There is an ode of Imam ‘Abd al-Salam in which he says that the talisman (anything that has magical powers) that can open the treasure trove of spiritual meaning of the Holy Quran is the Imam.
This ode is lucidly explained by Dr. Shafique Virani in his book “The Ismailis in the Middle Ages”.
In the ode the Imam observes that the true essence of the Imam cannot be recognized with earthly, fleshly eyes, for these can only see his physical form, perishing like all else with the passage of time.
His true face is to be perceived with the eyes of the heart. He has thousands of physical habitations, but his true home is traceless; he has had a thousand names, but all of them refer to one reality.
In the Ode the Imam says that today he is known as ‘Abd al-Salam, but tomorrow the physical body will be gone and the name will change, yet the essence will remain in the next Imam of the lineage. Those who look at the Imam as they squint will consider him like any other human being, but as soon as the eyes of the heart perceive correctly, his true status is discovered.
In form the Imams change, but in meaning and substance they are changeless. Human language cannot attain to the majesty of the Imams.
The Imam is the most precious ingredient in the supreme elixir (miraculous substance) of eternal life-red sulfur. He is not simply a pearl, but the ocean that gives birth to pearls.
The existence of the Imam, who leads humankind to a recognition of God, is the very pinnacle of creation.