Literary Reading: The Light of Imam and the Festival of Nawruz

Prince Amir Tamim al-Fatimi was the eldest son of Imam al-Mu’izz. He was born in 948 CE in Mahdiyya, the first Fatimid capital in North Africa. He was amongst those who accompanied Imam al-Mu’izz on the historic journey to Egypt when the seat of the Fatimid government was transferred to Cairo. He was then twenty five years old. The Prince dedicated himself to literary and cultural pursuits until his premature death at the age of thirty six. In this poem, Prince Tamim shows his immense affection for the Imam and says that the New Year Festival of Nawruz is a blessing from the Imam.

When I compose a poem in praise of you,
I feel inspired and my speech becomes refined.

But if I wish to praise someone other than you,
I’m tongue-tied and my speech disproves the lie.

Because you are born for grace and eminence,
and such gifts are indeed innate in your nature

Your honour is the dawn, your face a bright star,
and your right hand pours rain upon the creation.

You are the light from which we seek illumination,
the gracious beloved for whom ransom is given.

Through you, our days of tyranny turn to order,
and the indomitable, treacherous time is humbled.

If Nawruz is a festival of joy and delight,
it is through your light that it has come to be so.

So live long! Bring glory and prosperity to the times,
If they do not prosper by you, may they be ruined!

O son of the Prophet, God’s blessings be on you!
you are a time-tested sword to fight life’s sorrows.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Source: Shimmering Light: An Anthology of Ismaili Poems, ed. Faquir M. Hunzai and Kutub Kassam, pub. I. B. Tauris in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 1997.

2 thoughts on “Literary Reading: The Light of Imam and the Festival of Nawruz

  1. Beautiful words that recited in understanding stir the feelings that “livens” the spring in us. Thank you, Amir Fazal.

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