypostases more directIy, since their souls are
part of the Universal Intellect.
With regard to the nUJaqi ' s recognition of the intelligible world and the higher
hypostases, al-5ijistini, sicling with al-Nasafï's view, writes in his a1-N~rah as

• ...However, the prophets -Peace be upon them!- have maintained that they
saw the upper noble world (al-'à/am a1-'u1wi al-sharïf ), were aware of the
spiritual ranks, and gained, from the ~1jl1 (two roots) and three IIbranches"
(al-furo 1 al-tha1athah) which are above them (Le.., the prophets),132 the
(revelational] statement (al-"ayilJ ) and the light ta hand down to their successors,
and (that] they eye-witnessed the angels. Therefore, if their pure souls (anfusu-hum
al-zakiya1J) were the IItraces" of the Universal Soul (athar min al-nais al-kulHya1J),
they would be able neither to understand what is revealed to them, nor to be
aware of the spiritual sources (a1-a 'yin al-rü~amyah ) which are the parts (ajzi' )
of the Universal Soul.l33

To sum up, if human souls were not part of the Universal Soul, even prophets

132These are the five spiritual and celestial ranks, the counterparts of which are the five

corporeal and earthly ranks.
133 Al-5ijistini, IGra& al-N~ quoted in al-Kirmini, IGri& al-Riyifl, p. 124.

would not be able to recognize the angelic beings as well as the spiritual intelligtble

• world. This in turn would make it impossible for them te receive reve1ation.
Thus, according to al-Sijistini, the hierarchical order of the cosmos, including the
rational souls' (aJ-anfU$ al-lJa~qab) status as part of the Universal Soul, is founded
in order that the bases of the religion may be established. These bases include the

unity of Gad (a1-ta'W~cI), prophecy (al-nubüwah), imimab, the sacred laws (al-s/Jari 'i '),

the revelation (al-t.anzil), etc.l34

Furthermore, al-sijistirü develops the anthropological and epistemological
argument by using the logic of analogy to prove bis thesis on the human soul. l35
According to hîm, a partial being foUows its whole in activity. Since with his
partial sou! (bi-nafsi-hi al-juz'iya1J) a human being follows the Univers al Soul in
composition and in making of useful abjects such as handicrafts, so must the
human soul be a part of the Univers al sOul. l36

• Al-Sijistini further argues that while a "trace" would net be expected to even
want to understand its agent or trace-giver (mu'atbthiru-hu), human beings intend
in fact to understand and to recognize even the highest hypostasis, the Preceder
or the Universal Intellect, which is the cause of the Follower, Le., the Universal
Soul. This allows him to reject the thesis of that "persan" (apparently al-Râzï)

Al-Sijistini, ibid., p. 125. In this passage al-5ijistini also enumerates the reward (al-tbarib)

and the punishment (al-'iqib).

135 Al-5ijistini, the 18th "fountain" CJ.'ubü') titled "On that what is in the humankind is bis
parts and substance &am the Universal Soul" (Fi anna ma fi al-buhar ajzi'u-hu wa-jawharu-hu min
al-Data al-ku11iyah) from al-Yuüi', pp. 46-47 Œnglish transi. pp. 72-73; French transI.: pp. 67-68).
O. commentary on this passage by P. E. Walker in his translation of The Wellspring of Wisdom, pp.

t36 That is to say, the human being forms and composes some useful things such as
handicrafts using his skill, just as the Soul utilizes her pure skill of composition and formation in

her world and exerts the natural powers in creating beings in this world. Thus, human soul is a
Part of the Universal Soul. AI-Sijistini, ibid., p. 46 (English transI. p. 72; French transI.: p. 67). Cf.
commentary on this passage by P. E. Walker in his The Wellspring of Wisdom, p. 160.

that the human soul is merely a Utrace" of the Universal Soul. l37 This argument

• is, so to speak, epistemological, and close to the above quotation from

in the sense that al-Sijistini takes a human being's ability to recognize the intelligible,
spiritual world as the basis for his discussion. l38

The next argument is anthropological. Just as the "trace" or "effeet" of the sun,
i.e., the sunlight, is equally shared by all individuals, there is no disparity (taliwut)
in any "trace" of the existent beings in this world. However, as may be seen in
every sort of being in the cosmos, there is also a disparity in the state of human
SOuls. For example, one soul may be purer (azkj ) than another; this apparently
allows for the prophets, each of whom has a "pure soul" (n2f$ za1üyab) accorcling
to al-5ijistini. Here it is implied that al-Rizi's thesis of the human individual
soul's being a "trace" of the Universal Soul contradicts the hierarchical nature of
the human race, on which the rank of prophet and the entire structure of the

• missionary organization are based. Thus, al-5ijistini concludes, human soul must
be rather part of the Universal SOul. l40
The arguments of al-5ijisfi.ni examined above support our suggestion that the
debate between al-Rizi and al-Nasafi on how the nature of human soul can be
related not only to other philosophical fields of cosmology and epistemology, but
aIso to the issue concerning prophecy in early Ismi.'ïlism. The issue is, as we saw

137 Al-5ijistini, al-Yaaabî~ p. 46 Œnglish transI. p. 72; French transI.: p. 67). We follow the
identification by P. E. Walker of the person criticized in this passage. See P. E. Walker, The
Wellspring of Wisdom, p. 159.
138 P. E. Walker has a1ready pointed out that because of the existence of the '1ight of the
higher world" in the partial soul of human being, he can recognize the "other world," and "its
beauty" and "value." According to him, this idea is the basis of the epistemology of al-5ijislini as
weil as Neoplatonism in generaI a10ng Plotinian Unes. See P. E. \Valker, "The Universal Soul and
the Particular Soul," pp. 158, 165 n. 32.

See a1-5ijistiDi, Ithbil, pp. 41-43. On a1-5ijistini's concept of "disparity," see also chapter

4, pp. 115-16, above.

140 Al-5ijistini, al-Yaaibi', pp. 46-47 (French transI,: p. 68; English transI. pp. 72-73).

above, one of determining the modes of the prophets' contact with and recognition

• of the higher intelligible world and its inhabitants, i.e., the angelic beings.


Chapter 7
• Hierarchies and Sacred History:
Christology and Qi. Il imology

§1. The Contact of the Na'i, and the A••• with the
Highest Angelic Beings in Sacred History

In the previous chapter we described and analyzed how a given dignitary

gradually ascends, through contact with the angelic beings, ta the highest earthly
rank, that is, lJâ!i9'"ship. After reaching this stage a newly installed lJa!lq supposedly
acquires the functions of bis office and puts them into practice. Through these

• functions, especiaIly, the "compilation" (ta 'Iii) of a new sacred law, a lJa!iq
inaugurates a newera or cycle, which advances sacred history. The "compilation"
of a new sacred law itself is aIso caused by the prophets' contact with the upper
angelic beings in the course of receiving divine revelation.
We may DOW raise the question of how the enunciator-prophet's contact with
the heavenly spiritual hierarchy is related to sacred history. This question cornes
down to how the vertical aspect of prophecy relates to its horizontal or time-bound
aspect. Ta deal with this question we will analyze the relationship of the enunciator-
prophet and bis partner or uü, to the higher spiritual hierarchy in sacred history.
We will also pay attention to particular prophetie figures, namely, Adam, Jesus,
and the Qi1im (as weIl as 'Ali, the a.sü of this cycle), whose mutual resemblance
the text of aJ-/flâ.fJ strongly suggests. After fuis step we will analyze how they

• come into contact with the higher spiritual hierarchy in the arena of sacred history.

This approach will, it is hoped, shed light on the question of whether their specifie

• yet similar roles in sacred history are related to their "modes" of conjunctïon
with the spiritual hierarchy.
Al-Rizi compares the conjunctîon Utti~ } of the highest earthly dignitary with
the celestial hypostasis to the "pairing" (izdirij) of a male (dhakar) and a female
(WltlJi). In attempting to consolidate bis argument regarding the first lJi~q,1

al-Razï applies this metaphor to bis explanation of the establishment of the first
saaed law (aI-$bari'ab al-üli). That is:

Thus the first $hari'ah is a being born of the first nipq (murawallidah min al-nà#q
al-aW'Wal) at the time of his conjunction with the preceder and his pairing with
it ('inda itti.iIi-hi bi-al-$ibiq wa-izdiriji-hi bi-lu', because, when he came into
conjunction with the preceder, he paired with it. To it he (Le., the first na#q )
was in the position of a female (bi-manzilat al-unt1Jj) because of bis receiving of

• its (the preceder's) benefits, and [with respect] to him the preceder was in the
position of male (bi-manzilat al-dbakar) by reason of its raIe in bestowing benefits
upon him.2 (f. 65r., Il. 3-7If. 63v., li. lO-14/p. 136)

For al-RaZi therefore, the shari'aIJ is formed by the conjunction of the nâtiq with
the preceder and the subsequent "pairing" of these two figures.

In addition ta the appearance of the sacred law through the pairing of the

preceder and the lJi~q, al-Razi maintains that the da 'wah is established through

1 This argument by al-RàZi cornes in the course of his refutation of al-Nasafi's daim that
two enundator-prophets, like a man and a wornan, each play a role in giving birth, that is,
"wiladaIJ." According to al-Nasaf~ this was the case with the first sacred Iaw which was barn to
the couple of Adam and Noah See a1-I~Iâ{J. f. 64v.,I. 2- f. 65r., L 9 If. 63r., 1.7- V., L 17/pp. 135-36.
This man-woman or maIe-fernale metaphor has already briefly been mentioned in chapter 5, p.

2 The male-and-female relationship is also represented as one between superior (al-fà!liJ)
and inferior (aI-ma!lfül), or between benefactor (mulïd) and beneficiary (mustafïJ), in terms of their
respective roles (f. 7Or., 1. 4- V., 1.7If. 69r., L 6- V., 1. 13/pp. 144-45).

the pairing of the tjJj or follower, in this case a male, and the uü, a female (f.

• 70r., Il. 8-9/f. 69r., Il. lo-12/p. 144). In other words, the .1Jarrab and the da'wah,
whose establishment marks the renewal of the order of the religion in each new
cycle, are the results of this "p airing" or conjunetion of the uüan, Le. IJj~q and
uü, with the 8fliIJ, that is, the .abiq and the till. Thus, we can suggest that this

" p airing" or conjunction of the uüitJ with the ~IitJ serves as an "impetus" to
the advancement of sacred history.

There are still other passages which allow us to analyze the pairing or conjunctîon
of the ua. with the ~lan in regard to sacred history. In chapter 5 above we

examined the meaning of "birth" in the reference to the "hidden birth" in sacred
laws in a passage from al-I~Ii.fJ (f. 71r., 1. 15- V., 1. 3/f. 70v., Il. 8-13/pp. 14647).3
This we interpreted ta mean either the establishment of a new re1igious order or
new development of it. Although the "hidden birth" remains unexplained in the

• text, there is a passage discussing the cycle of Adam which suggests the possibility
that the llhidden birth" has the meaning of new development. In its account of
Adam and bis uü, the passage shows that the a.risàIJ (the lJipq and uü ) are key
to the development of the religious order in sacred history:

The birth (al-wilidab) is [Le., takes place] on! y between man and woman like
the pairing of the first napq with his asü (jzdirij al-nipq al-awwal bi-asisi-bi),
since they were [like] man and woman. Through the two of them a birth
manifested itself with the composition (Ia'lii) of the lWr (Le., the sacred law)
and the establishment (jqimah) of the da'wah. With the help that each of the
two (the lJi#9 and his "1$, Le., the U1$an> rendered bis companion the sacred
law and the da'wah were established, while the spiritual forms (al-~uwar al-

riijJiniya1J) were born (tawalladat) in the cycle of these two, until the cycle was

• 3 See chapter S, pp. 166-68 above.


completed. (f. 64v.,l. 15- f. 65r., 1. 1/f. 63v., Il. 5- 7/pp. 135-36).

• Comparing the partnership of the uüan of the first cycle to the pairing of man
and woman, al-RâZi holds that as a result of the collaboration between the lJipq
and the uü, the religious order comprised of the sacred law and the da'wah was
established (see aIso f. 70r., IL 4-7If. 69r., Il. 6-10/p. 144). This is the manifestation
of the '1lirth" which is followed by another birth, i.e., that of the "spiritual forms"
which, we believe, denote to a certain form. of human souls to be given life in the
religious teaching of the da'wah. The birth or emergence of these spiritual forms
again suggests new development within the religious order."'

Let us examine further examples of the relation between the ni~q and the asis
and its connection to the theme of contact with the higher spiritual hierarchy and

• the course of sacred history. One of the examples cited in al-Razi's discussion on
the relation of napq and "as is his interpretation of the Qur'inic tale of the unight
joumey," which we briefly examined in the last chapter.5 In his interpretation
of the tale, pointing to the fact that the verb ""mqa" (to shine) is the root of the
name "Buriq," given to the legendary horse that bore the Prophet on this joumey,
al-Rizi maintains that the animal actually represents a certain illuminating

experience or illuminating knowledge, granted by the khayil of the tili. This

experience brought the Prophet into conjunction with the angelic being, the jadd. 6

4 Here the "hidden birth" takes on an eschatological meaning. Below in chapter 8, pp.
322-25, we will revisit the issue of '''irth,'' and the "spiritual form" as weIl.
5 See above, chapter 6, §3.
fi The passage is as follows: "...he came into conjunction with the jadd from the side of

what shone ("araqa) uPQn him though the kbayàl of the raI;." The phrase w hat shone ("araqa)

uPQn him" can be thought to indicate the illuminative experience, which is compared to "Buriq,"
the legendary animal which cames the Prophet to Jerusalem and to heaven. See f. S8v., 11.

After ascending to heaven, i.e., to the rank of enundation by conjunction with the

• .abif though the jadd, the Prophet M~adled "Buraq" to the Rock of Jerusalem

(~akht Bayt aI-Maqdis), the latter representing bis"û •Ali, according to aI-Razi.
Thus the Prophet initiated 'Ali into the illuminating experience that he had
undergone in bis conjunction with the angelic beings. This experience aIso stands
for 'AJj's conjunction with the ltbayil of the tali (f. 58v., li. 5-l6/f. 57r.,I. 16- V., 1.
Il/p. 120).

Al-Rizi also discusses verses Q 53: 6-15, which are said to describe the Prophet's
visions of Gabriel or God Himself and of paradise, and which are often associated
with the unight joumey" of verse Q 17: 1. In al-Rizis interpretation the verses Q
53: 6-9 describe the Prophet's attainment of the rank of enunciation (nu~), that is,
the lJi~q-ship.7 In this state, i.e., at that particular rank, he recognized the grade
of the master of the cycle of cycles, the Qi'im (martabat ~~" daWT al-adwir ).

• Besides, al-Razï interprets other paradisiac visions of the Prophet in this set of
verses, associating the divine tree, "$idrat al-mungbj" (Q 53: 14) with the nâpq-ship,
and the "garden of retreat" (jannat al-ma'wâ) (Q 53: 15) with the Qi'im (f. 59r., Il.
l-15/f. 57v., 1. 11-f. 58r., 1. 10/p. 121).8

Then, after interpreting verses Q 53: 16-17 as a description of the consolidation

of the Prophet's nipq-sbip, al-Razi writes as follows:

10-11 If. S7v., 1. 5/p. 120: the translation of this passage can he found above in chapter 6, p. 223.

7 Thus al-Riou relates the abject desaibed in these verses to the Prophet himself, whereas
it is usually identified with the Archangel Gabriel or even Gad hïmself. See f.59r., 11. 1-7If. 57v.,
1. 11- f. S8r., 1. IIp. 121. For the mainstream-Sunni interpretations of verses Q 53: 1-18, the
foUowing detailed and informative study may be consulted, although it confines itself ta the early
phase of the history of Islamic thought: J. van Ess, ''Le Mi'rij et la vision de Dieu dans les
premières spéculations théologiques en Islam," in Le vayage initiatiqlle en terre d'Islam, pp. 27-56.

• • We will revisit al-Riz.i's interpretation of sorne of these verses from.ûnb 53 in detail

below on pp. 275-77 of the present chapter.

"He aIready saw the greatest of the signs of bis Lord" (Q 53: 18). [That isl

• because he is the greatest in the hierarchy (dbar al-~udüd).

approached: the moon is split" (Q 54: 1). 9 Thus "the hour" (aJ-sa'ab ) indicates
the known time (aJ-wqt al-ma'liim). That is ta say, at the time of his parousia
('ÛJda 1ÜJüri-bi ),
uThe hour has

the matter of the ui.r would emerge, which is the breaching

of the moon ün:r1Ji'&9 81llamar). And the breaching of it in the age of the
Messenger of God - God bless him and his household!- is the a.rü's disdosure
to his lieutenants about what he was supported with (mufi~atal-asis la~qa­
hu 6i-ma U}Yida bi-hi). Therefore the breaching of it [takes place] at the time of
the approaching of the hour as we made rit] clear. (f. 59v., Il. 2-7If. S8r., 1. 13-
v., 1. t/p. 122)

Thus, in a series of passages interpreting the night journey and other related
verses, al-Ri.zï discusses the raIe of the uü and the Qi'im, as well as the Prophet's
ascent to the ni#q-ship. In addition, al-Razi deals with verse Q 54: l, which

• reports on the already obvious sîgns of the coming time of the eschaton.10 Thus
the eschatological meaning of this verse suggests that the phrase '1ùs parousia (or
appearance)" indicates the apocalyptic parousia of the Qil im. This suggests that
according to al-Razi'S interpretation the "approach of the hour" means that the
mission of the uis would become clear at the time of the parousia of the Qi.'im.

As seen above, al-Râzi places special emphasis on the significance of the office
of the asu in general, and that of the Prophet's asâs , 'Ali b. Abi Tâlib, in particular,
in the course of sacred history. It is especially in f. 54v., l. 16- f. 64r., 1. 7 If. S3v., 1.

9 Just before this verse the printed edition includes the word IIf~l " (p. 122,1.5), which
is apparently based only on the a. manusoipt. 5ee the editor's note to 1.5 on p. 122 of the printed
edition. However there is no mention of it in MS. Ham (f. 59v., 1. 3) or MS. Tüb. (f. S8r., 1. 14). See
aise chapter 3, p. 60, n. 59 above. On the problem of whether to retain IIf~l ." we follow MS.
Ham. and MS. Tüb., in consideration of the continuity of the topie on eschatology before and after

the quotation of verse Q 54: 1.
10 On the meaning of this verse, d. Pare t, Der Koran: KommentaT•••, p. 463.

13- f. 63r., 1.4/pp. 112-31, while he treats the story of the "night joumey," that the

• charaeteristics of the office are discussed aIso in relation ta the Qi'im.

Al-Razi mentions the duties of the Bis in the following statement on the tasks
of the -#9 : the na';9 should appoint the ua. once he has finished laying down
the rules of the sacred law, in arder that the latter might establish the da'wah and
manifest the work of esoteric interpretation (ta'WJ1) (f. 61v., 1. 9- f. 62r., 1. 14/f.
6Ov., 1. 4- f. 61r., 1. Il/pp. 126-27). Al-Rizi moreover implies, in connection with
the office of uu, that after the nip9 departs from fuis world, the aS'ù takes on
some of the responsibilities of the position of nâ#9 (a1-9i'im-m~am al-na#q), since
he is supported by both the "stream" (al-jàri ) of the celestial angelic hierarchy
and the liJJïr of the sacred law of the nip9 (f. 60v., Il. 5-81 f.59r., 1. 17- V., l. 3/p.
124).11 Then, at the instructions of the tili (or the Universal Soul), the asis
distributes barakaIJ to the members of the da'wah organizatïon and sets their

• religious affairs in order.

In addition, .al-Rizï interprets the "Night of Power" (laylaL a1~adr) in the verses

from Q 97 as representing the "aras /' by whom he implies the ua. of our age,
'Ali b. Abi Tilib (f. 63r., IL a-13/f. 62r., IL 6-11/p. 129). Then in the following
passage, 'Ali b. Abï Talib, is depicted as the one who will guide bis followers to a
state of peace until the parousia of the Qi1im:

"In it the angels and the Spirit" (Q 97: 4). That is, he ('Ali) appears [as an
image] (yataklJayalu ) ta the lieutenants and the completers, and takes over the
distribution of blessing (9imJat al-bardah ) among them and the arrangement
of their ranks (tarti" lJudüdi-bim )....(...)•..
"Peaœ it is, till the rising of dawn" (Q 97: 5). That is, as concerns him (Aas

11 The partnership of Bas and lJà~q is expressed as resembling that of parents, especially

• in relation te the da'wah: the Bas is compared to the mother of the believers of the da'wah, and
the nariq te their father. See f.57r., L15- V,. 1. 12/t. 56r.,I. 11- V., 1. 7/pp. 117-18.

'Ali) and bis da'wah, those who take refuge with him are saved from doubts

• and uncertainties at the beginning (fi al-wa, Le., in this world). This willlead
them to the "etemal peace" (al-.a1ünah aJ-aIJadiyab) in the other (fi al-ukbni).
" ...Till the rising of dawn" (Q 97: 5). That is, until the da'wah is completed
with the disclosure of the matter (bi-inldshif al-amr) at the time of the parousia of
the master of the cycle of cycles ('inda ~uhür ~~b davrr al-adrir). [That is,] the
one who stands in the place of the preceder (al-qi'im maqàm al-sibiq) from
which there bursts out all the blessing (al-baralcab kuIlu-hi). (f. 63r., 1. 14- V., 1.
Sff. 62r., 1. 11- V., 1. 3/pp. 129-30)

As may be seen from the abo'!e, 1 Ali seems, even after his death, to appear as a

sort of mental image ta the completers, bis successors, and his lieutenants, 50

leading them through the ages. 12 Thus, al-Razi holds, the mission of the asis of
our cycle plays a salvational role with the approach of the time of the parousia of

the Qi1im. This is further evidence of the close relation of the asi.s of our cycle to
the Qi1im.

AIso in another passage al-Rizi states that the asis is an image (mit1JjJ) of the
last mutimm (completer), Le., the Qi'im. That is to say, the asas is in potentia on
the one hand, and the Qi'im in actu on the other (f. 55v., Il. 8-13ff. S4v., Il. 2-7/p.
114). Thus the passages examined 50 far toucbing on the office of asü-ship,
particularly that of 'Ali, suggest that al-Rizi regarded it as a sort of ''harbinger''
of the Qi.1im in bis mission in sacred history.

What aspect then of the office of asâs-ship, and especially 'Ali's tenure of it,
makes it a harbinger of the Qi'im? In other words, why is it regarded as such an
institution? If they have any common function which reaches the state of its
actualization or completion in the hands of the Qi'im, the function as such may

• 203-209.
12 See also the appearance of the kbayâl ta the lIanr' of Solomon above in chapter 6, pp.

point ta Ali as the only candidate for this role.


• The idea of the esoteric interpretation (ta'ri ) of scriptural texts may provide
us with a solution to the above questions. This is one of the main functions
assigned to the uis (f. 54v., 1. 16- f. 55r., 1. I/f. 53v., Il. 13-14/p. 112, f. 60r., II.
8-10/f. 59r., Il. 2-4/p. 123 and f. 62r., Il. 2-3/f. 60v., Il. 16-17/p. 127: aiso cf. f. 148r.,
Il. 12-14/f. 146v., ,. 17- f. 147r., 1. 2/p. 289). As seen in chapter 4 above, this
function of esoteric interpretation reaches its ultimate state or final point (nibayat
aI-ta'wü) with the Qa1im (f. lllr., 1. 12- V., 1. 2/f. Illv., l. 14- f. I12r., 1. 2/p.221).

This suggests that the function of the esoteric interpretation is fulfilled by the asâs
and the Qi.lim together but reaches its end or completion with the latter. Thus
we can point to the possibility that the esoteric interpretation is the function
which, at least partially, constitutes the asi.r -ship's, and particularly 'Ali's, role
as harbinger of the Qi.1im.

• In the passage on "four-ness" (aJ-arba 'iyah) which is quoted beIow, the nature
of the number four, which represents perfectness,13 is said by al-Razï to be related
to the function of esoteric interpretation (ta 'ri). In keeping with the same scheme,
the asi.r of the fourth nj~q 14 is seen as a sort of harbinger of the Qi,'im:

13 For this argument on "four-ness" and the fourth aapq, see above chapter 4, pp. 106-110.

14 It seems that al-Rizi identifies the uis of the fourth nipq with the Biblical Joshua, the
leader of the twelve Israelite bibes who is believed to have succeeded Moses and conquered
Canaan according to scripture and tradition, and is thought to have lived in the 13th century
B.CE.. On this identification, see above in chapter 6, p. 212, n. 90. On the Biblical ]oshua, see E.
Greenstein, "Joshua," ERr vol. 8, p. 118. But why does al-RiZi think him to be the ua. of the
fourth aifÏf? Ooes al-Ri7J evaluate the leadership of Joshua as having been more successful than
Aaron's? This peculiar naming of Joshua as ua. might show his penetrating knowledge of
Judaism or bis persona! relations with the Jews. Interestingly, it is reported that when still a Jew,
'Abd AlIih b. Saba', the reportedly Jewish convert, and earliest Shi1i extremist (ghiJi) of the
lst/7th century, had asserted the same thing of Joshua as he maintained about 1Al b. Ab! Tàlib
after bis conversion to Islam, that is, the nature of leadership as a religious duty after the death of
the prophet, that leaders irnmortality, and bis possession of the divine substance. See al-Nawbakhti,
p. 19f. (French transI., p. 36f.) and al-Shahras~ni, Milal wa-al-N~, vol. 1, pp. 365-67 (French

transI., vol. 1., p. 509f.). Cf. H. Halm, Die islamische Gnosis (München/Zürich, 1981), pp. 33-42. As
another example in Ismàlilism of this issue, the 6th treatise of Kira" aJ-Kubf naines Aaron <Hirün}
as the imirn alter Moses (IGfÜ aJ-lCubfp. 168), while the lst treatise of the same text treats Joshua

As for the allotment (~1 ) of IIfour-ness" to the fourth enunciator-prophet, it

• is manifested in his &Sas in potentia (bi-al-qûwab ) ...( ...) ... This appears in him
in potentia, not manifestly in actu (li ?uhüran bi-aI-fjtI). This is just because he
was one of the ranks of the esoteric interpretation (min pudüd al-ta 'vril),15 the
manifestation of which (i.e. the ta'wjJ's) would occur in the seventh cycle, and
because the seventh [.pq] is the fourth in actu. Therefore, since the seventh
[lJiPt ] is the fourth in actu , and he is the ultimate of the ta'wjJ and of the
realities (nihiyat al-ta'vriJ wa-a/-!Jaqi 'iq) in actu, the power of the ta 'Ml (qüwat

al-ta'wïI) is manifested in the uis of the fourth (n.i~9] with the rank of the
IIfour-ness" (bi-~add al-arba 'ïyah). And the manifestation of the grade of "four-
ness" was in him in potentin, not emerging out in actu Cf. 114v.,1. 10- f. IlSr., f.
Iff. 115r., Il. 7-13/pp. 226-27).

Thus despite the fact that the function of the ta 'wil appears in the uas of the
fourth lJi~9, the Qi'im is the one that achieves full actualization or its zenith

• (ilthe ultimate of al-ta'wil.. .in actu "). For the Qi'im, Le., the seventh nipq, is
really the fourth in actu, the true holder of the perfectness represented by the
number four. Another passage refers to the full actualization of the ta'wiJ possessed
by the Qi.'im in calling him the master of the mM, i.e., the unveiling of the inner
realities hidden in previous sacred laws (f. 106v., 11. 9-13/f. l07r., Il. 12-17/p. 212).
This kasM is the new role to be filled by the Qi 1 im. in the development of the
religious order. 16

This view of the ta'wi1's actualization suggests that the uis of the fourth nipq

as Moses' tJuijaIJ (Kitab al-Kuhfp. 14: aIse d. HaIm, Kosmologie, pp. 28 and 3I).
This may Mean that the am of the fourth cycle was just one of the persans in charge of

the function of ra'ri in the hierarchy.

16 At this stage in al-I,I~ the relation between the mb! and esoteric interpretation is not
made very clear. That al-RiZï mentions the llfinal point" of the ra'ri held by the Qi'im and his
title, the "master of unveUing," in the same passage suggests that the "unveiling" or lrubfis the

• ultimate point, that is, the full actualization of the esoteric interpretation. See below in chapter 8,
pp. 308-311 and pp. 321-22.

is the harbinger of the Q&'im also by virtue of bis function in manifesting the

• ta 'vril. However, aIthough the asa., of this cycle is not referred to in this specific

passage as a harbinger, al-Râzi feels obliged ta insist that 'Ali b. Abï Tâlib would
not be superseded by the fourth ua. in terms of rank. This is because 'Ali is the
"seaI of the fundaments" (kbàtam al-œus) (f. 114v., 1. 10- f. 115r., 1. 10ff. 115r., l. 7-
V' I 1. 6/pp.226-27). This implies that 'Ali supersedes even the fourth tUas in
terms of harbinger-ship to the Qi'im.

There is another passage which shows more clearly the harbinger-ship of Ali 1

respecting the Qâ'im in the function of esoteric interpretation. In bis discussion

of 'Ali's holding the office of "ü, al-Rizï quotes an eschatological Qur'inic verse,
Q 43: 61 and apparently interprets the ''Hour'' (al-sa 'ah ) of the eschaton in it to be
the Qi'im:

• And His saying is: "It is knowledge of the Hour" (Q 43: 61). This is to say that
it (i.e., "knowledge" by which 'Ali is meant) is the indicator for the
(al-dalil 'ali al-si 'ab), since the knowledge is a "sign" ('alimab): with it
(knowledge) a thing is shown. And he (i.e., 'Ali) is the master of the esoteric

interpretation (~" al-ta 'vn1 ) the ultimate of which Cnihayatu-hu, i.e., the ultimate
of esoteric interpretation) belongs to the "Hour," while he (Le., 'Ali) is the
indicator for it (Le., the time). And this verse is recited as " ...knowledge of the
Hour (" (Q 43: 61) and "and a sign" (wa-la-'aJam) [as weIl]. And these two
[words (i.e., "knowledge" and "sign")] share a single meaning. This is because
since he ('Ali) is '1<nowledge" of it (the Hour), he is the "s ign" with which he
(the Qi'im) is shown. (f. 125r., Il. 6-10/f. 125r., il. 5-10fpp. 247-48)

What this means is that, as the "master of esoteric interpretation," 'Ali becomes
the "indicator" ta and "s ign" of the eschatological ''Hour,'' that is, the Qi.'im17:

• 17 Concerning the concept of "hour" a metaphor for the Qi'im, see also below in chapter

the latter has the ultimate function or final point of the esoteric interpretation. 18

• In a sense the office of uas, especially 'AJj's ua.ship, anticipates the Qi'im,
who will achieve the ultimate fulfillment of the function of ta ' W . Thus we can
say that, in the last two passages quoted, al-Rizi argues in favour of the
harbingership of the a.ras in general, and of 'Ali b. Abi Tilib in particular, with
respect to the Qi'im. Actually al-RiZi strongly emphasizes their relation through
harbinger-ship to the extent that it is often difficult to distinguish the two figures
from each other, when he discusses the Qi.'im's eschatological role. 19

§2. Ri.zian Christology

§2-1. Crucifixion and Typology

We have just seen how al-Rizi interpreted the concept of harbingership with
respect ta the Qi'im. Comparing this scheme to Christian theological terminology,
we can say that there is a IItypological" relation between the divinely-guided
leaders in each faith which is manifested in their functions. Typology is a
hermeneutic methodology in Christian theology which attempts to discover the

8, pp. 314-16.
11 Al-Rizï seems to confirm, furthennore, that IAli is the "master of the esoteric
interpretation" (~" al-ra'ri), basing himself on a tradition attributed ta Ja Ifar aI-~idiq that the
"remembrance" (al-dlJikr) in Q 38: 1 means the "Commander of the believers" (Amu al-mu'IIJÜJÜJ).
According to al-Rizi, lai far means here that the "remembrance," i.e., the IICommander of the
believers," is the "master of esoteric interpretation." This is, because it is through the interpretation
that the people are IIreminded" of (yudbatbru), "remember" (yataclbakhrüaa), recognize and know
the signposts of their religion (ma'ilim trmi-bim). See f. 125v., L 12- f. 126r., ,. 1/f.125v., li. 12-

17/pp. 248-49).

19 We will discuss this tendency in detaü below in chapter 8, §2.


IItypes" anticipating the Messiah among the personages and events in the Oid

• Testament or the Hebrew Bible.20

In what might be referred to as a kind of IIIsma 'ilï Christology," al-5ijistani

discusses in bis Kitab al-Yanabï' the typological relation between Jesus and the
Qi.' im. In one of the two sections in this work devoted to the symbolism of the
Cr055,21 he explain5 that Jesus himself admits that bis role was to make public
the mission of the Qi. 'im, as may be seen from the following extract

Jesus -May peace be upon hïm!- gave his community to know that the master
of the Resurrection (~& al-qiyamah) is the one of whom he is the sign (alladbi
hUW2 'aJamat".hu). For, [Jesus continued,] when he (Le., the master of the
Resurrection) unveils the structural realities of the sacred laws which are
composed of the realities (Pa'la 'ill abtJiyah al-$hari 'i' al-mabniyab bj-!Jalli 'i'l),
the people will know them (Le., the realities) and will not deny them, just as

• when all the people see a crucified one (m~Jüb), they will recognize him and
understand his form, although most of them would have been ignorant of him
before that. Because of this meaning, his (i.e., the Qi'im's) day is called the
"day of baring" (yawm al-kasbf), just as He said: "Upon the day when the leg
shall be bared (Yawmyubbsfu tan saq ), and they shall be summoned to bow
themselves ..." (Q 68: 42). Thus, the crucified one on the wood became an
unveiled one (ma1ts1Jüf), although he was concealed before it (Le., the

20 In their interpretation of the office of the uû al-5ijistinï and al-Ràzi attempt to find
paradigms and signs of the coming and of the deeds of the u.rus (pl. of uis). This logic amounts
to typology, a henneneutical methodology as such. Therefore in our present study we adopt the
adjective "typological" ta describe a certain henneneutical tendency among the Ismi'IDs to find in
the past some personages and events anticipating the expected divinely-guided leader. For an
overview of typology in Christian theology, see, e.g. : J. R. Oarbyshire, ''Typology,'' in Encyc10paedia
of Religion and Ethics, ed. J. Hastings (New York, 1955), vol. 9, pp. 500-504; L. Goppelt, Typos: The
Typologicallnterpretation of the Old Testament in the New, transI. by O. H. Nawdig (Grand Rapids,
Mich., 1982); H. Müller, ''Type, Pattern," The New International Didionary ofNew Testament Theology,
ed. and transI. by C. Brown, et al. (Grand Rapid, Mich./Exeter, Davon, 1978-1986), vol. 3, pp.

• 21 AI-5ijistini, the 31st and 32nd "sources" from Kitab &1- Yanâbi, pp. 73-76 (English transI.:
pp. 93-95; French transI.: pp. 97-102). Here we will analyze the 31st section.


• That is to say, by being crucified on the wooden staves, Jesus made himself
known to the people of his time. It was this deed which anticipated the mission
of the Qi.'im to expose or unvei1 (hs1JJ) the truths hidden in the previous sacred
laws to the entire human race. Thus, in this section, al-5ijistini explains that there
is a strong resemblance between Jesus and the Qi.'im in their prophetie missions,
which can be called typological.23

Moreover, in another work he states that the Messiah (al-mas~), Jesus, is the
"sign of the resurrection" (njshÜJ-i l2$takbïz). This is because Jesus taught ms
disciples the knowledge (al-film) and the wisdom (al-frikma b) which will be
manifested with the '1ord of the resurrection" (klJuda wand-i qiyimat).24 This means
that Jesus' deed of unveiling the hidden knowledge heralded the same deed to be

• fulfilled by the Qi'im, which is another evidenee of Jesus' harbinger-ship with

respect to the latter.

Though differing in same respects from al-5ijistini, al-RiZi too sees a typological
relation between Jesus and 'Ali, as weIl as between Jesus, the Qi1im, and Adam.
We have already drawn attention to the resemblance between the Qi.'im and

22Ibid., pp. 73-74 (English transI.: p. 93-94; we follow in part the wording in P. E.
Walker's translation of the passage. Cf. aise French transI.: p. 97).
ZI The 32nd section of the text discusses the symbolic correspondences between the parts
of the cross, the high ranks in the heavenly and earthly hierarchies, and the words, letters, and
syllables composing the .balJjdab. In his argument al-5jistini attempts to establish a correspondence
in esoteric meaning between the Christian symbol of the Cross and the Islamic formula of the
confession of faith. Ibid., pp. 75-76 (English transI.: pp. 94-95; French transI.: pp. 100-102). O.
aise Nomoto, ''The Prophetie Figure of Jesus," pp. 299-301.

• :u AI-5ijistini, Kubf aJ-M~iüb, p. 80 (French transI., p. 113/English transI., p. 50 (in

manusaipt) ).

Adam in the debate between al-Razï and al-Sijistioi over the prophethood of
Adam.2S Here the chapter from al-l,l8lJ on Jesus entitled 'lOfhe Chapter on [al-
Nasafï's] Statement on the fifth Enunciator-prophet" (Bib al-QawJ fï Kbimi. al-
NU!&4â' 'alay-bi al-Salim, f. 115v., 1. 11- f. 131r., ,. 7/f. 116r.,I. 7- f. 130v., ,. 7/pp.
231-58) is desaibed and analyzed in full.

As for the typological relation of Jesus to the Qa'im, al-Razi develops his own
argument for it in response to al-Nasafi's daim that Jesus resembles the Qi.'im,
since the latter hid himself and yet is expected to retum one day, just as the
former hid himself, asœnded into heaven, and yet will return (f. Illv., Il. 2-3/f.
122v., Il. 2-3/p. 243).26 In other words al-Nasafï asserts the typological relation
between Jesus' absence (gbaybalJ), ascent to heaven and return, and the Qi.'im's
absence and bis expected retum. This al-Râzi denies, holding thatlesus' ,baybaIJ
is not the same as the Qa'im's.

• In his refutation of al-Nasan's statement, first of aIl, al-RaD pays attention to

the controversial issue of Jesus' death on the cross, which was followed by bis
temporary absence from the world until bis Resurrection, according to Christians.
As is already well known, the Qur'inïc verses 4: 157-158 have been interpreted as

a denial of Jesus' crucifixion by Muslim exegetes who themselves maintain that a

substitute died on the cross in his plaœ.21 Focusing on a phrase from verse Q 4:
157 'We killed the Messiah" (/JUJâ 9atalni al-MasifJ), al-Razi points out the

25 See pp. 86-89 and the entire section 3 of chapter 4 above.

216This typological idea put forward by al-Nasa6 was already briefly discussed above in
chapter 4, p. 102.
ri On the history of the classical Muslim exegesis of these verses, especially the tradition
of the death of Jesus' substitute on the cross, see: T. lawson, l'The Crudfixion of Jesus in the
Qur'i.n and the Qur'.nie Commentaries: An Historical Survey," in The Bulletin of Henry Marty

Institute of IsIamic 5tudies 10-2 (1991): pp. 34-62 (pt 1); 10-3 (1991): pp. 6-40 (pt. 2). Also d. M.
Ayoub, l'Towards an Islamie Christology U: The Death of Jesus, Reality or Delusion," Muslim
World 70-2 (t980): pp. 91-121.

contradiction inherent in this matter between the Qur'in which denies it, and
Jews and Christians, both of whom affirm it as a historical fact (f. 122v., Il. 6-15/f.
122v., IL 6-15/p. 243).

The remarkable thing about al-Rizi's interpretation in al-l,l~ of verse Q 4: 157

is his own denial of the death of Jesus on the cross, especially when, as has

already been pointed out, the Isma-ms are generally inclined to acœpt the historidty
of the crucifixion of Jesu$ and bis death as a result. 28 Al-5ijistiDi for one seems to
acœpt the fact of the crucifixion by interpreting the crucified man as a harbinger
of the Qi. 'im, as seen above.

In Ji'lim al-RaD too argues on behalf of the historicity of Jesus' crucifixion,

replying in t:his case to Rhazes who points out the mutual contradiction between
Jews, Christians, and the Qur'in on this issue. 29 It seems that Rhazes cites this
contradiction as an example of the invalidity of knowledge based on prophecy.30

• Relying on unnamed authorities (llsome scholars" ba'~ a/-'ulama '),

Qur'inic verses such as Q 2: 154 and 3: 169-170, as well as 4: 158, which teach
that the martyrs must not be taken as dead but as still alive with God, since they
al-Razï quotes

were lifted up to heaven. Then he quotes the same authorities, according to

whom these verses teach that Jesus was not killed in a real sense (tala al-~a9ïqa1J)

but raised up to heaven. Al-Râzi in fact takes the trouble to show how the Qur lin
and the Gospels are consistent in many instances, as may be seen from the following

An example of this in the Evangel (al-Injil) is [to be foundl in the Gospel of

28This was already pointed out by L. Massignon in bis ''Le Christ dans les évangiles
selon Gha7ü," Revue des études islamiques 9 (1932): pp. 523-536, especially pp. 533-36.

3 Al-Rizï, Â'làm, p. 168-70.

30 Cf. Nomoto, '''!be Prophetie Figure of Jesus," pp. 282~.


John (Bushra y~): The Messiah died in the body (bi-al-juaJ), whereas he
is alive in the spirit (bi-a1-~. Sa they thought that he who died in the body
was delivered from sin. And in the Gospel of Luke {Buslui. Lüqi.) [it is said]: 1
say to you, oh my dear friends (aw'liya ';), do not fear those who kill the body,
but cannot do more than that. ...(...) ... And in the Gospel of Matthew {Bushri.
Mata) [it is said): Do not fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the
soul, and do fear the one who can [both] destroy the soul and cast the body
into the fire [of hell].31

Al-Rizï maintains that these passages from the GosF~s are consistent with the
Qur'i.n in terms of their inner meaning, since both the scriptures attest that Jesus

could not be killed in the full sense, that is, in both body and soule The argument

over the crucifixion of Jesus in fact assumes that if Jesus was killed, it was his
body that perished, not his soule

• However, in al-I,l~, al-Rizï comments on verse Q 4: 157 as follows:

'We killed the Messiah" (Q 4: 157) [quotation up to the end of] the verse
(al-iya1J). What God said by Himself (Ji ,ifati-hi) in this verse is different from
what the people of the two scriptures (ahl al-kitibayn, i.e. Jews and Christians)
rely in regard to the exoteric meaning of the revelation (fi ~ al-tanzil). For
God -He is mighty and glorious!- said that the Jews did not kill him; and that
He put someone like hint (_1Jababu-hu) [as a substitute] for him whom He
pointed to. Thus, they killed the man who resembled him. The Jews have
confirmed that they killed and crucified him (i.e. Jesus). AIso, the Evangel
{al-InJl} has given an account similar ta that [of the Jews] and [stated] that they
took him down from the cross and buried hint. And the Jews and the Christians

31 Al-Ri~ Â'limr p. 169. According to the editors of the printed edition of the text (~.
a1-~Wiand G.-R. AI wiDi), the two passages which a1-Razi thus quotes from the Gospels correspond

respectively ta John 6: 50-63, Lub 12: 4 and Mathew 10: 28. See the index of the printed edition,
p.348. However, the saying of Jesus in John 6: 50-63 does not correspond to al-Rizi's quotation.
Moreover, al-RiZï's quotation from Luke actuaUy corresponds to Luke 12: 4-5.

are agreed on the fact that he was killed, and that he was not absent from the
world in any external sense (Ii al-lüir 'f2 except in bis departure (iDj li lDu!*iyi-IJi)
from the world due ta bis having been killed (6i-al-qatl). And in the Qur'in it
is said that he was lifted up to heaven (ru/i'. iJa al-ami '): His ascension to
heaven is not like the absence of the seventh [lJâIiq], and also bis mission had
been completed before bis departure from the world. However, bis (i.e., the
seventh's) mission was not completed in bis absence. Rather, the convocation
(al-.''''') in his name (i.e. the Qa'im's name) [williast] up to the time of bis
parousia. (f. I22v., Il. 6-I6/f. I22v., IL 6-17/p. 243)

In the above discussion al-RaD appears to adopt the tradition al mainstream-Sunni

interpretation of the crucifixion that someone who resembled Jesus was crucified
and slain as a substitute for him.33 This clearly contradicts al-R,azï's argument on
the same subject in A '/am. In dealing with this problem, we can suggest two

possible interpretations:

1) Pondering upon hermeneutical phrases such as #lin the exoteric meaning..."

and l'in an external sense" in the above quotation,34 one can suggest that in
al-I,li.fl al-Rizi had it also in mind to resolve the contradiction between the three

communities over the inner meaning of the three scriptures;

Whereas both MS. Ham. (f. 122v., L 12) and MS. Tüb. (f. 122v., L 13) have~l) ~, the

printed edition has ~~I ..... ~ ~ (p. 243, 1. 13) (fj ,abir al-UlU', ""in the extema1 aspect of the matter").
The printed edition's reading appears ta be based on the editors' judgement on the basis of the
context, because no manuscript has this reading: rather, ail three of the manuscripts on which the
printed edition is based have the reading ~1Ji, ~ according to the editors' note ta p. 143, ,. 13.
Considering the various contexts and overall states of the manusaipts, we adopt the less e1aborate
reading "",lWl ~ (6 al-PbiD.

T. Lawson calls the type of traditions, on which the mainstream interpretation of the

verse Q 4: 157 is based, ·'substitute legend!' Lawson, ·The Crucifixion of Jesus," part 1., p. 46.

3& Al-Rizï also holds that the contents of the Qur'in are "'truth·, and ""correctness" which
are the "parable which Cod coined Cmarbal !laraIJ.-lJu AUiI»!' According to him. the PeOple of
knowledge (abl al-'ilm) know the esoteric interpretation of this parable. AI-Ràzi, A 'am, p. 168.

2) One can also surmise that in al-l,l~ al-Rizï dared to contradict bis own argument
in  'liai in order to refute al-Nasafi's typological argument.

With regard to the first interpretation, we cannot find in a1-1~1~ any attempt at
"reconciling" the three communities through the esoteric interpretation of the
crucifixion or other passages from their scriptures, none at least that resembles
the reconci1iation which al-Razi advocated at Â'am. Thus since this suggestion is
conjectural, it must still remain a conjecture. However, the possibility of this
being 50 should still be kept open.

What then of the second possible interpretation? As far as it is concerned, it

can be pointed out that in the course of bis refutation of al-Nasafi, al-Rizi emphasizes
the continuation of the da'wah in the name of the Qa'im. This is because, according
to him, the mission of the Qa' im has yet not been completed, whereas Jesus'
mission came to an end during bis own lifetime. This sense of continuation of

• the da 'wah " under the name of the Qi.1im" can be related to bis bellef in the
advent of the Qa' im as not being imminent, but postponed to sorne future date.
This problem raises the further religio-political question of whether al-Rizï was
involved in the Qarmapan movement, a matter which we raised in chapter 2.

In addition, there is another point to remark which must be given consideration.

This involves the possible relation between al-Nasafi's statements on Jesus and
the Qi.1im and Christian messianisme The essential Christian creed of Jesus'
death, resurrection, and second coming has, ever sinœ, stirred expectations among
believers of the imminent advent of Christ. These expectations resulted in the
emergence of a number of millennialist-messianist rellgio-political movements in
history, and not just in the Christian experience. By the same token Qarmapan
entailed antinomianism, as observed in various Judeo-Christian millennialist-


messianist movements.:Ii Antinomianism as a by-product of the messianist idea
in Christianity, that is, the future advent of a Messiah, raises another question.

Did al-Razï find a tendency to antinomian millennialism similar to Christian

messianism in al-Nasan's typological argument on Jesus and the Qa' im~
H the answer to the above question is yes, it might be hypothesized that
al-Razi's denial, at least in a ,aIJüi sense, of the crucifixion of Jesus could be
because he considered il a crucial building block of al-Nasafï's typological argument
which would lead to a millennialist daim for the imminent advent of the Qi.·im.
But, to avoid specu1ating on the text, we should reserve our conclusions in
explanation of al-Rizi' s deniaI of the historicity of the crucifixion.37

Let us now return to our question (which still remains unsolved) concerning
al-Razi's denial of the crucifixion. Why did he not maintain consistency between
A'lim and al-l,la.fJ on this topic? The fact that he did not demonstrate in al-l,ljfJ

• the same spirit of reconciliation that he did in A'lim demands same attempt at

In A'1àm al-Razï had to refute Rhazes' assertion that the differences of opinion

over the aucifixion separating Muslïms, and Jews and Christians were still further
evidence of the self-contradiction inherent in the revealed religions. Thus, to
refute Rhazes, aI-Rizi had to reconcile the counter-crucifixion position represented

3S Cf. above in chapter 4 of the present dissertation.

36 H. Halm finds traces of Christian influence in this typological argument of al-Nasal, as
weil as in bis other arguments on Jesus which we are going to analyze, and in al-SijistiDi's
interpretation of the symbolism of the O'oss. Halm points out that these doctrines may not have
been very popular: that they were rejected by many can be seen from al-Razï's refutation. However,
Halm does not explore the reasons for rejection within each of al-Nasafi's arguments for this
reaction. Hahn, Kosmologie , p. 121f.
ri Interestingly, the text of al-I,Jj,fJ itself does not record al-Nasafi's own statement

supporting the historidty of Jesus' crucifixion. Thus we can ooly assume that such a statement
was made, given the context and the existence of al-Sijistini's famous discussion on the symbolism
of the cross.

by the Qur'in, and the pro-crucifixion one represented by the Gospels. This led
him to assert the consistency between, so to speak, the bodily death of martyrs
and their souls' being raised to heaven. This reconciliation could allow for the
crucifixion of the body of Jesus, a martyr whose body could be slain but whose
soul could asœnd to and üve in heaven, as the Qur'il\ teaches. 38

It is aIso possible that al-Rizi's priority in al-l,li.fa is to refute al-Nasafï's

typological argument on Jesus and the Qi. 'im but apparently not to maintain any
consistency with bis own A 'lim .39 In other words, there is the possibility that,
because he was writing a polemical work (a1-1,1~) al-RaZi concentrated on refuting
bis opponent al-NasaD, but did not think it necessary to maintain any consistency
with his refutation of another opponent, Rhazes. If titis was the case, al-Rizi's
denial of the crucifixion of Jesus in al-l,ltijJ could suggest that he was responding
to a polemic, and that he tailored bis views to meet bis opponent's argument,

• thus adopting an ad hominem approach.4O The issue will be revisited in the

conclusion, since it is re1ated to other important issues such as the characteristics
of al-Rizi's thought and our evaluation ofhim as a thinker.

Retuming to the topie of the interpretation of the crucifixion, we find that

al-Razï relates the controversial verses Q 4: 157 and 158 to the ••ü of the cycle of

the Prophet Mutaammad, i.e., 'Ali b. Abi Tilib, thus presenting bis own
interpretation as a counter-argument to al-Nasafi. In bis interpretation al-Râzï

31 Cf. Nomoto, ""The Prophetie Figure of Jesus," pp. 283-90.

3!l Of course, there is the possiblity that this prindple of the priority of refutation is
applied to A 'lâm.
4Of{owever, al-Rizi does not always contradict himself between the two texts or within a

given text, since A'lim and al·l,l~ are consistent in their arguments on the unity of the inner
meanings of religions and on the antagonists of the prophets, as seen in ehapter 5, §1 and §2

attem.pts to represent the idea of the resemblance of Jesus to 'Ali.41 He holds that
, cAli, is the Messiah of "this cycle" (al-Mui1J
the ""..." • fi adba al-.vn:\ since 'Ali

was "the one anointed" (al-lIJtUMiilJ) with sanctity (al~u.) and purity (al-ldarab).42
"Al-MaSitl" means, al-Razi adds, the anointed (al-matmiilJ) (f. 123r.,Il. 3-15/f. I23r.,
Il.3-15/p.244). He likewise maintains that the '1ews" (al-Yahiicl), i.e., the people

described in verses such as Q 4: 157 as persecutors of Jesus and bis disciples, are
the antagonists who "concealed" the rank and position of the ..ü from the
community. Al-Razï implies that this deed of the antagonists resembles that of
the Jews who did not recognize the mission of Jesus and even went 50 far as to
bide it from other people (f. 123r., ,. 15- V., 1. 9/f. 123r., ,. 16- v., 1. 9/pp. 24445).

Thus, the famous phrase in verse Q 4: 157, " ...only a likeness of that was
shown to them" (wa-lÜÜJ .hubbilJa la-hum), is interpreted as follows: the one
made to resemble Jesus in this verse means the usurper of the status of the

• ..ü-ship, who resembled the legitimate holder of this office because of bis daim
to it. This man, who is left unidentified in al-l,l~, was ''killed and crucified"
(qutila wa-,uHba), that is, was degraded from bis rank because of bis rebellious

deed (f. 123v., 1. 12- f. 124r., ,. 2/f. 123v., l. 12- f. I24r., ,. 2/p. 245).

Al-Razi also interprets the raïsing of Jesus by God to His right hand, referred to
in verse Q 4: 158, by comparing it analogically to the Prophet M~ad and bis

...., 'Ali. That is, just as God elevated Jesus to His right hand, the Prophet
elevated 'Ali to the .......ship. Thus, after the Prophet, 'Ali came to hold the

41 Ta support bis argument, a1-Razï quotes a Prophetie ,fIa.fIl which is interpreted as an

allusion ID those who over-revered •Ali in the same wayas Christians did Jesus: '1f a group of my
eommunity had not said [anythingl about you, the Christians would not have said [anythingl
about the Messiah" Cf. 123r.,ll. 3-10/f. 123r., Il. 3-/p. 244).
42 Bath the Hamdani MS (f. 123r., Il. 12 and 13) and the Tübingen MS (f. 123r., Il. Il and
12) have i~LWL However, considering the context and standard grammatical usage, we adopt the

• more grammatically correct reading 'J4MI': the printed edition also adopts this reading (p. 244, Il.
10 and Il).

highest rank of the hierarchy lIuntil the parousia of the Lord of the unveiling," i.e.,
e the Qa'im (lJatta ~ür~b al-lDubf) ( f. 124r,1. 14- V., 1. Sff. 124r, ,. 14- V, 1.4).43

Here, we would renûnd ourselves that al-Rizi suggested that there is a similarity
between the u:ü-ship of Ali in particular, and the Qi.'im in terms of their taking

on the raie of la 'ri or esoteric interpretation, which establishes the typological

relation between these two divinely-guided figures, as seen above." Thus in
al-RiZi's eyes Jesus, IAli, and the Qâ'im are connected by, so to speak, a typological
chain. While this chain does not link Jesus and the Qa'im directly, this does not

mean that they are not connected typologically in al-l~l~, as they mast definitely
are in al-Nasafi's scheme.45 Before we discuss al-Razï's own argument on the
resemblance between Jesus and the Qa'im, we will describe and analyze his
views on Jesus and the issues concerning hïm. This will, we hope, shed more
light not only on Jesus himself but aIsa on bis possible relation to ather praphets,

e inc1uding the Qa'îm.

As for Jesus' relation ta other prophets, this is discussed with regard to the

G Al-Râzi also quotes a tradition predicting that Jesus would lead the faithful in worship
behind the Mahdi at his ptlrousill, by merging it with his description of 'Ali's holding of the
..Ü-Ship up ta the parousüz of the Qi'im. W. Madelung mentions this passage by al-Rizî, but
abstains from any comment upon it. See Madelung, "Das Imamat," p. lOS. The passage in
question &om al-l,l~can read as foUows:
(...) 50 he ('AU) is in heaven until the lime ta which there is a '1imit" (pdJ), when he cornes
down to earth. That is (ay), the da'wah is connected to him (i.e. the da'wah is conducted in his
name), while he is the highest of the entire da'wah until the parousia of the master of the
unveiling (,.6 al-llabf, i.e., the Qi'im). Thus, at that time, he will descend from the heaven,
precede him (i.e. the Mahdï-Qi 'im), and worship behind him. And he will tell him: For you 1
performed the worship. That is, at that time, he will bless him with the status of the ultimate
(al-aibayalJ) and the lord of the unveiling ... Cf. 124v., ,. 16- V., 1. 4ff. 124r.,I. 16- V., 1. 3/p. 246)
As for the tradition of Jesus' leading of the faithful's worship behind the Mahdi, this shows,
according ta A. A. Sachedina, the merging of the eschatalogical raie of Jesus with that of the
Mahdi in Ithni-'ashaJi tradition. See hislslamic Messianism, pp. 171-72.
.. Also see pp. 243-48 of this chapter above.

~ If al-Nasafi has in mind the Christian messianist doctrine as we suggested above, this

e· would mean that he emphasizes the eschatological raies that Jesus and the Qi 'im are ta play, i.e.,
the Messiah's retum ta earth.

controversial issue of the sacred law of the first IJi#q. Al-Nasaû maintains that

• Jesus did not compile the Gospel, that he did not compose any sacred law; and
that he trod the path of the first nafiq. Jesus then followed the sacred law of
Moses and never deviated from it46 (f. 126r., Il. 11-14ff. 126r., Il.9-12fp. 249). In
this way, according to al-Nasafi, Jesus is related to Adam by virtue of his not
having brought any sacred law, and is re1ated to Moses's law because he followed

At the beginning of bis refutation of al-Nasafï's statement quoted above,

al-RaD reiterates bis own view on the first napq: The path of the first napq involves
the composition of sacred law (ta 'Hf al-.barï'aIJ) (f. 126r., 1. 14- V., 1. 1ff. 126r., Il.
13-15fp.250). With regards to the issue of compilation of the scriptures (kutub.
Il. .), however, he points out that there is another means of composing or compiling

them: that îs, they may be collected by the people of a community after the death

• of a naliq. For example, the fragments of the text of the Qur1ân were collected
and compiled into book form after the death of the Prophet. A similar process
occurred within the Jewish community, when the Torah was put together by the
Jews after the death of Moses. Likewise, the fragments of the Gospels were
compiled by Jesus' disciples after he left this world (f. 126v, 1. 1- f. 127v., 1. 2ff.
126r.,1. 16- f. 127v., ,. 12fpp. 250-52).

Presenting these historical facts of the compilation of the revealed texts, al-Rizi
implicitly confirms that, even if it appears that the compilation of the Gospels

6ft ln Kubf al-MaNü', al-SijistiDi follows the lead of al-Nasal regarding Jesus's sacred
law. AI-SijistiDi maintains that the "image" of Adam (iii..,,·; Adam) appeared in Jesus; that the
latter was able ta gain access te the IItree" (diraklJat ) wbich the former was prohibited ta approach,
and that when Jesus propagated knowledge and wisdom, he did not change the sacred law of
Moses exœpt repladng Saturday with Sunday as the feast day. Jesus furtbennore always granted
bis disciples spiritual benefits CruJ,hi-yj ~). Could this indicate that just as Adam taught bis

people the tawf.lidwithout dJuï'ab, Jesus taught bis disciples the spiritual matters without imposing
them a new aIJarj'aIJ ? A1-5ijisliDi, Kubf a/-MaMüf), p. 79 (French transI., p. 113/English transJ., pp.
49-50 (in manusaipt) ).

was not accomplished by Jesus himseH, this does not mean that the original text
in fragmentary form was not "composed" by him.. This composition means the

transformation of the revelation into human language. 41 Moreover, al-Rizi holds

that Jesus abolished the sacred law of Moses and IIrenewed sacred law," that is,
brought a new law. One example of this which he cites refers to that of the
changes to the Sabbath which provoked the Jews into persecuting him (f. 128r., ,.
2- V., 1. 6/f. 127v., ,. 13- f. 128r., ,. 15/pp.252-53).

Al-Razï also discusses the raIe of John the Baptist, taking a view opposite to
aI-Nasafi's on this important figure at the dawn of Jesus' prophetie eareer.
Aeeording to al-Nasafï, John the Baptist was the imam before Jesus was elevated
to the IJilÏq-ship (f. 11Sv., 1. 13/f. 116r., 1. 9/p. 231). In bis refutation of this view
aI-Razi holds that John the Baptist gained a unique grade "which no one had ever
attained" (mtbaIJ lam yanal-œ afaacl) (f. 118r., Il. 3-4/f. 118r., Il. 14-15/p. 235). 50

• what was this unique grade?

In the course of his explanation of this unique grade, al-Rizi describes the
position of John in sacred history by quoting a passage from the Gospel: John
declares to the Jews that he himself is neither prophet nor Messiah but the "voiee
which shouts in the desert" (al-,awt alladbi yr.m&di fï al-qafr)48 and tells them to
pave the way of the Lord (IiSabbi1ü ,.n9 al-Rab" !") (f. 118v., IL 1-7/f. 118v., IL

11-17/pp.235--36).49 According to al-Razi, John the Baptist meant by this declaration

Q Al-Rizi also contnbutes ta the textual criticism of the Qur'in by suggesting that in the

course of the compilation, the participation of 50 great a number of the companions 100 to the
emergenœ of a variety of methods of recitation (,n'id. The formation of the several "Gospels"
(al...mji1) resulted from a similar proœss (f. 126v., L 4- f. 127v., ,. 14/ f. 126v., ,. 1- f. 127v., ,. 8/pp.

41For the Iast word of this phrase, bath MS. Tüb. (f. 118v., I. 17) and MS. Ham. (f. 118v., 1.
7) give instead ~I~L Considering the context, we adopt the reading of the printed edition .,iiI1{p.

236, L 5)•

49 The passage which al-Razi quotes from the Evangel (al-In,1) may be translated as

that he was neither the awaited enunciator-prophet (al-napq al-mWJta~ar), nor the

• mutimm, nor his lieutenant, but alludes nevertheless to bis privileged position.
Explaining the verse Q 19: 7 which notified Zachariah of the coming birth of a
boy, al-RaZi describes this position as follows:

50 he (i.e., Zachariah) was made to know that John would attain a grade which
no one had attained before him: that is ta say, the position recognized for him.
among the people of knowledge (abl al-'ilm, i.e., zachariah and bis fellow di 'is)
as the foreshadowing of the position (bi-khayil al-manzüah)50 which the gate ta
the seventh (bib a/-$abi ' ) will gain before the unveiling (qabla al-wh!). Thus
John [the Baptist] gained it (Le., the position) in potentia , while the gate ta the
seventh will gain it in actu as one who manifests it (mu~ la-bi). (f. IIBr., IL
4-7If. IIBr., 1. 15- v., 1. l/p. 235)

• follows:
Just as it is written of his character in the Evangel where he says: "He is a man God dispatehed,
whose name was John (Yiihanni)." Uohn said:) "I am for the testimony (li-J-sbabadah), in order
that they testify for the light (li-l·oiir)." Then the Jews were dispatchOO to him from Jerusalem
(1, Ori-Salim) in order to ask him: "Who are you?" Then, he affinned, not hiding [anythingl,
[but] declaring: "1 am not the Messiah." They said: "Then you are Elijah Miyi)?" He said: '1
am not he." They said: "Then, who are you?" He said: "1 am not a prophet, not at aIl! They
said: Then, who are you?" He said: '1 am the voice which shouts in the deserts. Pave the path
of the Lord!"... (f. n8v., 11. 1-7If. 118v., IL 11-17/pp. 235-36)
This passage seems to correspond to John 1. 6-7 and 19-23 with sorne alterations.
50 On this phrase, we follow all the five manuscripts, a. b. j., Ham. (f. 118r., l. 5) and Tüb.
(f. llar., L 16), reading it as 4J;:Jr J~ , instead of just J~l.t on p. 23S, 1. 2 of the printed edition.
On the reading offered by MSS. &. b. and ;., see the note to 1. 2 on p. 23S of the printed edition.
The editors of the printed 00. seem to conjecture that the text uses the ward lcbayâl in its specific
Ismi'iu technical sense ("imagination" as an angelic being), thus omitting the following al·manzilah
which is suitable to be paired with the technical term ldJayil . Upon a suggestion made to us by
Professer Hermann Landolt of McGill University, we do not adopt here the Isma'ili technical
sense of kbayil in the translation of this particu1ar phrase. Our interpretation can be supported
by the note found in the margin of MS. a. which is quoted in the printed 00., p. 235, note to 1. IS of
the previous page: "Qi"at Yaflyi wa·jma-llu .babÜJ bi·bab al-abi '." Here, according to Prof. Landolt
(bis facsimile message ta us, dated July 28, 1999), bi-kbayil al-manzjJab is "understood to mean"
.1JabiIJ (one resembling 5.0.) which is similar to our interpretation of the phrase, "foreshadowing."
Aiso the passage in the next line(s) "fa-yaIaJu.1Jj YalJy:i bi·al~üW2IJ wa-yanilu·1Ja bàb al~bi' bo-al-

• qüwab..." (f. It8r., 1. 6/f. I18r., l. 17- V., 1. IIp. 235, ,. 3) suggests that John was the figure
"foreshadowing" the "gate to the seventh."

In addition, al-Ri.zï states that this position means that John the Baptist resembles

• the "gate" to the seventh, just as the fifth napq resembles the seventh (f. 118v., IL
1D-1S/f. 119r., Il. 3-8/p. 236). Thus, while stillleaving the nature of the position

and grade not fully elucidated and keeping the "gate" to the seventh unidentified,51
al-Razî confirms that there is a sort of resemblance between Jesus and the Qi'im,
since each of them has bis own forerunner.

What other resemblances, then, besides having forerunners, do these two

divinely-guided figures share? When pointing out the resemblance between them,
al-Ri.zï ascribes it to their holding of the '1ast-ness" (al-akhiriyah) (f. 121v., Il.

12-16/f. 121v., Il 11-16/p. 241-42) which presumably has an eschatological

connotation because of its being related to the seventh nipq , the Qa ' im.S2 But
why does Jesus have this quality as weIl as the Qi'im? This issue is precisely
concemed with another issue, Le., whether there is any "typological" view of

• Jesus and the Qi.'im. in al-Razi's Christology. In other words, in what sense does
Jesus contain the "last-ness" within himself and share it with the Qi'im? To
answer this we must first investigate al-Razi's version of IItypological" Christology.

§2-2. Jesus' Contact with the Angelic Beings and His Typological
Relation to Adam and the Messianic Qi. tint

An the beginning of bis chapter on the fifth napq, al-Rizi quotes al-Nasafi's

51 W. Madelungthinlcs thatthis "gate ta the seventh" refers to the first Fà~imid lmim-Caliph
'Ubayd ('Abd) Allih a1-Mahcl on the one hand, and the "seventh" to his son, Abii a1-Qisim
al-Qi.'im, on the other. This is only one of many of possibilities, since Madelung cites only 'Idris
'lmid al-Dïn as bis source, who is a much later authority (9th/15th century). Madelung, ''Das
Imamat," p. 106.

• ibid.
52 W. Madelung has already pointed to the eschatological meaning of this renn. Madelung,

view on Jesus' contact with the angelic beings. The refutation of this view results

• in the development of al-Rizi's own typological discussion of Christology, as we

will see below.

In al-Ràzi's quotation, al-Nasan is said ta have stated the following with regard

to Jesus' contact with upper spiritual beings:

The fifth lJifiq came into union (itta.fJada) with the 'Word" (al-kalimah) without
any intermediary on the part of the master of the era (min gbayr ta WU$U~ fjfJib
al-zamin), since John the Baptist was the imim before him (i.e., before Jesus
reached the napq-ship). Thus he was suddenly taken away. Because of this he
came into union with the Soul (al-nais) without any intermediation... (f. 115v.,
II. 12-14/f. 116r., iL 8-10/p. 231).53

The kalimab, temporarily translated as 'Ward," in the above quotatian is reminiscent

• of the divine command of creation, the "Ward of God" (kalimat Allah), in the
cosmology of early ISIIli'ili thinkers such as al-Nasafi. 54 But, in this context of
the discussion of Jesus, this kalimah should be taken as having a more traditional,
mainstream Muslim meaning. In the Qur'inic sense (for example, in Q 3: 45 and
4: 171) it can be thought of as being in sorne sense connected with the kalimah
which can mean both the principle of creation and the Word revealed from God
to the prophets induding Jesus himself.S5 There is besides no refutation offered

53 This passage reads in Arabie as foUows: Wa-ammiÏ al-qa"l li alUJa kbi.mi. al-IJUlaqà'
itta.f;lada bi-al-bl;rrph llJÜJ gbayr taw;u.u~ ~b al-ZiUlWJ li-aaaa Y~üaa aJ-imàm qabla-hu ia-uürulisa
bu,hraran•.• See f.115v.,1l.12-14/f. 116r.,1l.8-10.

SI On the early Ismi'ilï notion of the hljmab, see, for example, al-Nasa', al-M*ü1 quoted
in al-I<irmüü, aJ-Riyi!l, pp. 124-26; al-Rizï, aJ-l,l~ f. 13r., Il. 6-9/f. 13r.,I. 16- V., 1. 3/p. 30 and f.
14r., Il. 11-13/f. 14v., IL 4-5/p. 32 (cf. f. lOr., Il.5-13/f. 10v., Il. 6-14/pp. 24-25); AI-5ijistini, Kitàb
al-Matlilid, p. 74. Cf. De Smet, La quiéhlde de l'intellect, p. 121; Madelung, "Cosmogony and

Cosmology VI. In Ismi'ilism," p. 323; Walker, Early Philosophical Shiism, pp. 72-82.

55 On the Qur'inic meaning and Sunni Muslim interpretation of the kalima h and its

by al-Rizï of the concept of Jesus' union with the "Word." This suggests that

• al-Nasafi uses the 'Word" in a more general sense.

However, interestingly, in his discussion in the chapter on Jesus, al-Razi

chooses not to attack al-Nasafï's statement on Jesus' union with the Soule Rather,
he begins ms refutation with an attack on al-Nasafi's viewon the positions of the
leading figures at the dawn of Jesus' era such as Zachariah and John the Baptist.
Al-Rizi states thatJesus came into conjunction with the ~lin (f. 121v.l. 3- f. 122v.,
1. 2/f. 121v., 1. 3- f. 122r., 1. l/pp. 24143). The ~lia are, as seen before, the
Universal Intellect and the Saul, the two highest hypostases in Neoplatonist
cosmology. How then did Jesus come into union or conjunction with the Sou!

and the Intellect, or the a,lin? Did he require the intermediation of the lower
angelic beings, as did Abraham and Moses?56 In discussing these issues, al-Razi
reveals the central theme of bis Christology, which is his typological analogy

• between Jesus and two other prophetie figures, Adam and the Qi.' im.

Al-Nasafi and al-Razi are agreed that Jesus must have come into conjunction
with the Soul or the ~lin (bath the Sou! and the Intellect) without the intermediation

of any other earthly dignitary (f. 151v., il. 13-14/f. 116r., l. ID/p. 231 and f. 120r.,1.
14- f. 122v, 1. 2./f. 120v.,I. 16- f. 122v., l. I/pp. 24043). This is in spite of the fact
that there was no earthly dignitary available to perform this task, such as a
mutimm (completer, i.e., imim) at the time of the dawn of Jesus' prophetie career.

Even Zachariah and John the Baptist did not hold the rank of the imamah, even
though each possessed a position unique ta himself, as seen above.S7
connection to Jesus, we consulted: G. C. Anawati, [Si," EI2, vol. 4, p. 83; G. C. Anawati and L.

Gardet, Introduction à la théologie musulmane, 2d ed., (Paris, 1970), p. 38; O. Schumann, Der Chrishls
der Muslime (Kain, 1988), pp. 19-21 and pp. 233-37, n. 23 to chapter 3.
56On al-Rizi's argument as to the mode of these two prophets' contact with the higher

beings, see above chapter 6, §3.
SI On Zachariah, see pp. 143-45 and p. 155-56 in chapter 5 above.

Moreover, al-Rion points out that Jesus was still regarded as occupying a lower

• rank when he was elevated into conjunction with the ~lilJ. At such a low rank it
is inconœivable that anyone should receive ta 'yid directiy from the upper hierarchy.
Interpreting the verse telling of the still infant Jesus' dedaration of his prophethood
from the cradle (Q 19: 30), al-Rizi maintains that a little child in cradle means a
mf#tajib C'1istener-novice"), that is, the lowest member of the hierarchy. Therefore,

thinking that he was still a m ....tajib, the people had doubted the speaking ability
of the infant Jesus, (f. 121v., iL 3-10/f. 121v., Il. 3-9/p. 241).58 In short, according
to al-Rizï, because of the fact that there was no higher dignitary and the fact that
he was not himself of a high rank, Jesus must have been elevated ta conjunction
with the ~lin without any intermediation from earthly beings (min ghayr wisi~t

min al-j;ftDinjyüJ). This explains how he attained the rank of napq -ship.

Al-Rizï goes on to point out that this mode of conjunction with the two highest

• hypostases and subsequent acquisition of the na#q-ship are found not only in the
prophetie career of Jesus, but aiso in those of Adam and the Qa'im. In other
words the typologic~ relation of Jesus, Adam, and the Qi.'im lies in this mode of
conjunction and acquisition of niJiq-ship. On the similarity of Jesus ta Adam
from the standpoint of this typological relation, al-Rizi writes:

... 'lOfruly, the image of Jesus, in God's sight, is as Adam's image" (Q 3: 59).
That is ta say, his image (mitbâlu-hu) in acquiring the rank of enundation (fi
marta6at al-nu19) is the image of the beginning of the creature (Le., the first
human being, that is, Adam) ("ad' al-kIJalq ), since the "stream" (al-jan) came
into conjunction with him CIesus) from the ~lin through the kbayil of the tàli ,
not as it (i.e. the stream") came into the conjunctïon with any other of the

SI This is the argument he affers in refutation of al-Nasatl's statement that Jesus had

• already reached the rank of inwn (J.Jadd aJ-imim3b), when he was elevated to prophethood (f.
12Or.,I. 16- V., 1. 3/f. 12Ov., Il. 3-S/p. 239).

lJUraqa' through the kbayiJ of the completers (aJ-atimmi '). And likewise [itl is

• the path of the beginning of the creature, since there had not been any completer
before him. Thus it (i.e. the khayil ) appeared to him. '7hen said He onto him,
'Be,' and he was" (Q 3: 59). That is: He rose to the rank of the ~làn through
the intermediation of the ldJayil of the tàJi ! (f. 53v., li. 7-12/f. 52v., II. 4-10/p.

That is, Jesus came into conjunctïon with the highest hypostases, which resulted
in bis elevation to the lJa~q-ship. However, th.is conjunction was not intermediated

through any imam but through the kbayil. This is in contrast to what happened
in case of other nU!aqa '-in-waiting, who were initiated by their then superior

earthly dignitaries. Jesus' mode of elevation ta the mipq-ship had Adam as its
only forerunner, since, as the fust human being, he had no imam. (or "completer")
from a previous era who could have initiated him.

• Another matter to remark upon in the passage quoted above is thatJesus is not
described as to having come into direct conjunction with the ~lan,

the ldJayil. In this argument al..Ràzi maintains consistency with his argument on