Rodaki - Famous Ismaili Poet and Intellectual

By, Mr. Fakquir Muhammad, Karachi (Pakistan)

Rodaki - Ismaili Poet

Renowned Ismaili poet and intellect, Abu Abdullah bin Ja'far bin Muhammad Rodaki, was born some 1100 years before, in Rodak near Samarkand. His verses are so famous in the world that he is known as "Bawa Adam", i.e. distinguished authority of Persian poetry. The era wherein Hakim Rodaki was born was the highly significant in Ismaili history. It was this era wherein, according to the Holy Prophet, Hazrat Imam Mahdi, became manifest in the West, and Ismaili Da'is, with their indefatigable efforts and swiftness, were propagating Ismaili concept in every nook and corner of the world.

Consequently, during this particular period, great importance to the propagation of Ismaili Da'wa at Khurasan, Bukhara and Bain an-Nahrain was also given, and the Samani ruler of these places, Nasr bin Ahmed Samani, a sworn enemy of Ismailis, who had assassinated Da'i Husayn bin Aly al- Maruzi, embraced Ismaili faith through the untiring efforts of Sayyidna Abu Abdullah bin Ahmed an-Nasafi and he gave allegiance to Hazrat Imam Mahdi, from the core of his heart in as much as he requested to be present along with his 50,000 soldiers before the Imam of the time and fight against the enemies of the Imam.

Because Nasr bin Ahmed being a great obstacle in the propagation of Ismaili Da'wa, by his embracing Ismaili faith this obstacle vanished. People began to embrace Ismaili concept; group by group so much so that many a lord, minister and courtier became fortunate to espouse Ismaili beliefs.

In consequence of this, the renowned Ismaili poet and intellect, Rodaki, also found during this period the opportunity of espousing Ismaili concept. It is said that Rodaki was quite intelligent from childhood. He learnt by heart holy Quran at the age of 8 years. After that he acquired all the prevailing sciences of the era and for this he is termed to be an intellect. Rodaki had natural attachment to poetical verses, stanzas and music. He was gifted with melodious voice. He was widely playing a musical instrument "Chang". Besides, he had the charm of humour and presence of mind pounded in his person.

Upon these qualities of his he was summoned by Nasr bin Ahmed to his court, who did leave no stone unturned in the encouragement and honour of Rodaki. Consequently, due to the extraordinary favours of the ruler and God gifted qualities, he enjoyed such a position in the court which no dignitary had ever secured. He is presumed to be one among the opulent poets in the world. It is said that whenever his procession was taking place, there used to be with him 200 slaves adorned with golden belts and 400 camels laden with his belongings.

Poetry of Rodaki

Just as herein above stated that Rodaki has been termed as 'Bawa Adam' of Persian poetry, it is said that he has composed 1,300,000 verses. It is such a status in composition of verses that there seems to be no such large an amount of verses ever composed either in Persian or any other language of the world by any poet, and the effect produced (by his composition) was such that once Nasr bin Ahmed Samani, on hearing his verses, went into such a trance that he rode bare footed on an unsaddled horse towards Bukhara.

Side by side Rodaki had the honour of eulogising and glorifying Fatimid Imams, in his compositions. He was in the periods of Hazrat Imam Mahdi, and Hazrat Imam Qa'im. Due to strongly based religious opponents, much of his compositions in the glory, of Fatimid Imams did not survive, but from whatever has remained Rodaki's belief in and love for the progeny of 'Ahle Bait' is glittering like the sun. For example to quote a verse by Maroof Balkhi narrated to him by Rodaki:

"I have heard the king of poets, Rodaki, saying: "do not give allegiance to anyone save Fatimid (Imams)."

It is clear by this verse that not only love and belief of Rodaki comes to light but it invites others to the allegiance of the progeny of 'Ahle Bait'.

Last days and Death

Rodaki was blinded in his last age in punishment of his love for "Ahle Bait". Consequently contrary to his early life his last days passed with great turmoil and poverty.

It is said that by the acceptance of Ismaili faith by Samani ruler, Nasr bin Ahmed, and by the spread of Ismaili Da'wa in Bukhara, etc, districts, Abbasid Caliph became horrified. Therefore he insinuated Nuh bin Nasr, son of Nasr bin Ahmed against his father and Ismaili faith, with the result that Nasr bin Ahmed was forced to abandon the throne and upon the insinuation of the Abbasids Caliph, Ismailis were either massacred or subjected to severe punishments.

Consequently Hakim Rodaki also fell prey to this tyranny. On the other hand he was subjected to the severest punishment than others for eulogising and glorifying holy Imams. Some presume that Rodaki was blind from his birth, but the fact is that it was not so, save that he was blinded for the sake of strong religious bias. From the recent exhumation of his remains in Rodak, it has been gathered that his head was pressed against glowing fire, causing his eyes to burst out and he thus became deprived of his sight. In this way, Rodaki's last days passed with great hardship and turmoil and he succumbed to this precarious condition of peril and poverty, in 329 A.H.

Rodaki's life sets a solid example for the faithfuls to the effect that come what may, it is incumbent upon one to remain firm and unshaken upon one's own faith, conception and attachment to the Lord of the Age, even at the time of breath taking circumstances, for the Real Life is gained and attained only through the infallible love and attachment to the Lord of the Age. True lover never dies. Rodaki set the just example. Although the enemies of the Imam of the Time deprived him of his eyesight, no tyrant could snatch of him the inner vision derived by his unfailing love and attachment to the progeny of 'Ahle Bait' and in spite of the most hardest turmoil he remained inexhaustible in his love for the Imam of the Time and, Inshallah. his name will remain ever shining, for:

"Hargiz namiread anki dilash zinda shud bi ishk; Sibt ast bar jaridai aaiam dawam ma." 

Notes in French about Rodaki

     Le renommé poète et intellectuel, Abu Abdullah bin Ja-fer Bin Muhammad Rodaki,      est né il y a 1100 ans à RODAK près de Samarkand. Ses poèmes sont si connus dans      le monde qu'il a été nommé "Bawa Adam" ce qui signifie une autorité distinguée en      poésie persane.

     L'époque dans laquelle Hakim Rodaki est né, a été d'une énorme importance dans      l'histoire ismailie. Ce fut durant cette époque que, d'après le Saint Prophète, Hazrat      Imam Mahdi devient visible dans l'occident et que les Da'is Ismaili par des efforts      infatigables et avec rapidité propagaient les concepts Ismailis dans chaque coin et      recoin de la terre.

     Poésie de Rodaki

     Tel que mentionné ci-dessus, Rodaki a été dénommé "Bawa Adam" en poésie      persane, on a dit qu'il avait composé 1 300 000 vers. C'est un tel record en      composition de vers, qu'il ne semble pas avoir existé un nombre si élevé de vers      composés par aucun autre poète, que ce soit persane ou autre langue sur la terre, et      l'effet que produit ses compositions était tel qu'un jour, après avoir écouté ses vers,      Nasr bin Ahmed Samani, entré dans une telle transe qu'il parti pieds nus sur cheval      sans selle vers Bukhara.

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