In addition to his three books, Ostad Elahi also authored a number of manuscripts and treatises that remain unpublished to date. These writings include several articles that introduced suggested reforms of certain judicial laws during his tenure as a judge. The rest of his works are the result of his personal research in the realms of spirituality, ethics, and religion. This body of research at times sought to clarify ambiguities or shed light on the truth of sacred scriptures, and at other times to compile the sayings and collections of poetry of pious mystics. Among these unpublished works are the following.
The Poetry of Mulla Parishan
Mulla Parishan was a 14th century Kurdish-speaking mystic and religious jurist. Ostad Elahi compiled A Collection of Mulla Parishan’s Kurdish Poetry by reconciling eleven different versions consisting of nine ancient manuscripts and two printed versions.
In his discussions Ostad Elahi has repeatedly referenced the poetry and sayings of Mulla Parishan, and considers his collection of poetry to be on par with Rumi’s Masnavi:
Mulla Parishan was a Shia jurist and among the religious authorities of his time. Though some say he was from Nahavand and others that he was from Dinavar, his poetry reveals that he was from Dinavar and lived in the fourteenth century as a contemporary of Abu Hanifa. A veritable mystic, his collection of poetry comprised of some 1000 verses can be said to encapsulate the entirety of Rumi’s [six-volume] Masnavi and sets forth all the subtle points of the authentic hadith. Although Mulla Parishan’s poems have been published twice, they contain many errors. I have prepared an error-free copy and have written a commentary on it as well. . . .
This collection is comprised of 1,039 verses and features an introduction, seven chapters, and a conclusion. At the end of the verses, Ostad Elahi has appended corresponding explanations and references in 1,039 entries.
Haqiqat ol-Asrar (The Truth of the Secrets) dates back to 1922, approximately two years after the passing of Hadj Nematollah. Given the prevailing atmosphere of the time, the majority of Ostad Elahi’s research during those years focused on topics relating to the rituals and tenets of the Ahl-e Haqq order. On the basis of his research, Ostad Elahi sets forth and explains the exoteric and esoteric levels of Religion; the stages of the soul’s process of perfection; the soul’s Return, etc., and in so doing refers the reader to numerous sources such as religious, literary, historical, and mystical texts, including the Quran, the Bible, the Torah . . . as well as the works of such individuals as Sheykh Abbas, Mulla Fatollah, Abu Saeed Abolkheir, Mulla Esmail, Sheykh Tusi, Sheykh Mofid, Sheykh Maqrebi, Bayazid-e Bastami, Hadj Zeinolabedin-e Shiravani, Sa’di, Taj ol-Vaezin, Mulla Parishan, Sheykh ol-Arefin, Rumi, Safi Ali Shah, and Sheykh Attar. Ostad Elahi attributes the writing of this investigative treatise to refuting accusations against the Ahl-e Haqq and introducing the community’s beliefs to the public at large.
Another of the most valuable works remaining from Ostad Elahi’s youth is the treatise Kashf ol-Haqayeq (Unveiling of the Truths). Written in 1923, this work is the product of a spiritual vision in which Ostad Elahi explains in precise and vivid details the genesis of the universe and human beings, the role of the Quiddity, divine manifestations, the archangels, light and darkness, the various realms of the spirit, the role of human beings, etc. An excerpt from this treatise, published in The Path of Perfection, is reproduced below:
The Source is the Unique Creator of all creatures, who has no peer or associate, who was not engendered and does not engender. . . . Each person recites His name based on his own belief, and no one has discovered His true essence . . . only He knows who and what He is. . . . When He willed the creation of the universes, that same will, which lies at the root of all beings and realities, caused the Quiddity and primordial matter. With a shape comparable to none and in a garment of colorless color, it resembled pure water without being water and was in continuous motion in a colorless spiritual space. The Quiddity had come into existence from the reflection of the Source, and that space was a reflection of the Quiddity; the Quiddity was circling about within this infinite and unimaginable spiritual space.
In Jashn-e Haqiqat (The Feast of Truth), Ostad Elahi presents the results of his research on the traditional fast of the Ahl-e Haqq called the Marnavi fast. Due to its adherence to the fluctuating lunar calendar, the timing of this fast has been a point of contention among various groups of the Ahl-e Haqq for centuries. Referencing the kalams and other reliable sources, as well as the science of astronomy, Ostad Elahi has clarified the precise date of this event: “With respect to the question of the Marnavi fast, even though I had the kalam in hand and had verified its meaning through authentic sources, I nevertheless spent six months studying astronomy until I was able to confidently reconcile my findings with Sheykh Amir’s kalam and ascertain the date based on the solar calendar, which does not vary and remains constant. The other calculations that were used for determining the time of this fast are not constant. For example, the ancient Persian calendar advances by one day every four years, etc.”
The History and Genealogy of Hadj Nematollah
Among the noteworthy unpublished manuscripts of Ostad Elahi is a treatise titled The History and Genealogy of Hadj Nematollah, which is among the most accurate sources of information for learning about the lineage, family, and life of Hadj Nematollah. In this work, Ostad Elahi not only discusses the life and times of his father and the process of his spiritual transformation, but also the events of his own personal life leading up to his father’s passing; he also recounts aspects of Hadj Nematollah’s spiritual life in clear terms. As for his reason for writing this brief text in the first few years following his father’s passing, Ostad Elahi states that it was in response to the request of friends who sought to become more familiar with Hadj Nematollah’s character and way of life. It is in this treatise that Ostad Elahi meticulously sets forth the twenty-year spiritual journey of Hadj Nematollah, along with specific educational points drawn from their life together. Written during his youth, one can clearly see the traces of Ostad Elahi’s investigative spirit in this work.
Translation and Explication of the Holy Qur’an
At one point, Ostad Elahi began translating and interpreting the Holy Qur’an, but later decided to discontinue the project for certain reasons. In approximately 1944, he translated and explicated the first chapter and 126 verses of the second chapter in the form of a 3,876-verse Kurdish poem. It is a pity that time did not allow for the completion of this monumental task, for even this small sample contains such important and valuable points that it doubles the reader’s regret that the work remained unfinished. Apart from the spiritual dimensions of this translation and explication, the literary form selected by Ostad Elahi demonstrates his proficiency in Kurdish poetry and verse.
Translation and Explication of Kalam-e Saranjam
Kalam-e Saranjam is considered the most important and sacred text among the Ahl-e Haqq, considered to be on par with a Holy Book and constituting the basis of their beliefs and spiritual work. In his comprehensive introduction to the translation and explication of Kalam-e Saranjam, Ostad Elahi describes the dignity and majesty of these kalam as follows: “The Kalam of the Ahl-e Haqq leaders is divided into two parts: the first part is called Khazaneh (treasury) or Saranjam (final) and relates to the time of Soltan Eshaq and earlier, including the eras of Bohlul, Shah Fazl Vali, Baba Sarhang, Shah Khoshin, Baba Na’ous, and Soltan Eshaq himself. Of course, this Kalam-e Saranjam represents the final word and is of utmost importance for the Ahl-e Haqq. It is known as such because the word Khazaneh means a site for gathering and storing gold, silver, and other valuable objects and can thus be called a treasury. As for Saranjam, the word means the final outcome or end result. Hence, the Kalam at hand is analogized to a treasury because it contains divine truths and secrets, and to the final outcome insofar as it is considered the ultimate stage in the process of perfection. With respect to the second part of the Kalam, it is comprised of all the remainder of the kalams, which are to be followed only if they are in conformity with the Kalam-e Saranjam.”
Ostad Elahi invoked his comprehensive knowledge of the original and authentic Kalam-e Saranjam and his proficiency in Owramani Kurdish—the dominant language in this work—to translate and explicate most of this sacred text into Persian. In the introduction, Ostad Elahi explains the process of how he selected from among the various available manuscripts of Kalam-e Saranjam those that were most authentic and thus most valuable, and then transcribed their original content into a notebook before starting the process of translation and explication.
By selecting and transcribing the most authentic and sacred texts of the Ahl-e Haqq, Ostad Elahi has compiled a voluminous work entitled Majma ol-Kalam. He explains the reason for gathering these texts as follows: “The oral teachings of the spiritual leaders of the Ahl-e Haqq, in whatever language they were spoken (whether Kurdish, Persian, Turkish, etc.), have generally been referred to as kalam; Majma ol-Kalam is thus a compilation of such kalams, which materialized as follows: for years I was contemplating the idea of gathering and editing the various kalams of the Ahl-e Haqq leaders for the use of those who were seeking the truth. As such, I gathered a sufficient number of the most valuable manuscripts using the means available at my disposal and selected those that seemed relatively more complete for inclusion in this compilation. . . .”
With respect to the recording and archiving of the kalams he states: “From the time the Ahl-e Haqq order was founded up until the modern era in which human interaction has become technology-driven, the members of the Ahl-e Haqq community sought to keep the kalams and their primary tenets clandestine to the extent possible in accordance with the circumstances of their time and place. Even among the members themselves, there were certain conditions as to who could hear or learn these kalams. For example, to prevent the kalams from falling into the wrong hands, they were either transmitted orally from one generation to the next, or, if transcribed, were concealed so as to protect them from unqualified individuals. Over time, this approach caused most of the comprehensive and authentic versions of the kalams, which had never been printed or reproduced, to be gradually lost or to vary from one another, often resulting in incomplete, jumbled, or error-ridden versions with parts that have been added, discarded, or falsified. Accordingly . . . to the extent possible an effort has been undertaken to include—by the grace and help of God—the correct and comprehensive versions of the kalams in Majma ol-Kalam.”
As a result of the comprehensive research undertaken by Ostad Elahi in the compilation of this work, it provides a reliable source for accessing the words of the spiritual elite of this order, from its inception up until the past century. Moreover, Ostad Elahi was twice able to access and carefully study the most authentic copy of the Kalam-e Saranjam, making him privy to certain truths that have been inaccessible to others.
Given Ostad Elahi’s thorough knowledge and command of these texts, during his lifetime he was the most qualified source for distinguishing between what was authentic and inauthentic, and for clarifying the ambiguities, metaphors, and symbols in these kalams. Today, Ostad Elahi’s explications of the kalams, especially those that are included in Demonstration of the Truth and his other works, serve as a reference for researchers.
Aside from his investigative and research-oriented mentality, Ostad Elahi’s access to these rare and exceptional texts also resulted from his unique familial circumstances and the fact that he was the son of Hadj Nematollah, which enabled him to acquire these copies wherever they were located. However fundamental and important these kalams may be, they constitute only a part of Ostad Elahi’s extensive research. The works he has left behind attest to the comprehensive nature of his scholarly research.
Among the valuable mementos Ostad Elahi left behind are his correspondences, many of which contain lessons and guidance in response to questions posed by their recipients. In these letters, portions of which have been assembled in recent years, Ostad Elahi offers choice spiritual points and solutions that often have universal applications. The collection, which runs the gamut in terms of subjects and personalities, includes Ostad Elahi’s letters to everyone from Vladimir Minorsky—the renowned Russian Orientalist—to his own children and family members, to friends and students who had spiritual or religious questions, to those who simply sought to express their respect and admiration for him.
Reviewing a sample of these exchanges at times induces a sense of regret as to how the time of a person with such profound knowledge of pure spirituality was so occupied with responding to mostly mundane questions. Of course, his broadmindedness and patience would cause him to respond just as respectfully and tolerantly to the questions of a layperson as he would to the inquiries of scholarly Orientalists who sought his views. These subtle details, which could be deemed indicative of his spiritual and scientific rank, would not surprise those who knew him well, for he taught his students that politeness and respect were among the basic pillars of spiritual work. He had mentioned on many occasions that ethics are the very essence of spirituality, and constantly advised that the practice of ethics should be one’s top priority.
In addition to the works cited above, several notebooks of poetry (in Persian and Kurdish) remain from Ostad Elahi, as well as journals containing various topics recorded during different periods of his life. These works all contain choice points whose careful study offer insight into a deeper understanding of the course of Ostad Elahi’s spiritual transformation.