Epistles of Wisdom

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
The Epistles of Wisdom (The Rasā'il al-Ḥikma)  (1017-1042) 
by Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah

The Epistles of Wisdom
The Rasā'il al-Ḥikma

Epistle 1

Copy of the edict that appeared in the mosques about the occultation of Our Lord, the Iman al-Hakim.

Dated from Qa'da 411 (February 16 to March 18, 1021), this piece was written a few days after the disappearance of al-Hakim, 27 Sawwal 411 (February 13 1021). The author presents his writing as an “edict” (sigill) of the "occultation" (gayba) or temporary withdrawal of the Iman until his triumphant return. Accordance with the Shi-ite doctrine of gabya, the disappearance of the Iman is attributed to the hostility and the blindness of men. Despite the countless material and spiritual blessings which were brought by al-Hakim, most of them refused his wisdom and devoted themselves to their passions. Disappointed and angry, he turned away from them and evaded their eyes. But in leaving, gives them one last chance to repent before his imminent return. For this piece, the collection of the Rasā'il al-Ḥikma opens an enigma. Indeed, at first glance the content seems to be in clear breach of the Druze doctrine. There is no explicit reference to the divinity of al-Hakim, which appears rather often in the features of a Shia Iman, bearing the title of “Amir al-Mu'minin”, “Wali Allah” and “Huggat Allah”. As Iman is a qualification that the Druze reserve for the personality of Hamza ibn Ali - his name is followed by a eulogy of “salam Allahu 'alaihi”, Hamza condemns this practice that is also a particularly serious form of “sirk”. The beginning of the text is a sort of Shi-ite creed, perfectly "orthodox": the “basmala” is listed as ordinary in Islamic, the deity named Allah receives the usual eulogies, just like Muhammad and other prophets.

"In the name of Allah, the Clement, the Merciful. The happy ending happens to the one who wakes up from sleepy dizziness, turns away from the stupidity of the ignorant and testifies to sincere faith, so that by repentance, he hastens to Allah Most High and to his friend (walī), his argument (ḥuğğa) back to men, his vicar (ḫalīfa) on Earth, the guardian (amīn) of its creation, the Commander of the Faithful (amīr almu'minīn). Salvation (al-Fawz) is the perogative of pure and pious men, who do not deny the Day of Resurrection, but sincerely believe in that which is hidden (al-ġayb) and recognize its certainty. They profess that the hour will happen suddenly and do not have any doubts about this, and that Allah does not neglect to reward the righteous. Indeed, adversity strikes the unjust, rebel demons, vicious renegades, despicable liars, traitors, tyrannical, despotic and corrupt men, adversaries and hypocrites, who deny the Day of Resurrection and incur the wrath of God, the lost, Praise be to Allah. The faithful appreciate him with praise that never comes to term, but continues to all eternity. May Allah bless the master of emissaries, Muhammad, who was sent with the Qur'an for all creatures, as a message and warning, through the go-between of his progeny, of the Imams who guide and are guided, noble scribes, witnesses against humans to explain to men the matters on which they wonder and are divided, to lead them to the solemn announcement of the Right Way. Peace of Allah the sublime, the high, be with them till the Day of Resurrection.

Let's get to it. O men, the promises, exhortations and threats which the director of your business, the Imam of your century, the successor of your prophets, the discussion of your creator and his assistant, who will testify against you because of your sins and all that you have committed, you have recieved in the past, containing a warning and a reprimand enough for those who listen, obey and choose to be guided, while the soul struggles against the passions, prefers that which is beyond the earthly world."