Ramadan Fasting in Shia Ismaili Islam: A Historical Overview

Ramadan Fasting in Shia Ismaili Islam: A Historical OverviewThe Ismaili Muslims, under the guidance of the Imams, have also emphasised the inner or batini form of fasting. All Ismaili Muslim hujjats, da‘is, and thinkers, under the guidance of the Imams, maintained that the Seven Pillars of Islam have esoteric and spiritual meanings and that sometime in the future, the exoteric or zahiri forms of the Seven Pillars would no longer be mandatory whereas their batini or esoteric meanings would instead be practiced openly. This came to fruition in certain periods of Ismaili history: In 1164, the 23rd Ismaili Imam, Hasan ‘ala-dhikrihi al-salam, declared the period of qiyamah. As maintained by several Fatimid Ismailihujjats like Sijistani (d. after 971), Ja‘far b. Mansur al-Yaman (d. ca. 960), Nasir-i Khusraw (d. 1088), al-Mu’ayyad al-Shirazi (d. 1078), in the period of qiyamah, the exoteric or zahiri practices of the shari‘ah including namaz, Hajj, and fasting are abolished and no longer mandatory while their batini and spiritual dimensions are practiced. For example, during the qiyamah period, the Ismaili Imam’s guidance on fasting was as follows:

As for fasting of this jama‘at, whereas in the realm of the shari’ah, out of twelve months which make up the year, for one month, from dawn to dusk, one closes his mouth against eating and drinking, the rule of this jama‘at requires that during the whole of one’s life one is not permitted to abandon the true fast even for the twinkling of an eye. They keep not just one organ of the body closed, but rather all seven external and internal organs against that which God has prohibited, so that they may always preserve a state of fasting.”

– Imam ‘Ala al-Din Muhammad of Alamut,
(Nasir al-Din Tusi, The Paradise of Submission, Representation No. 28)

Read at the source: Ramadan Fasting in Shia Ismaili Islam: A Historical Overview | Ismaili Gnosis

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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