A Tribute to Mawlana Hazar Imam for Creating “Centres” of Soul at Wynford Drive in Toronto

On October 10, 2010, Bashir Fazal Ladha of the United Kingdom, during his visit to Toronto, went to Wynford Drive to see how the construction work of the Ismaili Centre, the Aga Khan Museum and their Park was coming along. He writes: “It was a thrilling moment and I was full of excitement when I saw the progress, and in a moment of inspiration I composed a poem which I have decided to share with readers of Simerg.” The opening of the museum to the public on September 18, 2014 was announced recently and we take the privilege to repost this beautiful and inspiring poem for all our readers.

Writing the History of Tomorrow

Please click to enlarge

A photo of the site captured on October 10, 2010 by Jim Bowie - the day Bashir Ladha visited the area and was thus inspired to write the poem. Photo: Jim Bowie

A photo of the site captured on October 10, 2010 – the day Bashir Ladha visited the area and was thus inspired to write the poem. Photo: Jim Bowie. Copyright.

BY BASHIR LADHA

A look down deep in the bowls of the earth
“A foundation being laid, a foundation of a building?” I ask
Not only, it is a foundation of a history to unfold…..

I bow my head in submission to
The Lord of  Time and Age
Yes the Lord of Time and Age
For indeed you are beyond time and space

The planets rotate in their orbits
Glorifying your majestic presence
In those momentous moments,
time and history are created

Not the history as in past,
but the unfolding of tomorrow

Lord you create  a new history brick by brick
As the form takes place…
The Majesty of your
awe-inspiring Light is Manifested

Stage by stage, the inner world is recreated
The plaster of your mercy,
the warmth of your love

All adorn the formless and
the formed building you built

You call these “centres”
Indeed these are “centres” of soul
where your name is mentioned

The light shines forth from its windows
Inviting the convenienced  and the stray
Inviting both to a new history of tomorrow
and recreating the event of
alastu*
Inviting to the life of paradise

Museum where the past will be enlivened
Prayer hall where the soul will be enriched
Park where the future will be contemplated
All this, a gift to humanity

Then why, Ya Mawla why do I neglect
Why do I remain unheeded
remaining a slave to my ego?

Teach me O Lord to submit,
to worship as if I see you

And if I do not see you,
to know that you see all

Wynford Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I walk with you to a future
A history of tomorrow
Blessed by the Lord of Time and Age

I walk in hope and faith
for a better world ahead
.

* The day of the Primordial Covenant or the Day of Alastu is when God addressed the people and said, “Am I not your Lord?”  (alastu bi Rabbikum). It was the day when hearts were given spiritual nourishment.

© Simerg.com

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About the writer: Bashir Ladha has served Ismaili Institutions for the past forty years as an Alwaez, teacher and writer. He has been with the Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board for the United Kingdom since 1983.

The Intellectual Tradition of Shia Ismaili Islam by Nadim Pabani

FATIMID APPROACHES TO KNOWLEDGE

Within the Islamic tradition, the pursuit of knowledge, the patronage of learning, the promotion of education, and the desire to seek out the truth in all its multifaceted forms was prevalent from the very earliest times. Within this milieu, the Shia Ismaili community of the Fatimid times excelled and achieved a level of literary output far beyond their relatively small size and minority status. According to Heinz Halm, the Fatimid period was “one of the most brilliant periods of Islamic history, both politically and in terms of its literary, economic, artistic, and scientific achievements.”

Please click on image to read article

Please click on image to read article

For the Ismailis, knowledge was not merely ancillary to their tradition but at the very heart of it — to the extent that their entire religio-political mission (the da’wa) revolved around the idea of knowledge as the single most important factor in their journey towards the knowledge of God in his absolute oneness (Tawhid). This paper explores the Fatimid approach to knowledge and demonstrates the courageous approach which the Ismaili thinkers like Abu Yaʿqub al-Sijistani took towards the new knowledge which was being encountered from Greek and Hellenistic traditions….Read more

A Collection of Inspiring Stories, Readings and Photo Essays of the Ismailis of Tajikistan

EVERY LINK ON THIS PAGE IS WORTH A CLICK

His Highness the Aga Khan's First Historic Visit to Badakhshan

His Highness the Aga Khan’s First Historic Visit to Badakhshan

“Shukr Mawlo, Shukr Mawlo” – When Hope is All You Have Left, a Story for Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Salgirah by Gulnor Saratbekova (Uruguay/Tajikistan)

Literary Reading: The Mystery of the Missing Mount Nasir Khushraw

Olivier Galibert: Ismaili Portraits from Tajikistan by Olivier Galibert (France)

Voices: A Western Correspondent’s Account of the Aga Khan’s Historic First Visit to His Followers in Gorno-Badakhshan

Photo  Gallery: Ismaili Portraits From Tajikistan (I) by A. M. Rajput, UK

Literary Reading: Shi’a Ismaili Tradition in Central Asia – Evolution, Continuities and Changes

“Ba Shokouh” – The Magnificent Ismaili Centre in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Matthieu Paley: Journey to the Roof of the World (Portraits of Ismailis)

 

Ideas of One Humanity in World Religions: Comparative Study of Ginan “Hum dil Khalak Allah Sohi Vase” by Shiraz Pradhan, With a Recitation

Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul….” – Holy Qur’an, 4:1

Instability is infectious, but so is hope. And that it is why it is so important for us to carry the torch of hope as we seek to share the gift of pluralism….Profound expressions about our common humanity are embedded in the world’s great religious traditions, including my own…” — His Highness the Aga Khan, Lisbon, June 12, 2014.

Credit: Istockphoto.com. Please click on image for "One Humanity"

Image Credit: Istockphoto.com. Copyright. Please click on image for “One Humanity”

PLEASE CLICK: Ideas of One Humanity, Love and Peace in World Religions: Comparative Study of Ginan “Hum dil Khalak Allah Sohi Vase” with a Hindu Bhajan

Toral Pradhan Expands and Publishes Fascinating Ismaili History Article as Dual English-Gujarati Booklet

One of the most popular history articles ever published on this bog has been expanded, revised and published as a 40 page dual-language booklet by its author, Toral Pradhan. The article which was first published in October 2013 (please click A Brief History of the Khoja Ismaili Community in Daman, India, from the Portuguese Period to the Present), was highly acclaimed by our readers, who submitted more than 30 comments.
History of Khoja Community in Daman by Toral Pradhan English CoverPradhan passionately set out to explore the history of the origins of the Daman Khoja Ismaili Jamat in order to pay her respects and tribute to the jamat as well as to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the opening of the jamatkhana in Daman in March 2014. She obtained the information for her lively small booklet from primary sources which included visits to the local archives in and around Daman. The town was formerly ruled by the Portuguese, before India took it over in 1961. The fusion of the two cultures and its impact on the small Ismaili community in Daman is strongly emphasized in the book, which includes dozens of small historical illustrations including a center fold of colourful photos of gowns and headgear.

The style and format of Pradhan’s book is like many publications in Canada where books are published in dual languages, English in the first half and French forming the other half (see the two images of the book on this post, which are the front and back of the book).

The benefit of Pradhan’s dual language book is that it can be shared among families with Gujarati and English readers.  The 40 page booklet is about 6.5″ x 4.5″ in size.

History of Khoja Community in Daman by Toral Pradhan Gujarati Cover

“Daman Khoja Samaj No Itihas”
(transliteration)

Simerg will be making this book available in the near future if there is a sufficient demand for it in North America. The cost including shipping to any North American address will be around US$6.00 – $7.00.

We invite readers interested in acquiring this booklet to send an email to Simerg@aol.com, Subject: Booklet – History of the Daman Jamat. No payment is required at this time. We will advise you when the book reaches us in Canada, and send you an invoice if you are still interested.

To the Memory of Roshan Thomas and Zeenab Kassam

The Energy of Roshan and Zeenab

The deaths of Roshan and Zeenab in Kabul at the hand of terrorists have touched the hearts of thousands around the world.

The deaths of Roshan and Zeenab in Kabul at the hand of terrorists on the eve of Navroz have touched the hearts of thousands in Afghanistan, Canada and all around the world.

By Navyn Naran

how were you born?

who is your mother?
whose child are you?
who bears a child?
a woman.

we, are all children.
children of the One,
“Who begets not , nor is He begotten
and there is none like unto Him”
so speaks the faith.

It is about the children,
our children,
each child, one child, any child
all the children

you, were a child
and are still;
a body, with a Spirit Breathed into you,
and your ‘child becomes the Man’

on a new moment and new day,
The Movement stirs,
is it the Wind of the Universe
pushing forward Time?
Giving Life and Taking Life Away

a woman bears a child
The Blessing comes to her,
and she, is the mother.
a teacher, teaches children
inculcates knowledge
to respect
and understand Allah’s Creation
spiritual and physical.
Why?
so that “we may leave this world
a better place than the way
we find it”
does not the Qur’an says:
“and whoseover takes a life,
it is as if he has destroyed all humanity”?

and the Prophet (s.a.s) has said;
“And Paradise lies
at the foot of the Mother”
then what is it you are
trying to achieve?

A Child. A Spark
of the Almighty’s Hand
Lo!
“an oil, neither of the east , nor of the west,
whose Light glows forth, though no fire touched it.”
Who?
Allah!
“Light upon light” the Noor says.

Roshan was light, Zeenab, a flowering plant

the mothers of children of the world
“she was more than a mother”
“her body may have died but the values
will only be stronger”
mother of her own children
mothers of belief and tenacity
mothers of courage and love..

as water flows, a child grows
plants reach high, lit from Greater than the sky..
what will you teach them, these children?
what will you share with them, the values?
how will you train them, the principles?

Rahim, Rishma, Karim, Sameera,
Karim-Aly and family,
children

know this:
E=MC2
“the energy of the Universe is in one mustard seed”…
the Energy of Roshan and Zeenab
is now faster than the speed of light

Squared

Revised: Saturday, April 5, 2014.

Copyright: Navyn Naran

______________

Author’s note: This poem in written to the Taliban in the context that each of them was born to and through a mother. Each was a child in time, and still is their mother’s child. The poem is best acted out and the various stanzas are to be read by children and adult children of different ages…this should invoke a feeling of an individual’s journey in time and a realization that killing one human is as if “one destroyed entire humanity,” including oneself. This, the taliban are doing. The energy they believe they want to overthrow, through the children they destroy, will be  transcended to a greater Force because it is Blessed through Allah.

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To read more about Roshan Thomas and Zeenab Kassam and the recent tragedy in Kabul, please visit http://ismailimail.wordpress.com, a definitive resource of news about the Ismaili community. We welcome your tribute to Roshan and Zeenab; please click Leave a comment or if you encounter a technical difficulty send your message to simerg@aol.com, subject: Roshan Thomas and Zeenab Kassam.

 

A First-Hand Account of the Migration of Tanzanian Ismailis to Canada by Sadru Meghji

 “FOR MY TANZANIAN JAMAT, DIVERSIFICATION, YES, YES, YES; EXODUS, NO, NO, NO” – His Highness the Aga Khan, Kenya, 1972.

Sadru Meghji originally of Kilosa, Tanzania, tells the story of his 1971 visit to the Canadian High Commission in Dar-es-Salaam and how he became involved in assisting the migration of Tanzanian Ismailis to Canada. Meghji says that this form of assistance has been part of his family tradition from the time of his grandfather in 1899. Sadru’s father, Vazier Rajabali Meghji Visram, also continued similar service to the Ismaili community and, in the photo below, is seen receiving a ring and blessings from His Highness the Aga Khan during the 49th Ismaili Imam’s takhtnashini (enthronement) visit to Dar-es-Salaam in 1957.  Please click on the following link or photo for Sadru Meghji’s informative “lost history” piece.

PLEASE CLICK: Rediscovering a Lost Piece of Ismaili History — First Steps in the Migration of Tanzanian Ismailis to Canada

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, blessing Vazier Rajabali Meghji Visram during his visit to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania (then Tanganiika) in October 1957. Phooto: Sadru Meghji Collection, Toronto.  Please click on photo for article.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, blessing Vazier Rajabali Meghji Visram during his visit to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania (then Tanganyika) in October 1957. Photo: Sadru Meghji Collection, Toronto. Please click on photo for article.

Ameer Kassam Janmohamed (1931-2014): Leader, Humanitarian and Man of Letters Passes Away in London, UK

REMEMBERING AN ISMAILI MAN OF LETTERS

Born in Kisumu, Kenya, to Rabhiabai and Kassam Janmohamed on June 6, 1931, Ameer Kassam Janmohamed was kind and generous and true to the responsibilities he had to his family and friends, his faith and the noble causes he undertook in public life from his youthful days. His long time service to the Rotarians was particularly significant.

Please click on Ameer Kassam Janmohamed (1931-2014) or photo for tribute.

Ameer Kassam Janmohamed (1931-2014), lived his life to the fullest. Please click on photo for tribute.

Ameer Kassam Janmohamed (1931-2014), lived his life to the fullest. Please click on photo for tribute.

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Ismaili Authors: Excerpt from M. H. Velshi’s “Conversation on Three Continents”

Toronto based Ismaili author, M..H. Velshi whose book excerpt can be read by clicking on the image or link below

Toronto based Ismaili author, M..H. Velshi whose book excerpt can be read by clicking on the image or link below

The year is 1936, and the setting for a serious dialogue between a brother and his sister is Mumbai’s famous Chawpati on Marine Drive – with the continent of Africa in the distant horizon, thousands of miles away….

“To Africa,” she said. 

She looked at his startled face and continued, “That’s your future. So many of my friends have gone and bought shops or farms, or found work on the railways…You know for many years our Imam, Mowlana Sultan Mohammed Shah, has been issuing firmans to us Ismailis to migrate to Africa. Now the Ismailis have built large jamatkhanas in Africa where people can pray and meet freely every day. You won’t be alone. When I heard one of his firmans…I knew it was a message meant for you. It’s your way out.”

PLEASE CLICK: “Conversations on Three Continents”

Please click on image for book excerpt.

Please click on image for book excerpt.

To acquire a Kindle version ($9.11) or a paperback copy ($11.66) at Amazon please click on Conversations on Three Continents.

 

Lessons from Ismaili History

LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER

Abdulmalik Merchant,  Publisher-Editor, Simerg. Click photo for profile.

Abdulmalik Merchant, Publisher-Editor, Simerg. Click photo for profile.

To mark Simerg’s 3rd anniversary, a special series “Thanking Ismaili Historical Figures” was launched  because I have felt that learning about outstanding Ismaili figures can help us to make better decisions as members or leaders of the community to which we belong, and instill in us greater sense of responsibility when dealing with community success stories, issues and challenges as well as personal disappointments and setbacks. Fourteen different individuals have contributed to the series so far and their thank you letters to numerous individuals covering 1400 years of history are a must read. Please click on 14 Inspirational Thank You Letters to Remarkable Ismaili Historical Figures and take your time to read each thank you letter over the next few days or weeks. I am sure you will be enlightened by these letters to Prince Amyn, Prince Sadruddin, Pir Sabzali, Ismaili philosophers and other historical figures.

Please click on image to download series "I Wish I'd Been There"

Please click on image to download series “I Wish I’d Been There”

In the same vein as “Thanking Ismaili Historical Figures”, Simerg had earlier presented a series called “I Wish I’d Been There” in which 31 writers from different backgrounds took an incident in Ismaili History and briefly described why they would have liked to have been a witness to an iconic moment of their choice.

From the historical period of Prophet Muhammad, Hazrat Ali and Imam Hussein to Imam Mahdi’s unveiling at Sijilmasa in today’s Morocco to the burning of the library in Alamut as well as the more recent history covering the periods of Tharia Topan and Ismail Gangji, this rich series deserves to be read. The 121 page PDF publication can be quickly downloaded by clicking on I Wish I’d Been There Series – PDF or the series articles can be  individually accessed by clicking on I Wish I’d Been There.

Both the series are engaging, informative as well as inspiring, and we are sure readers will wish to share them with their family members and friends.

Date posted: Sunday, January 12, 2014.