study concerns the hermeneutics of the occultation of the twelfth
imam through the immense literature of the Shaykhiyya of Kirman
(Iran). Generally speaking, the different masters of the Order
used two main hermeneutical ‘axioms’: 1) all reality
is composed, at least, of two levels: the manifest/exoteric
and the hidden/esoteric; 2) the notion of the universe as
macrocosm, man as microcosm and the correspondence between them.
For this reason, the article is divided into two parts. First,
the esoteric aspect of ‘the Occultation in the world’
is an analysis of the principle of the Fourth Pillar (rukn
rābi) and its three fundamental components: the ‘invisible’
Friends of the hidden imam, Unicity of the Speaker and Alliance/Dissociation.
The second part concerns the esoteric meaning of ‘the
Occultation within man’ and examines symbolic and theological
hermeneutics, respectively through the work of Sayyid Kāzim
Rashtī, the second master of the Order (d. 1259/1843)
and the commentaries on the famous hadith ‘Who knows himself,
knows his Lord’.