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Ismaili History 422 - Search of the Imam

The constant change of the Imam's abode made the Ismailis and dais a complete loss of the trace of Wafi Ahmad, making them to remain in great confusion. Dai Hurmuz and his son Mahdi, dai Surhaf bin Rustam and his son Imran finally came forward to institute a search of the Imam. They collected four thousand dinars in cash from the donations of the faithfuls. They started on their journey, dispersing everwhere, each of them carrying with him a description of the appearance and characteristic features of the Imam. They travelled in guise of wandering hawkers, carrying with them on their donkeys different wares, such as pepper, aromatic plants, spindles, mirrors, frankincense and different kinds of millinery that find demand amongst women. Among themselves they agreed to meet on a fixed date at a certain place, selected in every province, different districts of which were alloted to every one of them to be toured. Whenever children and women came around them, they would ask these whether there was in their locality a person, bearing such features. At length, they came to the district of Hims in Syria. They appointed a mosque of that town as their meeting place. So it happened that the Imam also was in the same district, namely in the hills of Jabal as-Summaq, in 'the monastery of sparrows' (dayr asfurin), near Kafrabhum. As usual, they were shouting for the items for sale in the Jabal as-Summaq. Some women and children came out to them, and they, as usual, asked whether there was amongst them a man, having such and such appearance. To their utter surprise, a boy and a woman demanded from them as a price from their goods, promising to show them where the person answering their description could be found. They offered to them mastic, frankincense and other things. The woman and child told them that when just a short while ago they were passing near the monastery of sparrows, where they had seen the person with his pages. At length, they succeeded after hard searching for a year to find the Imam with great relief and jubilation.

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