Why should Ismailis seek knowledge from the works of Da'is and Pirs if we have the Imam?
If we begin with the idea that the Imam's guidance and interpretation of faith is supreme and should be followed to the exclusion of other interpretations (even interpretations part of the Ismaili intellectual tradition of thought), then we would have to look only to the Farmans of the Imam for guidance on theology, philosophy, history, and Qur'anic exegesis. However, as soon as we look to the Farmans, we find explicit instructions and commands from the Present Imam, Shah Karim al-Husayni, for Ismailis to "learn Ismaili philosophy" and to spend time reading, learning and deriving happiness from the books of the Ismaili faith written by past Ismaili historians and philosophers and poets.
"Ismailis, must be made to take interest in the reading of serious Ismaili History and Philosophy of Ismailism, particularly youths."
- Mawlana Hazar Imam, Message to Ismailia Association, 1961
A farman made in Karachi Oct 2000 is most explicit where the present Imam tells young Jamat to find answers to the questions of today in Ismaili works of the past from Ismaili philosophers. He also says there that the Ismaili intellectual tradition must be given more respect, legacy, and continuity today. Now, the actual content of the Ismaili intellectual tradition that the current Imam tells Ismailis to read and learn from is what has been written by the Ismaili Hujjats, Da'is and philosophers like Sijistani, Kirmani, Nasir Khusraw, and Nasir al-Din Tusi. Therefore, the present day Ismaili Muslim reading these works and deriving Ismaili interpretations from these books is precisely what the Hazar Imam has commanded Ismailis to do when learning about Ismaili interpretations. Now, add to the above, the dozens of times the Imam has said that each murid individually must understand his faith using his intellect and through personal search. That personal search of each person must be a search through all these past Ismaili Muslim texts and writings.
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