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I waited years to connect with those having an esoteric view of the Quran so that we may work towards unity rather than division. I have inserted comments using my understanding of biblical symbolism, revealed over  seven years (1998-2005), preceded by thirty-three years of revelatory and scholastic teachings (1960-1993).

Esoteric Apocalypse (Qiyamah):
Isma'ili' Muslim Perspectives on the "End of the World" (Part 1).

EsotericApocalypse

“The Qiyāmah is true and will happen, but a full explanation of it, either in theory or in common doctrine, is not easy.”
– Paul Walker, (Abu Yaqub al-Sijistani: Intellectual Missionary, 73)

“We, the Imāms in descent from Imām Husayn, are present until today and we shall remain until the Qiyāmah and even after the Qiyāmah.”
- Imām Shāh Āgā Shāh ‘Alī Shāh

In Islamic thought, the ideas and themes relating to the “end of the world” fall under the doctrine of qiyāmah (“rising”, “resurrection”).  The Qur’an contains hundreds of references to qiyāmah under various names including:  the Day of Resurrection, 2:85; the Day of Mutual Disillusion, 64:9; the Day of Mutual Calling, 40:32; the Day of Decision, 37:21; the Day they are raised up, 7:14; the Day of Judgement, 1:4; the Day of Gathering together, 50:44; the Day they come forth [from the tombs], 70:43; the Day of Imminence, 40:18; the Day when the Hour comes, 30:12; the Day of Reckoning, 14:41.

For the people of the exoteric (ahl al-ẓāhir), qiyāmah is when physical world comes to an end and all things return to God for the final judgment.  They expect qiyāmah to be preceded by a series of natural disasters and physical events including earthquakes, disasters, wars, the opening of the heavens, and other such things.

However, the esoteric (bāṭin) perspective views qiyāmah in an entirely different sense.  In this sense, Abū Ya‘qūb al-Sijistānī writes that the real meaning of qiyāmah is hidden from the masses and only available to the People of the True Realities:

“Among the greatest of matters in which the People of Realities (ahl al-ḥaqā’iq) take pride is the recognition of qiyāmah, its causes, and the tokens and signs that follow these, about which the people of the exoteric (ahl al-ẓāhir) are in the dark.”
- Abū Ya‘qūb al-Sijistānī, (Kitāb al-Iftikhār, 181)

The “end of the world” would be what the Bible calls "the end of days" or "last days," when a spiritual (“rising”, “resurrection”) is to take place. The Prophet Daniel, meaning judge of God, speaks of "the Day of Judgement," "a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation," when, through a spiritual judgment, "many shall be purified and made white, and tried," found in the 12th (and final) chapter of Daniel, the number tweve representing judgment. It says "the wise shall understand," which is to have spiritual light. We are in the 7th Day— in the beginning of the 7th thousandth-year since the fall of "the first Adam;" symbolizing man's spiritual decline. But we are also in the 3rd Day— in the beginning of the 3rd thousandth-year since Jesus, type-and-shadow of "the last Adam," was resurrected, illustrating what is to take place in the heart of man in this 3rd Day—"the Day of Resurrection." What the Quran calls "the Day of Decision" the Bible calls "the valley of decision" (Joel 3:14) It is "the Day of Judgement," the spiritual judgment found in the twelve sons of Jacob. It is "the Day of Gathering together"

"And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob: and hearken unto Israel your father." Genesis 49:1,2

This spiritual judgment is also found in the twelve tribes of Isarel:

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew 19:28

"The People of True Realites" are those that have gone through this spiritual judgment, one that takes place before the physical "Day of Judgement" or "tribulation." They have judged themselves in their own heart, which the earth symbolizes (the anagram is no coincidence), "the tokens and signs that follow these" found in the heaven and in the earth, symbolizing the mind and the heart, the 12th Imam being in the earth, climbing up out of the well, symbolizing the deep understanding that comes through this spiritual judgment (Daniel 12:10).

In the esoteric perspective, qiyāmah is not a physical event, but rather, it is a spiritual or soul-related event which has effects and manifestations in the physical world.  This is because qiyāmah is related to creation (khalq).  Imām Sultān Muhammad Shāh explains that “the creation according to Islam is not a unique act in a given time, but a perpetual and constant event” (Memoirs of the Aga Khan).  Similarly, qiyāmah is an event that occurs in every moment and instant – although it is hidden and not perceived by most people.

The soul is credited to the faculty of thought, emotion, and action. Jesus provides instruction for its purification through this symbolic parable: "cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may become clean," which is to say, purify the thoughts of the mind and the emotions of the heart, that the actions may become pure," being in perfect balance. Imām Sultān Muhammad Shāh explains that “the creation according to Islam is not a unique act in a given time, but a perpetual and constant event” Yes, as is the spiritual creation, completed through six metaphorical days of spiritual works, resulting in the creation of "a new heaven and a new earth," symbolizng a new mind and a new heart. This creation process is encoded in the book of Genesis, which means creation.

Just as time is continuous, it can be felt, measured and aggregated in certain intervals – seconds, minutes, hours, days, years, decades, etc, in the same way, the qiyāmah which is ever-occuring can be experienced in intervals.  When a being fulfills and actualizes the limit (hadd) of its own existence, this is the “metamorphosis of being which esoteric parlance designates as qiyāmah, resurrection.” (Henry Corbin, Temple and Contemplation). Thus, qiyāmah is a direct culmination and the recompense (i.e. reward, punishment) of the previous actions and events in the life of a particular being.  All human beings undergo qiyāmah as they ascend from one level of consciousness to the next – such as the progression through the mineral, vegetable, animal, and rational souls in earthly life.

This spiritual creation is the spiritual birth, which like the qiyāmah is "experienced in intervals." This spiritual creation is the “metamorphosis of being...qiyāmah, resurrection,” a spontaneous occurance that cannot be limited to a fixed period of time. What takes place during "the qiyāmah" is the "resurrection” of truth from within the heart, which is necessary since we took on many false perceptions and beliefs throughout our life due to the things we saw, heard, felt, and experienced. Eliminating these impurities of the mind and heart is a process, a metaphorical climb up Jacob's ladder (Genesis 28:12), the ladder symbolizing this spiritual ascension process.

Thus, we can speak of involuntary qiyāmah – when the human soul experiences the death of the physical body and is resurrected in the astral or imaginal body.  There is also the voluntary qiyāmah – when the human soul undergoes the final death and attains union with God – such as the spiriual mi‘rāj of the Prophet Muhammad.  A collective qiyāmah is something experienced by a group of human beings – such as a community, a nation, a civilization, or even humanity as a whole.

The Bible refers to "the voluntary qiyāmah" as "the second death," which is to take place before our physical death. What dies through this second death is an invisible type of flesh that has been formed inside of our physical flesh body, which will limit us in the physical and spiritual realms, removed only through a spiritual circumcision "Circumcise yourself to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart..." Jeremiah 4:4

When qiyāmah is understood as “the end of the world” – it is referring to a collective qiyāmah. This qiyāmah is foremost a spiritual event which has consequences and effects in the physical world – as manifested in human history.  However, the term “world” in this expression “the end of the world” cannot be understood as the planet Earth or the physical universe as a whole.  A “world” (‘ālam) refers to the entire way of life, sets of conventional beliefs, paradigms of understanding, and discourses of knowledge (‘ilm) that subsist amongst human beings in a particular period of human history – called a cycle (dawr).  The “end of the world” refers to the conclusion (“death”) of one such historical cycle (dawr) and the beginning (“birth”) of a new cycle.  This transition – from one historical cycle (dawr) to the next cycle – is the qiyāmah or the “end of the world”.  The great Ismā‘īlī Muslim philosopher Sayyidnā Nasīr al-Dīn Tūsī explains as follows:

 “Amongst these [worlds] is the revolution that takes place when one cycle changes to another, when one prophetic tradition (sunnat) and custom changes to another, and one religion (millat) changes to another.  Each one of these is a world, each of these is a separate world, and when each changes, one may say that such and such a cycle, a prophetic tradition and a religion, which did not exist and then came into existence, was a separate world which underwent non-existence and then existence… Thus, when one cycle, which is another world, begins, the founder (wādi‘) of the religion of that cycle is made manifest, and his appearance, form, language, dialect, speech, behavior, deeds and spiritual path, both in whole and part, are completely different [from the previous cycle].” - Nasir al-Din Tusi, (The Paradise of Submission, 68-69)

"The end of the world" takes place to the individual, when his "first heaven and earth," symbolizing his first mind and heart passes away through his new spiritual creation— "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and earth were passed away..." Revelation 21:1. Those engaged in this creation process contribute to positive changes in the world by transitioning from "the era of Isaac" to "the era of Jacob"from the mockery of the carnal mind, demonstrated through physical works or rituals to the reality of the spiritual mind, demonstrated through spiritual works, completed by "the People of the True Realities".

Different historical periods or cycles are marked by the appearance of God’s Messengers and each cycle (or “world”) lasts anywhere between five hundred or fifteen hundred years.  In the language of the Abrahamic scriptures, the cycles are referred to as the “Days of God” (Qur’ān 14:5) or the “Days of Creation” (Genesis): “Lo!  Your Lord is God Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days. Then He established the Throne.” - Holy Qur’ān 7:54

There was "fifteen hundred years" between Moses and Jesus. There was one hundred and fifty years between the death of the esoteric teachings of Jesus (460 AD) and the Prophet Muhammad (610 AD), a tenth of a cycle (Egyptian time differing from our own by a factor of 10 to 1), revealing the time-line for important historical events, such as the arrival of the next Messenger – the Prophet Muhammad. There is also another "fifteen hundred years" between 460AD and 1960, when the foundation for spiritual truth, laid through the spiritual teachings of Jesus, was re-established.

According to the esoteric meaning (ta’wīl) of this verse, the six days in which God creates the heavens and the earth are six historical cycles of prophecy and religion.  The “world” created in during these six cycles is the “World of Faith” (‘ālam al-dīn).

“The Cycle of every prophet is his ‘day’.  The time in which we are now – I mean, the time after the Emissary, al-Mustafa, was sent forth up to the time of the Resurrection – is the ‘day’ of our Emissary.  The days of Moses, Jesus, and the other prophets are past… God the Exalted created the lifetime of this world during the span of the prophethood of six prophets, each of whom had his cycle (dawr) and his summons (da‘wat) in his ‘day’ (rūz), and during his day the Emissary summoned people to God… If people were to examine this interpretation, each prophetic community would occupy the position which it indeed occupies: the Christians established on the fifth day, the Jews on the fourth day, the Mazdeans on the third day.” - Sayyidnā Nāsir-i Khusraw, (Between Reason and Revelation, tr. Eric Ormsby, 152-153)

The “World of Faith”here refers to the "World of Religion," and would apply to "the six days" because the number six pertains to physical, and man has been worshipping God on a physical level for "six days" for the past six thousand years, as "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years" (2 Peter 3:8). We are now in "the Seventh Cycle"in the 7th day— in the beginning of the 7th thousand year since the beginning of man's spiritual decline, symbolized by the fall in the garden. It is time to transition from the "six cycles" to the seventh "cycle" from the physical path (based on the exoteric teachings of religion) to the spiritual path (based on the esoteric teachings of Jesus— the Truth incarnate).

In each cycle of prophecy, the Enunciating Prophet (Nātiq) reveals a Scripture and a religious Law (sharī‘ah).  Accompanying the Nātiq and later succeeding him is the person of the Foundation (Asās) – who is the first hereditary Imām of the cycle.  The Asās is succeeded by a lineage of Imāms until a qiyāmah – when the prophetic cycle comes to an end and the next Nātiq appears.  The institution of Imāmah continues throughout these prophetic cycles – serving as an arc of guidance, continuity and permanence (Click Here to Read our previous post on the continuity of the eternal Imāmat in history).  An overview of these six cycles is as follows:

CyclesOfImamat

When the Sixth Prophetic Cycle comes to an end, the Seventh Cycle begins.  The Seventh Cycle, in the Qur’anic verse above, is referred to as the establishment of the Throne.  This Seventh Cycle is the Cycle of the Great Qiyāmah.  This is because a cycle of prophecy consists of the dominance of the religious Law (sharī‘ah) in which spiritual truths (ḥaqā’iq) are concealed in symbols and only available to the initiates.  The Cycle of Qiyāmah is when the spiritual truths are unveiled to the public.  The meaning of qiyāmah is literally “rising” and the meaning of the word “apocalypse” is “revelation”.  Therefore, the qiyāmah or apocalypse is not the end of the physical world, but rather, the revelation, rising or unveiling of spiritual truths to humanity.

"The Seventh Cycle" is the Seventh Day, "the Throne" symbolizing the Heart, the number seven pertaining to spiritual— the "spiritual truths (haqā’iq)" contained in our Sacred Texts "unveiled," being revealed through their symbolism in what is "the Great Qiyāmah; "the cycle of unveiling (dawr-i kashf).” The word "apocalypse" also means "a lifting of the veil," the veil symbolizing the carnal mind of one that keeps "the religious Law (sharī‘ah)" physically rather than spiritually. This invisible veil keeps one from seeing the "spiritual truths (haqā’iq)" concealed in God's Law (haqā’iq-i sharī‘at). It is time to come out from "the carnal mind" and worship God "in spirit and in truth". It is time to remove the veil.

In the cycle of every Prophet, the period of the manifestation of the exoteric (zāhir) dimension of the religious law (sharī‘at) is called the cycle of concealment, and the cycle of every Qā’im, when the manifestation of the esoteric realities of the religious laws (haqā’iq-i sharī‘at) of the Prophets occur, is called the cycle of unveiling (dawr-i kashf).” - Nasīr al-Dīn Tūsī, (The Paradise of Submission, 69)

"The Seventh Cycle" is associated with "the time of reformation" (Hebews 9:10), when the law is to give way to the spirit, giving one a spiritual perspective of the laws. And when the ritual of religious practices gives way to spiritual regeneration.

The Seventh Cycle, which follows the previous Six Prophetic Cycles, is the Special Cycle of the Great Qiyāmah because it happens only once in every several thousand years.  This Cycle of Qiyāmah lasts for one thousand years and is marked by special conditions and events which are the culmination, fulfillment and apex of the previous Six Prophetic Cycles. When the Sixth Cycle – the Cycle of Prophet Muhammad – reaches its climax and conclusion, it is then that the Cycle of Qiyāmah begins:

“In the current cycle of human history, however, it was still expected, as with the earliest Isma‘ilis, that full qiyama, or the Great Resurrection (qiyamat-i qiyamat), would occur at the end of the final millennial era after Adam; that is, at the end of the sixth era initiated by the sixth law-announcing prophet, Muhammad.  The Great Resurrection, towards which all the partial consummation of the preceding cycles in history of mankind had been tending, would inaugurate the final, seventh era – the culmination of the ages in the history of mankind.” - Farhad Daftary, (The Ismailis: Their History and Doctrines, II, p. 381)

"This Cycle of Qiyāmah lasts for one thousand years." The Holy Bible refers to this as "the Reign of Christ" — a thousand-year-reign in which one is governed by the power that is christ through six metaphorical days of spiritual works, christ being the culmination of the two divine attributes of the Creator, required for creation. Spirit and Word"And the Spirit of God moved... and God said, let there be light." (Genesis 1:2,3), symbolized in scripture by the two olive trees or two olive branches (Zechariah 4;11-14), and by the two witnesses" (Rev. 11:11) that are to be resurrected within after "three and a half days," which being 3500 years, is NOW as it has been 3500 years since the first two physical representations (Moses and Aaron) appeared. This spiritual Resurrection is "the Great Resurrection."

The person who begins and initiates the Cycle of Qiyāmah is not a Prophet – since Muhammad is the Seal of the Prophets.  Instead, the august personality who begins this Qiyāmah is called the Qā’im al-Qiyāmah (Lord of the Resurrection) and he is the Seventh Nātiq after the previous Six Messengers.  Sayyidnā Nāsir-i Khusraw (d. 1088) describes this as follows:

“The interpretation of ‘establishing Himself upon the Throne’ is the execution of the command of God by the Qā’im al-Qiyāmat (‘Lord of the Resurrection’), which is the Throne of God and which will be manifest after his Six Days have passed… ‘Tomorrow’ is the cycle to come.  That ‘tomorrow’ in which the wise take such delight is the day of True Resurrrection, when the shadows of ignorance will be lifted from humanity by the light of His knowledge, just as God says, ‘The earth will be illumined by the light of its Lord’.” - Sayyidnā Nāsir-i Khusraw, (Between Reason and Revelation, tr. Eric Ormsby, 153)

"The Seventh Cycle" is The Seventh Day. God's Spiritual Sabbath Day. It was to be a Day of Rest, but man has not been doing the spiritual work for the past 6000 years. Man has not heard the voice of the Prophets, but rather has stoned them through his refusal to change. It is through this spiritual work or spiritual judgment that one becomes 'Lord of the Resurrection,' — the resurrection of truth from within "the Throne of God," symbolizing the Heart or Kingdom of God, the mystery of which is "manifest after his Six Days have passed after his six metaphorical days of spiritual works are completed, the initiate having entered into his seventh day— "the day of True Resurrection," when the The earth will be illumined by the light of its Lord,” the earth symbolizing the heart, the light symbolizing the truth.

"And Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Matthew 19:28

It is true that within a single prophetic cycle, i.e. the Cycle of Prophet Muhammad, there are minor Qā’ims as well – approximately every seventh Imām in the chain of Imāmat is the Imām-Qā’im of the minor Cycle and brings a minor qiyāmah for the community of believers.  Each minor Qā’im reveals new esoteric teachings to the community of believers relative to his own age.  Some examples of the minor Imām-Qā’ims during the Cycle of Prophet Muhammad are Imām Muhammad ibn Ismā‘īl, Imām al-Mu‘īzz, Imām al-Hakim bi-amr Allāh, Imām Hasan ‘alā dhirkihi al-salām, Imām Shams al-Dīn Muhammad, and others.  All of these minor Qā’ims serve as previews or foretastes of the actual Qā’im – the Qā’im al-Qiyāmah who is the Seventh Nātiq – while the minor qiyāmahs are foreshadowings of the Great Qiyāmah.  Henry Corbin explains that:

“The name of Qā’im, resurrector, is reserved par excellence for “he who will rise up”, the Lord of the Resurrection, at the close of the final Period of our Cycle. Yet each partial Qā’im at the end of each Period of the Septenary, as well as each Imām and each member of the Order, is also, potentially, Lord of the Resurrection, a limb of his mystical body, an oratory in his Temple of Light.”
- Henry Corbin, (Temple and Contemplation, 162)

Thus, the Qā’im al-Qiyāmah (Lord of the Resurrection) is not merely one of the seven Imāms, but rather, he is the Qā’im of the entirety cyclical history and his qiyāmah is the Great Qiyāmah.  Sayyidnā Nāsir-i Khusraw explains the difference between the Qā’im (Seventh Nāṭiq) and the previous Prophets as follows:

“The Jews respect Saturday and do not work on it because of this, i.e. God has rested on this day. But they do not know that when the Messengers told people this, they meant that the people should know that, by the command of God, there will come to this world Six Messengers who will instruct the people (to work). When the Seventh will come, he will not instruct, rather, he will give them the reward of their work. And they called it Saturday and said to respect it and that day is the day of the Lord of Resurrection (Qā’im-i Qiyāmat), may peace be upon him.” - Sayyedna Nasir-i Khusraw,
(Wajh-i Din, Chapter VII, tr. Faquir Muhammad Hunzai, ‘Ilm Magazine, Vol. 11, No. 4/3, December 1987 / March 1988, p. 36)

This is what I just spoke to. The Messengers and Prophets brought the ancient instruction, but it was not followed. The "seventh" pertains to anyone that does the spiritual work. He is among the "believers," as the word "believe" means "to obey; to put action to," which is why Jesus said, "believe the works" (John 10:38). The "Seventh" also pertains to the spiritual power through which the spiritual works are performed, as it is written: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth..." (John 16:1), "the reward of their work" being the resurrection of truth, "the new Jerusalem," symbolizing a new peaceful state of being," the word Jerusalem meaning founded peaceful. Those of a religious mind are still fighting over possession of a carnal land, when they should be fighting for spiritual possession of a spiritual land. "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Romans 8:6).

"I WAS glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together: Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord. For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee." Psalms 122:1-8

It may be that the twelve sons of Ishmael reveal the same spiritual judgment found in the twelve sons of Jacob or twelve tribes of Israel.

sevencycles

A visual depiction of the Seven Prophetic Cycles of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, and the Qa’im. Each Cycle spans approximately 1,000 years.

Indeed, the very purpose of the previous Prophets, Messengers and Imāms and their missions was to prepare the way for the arrival of the Qā’im and the Cycle of Qiyāmah.  The function of the Qā’im is to be the “lord of reckoning” instead of a “lord of sharī‘ah” like the Messengers of God before him.

One becomes the “lord of reckoning" instead of a 'lord of sharī‘ah" when he chooses spiritual sacrifice over carnal sacrifice (Psalms 51:16,17; Isaiah 1:13), through which he fulfills the many carnal laws. This was the message of Jesus, which was rejected.

“Through the Qā’im, God completes and fulfills his promise in the way of bestowing intellectual emanations upon all souls.  The Qā’im is crucial to the completion of the cycle of revelation. He is intrinsically related to the cycle in its growth and harmony or its corruption and disunity. He negates all natural structures since the very event of the advent of the Qā’im symbolises the end of one order, the judgment, and the beginning of another order, different yet not discontinuous.”
- Boustan Hirji, (A Study of Risalah al-Bahira, PhD Thesis, McGill University, Montreal, October 1994, 155)

Many religions have described the coming of the Qā’im under different terms and symbols such as the Messiah, the Kalki Avatara, Matreyah, the Mahdi, and others.  According to the Ismā‘īlī gnosis, the Qā’im is not some random person who appears out of nowhere, but he comes from the lineage of the Imāms from the progeny of the Prophet Muhammad and Imām ‘Alī ibn Abi Tālib.  In the Holy Qur’ān, all the various names of qiyāmah such as the “Hour”, the “Last Day”, etc. are references and allusions to the holy personality of the Qā’im.  The Prophet Muhammad once said: “I and the Hour were sent like these two forefingers.”  That is to say, Muhammad is the final Prophet to appear before the coming of the Qā’im.  The Prophet’s analogy of himself and “the Hour” as “two forefingers” means that they are both similar in the sense of being divinely-inspired human beings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With regard to "the lineage." There is the physical lineage, and then there is the spiritual lineage, as "the advent of the Qā’im symbolises the end of one order, the judgment, and the beginning of another order, different yet not discontinuous.” In the previous "era of Isaac" one could become "the seed of Abraham" through physical baptism, as it is written: "In Isaac shall the seed be called," the word called referring to the name received through a physical baptism. But today, in the final "era of Jacob" (coinciding with the Seventh day) it is spiritual baptism that grafts us into what is now a spiritual lineage. The Bible speaks of "the end of days." There are seven days. We are in the end of (the seven) days. We are in God's spiritual seventh day. As for “the Hour” as “two forefingers”? That too is spiritual, as the “two forefingers” would symbolize the "two witnesses" or two divine attributes that are to be resurrected within “the Hour.”

In Ismā‘īlī gnosis, the Qā’im al-Qiyāmah is the most eminent human being in the entire Cosmos.  His soul encompasses and integrates the virtues of all the Prophets, Imāms, sages, saints, and luminaries who preceded him.  In this sense, Henry Corbin refers to the Qā’im as the “Perfect Child” because he is the most perfect soul to be created by the Universal Soul and it is through him that Universal Soul actualizes its own perfection.

“It is said, for example, that the Qā’im, the aim and goal of all the hudūd, the degrees or “horizons”, is the Grand Cycle of which the Imāms are the periods or partial cycles, just as each Imām is himself a cycle in relation to his hudūd. … It is also said that the Qā’im is the “coalescence” (majma), the corpus mysticum of all the hudūd; each of the Imāms has his own corpus mysticum, his Temple of Light, and all are gathered together and integrated in the Sublime Temple of the Resurrector. – Henry Corbin, (Cyclical Times and Ismaili Gnosis, 99)

This is why Jesus (the Truth incarnate) said we must become "as a little child," which is to be pure in thought, emotion, and action, "the most perfect soul." Indeed, each individual who does the works through which the soul is made perfect becomes "his own corpus mysticum, his Temple of Light," his Temple symbolizing his Heart, which is full of Light, symbolizing Truth. "I know thy works, that thou has a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen (be strong about) the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God... Revelation 3:1,2. Corpus: : the body of a person or animal, especially when dead.

Over one thousand years ago, several Ismā‘īlī pīrs, hujjats, dā‘īs, and philosophers offered prophecies, descriptions, and explanations of the how the Great Qiyāmah would occur and what its signs and effects would be.  It must be remembered that since Qiyāmah is a spiritual event, then all the verses and descriptions of it in the Qur’ān and other scriptures must be understood symbolically using the technique of ta’wīl (esoteric interpretation).

In a summary form, we now relate the major “Signs” of the Qiyāmah and the appearance of the Qā’im al-Qiyāmah as outlined in the books of the Ismā‘īlī da‘wah:

1) The Night of Power (laylat al-qadr)

LQ Post

And verily, We revealed him in the Night of Power
And how can We convey to you what is the Night of Power?
The Night of Power is greater than a thousand months
The Angels and the Spirit descend in it upon all decrees by the permission of their Lord
Peace it is, until the rising of the Dawn.
- Holy Qur’ān 97:1-5

The beginning of the Cycle of Qiyāmah is the appearance of the Night of Power (laylat al-qadr).  Exoterically and historically, the Night of Power was one of the last odd nights of the Month of Ramadān.  But esoterically in light of the qiyāmah, the Night of Power, refers to an august personality in the World of Faith who begins the Cycle of Qiyāmah.

All Nātiqs were accompanied by their Asās – the first Imām of the new Cycle who served as the Hujjat (proof) and Bāb (gate) of the Nātiq – like Imām ‘Ali was for the Prophet Muhammad, or Imām Shith (Seth) was for Prophet Adam. Similarly, each Imām has a son who serves as his Hujjat/Bāb and later succeeds him – like Imām Ja‘far al-Sādiq was for Imām Muhammad al-Bāqir.

On the same lines, the Qā’im al-Qiyāmah is also accompanied by his own Hujjat or Bāb – except that whereas the Hujjat/Bāb/Asās of every Nātiq or Imām came after him, the Hujjat or Bāb of the Qā’im comes before him.  That is to say, the Qā’im’s own father or the preceding Imām (instead of his son or the succeeding Imām) will serve as his Hujjat or Bāb.

“Before the advent of the seventh cycle, governed by the Qa’im, comes the Lahiq or Hujjat of the Qa’im. This is noteworthy, as the hujjat of an Imam is generally his contemporary. The Hujjat of the Qa’im, however, is the harbinger of the advent of the Sabbath.” - Shafique Virani, (The Days of Creation in the Thought of Nasir Khusraw, Institute of Ismaili Studies)

"It must be remembered that since Qiyāmah is a spiritual event, then all the verses and descriptions of it in the Qur’ān and other scriptures must be understood symbolically using the technique of ta’wīl (esoteric interpretation)." Yes. This is very important! "The Qā’im al-Qiyāmah (Lord of the Resurrection) is accompanied by his own Hujjat or Bāb" and each Imam has a Bāb (gate) because the 12 Imams (like the twelve sons of Jacob or twelve tribes of Israel) symbolize the 12 gates we are to pass through, ending in a spiritual resurrection. "Imām Shith (Seth) was [the Hujjat (proof) and Bāb (gate)] for Prophet Adam" because Seth (Adam's son) was the physical proof of God's re-appointed spiritual seed— the restoration or re-instating of the righteous seed or son, Abel being " the Hujjat (proof),"whom Cain slayed, illustrating the spiritual events that have, and are to take place within us. The Qā’im's own father being his Hujjat (proof) or Bāb (gate) becomes clear when we understand the symbolism. Hujjat is the result of a set of reasoning to shape the “known” information, in order to discover the “unknown”. Yes. So we can reason as to what is true in the spiritual sense by what is true in the physical. For example. Elijah was a "harbinger," preceding Elisha. John the Baptist was a "harbinger," preceding Jesus, the physical revealing the spiritual, the Spirit preceding the word, as it is written: "And the Spirit of God moved... and God said, let there be light..." The physical creation serves as "the Hujjat (proof)" of the spiritual creation that is to take place within us— the creation of "a new heaven and a new earth," symbolizing a new mind and a new heart. The spiritual works of this new spiritual creation was Jesus' message, which results in a spiritual resurrection, which is why Jesus said, "I am the resurrection," and why the dead man, who was thrown into the sepulchre of Elisha, "revived, and stood upon his feet." (Kings 13:21).

The Qā’im, in the symbolic language of the Qur’ān, is called the “Last Day” (yawm al-ākhirah) or the Seventh Day (in the Bible).  And therefore, the “Last Day” is preceded by the greatest of all nights – in the language of the Qur’ān, this is called the Night of Power (laylat al-qadr).  According to the science of ta’wīl, the Night of Power stands for the great Imām who functions as the Ḥujjat or Bāb of the Qā’im and the entirety of Sūrat al-Qadr is a metaphor for the exalted personality of this Imām.

"The Qā’im, in the symbolic language of the Qur’ān, is called the “Last Day” (yawm al-ākhirah) or the Seventh Day (in the Bible). " And we are in the Seventh Day— in the beginning of the 7th thousandth year since the spiritual decline of mankind, symbolized by the fall in the garden. We are in what was revealed to me to be the third and final "era of Jacob"... "And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days." What Jacob tells his sons reveals the works of the spiritual creation that is to take place within, the pattern for which is found in the physical creation. This spiritual creation results in "the exalted personality of this Imām," referring to the person ("the Hujjat or Bāb of the Qā’im") who goes through the process through which he comes to know himself. It is in knowing what is hidden in that spiritual darkness called Night that one gains Power from above. "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters," the "lower waters" symbolizing those things that are in the dark, brought into the light through the Spirit. "But esoterically in light of the qiyāmah, the Night of Power, refers to an august personality..."

August: inspiring reverence or admiration; of supreme dignity or grandeur; majestic.

Jacob's twelve sons reveal the spiritual journey through which one will ascend into "the exalted personality." As the teacher of the first revelation used to say–"We must travel from Reu to Ben; from Reuben to Benjamin," coming full circle, taking on the positive aspect of Reuben: "Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:" Genesis 49:3

“…the Hujjat of the Qā’im comes before him in the World of Faith and he is the Night of Power (laylat al-qadr).” - Sayyidna Nasir-i Khusraw, (Wajh-i Din, Discourse 33)

I see "the World of Faith" as "the World of Religion." "According to the Ismā‘īlī gnosis, the Qā’im is not some random person who appears out of nowhere, but he comes from the lineage of the Imāms from the progeny of the Prophet Muhammad and Imām ‘Alī ibn Abi Tālib"... " The Qā’im, in the symbolic language of the Qur’ān, is called the “Last Day” It is important to understand that we are now in "the Seventh Cycle" or Seventh Day, the number seven pertaining to spiritual. It no longer about a physical lineage or a person. It is about a spiritual lineage that any person can be grafted into through a spiritual baptism, immersing themselves in the purification process preserved for the "Last Day." However, "the World of Faith" can also pertain to "the end of faith," which is not experienced by those of (exoteric) Religion who only practice "the beginning of faith" through ritualistic practices, never experiencing the revitalization and regeneration of spiritual energy from within (esoteric); Greek: esoterok (os) inner.

“The Night of Power (laylat al-qadr) is a symbol (mathal) of his Bāb (gate) and Hujjat (proof) who is going to come before him. And thus the Bāb of the Qā’im is the lord of universal explanation (sahib al-bayan al-kulli) and the true unveiling (kashf al-haqiqi).”- Sayyidna al-Mu’ayyad fi’l-Dīn al-Shirāzī, (al-Majalis al-Mu’ayyadiyyah, Volume II, 612)

The Night of Power is a spiritual event, the (proof) being physical removal of the veil, which was literally rent in the temple when Jesus, "the light of the world," was crucified "... and there was darkness over all the earth..." Luke 2:44

The Night of Power is greater than a thousand months.  The inner meaning of this is that the Hujjat of the Qā’im shall be greater than a thousand Imāms.  This is because the Hujjat of the Qā’im will be “the lord of universal explanation and the true unveiling” – meaning, his teachings will reveal spiritual truths and insights in clear, succinct and unprecedented manner.  Indeed, the Qā’im’s Hujjat will be the greatest Imām of all the Cycles of Prophecy going back to Adam:

“His saying, ‘Laylat al-Qadr is better than one thousand months’, alludes to the Bāb of the Qā’im, peace be on his mention, [who is] greater than all of what is established by the manifestation of the grades of the intellects, from the legatees of the possessors of the religious laws and their most radiant degree.” - Sayyidna al-Mu’ayyad fi’l-Dīn al-Shirāzī, (Majālis al-Mu’ayyadiyyah, Volume III, 8)

“The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.”  That is, the Hujjat of the Qā’im is superior in knowledge to a thousand Imams, although collectively their ranks are one.” - Sayyidnā Nāsir-i Khusraw,
(Wajh-i Din, Discourse 33)

"Is this not David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?" Saul is associated with the Mind. David is associated with the Heart, the word "David" meaning "to love." Beyond intellectual mind knowledge is intellectual heart knowledge (i.e. intuition and revelation).

The meaning of al-Qadr is the Qā’im of the Progeny of Muhammad (qā’im-i āl-i Muhammad) and the meaning of Laylat al-Qadr is the Hujjat or Bāb of the Qā’im.  The Qur’ān explicitly states: “We revealed him in the Night of Power”, i.e. “We revealed the Qā’im in the personality of his Hujjat.”  This means that the Qā’im will carry out his mission, reveal his knowledge and display his glory in the physical world through the person of his Hujjat.

This Hujjah or Asās of the Qā’im will be the most publicly known and renowned Imām in the entire world – the people of the zāhir and the bātin – just as the Prophet Muhammad was manifest to both groups of people.  Sayyidnā Abū Hātim al-Rāzī and Sayyidnā Nāsir-i Khusraw explain this as follows:

“…the da‘wah is established in the name of the Asās in secret and will become manifest in public in the presence of the Last Completer [the Qā’im].” - Sayyidnā Abū Hātim al-Rāzī, (Shin Nomoto, Early Ismaili Thought on Prophecy, PhD Thesis, 307)

“…the status of the Asās will be manifest at the time of the advent of the Seventh Rank (hadd), namely, the Qā’im, to the people of the exoteric (zāhir) and the esoteric (bātin), as the rank of the Nātiq has become completely manifest to the people of the exoteric and the esoteric prior to the [advent of] the Seventh Rank (the Qā’im).
- Sayyidna Nasir-i Khusraw, (Wajh-i Din, Chapter 19, Section 7)

The word "seven" (shibah) comes from the root (shaba), which means "to be complete." We are in the 7th day. It is time to be complete by completing our spiritual works.

The Cycle of Qiyāmah is thus inaugurated in by not one, but two figures – the Hujjat of the Qā’im and the Qā’im al-Qiyāmah.  This idea of two messianic figures is also paralleled in the Abrahamic traditions.  The Sunni and Twelver Shī‘ī Muslims await the second coming of the Prophet Jesus and the Mahdī of the progeny of Prophet Muhammad.  The Jews await Messiah and the second coming of the Prophet Elijah – who functions as the “interpreter” of the Messiah.  These are all symbolic designations for the manifestation of the Hujjat of the Qā’im and the Qā’im al-Qiyāmah at the beginning Seventh Cycle – the Cycle of Qiyāmah.

Jews await what has already come, as do Christians. The Bible does not speak of a physical return of Jesus the Christ. It speaks of a spiritual return, found right in the plain text (Acts 1:9-11) yet the carnal mind of the Christian is unable to see it. Jesus warned us of this, saying, "... if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not" (Mark 13:21). The first coming of Jesus the Christ was at his birth. The second coming took place when he appeared to his disciples after his resurrection. In this present Seventh Day, the third coming of Jesus is spiritual. It can only be counted as the second coming in type. The first type being physical. The second type being spiritual. The second coming of Elijah (meaning, his spirit) has already taken place- in John the Baptist. It is now about the third coming of the "two figures" which are the "two witnesses"the two divine attributes that are to be resurrected in the heart of the individual –the Hujjat of the Qā’im," who becomes the Qā’im al-Qiyāmah (Lord of the Resurrection).

2) The Sun and the Moon are united

Lunar-Eclipse-Gemini (1)

A visual depiction of a lunar eclipse. The lunar eclipse is a symbol of the union of the offices of Imamah and Piratan during the Cycle of Qiyamah.

“And when the Moon is eclipsed, and the Sun and Moon are united,”
– Holy Qur’ān 75:8-
9

According to various Ismā‘īlī texts (i.e. Kitab al-‘Ālim wa’l-Ghulām – Ja‘far ibn Manṣūr al-Yaman; Tasawwurāt – Naṣīr al-Dīn al-tūsī), the Sun (shams) stands for the Imām and the Moon (qamar) stands for the Pīr or Supreme Hujjat (Bāb).  The Imām is the spiritual father of the believers and the Pīr or Supreme Hujjat (Bāb) is their spiritual mother.  Metaphysically, the Imām is the locus of manifestation of the Universal Intellect and the Pīr is the locus of manifestation of the Universal Soul.

The union of the Sun and the Moon at the time of Qiyāmah means that the institutions of Imāmah and Piratan will be united in the person of the Imām during the Cycle of Qiyāmah.

3) When the Stars darken

When the Sun is shining, the Moon and the Stars are present but not visible.  This symbolizes the state of the Imam and the Ranks of Faith in the Cycle of Qiyamah.

When the Sun is shining, the Moon and the Stars are present but not visible. This symbolizes the manifestation of the Imam and the concealment of the Ranks of Faith (hudud al-din) in the Cycle of Qiyamah.

“And when the stars darken”
– Holy Qur’ān 81:2

“And when the stars are obliterated.”
– Holy Qur’ān 77:8

In all the cycles of prophetic history, the Imāms delivered their ta‘līm and ta‘wīl through a hierarchy of representatives and teachers – the bābs, the hujjats, the dā‘īs, and ma’dhūns.  This hierarchy makes up the “World of Faith” (‘ālam al-dīn) and is known as the “Ranks of Faith” (hudūd al-dīn). In the World of Nature, the Imām is symbolized by the Sun, his Bābs by the Moon, and the rest of the hudūd by the Stars.  This is related to the vision of the Prophet Joseph (Yusūf) when he saw “the Sun, the Moon, and eleven Stars” (see Sūrat Yusūf) prostrating before him.

"Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me... and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? Genesis 37:9,10. Joseph's (Yusūf's) dream.

The sun symbolizes our father. The moon symbolizes our mother. The stars symbolize our siblings, or anyone that influenced our thinking throughout our life. The sun, moon, and stars are the lights of heaven, symbolizing the perceptions of the mind. The darkening of the sun, moon, and stars is a spiritual event that takes place immediately after "the tribulation," or our personal "time of trouble," when the the perceptions we received from these three sources (that were in error) are eclipsed by the light of truth. "... The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. Joel 3:15. "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven..." Matthew 24:29. This is "The Night of Power." The Resurrection of Truth. The Rising of the Sun.

When the Cycle of Qiyāmah begins and the Qā’im appears in the physical world, the Ranks of Faith (i.e. “the Stars”) will cease their formal functions and the Imām himself will take over their roles.  This is the meaning of the Qur’ānic verse:

“The Day We shall summon every people with their Imām.”
– Holy Qur’ān 17:7
1

This is because the Imām, as the Sun of Faith (shams al-dīn) will be manifest to the world and the Moon and the Stars of Faith will no longer be visible. When the Sun is shining in its full glory, the light of the Moon and the Stars cannot be observed, despite their continuous presence. It is also related in a prophetic hadīth:

“Goodness is knotted up in the forelocks of horses till the Day of Qiyāmah.” – Prophet Muhammad, (Sunān Abū Dawūd, Book 21, Number 21.19.44)

“Nasir Khusraw explains that the ta’wil of this is that the da‘wat, the summoning of humankind, will not be severed from the hujjats, symbolised by the horses, and the da‘is, symbolised by their forelocks, till the time of the Qā’im’smanifestation.” - Shafique Virani, (The Days of Creation in the Thought of Nasir Khusraw, Click Here to Read)

The Ismā‘īlī da‘wah – the formal and practical da‘wah that actively summons people to the recognition of the Imām – will be abolished along with the functions of the Ranks of Faith (also confirmed by Hamīd al-Dīn al-Kirmānī in his Kitāb al-Riyād).

4) The Heavens are rolled up

heavens scroll

A visual depiction of the heavens being rolled up into a scroll. The imagery of a scroll serves to symbolize the “scroll of the shari’ah” which is abrogated in the Cycle of Qiyamah.

“The Day that We roll up the Heavens like a scroll rolled up for books (completed),- even as We produced the first creation, so shall We produce a new one: a promise We have undertaken: truly shall We fulfil it. Before this We wrote in the Psalms, after the message (given to Moses): ‘My servants, the righteous, should inherit the Earth.”
– Holy Qur’ān 21:104

"And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all the host shall fall down..." Isaiah 34:4.

The "scroll" symbolizes our life, rolled up upon completion of the process through which we discover what has been written on the pages of the book that is our life. The book of Revelation refers to our life as "the little book," which is open in the hand of the seventh angel, as our life is opened up to us through the power of the holy spirit. The host of heaven is the sun, the moon, and the stars, which are part of "the first creation;" "the first heaven and earth," which are are dissolved upon the completion of "a new one;" "a new heaven and new earth," symbolizing a new mind and a new heart, the false perceptions and beliefs that we once accepted as truth (coming from an inherited spiritual host of heaven) no longer having power over us. "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." Revelation 21:1

The various terms in the Qur’ān – “heaven”, “earth”, “mountains”, “seas”, “rivers”, etc. all contain an esoteric or ta’wīlī meaning because they refer not to the physical world (dunyā) but to the World of Faith (‘ālam al-dīn).  Therefore, the real meaning of “heavens” is the exoteric (zāhir) and the sharī‘ah, and the inner meaning of “earth” is the esoteric (bātin) and the tarīqah.  Just as the physical heavens surround and protect the physical earth, the zāhir protects and envelopes the bātin.  The “rolling up” of the “heavens” means that the sharī‘ah will be abolished when the Cycle of Qiyāmah begins and the quaking of the “earth” means that the esoteric sciences will become revealed in a sudden way – in the manner of earthquakes – even though people may not be prepared for it.

The World of Faith (‘ālam al-dīn) (in the above context) would be "the end of faith." The “heaven” symbolizes the "mind,' the “earth” symbolizes the "heart." The “seas” symbolize the deep or hidden things, which carry negative and destructive energy. The “mountains”symbolize the things we feel are insurmountable, the quaking of the “earth”occuring when we are shaken up on a very deep emotional level, the earth symbolizing the heart— the seat of the emotions.

“Al-Sijistānī explains that ta’wīl is necessary for two categories of Qur’ānic verses: one, verses with physical objects such as heaven, earth, and mountains, and two, the allegorical verses. In chapter 12 of Kitāb al-Iftikhār (“The Book of Pride”), al-Sijistānī gives some examples such as Q 21:105: “Before this We wrote in the Psalms, after the message (given to Moses): ‘My servants, the righteous, should inherit the earth’.” This, he suggests, should not be interpreted in the literal sense since it is always the tyrants who take the land. The earth on which vegetation grows is a source of nourishment for all creatures; therefore its inner meaning is the nourishment of the soul (i.e. spiritual knowledge). In another passage, Q 21:104, “The day that We roll up the heaven like a scroll rolled up with the writings,” the “heaven” signifies the sharī‘a which will be abrogated on the judgment day.” - Diana Steigerwald, (“Ismā‘īlī Ta’wīl”, The Blackwell Companion to the Qur’ān, ed. Andrew Rippin, 391)

"But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." Psalms 7:11. The meek are those that are humble— those that have entered an allegorical "Jordan," meaning "a descender," revealing their humble posture, where they step on twelve metaphorical stones, symbolizing the spiritual judgment through which one obtains inner peace.

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together: Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord. For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within the wall, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companion's sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good. Psalms 122

The Earth symbolizes The Heart— the seat of the emotions, the most important aspect of the soul, where we have unwittingly sown the evil seeds of false beliefs. We "inherit the earth" by driving the seven impurities out of the heart, as the seven inhabitants were to be driven out of the promised land (Joshua 3:10), the promised land symbolizing the joyful and peaceful life inherited through the purification of the heart. And in purifying our heart we do our part to purify the earth. The sharī‘a is abrogated (abolished) through this spiritual judgment— ritualistic practices giving way to spiritual regeneration. All that took place physically in the previous "era of Isaac"(e.g. prayers, baptisms, anointings, fastings, healings, casting out devils, etc.) are now, in the third and final "era of Jacob" or era of Spirit, to take place spiritually. Any physical demonstrations of these are associated with the negative meaning of Isaac, which is mockery.

With respect to the abrogation of the sharī ‘ah at the time of Qiyāmah, Sayyidnā Nāsir-i Khusraw (as per Khwān al-Ikhwān) explains that the sharī‘ah of Prophet Muhammad has two dimensions – the specified (wad‘ī) sharī‘ah and the intellectual (‘aqlī) sharī‘ah.  The specificed sharī‘ah refers to specific formal or ritual practices as Salāh (ritual prayer), Sawm (ritual fasting), Wudū (ablution), Hajj (pilgrimage), etc. in their exoteric form – without which mankind can still survive and function.  The intellectual sharī‘ah refers to moral and ethical laws such as the laws against murder, stealing, and unethical behavior – without which humanity would plunge into chaos.

"murder, stealing, and unethical behavior" (such as adultery) take place in the heart of man, daily, which is why Jesus instructs us to clean the inside so that the outside (our actions/behaviors) will become clean, righteousness becoming a law unto itself. This is " the abrogation of the sharī ‘ah at the time of Qiyāmah".

“While Nāṣir emphasizes that in the physical world action is necessary for the development and perfection of the human soul, he makes a distinction in the two types of practices of sharīa. He divides the sharīa into intellectual (‘aqlī) and positional or statutory (wad‘ī). The intellectual  sharīa  is always necessary to maintain the order and discipline of society. Meanwhile the statutory sharīʿa is a temporary measure that conceals certain realities (haqā’iq) that cannot be openly revealed due to the unfavourable time. When the time becomes favourable, these devices are no longer necessary.”
- Faquir Muhammad Hunzai, (Nasir-i Khusraw’s Ethical Philosophy, 15)

The "the specified or statutory (wad‘ī) sharī‘ah  sharī‘a would be the Mosaic Law, which requiring physical action, was added because the children of Isarel broke God's Spiritual Law, which Moses illustrated as he came down off the mount. The Spiritual Law required spiritual or inner action, which is in deed necessary "for the development and perfection of the soul." Keeping the Mosaic Law through physical obedience insured their protection until they had developed (matured) enough to understand and keep the Spiritual Law through spiritual obedience. This fits the intepretaion of "the statutory sharīʿa, a temporary measure that conceals certain realities (haqā’iq) that cannot be openly revealed due to the unfavourable times." The certain realities that are being concealed due to man's spiritual immaturity and lack of spiritual knowledge is the reality (condition) of the heart. The ritualistic practices of religion are now a detriment to the soul as they place one inside a wall of false peace (Ezekiel 13), which like the veil, separates one from that "holiest place" called the heart, the "holy ground" that Moses and Joshua placed their feet upon – the spiritual Mecca, to which a Muslim is to make a spiritual pilmgrimage, once in his lifetime.

It may be wondered as to why the abrogation of the sharī ‘ah must occur in the first place.  This is because all sharī ‘ahs were compiled and composed by a Nātiq in accordance with the culture and needs of his time.  Furthermore, each sharī‘ah has an outer form and an inner meaning which is like a spirit that inhabits a body.  Over time, it is natural that a sharī‘ah becomes worn out and ineffective due to the progression of history and human life – as Sayyidnā Abū Ya ‘qūb al-Sijistānī explains:

“After a long time, the sharī‘ah becomes empty of the ‘spirit of the second age’, particularly, after the advancement of Man with the expansion of the knowledge, his intelligence and his mental faculities.”
- Sayyidnā Abū Ya‘qūb al-Sijistānī, (Ithbāt al-Nabuwwat, 343)

When this happens – usually after more or less a thousand years – a new sharī ‘ah is established and a new prophetic cycle begins and the new Nātiq abrogates the old sharī ‘ah and compiles a new one.  However, after the Prophet Muhammad, there are no more Prophets. Therefore, the Qā’im will abrogate the specified sharī‘ah while revealing its inner meaning (ta’wīl) and simultaneously, spiritualize and transform the sharī‘ah into a higher mode of ritual practice.  The intellectual sharī‘ah – as a set of ethics and moral guidelines – always remains in force and becomes more prominent in the Cycle of Qiyāmah.

In disobeying the spiritual laws given out by The Messenger, Moses, the heart of the children of Israel remained unchanged, so their minds could not be trusted to guide their bodies to take the right action. Religious laws and ritualistic practices serve to keep the mind and body of the outward believer in a pseudo-state of purity until he becomes an inward believer, performing the spiritual work through which his heart, mind, and body are purified, which is the purification of his soul.

5) The Intellectual Da‘wah and the Epoch of Knowledge (Dawr al-’Ilm)

era of knowledge

An image depicting how knowledge comes to light. The Cycle of Qiyamah is the Epoch of Knowledge (dawr al-’ilm) and the Qur’anic description of “being raised from the graves” refers to the manifestation of once hidden or concealed knowledge out in the open.

“Our Qā’im will begin a New Summons (du‘ā’an jadīdan).”
- Imām Ja‘far al-Sādiq,
(Amir-Moezzi, The Divine Guide in Early Shiism, 119)

The Qā’im al-Qiyāmah will inaugurate a new intellectual and gnostic da‘wah (da‘wat al-jadīdah al-‘ilmiyyah). This is the difference between the Summons of the Qā’im and the Summons of the previous Six Prophetic Messengers.  The Summons of the Prophets was an exoteric (zāhirī) and physical (‘amalī) Summons whereas the Summons of the Qā’im is intellectual (‘aqlīyyah) and gnostic (‘ilmīyyah):

“Sijistānī specifies that the summons of [Prophet] Muhammad, when likened to the Hour, are ritualistic whereas the summons of the Qā’im is intellectual. The reason the Qā’im is absent at the time of the prophet is that his summons are different from that of the prophet… Since the Qā’im’s call is intellectual (da‘wah is ‘ilmiīyah) the Qā’im’s knowledge is not visible; whereas the Prophet’s (raūl) call (da‘wah) is ‘amalīyah.  Therefore, while hypocrites may enter the dawah of a prophet, only the sincere can enter the dawah of the Qā’im; and their souls will be recompensed according to that effort of sincerity.  Sijistānī holds that God has ordained the da‘wah of the Qā’im as intellectual, not ritualistic.  It is intellectual because it cannot be operative through force since force would make its followers hypocrites, not true believers. Therefore, the believer must possess knowledge (‘ilm), and the sāhib al-‘ilm is he who deals with those who profess a belief without the use of force, i.e. without an externally motivating factor. Therefore, a believer is defined as the one who is intellectually convinced of the truth of revelation and accepts this as an intellectual conviction and not as a mere acceptance and observance of the law.” - Boustan Hirji, (A Study of Risalah al-Bahira, PhD Thesis, McGill University, Montreal, October 1994, 155)

"Woe unto you scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites! ..." The words of Jesus to the religious peoples of his day, who were unable to grasp the spiritual meaning of the law. "True believers" are those that put action to the spiritual works that Jesus brought forth, which is what he was referring to when he said, "believe the works,"which I believe Jesus to have completed between the ages of 18 and 30, being twelve years, the number twelve representing judgment— and internal, spiritual judgment.

The Qā’im begins a new phase of human history known as the Epoch of Knowledge (dawr al ‘ilm).  In the periods before the Qā’im, humanity lives in the Epoch of Practice – where both religion and worldly life are oriented around actions (‘amal) and physical resources.  After the coming of the Qā’im and the beginning of the Cycle of Qiyāmah¸ humanity enters into the Epoch of Knowledgle (dawr al-‘ilm) in which there is an abundance of knowledge (‘ilm) available in a way that humankind has never seen before.

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."

Written in the twelfth chapter of Daniel, meaning judge of God. Seeing as the World has entered the "era of Jacob"— the era of Spirit, it is spiritual knowledge that is to be increasing, "pure knowledge" in that it has, through its application, the power to purify us – "purity (safa), tayid and ‘ilm, without religious obligation in terms of practice (taklif)". Knowledge that has been sealed until the "last days" – Genesis 49.

“The final epoch before the advent of the Qā’im is defined as the epoch of practice (dawr al-‘amāl), and is one in which religious practices are obligatory on the part of the individual practitioner.  With the establishment of the Qā’im and the commencement of the epoch of knowledge (dawr al-ilm), even the practice of obedience (ta‘ah) to the hudud al-din is no longer required… Therein arises another set of distinctions: between the epoch of practice (dawr al-‘amal) and the epoch of knowledge (dawr al-‘ilm).  The dawr al-‘ilm (Epoch of Knowledge) is the time of the Qa’im, and associated with this is tayid, purity, and more significantly, “pure knowledge” (al-‘ilm al-mahd)…. Because the Qa’im is established at the end of the dawr al-‘amāl, the epoch of the Qa’im is the epoch of purity (safa), tayid and ‘ilm, without religious obligation in terms of practice (taklif).  - Elizabeth R. Alexandrin, (The Sphere of Walayah: Ismalii Ta’wīl in Practice according to al-Mu’ayyad, PhD Thesis, McGillUniversity, 2006, 322-334)

As a result of the beginning of the Epoch of Knowledge, the esoteric meaning – ta’wīl – of all previous religions and revelations is unveiled to humankind.  The Qur’ān foretells this in the verse:

“Do they not wait (hal yanzurūna) for its ta’wīl? The Day when its ta’wīl arrives, those who had forgotten it from before will say: ‘Verily, the Messengers of our Lord came with the Truth.”
- Holy Qur’ān 7:53

With regard to The Holy Bible "the beginning of the Epoch of Knowledge" goes back as far as 1960, when the foundation for this spiritual knowledge was laid through thirty-three years of revelatory and scholastic teachings. In or around 1975 I was told by the man of the first revelation that I had "The Gift of Knowledge," some twenty-three years prior to my receiving the second revelation on the symbolic code (over a period of seven years), the key to unlocking the deeper spiritual truths contained in our sacred texts, ancient writings, and coded works, many of which have only recently been unearthed, beginning "the Cycle of Qiyāmah".
The Teachings

The Qa’im will unveil the ta’wil (esoteric meaning) of all scriptures and revealed religions during the Epoch of Knowledge.  It is through this ta’wil that people will be able to recognize the truth (haqq) in the messages and revelations of the Prophets.  This means that the esoteric, philosophical and theological materials of all religions – formerly concealed and guarded except from a select few – will be accessible in the Cycle of Qiyāmah.  In most periods of history, the believers could not freely share such material and had to maintain the veil of taqīyya and secrecy.  However, the Cycle of Qiyāmah will allow such knowledge and wisdom to be shared freely and in abundance:

“In fact, other Shi’ite factions likewise maintain that, with the coming of the ‘messianic figure’, the obligation of taqiyya and kitman will be anulled and the believers will be permitted to divulge their secrets.  In Isma‘ili thought, the secrets revealed at the end of time are the truths (haqa’iq) or the inner aspect of religion (batin) – in effect, the philosophical, theological and esoteric knowledge of every kind.  Consequently, in Isma‘ili tradition, acquiring this knowledge and transmitting it to others entails a messianic sentiment – for the disclosure of this knowledge is a clear sign of the end of time… These sciences are entrusted to the Imams, the descendents of ‘Ali, and to their followers (such as Jabir); with the appearance of the ‘messianic figure’, the external aspect of religion (zahir) wil lose its primacy and will be replaced by the inner aspect, namely, the philosophical and esoteric sciences… In this era, ‘the tables will be turned’: the hitherto concealed Isma‘ili knowledge will be revealed to all, judgment day will commence and human history will reach its final end.”

This spiritual knowledge, hidden in the symbolism of our Sacred Texts, will allow us to move forward, in a spiritual direction. When the religions of the World embrace spiritual truth, the words of the Prophets shall be fulfilled...

"... nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3)

The coming of "the 'messianic figure'" or Messiah, in what is the "era of Jacob, is spiritual, which is "the coming of" what the Messiah symbolizes – The Anointing, the word Messiah meaning anointed; from the root "mashach" meaning "to rub with oil".

… What be these two branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? ... Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. Zechariah 4:12-14

The two Messengers of the Holy Bible that symbolize 'The Anointing' were as follows: Moses and Aaron; Joshua and Caleb, Elijah and Elisha, and John and Jesus. Moses symbolizes the Spirit of God. Aaron symbolizes the Word of God, which is why Aaron spoke for Moses, as Moses was "slow of speech." Jesus was the ultimate embodiment of God's Word.

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come." John 16:13

Jesus was not speaking of himself here, but of the spiritual anointing through which one receives the truth through which he completes the spiritual works of a new spiritual creation. Through this process one reaches that peaceful state of existence called "new Jerusalem." He has taken on the epithet of the Messiah, a term used to characterize the nature of a person or thing. The spiritual nature of Messiah can be found in what the two messengers symbolize, and in the word, Shiloh, meaning to be tranquil, secure, successful, be happy, prosper, be in safety; an epithet of the Messiah. Anyone who truly believes, which is to put action to the spiritual works, takes on the ephithet of the Messiah.

"BEHOLD, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments: As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descendeth upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." Psalms 133

Written by Sandra L. Butler (Copyright © April 2014)
Author; The Bible Decoded; The Little Book for the Soul
Website: http://www.thebibledecoded.com

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