When al-Mu’ayyad-din Shirazi had left Shiraz in Persia for Fatimid Egypt, he was very hopeful that he would get the opportunity to see the Imam-Caliph Mustansir-bi-Allah, but at the same time he had also feared the intrigues of the ministers who did not permit any man of learning to see the Imam personally, unless he complied with their dictates and acknowledged their superiority.
On reaching Egypt he experienced all that he had feared. He was lodged in a small house and his visits to the court were short and limited to prevent him from seeing the Imam. Most of the Vaziers and their junior officers were jealous of al-Mu’ayyad for they all saw in him the real threat to their positions.
Disappointed, he finally decided to leave Egypt and wrote about his frustrations to Tastari, who was one of the most powerful persons in the Fatimid State. Shirazi wrote:
The sudden death of Tastari gave al-Mu’ayyad another opportunity to renew his efforts to get some time to be in the holy presence of the Imam and with the help of one of the Ministers he was able to pay respects to the Imam. Describing his experience on this visit, he writes:
“I was taken near the place where from I saw the bright Light of the Prophethood. My eyes were dazzled by the Light. I shed tears of joy and felt as if I was looking at the face of the Prophet of Allah and of the Commander of the Faithful, Hazrat Ali. I prostrated myself before the one who is the fittest person to bow to. I wanted to say something, but I was awe-struck.
“I tried to speak but my tongue refused to move. People asked me to say what I wished to say. I could say nothing. The Imam said, ‘Leave him. Let his fear and awe subside’.
“After this, I rose. I took the holy hand of the Imam, placed it on my eyes and on my chest and then kissed it. I left the place with immense joy.”
Above narrative adapted from “Life and Lectures of Al Muayyad fid-din al Shirazi”, edited by late Jawad Muscati and A.M. Moulvi, Ismailia Assocciation for Pakistan, 1950.
Also see “Memoirs of a Mission: The Ismaili Scholar, Statesman and Poet, al-Mu’yyad fi’l Din al-Shirazi”, by Verena Klemm, Institute of Ismaili Studies, Ismaili Heritage Series, pub. I.B. Tauris, 2003