This paper explores Nāṣir-i Khusraw’s exposition of the days of creation, and their consummation in the advent of the Sabbath. Nāṣir-i Khusraw’s doctrine is explored here in the context of Ismāʿīlī tradition. To the thinker, the world of religion is composed of two parts, one spiritual and one physical. The spiritual world, which is beyond time and space, consists of the Universal Intellect and the Universal Soul. It precedes this lower, physical world and its temporal cycles. The two great angels of the spiritual world are called into existence from nothing and are absolutely simple. These two angels have in the physical world the nāṭiq and the asās – the Enunciator (of the divine revelation) and the Foundation (of its esoteric interpretation) respectively, which are similar to the angels. The six nāṭiqs and the qāʾim being the seventh one are the lords of the major cycles, or what may be referred to as the greater days. These days are divided into seven days, the minor cycles, which are the cycles of imams. The periods are sometimes differentiated by referring the major cycle of the nāṭiqs to dawr, and the minor cycle of imam – to ruzgār or zamāna. God accomplished the creation of the world of faith in six days – these are the cycles of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. The wise will achieve felicity, truth will be eternally established, and the darkness of ignorance will be banished in the light of knowledge on the Sabbath, the seventh day.
Key words: Nāṣir-i Khusraw, taʾwīl, celestial and terrestrial Ismāʿīlī hierarchy, qāʾim, Sabbath.
About the author
Shafique N. Virani – PhD (History, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations), Distinguished Professor of Islamic Studies, Head of the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto, Director of the Centre for South Asian Civilizations;