The didar does not mean mere an act of looking at the Imam. It needs the eyes of the knowledge and faith, and without it the purpose does not materialize. The Koran says, “And you see them looking towards you, yet they do not see” (7:198).
Imam Mustansir billah II said, “‘O believers, listen to the story of the prophet Yahya, who wept day and night, taking no respite. Once Jabrail came from God, descending to Yahya, and said: “O Yahya, the Creator of the two worlds asks: For what reason are you crying so much? I feel great pity for you. If you cry coveting Paradise, it is granted to you. If you are crying from fear of Hell, it is prohibited to you.. The prophet Yahya replied: “I cry neither coveting Paradise nor from fear of Hell. I cry in the ardent desire of Your vision (liqa) and Your didar.” Then the Creator said: If you cry for the sake of My vision, then cry much in order to attain your purpose.”
The Imam further said, “O‟believers, it is very difficult to attain the didar. But for you, “O believers, the present Pir has made easy the Divine didar. O` believers, know so much, and do not forget: Keep in your mind Ali of your time, so that he may stretch out his hand to help you.” (Pandiyat-i Jawanmardi, tr. By W. Ivanow, Holland, 1953, p. 53)
Not only is the follower anxious for the didar, the Imam is even more excited about meeting the followers. Occasionally, a didar becomes even more special when one is graced by the darbar, which is Persian word for the Court of a King. During darbar, the Imam is dressed in his full regalia and all the courtiers don their robes and turbans. When the Imam declares the didar as darbar, this is symbolic to the darbar of Ali when the Prophet declared him as his successor and presented him with the khilat (cloak, robe) and safoh (turban), therefore transferring his authority and all the favors that were invested by God to him.
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Header image: His Highness the Aga Khan addressing to the crowd of tens of thousands at a final Deedar held in Yogit, Darvaz region, Tajikistan, 27 September 1998. | AKDN / Zahur Ramji