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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Testimony and Firman summary Lisbon - 7 July 2018

I apologize at the start if I have forgotten some points

Hazar Imam was exceptionally HAPPY at the Mulaqat yesterday afternoon
He started off with THIS AS AN EPIC EVENT.
He said that His WISH WAS FULFILLED🙏🏻 And hence our wish is also fulfilled too
He gave Blessings to the Global Jamat Ameen
He gave Dua to the volunteers for accommodating the Global Jamat and to the Volunteers from all Other countries. (There are 1000 volunteers in Portugal, a murid told us!)
What a mammoth task to get together under one roof. (There are almost 50,000 now we were told by some)
The coming together as a large United Jamat is something to be v proud of. Shukhar
Volunteers from other countries have joined hands and what a proud site it is.
Mowla stressed that we should read our Muslim History. we Must read it He said
We were told that He joked a lot.
Before finishing the Farmans, He said that if He sat down Mukhi will remind Him to give Duas.
So before being reminded He wanted to give Dua. He gave Dua
He was smiling away
He was so relaxed and radiant.
As He started to come down, He decide to go up the stage again! He said his children really spoilt him.

We got to the hotel around 1 in the morning.

Trains were full of Ismailis. Amazing how the majority of our Jamat is using the metro which is V efficient and fast and much cheape

We are meeting so many of our brothers and sisters from around the world.

We were waiting for our connection for the 2nd train after midnight -12. 40 am, and we met a Tajik family, Mother perhaps in 80s, quite old and 2 daughters and a grand son- at the station

My feet and back were so sore with all the walking from the venue to the trains and everywhere and was a long day and I was complaining I’m so tired. But when I saw this lady, I was in awe. I told her daughter how I was aching and she said her mother was feelings the pain too . She is an English teacher at the University there but the mother does not speak English. Both her and I started massaging our legs and she gave me a great smile and we hugged and awaited for the 2nd train.

This was such a pleasure to be with them. So pretty, so humble, so polite and the love they have for our Imam is so amazing ...
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote




Mawla in Mehmani Seession Portugal Jurisdiction Jamat . It was a small gathering of around 5000 people .

Mowla started the Farman by giving lots of blessing for Happiness, Unity, Peace and all Mushkil Asaan . All the Mushkil be solved in a way you want it to be solved .

Mowla then said I am remembering all of those who are not present here in the same way I am remembering those who are present here .

Mowla thanked the Portuguese Government for going out of their way to organize this event . They fulfilled my wishes . They fulfilled your wishes .

Mowla then said there is lot to learn from the Portuguese Democracy , learn from their pluralism .

Mowla then said I make all of you my Dais , and send this message to rest of the jamat .

Mowla said we are one big brotherhood . when someone makes progress , the whole Jamat benefits from it .

Mowla again gave duas for Mushkil asaan , he flapped both his hands and said they all go away and never come back and he jokingly said but they have a Nasty habit of coming back and I give Duas for Mushkil asaan that they go away .

Mowla gave Duas for success in worldly matters and Success in Din and Faith .

Mowla said Always be happy , happiness is one expression you should always use , it doesn’t cost you anything to smile . He then Jokingly said my commercial Jamat understands what I mean by this .

He then continued saying be happy with your family , be happy with your children , be happy with your parents , be happy with your grand parents.

Our faith is not faith of sadness , our faith is of happiness .

Mowla said earn for your self , earn for your family . Be Ambitious but not greedy .

Mowla jokingly said before I go back and My Mukhi reminds me something else I give special duas for all the volunteers for the excellent work .

Mowla then went back to his seat and came back and gave Duas for Ruhanis for rest in eternal peace .

Mowla after getting a nod from m Mukhi came back to the mike and said my Mukhi tells me I can leave but I am always with you.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Received



Gist of today's Darbar in Lisbon Portugal.

Hazar Imam came into the Darbar Hall at 5.15pm.
There were 3 sections for the Darbar Hall.
A section B section n C section.
All 3 sections had about 15 thousand Jamat.
It was very hot as the a/c couldn't handle such a huge Jamat.
But each and everyone sat very very patiently including children, seniors and seniors who were sick.

Volunteers did a Brilliant Brilliant job.
When Hazar Imam entered Section A where I was sitting.
He came in with the whole Noorani Family. I was so overwhelmed as I had never ever seen MHI and Noorani Family together for a Darbar.
MHI was very very Happy.

Whole of Portugal Jurisdiction came along with Mukhi Sahebs and Kamadiyani Sahebas gave gifts to MHI.
MHI said he you have spoiled.

He said in is Jamat and behind is Family.
Everyone needs to learn how to speak English.
MHI made us all his Dais and also everyone who didn't come to the Darbar are also my Dias. Tell them that.

MHI gave blessings for Mushkil Asaan, may all yours wishes come true. I wish all your troubles go away and never, never never come back. Stay on path of Sirtal Mustaqim. MHI gave blessings for all Ruhaanis. Alot of Blessings for our families.

MHI was very happy and so was the Noorani Family too.
Then MHI let the hall. And we had a big surprise.
MHI goes to receive the President of Portugal as the President was invited by MHI, comes back to the Darbar Hall tells the President this my Jamat.
Jamat was clapping and applauded.

Portugal President was so overwhelmed and happy. When they came in the Hall we were reciting Salwat. The President was like wow.

MHI said now we have seat in Portugal and the name is Diwan and now I am relived. Everyone laughed and Applauded.

While in conversation with the President and MHI was, President saheb said that it was time for MHI to leave. MHI just laughed and told President Saheb that Mukhi Saheb has not yet told me to leave.
MHI then left the hall to see off the President of Portugal.
After that MHI came again went to B & C section to meet the Jamat.
MHI gave blessings for Mushkil Asaan and peace. May all your troubles go away and never never come back.

MHI open his arms wide and spread his fingers that all your troubles disappear.

I have never seen something like this.
Shukar Mowla......🙇

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Received


Testimony 2

On behalf of our jamat mowlana hazar imam graced the world wide jamati murids present with the most amazing Darbar. The longest ever that I feel in the history of his imamat. He said to give blessings to all our jamats and family. The Noorani family was all present. MHI made lots of jokes..few messages ..again said we must learn to read and speak English, save for future generations, best practice in our lives , Dua for muskil ashan. Said all problems must disappear. All problems. Number of times and used his hands to push the problems away.

Most amazing part, was the president of Portugal was brought in for part of Darbar he gave a speech and wished MHI on his DJ. This was a part that we never expected nor have we ever witnessed. The president, MHI walked around the Darbar hall and jamat recited salwat. Most spectacular.

Most amazing Darbar ...there will inshallah be lots of messages on social media.

Dua for everyone..shukar...

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


It was a 3 hours darbar.
There were 3 sections A, B and C. Prince Amin, Princess Zahra, Aly Mohd. , Prince Iliyan, Princess Sarah, Prince Rahim, Princess Salwa and Husain accompanied Imam. 8 chairs, and 1 takht on stage in each hall.
A had jamat from countries like Afghanistan, Syria far east who never had deedar during diamond jubilee.

B and C had jamat from countries who had already witnessed the darbar / deedar once during the jubilee year.
1. Imam emphasized the role of Portugal.
2. Lot of thought has gone into selecting it.
3. Portugal has opened arms to diversity, and Imam quoted how they helped Ismaili's during Mozambique crisis.
4. Hence we Ismaili's must respect Portugal and have loyalty towards it. However it doesn't
mean that you are not loyal to your own country of residence.
4. Build for future.
5. Save for next generation. Don't live as if it is only for one generation.
6. After the farman in section A imam went to the entrance of the hall....And received a special
guest....Everyone was wondering who is this guest.
7. Then announcement is made about this special guest.
8. Imam invites the guest to the Darbar, section A . Imam comes here second time.
9. Guest asks using sign gesture if he must remove his shoes, Imam says no, it's ok.
10. Guest and Imam enter hall A. Both in same row walking on red carpet. Mukhi Kamadia behind and then is Noorani family.
11. There is another Takht on the stage. So now, 2 takhts and 8 chairs.
12. Imam addresses the Jamat in front of the guest as 'My beloved spiritual children' I want to introduce His Excellency the President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
13. Jamat claps slowly keeping in mind the darbar decorum of not clapping.....But Imam and Noorani family clap too, and there is a huge burst of claps to warmly welcome the President.
Then Imam made a joke that now I am reading what I have been given ( leader gave Imam a sheet with notes on declaration of seat of Imamat this morning). Jamat laughs.
14. Imam walked red carpet in a darbar with a non Ismaili having his (President's) shoes on
and jamat reciting salwat. It was like an open declaration by Imam to the secular world as to
who he is and what is the relationship of his with the murids.
14. Then the president addressed the Jamat during the darbar. There is a thunderous applause
after every sentence he speaks. There has never been a occasion I remember where jamat
has clapped in darbar and Noorani family and Imam too participate in applause.
15. He emphasized the work of Imam and was very happy to work with Imam. President's last
sentence was 'to make Portugal his home forever'.
16. Then council for Portugal president addresses the president in Portuguese that 'Now
President and Imam will leave' he repeated it in english too.
17. After this sentence form the council president neither the Imam nor the president move.
There is a comedy of errors....And president and imam look at each other and burst into laughter. Portuguese president kind of made a gesture that he doesn't want to leave...
18. Jamat bursts into laughter.
19. To make it more humorous Imam says in the mike 'i am missing instructions from my mukhi'....And there is a huge laughter by jamat again and Imam as well as noorani family and
Portuguese president.
19. Imam then walks the red carpet the darbar style and Portuguese president accompanies
him the same way he did while coming in.
20. Imam personally goes to the president's car to see him off....
21. Imam comes to hall B. And says *this was totally UNEXPECTED* special emphasis on word unexpected. Jamat laughs again.
22. Build for future.
23. Save for next generation.
24. Dua ashish on each and every murid shoulder.
25. You know the meaning of word Dai? Be my *dai* and give my blessings to the jamat who are far and near.
26. Tell those jamats to be my *dai* too.
27. Hall C.
28. Build for future.
29. Learn english. Be bilingual, trilingual, quadralingular, penta ingular....Jamat laughs again and so does Imam.
30. Darbar is an occasion of happiness.
31. Enjoy the evening.
32. I know there is a stick dance, (referring to dandiya). It's okay if you play, but don't hurt your hands... . Jamat and Imam laugh again.
I don't want you to learn English like shakespeare, he is long gone. Imam signals with his hands that he is gone...And jamat and imam laugh again.
34. I want jamat to know that my family is behind me(pointing them behind him ) and my Jamat

is in front of me. And my family and I are both happy to be with the jamat on this occasion and I hope the jamat is happy too.
35. Lot of dua ashish. May all your difficulties disappear and never come back. Never come back ever.
36. Seat of Imamat is Dewan e Imamat
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Ce jour du 11 Juillet 2018
La finale de la Finale …….

Célébration du Jubilé de Diamants de Mowlana Hazar Imam au Darbar de Lisbonne !

Moments historiques de presque 3 heures pour un Darbar avec un immense bonheur et un état de conscience partagé avec des milliers de Murids ( 40000-45000) venus de 35 pays différents ! tous unis et baignés du Noor de Mowlana, vivant des moments d’émotions, de communion, avec d’incroyables surprises, des instants d’humour orchestrés par Un Imam heureux, lumineux,proposant des instants de sérénité et permettant à Ses Murids réunis une formidable respiration de leurs âmes en complète harmonie spirituelle !
Tous ces rayons lumineux émanant du Noor de l’Imam du Temps Présent, entouré de tous les membres Noorani ont produits sans aucun doute cette belle forme d’intelligence spirituelle nourrie d’amour, de fraternité, de partage, de tolérance et de grande générosité !

Permettez d’abord d’exprimer de la part d’un simple citoyen européen toute sa gratitude et son immense et sincère remerciement au Gouvernement Portugais, au peuple Portugais si hospitalier, qui mérite respect, estime et reconnaissance pour avoir accueilli un nombre si important d’Ismailis et accepté l’installation du Siège de l’Imamat Ismaili à Lisbonne. Le Portugal, son Peuple aura toujours notre respect, notre indéfectible estime et le soutien inconditionnel des générations et des générations d’Ismailis du monde entier pour le bien- être du Peuple Portugais.

Nous tenons aussi à exprimer notre gratitude, notre estime , le respect fraternel et nos sincères remerciements accompagnés d’une immense fierté aux nombreux, nombreux volontaires, pour leur exemplaire travail d’abnégation et le service rendu toujours avec le sourire . Bravo, Bravo !

Les moments de préparation à cette Rencontre sous forme d’Intezarri ont permis de rendre Grâce à la Miséricorde d’Allah, cet Être de tous les êtres, Sa Clémence, Sa sagesse, Son amour et Sa splendeur, Sa Miséricorde qui permettent de développer en soi quelque chose de cette sagesse, de cet amour, de cette splendeur. Les Ginans, les Qasidas et les louanges à notre Bien Aimé Hazar Imam ont rappelé à tous les Murids en communion, de se fixer un idéal spirituel…. Cet idéal, qui nous lie à un monde supérieur, nous apporte la seule nourriture capable de rassasier notre âme et notre esprit et qui permet vivre en parfait équilibre Din et Dounia.

Et le renouvellement en silence du Bhayatt durant cette communion, à l’Imam présent physiquement aujourd’hui, permet de prier pour que béni soit ce lien et que Allah protège l’Imam, Sa famille Noorani et tous les êtres qui lui sont chers. Que durant Son règne, la Lumière, les Anges viennent toujours l’habiter et que ainsi, c’est par Sa clairvoyance, Son inspiration, Il conduira Ses Murids vers un havre de paix, de richesse spirituelle qui leur apportera la plénitude, vivre dans un monde de paix, d’harmonie, d’unité dans les familles et une grande solidarité dans le Jamat globalisé, vivant et agissant comme « One Jamat » !

Mowla nous a exhorté à acquérir les « best practices » dans tous nos engagements quotidiens, dans nos relations professionnelles, faire preuve de grande intégrité, de loyauté au pays d’accueil et de travailler ensemble, de s’unir dans nos professions commerciales et jouer collectif, comme « One Jamat » !

Le vrai bonheur se trouve dans l’activité quotidienne certes nécessaire, mais une activité supérieure est possible couplée à celle qui permet de gagner de l’argent pour subvenir à ses besoins ou à ceux de sa famille. Pour être heureux, nous devons apprendre à faire un travail avec la pensée, le sentiment, l’imagination, la volonté et offrir nos capacités intellectuelles et matérielles par le partage du Temps et de la Connaissance aussi bien pour le Jamat mais aussi pour les sociétés et les populations avec lesquelles nous vivons. C’est ce travail qui vous donne le vrai bonheur !
Mais pour cela, Mowla souhaite un succès spirituel, un travail intérieur qui nous permettra, quels que soient les événements de poursuivre notre idéal de partage et de service même dans les conditions les plus difficiles…

Les Bénédictions et Prières de Mowla à Ses Murids furent pour que la paix, la sécurité règnent et qu’elles reviennent pour ceux qui sont dans des pays en conflits. Et que les soucis et les difficultés de tous soient dépassés et que Son Jamat globalisé reste uni et triomphe des obstacles et des épreuves .Il nous demande d’être patient dans les difficultés. Il veut nous voir souriants, heureux, et donne Ses bénédictions pour éloigner tous les obstacles et la tristesse de notre visage. »Un Darbar est un moment de joie, de fête et de retrouvailles et de fraternité » !

Mowla a encore demandé, insisté pour que l’Education soit une priorité pour tous Ses Murids et la maîtrise de la langue anglaise, pas de la qualité de Shakespeare mais l’anglais lu et écrit qui reste la langue véhicule de la Connaissance Générale. Avec l'Education, personne ne peut nous prendre notre capacité d’adaptation, notre savoir et notre intelligence, notre cœur, notre volonté et ce sont des véritables aides sur lesquelles nous pourrons toujours compter. Un autre aspect que Mowla nous dévoile par son propre comportement et par l’exemple qu’Il donne lui-même est le degré d’humilité que nous devons toujours afficher dans nos attitudes car le Murid humble bénéficie d’ un formidable facteur d’harmonie.

Mowlana Hazar Imam souhaite un réel succès spirituel pour Ses Murids….la quête spirituelle apportera sérénité, lumière et paix intérieure et qu’Il est toujours Présent et toujours avec Ses enfants Spirituels.
L’approche ésotérique, au Bandgi chaque matin, avec la conviction que nous pouvons capturer une étincelle, une flamme du Noor que nous pouvons emporter et conserver précieusement comme un grand trésor. Grâce à ce rayon lumineux, notre vie sera inspirée, sublimée, et partout où nous irons et ceci malgré toutes les difficultés dans la vie quotidienne.
L’enseignement spirituel, prôné par Mowlana Hazar Imam, grâce à Ses Bénédictions, plusieurs fois renouvelées durant le Deedar, a pour but de soutenir les idées de paix, d’harmonie, de fraternité dans le monde mais constitue aussi un élément capital pour la construction de l’avenir sur plusieurs générations de Ses Murids.

Le moment le plus émouvant fut quand Mowlana Hazar Imam a demandé à tous Ses Murids de devenir et de vivre une existence de Daî ismaili ! Et donc de donner toute sa place au sentiment du sacré et faire appel à un élément spirituel : travaillez avec le Noor, l’amour, l’harmonie, la pureté de l’Imam !

Chaque Murid est sollicité pour que la vie des gens autour de lui s’améliore, se renforce, s’enrichisse et, grâce aux expériences et le service rendu, le Daî de Mowla se comporte comme un ambassadeur de l’Islam, digne de sa foi et qui s’engage à aider son entourage par ses conseils, son attitude digne de respect, son rayonnement spirituel et capable de proposer ses potentiels intellectuelles au bénéfice d’autrui. Ce Murid est nourri par un haut idéal et cherche à progresser intérieurement.

Ce disciple sait qu’il doit se mettre au service de son Mowla en disant : « Oh Mowla, maintenant je me rends compte que sans Toi, sans Ta lumière, je ne suis rien, je Te consacre ma vie afin de faire quelque chose d’utile pour le monde entier. Et grâce à Tes bénédictions et Ton soutien, la loi de la Providence divine, les Anges et tous les Serviteurs du Ciel, les Entités lumineuses me viendront en aide et mon existence va prendre vraiment un sens ».

Je promets à mon Mowla que je participerai selon Ses souhaits à une fraternité collective qui possède une conscience large, lumineuse. C’est une collectivité dont les membres sont unis entre eux, et non seulement ils travaillent les uns pour les autres, mais encore ils ont pour idéal de travailler pour le monde entier. Une véritable fraternité est une collectivité qui possède une conscience universelle, qui grâce à ses qualités morales devient un bienfaiteur de l’Humanité.

Et le comble d’émotions et de surprises fut atteint quand le Président de la République du Portugal a fait son entrée dans le Hall du Deedar, suivant Mowlana Hazar Imam, alors que les Murids ont continué à réciter le Salwat avec de chaudes larmes d’émotion non contenue ! Oh Mowla, quelle surprise, quel miracle ! Une nouvelle ère est annoncée pour les Ismailis du monde entier !

Silencieusement, en toute humilté, les larmes de joie et de reconnaissance, je me suis mis à dire à Mon Mowla :

« Oh Très Vénéré Khoudavin,

« En ce jour heureux de la Célébration de la fin de l’Année du Jubilee de Diamant, toute ma famille se joint à moi pour Vous renouveler notre indéfectible attachement à votre Autorité Spirituelle.

Et c’est très humblement que nous vous formulons nos sincères vœux et nos prières pour que Vous ayez une bonne santé, une longue vie et un bonheur serein à partager avec toute la Famille Noorani et avec toutes les personnes qui Vous sont chères.

Très Vénéré Khoudavin, cette année du Jubilee de Diamant revêt un caractère particulier et un Murid qui le vit grâce à la Bénédiction d’Allah se doit de jeter un regard sur le rétroviseur. Ce Murid mesure le chemin parcouru pour lui-même, sa famille et sa Communauté grâce à la clairvoyance, à la patience, au dévouement de l’Imam du Temps Présent. Vous nous aviez souvent expliqué la dimension ésotérique de notre foi et nous dire que le Din, le Dounia, L’intellect, la Foi et la Science vont de pair dans notre vision spirituelle. Nous vous exprimons notre sincère gratitude pour nous avoir éclairés et aidés à choisir de bonnes résolutions avec sagesse, calme et clairvoyance. Vous n’avez cessé d’œuvrer pour que Vos Murids fassent des choix judicieux et intelligents pour un équilibre entre le Din et le Dounia. Et nous cherchons toujours à mettre en œuvre Vos Farmans et Vos directives sur la fraternité sans frontières, sur l’Unité du Jamat, sur l’importance de l’Education, de la tolérance, du partage du Temps et de la Connaissance, de la générosité et la pratique d’une Foi de conviction.

Tout au long de ces 60 ans de L’Imamat, Vos Hidayats, Vos farmans, Vos multiples engagements à travers le monde entier avaient pour objectifs de préserver la sécurité, la paix de Vos enfants spirituels, leur offrir des opportunités et pour qu’ils restent sur la voie droite du Siratal-Mustaquim.

Très Vénéré Khoudavin, en ces temps difficiles dans le monde troublé, Votre présence, Votre protection et Vos engagements humanistes, sans cesse renouvelés ont été pour nous un réel réconfort. C’est Votre propre exemple que nous cherchons à suivre dans notre prise de conscience pour vivre selon l’Ethique de notre Foi.

Nous sommes conscients d’être des membres privilégiés d’une Communauté dirigée par un Imam éclairé et habité de solides convictions d’humanisme. Vous avez clairement fait ressortir qu’en Islam, pour Vos disciples en particulier, la véritable patrie de l’âme est la générosité, la compassion, la tolérance et le partage. La recherche de l’équilibre entre le Din et le Dounia que Vous nous conseillez sans relâche, est le chemin qui nous conduira jusqu’à la source de la Lumière.

Très Vénéré Khoudavin, depuis le début de la Célébration de l’Année du Jubilee de Diamant, les nombreuses reconnaissances des Chefs d’Etat, les différents Prix, les Récompenses qui vous ont été attribués, toutes Vos interventions pleines d’humilité ont un été non seulement un réel réconfort moral pour tous les Ismaéliens mais aussi de satisfaction avec un fort sentiment de fierté.

Que Allah Vous donne toujours une Bonne santé, une longue vie, que Vous puissiez faire partager au monde entier cette foi en l’amour et à la paix. Et que cette Lumière si vivante en Vous serve de phare aux Ismaéliens et à tous les Hommes et toutes les Femmes de bonne volonté.
Et nous savons Très Vénéré Khoudavin que Vous êtes notre meilleur allié car Vous nous guidez, Vous nous protégez, Vous nous apprenez, Vous nous fournissez des opportunités, Vous nous donnez les meilleurs atouts et Hidayats pour réagir et triompher sur la voie droite du Siratal- Mustaquim.

Mowlana Hazar Imam, nous Vous renouvelons très humblement notre profonde gratitude et toute notre reconnaissance pour Votre infatigable engagement et à la contribution sans failles de la famille Noorani et de vos proches collaborateurs.

Croyez Bien Aimé Mowlana Hazar Imam à notre indéfectible attachement à Votre Autorité Spirituelle.

Très humblement et avec toute notre affection, »
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


From: Amina Kassam <>
Date: July 13, 2018 at 2:26:01 AM
Subject: Re‘ „Dai“

Aitmadi Saheb Salim Ahmed
when did MHI refer to us as His Dai before Lisboa DJ Darbar?

Hi Almas referring to your query about Dai they were prevalent during Fatimid period when being attacked The Dai took task to protect our literature especially in Yemen and Egypt and Surat,India.
MHI keeps asking us to study our Ismaili traditions,know our Ginans and History so that with understanding these, we have strong foundation /faith with Intellectual insights.> viz Ismaili Institute & now AgaKhan Centre London UK.

Also, name of Imamat Institute “Diwan e’Imam” taking us back to our Glorious past during Fatimid Empire.If we persevere as one ummah,share Time & Knowledge and portray qualities of one soul & Dai acquire knowledge and portray kindness,compassion, tolerance , a united Jamat etc we will fly and achieve greatness again with MHI Grace and Guidance.
Ps:these are my personal thoughts re’ “Dai”

Amina Kassam _Sajan (Count Hassanali Sajan)
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Hazar Imam was very happy to spend Imamat Day with His family and his spiritual children. He reiterated this throughout the evening. The farmans in each of the 3 halls centered around saving money for future generations and working together. He said everyone present and everyone around the world are His Dai; therefore he wanted all of us to share his blessings. He also mentioned his immense gratitude for the country of Portugal for their hospitality.

In the 1st hall, Hazar Imam was presented with gifts from many different Ismaili jurisdictions. Hazar Imam expressed his gratitude and joked that the Jamat was probably wondering what he will do with all the gifts. He stated that they would be displayed at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto and will make their way across to other museums around the world. The Jamat reaffirmed their allegiance to Hazar Imam and showed their gratitude for Hazar Imam's 61 years of Imamat. Hazar Imam said that the Jamat worldwide should work together within and across continents. He said together we can grow stronger.

Hazar Imam left the 1st hall and, unknown to the Jamat, he went to receive the President of Portugal. After introducing the President to Ismaili leaders in the hallway, Hazar Imam, his family, and the President of Portugal walked into the 1st hall again. The President and Hazar Imam walked side-by-side. Never before has this happened. Once on stage, Hazar Imam expressed his gratitude for the hospitality given to his family, the Jamat, and himself. He mentioned the partnership with Portugal and how Lisbon is the Seat of Imamat. He stated he hopes to create similar partnerships with other countries around the world in the decades ahead. The President of Portugal also gave a speech and showed his appreciation for the Ismaili Jamat. He recognized the amount of work Hazar Imam does through his message of peace, unity, etc. He ended his speech by saying may Portugal be Hazar Imam's home forever. There was thunderous applause. After the speech, the President of Portugal Council Rahim mentioned that both the President and Hazar Imam could leave the hall. Both of them were surprised and started to laugh. As both of them and the Noorani Family rose out of their seats with big smiles on their face Hazar Imam came to the mic and joked that he was missing instructions from his Mukhi and Kamedia.

After saying goodbyes to the President of Portugal, Hazar Imam made his way to the 2nd hall. He stated that the language of English should be learned by all Ismailis. All should be able to read and write in English. He joked that we don't need to know English as well as Shakespeare. As he said this, he made waving gestures to the Jamat to laugh more and more. The global language of English will help further the Jamat's growth. Again, Hazar Imam reiterated that working together with Ismailis will help us grow and become stronger. He said to save money for future generations. He said it is very important that we think about future generations and not only our generation. He mentioned that since it is Darbar, the Jamat should enjoy themselves through music, dance, etc. He joked that when he was younger he played the "Stick dance" and would have to be extremely careful so he wouldn't get hit on his hands (which happened a few times). He went on to say that he hopes the Jamat is careful while playing the "Stick dance" (dandia).

In the 3rd hall, Hazar Imam thanked all volunteers who gave service throughout the Diamond Jubilee year. Furthermore, he once again mentioned the importance of future generations and how the Jamat must save money and be prudent. Lastly, Hazar Imam gave many blessings for the removal of all problems in life and that they may never return. He once again used his hands to show how problems should disappear. He also gave blessings for all good wishes to come true. Here he also gave blessings for all the ruhani.

Not every detail may be covered since so many wonderful things happened throughout the evening. It was a very long Deedar over 2.5 hours, probably the longest ever during Hazar Imam's Imamat. It was truly a blessing to be in the presence of our Hazar Imam. Hopefully, the above summary gives you all the same feelings we experienced on this auspicious day.

I considered myself to be extremely fortunate

Once again MUBARAKI
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another testimony from Lisbon 11 July 2018 Diamond Jubilee Darbar of H.H. The Aga Khan

Notes from Admin:

It is not accurate to say that a President of a country has been brought to the Darbar for the first time in Lisbon for Diamond Jubilee.

Many non-Ismailis dignitaries were present during the Intronisation of Mowlana Hazar Imam. In Northern Area, President Bhutto was invited during Darbar. In Kenya also in one of the Darbar, some ministers were invited. During the time of Mowlana Sultan Muhammad Shah, not only were non-Ismaili dignitaries invited to the Jubilee Darbar but also he took Gandhi in JK to attend our ceremonies including the recitation of the Dua and the Ghat Pat ceremony.

I was delighted that the Jamat clapped with the Nurani family during the Portuguese President Speech when some misguided almighty al-waez had forbidden the Jamat to clap and to laugh. I was happy that the Jamat laughed with the Imam when he made his jokes.

In due time, photos will be posted in appropriate forums.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As received:

A professor was very popular at his college. All the kids loved him because he was sooo helpful and always went out of his way to give time to those who were having difficulties. The professor completed tenure of 60 yrs and all the kids decided to celebrate this milestone . They approached the professor and requested him to give them an evening to come to the student union building as the students wanted to celebrate with him his achievements. The professor was touched and delighted and agreed to come on Friday evening, looking forward to being pampered and lauded.
On Friday evening, as he approached the student union building, he found a group of students from a previous college standing outside. The professor greeted them warmly and asked them to come in. We have been barred entry unfortunately because we are not from this college, but we still wanted to be here to congratulate you. Slightly discomfited by this, the professor knocks and enters the building. All the students of his college are sitting around a long conference table. A white board has been set up at the head of the table. The President of the student council greets the professor and requests him that since he would be retiring soon, his students would like him to explain the rest of the chapters left in the course. With his usual grace he does so. The students all thank him profusely, give him a rousing cheer for 60yrs, they present him with a momento and then send him on his way. The students then clear away the table and the books, heaving sighs of relief that the rest of the course would now be easy, they put on the music and have a party! Pizzas are ordered and there is much laughter and amusement.
Now let us put ourselves in the shoes of the professor!
What was supposed to have been an evening of celebration and appreciation for his many years of selfless service, turned out to be a working evening for him, with a small gift and some thank you’s only!
A perfect analogy for our Beloved Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations &#128555;&#128555;&#128555;
Shame on all of us.... His so called murids !!!
Such a year will never come again and we lost the opportunity. The leaders organized everything in their way and none of us could oppose it just like the students did above .

Instead of celebrating Him, the LIF made Him work, just like students did to the Professor in the above analogy!
Because of fearing backlash from barring global jamat entry into Uganda and TZ, they came up with "Jamati work" from the next visit (Canada) and made the whole jurisdictional atrocity plausible. But how much work that meant for the Imam! Morning, afternoon, morning, afternoon, to and fro, to and fro, Mehmani, chanta, Bol, Mehmani, chanta, Bol, five days, six days, 10 days, twelve days. Yup, wonderful Diamond Jubilee Year for beloved Hazar Imam &#128077;&#127995; and then the likes of SS have the audacity to approach Jamati members and tell them to give Hazar Imam a break, like as if by standing at a distance to get his Didar is inconveniencing the Imam. &#128079;&#127995; LIF and Leaders. The award for coming up with most plausible nonsense goes to you.

It is no wonder that Mowla never mentioned His Diamond Jubilee celebrations in any of the darbaars/mulakaats farmans, unlike the Golden Jubilee where He was so proud of the fact that He had completed 50 years as Imam and was celebrating His Golden Jubilee.
Well, how could He , when families were bereft. They wanted to be together for the darbars. And how can it be when the leaders have taken Mowla's name that it was His decision to segregate. How can it be when, by sheer unfairness, some people managed to get into more than one darbar because they had connections or because they had businesses in those countries. Is this what it boiled down to? Our community decided who should attend a darbar based on commerce or laagwag. Pathetic! And the likes of Firoz Rasul and his wife Saida attend almost all darbars. Mowla is just and fair. If this was His decision then such unfairnesses would not take place. Therefore, I reiterate, DJ was turned into a disaster, by the leaders only and nobody else!
They should be held accountable!


NOTE from Admin:

There were no gift given to Mowlana Hazar Imam's family members, not acknowledgement of their presence, nor any gift for the President who came by invitation of our Imam but who was unceremoniously asked to leave after few minutes only when clearly Hazar Imam's reaction showed that he wanted the President to stay.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



That room was that of the Portuguese Ismailites, the same ones who participate in Portuguese culture, politics and society, and look to the Portuguese as their peers in the daily battles of the country's affairs. It was only half an hour before the access doors closed when I I sat on the floor of the FIL Lounge in Lisbon, where the great Darbar would be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the leadership of the Imam of the Muslim Ismaili. To the sound of devotional songs I sought a place with my closest relatives. The ceremonies that preceded the arrival of the Imam were recitation of the Qur'an, of supplication and praise, in various languages, from Arabic to Farsi, to Gujarati, English and Portuguese, allowing us to perceive, through this colorful mosaic of diversity, the communion and celebration of faith in this Imam. On the giant screens, prepared to follow the event more closely, it was possible to read not only the translation of the songs but also the moments of Prince Aga Khan's visit, both outside and inside the Darbar halls. As the rumor circulated, the prince came with almost all his relatives. After greeting the leadership of the different jurisdictions present at the meeting, the Imam and his immediate family members donned their ceremonial robes and entered with the ministers of worship (mukhis) of the Ismaili Center in Lisbon. In a mixture of emotion and anthropological gaze, I observed the dazzle of a ceremonial procession where the Imam followed, followed by the two mukhis, and then finally of the entire Nurani family, and I heard the chanting of thousands of voices reciting the salawat - allahuma saleh allah muhammad in wa'ale Muhammad - "oh God! that Thy light fall upon Muhammad and all his progeny. " The procedures were all similar to those of previous darbars, and so the community would be prepared to follow the usual script. On July 11, the script of a traditional darbar was dramatically changed. After listening intently to the songs and prayers of supplication, and having received the nazranas of the community through their representatives, the Imam spoke to his faithful, as is expected to happen, and shortly afterwards, he descended the staircase again to follow other halls where so many thousands of believers waited for him. The promise was that he would pass through three of these halls, and that in each of them the ceremonial script would be the same, probably with different missions (farmans) and complementary to the previous ones.

However, after leaving the room where I was with another 12,500 believers, behold the Imam surprises the global community and the normal script of a darbar has changed! The Imam and his family reappear on the giant screens without their traditional clothes, now all dressed up, to receive a guest of honor. And who? They would ask. Our President of Portugal, Professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa! In other halls the community demoralizes in the failed expectation of the Imam to come and visit them as well. Yes, because until then, in a religious ceremony never a non-Ismaili could participate. The unthought and the unthinkable (Arkoun, 2002) would happen in one of these circumstances. And that's exactly what happened. Professor Marcelo came to Darbar and the Imam received him. The prince and his family dressed again in religious clothing and returned to the same hall, this time the Imam bringing the President of the Portuguese Republic to his side, parading the two, followed by the rest of the family, as before, and always to the sound of the salawat , this time even more inflamed with joy, surprise, and great pride; after all, that room was that of the Portuguese Ismailites, the same ones who participate in Portuguese culture, politics and society, and look to the Portuguese as their peers in the daily battles of the affairs of the country and the national order.

The Imam brought Marcelo to the same stage where he had previously sat and ordered that an equal chair be placed for the President of the Republic of Portugal at his side and, just as before, the children and grandchildren sat on one side and the other both. And the religious ceremony continued. And Marcelo, a practicing Catholic, recited verse 177 of chapter 2 of the holy Qur'an, which reads, among other things: "It is not for the Just to turn their face to the East or the West; but it is up to the Righteous ... to use his wealth for his sake, for his relatives, for the orphans, for the needy, for the traveler, and for those who ask ... "and ended his reading expressing the desire that His Highness "make Portugal his home forever."

It is not possible, in one article, to write much more about the recording of my anthropological gaze and simultaneously Ismailita; but it is possible to affirm with conviction that a new era of Ismailism has restarted since this date, and that this was only possible because Portugal and the Portuguese are all of us, and because this is and will be forever our home .


NOTE From Admin

The first hall had 26,000 Murids, not 12,500 - The testimony writer has been mislead. The other 2 halls had 20,000 Murids each. There is an active attempt to lower the number of Murids that came for Darbar.

At first I thought it may be because we were not allowed to have more than a certain number because of building regulation and safety codes but the same happened in Northern Area in open air Didars and India numbers were even more discounted.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:25 am    Post subject: Epic Finale of an epochal Diamond Jubilee Reply with quote

An excellent testimony and memories of this epic finale by Zafeera Kassam from Nairobi.


The word that was uppermost in my mind was the word ‘FINALE’ and this very small word, finale, actually gives visions and intimations of grandeur, of explosive colours and celebrations that would give a fitting end to what was certainly an epochal year. The year of our beloved Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee.

And certainly a finale it was! The whole week from 5th July leading up to 11th July, 2018, can be described unequivocally as a fitting finale. Could all this just have been achieved within a few months of preparation? To me, it seemed as if years must have been spent to organise such a mela. The Jubilee Arts Gallery, the Film Festival, Celebrity Concerts, Talent Shows, the Diamond Jubilee Bands marching and performing among the crowds all of it was awe-inspiring. This was further enhanced by the presence and intermingling of murids from all four corners of the globe.

What was more exciting was the honourable presence and loving, familial interactions of the Noorani Family, some members of which a large number of us hadn’t seen ever or in ages!
Who can forget Prince Rahim striding up to murids behind barriers to shake their hands and greet them cordially? Who can forget Prince Irfan waving at assembled murids, standing up on his chair, clapping along to the beats of Dama Dam Mast Kalander, Ali Da Pehla Number? He stole the show and our hearts!.

Who can forget the young Prince Sinan, clinging on to Princess Salwa and sucking his thumb or the regal Prince Amyn, gorgeous Princesses Zahra and Sara and handsome Prince Illyan graciously acknowledging murids? Who can forget Prince Hussain and Prince Aly Muhammad turning up unexpectedly to showcase their respective projects and lend their support and contributions to those of the jamati members, thus proving they are part of us?

These were once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, which will add pizzazz to our history books forever, and for which I deeply commend the organisers, all the volunteers and contributors who must have spent countless sleepless nights but who will carry, in their hearts, these memories forever, and who will regale their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren of anecdotes from this epochal finale of Mawlana Shah Karim al Hussaini’s Diamond Jubilee.

And I am extremely proud to state that a fitting finale it certainly was for our beloved Hazar Imam, Shah Karim al Hussaini. Credit for this goes to the President, the Government and the People of Portugal who received our beloved Imam and Murshid with splendorous honour. The colourful State Honours at the Palace of Belem, the Prime Minister’s Luncheon at the Foz Palace where postage stamps were unveiled in honour of the Diamond Jubilee; the visit by Portugal’s President and representatives of Sovereign and Civil Society Bodies to see the restoration works of the Palacete Henrique de Mendonça, the Presidential Banquet at the Palace of Queluz in Sintra; Mawlana Hazar Imam’s historical address to the Portuguese Parliament – all this made my heart swell with pride and joy.

When Hazar Imam is honoured on such a grand scale, it is a matter of pride and joy for the entire global Ismaili community and all their friends & neighbours.

(posted By Permission of Zafeera)

Zafeera Kassam an Ismaili, is a teacher of English Language, Literature and Psychology, residing in Nairobi, Kenya. She writes Poems and many in praise of Hazar Imam.

JULY 24, 2018


[As a prelude to her excellent essay below, Zafeera Kassam has written a very interesting short piece highlighting some of the key events and ceremonies that took place from July 5th as part of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in Lisbon. Before reading the following essay, may we recommend that you read Zafeera’s prelude — ed.]


Our present living Imam, our Pir and Murshid, our beloved Shah Karim al Hussaini — Yaali Bapa, Ya Habibi, Mawla, Khudavind — truly is the fulfiller of all our wishes.

That is what materialized in this most epic and historic Darbar. Each and every person I’ve met during this Jubilee year has expressed variations of their deepest desires to see Mawlana Hazar Imam relaxed and at ease with the Jamat, or that he spends more time with the Jamat, or that he cracks jokes and showers his beloved spiritual children with familial affections as well as unlimited blessings.

Well, that is exactly what came to fruition during the Imamat Day Darbar, Lisbon 2018, the culmination of the Diamond Jubilee year. And then some! In spite of the fact that we didn’t do anything exceptional for the Imam during this Darbar (like have him cut an exquisitely decorated cake or weigh him in polished diamonds), Mawlana Hazar Imam, in his infinite glory, made the Darbar incomparably special for us. We are superbly humbled, blessed and honoured to have an Imam as generous and loving as Mawlana Shah Karim al Hussaini.

So, here I was setting out with the expectation of enduring huge crowds, endless queues and a squashed place to sit, all exacerbated by the heat wave. But my heart was joyous and I was ready to face any and all discomforts because, ultimately, I was fortunate to have been able to come to Lisbon and be a part of history in the making. The first thing I noticed as I stepped out of the hotel, with my family, were cool breezes blowing by, and a cloudy sky. ‘Thank you, Mawla, at least it’s not so hot today. You’ve kept it pleasant and bearable.’

With that, I knew. I knew, in my heart, intuitively, that today would be memorable in a way that people would talk about it forever as they still do about the Diamond Jubilee of Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah — like when the Imam was being weighed in diamonds and the scales just wouldn’t balance until Begum Om Habibeh Mata Salamat yielded her diamond bracelet and finally the weight was right — how monumental!

Getting off at Oriente Station, my family and I picked our way through the Vasco Da Gama Mall and proceeded through the entrance assigned, on to security checks and into the Hall. Goodness! I was actually inside the Darbar Hall itself within minutes. This was surreal. Where were the crowds? Where were the queues? Was I at the right venue? Well, I must commend the excellent organisation and efficiency of the volunteers. Everything just went through smoothly and expeditiously, I was positively surprised to see that the Darbar Hall was packed, but comfortably so.

As it turned out, we were assigned to the first hall and, at the time we entered, a wave of applause swept through the Jamat already present because chairs were being added to the stage to accommodate members of the Noorani Family. The waves of applause continued every time a chair was carried onto the stage and this was quite endearing.

ah_11815_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon Seat of Imamat designation
On the occasion of the designation of the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat, Mawlana Hazar Imam is presented with a gift on behalf of the global Jamat. Photo: The Ismaili/Akbar Hakim.

zr3_1901_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon Seat of Imamat Designation
Mawlana Hazar Imam addresses leaders of the Jamat on the occasion of the designation of the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat on 11 July 2018. Photo: The Ismaili/Zahur Ramji.

Soon after, a video of the morning ceremonies formalising the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat was shown on the numerous screens. How delightful it was to gaze upon the Noorani Family in their ceremonial regalia. How ever more so delightful it was to see Hazar Imam beaming as he climbed upon the stage. I remember seeing him wink and grin at, I assume, his grandchildren, who were all present for this particular event, including the slightly fidgety Prince Irfan and Prince Sinan who sat in Princess Salwa’s lap and was either sucking his thumb or discreetly reaching into mommy’s purse for a snack. After being presented with the Nazrana on behalf of the global jamat, Mawlana Hazar Imam took to the mic to explain what his decision entailed and what this meant for the Imamat and how he had not taken the decision lightly, but with a lot of thought and analysis. He spoke with so much pride that we swelled with joy to hear him. He then proclaimed that the Seat of the Imamat would be known as Diwan. Following this, he sat down at the table on his left and signed the “instrument” designating the same. It felt heart-warming to be included in this historical moment.

zr1_4095 Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon Seat of Imamat designation
Mawlana Hazar Imam ordains the instrument to designate the Henrique de Mendonça Palace as the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat on 11 July 2018. Photo: The Ismaili/Zahur Ramji.

The video ended with a launch of the new website:

My mind was reeling with the ramifications and profundity of this event: What did all this mean in relation to Mawla’s residence? Would beloved Mawla leave France and permanently come to reside in Lisbon? Would he close down Aiglemont or would this Seat be an extension to the Headquarters at Aiglemont?

As I pondered over these questions, I became dimly aware of the Intezari Programme having started. Some qasedas I did not recognise, such as Bud Ali Bud, and some that I did, such as Ya Imami, were crooned mellifluously; Zikrs catalysed time into momentum; Alwaezins elaborated on the arrangements made and what to expect about the proceedings and ceremonies to be held in the presence of the Imam. It was explained that the Mehmanis and Nazranas as well as the Loyalty Address would take place in Hall 1 where after Mawla would proceed to Hall 2 and then Hall 3 where the Ginan, Persian Qaseda and Arabic Qaseda would be recited in the presence of the Imam and we would be able to follow the Imam into these halls and bear witness to this via the live-action feed on the screens. Wow! One Darbar had transformed into a three-in-one Darbar. Zeh naseeb!

The Alwaezins made it a point, perhaps because of the enthused ovation welcoming the chairs, to reprimand the Jamat that applause is not correct decorum in a Darbar and that happiness ought to be expressed by way of salwats instead. As it turned out, applause was to become very much part of the Darbar’s ambience but I will return to this later on.

It is impossible to account for the time spent in the Hall because suddenly, almost unexpectedly, it was 5pm; the screens came alive with Mawlana Hazar Imam’s motorcade zooming into the arena. As swiftly as Mawla’s Audi came to a halt, the door seemed to have sprung open and there alighted the Lord of Light, his eagerness to be here very much evident in the way he bounced up the red carpet to greet the Leadership as well as Mukhi Kamadia Sahebs and Mukhiani Kamadiani Sahebas. All eyes firmly focused on the screen, a characteristic hush fell onto the gathering. A hush of breathless awe, of tingling anticipation.

Mawla was dressed in an immaculate suit but the male members of the Noorani Family donned their white Sherwanis and looked absolutely dapper, while Princess Zahra, Princess Salwa and Princess Sara were all resplendent in their glittering saris and jewellery. When Mawla and the Noorani Family had finished greeting the leadership, the coverage cut to the DJ logo and the Alwaezin instructed the Jamat to concentrate on personal zikr, which he led softly, advising us to prepare our hearts to receive the rainfall of Noor which Mawlana Hazar Imam would benevolently bestow upon everyone.

shyrose_bhanji_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon green_room_july_11-6115
Mawlana Hazar Imam greets Mukhi Saheb, Mukhiani Saheba, Kamadia Saheb, and Kamadiani Saheba of Lisbon Darkhana after changing into his ceremonial robe. Photo: The Ismaili/Shyrose Bhanji.

Here, I can say time stretched and the minutes within which Mawla changed into his ceremonial robes were encapsulated in spiritual yet feverish anxiety. It was a period of contemplation marked with all the chaotic thoughts that erupt when you know you’ll forget everything you want to say (in your mind) to the Imam as he advances along the red carpet because the mind just goes blank when the heart expands with ecstasy at seeing him up close and personal.

And then, the doors opened outwardly. And then, the salwats ballooned sonorously. And then, our beloved Hazar Imam, in all his beatific and divine glory, stepped into the hall.

My family and I were seated at the entrance and so my mother, by virtue of the intimate miracle that placed her at this very spot, adoringly showered his feet with red rose petals as he passed by. As mentioned earlier, Mawla truly is the fulfiller of wishes and it was her heart’s deepest desire to act out the verse of the ginan: ‘Fulada vinavo vira satiyun tana vadhaavo apna tribhovar sham’ (Pick the choicest flower petals and shower them upon the Lord of the Three Worlds). Shukranlillah walhamdulillah.

akber_hakim_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon d_day_-_hall_1_july_11-12229
Mawlana Hazar Imam walks through the Jamat at the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Lisbon on 11 July 2018. Photo: The Ismaili/Akber Hakim.

asif_balesha_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon_darbar_hall_2_july_11-8006
Mawlana Hazar Imam walks through the Jamat at the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Lisbon, followed by the Mukhi and Kamadia Sahebs of the Lisbon Darkhana Jamatkhana, Prince Amyn, Princess Zahra, Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa, Prince Hussain, Prince Aly Muhammad, Miss Sara Boyden, and Master Iliyan Boyden. Photo: The Ismaili/Asif Balesha.

Mawlana Hazar Imam proceeded along, nodding lovingly at jamati members and showering his divine blessings. In pursuit, and in formation of pairs, were the Mukhi and Kamadia Sahebs, followed by Prince Amyn and Princess Zahra, Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa, Prince Hussain and Prince Aly Muhammad, Princess Sara and Prince Illyan, with the Mukhiani Kamadiani Sahebas bringing up the rear of this awesome procession that proceeded along the red carpet through the Hall and finally ended up at the stage where Mawla ascended first and gestured for the rest to take their places: Mawla in the centre, Mukhi and Kamadia Sahebs, Prince Amyn, Princess Zahra, Princess Sara and Prince Illyan on his right, Mukhiani and Kamadiani Sahebas, Prince Rahim, Princess Salwa, Prince Hussain and Prince Aly Muhammad on his left.

sohil_lalani_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon_d_day_-_hall_1_july_11-4073
Mawlana Hazar Imam shares a light moment with the Jamat at the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Lisbon, as Prince Amyn, Princess Zahra, Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa, Prince Hussain, Prince Aly Muhammad, Miss Sara Boyden, and Master Iliyan Boyden look on. Photo: The Ismaili/Sohil Lalani.

With Mawla’s approval, the chain of authority was adorned around his neck, the verse of the Qur’an and translation were recited, the Munajaat (Ya Ali Khoob Mijalas) was sung — though, disappointingly, only one verse — and so were the Farsi and Arabic Qasedas, followed by the Zikr Tasbih. The Loyalty Address was given by the President of the Portuguese Council. Then, the moment we heartily awaited: Mawla came to the mic.

“My beloved spiritual children,” he beamed, “to celebrate with my family is a very special happiness for me and I hope my Jamat will share in that happiness.”

It was at this moment that it sunk in, how indeed special and ethereal it was to have the Noorani Family all assembled together with our beloved Imam. It is certainly rare an occasion and particularly befitting of such an epochal Darbar to have them present as they were in the final Golden Jubilee Darbar held in Paris in 2008. It was also splendorous to see how joyous the Imam was to have his family with him. That just warmed the cockles of my heart.

He continued on to advise that as we build for the future, the Jamat must think ahead and must identify those countries where its long-term future is secure.

He took the occasion to thank the government of Portugal for all the courtesies extended to his family and himself, to the institution and he hoped to be able to participate and work with Portuguese interests for the benefit of all the population of Portugal. He pointed out, with a smile, that this would not be unique, because it is a policy, a tradition of loyalty to all the countries in which the Jamat is living. “But it is important, on an occasion such as this, we should mark our loyalty to the country that has extended friendship, welcome, warmth, generosity and kindness,” he emphasized.

“As a result of the generosity, the forward-thinking of the government of Portugal,” the Imam explained, “I have decided to create a Seat of the Imamat here in Portugal. This will be a permanent presence in Portugal. It will work for the interests of the Jamat, the interests of Portugal, the interests of the people amongst whom we live in various countries around the world. But establishing privileged relations with countries that have demonstrated such continuous generosity is an important policy that we should follow. And I say to my Jamat, don’t think only of Portugal, think back to the times in Mozambique when the situation was difficult and think back to the rigor, generosity, wisdom with which the government of this country received murids who were exposed to difficulty and instability and doubt about their future in Mozambique.”

Hazar Imam went on to reiterate, “I intend to establish here a Seat of the Imamat, which will be a permanent presence and it will be the beginning of a new vision of relations between secular governments and the Ismaili Imamat.” He hoped to be able to do the same with a large number of governments around the world in the interests of the Jamat in the decades ahead.

Mawla further emphasized, noting the very wide spectrum of nationalities present, the importance of working together, building together, coming together within countries across frontiers, creating capacities, protecting ourselves from risk. He urged: “Move forward in a rational, concerted, purposeful manner so that future generations may be ensured of equality of life, which you and I would wish for them.”

Hazar Imam concluded with “I give to each and every murid here present and to your families and to your Jamat, my most affectionate and best loving blessings. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. This evening, I believe you are intending to have some form of Darbara.” He grinned some more and gesticulated with his hands. “A Darbar, by tradition, is an event of happiness, of joy, so I say to my Jamat, participate and have a wonderful time. I hope every murid, who is here and will participate in that Darbar, will be happy. That you will find joy, good relations amongst yourselves, new acquaintances from across frontiers and happiness throughout the Jamat. I finish this farman by giving to each one of you individually, and to your families and to your Jamat, my best, best affectionate blessings. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. Khanavadan.”

A deep level of paternal maternal affection was intricately woven into his farman. The paternal concern evident in his explicit advice for the future and maternal endearment in his blessings for mushkil aasaan, for individuals present, their families and any Jamat in difficulties, wishing that “all your problems just disappear, just go away and staaaay away.”

He resumed his seat.

The Niyaaz and Mehmanis for the Portuguese jurisdiction were presented before Mawla to accept and bless and then Mukhi Kamadia Sahebs as well as Mukhiani Kamadiani Sahebas of the other Jamats such as Australia, Far East, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Bangladesh etc brought their mehmanis to him to accept and bless and he even exchanged a few words with some but I wouldn’t be able to point out who. Thereafter, the respective Council Presidents offered Nazranas to Hazar Imam, some even explaining their meaningfulness in detail to him. Mawla graciously accepted all the Nazranas and beamingly came to the mic again to say, “My beloved spiritual children, you’ve spoilt me.”

Not even by the slightest margin, but how loving and generous our Imam is! It truly is exemplary and extraordinary.

zahur_ramji_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon_d_day_-_hall_1_july_11-4459
Mawlana Hazar Imam shares a light moment with the Jamat at the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Lisbon, as Prince Amyn looks on. Photo: The Ismaili/Zahur Ramji.

Looking around at the Jamat, his smile incandescent, he elaborated, “You have spoilt me thoughtfully, generously, with great intelligence and wisdom, knowing what would please me and I express to you my warmest thanks. My warmest thanks. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. Khanavadan.” Now, making circular motions with his hands at the sides of his head, he said, “I’m sure, at the back of your minds, you’re saying to yourselves, what is Hazar Imam going to do with the gifts?” Prince Amyn could be seen chuckling behind him and the Jamat shared in the light humour. Mawla grinned genuinely and stated, “Well, I’ll tell you. The extraordinary works of art will belong to the Imam but they will go to the Aga Khan Museum in Canada for public exhibition and other museums around the world in due course. The material Nazranas will be spent on initiatives for the Jamat around the world so that we can do the best we can to sustain the Jamat that need support in the countries in which they are living.”

He gave his best loving and affectionate blessings once more and then asked rhetorically, “I’m sure you all know the meaning of the word Dai.”

I just loved the way he said ‘Daa-eee’.

“I want all of you this evening to be my Dai” — he smiled and raised his eyebrows — “my dais.”

“To thank the Jamats for their gifts, their thoughts on this most happy occasion. So convey my blessings to your Jamats, to your families,” beloved Imam instructed. “And tell them that I think of them as Dais.”

“I think of them as Dais,” he repeated and with this one statement, beloved Mawla generously included all my brothers and sisters who had been unable to be physically present in this significant Darbar.

He followed this claim with blessings for the fulfilment of good wishes and specially for Mushkil Aasan.

And then, he descended the stage and the hearts became heavier with each step he took towards the exit. It is always so bittersweet to see him take his leave. We experience an almost bipolar battle between desperately clinging onto him and contentedly cradling the utmost gratitude we feel for the love he generates.

But this time, there was something to look forward to. This time, he wouldn’t just disappear into the lounge to hold council with the leadership. This time, there was another hall and yet another hall, and we would be able to watch it in its entirety, making this one of the lengthiest and a continuous Darbar — an epic and historic one.

But, hold on.

What’s this?

Once again, all of a sudden, the screens lit up to show a flurry of unusual activity and leadership rushing about in a fluster.

What was happening?

Jamati members swivelled their heads from the screens to look at each other, bewildered: What was going on?

Mawla, dressed down only in his white Sherwani seemed to be leaving the lounge. Wait!

Was he not going to Hall 2 and 3? Had something happened that needed him to depart abruptly?

But why was he beaming then?

Why was a car, which wasn’t his flag-endorsed green Audi, pulling up to him?

This and much more will be revealed in the next part of this narrative.

July 24, 2018.


PART 2 - Conclusion

So, here is Mawla, dressed down in his white Sherwani. A car has pulled up to him. Our hearts in our mouths, terrified at the prospect of him leaving.

To our utter relief, out stepped someone familiar though, in our cloud of confusion, it took a few minutes of murmuring within the Jamat to confirm the visitor’s identity — His Excellency Professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the President of Portugal — had come to pay Mawlana Hazar Imam a surprise visit!

Mawlana Hazar Imam receives President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa upon his arrival to the Darbar hall in Lisbon. Photo: The Ismaili/Vazir Karsan.

Again, I was dimly aware of the Alwaezin requesting the Jamat to stay seated because Mawla would be bringing his guest back into the hall. At this point, that sounded like malarkey; just something the Alwaezin would say to keep the Jamat sequestered in Hall 1 and prevent the congregation from dispersing.

We watched, with piqued interest, as Mawla embraced the President warmly and introduced him to the Leadership as well as the Noorani Family, who had conspicuously divested their ceremonial jubas. Mawla led the President towards the lounge, at which point the President made as if to take off his shoes but was quickly dissuaded from doing so by Mawla. The screens faded to the DJ logo again and we were again instructed to sit in contemplative silence, which was something of a challenge given the excitement and palpable confusion. I can’t imagine what the Jamats in Halls 2 and 3 were experiencing — perhaps trepidation? Had they too been brought up to speed? Had they been told that Hazar Imam would be making an unplanned return to Hall 1

Mawlana Hazar Imam introduces President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to the members of the Ismaili Leaders International Forum. Photo: The Ismaili/Nayyir Damani

Just as the bumbling mix-match emotions and thoughts were beginning to take shape, the screens came alive to show Mawlana Hazar Imam, in his full regalia, escorting the President of Portugal, whose shoes were noticeably missing, from the lounge. Simultaneously, the doors of Hall 1 swung open and it was then that the truth registered and the fantastical dawned upon us. Mawla was actually returning to Hall 1!

That has never happened in the 30 years of my existence. Mawla was bringing with him a non-Ismaili into the Darbar Hall! Again, never in my 30 years have I seen that (though I later came to learn he brought the Honourable Njoroge Mungai into one in Nairobi in the early 80’s and, in Pakistan, President Bhutto was present at a mulaqat, together with many non-Ismaili dignitaries in Chitral).

My astonishment quickly evaporated into unbridled, quintessential euphoria. Hazar Imam was granting us another audience! Together with the Noorani Family again! Together with the President of Portugal! Unbelievable! What had we done to have the heavens open up and grant us such a unique and invaluable boon? Yet again, Hazar Imam fulfilled a whimsical wish many had nurtured in their hearts — that, once, just once, he chooses to return to his Jamat instead of departing. Alhamdulillah!

The salwats picked up fervour, indeed in the presence of a non-Ismaili. Not a single murid balked at this because Hazar Imam himself had invited the President inside. How many analyses can be drawn from this gesture? Mawlana Hazar Imam bridged the secular with the spiritual with this one magnanimous gesture. He made it obvious that he wanted the President to know who he is and what the Darbar entailed. And I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I described his appearance now as ‘majestic’. Incredibly majestic. Swelled with pride and glory. Mashallah!

As he had done before, he did so again — walking along the red carpet throughout the hall – with the President of Portugal at his side, both acknowledging jamati members. The procession made its way to the stage and Mawlana Hazar Imam gestured to the President to take a seat. Because I was sitting at the side of the stage, it appeared as though the Imam was offering the President his own takht. I’m pretty sure my mouth was hanging open until the screen closest to me displayed that, in fact, there was an extra chair on stage now — the work of quick-footed volunteers, no doubt.

Once the Noorani Family had taken their seats, the President of the Council of Portugal claimed the mic to profess: “On behalf of all the Jamat that is present here, I welcome his Excellency the President of the Republic of Portugal, Professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, to this Darbar.”

And the Imam clapped. The Noorani Family clapped. So how could the Jamat not clap? As mentioned in Part 1, though the Alwaezin cautioned the Jamat not to engage in applause, applause became very much part of this Darbar. As it should be. Happiness and love should never be restricted in expression. The Jamat applauded most heartily, using this opportunity to convey their immense thrill to have the Imam in their midst again as well as his guest as well as his family.

The chit of paper, which had been discreetly placed in the Imam’s hand when he sat down, was now unfolded as Mawlana Hazar Imam came to the mic — for the third time! With glee iridescent on his countenance, he opened with: “this was an unexpected blessing” which earned a roar of laughter and thunderous applause that faded into a ripple of amusement once he thanked the President for sharing his time with us and wore his glasses, confessing: “I’m reading now.”

He repeated his speech of earlier that morning, about having signed the Instrument designating the Diwan of the Ismaili Imamat, here in Lisbon.

More applause.

He spoke about strengthening the institutions to better serve the needs of the Jamat and thanked the government and people of Portugal for inviting him to establish the Seat here; committed to working together to enhance understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims and contribute to peace and stability around the world.

“We now have — Alhamdulillah — Portugal as our partner.”

The hall was ringing with ovation and Hazar Imam was positively beaming when he took his seat again.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Preident of Portugal at Darbar on 11 July 2018 medium
President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of Portugal addresses the Darbar gathering in Lisbon on July 11, 2018, in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam.

The President of Portugal was invited to address the congregation: “Few words, very much felt in this historical moment of the Diamond Jubilee of Your Highness and Spiritual Leader of this so meaningful Community and millions and millions spread across all continents. Portugal, home of peace and universal understanding congratulates Your Highness for the Jubilee and also for the constant contribution to peace, tolerance, dialogue, social commitment, plus building a better world.” Once again, applause blossomed in the halls, expressing pride at the laudatory remarks.

“Portugal, always a grateful nation, marks Your Highness’ choice to host the Seat of the Imamat Ismaili Mendoça; Your Highness’ support, among us and all over the world, to development, to justice, to the fight against poverty and inequality.”

More applause.

“Portugal welcomes, with open arms, those who arrive, greets the dear thousands of believers of the Ismaili Community, including the 7000 Portuguese, that day after day, endlessly work with competence and social solidarity.”

Ringing applause.

“All of this, much in line with a verse of the Qu’ran, namely ‘Righteousness is not that you turn your faces to the east or the west, but is in one’s faithful God, the prophets and the book; despite love for it, righteousness is in giving wealth to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveller, those who ask for help.’” — Surah Al-Baqarah, if I’m not mistaken — “May all of you as well as all of us pay tribute to Your Highness and your family on this historic day and be welcome to Portugal.”

Deafening applause!

“I’m sure that Portugal will become your home forever.”

If it were at all permissible, this was a standing-ovation moment. Nonetheless, enthusiastic applause erupted throughout the hall, echoing the sincere sentiment.

The President of the Portuguese Aga Khan Council then announced: “Hazar Imam and the President of Portugal will now take your leave.”

But nor Hazar Imam neither the President wanted to leave! They looked at each other and this embarrassing moment (for the President of the Portuguese Council) dissolved into a comical contradiction and the Jamat looked on fondly at their quizzical expressions, putting their hands together for the Imam and the President of Portugal one last time.

It was obvious that they had been expecting some ceremonies to take place, but what to do? The President of the Council had already announced their departure. Mawlana Hazar Imam and Professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa started laughing and just before they descended, Mawla sidled up to the mic to quip: “I am missing instructions from my Mukhi.” Cue more laughter, which petered away as they came down the steps.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon bidding farewll to Portuguese president
Mawlana Hazar Imam bidding farewell to the President of Portugal.

The procession left the hall buoyed by salwats once more and, eventually, the coverage cut to Hazar Imam bidding the President of Portugal goodbye. Mawla retired to the lounge and the period of quiet contemplation resumed.

However, we were hardly able to indulge in any kind of quietude. Hall 1 was wide-eyed with jubilation, agog with astonishment and restless with need to discuss and dissect the momentous and monumental event that had just unfolded before our eyes.

Distant salwats broke the enchantment and we joined in as the screens filled with the view of Mawlana Hazar Imam and Noorani Family entering Hall 2, walking along the red carpet and taking their places on the identical stage there.

‘Dhan Dhan Aaj No’ was belted out in all sincerity and it really was a ‘het no melavado’ (gathering of love). Hazar Imam came to the mic, his own jubilation unconfined and his humour at its pinnacle in this hall:

“My beloved spiritual children are in front of me; my family are behind me,” he joked and his spiritual children and his family chuckled indulgently.

“I want my Jamat to know how happy I am, that on this occasion my family have been able to accompany me for this Mulaqat.”

How blessed we were to have them all seated in front of us and doubly blessed we were to bear witness to the Imam’s sublime joy.

“It is a source of great happiness for me; certain amount of humour; occasional questions” — cue chuckles all around “which you never experience. But it is a moment of great happiness for me to have my family with me, for this Mulaqat, with my Jamat.”

As the saying goes, the cup runneth over, with happiness, boundless happiness. The heart and the soul were in seventh heaven.

Hazar Imam moved on to speak about the future, telling us to ask ourselves: how to build the future; where to build the future; what are the foundations upon which to build a solid future.

“And I say to my Jamat who speak Urdu, Gujarati, Arabic, other languages – learn English. Be bilingual, trilingual, quadralingual…quintiwingual?” Hazar Imam wiggled his eyebrows mischievously and I could see Princess Zahra, by virtue of the angle of the camera, sharing in the laughter.

He reiterated the need to know more than one language, emphasizing the necessity of being able to read English and to speak in English, in order to have greater access to global knowledge.

“You don’t need to pretend you’re Shakespeare,” Imam mocked. “He’s long gone.” Imam waved his hands to emphasize this, to which the Jamat roared with laughter. He grinned widely and the camera panned to reveal the whole Noorani Family was unabashedly amused too.

Following this, Mawla spoke of serious issues such as coming together in our professional lives, mentioning jamati institutions, other associations, even informal collaborations, because “you’re stronger when you come together.”

He further advised the Jamat to prepare for the future, stating that the Jamat is currently living in a context whereby we can create small amounts of wealth for future generations. He directed this point to Jamat of Western nations: “Create small amounts of wealth to protect future generations in the years ahead. Just be careful. Live within your means. Set aside what you can and prepare for future generations. What I’m seeking from my Jamat is strength from generation to generation. Look past your generation to look to the second, to the fourth, to create capacity.”

Without taking a breath, Imam segued straight into ethics and spoke of integrity in our activities and the imperativeness of Best Practice.

Hazar Imam concluded this farman with: “I give to each and every one of you individually, and to your families, my warmest and my most best best loving blessings. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. I want you to know that my family behind me rejoices with you. So you should have a good time. You probably know that a Darbar is an occasion of fun, of humour, of dancing, of music. So go ahead.”

If it were at all permissible, we could have just leapt up and start dancing immediately. The effervescence of the Imam in this hall was just magical. And he wasn’t done with the Jamat yet. He still had a humorous anecdote to share:

“Many years ago, when I was much younger, I used to participate with the Jamat in these events in the evening. And there was a terrible dance called the stick dance. And if you weren’t careful, you’d get hit on the hand!”

The Jamat was in fits.

“So I say to my Jamat, beware of the stick dance.”

Hazar Imam was on a roll. Ever charming, ever suave.

Mawlana Hazar Imam stick dance dandhia medium
A rare photo of Mawlana Hazar Imam playing dandhia, the stick-dance, when he was young. Photo: Zafeera Kassam Archives.

He took his seat only to briefly consult with the Mukhi Saheb and reclaim the mic to joke: “Mukhi has given me geographic guidance.” Bursts of giggles punctuated every sentence here. “That is to go straight to the next hall. And I hope he will guide me there. If he gets lost, come and help me.”

Our attention rapt on the live-action feeds, we followed Hazar Imam and the Noorani Family retrace their way from the stage, along the runners, and out into the foyer where Mawla declined heading into the lounge and promptly entered the third hall. The procession moved through Hall 3 with equal adoration, bolstered through with fervent salwats until they came to the stage, again identical in form to the previous two.

Mawlana Hazar Imam walks through the Jamat at the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Lisbon, followed by the Mukhi and Kamadia Sahebs of the Libon Drakhana Jamatkhana, Prince Amyn, Princess Zahra, Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa, Prince Hussain, Prince Aly Muhammad, Miss Sara Boyden, and Master Iliyan Boyden. Photo: The Ismaili/Zafarani Mansurali.

I recognised the rendition of Goyum Ali but the Ginan sung in this hall is one of my favourites and I witnessed something I’ve never seen before. Hazar Imam was actually smiling, knowingly, at the outpouring of ‘je je maangu, te tuhi deve’. Indeed, Mawlana Hazar Imam is the fulfiller of all wishes and countless desires of the heart had been fulfilled during this monumental Darbar and, I’m confident, countless more would be. That is one of the invaluable boons of such an intimate Mulaqat with the Lord of Light, Age and Time. An even more invaluable boon was the dazzling sight of our beloved Imam so relaxed and cheerful. Words don’t converge to explain what it feels like to look upon this aspect of the Imam. He seemed most at ease in this hall and, in turn, our hearts were swirling, with contentment, as if Sufi dancers lost in this personal paradise.

He began this farman with blessings. First to individuals present, their families and Jamat and then for the eternal peace and rest of all the Ruhani members of the Jamat. He followed this up with blessings to those who served the Jamat — the volunteers — and he made it a point to say that he has great gratitude and respect for their wonderful work.

Hazar Imam reiterated the need to think of the future, to think beyond one generation, and addressing this point particularly to those with young children, he said: “Be careful. Protect them. Save. Put assets aside.” He stressed to the Jamat to “be thoughtful, be prudent, competent…and very competent.” Smiling, he continued by expressing his gratitude to the government of Portugal for all the kindnesses and courtesies extended, not only to his family, but to the whole of the Jamat.

Mawla, once again, imparted special blessings for mushkil aasan. “Whatever problems you may have, let them go away. I give special blessings. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. I give special blessings. For mushkil aasan,” he repeated and made his spiritual children giggle with affection when he flapped his hands, mimicking birds in flights, and joked, “away, away, away!”

Salwats escorted him back to the takht where he exchanged a few words with the Mukhisaheb before returning to the mic to say: “in many circumstances, the Jamat is extended amongst different halls so I had to ask Mukhi, is there anooother Hall?” Hazar Imam beamed as his Jamat laughed at this. It was quite the unusual circumstance. I don’t think such an arrangement has ever been done before, but that’s one of the facets that made this Darbar that much more special. Though people see it as a segregation of three, I see it as a triple opportunity. Seeing and hearing the Imam on live action feeds — being able to witness what was happening at the exact time it was happening — is what made this a three-in-one jewel in the crown of the Diamond Jubilee Year.

“Do I have the whole of my Jamat in front of me? And he said yes. So I give to each and every one of you individually, and to your families and to your Jamats, my best, best affectionate blessings. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. I also want to tell you how happy my family is to be with my Jamat. And how happy I am that they’ve accompanied me. So I give best blessings for happiness, for longevity, and mushkil aasan in whatever issues you may be facing. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. Khanavadan.”

And with that, some three hours after he had arrived for this historic Darbar, beloved and munificent Mawlana Hazar Imam and his Noorani Family departed from the Darbar, leaving us in a daze of mixed emotions — that of gratitude, of exhilaration, of spiritual invigoration intermingled with the nostalgic awareness that the moment we had all been looking forward to for months was now over. He had given us a plethora of gems to treasure, including a cherished Mulaqat with Himself and His Noorani Family as well as something special in every hall: a double-audience in Hall 1; his most endearing effervescence and humorous quips in Hall 2; the maximum amount of duas and blessings in Hall 3.

Additionally, this was the longest period of time spent with his Jamat, making this the most memorable deedar of our lives, making this the most outstanding and choicest blessing to receive. Subhanallah!

Like a loving parent, he declared the jubilation ongoing and left us to continue the Darbar into the evening with music and dance, Biryani and the dangerous Stick-Dance, weightless souls, singing hearts and unburdened feet, and a splendorous display of fireworks.


Fireworks conclude the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in Lisbon, Portugal.

What words, what actions, what can express
the hearts’, the souls’ the beings’ appreciation?
What can be said of the ineffability of our Imam,
of the way he opens his arms and we are spiritually
and wholly embraced in a cocoon we despise leaving;
of the way he ensures our happiness is paramount;
of all he has done to make this world a better place?
What calibre of thanks can we verbalise, or display, for decades
he has tirelessly, selflessly dedicated for ubiquitous upliftment?
And we have no gifts, no diamonds, no gems, no wealth,
no tangible or intangible thing of real, comparable value
to offer in return. So, humbly, we extend something small.
Ya Shah Karim, you choose to not rule over lands or people,
but, please, accept our hearts as a tiny piece of your kingdom.


July 25, 2018

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Memories of Lisbon

In the months and years to come, the Lisbon Diamond Jubilee Celebration of 2018 will become folklore in the modern history of the Ismailis. This whole Jubilee year has been a full-on celebration - something we haven't experienced before - and the run-up to this grand finale in Lisbon really is quite difficult to describe unless you were there - but here goes. Feel free to share this with those you think will enjoy it, and, if you do, make sure you forward as received. ;>

For those of us who had just had Darbar in London, we were still riding that wave. That Darbar itself was a magical experience. We all knew that Lisbon would be different, but no-one really knew quite what to expect. Ever since the opportunity to travel to Lisbon was presented, there had been much conjecture about how so many Ismailis could be catered for in one city and at one location. Many were changing summer holidays to give themselves the opportunity to go, and many had waited to book the first seats. Hotels were being sold out within days and planes were being chartered from Canada and the US. When it came to us, it just took my daughter to say - "How can we not go?" - school was out for Summer, and this was an opportunity of a lifetime.

We booked in March and July arrived in a blink of an eye. Right from the time we arrived at Heathrow for our flight, we would bump into Ismailis, Ismailis we knew, and those we didn’t, all on different legs of their journey to witness and experience the changing of the Seat of the Imamat. Some called it Didar tourism. I call it a modern-day pilgrimage.

Even Portuguese Passport Control wished us a "Diamond Jubilee Mubarak" and as we exited customs at Lisbon International Airport we were greeted warmly and somewhat unexpectedly by volunteers at our very own stand in arrivals, diamond jubilee colours to boot! And with that, the week began for us, and for many thousands of Ismailis who had come from all over the world. I think there were nationalities from all over the world. There was domination from the Canadians and Americans, but there were also many from Indian, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Africa and all over Europe. Wherever there are Ismailis, there was representation. This really was #onejamat.

We opted to stay in and amongst the steep narrow roads of the old town, paved with cobbled streets and, most importantly, with close access to the many bakeries selling Pasteis de Nata, Lisbon's legendary, deliciously sweet, custard tart. Many did spend time between seeing Lisbon and the surrounding area and Feira Internacional de Lisboa (FIL), the location of all of all the festivities, slightly outside of town. Others stayed within walking distance of the venue and took in the odd trip out of town. And some took the metro to Oriente every day, where there were also volunteers helping to buy tickets.

The days in the run-up to Darbar are a blur. There were exhibitions and activities for everyone, old and young alike. The entertainment program was world-class from the awesomely produced Jubilee Arts talent shows to concerts with the likes of Cheb Khalid, Salim Sulaiman and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan to Dandia Raas from our very own Khayal. There may have been excitement at these events, but the real conviviality surrounded being in and amongst Ismailis from all around the world, planned family reunions, unplanned meetings with old friends and making new friends. As we got closer to the 11th of July, more Ismailis arrived and more events were in the diary. Ismailis flocked around town to have a guided tour of the Ismaili Centre and also to get a peek at our new tourist hotspot, Hazar Imam's new palace. And I can't forget the exhibitions that were at the venue, including the updated Ray of Light exhibition, highlighting all the amazing work that Hazar Imam has achieved in His lifetime. I think it's fair to say that The Ismaili Village was a hive of activity - and I call it a village because it's as close as I'll get to understand what it's like to live amongst so many Ismailis in one place, and perhaps what it might have been like in some of the towns where our parents and grandparents came from.

There were waves of excitement and members of the Noorani family were rumoured to be visiting the venues - and they did - multiple times! Crowds gathered, videos were taken, and roaming charges went through the roof as those videos were shared on every Lisbon Ismaili WhatsApp group going. These were celebrity-esque moments that we hadn't quite experienced before. Seeing Prince Hussein and Prince Aly Muhammad walking through the main thoroughfare or seeing Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa at a concert you attend was one of many moments that took this week of celebration to another level. Hazar Imam was invited to a banquet by the President of Portugal where He was given state honours, as well as with the Prime Minister. And then there was that very small matter of Hazar Imam being asked to address the Portuguese Parliament that was broadcast and reported on by all the Portuguese channels.

I have a feeling that Lisbon wasn't quite sure what hit it. The adjacent mall, Vasco de Gama through which many walked through to get to the main venue was bombarded with Ismailis. Of course, the irony is that Vasco de Gama was a Portuguese explorer who discovered India, and, at times, this felt like Indians had discovered Vasco de Gama. The food court was packed at meal times with crowds queueing at the many restaurants. KFC even ran out of chicken at one point. And I'm sure the shops thought that their marketing was finally working. The queue for taxis at the end of evening events was regularly longer than 100 people deep - and Uber was at constant surge pricing. There were Ismailis everywhere: in town, at the best restaurants (Zubir Churrasqueira, anyone?) and nightspots - and at every tourist destination. You kind of knew they were Ismailis - first there was the sheepish look, followed by a smile, a check to see if you were wearing your registration band, followed by a Ya Ali Madad. You see, everyone who had registered was wearing a coloured band (green/yellow/red etc) which contained an electronic chip attached to it - which determined the events that you were booked in and which hall you would be sitting in. So, you had Ismailis wandering around Lisbon with 2018 version of the Ghat Pat Nu Dhoros.

Darbar day came and people planned their strategy to queue the least amount of time. Invariably with more than 35,000 Ismailis (was rumoured to be up to 60,000 before the event) in one venue (three halls), we all had to queue, and we all eventually got to our spots in relevant halls and watched a recording of the actual changing the Seat of the Imamat on the screens. The Intezar programme started and zoomed by and before we knew it Hazar Imam had arrived at the venue and was greeting the Leaders.

The Darbar was unprecedented and what happened next was something no one was really anticipating: firstly, Hazar Imam was joined by Prince Amin, Prince Aly Muhammad, Princess Zahra, Prince Rahim, Princess Salwa, Sara and Iliyan Boyden; secondly, we received what totalled three (+1) Darbars with Hazar Imam visiting all three halls; and finally - you will have heard this already - the President of Portugal joined the Darbar Hall with Hazar Imam.

I think I speak for many of us there, but after the first Darbar when we saw Hazar Imam on the screen looking as if He might be leaving, we weren't quite sure what was happening. And when we were told that Hazar Imam would be receiving a guest, we couldn't imagine who it might be. For a crazy second, I thought Barack Obama would be joining us. Yes, that was a crazy moment. But I don't think we could have been more ecstatic that it was the actual President of Portugal.

Bear in mind that we had had a darbar and when we saw the President arrive, and after a few moments, Hazar Iman returned to the same hall, this time with the President. I can't stress how astonished we all were, that a head of state was joining Hazar Imam in the hall. Both Hazar Imam and the President gave speeches - and I remember Hazar Imam joking, "I'm reading now," - because it was a speech and not a Firman. I think even Hazar Imam looked surprised that He was giving a speech, because He even said, "This was unexpected". Hazar Imam gave his vote of gratitude and then the President stepped up to speak. He gave his short but full speech in broken English and implied that we will never leave Portugal - i.e. that this is a permanent seat of the Imamat. That received loud applause and even Hazar Imam clapped.

You could tell that Hazar Imam was extremely happy, smiling for much of the time. He even said that He was immensely happy at this happy occasion. There were jokes aplenty, more so than I can ever remember in any Didar. We were also blessed to have had the longest Didar in modern times - at nearly two hours long. This really did feel like four (3+1) Darbars in one. In the three actual Darbars, qasidas and ginans were sung, juro and ab-e-safa were blessed - each time. We had thought beforehand that He wouldn’t be able to walk the full distance between all of the halls. Boy, were we wrong!

Hopefully, we will all get to hear the Firmans (again). My recollection is hazy, at least for the exact words, but I think the themes were as follows:

1. He said "May all your difficulties go away and stay away"
2. He referred to us all as "Dais", both those in the room and to those who we would spread His message to.
3. He talked of saving money for future generations, saving "pockets of wealth" so that each generation is better off than the one before it. He said this more than once.
4. He emphasised the importance of English if it is not your first language. He joked that you didn’t need to be Shakespeare - "He's long gone," while gesturing - which was an amusing moment for us all.
5. There was Dua ashish for the Ruhanis
6. Apply best practice in all that you do in your professional career
7. Work together, come together as a Jamat from different parts of the world, from different spheres. He said that we are stronger if we work together.

The moment that stood out as most amusing and memorable was when He told us that we should dance and be happy because that is what a Darbar is for. He then recounted that He used to partake in festivities when He was younger and talked of the "stick dance" and that if you were not careful you would hurt yourself. "Beware of the stick dance!" - which had the Jamat in fits of laughter.

The night ended with biriyani, sherbet, eating on the steps of the stadium followed by Raas. We missed the fireworks which looked amazing in the videos - but that ended our trip as we returned to London early the next morning. I still feel that I haven't been able to describe what this celebration was like. It was a mash-up of an Olympic Games where the Closing Ceremony was the main event, with A-list music concerts, reality TV, Disney-like excitement all packaged up with a quasi-coronation. But even that doesn't do it justice. What I do know is that this was a once in a lifetime experience. For those of you that made it, I hope this brings back fond memories. For those of you that didn't, I hope this gave a flavour of what it was all about. But above all, remember one thing, beware of the stick dance!
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


News of Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Portugal
Where jamat from all over the world were invited
Was intrigued and felt the notion of happiness
Rumours flying around unclear in meaning
Big crowd of murids from all over the world
Long line ups
4 halls at the venue in Portugal
Only one hall where there will be a stage
Hazar Imam will walk through the other halls
Am not comfortable with big crowds
Enthusiastically said to myself
Whatever, will go with the flow after all it is Mowlas Diamond Jubilee

Landed at Lisbon airport on 4th july
Felt the ambience of jubilee celebrations seeing all the ismailis
Weather in Portugal was hot with no humidity and the evenings were cool
Went to the venue next day
Cheerfully registration done in 15 mins given a band with yellow colour tied on the wrist
Venue was very big with the local train from mela 1 to 7, just took a ride for fun
All the exciting concerts, film festival, art festival
What a magical moment its going to be
Vasco de Gama mall was next to the venue
Ismailis all over and the password was Ya ali Madad and if it is an ismaili
Mowla ali madad will be reply
Interesting enough film festival took place at the mall Vasco de Gama in a movie theatre they were more than 100 films which were shown
Each film of 15 mins done by ismailis these were the chosen ones that were shown
Prince Aly Muhammad film was excellent
Amazingly enough Noorani family visited the mela few times we were all blessed
It was magical
Spent all the time at mela meeting different people all over the world
How amiable everyone was
Evening jamatkhana at the mela was always full with excellent recitation of
Dua, tashbi and ginan, the energy was so high and it felt coming together as one jamat
Finally the day came for Mowlas didar
A clear sky in the morning is an auspicious sign on the day of didar
Was in hall 3 and was surprised to see the stage and around 3 oclock
8 chairs were brought on the stage, with 4 on each side a big applause of clapping
The moment came, at 5 pm Hazar Imam arrived watching through the screen
Hazar Imam entered Hall 1 followed by Mukhi and Kamadia of Portugal
Followed by Noorani family in pairs
Prince amyn and princess Zahra, prince Rahim and princess Salwa, prince Husein and prince Aly Mohammad, princess Sara and prince Ilyhan
It was impeccable
To my surprise after didar in hall 1 hazar imam was outside talking to somebody
In black suit and the introduction to the nurani family felt so long was wondering
Whats happening and kept on praying and saying please mowla come to our hall
Surprisingly enough found out he was the president of Portugal
When hazar imam went to drop him off to his car
Hazar Imam looked dashing with white serwani
Remember him saying when he was 60 he felt young
At 80 he felt like 40 and during the jubilee deedar he did look 40 yrs
Hazar imam was 3 hrs at the venue which was charged with noorani vibes
Amazingly Hazar Imam was still jovial when came to our hall illuminating the hall with his noorani power, the moment to remember for life
each and every one was blessed with noorani didar and also the people
Who could not come became Dais.
Diamond Jubilee of Mowlana Shah Karim with pleasantness will prosperously
Flow in my life.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Hall 2
• Happy to be with family and hope Jamat will share in this happiness.
• Thanks to the Portugal govt for their friendship, welcome, warmth, generosity and kindness.
• As a result of the generosity, forward thinking of the govt of Portugal, I have decided to create a seat of the Imamat, here in Portugal. This will be a permeant presence in Portugal. It will work for the interest of the Jamat.
• It is my hope that we will be able to establish these relations with a large no. of governments around the world in the interest of the Jamats in the decades ahead.
• As we build for the future, the Jamat must think well ahead and must identify those countries where its long-term future is secured.
• As we look to the future, work together, build together, come together within the countries, across frontiers, create capacity, protect yourselves from risks. So that future generations of the Jamat are ensured of a quality of life, which you and I would wish for them.
• A Darbar by tradition is an event of happiness, of Joy. You will find joy, good relations amongst yourselves, new acquaintances from across frontiers and happiness through out the Jamat.
• I give blessings for Mushkil Asaan for yourselves, for families and any Jamat that is in difficulty. May those difficulties disappear, go away and stay away. Khanavadan
Presentation of gifts and mehmanis
• You have spoilt me. You have spoilt me, thoughtfully, generously, with great intelligence and wisdom knowing what would please me. And I express to you my warmest thank you. My warmth. Khanavadan
• You might think what is Hazar Imam going to do with these gifts. So, I will tell you.
• The works of Arts will belong to the Imamat but will go to the Agakhan Museum in Canada for exhibition and other museums around the world.
• The material Nazrana will be spent on the initiatives for the Jamats around the world so we can do the best we can to sustain the Jamats who need support. Khanavadan
• I am sure you all know the meaning of the word “Dai”. I want all of you this evening to
be my Dais to thank the Jamat for the gifts, their thoughts, on this most happy occasion.
• So, convey my blessing to my Jamat to your families and tell them I think of them as Dais. I think of them as Dais. Khanavadan.
(After the president comes in the hall with MHI)
• This was an UNEXPECTED blessing (Jamat clapps and laughs)
• On behalf of the Jamat, My family and Myself I want to thank His Excellency, the president for sharing this time with us.
• This morning I signed an instrument designating the seat of the Ismaili Imamat here in Lisbon. Which I have decided to name as the Dewan of the Ismaili Imamat. This is a historic step to further strengthen the capacities of the Imamat Institutions to better serve the Jamat’s needs.
• I express my gratitude to the Govt. and people of Portugal for inviting me to establish a seat here.
• The establishment of this seat provides that the Imamat and the Govt will continue to work together to enhance the understanding among Muslims and nonmuslims and contribute to peace and stability around the world.
• We now have Alhamdulillah, Portugal as our partner. (applause)
Hall 3
• Blessings for those present and far away families and jamats.
• My Spiritual Children are in front of Me, My Family are behind me.
• As you look to the future you ask yourselves. How to build your future? Where to build your future? What are the foundations on which you can build a solid future?
• And I say to My Jamat who speak Urdu, Gujarati, Arabic and other languages… Learn English.
• Be bilingual, trilingual, quadrilingual, quintilingual…(applause).
• So, wherever My Jamat is living, whatever profession you are in, you are able to access global knowledge.
• You don’t need to pretend you are a Shakespeare. He is long gone. Simply learn to communicate in English and to read in English.
• So, I say to My spiritual children, if you can come together in your professions, or your businesses, or your activities, whatever they may be, seek to come together to build better strength, more stable strength into the future.
• The second point I wish to make to My spiritual children is to prepare for the future. Who are living in the western world if you can, create small amount to protect future generations in the years ahead.
• Just be careful. Live within your means. Set aside what you can and prepare for future generations. What I am seeking from My Jamat is strength from generation to generation. You look past your own generation, to move to the second, to the fourth, to the third generation to create capacity.
• The next issue is what we call the “Best Practice” in whatever you do. In your professional lives, in your business lives, best practice should be your goal. Because that is the foundation on which you can build capacity over a no of years and inshallah pass that capacity to future generations.
• Blessings. Khanavadan.
• Darbar is an occasion of fun, of humour, of dancing, of music. Make the evening Happy Darbar through out the Jamat.
• There was a terrible dance called the stick dance. And if you weren’t careful you got hit by your hand every time. Be aware of the stick dance. (applause)
• Best blessings. Khanavadan
Hall 4
• Blessings for Jamat present, special blessings for peace and rest of all Ruhani members, Volunteers. Khanavadan.
• If you look to the future, what I am concerned about is that you build for it and that do not live as for one generation in the family is simply that generation that must care for its future.
• So, I say to My spiritual children today particularly if you have young ones, be careful, protect them, save for them, put assets aside. So, that from one generation to the other, the quality of life of each family makes progress. This is what I wish for My Jamat that you be thoughtful, prudent, competent and very competent. Khanavadan
• Thanked the govt and authorities.
• Blessings for Mushkil Asaan for whatever problems and issues you may have, let them go away away away away…. Khanavadan
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lifetime commitment to improving Quality of Life for all
- July 18, 2018
Reflection on the Diamond Jubilee Celebration in Lisbon, Portugal.

Gulabuddin Sukhanwar

I boarded an early morning flight Saturday 13th July from Lisbon to Oslo. As soon as the aircraft departed, a young child beside me got my attention while speaking in Norwegian to his mother. Mamma hvorfor reiser vi tilbake? Det var hyggelig å være her, mye sol og…Mamma, why are we travelling back? It was nice to be here with more sun and …, I looked at the little boy and told his mum that he was quite right because Portugal also offered me an amazing experience and everlasting memories.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Received...

Miracle of Mowla - London, 2018

She was euphoric when it was announced that two students from her class would have the chance to attend the opening ceremony of The Aga Khan Centre, Kingston, London.

She quickly wrote her name down and slipped the chit into the ballot box. Crossing her fingers tightly, she prayed that her name would be one of the chosen.

The first name was announced. It wasn’t her name. She held her breath. There was still hope. And then, that bubble of hope was shattered. At the same time, she was happy for her classmates who were so fortunate to be able to attend such a monumental event, in the presence of Hazar Imam. So whilst she wore a smile, her heart was broken. What bad luck! ‘Ya Ali Bapa, I really wanted it to be me,’ she confessed in silence.

When she called her mother in Karachi, her mother commiserated with her and tried to alleviate her daughter’s pain with placatives. But she remained devastated. The chance to be in the physical presence of her beloved Ya Ali Bapa had come so close within reach, but had slipped out of her grasp in the blink of an eye. What shortcoming of hers could have led to this misfortune? She cried for days and days, her heart a veritable mass of emotions, but her face bearing a brave smile so as not to bring her friends down.

And then the day arrived – 26th June 2018 – when Ya Ali Bapa would be opening The Aga Khan Centre in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Wales. Whilst her two fortunate classmates were bustling about and getting ready to be part of this momentous occasion, she and the rest of her not-so-fortunate classmates decided to at least stand outside the Centre and see Hazar Imam when He arrived at the venue. Even that was no ordinary event.

They found that the whole area was packed, with ismailis and non-ismailis alike. It seemed everybody had the same idea! But again there was disappointment in store for them. These IIS students had arrived just a few minutes late! Hazar Imam had already arrived at the Centre at 12 30pm, much earlier than anticipated. But it was just a matter of minutes!

However, they found themselves appeased by the prospect of the arrival of Prince Charles, for surely Hazar Imam would come outside to receive the Prince. They waited patiently as the minutes ticked by, nurturing this hope to see Hazar Imam in the cradle of their hearts. Sure enough, at around 1 35pm, the doors of the heavens opened: Mawlana Hazar Imam came out of the Centre smiling broadly and waving at the individuals gathered on the opposite side. In their excitement, the students shouted with joy, jubilant at this blessing – Ya Ali Bapa was just across the road, smiling at them, waving at them! Oh my God!!!

And luck was definitely on everyone’s side that day because Prince Charles was running late. That meant Hazar Imam was waiting outside for over ten minutes. This wasn’t just a brief, passing glimpse. This was an opportunity to see Him for over ten-fifteen minutes! The students of IIS stopped cursing their luck for missing out on the chance to go inside because they indeed had the first glimpse of Ya Ali Bapa, for so long a period!

Finally, Prince Charles arrived. Someone shouted something impertinent about tea and biscuits. Prince Charles turned around to acknowledge the bystander with a pointed finger. Hazar Imam looked on, amused. And then the unimaginable happened!
She could not believe her eyes. Prince Charles and Ya Ali Bapa were walking towards them! Her heart leapt into her mouth. Stunned though she was, she hustled her way forward with the crowd and in all that furore, clamour and excitement, an oasis of ethereal ecstasy: Ya Ali Bapa was suddenly holding her hand, tightly.

It was an almost out of body experience! She heard Prince Charles remark to Hazar Imam, “this is your community - so loving, so caring” and Ya Ali Bapa replied: “these are my kids.”

Words fail to describe how the heart expanded with immeasurable happiness that couldn’t be contained. Tears rolled down her cheeks as a voice sang from her soul thanking Ya Ali Bapa for this once-in-lifetime chance. She wasn’t chosen to go inside but Ya Ali Bapa chose to come to her instead and SHOOK HER HAND!

What a miracle!!
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

New post
Posted: 28 Aug 2018 01:03 am Post subject: Testimony - Ashish Merchant-President Ismaili Council India R

During the Diamond Jubilee Deedar in India, Ashish Merchant President of Ismaili community Council for India shares 3 of the Big lessons (of many), he says he has learned from Hazar Imam (read full text below).

1. Best Practice - is Not a strategy says Hazar Imam. Best Practice is living by the ethics of our faith & doing what Hazar Imam has said in Firmans & sharing them as Hazar Imam says

2. Anticipating thinking - which Presidents and our councils must predict and pre empt based on Firmans for benefit of the Jamat

3. Build Stronger Institution of the Jamat, for the Benefit of the Jamat and to serve future our generations and grand children.

He says , Hazar Imam says Best Practice is not a strategy , but the ethics of Leadership.

“So I say to the leaders of the Jamat who are here this evening that my wish for the decades ahead is you must stand firmly by the principles and the ethics of our faith, wherever you are, whatever age you are, and whatever you are doing in your life, it is essentially important to me that the ethics of our faith must be respected every day of your lives. This is my hope and this is my prayer” December 2016”

Long term anticipatory thinking - Hazar Imam says predicting, anticipating and pre emptiness are critical

TO HAZAR IMAM :You've spoken of how important it is to pre-empt** disaster rather than to react to it. And, of course, if you pre-empt it, it's very difficult to measure what you've avoided.

Hazar Imam That's absolutely correct, that's absolutely correct.&#8232;
What you can do is you can look at an individual situation, and you can predict hypothetically what might happen.

But there's no proof it would have happened if you don't intervene.

The only thing you can do is you can say you've consolidated a given part of the world so that given part of the world is no longer a high risk area. And thank God in our globe there are areas of high risk which we know about which we can identify, and we need to go and look at them and work in them.

There are other areas which don't need this sort of support. They're extremely wealthy, they don't have any major material problems. But there's such diversity of difficulty,

GOVERNANCE is a real issue in many cases.

** pre-empt means - take action to prevent an anticipated event or disaster happening.

More at

So are now all the Ismaili Councils and Presidents including Ashish Merchant doing what Hazar Imam has said and asked them to do. What are all the other lessons and guidances President says but has not shared ! He and DJI are still blocking Firmans and the full constitution from the Jamat.



President, His Highness the Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili community Council for India

President Ashish Merchant of the Aga Khan Council for India is seen at left as Mawlana Hazar Imam is welcomed to Mumbai by the Mukhi, Mukhiani, Kamadia and Kamadiani of the Darkhana Jamatkhana. Photo: AKDN/Aziz Ajaney.

After the glorious Diamond Jubilee Padhramni to India, I have often been asked what Hazar Imam’s guidance was. Those ten days [February 20 – March 1, 2018] were magical and there is so much to share and learn from.

The most memorable takeaways happened from personal experience. And many experiences resulted from personal naivety that our generous spiritual father affectionately responded to with love and support.

So, in my limited capacity, I will try to express my understanding of 3 big lessons I learned, through personal stories:

- [ ] The ethic of best practice
- [ ] The idea of long-term anticipatory thinking
- [ ] The importance of working with and strengthening institutions


The first story happened in Ahmedabad.

I had the privilege of accompanying Hazar Imam in his car to the venue of our first Jamati work in Gujarat. Hazar Imam was keenly looking at the constructed facility at the Gujarat University Convention Centre complex, the hundreds of police personnel deployed on the roads and the uniformed volunteers helping guide the Jamat with assertiveness and empathy as our car slowly navigated through the complex.

Hazar Imam asked me to explain what we had done. Naïvely, I responded by describing the location, the construction techniques used, the financial savings experienced by using rentals vs. buying and by giving a short history of the contractor and volunteers. Playfully, Hazar Imam invited me to compare this current effort with those of the past when we used bamboo and cloth mandaps.

I laughingly told Hazar Imam that I don’t think our Jamat would have tolerated it, if institutions hadn’t given them a good built environment experience for the mulaqat, even in a temporary context. Hazar Imam nodded in approval and reinforced that the built environment, albeit temporary, was an important signal to our Jamat on the notion of best practice. And just as our institutions had made a choice to deploy quality resources and efforts for a superior mulaqat experience, so should the India Jamat strive for best practice in all we do – in maintaining our health, in planning the quality of life for our families, in making choices about the education institutions we choose to attend, and in our conduct at our professions and trade. Best Practice in other words Hazar Imam explained is not a business strategy, but a personal ethic. And this ethic would directly impact how the Jamat and our AKDN institutions would be perceived and treated in India.


My second story is from Hyderabad.

Hazar Imam learned about many young children preparing for examinations. And about how the marks they score impacts the colleges and universities they access. Hazar Imam asked me about the students and what he expects the students to do after their examinations. I went on to describe the profile and ambition of the students of the Aga Khan hostel, the Aga Khan Academy and of the other students from Nagpur, Delhi, Yavatmal, Bengaluru and other such centres. I then again, naïvely remarked how perhaps the best and brightest would probably take off to the USA and Canada for higher studies.

Mawlana Hazar Imam meets with students during his visit to the Aga Khan Academy in Hyderabad, India, in April 2015. AKDN/ Ahmed Charania.

Hazar Imam sensed my unencouraging tone and went on to explain how of all the youth who go overseas for studies, many may stay back and get married and start a family. However, several of these will then Inshallah, return one day. And when they return, they would bring with them their high-quality education and professional ethics to be in the service of the Jamat. Hazar Imam used this example to explain the importance of long-term anticipatory thinking. While the departure of bright young minds was being viewed as a set-back today, it may actually turn out to be an investment for superior leadership in the future!

Hazar Imam invited the India Jamat to think in terms of multiple generations, in terms of safeguarding and growing wealth and assets, in terms choices of careers that we can differentiate on with our knowledge, competence and ethics and to be optimistic in our attitude. In other words, to be prepared to make some hard choices today in anticipation of a superior outcome tomorrow.

Choices always have trade-offs. Hazar Imam encouraged us to think through those trade-offs for the long-term. For example, Hazar Imam explained how some parents had been courageous to let their children be resident at the Aga Khan hostel or at the Aga Khan Academy. Of course they must have been uncomfortable letting their children go and live away from them. But they made the choice to undertake this personal discomfort for long-term benefits of access to quality residential life programmes and quality education provision. And Inshallah, the children will as a result emerge with superior independent thinking and interpersonal skills of a residential life programme and of emerging stronger from receiving a quality education provision. And these positives are worth the trade-off of living away from the family.

So, my lesson from that Hyderabad experience was to always think of the long-term before making decisions in the short term.


My third story is based in New Delhi.

We were witnessing the historic opening of Sunder Nursery. I was naïve again and asked Hazar Imam about the rationale of investing resources on a public park.

Hazar Imam lovingly explained the notion of strengthening institutions especially those that can help with civil society. Most people don’t consider a public park as an instrument to improve quality of life. However, when such a national asset is ready, it becomes a powerful force in the service of a city and a country.

Mawlana Hazar Imam with Honourable Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu light the lamp to mark the inauguration of Sunder Nursery. Photo: Shamsh Maredia via the Ismaili.

The Humayun’s Tomb-Sunder Nursery-Nizamuddin Basti project is not only an economic asset that draws tourists and livelihoods but also an important catalyst for civil society as well as a tool for the health of the citizens of New Delhi. It also offers a physical space for civil society to potentially bloom and flourish. And to do all of this, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the Aga Khan Foundation and the associated institutions would need to be even stronger than they have been in the past to go beyond just the single project in Delhi to the second project in Hyderabad as well as to other projects in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

When I comprehended those profound remarks, the Delhi project transformed in my mind as an amazing example of the combination of all 3 lessons – the notion of long-term anticipatory thinking, the commitment to best practice at all times, despite the temptation to cut corners for speed, as well as in ensuring that through all our efforts, institutions emerged stronger.

I convey Jubilee Mubarak to each one of you! And may you enjoy success in incorporating these three values in your own families and lives.
Date posted: August 22, 2018. ( Barakah & from Ismaili)

By President Ashish Merchant originally appeared in The Ismaili India under the title “From the President’s Desk.” It has been slightly edited, and is published here with his kind permission. His enlightening and informative piece is relevant to the Jamats worldwide as it is to the Jamat in India, and we sincerely hope readers will share it with their family members and friends around the world – Ed.]

In this piece Ashish Merchant, the President of the National Council for India, through 3 takeaway stories from precious personal moments with Mawlana Hazar Imam, gives us a new definition for BEST PRACTICES, an overused cliche applied in business practices. Barakah sincerely hopes that the piece will be read and circulated widely, especially among the youth. Please click India’s Aga Khan Council President shares 3 personal stories and lessons he learned from gracious moments with Mawlana Hazar Imam during Diamond Jubilee visit.

Thank you
Malik Merchant
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya Ali Madad:
In the post MHI has used the word Anticipated Thinking.for leaders.
It means they are yet blessed with the baatin intrepation of MHI farmans.
They still have to analyze with zahiri data and own thinking.
If MHI said BE MY DAI'S to world jamat from 11 July 2018 onwards.
What is the anticipated thinking of the leaders of that.???
Is it after 45 days gone they would have concluded those words were just symbolic,feel good and cosmetic in nature and nothing at all to apprise the world jamat on it.DUMP IT FOR GOOD.????
Till how long Jamat will be deprived of the true essesnce of MHI farmans.?
Still till today word faith is translated as dharam ( religion ) and not at IMAAN
in Gujrati.better would be' Imaan thi mazboot pranalika.'
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


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Ya Ali Madad

Hope you are well. Below is the story that i would like to narrate from
the portugal darbar which many may not have heard of and can be shared
across platforms.

So it has been a while since i wanted to share this with the wider jamat
because this incident will remain with me for the rest of my life.

So as you know there were 3 halls and i was in the first hall and with
mawlas blessing i was sitting on the right side of the stage in second row.
For people that were in the first hall would be also be aware that Imam's
entrance/exit was on right side of the stage and right side was also the
side where tilawat, qasida etc and various kriyas were taking place.

The first walk which imam made was a slightly long walk and Imam climbed
the stairs to the stage from the front side. All the kriyas were done and
Imam left the first hall but this time took a short walk by basically
getting off the steps and turning right towards the exit/entry point.

It also came to all of us as a big surprise when we were told that the
Imam is coming back. So when Imam entered the hall again (this time with
Portugal's president) he followed the same path which he took to exit the
hall above.

There was a little kid in the same row that i was seated in - the little
kid and his family were in the corner of the row near the red carpet. And
as we all know that the kids are excited and they stand to watch the Imam.
So as Imam was walking towards the stage and came across our row - Imam
touched the head of the little kid in a playful manner and kept walking.

Darbar itself was a joyous occasion for all of us but this particular
incident left me speechless as Imam's was very happy and was in a very
jolly mood.

So this is my story which i witnessed it and thought not many would know
about this as it was not shown on the big screen nor is in the official

Thanks and Ya ali Madad
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