Pandiyat-I Jawanmardi

“The Pandiyat-i Jawanmardi (maxims of fortitude) is a collection of the advices of Imam Mustansir billah (d. 880/1475), which had been compiled in the time of Imam Abdus Salam (d. 899/1493). The word pandiyat is the plural of pand means advice, and jawanmardi means manliness. The term jawanmardi is the Persian translation of fata means young man or brave youth. The Koran (18:10) called the Seven Sleepers fityan (pl. of fata). This term generally was connected with Ali bin Abu Talib, as the sentence of the hadith goes: “There is no fata but Ali, and no sword but Zulfikar”

It contains the advices (pandiyat) for the true believers (mu’minin) and to those seeking to attain the exemplary standards of manliness (jawanmardi). It is divided into three sections, viz. Pandiyat great (115 parts), Pandiyat small (105 parts) and twelve Jawanmardi (12 parts), also incorporated with few farmans of Imam Abdus Salam. It deals with the advices to the believers on ethics, humanity, behavior, etc.

The Ismailis are referred to by the Sufic sounding terms as ahl-i haqq and ahl-i haqiqat (the people of the truth), while the Imam himself is termed as pir, murshid and qutb. It is venerated as a Pir or hujjat in India, and is read in Yarkand, Gilgit, Hunza, Chitral, Badakhshan, and Iran.

Syed Nur Muhammad Shah (d. 940/1534) stands an earliest source to make mention of the Pandiyat-i Jawanmardi that, “Mustansir billah then became the Imam, who executed much works in the world. He narrated Pandiyat into the Persian, also exhorted therein the Jawanmardi” (Satveni-ji Vel, 108:9-10).

The Indian tradition however has it that Imam Abdus Salam delivered Kamadia Kapura a copy of the Pandiyat-i Jawanmardi, ranking it as the 29th hujjat or pir. The copy was placed on the gadi of the Mukhi in the Jamatkhana in Sind. The Ismailis paid their homage confessing it as a Pir. It exercised the authority of hujjat or pir for about 80 years till the appointment of next 30th Pir Hyder Ali in 960/1552 in the period of Imam Khalilullah Ali (d. 993/1585). The tradition further relates that when Imam Khalilullah Ali resolved to appoint the 30th Pir for India, he summoned Mukhi Shamdas Kapura of Sind with an original copy of Pandiyat-i Jawanmardi. A ceremony was performed to take away the authority from the book and transfer it to Pir Hyder Ali.

W. Ivanow comments on Pandiyat-i Jawanmardi that, “The book, or its greater part, was compiled under Shah Abdu’s-Salam who succeeded Imam Mustansir bi’l-lah and thus really was the Imam of the time when the compiler was engaged in writing. The enigmatic passage on p. 56 may be easily explained if we suggest that Mustansir bi’l-lah told his followers not to disclose his own identity to outsiders, nor of the Imam of one’s time generally. And as the Imam of the time at the moment when the compiler was writing was Shah Abdu’s-Salam, he automatically mentioned his name.”