Dr Sayyad Jalal Badakhchani, Research Associate at the IIS, has recently been awarded the certificate of honour by the Heritage Foundation and the National Library of Iran for his contributions to reintroducing the extant Persian text of Qa'imiyat, a collection of poems from the Alamut period of Ismaili history.
Dr Badakhchani’s latest publication, a Persian edition of the Diwan-i Qa’imiyyat, attributed to the 13th-century poet and scholar, Hasan Mahmud-i Katib, was published in 2011 by the IIS, in collaboration with the Written Heritage Research Centre in Tehran. This edition was prepared, in part, using an extant copy of the manuscript of the Diwan which was discovered during the renovation of an old building, where it had been hidden for many centuries. Almost thirty years after this discovery, Dr Badakhchani found photocopies of other sections, which account for the missing sections. The Persian edition reflects two of the seven volumes of Hasan Mahmud-i Katib’s original work.
“The importance of Hasan’s works”, Dr. Badakhchani stated, “lies in the fact that, until the discovery of a more reliable source on the Nizari Ismaili doctrine of Qiyamat, his writings remain the most extensive and contemporary interpretation to survive up to our time.”
Hasan-i Mahmud-i Katib was a close associate of the famous thirteenth-century Muslim intellectual, Nasir al-din Tusi. Hasan actively compiled Tusi’s lectures and scholarly writings. As a result of the relationship between the two individuals, Hasan was able to obtain a respectable grasp of Tusi’s ideas and render them in poetic form. Furthermore, Hasan also composed his own poems and collected the works of past Ismaili poets from the Alamut period.
In 1233 CE, Hasan presented a compilation of poems to the Nizari Ismaili Imam of his time, Imam ‘Ala al-Din Muhammad. At least three copies of this version, which Hasan named Qa’imiyat, are known to have survived to the present day.
The surviving texts of the Alamut period reveal that the Persian Ismaili Community maintained a sophisticated literary tradition, elaborating their response to the changed circumstances of this period. The Qa’imiyat occupies a unique place in the literary tradition of the Nizari Ismailis, shedding light on their teachings of the twelfth century CE.
The Persian text has been published with an extensive introduction by Professor Shafi‘i Kadhkani, a well-known contemporary Persian writer, poet and literary critic. He states that, in the development of Persian poetry and its Ismaili component, “the Qaimiyat is a masterly poetical work much richer in Ismaili terminology, not only of the Diwan of Nasir-i Khusraw and Nizari Quhistani, but also the prose writings of Nasir al-din Tusi.” The present edition also includes a brief English introduction by Dr Badakhchani.
Dr Badakhchani obtained his MA in Islamic Philosophy from the faculty of Theology at the University of Mashhad in 1975 and his doctorate in Islamic Philosophy from the University of Oxford in 1989. He served as Deputy Director of the Central Library at Firdausi University in Mashhad, Iran, and Librarian at the IIS, before taking on the role of Research Associate.