Literary Readings

Expressions and Stories of Faith, Devotion and Intellect from the Alid and the Shia Imami Ismaili Traditions

An Old Book

“Kindle the candle of intellect in your heart and hasten with it to the world of brightness; If you want to light a candle in your heart, make knowledge and goodness its wick and oil.” Ismaili Poet, Pir Nasir Khushraw

Simerg draws its name from Simorgh, mentioned by Farid ud Din Attar in his epic poem which has been translated into English as “The Conference of the Birds”.

In this poem, a group of birds realize that life’s purpose can only be realized if they reach the presence of Simorgh, who stands for the Sufi Concept of God.

Central to the search for Simorgh, however, is the wisdom and guidance of the hoopoe, who leads the birds in their quest. The hoopoe is like the Sufi Master who guides his disciples to truth and liberation.


In the Shia context the role of the Imam, who is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, becomes central in the search for Higher Truths through the Ta’lim that the Imam imparts to his Murids. Amongst the many groups of Shias, who are all commonly tied by their reverence to Hazrat Ali, one group that follows a living hereditary Imam are the Nizari Ismailis. To them, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan is the 49th in line in succession to Hazrat Ali.

“Like the sun in the sky he is manifest in the world but the blind bat cannot see his luminous face”, Fida’i Khurasani*

One of the purposes of this page, Literary Readings, is to provide a context in which the murids of the Imam of their time sought to come closer to the Imam through service in various forms, including literary works.

Literary Readings will examine the lives, works and thoughts of these exceptional Ismailis  who are now better known to us through the research that has taken place in recent decades. The teachings and guidance of the Imams imparted to their citizens and followers will also form part of   Literary Readings.

The Straight Path
The Straight Path

The readings will become our vehicle to proceed in the right direction, and will help and inspire  us to overcome the everyday obstacles that set us back.

Please contribute to this blog in a constructive and positive manner. Send stories and anecdotes from our literary heritage that we can all reflect upon, quoting the specific text from which your contribution is taken.

Please share the content of this web site with your friends and family members and visit it frequently –  new readings will be added on a regular basis.

Thank you

* Please see:  ♦ Literary Reading: The Imam, Manifest in the World


LITERARY READINGS (latest on top)

NOTE: This page has not been updated for a considerable length of time. We recommend that you visit SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS for a complete and most current list of articles on this website.


6 thoughts on “Literary Readings

  1. Very interesting and important website, and helpful for someone who wants to know more about the Ismailis. Thank you.

  2. I have no words to compliment Simerg’s editor Mr Abdulmalik Merchant who I understand is the son of Alwaez Jehangir and Alwaeza Maleksultan Merchant. I remember them vividly. I also gather the editor’s younger brother is the Head Librarian of the Institute of Ismaili Studies. An enlightened family indeed!

  3. Ya Ali Madat
    I consider it my good fortunte to have a link to this section forwarded to me by my cousin.

    Recently I have started reading a book on vipassana meditation – “A Gradual Awakening” by Stephen Levine. Today I read on Simerg “The Inward Odyssey in Two Key Ismaili Ginans, ‘Brahma Prakash’ and ‘Sakhi Mahapada'”. How very similar!

    Our ginans have a wealth of spiritual wisdom, but being mostly in Gujarati and in poetry form, it is difficult for most of us to fully grasp the message. Literary Readings fills the gap very well.

    Truly appreciate your efforts.
    Keep up the good work!

    With kind regards and prayers from a seeker on the path,

  4. Dear All,

    I don’t have words to thank the individual who sent me the link to this site; I am not knowledgeable enough for comments – I am just a learner and at a glance and I am simply absorbed. I don’t have words to explain.

    My head bows down to the Imam of the the Time for the guidance that he gives. May I be bestowed with spiritual vision, is my sincerest prayer.

    Once again very special thanks from the core of my heart for sending the website link.

    Engineer Baig Moulabardi Ali

  5. I would like to register my compliments to the family of Alwaez Jehangir and Maleksultan Merchant for their contribution to Ismaili Knowledge.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s