“Dazzled by the Light” – An Encounter with the Imam of the Time

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:

I have not come to Egypt to seek wealth or gain any position. The promptings of my faith have brought me here. I have come to visit the Imam and not the Vaziers and their officials. Unfortunately, these people stop me from having a look at my Imam and now I am returning disappointed.”

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.”


See related Literary Reading – Imam’s Recognition and Love for an Outstanding Murid

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

6 thoughts on ““Dazzled by the Light” – An Encounter with the Imam of the Time

  1. I believe the situation that Muayyad Shirazi experienced over a thousand years ago in Fatimid Cairo continues to exists today. I urge that leadership at all levels be given guidance such that they respect the wisdom, knowledge and ideas that others have, and that they learn to treat everyone with dignity and fairness.

  2. While reading this article I felt like I was re-living the experience of Mawla’s deedar.

    I read at some place that the Imam wrote a Qasida praising the status achieved by Al Muayyad, saying that Al Muayyad had reached the heights of knowledge which no one before him nor anyone after him will ever attain.

    Editor’s Note: The Qasida that you refer to is in Literary Reading https://simerg.com/literary-readings/%e2%99%a6-literary-reading-imams-recognition-and-love-for-an-oustanding-murid/

    • Nizam,

      I hope you will find other inspiring stories in this web site. Please keep on coming and spread the word to your friends. Please feel free to submit stories that you have found illuminating.


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