The 18th Imam, Maulana Ma`ad-nil-Mustansir BillahSA was born on a Tuesday morning, on the 16th of Shehrullahil Moazzam 420H. He was barely 7 years old when his father Imam Zahir SA passed away in Shabaan 427H.
It is related that The Misaaq (oath of allegiance) to Imam Mustansir Billah SA was conducted on that same day. The Imam wore a robe with sleeves 12 feet long. The Imam`s wazir, Ali-bin-Ahmed Najeeb-u-Dawlat, ordered an assembly of all of the Imam`s commanders-in chief. They were then seated and Imam Mustansir Billah SA was present but veiled behind a curtain. Jorhani reminded the assembly of Imam Zahir`s SA decree regarding the oath of allegiance for his son Imam Mustansir Billah SA and asked them to renew that oath. On their affirmation, he revealed that Imam Zahir SA had passed away to sojourn with Rasulullah SA and his progeny before instructing that the curtain be raised. Then, once again, they all renewed their Misaaq for the new Imam SA, kissed the ground in front of him and the sleeve of his robe.
Imam Mustansir Billah SA then addressed them with a sermon in which he gave them guidance, gave them cautions and promises for their expectations. The Imam SA, despite his tender age, was amongst the few chosen by Allah to be gifted wisdom in infancy. He also inherited the knowledge of his forefathers SA, the successors of Mohammed SAW.
An instance is related of a tutor who used to visit the Imam to teach handwriting. As per habit, he put his hand over Imam Mustansir’s Billah SA hand. The Imam reprimanded him saying, ‘’Remove your hand! This is a hand over which no hand can be placed’’. He then proceeded to write with an exquisite script.
Allah had bestowed him with expertise in every sphere of knowledge. Learned men would bow before him and sought him in their quest for knowledge.
He was generous, noble, gentle, just and wise. Never was a need shunned nor did a wish remain unfulfilled in his presence. He was never known to have said “laa’’ (‘no’) except in the Kalema-tu-Shahadat, “La-ilaha-illallah”.
Once two of the Imam`s courtiers wagered to try and get the Imam to say “laa’’. They asked him, “Has Imam ever said laa?’’.
The Imam understood their ploy and humoured them by motioning ‘no’ with his sword but still not uttering the word ‘laa’.
There were a few uprisings in Imam Mustansir Billah’s SA era, which were swiftly put down and his empire spread far and wide encompassing Egypt, Arabia (Makkah, Madina), Syria, all of North Africa and The Yemen. The reach of his religious mission ‘Dawat’ went even further as far as Persia, Hind and Sind.
On every Jumoa (Friday) twenty men would ascend the top of the minaret and recite the Azaan in chorus, particularly the phrase “hayya ala khair-il-amal”.
In the year 429H, with the Imam`s consent, Syedna Ali bin Mohammed Sulaihi RA initiated the Dawat in Yemen and by 455H all of Yemen was under his rule. He made San`aa the capital. Later his son Syedna Al-Mukarram RA and his wife Molatena Hurratul-Maleka Arwa RA jointly ruled Yemen .After Syedna Al-Mukarram`s RA unfortunate passing away she was the sole queen of Yemen.
It has been mentioned that Imam Mustansir Billah SA sent one of his most learned men to Yemen especially for Molatena Hurratul-Maleka`s SA education. There are records of an immense amount of correspondence between the Imam AS and her, entrusting her with the affairs of the Dawat in Hind, Sind and other territories besides The Yemen.
One of Imam Mustansir Billah’s SA primary concerns was the preparation for The Age of Seclusion (‘satr no zamaan’). It so happened that Dai Ali bin Mohammed Sulaihi RA decided to embark on a journey for Hajj and later to Misr to seek the Imam`s blessings in person. To solicit the Imam`s consent, he sent the Chief Justice of The Yemen, Syedna Lamak bin Malik RA to Misr (Cairo).
The Imam AS arranged for Syedna Lamak RA to stay with Syedna Moayyed Al-Shirazi RA whom he instructed to tutor Syedna Lamak RA till he was brimming with the Eternal Knowledge.
On every occasion that Syedna Lamak RA sought the Imam`s consent to return to Yemen, he was greeted by this question from the Imam, “Why do you ask for consent when winter is so near?”.
Syedna Lamak RA would wait for winter to pass and then repeat his request, only to be answered the same as before. In this way five years went by, by which time Syedna Lamak RA had reached the pinnacle of knowledge that the Imam SA had intended for him. Imam Mustansir Billah’s SA preparation for the long winter ‘shitaa’ of seclusion had come to fruition. The Imam SA bade Syedna Lamak RA farewell, bestowing on him the status of Dai-al-Balagh.
Syedna Lamak RA passed this legacy of Ilm onto his son Syedna Yahya RA, who passed it on to Syedna Zoeb RA, the first Dai-al-Mutlaq.
In 451H Iraq came under the Imam`s rule and The Khutbah was recited with Imam Mustansir Billah`s SA name in all the masjids of Najaf, Karbala and Baghdad.
One of the Imam`s slaves, called Balad-kosh, led a major uprising against the Imam. The Imam sent Maulana Badrul-Jamali RA to quash it. He returned victorious with the foe in chains in 467H. The Imam honoured him with the title ‘Saif-ul-Islam’ (Sword of Islam) and appointed him Vazir. He was entrusted with all matters both temporal and spiritual. Maulana Badrul-Jamali initiated many lectures, ‘sabaq’, imparting knowledge and wisdom. He also undertook the coordination of letters to various Aamils and Duats. The Imam`s son Al-Afzal was assigned the task of administration of the empire.
In 467H the Imam SA sent Maulaya Ahmed QR along with Maulaya Abdullah QR and Maulaya Nuruddin QR for spreading Dawat in India. By 487H the Imam`s Dawat was well established in India.
In 470H Syedna Moayyed Shirazi RA passed away. The Imam prayed his burial Namaaz and at the Imam`s directive, he was buried where he died, in the Dar-ul-Ilm.
In 480H the Imam undertook the renovation and restoration of the masjid ‘Jame Ibne-Tuloon. In 482H he rebuilt the qubba of Maulatena Nafisa SA When the time for his journey to the hereafter drew near, Imam Mustansir Billah SA appointed Imam Mustaali Billah SA as his successor by Nas. Imam Mustansir Billah SA left for his heavenly abode on the 18th of Zilhaj 487H on a Thursday. He was 67 years old. His reign on the throne of Imamat lasted 60 years, 3 months and 17 days.
Allah`s salawaat and salaam on Imam Mustansir Billah SA.