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A Radiant Personality

By - Feb 28, 2015 - Category Articles - Print Print

This February 28th will be the 95th anniversary of Hadj Nemat’s departure. The following excerpts from Prof. During’s The Spirit of Sounds emphasize the particular circumstances that accompanied Hadj Nemat’s spiritual conversion and the process through which he gradually came to be known and revered as a mystical pole. They also contain indications regarding certain salient aspects of his personality, such as his unfailing faith and courage.

Original source: Jean During, The Spirit of Sounds, The Unique Art of Ostad Elahi, Cornwall Books, Cranbury, 2003, pp. 24-26.


The Vocation of Haj Ne’mat

At twenty-nine years of age Haj Ne’mat had an intense spiritual experience that caused a radical change[1]. Until that time he had led an ordinary existence, which he would later describe as “submerged in the material world,” but after his revelation he turned away from the attractions of this world and devoted himself completely to the path of inner perfection. He provisionally handed over the administration of his estates to his brother and retired from active life. Overwhelmed by a spiritual passion, he devoted himself body and soul to the spiritual cause. He put on the white robe of the dervishes and adopted a contemplative way of life marked by abstinence, asceticism, and fasting, which he toned down over the years out of respect for his loved ones. He ordered his brother, who was managing his estates, to pay him a small income from the revenues they brought in. This was limited to the minimum necessary for survival, the remainder being given away as alms and gifts. Throughout the years, Sakina remained a solid support for her husband. After his transformation, Haj Ne’mat had offered Sakina her independence so that she might continue to lead the lifestyle she had always known. But she had faith in him and his mission, and promised to stay by his side to the very end.

A Radiant Personality

Absorbed in devotion, Haj Ne’mat lived in retreat from the world, caring little to spread the revelation he had received and apprehensive that he might achieve notoriety from it. However, it was not long before a few dervishes [2] were attracted by his radiant personality and together they formed an initial circle of intimate friends. Little by little, the circle grew and Haj Ne’mat realized his destiny as the mystical pole that would unite thousands of sympathizers in the whole country [3]. In his artistic gifts, he gravitated toward drawing and music, but he was above all an inspired poet. His son says as much in these words: “My father dictated The Book of the Kings of Truth [4] (containing some 15,000 verses) in forty days. I still remember how he would walk around the room reciting verses without interruption and with the greatest ease, as I rapidly wrote them down” (I, 1827). He thus synthesized the mystic traditions of his native culture in several books that are comprehensive surveys of sacred history and wisdom.[5]

The writings and teachings of Haj Ne’mat are situated in the continuity of the canonical Ahl-e Haqq texts [6], even while they represent a renewal of this tradition. One of the salient features of his personality, as it appears in the testimony of his son [7], was his faith and his particular relationship with God, which gave him an uncommon will and courage. Whenever he believed that some undertaking fell within his duty, nothing could turn him away from it, neither tradition nor authority, whether religious or secular. One gets an idea of this from scenes of the following kind:


In my father’s day, the inhabitants of the city of Kangâvar were among the most ferocious enemies of the Ahl-e Haqq. They considered them to be heretics and consequently believed it was lawful to kill them. It is in such a context that I accompanied my father and twenty-two of his most faithful companions dressed in the traditional habit of dervishes into the city of Kangâvar. We went to the mausoleum… (imâm-zadeh), which was also a mosque. There, my father gave the order to recite the invocation for prayer [according to the specific manner that he had initiated][8]. There was great commotion in the city and all the inhabitants, having been alerted, came running to the mosque. However, nobody raised his voice and not a single protest was heard. We stayed in Kangâvar for three days, and nobody even dared walk down the street where Haj Ne’mat was staying…. There was an invisible hand that protected and guided the spiritual administration of Haj Ne’mat, for despite everything that he and his companions did in plain sight, and despite his numerous opponents, neither the State nor the highest representatives of the religious orthodoxy showed themselves. (I, 1789)


Kangâvar, View of a Site Containing a Temple of Anahit, 1937

Kangâvar, View Showing the Ruins of the Temple of Anahit, 1937

Kangâvar, View of the Mound and Village, 1937

Aerial views of Kangâvar, 1937 — Courtesy of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

[1]^Prior to this he had already had dreams and signs of his vocation, but he had refused to pursue them, preferring instead to lead a normal social life.

[2]^In Middle-Eastern culture, “dervish” designates a person who has firmly committed to a traditional way of moral and spiritual perfection, usually without distinguishing himself from his peers through any particular signs.

[3]^1,145 men and five hundred women made vows of obedience. Haj Ne’mat had their names recorded in a book and organized all the documents and letters pertaining to his activities. These sources have been preserved.

[4]^Shâh nâme-ye Haqiqat [The Book of the Kings of Truth] (Tehran: Bibliothèque Iranienne, 1966) (dir., Henri Corbin). A more complete second edition appeared in 1984 under the title Haqq ol-Haqâyeq [The Truth of Truths].

[5]^Eighteen manuscript collections remain from Haj Ne’mat, including Pandiât [Counsels]; Pishgu’ïhâ [Divinations]; Sharh-e Ahvâl [Biographies]; Kutche-kutche [The History of the Great Men of Truth]; and Forqân ol-Akhbâr [Explanations of Mystic Experiences]. To date, only The Book of the Kings of Truth has been published.

[6]^Namely, those texts going back to Soltân Sahâk, founder of the Ahl-e Haqq.

[7]^See in particular volume I, chapter 23 of Asâr ol-Haqq, devoted entirely to Haj Ne’mat.

[8]^This manner was very different from the Muslim custom and could readily be perceived by the people of the city as yet another provocation.

Further readings:

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  1. ia Mar 01, 2015 11:30 pm 1

    Thank you for drawing our attention here again to the incredible power of Hadj Nemat. Hadj Nemat has always helped me reconnect when I was lost, has helped me find my way back and lift my spirits and face my fears in this world. Connecting with him gives me strength and makes my heart feel bold.

  2. particle Mar 02, 2015 6:02 am 2

    Thank You for this note on Hadj Nemat.

    A radiant figure whose light is felt in the heart. Hadj Nemat’s qualities including humility, sincerity, strong will, faith and devotion, kindness — specially lack of any ill will towards those who opposed him — , and his great love for the divine stand out so purely when one reads The Book of the Kings of Truth. One might find some of these qualities in other spiritual books or personalities, but there is a special purity and fragrance that stands out in that book.

    From a practical point of view, reading the The Book of the Kings of Truth at least reminds me of the divine besides hopefully reorienting me back to the goal of my existence on earth: striving for self-knowledge and perfection of the soul. Without this book in my life, something would definitely be missing.

  3. particle Feb 29, 2016 6:13 am 3


    “Charity as a Way of Life

    Hadj Nemat descends from a lineage in which the practice of charity occupies a central role. From his perspective, the soul comes into this world to prepare for its eternal life in the other world, and its provisions in that other world are the benevolent and charitable acts it performs in this world. Thus, good deeds performed on the basis of faith in the divine source constitute the principal wealth that remains for the soul and will be used to determine its ultimate destiny. The transformation in Hadj Nemat’s perception following his illumination led him to renounce his comfortable material life and to donate the majority of the income from his lands to the poor and indigent. Whether in times of abundance or in hardship and famine, numerous people would come to him in need. Except for those instances when he was engaged in private contemplation, he was ready to receive everyone and alleviate their troubles, whether they sought physical cures or spiritual healing. He believed in beneficence and charity, in any shape or form, toward each and every individual. He advocated for receiving the indigent, helping the willing, and praying for the salvation of humankind, as well as bearing witness to the truth and guiding those seeking the truth. In this respect, he perceived tolerance in religious matters as a self-evident duty.”

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