ABSTRACT: In Simerg’s Part I of Naser-e Khosraw’s travels, introduced and edited by Michael Wolfe, we read about Naser’s overindulgence in the most un-Islamic vice of alcohol until, in the fall of 1045, he has a dream. In this dream a figure appears and asks him to seek wisdom. When Khosraw asks where wisdom lay, his visitor points toward Mecca and disappears. We read this anecdote in Wolfe’s excellent introduction which is then followed by Khosraw’s narrative of his journey from Persia until he arrives in Egypt.
Now in Part II of Naser-e Khosraw’s travels, Simerg readers are treated to the Ismaili traveller’s eyewitness report of the most important festival in Fatimid Cairo during the reign of the 18th Ismaili Imam, al-Mustansir Billah. He says:
“….On the morning when the Sultan is going out for the ceremony, ten thousand men are hired to hold the steeds….At some distance behind all of these comes the Sultan [al-Mustansir], a well-built, clean-shaven youth with cropped hair, a descendant of Husayn son of Ali. He is mounted on a camel with plain saddle and bridle with no gold or silver and wears a white shirt…”