Spring, Let My Eye Twinkle in Your Joy

SPRING HITHER

By Navyn Naran

do i hear the trickle of spring?
do i see this first dawn welcoming the first warmth?
the peering of the shoot,
and  tenacity of the hidden root,
a glimpse of the sniffing, soft nose of the cotton-tailed rabbit..
delightful!
Nature is all-knowing

220px-Cucumber_leaf

how did the world turn one day from winter to spring?
how did just the right distance from the sun bring warmth to our earth?
how did this One Gesture bring us shanti,
laughter to the cold temperature of many hearts?
color to paint, and fragrance into flowers?
how can man imbue this Grace into his own beating pump?
ejecting  warmth, joy and
shared abundance into his breath ?
bridging smiles and hands for his own Spring
— and so the Spring of the world?

is it possible?
One Soul?
from One Soul!
a verse spoken over and over..who hears?
“words without thoughts never to heaven go”

you were aware of this once as a child i know it
knowledge of machinations of man’s world
has surely tainted your innocence!

Bank_Hall_Snowdrops

the winter has teased its Time further ,
— hark; Spring follows hence;
the rotation continues uninterrupted.
sshhh….do you see its entrance  ?
first, the barren vineyard treetops
bear the lightest green, then tinge of pink,
and maybe next week, crimson.
doesn’t a lover spontaneously touch his love with the softest kiss?
O spontaneous spring, surprise me!

hark, listen to the child,
truthfully telling all-
secrets his parents want to hide

Tree_Roots_at_Riverside

so spring tells all;
transparent,
as the eye ,
transilluminated be!
hide not my friend, verdantly let go.

sshhh! do i hear it coming?
the trickle of spring?
come hither and let my eye twinkle  in your joy.
radiance!
that, is the dress in which I will robe
Spring!
Spring! welcome
to our One World

Date posted: Sunday, April 13, 2014.

Copyright: Navyn Naran.

__________________

Roshan Thomas – Acting in the Path of God By Jalal Jaffer

ACTING IN THE PATH OF GOD

Roshan Thomas was among those who were killed in a terrorist incident in Kabul while she was celebrating the commencement of the Persian New Year, Navruz. She was buried earlier this week in Vancouver, where almost 2000 people from all walks of life attended her funeral at the North Vancouver Ismaili Jamatkhana.

Roshan Thomas was among those who were killed by terrorists in an incident in Kabul while she was celebrating the commencement of the Persian New Year, Navruz. She was buried earlier this week in Vancouver, where almost 2000 people from all walks of life attended her funeral at the North Vancouver Ismaili Jamatkhana.

By Jalal Jaffer

Acting in the path of God
Eliminates limitations, restrictions, conceptions
In pursuit of noble actions
To sustain, promote, achieve
Enhancement, progress, understanding
Amongst God’s most beautiful creation
The human being.

With clarity of mind
Determination against any odds
It was but natural
That Roshan picked a far-away geography
Hoping and pursuing and working towards
A change, some progress, any improvement
In a country, amongst a people
Engulfed in reactionary, ideological, meaningless
Battles and wars and human carnage
To what end, what purpose
Nobody could understand, far less explain
Where pre-historic level of crass ignorance
Animalistic behaviour, un-knowledge…prevailed.

Her commitment to her cause
To act in the path of God
Open the minds and hearts
Of the young and the old
Especially free the girls and women
From the yoke of servitude and worse
Through schooling, through learning, through education
A cause as noble as difficult
A place as harsh as promising
An activity as demanding as fulfilling.
Was solid and uncompromising.

Threats of violence and physical harm
Were ever present
Wise counsel to resist and desist
Came from all corners
None of this held her back
None of this affected her resolve
None of this dampened her spirits

Alas, the heartless ignoramus
A curse on human kind
Targeted her physical form…
Never realizing, never understanding
The spirit, earnestness, commitment
Residing in and within her
That would inspire, empower
Hundreds of new Roshans
More motivated, with greater commitment
To  rise, fight and complete
Her cause, her belief, her vision
For the whole world to watch and celebrate.

Copyright: Jalal Jaffer.

_____________________

About the author: Jalal Jaffer is a practising lawyer in Vancouver.

Related: To the Memory of Roshan Thomas and Zeenab Kassam by Navyn Naran

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.

________________

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.

 

Poems for Salgirah: The Noor of Imamat Breathing with the Trillion Stars….and OOops (the Optimistically Out of Poverty Society) by Navyn Naran

ThE NOOR OF IMAMAT….OOops

By Navyn Naran

The arc of the Milky Way hangs over the imposing mountain fortress of Alamut in this starry scene. Photo: Babak Tafreshi. Copyright.

The arc of the Milky Way with over 100 thousand million stars hangs over the imposing mountain fortress of Alamut in this starry scene. Photo: Babak Tafreshi. Copyright.

Find your space, under a trillion stars
In the crystal quiet of the night,
no thoughts, no bars,
Breathe softly, abreast of a beating heart,
Under the open night sky, atop a mountain’s peak,
Where all is still, the breath and the heart’s beat.

A hum of air, quiet, warm,
Dark blue, black and milky way’s starry storm
a smattering of stars, incandescent light
hura and oil before any concern of dawn.
Breathing with the pulse of oceans and earths,
Under heaven of stars, as if asleep, but alert,
feel the ebb and flow in the breath of the world

din and duniya, Ya Ali
In desert sand under a diamond sky, Ya Ali
Peace it is, Ya Ali,
The Noor of Imamat born, Ya Ali
Breathing with the trillion stars, Ya Ali
Under dome of the hearth, You as me.

Hazar Imam, your firmans are pearls
the essence of the word, an individual learns
on your Birthday we reflect on Peace and Truth
on that which is not seen, that which will soothe.

OOops!

i will bow before you, and begin my poem.
let’s twirl under the sunshine,
optimistically
see all the wealth around us;
out of poverty comes sunlight
and “where hope takes root” paths emerge.

lift up your eyes and walk out of poverty.
in your very mind, exit poverty.
and if there is poverty of health and you can’t walk,
then move passionately, breathe deeply, sing from your heart

poverty in wealth?
a greater wealth than the wallet, is in our connection
recognizing one another is an unspoken place
look not always above you; look also below
gratefulness is greater than wealth

and if wallets are full,
is there an emptiness of heart? of mind? the poverty of love?
bridge our smiles, consult, listen to each other….

but walk, yes do walk.
walk out of poverty of respect. Leave.
“even the ants greet one another before they begin”
respect is greater wealth.

walk also out of the poverty of knowledge.
moving out of poverty, i may apply the information
no matter how minute or detailed.
stand solidly, grounded
walk out of lack of stability
one brick after another, consistently, as putty between the bricks

and in poverty of truth
speak heart and mind to self, if no other.
rich in your truth, there, is wealth.

you whistle and sing, and here
there is no poverty. rise, rise, further

poverty of ethics?
command over self a discipline and grace,
barakah will visit you, at its patient pace

poverty of generosity? i see it not,
naught to offer, sit with me here and drink water…refresh
smile and the world will smile at you, abundant generosity
simple living with high thinking.

walk.
let’s always walk.
out of poverty, i trust?
yes, yes…optimistically out of poverty,
a must.

in this quiet of night , in the softness and peace of morning snow,
Full of the magic of creation
there is physical, the obvious and the unknown
You hold the rope of being.

And this is a manifest world,
of the eye and the seeing
as in the surface of the ocean.
surface, recognised well, by surface.
and beyond? entire worlds and realities, hidden

there lie truths
and through the physical Imam
lies Truth
tis a journey
a truer reality, hidden batin

A birthday, the celebration of a physical reality
of a spiritual Being in a physical world.

Date posted: Friday, December 13, 2013

____________________

About the author: Dr. Navyn Naran was born in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, to Anaar and Badrudin Naran. After beginning her high school in the UK, her family immigrated to the USA where she went to medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA. She currently works in Paediatric Critical Care.

Poems for Salgirah: ALI by Sherali Kara

(English translation follows this transliteration from Hindi)

ALI

By Sherali Kara

Hum jiyenge aur jiyenge sirf ALI tere liye. 
Ruhani bache tere hai, Haath thaam ke rakhna ALI. 

Tub bhi ALI he thaa, Ab hai tu Hazar Imam ALI.
Taa qayamat tak rahenga Hayul Qayum ALI ALI.

Kya tariqat shaan hai teri.
Khub haqiqi jalwa hai tera.
Kya noorani tevar tere hai.
Shaan e Khuda tu hi ALI hai.

Teri Hidayat se ALI hum jaamat ne taraqi ke.
Lakho Abjo sukhran karo ‘Sukran ALI Sukhran ALI

Is salegrah ke jasn me kya dena hai tujhe ALI.
Khub ibaadat aur khidmat jum kar karna hume ALI.

English Translation

We will again and again serve ALI, you and you only.
We are your spiritual children, hold our hands tight. 

You were ALI of the past, now you are Hazar Imam ALI.
You will be physically forever, Always Present and Everliving ALI ALI

What a tariqat greatness you have.
What a haqiqi brightness you posses.
With the Noorani enlightenment in you O ALI.
You are the greatness of GOD, only you ALI.

With your guidance, we jamat have prospered.
Millions and billions of thank you ALI, thank you ALI

On this Occasion of your Salgirah (Birthday),
what do we need to give you? O ALI.

Lots and Lot of Ibaadat and Khidmat by us is our gift to you. O ALI

Date posted: Friday, December 13, 2013.

___________

Author’s note: When I mention the word ALI, I am referring to the ALI who has been with us from the beginning of time and will remain with us till the end of time. Also, ALI here refers to all the Imams and not simply the first Imam, Hazrat Ali.

About the author: Since his teenage years, Sherali Kara, now fifty-three, has taken a keen interest in furthering his spiritual knowledge, and over the years has developed a deep spiritual and esoteric insight into several ayats from the Holy Qur’an, Ismaili ginans and qasidas. He hails from a family that has a long tradition of Khidmat (service) in the Ismaili Jamat. His mother, Malekbibi Kara, was called the “ginan queen” of her time. Mr. Kara composes poems and couplets specifically on the theme of ALI.  He lives in Andheri, a suburb of Mumbai, and provides Realty Advisory services.

Ismaili Ginan “Ek Shabada Suno Mere Bhai”, an explanation by Shiraz Pradhan, with recitation

The Ginan Ek Shabda Suno Mere Bhai by Pir Shams is a summary of the initial step of Ismaili Spirituality. An MP3 of the Ginan rendered by Mohammad (Mac) Virjee of Vancouver accompanies a short commentary and translation by Shiraz Pradhan.

Please click: Ismaili Spirituality in Pir Shams Shabzwari’s Ginan “Ek Shabada Suno Mere Bhai”, accompanied with recitation

Gujarati transliteration of the Ginan "Ek Shabada Suno Mere Bhai" attributed to Pir Shams.  Please click on image for article.

Gujarati transliteration of the Ginan “Ek Shabada Suno Mere Bhai” attributed to Pir Shams. Please click on image for article.

A Reflection on the Tragedy in Karachi

Editor’s note: For the first time in recent memory, an act of violence and terror was directed against the Ismaili community on Wednesday, August 13, 2013 at two of their Jamatkhanas located in Karachi. Two deaths as well as several dozen injuries were reported by the media in Pakistan. It was indeed a sad day for Ismailis and non-Ismailis alike. Statements of condemnation were issued by numerous sources, and were particularly reported on Pakistan TV networks. A peaceful and generous community had been targeted senselessly by individuals who do not value life, the most precious gift from Allah.

Navyn Naran reflects on the tragedy that has brought profound sadness to countless people. We pray that peace prevails in the entire nation of Pakistan which has seen so much sectarian violence over the past two decades. We also pray for the peace and rest of the departed souls from this tragedy, and wish everyone who was injured from this act of terror quick and complete recovery.

(Following Navyn Naran’s reflection we have provided a few external  links to stories and comments about the tragedy) 

Of Karimabad, A Place of Generosity

By Navyn Naran

it was a place of comfort, a quiet haven in the wood
a cove where a mother fish and her young made home,
by the bank of a trickling brook,
he found solace there in this nook.
hot it became day by day, how shallow the water and nightly he prayed,
would there be rain droplets, just some?
it rained everywhere on earth it seemed, but here in this city,
the brook was drying

the fish drew closer to the bottom.
“Rain! please rain!” his heart implored
taking a few bottles of water, near the fish he poured.
And then the beginning of the end, it came!
Bhoommm!!! Crashh! lightning cracked
the heavens opened and buckets of rain fell
he danced in his shorts, his hair flying wet around his face,
his feet drenched in his sneakers,
soaked from the lovely rain
.

A mother and a child, many people.
A man finds it not easy to cry
But today men cried as bodies bled
and lives were hurt
What was the sense of the two scenes?
The boy, his heart generous, is a seesaw with yours

His action against yours.
What is the message you were sending?
 A message of good? Of right? Of admiration? Of envy? Of strength?
few on this earth will agree.

People were praying!
Prayers for peace where there is conflict

For health where there is illness
For abundance where there is poverty
in those prayer halls women and men seek to better their world
in Karimabad

The Karachi Bomb Attackes

Cowards!! you are cowards, envisioning bloodshed,
tormenting your fellow-man, with nothing gained,
Just Loss.
Our Loss.
For the mothers and children, the men and women you kill
are still alive within our hearts. That,
you can never take.
‘Do not take a life’ it is said, ‘for it is like taking all mankind’.
and who will you face then, but the Face of God?

Is it fear of peace, of the goodness of humanity which sickens you?
That there could be unity amid the plurality
does that threaten your space?
Is the Aga Khan and his teaching abominable to you?
Is the education and growth despicable to you?
How will you erase the entire goodness in humanity?
How will you bow to Nature’s Hand?

For we are one…have you read ?
From one woman and one man we came, do you know?
The family you cared for is the same one you killed.
What did it benefit you?
It is in ripples, you fearful man.
It is in ripples we send an energy;
and behind us is the force of the world.
Beside us is the force of the Universe.
cast a stone into a quiet pool and see ripples form…
Fight for an ethic
befitting your home

Date posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013.
Date updated: Friday, August 16, 2013 (links to stories on the tragedy, see below)

Copyright: Navyn Naran/Simerg.

____________

The tragedy on external websites:

1. Victims Laid to Rest
2. So then to this now
3. Three killed in bomb blasts on I-Day Eve
4. Consecutive blasts in Karachi Jamaat Khana leaves 2 dead, 28 injured
5. Altaf Hussain condemns attacks on Ismaili Jamaat Khanas
6. Two Ismaili Shias Killed in hand grenade attack
7. Violent evening

Dr. Navyn Naran was born in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, to Anaar and Badrudin Naran. After beginning her high school in the UK, her family immigrated to the USA where she has lived since. Dr. Naran went to medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA. She currently works in Paediatric Critical Care.

A Kaleidoscope of Inspiring and Uplifting Poetry for Imamat Day

EXPRESSIONS OF MYSTICAL AND ESOTERIC LOVE FOR HAZAR IMAM

Ismailis throughout the world celebrated the Golden Jubilee of their 49th Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Shah Karim al-Hussaini, during the period July 11, 2007 – December 13, 2008. Part of the commemorative festivities in Europe included an exclusive project, entitled “Festival of Poetic Expressions”, produced and directed by Aitmadi Dr. Aziz Kurwa, under the aegis of the His Highness the Aga Khan Ismaili Council for the United Kingdom.

The Festival of Poetic Expressions - A Golden Jubilee Initiative by His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for the United Kingdom.

The common theme underlying each performance was the expression of mystical and esoteric love the Ismailis have for their Imam of the Time.

Such expressions have resonated throughout Ismaili history, because Ismaili doctrine has always emphasized the principle of the Unity of Imamat where the Ismailis affirm that each Imam, as bearer of the Noor of Imamat starting with Hazrat Ali (a.s.), is the same irrespective of his own age or the time he lives.

Group photo of the participants and organziers of the "Festival of Poetic Expressions"

Group photo of the participants and organizers of the “Festival of Poetic Expressions”

Thus the poems selected below are timeless, and we hope they instill happiness in the heart of every Ismaili as they celebrate the 56th Imamat Day of Mawlana Hazar Imam on July 11th. 

MY ULTIMATE DESIRE

عندما تأتي يأتي النور

Victoria Niema Alhaj

Victoria Niema Alhaj

عندما تأتي يأتي النور
إمامي أنت مولانا
معك نشعر بالسعادة والامان
أنت إمامي
أنت حبيبي
أحب أن أراك دائما
لك حبي ياشاه كريم

By Niema Victoria Alhaj

O my Imam
when you come
comes the Nur.

You’re our Mawla,
and you give us
happiness and protection.

O Shah Karim,
you are my beloved Imam,
and to see you
is my ultimate desire.

_____________

Niema, pictured above, was born in Stockholm, to Syrian parents. Niema knows many Arabic Qasidas and Qur’anic Surahs by heart. She also has many talents including composing poetry, writing short stories, painting, and sports including Taekwondo (gained green belt) and swimming (has many diplomas).

~~~~~~

A SYMPHONY: PEACE AND LOVE

Shaqiera Ladhu performing "A Symphony: Peace and Love"

Shaqiera Ladhu

By Shaqiera Ladhu

A symphony of words,
Pieced together to rhyme,
An orchestra of celebrations,
To The Imam of the Time

May the stanza’s bow down,
In your light and your grace,
Set the verses ablaze,
With the Noor from your face

The letters flow together,
Like the droplets in a river,
That fall into an ocean,
Of love and pure devotion

Tum meri hai zindagi,
Tum meri hai bandagi,
You are my life to me,
You are my bandagi

Oh Imam to me,
you are so dear,
And what better time to express this,
than your golden year?

Fifty years we celebrate,
you have been on the throne,
And we know that with your guidance,
we have never been alone.

You have inspired, aspired and been admired,
By all your submissive murids,
You have planted all over the world,
The fruit of love blooms from those seeds..

Your Noor is your lighting,
The world is your stage,
And fifty years of your directing,
Has brought this golden age.

All you have done,
To help the nations,
Fifty years gone by,
Now here’s your standing ovation!

Your murids rise up,
Tears in their eyes,
Reciting salwaats,
That reach beyond the skies….

Your holy Noor has beamed its light
through every institution,
Purifying the worldly waters
of anti-peace pollution….

If love be the magic,
you are the magician,
Uniting the world,
with your inspired intuition,

And your murids are beside you,
with support and devotion,
We march right behind you,
as you part the ocean…

Clearing a trail purer
than any ever seen,
You guide us through that path,
and call it siratul mustaqeem.

In peace I am,
one with Islam,
In love I am,
with my Imam… 

_____________

Shaqiera LadhuShaqiera was born in London, UK, in 1992. She has been writing poems since the age of eight years old when she was first taught basic poetry at school. She is still expanding her creative horizons – learning, loving and living to write. Now, through lyrical expression and with the utmost sincerity, she conveys her ongoing affection and gratitude to our beloved Imam.

~~~~~~

KALEIDOSCOPE OF FAITH

By Zainul Nasser

Takhtnashini in Nairobi
An event so momentous,
So significant
My heart is filled with wonder
And childish piety

Giving Bay’ah in Mombasa
Hazar Imam’s gentle hand
On my bowed shoulder
Benign, protective

The kaleidoscope is set
In simple, comforting patterns
Glowing brightly throughout childhood

Religion is woven
Through our lives
Jamatkhana as familiar
As our homes
Pictures of Hazar Imam
Surround us
A constant, reassuring presence

Childhood ends
And with it certainty
New ideas, new experiences
Overwhelm me
For a while, my inattentive soul
Loses its way
The familiar patterns
Seem blurred and distorted

But I am blessed
At Palace Gate we students
Sit at Hazar Imam’s feet
So fortunate
In this small, intimate setting
Hazar Imam’s gaze
Seems to rest on me
Infinitely understanding, infinitely merciful

My struggling soul is rewarded
Focus is restored
The patterns in the kaleidoscope
Acquire coherence, depth and sparkle

And over the years
The colours dim or brighten
But the patterns remain steady
And my hopeful soul
Journeys on
Towards
Golden Jubilee Imamat day

We come together
In joyous anticipation
Our hearts beguiled
By fervent Zikr tasbis, qasidah
And the rousing ‘Munajat’

We are shown
Hazar Imam’s untiring efforts
To help the needy
To bring hope and harmony and beauty
Everywhere
A shining beacon in a time of darkness
Our hearts sing with pride
We are inspired
We are humbled

And we are blessed
With the Irshad
So caring and compassionate
So full of love, wisdom and goodness

The kaleidoscope clicks
Into perfect symmetry
The colours polished to a lustrous luminescence
The child in me
Exults in the jewelled splendour
My imperfect soul
Is filled with gratitude
At this gift, this grace
And prays for it to last.

_____________

Zainul Nasser ( nee Karmali ) was born in Mombasa and grew up there. She came to the U.K. as an undergraduate and has lived here ever since.

Zainul has an Honours degree in English from Bristol University and a Postgraduate Degree in Education. She taught English in secondary schools in Birmingham for several years. She also served on various committees including Education and Women’s activities.

Zainul is married with three grown up children. She now lives in Sutton Coldfield, indulging her passion for reading and occasionally writing poetry.

~~~~~~

THE MORNING SUN

Zahira Virani

Zahira Virani

By Zahira Virani

Excited, mesmerised momins, full of expectancy,
full of love and joy

Communal love beyond any I have ever witnessed
An empty reservoir waiting to be filled
A hungry child awaiting its delayed meal
The desert gasping for its monsoon

Roses, jasmine and freesia release clouds
from the intoxicating agarbati
Rising and raising me higher and higher
till I land on a cloud
I become an eagle that soars
to dazzling heights in expectation
That knows the further it goes
the more bounteous its reward

Morning Sun

Bump
Down to earth, bustling shuffling,
quick fire steps of volunteers Salwaat continuous,
rolling around in echoes and ripples of anticipation
Waezeen moving off the stage and evoking
a collective in-take of breath
Then chokingly a salwaat comes out
trickling water on a dry plant
Gently, gently but truly, truly
A teasing moment till it spills forth
the presence of Our Lord!

Overwhelmingly a wave upon a wave
of heat envelopes my heart and my mind
I lose my ability to focus,
through an uncontrollable gush of tears
I find my head bows,
surely my eyes are not worthy
To glimpse his face
Yet the presence opens a door in my heart,
where I can see glory
beyond my dreams
The family of momins around me
embrace me without arms, we are one

I am in union with them and my Lord
We are a garden of flowers resplendent
in the glory of the morning sun 

~~~~~~

THE DANCING HEART

Greg Traynor

By Greg Traynor 

Come [let’s] celebrate this golden year with sitar, lute and tabla
Clear the well-spring maple floor for dandia and rasra.
Tread the flattened, reddened earth.
The verdant grass, the seashore.
Clap your hands, Lift up your feet
- Be happy!

From mountain top in high Pamir to Ganges’ muddy waters,
From old folks in Portugal to Toronto’s sons and daughters
Will all join hands and navigate
Their way around the dance floor
Our hearts exult, our souls inspired.
- We are happy!

Dandia

Pale ghosts of Alamut arise! Come, join in this occasion!
Scholars of al-Azhar’s red towers and saints of every nation!
Raise up your voices, all in praise.
Our Imam’s life to cherish
We, the living, wish to dance and sing
- So happy!

Our Imam’s fifty golden years witness his dedication,
His Dancing Heart has guided the formation
Of our joyous souls,
His thoughtful words have nourished and
His Farmans have enlightened.
Our dance will show we want to make
Him happy.

Greg Traynor presented the Dancing Heart as a non-Ismaili spouse. He lives in Ireland.

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THE SPIRIT WITHIN

Ayat and Rope

By Moez Mitha

To the Rope of Imamat,
we must remember to hold strong,
With this Rope as our guide,
we will never go wrong.

From our spiritual responsibilities,
we must never go astray,
The balance between Din and Duniya
we should uphold everyday.

We love our Hazar Imam and in our hearts
he is always near,
How fortunate we are to be witness
of this Golden Jubilee year!

Magnificent are the works of our Imam
and to him we must show
That with our time and knowledge
the further we will be able to go.

We live in a world where we sometimes forget
how fortunate we really are,
And even the smallest of contributions
can help people go so far.

Moez Mitha

Moez Mitha

Our Mawla, he guides, he leads the way
and to us he always says,
“Remember your prayers and
take your tasbih any time during the day.”

In this year some of us may see
that it’s time to make a new start,
But in doing so we must show
that our allegiance is from the heart.

When it’s time for the Day of Judgment,
there’s something we all know,
Physically we will cease to exist
and to Him our spirit we must bestow.

Mawlana Hazar Imam has often reminded
us of our key role:
“In the practice of your faith,
you should seek to enlighten your soul.”
 

Date posted: Saturday, July 6, 2013.

Please also click The Festival of Poetic Expressions to learn about the festival and read more poems presented at the festival.

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The Ismaili Munajat Ya Ali Khuba Mijalas: Translation and Explanation by Sadrudin K. Hassam

 YA ALI KHUBA MIJALAS

“In Ismaili poetical literature comprising of Ginans and Qasidas, some of the most profound philosophical thoughts and sublime mystical insights are very tersely and beautifully expressed in verses. Moreover, this poetic literature effectively emphasizes the renewal and strengthening of the spiritual relationship between each murid (follower) in the community and Kamil Murshid (The Perfect Guide), Hazar Imam (The Living Imam)….

“The tradition of reciting the Munajat, Ya Ali Khuba Mijalas, began over a hundred years ago. It was  recited in various jamati gatherings (mijalas) by Ismailis in many parts of the world to commemorate the enthronement of their 48th Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah, the late Aga Khan III (1877 – 1957).  Continuing with this tradition, this Munajat, with slight variations, is now recited on the occasion of the anniversary of the ascension of Shah Karim al-Husseini (His Highness the Aga Khan IV) as the 49th Imam of The Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims….”

Please click: The Munajat – Ya Ali Khuba Mijalas

His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Imam of Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, will complete his 56 years of Imamat on July 11, 2013. He is seen above on October 19, 1957 at the Takht Nashini celebrations in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, shortly after he became Imam at the age of 21. Please click for Munajat reading. Photo Credit: Ilm Magazine, July 1977.

His Highness the Aga Khan, the direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) and 49th Imam of Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, will complete his 56 years of Imamat on July 11, 2013. He is seen above on October 19, 1957 at the Takht Nashini (coronation) celebrations in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, shortly after he became Imam at the age of 21. Please click for Munajat reading. Photo Credit: Ilm Magazine, July 1977.

Remembering Laila Lokhandwalla Through Her Loving Golden Jubilee Tribute to Mawlana Hazar Imam

LAILA LOKHANDWALLA

It is with deep regret and sorrow that we announce the passing of Laila Lokhandwalla in Toronto, Canada, on Sunday May 5, 2013 at the age of 55. Our heartfelt condolences go to Ms. Lokhandwalla’s family and friends, and we pray for the eternal peace and rest of Laila’s soul. Her funeral ceremonies took place at the Scarborough Jamatkhana on Thursday, May 9th, with special religious ceremonies for the departed soul later during the evening at the Headquarters Jamatkhana.

Laila Lokhandwalla was born and raised in India. Following her graduation in the early 1980′s from the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, England, Laila moved to Canada where she served with the Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board for a number of years. She obtained her B.A. in Sociology from York University, Toronto, and thereafter, her graduate level Certificate in Teaching ESL, from George Brown College, Toronto. Professionally she was a teacher of ESL (English as a Second Language).

An articulate and engaging teacher as well as an Alwaeza (missionary), Laila also wrote beautiful and stirring poetry. Several of her poems and writings were published in Ismaili literary magazines around the world, including the flagship quarterly periodical Ilm published by the UK Ismaili Tariqah Board. In many of her poems, she sought to capture her immense love, affection and devotion to Mawlana Hazar Imam (His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th Imam of the Ismaili Muslims).

Following the completion of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee, Laila penned a special poem “Reflections of the Golden Jubilee” which was published on this website, along with a personal statement expressing her fondness for writing.

We pay our respect and tribute to Laila Lokhandwalla by re-publishing some of her pieces below, and invite the readers to also click on A Spring Poem for Shah Karim. We begin though with reflections about Laila from her former colleagues at the Institute of Ismaili Studies.

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Tributes to Laila from Her Colleagues

From Mumtaz Virani, Toronto

Further to the above sad announcement about Laila, I would like to inform readers that a collection of Laila’s poems that has been published is available on-line at the following link: http://thewisdomofourhearts.com/.

Laila had been a bright student during her school career. She had inherited melodious voice from her mother who used to sing at the radio station in 1960’s in India. Laila had a special flair for arts and culture and had a strong command on English language because of her convent education.

She loved music and dancing. We witnessed her Kathak dance presentations at the parties during our student days at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in early 80’s. When in good spirit she was a well rounded person and it was easy to fall in love with her.

We pray that her soul may rest in peace. Ameen.

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From Alnoor B. Kassam

At heart, Laila was one of a kind… a flower ripe for He Who Is, departed at our loss, well before her time…  Her effervescence of mind was known only to those who’d sat with her during sessions of learning.  How she challenged anyone shy of intellectual rigour, and yet was always keen to adapt to innovative trends of thought!  Hers was a life we may thus celebrate.

Sure, there were challenges.  She bore them with grace.  And we know that Allah SubhaanaHu wa Ta’ala is Gracious, and He has now bestowed her with liberation of spirit.  As it says in the Qur’an ash-Sharif, those who have passed on are even more alive than we are in this world, only we lack capacity in that we neither sense nor fathom it…

Her zeal each time we had an IIS alumni conference will be held in fond memory.  Her intellectual honesty coupled with dedication to her vocation, was just as remarkable as it was sincere.

May she have well earned rest, in eternal peace, grace and blessing…

Please also see comments.

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My Interest and Love for Poetry

By Laila Lokhandwalla

I have been writing poetry in English since childhood. I started out with writing devotional poems in praise of Mawlana Hazar Imam (His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th Imam of Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims), but I now have a collection of more than forty poems on various subjects, including politics, women’s and social issues as well as inspirational poems and poems celebrating nature. Besides poems, I have also written some geets (devotional songs set to music), in praise of Hazar Imam, in Gujarati and Urdu. I sometimes also write poetry in Gujarati and Urdu. However, most of my literary work is in the English language.

The love of religion, philosophy and social work, besides of course the pure love of language, especially the English language, have resulted in the poetry that has literally poured out of my soul. I have never really had to make an effort to write poetry. It has always automatically poured forth from my very being whenever I have been moved by anything in life. My poetry is the result of my life experiences and my feelings and thoughts on whatever I have experienced and lived.

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Reflections on the Golden Jubilee

By Laila Lokhandwalla

The sun dawned in the East and slowly but surely,

Lighted up every corner of the globe, in stages, successively,

The earth looked like a newly wedded bride in its enlightened décor,

Even as my Mawla was visiting Jamats, scattered across the globe, one after another,

Illuminating hearts and sparking minds, spreading joy and enlightenment,

Bringing prosperity and progress, breeding hope and encouragement…

This was indeed a special dawn…the dawn of a golden era,

The celebration of the Golden Jubilee of my beloved Mawla!

Excitement within, the tempo building,

Hearts in unison, merrily dancing…

Celebrating in a multitude of ways,

These unique, precious, historic days!

Canada launches several projects new,

To commemorate and celebrate this event…

And to their Imam, their vows they renew,

Pledging love and loyalty with this golden advent!

The Aga Khan Museum and for Pluralism – The Global Centre,

The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat and The Ismaili Centre,

In their wake, planning a renewal,

A renaissance: cultural, social, intellectual and spiritual!

What exciting times, the future seems bright in prospect,

How immense the bounties, the blessings of the Imamat!

Could this be real, I am moved,

May I help build this future, as I am encouraged?

For that’s not all, there’s more to come…

My Imam directs, these things must be done:

Poverty must be eliminated,

Seniors must be supported,

Education and Religious Education, quality should reflect,

And walls that divide, must be replaced with bridges that unite…

Witnessing these times, I am blessed, I am thinking…

Even as I see the sun setting,

Slowly also setting upon this golden time…

Yet, the hope, the courage, the happiness, does not seem to dim!

The impact was so strong,

The memory shall linger on…

Forever more, to fuel energies and to inspire,

As to accomplish tasks and resolutions pledged, we thus aspire.

Spiritually renewed, yet humbled by all these graces,

I fall into a prayerful ecstasy, my heart races…

“Shukran, shukran, shukran”, repeats my inner soul’s voice,

In a rhythm that is endless and continuous…

For I envisage my Mawla, you’ve opened up the doors graciously,

To ever-increasing happiness and prosperity, endlessly…

Shukranalhamdulillah!

Date posted: Tuesday May 7, 2013
Date updated: Saturday, May 11, 2013.

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