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KALAM-I MAWLA

Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

Kalam-i Mawla, i.e., the sayings of Imam Ali bin Abu Talib, is a poetical work of 328 verses, composed in Hindi. It is a manual of ethics for believer, stating the virtues to be cultivated and the vices to be shunned. It is recited in the Jamatkhana.

Sind was near Iran and it influenced the local inhabitants to learn the Persian. It also inspired the Ismailis to have knowledge of the Persian language after the time of Pir Dadu (d. 1005/1596) The Ismaili pilgrims of Kutchh, Gujrat and Kathiawar used to seek the services of the Persian speaking Ismailis of Sind and took them in Iran as their guides. In the time of Imam Khalilullah Ali II (d. 1233/1817), a Persian copy of the Kalam-i Mawla into Hindi was found in the prayer-hall of Shahr-i Babak, but the name of the composer could not be ascertained. A certain Syed Baba of Sind had visited Shahr-i Babak on those days as a guide and copied the Kalam-i Mawla into Khojki script and brought it to India. The Akhund family, knowing the Persian spread its copies in other parts of India.

The earliest manuscript of Kalam-i Mawla is dated 1795, implying explicitly that it was composed most probably in the time of Imam Khalilullah Ali. It was printed for the first time in 1860 into Gujrati in Bombay by Alarakhia Kurji under the title of Mawla'ka Kalam (words of the Mawla). It is to be noted that its few stanzas were also presented in the court during the Aga Khan Case of 1866.

It contains 328 stanza divided into 23 different topics. The first eight lines from beginning apparently are the words of the composer, which reads: "The mention of God is the first, the Merciful and the second kalma is for Muhammad, who is the faith of religion. The third epistle is for the Mawla, who related the words into Hindi. This is the treasure of jewels, which has been shown in public." These lines are followed by the first topic of the truthfulness and ends with the subject of courage.

The maxims are designed not in the first person of Ali as saying, but the composer himself relates it in different manner, such as it is the binding of the word (8), the Lord of Zulfikar said (16), Mawla says that (22, 40, 102, 119, 168, 170), the Wali Maqbul himself says (35), Hazrat Shah says (71), the Lord of mystery says (99, 267), the Saqi of Kawthar says (108), the Shah of the Dhuldhul Aswar says (114, 131), Mawla relates (121), Shah Awliya Hazrat Ali Savera says (183), The Lord Mawla Murtza Ali says (206), Shah'i Namdar says (227), Hazrat Amir himself says (246), etc.

KALB [ see QALB ]


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