Preparing for Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Didar: Short Essential Readings (V) – Ya Ali Khuba Mijalas and other readings

SHORT ESSENTIAL READINGS V

In Celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Visit to East Africa and Imamat Day, 11th July 2011

His Highness the Aga Khan became the 49th Imam of Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims on July 11, 1957, succeeding his grandfather, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III, at the age of 20. Ismailis world-over are preparing to celebrate his 54th Imamat Day. His Highness is currently visiting his followers in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.

ASPECTS OF THE ‘DIDAR’

Introduction: What does Ismaili and related Shia literature reveal about the doctrine of Imamat? What are the pre-requisites in our daily lives to maximize the benefits from the didar (lit. glimpse) of the Imam of the Time? What should our attitudes be in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam? These are some of the themes which “Essential Readings” is covering through short excerpts. This is the fifth in a series which began on June 25th. We welcome personal reflections, narratives and poetry relevant to didar and the East African visit from all our readers. Please submit your pieces to Simerg@aol.com with appropriate references.

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ESSENTIAL READINGS (V)

1. SUPPLICATION AND A TEST OF PATIENCE
19th century

A verse from a ginan had transformed the life of Ismailbhai Gangji. His fortunes kept on climbing both spiritually and materially. When the 46th Imam Shah Aga Hassanali Shah visited Ahmedabad, Ismailbhai very humbly presented himself in the service of the Jamat and the Imam. For the first three days of the visit, however, Ismailibhai sensed that the Imam did not appear to be pleased with the service he was rendering. These hours and days seemed like forever for Ismailbhai as he underwent untold suffering in his heart wondering why the Imam appeared to be displeased with him. He supplicated in his heart, “forgive me Imam-e-Zaman, and cast but one kindly look upon me!”

On the fourth day, the Imam summoned him for an audience. He stood meekly before his Mawla, gazing steadily at his holy face refulgent with Divine Light, while a myriad of feelings rose and sank in his heart. But this apprehension was soon to be over. “Ismail,” said the Imam graciously, “we confer upon you the title of Varas.” Ismailbhai (now Varas) was startled at the abruptness of this.

The Imam continued: “We lay upon you the responsibility of the organisation of the whole of Kathiawad.” The Imam added, “We have noticed in the past three days how patiently you can bear all things, and it is with this quality of patience and forbearance that we know you can take care of the Jamat. It is in virtue of this that we appoint you Varas for all Kathiawad.”

Varas Ismail then most humbly submitted: “Khudavind’s spiritual gift and bounty this day have been boundless. But the great onus that Khudavind places upon me is too heavy for an insignificant creature such as I am. I do not possess the merit to undertake such a great responsibility.”

Imam-e-Zaman rejoined in affectionate tones: “Varas, put your mind at rest on that score. We shall inspire you with the spirit that will carry you to a successful end in the cause of what is enjoined upon you. The inspiration will be ours, but the renown yours.”

“Amen!” said the Varas with not a word more.

Varas Ismail dedicated his time to bringing peace and harmony in the Jamat. He developed higher understanding of himself through special prayers. He became an example to others by his actions, manners and habits.

* * *

2. THE BEATIFIC VISION OF THE IMAM
Pir Sadardin, 14th century

The Beatific vision is of two kinds: one a physical meeting with the Imam and the other a spiritual recognition of his essence, through which God is recognized. Speaking of the second of these, Pir Sadr al-Din, in his ginan Sakhi maha pad keri vat koek janere writes:

Friend! None but a few know of the exalted station. Indeed, they alone recognize it who have found the true guide.

Friend! Within the heart, at the confluence of the three spiritual rivers, there is an imperishable light. There – a shimmering effulgence, pearls are showered.

Friend! I completely lost consciousness of my physical self when my meditation mounted the empyrean, bursting forth.

Friend! I beheld the place of the lofty throne, I saw the seven islands, the nine continents.

Friend! The religious scriptures and books cannot fathom this, for there is neither day there, nor night, neither sun, nor shade.

Friend! My Lord is not such that He can be spoken of. He is to be seen – for He is indescribable, and nameless.

Friend! How sweet is that Lord, indescribable, nameless. Says Pir Sadr al-Din, truly, with my own eyes, I have seen Him!”

* * *

3. THE BEST OF FATIMA’S PROGENY
by Pir Nasir Khusraw (11th Century)

Run to the sanctuary of the safe house,
which is surrounded by bliss and prosperity;

He brings souls out of their darkness
and draws out fruit from their outer skin.

You see him as the rising sun of clarity
and as the river of abundant bounty.

By his brilliant wisdom, hearts are cured,
and by his copious mercy, they are revived.

He manifests himself in every age
and creatures are not guided except by him.

His mission is established in the world
exalted with sings clear and recognizable.

He certainly is Mustansir, the triumphant
the one by whom everything became prosperous.

He is the best of Fatima’s progeny
the scion of Zahir and the grandson of Hakim.

He is God’s mercy on his servants
and the mine of provisions in the hereafter.

I have composed a poem about him
like a necklace of pearls and gems strung together

* * *

4. THE SHIPS OF SALVATION
By Shaykh Khudr (17th century),
a contemporary of 40th Ismaili Imam, Mawlana Nizar

The people of the House of Prophethood
are the manifestations of light;

They are that which exists forever
and in what has already elapsed;

They are the ships of salvation for those
who come running to them with hope;

They are the rain abundant in moisture
and their grace is the best of springs;

The essence of their souls is knowledge
from a world beyond the intellects;

Indeed, it is their invitation which rescues
souls from the pit of destruction.

* * *

5. MUNAJAT (SUPPLICATION)
19th century

Celebrating the ascension to the throne

Ya Ali Khuba Mijalas

Verse 1

Transliteration

Ya Ali Khuba Mijalas Zinat Karake
Farasha Bichhai Gali,
Aan Baithe Hay Takht-Ke Upar
Shah Karim Shah Vali

Refrain

Aaj Raj Mubarak Hove,
Noor Ain Alikun Raj Mubarak Hove,
Shah Aal-e Nabi Kun Raaj Mubarak Hove,
Hove Hove Aaj Raj Mubarak Hove.

Explanation

O Ali! In the fair assembly,
gloriously adorned with carpets spread on the floor,
Our Lord Shah Karim sits on the takht,
our Lord Shah Karim our Guardian.

Refrain

Today blessed be your rule
Oh the light of Ali’s eye,
Blessed be your rule
Shah, the descendant of the Holy Prophet,
Blessed be your rule today
Blessed be your rule today.

**

Verse 2

Transliteration

Ya Ali Didar Lenekun Aye Shah Teri,
Hindi Jama-et Sari,
Sijada Baja Kar Najaran Deve
Jan Apniku Vari…. Aaj.

Explanation

O Ali! To be blessed with didar
your whole Indian jamat have assembled.
They prostrate and they offer nazrana (homage)
devoting their lives to you.

**

Verse 3

Transliteration

Ya Ali Tera Nasiba Roje Awal-Se,
Deta Haire Kamali,
Shah Sultan Shah Ke Mukhamen Se Nikala,
Shah Karim Shah Vali….Aaj

Explanation

O Ali! Your fortune from the very first day (right from the beginning)
has bestowed perfection upon you,
Hazrat Imam Shah Sultan Muhammad Shah declared that
Mawlana Shah Karim is the Lord and the Guardian.

**

Verse 4

Transliteration

Ya Ali Shah Kahun To Tujakun Baja Hay,
Bakhta Bulanda Peshani,
Chhoti Umarmen Aali Marataba,
Taluki Hay Nishani….Aaj

Explanation

O Ali! To call you Lord is your due.
Your fortune and greatness is evident on your forehead.
Your exalted status at the young age
is a sign of greatness.

**

Verse 5

Transliteration

Ya Ali Takhta Ne Chhatra Tujakun Mubarak,
Zaheraji-Ke Piyare,
Abul Hasan Shah Karani So Teri
Jannat Aap Sanvare….Aaj

Explanation

O Ali! May your throne and canopy (exalted position) be blessed,
the dear one of Fatimatuz Zahra.
O Mawla Ali! All this is because of your glorious deeds.
Paradise is embellished by your presence.

**

Verse 6

Transliteration

Ya Ali Takht ne Chhatra sunake tere
Falakase Barase Nooran,
Moti Tabaka Hathunmen Lekar,
Shah KunVadhave Huran….Aaj

Explanation

O Ali! At the news of your Takht Nashini (Takhta ne Chhatra)
the heavens shower Light,
with trays of pearls in their hands,
the houris (chaste heavenly maidens) greet the Lord.

**

Verse 7

Transliteration

Ya Ali Maheman Khanemen Momankun Jab
La-i ‘Id Musal-le
Shamsi Jo Salavat Pada Kar
Marafat-Ki Khushiyali….Aaj

Explanation

In the guest-house when the celebration of your Takht Nashini takes place,
the momins celebrate like ‘Id.
They recite the Shamsi prayer, the salwat,
and they experience the ecstasy of spiritual enlightenment.

**

Verse 8

Transliteration

Ya Ali Teri Mubarak Badike Khatar,
Sayyad Karte Munajat,
Shah Najaf Tere Pushta Panah
Tere Dushman Hove Fanah….Aaj

Explanation

O Ali! To offer greetings,
the Sayyads make their humble supplication (munajat)
O Ali, the Lord of Najaf, may your progeny be protected
and your enemies be destroyed.

* * *

For an excellent introduction and glossary of key terms please click: Literary Reading: The Munajat – Ya Ali Khuba Mijalas

Date Essential Readings (V) posted: July 8, 2011

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For other “Didar Series” posts please scroll down or click:
Short Essential Readings (I) (The Imam – Proof of God, Dazzled by the Light, Companionship on High, Unity of Imamat, Supplication)
Short Essential Readings (II) (The Didar: Life’s Ultimate Purpose, The Unveiling at Sijilmasa, the Soul, Our Spiritual Parents, Supplication)
Short Essential Readings (III) (Imam’s Essence, Ism’ul-Azam, Quhistani’s Example, The Imam – A Cosmic Necessity, Supplication)
Short Essential Readings (IV) (Aab-i Shifaa, The Good One, The Nur of Imamat, Obedience to the Imam, Supplication)
Short Essential Readings (V) (You are reading it: The Example of Ismail Gangji, Imam’s Beatific Vision, Fatima’s Progeny, Imams – Ships of Salvation, Supplication)
Short Essential Readings (VI) (The Merciful Glance, The Manifest Imam, Jawhar’s Devotion, Love for the Imam and True Faith)

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REFERENCES:

1. Excerpts from Varas Ismail Gangji: The Turning Point (on this Website)

2. Adapted from The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, a Search for Salvation by Shafique N. Virani, Hardcover – May 3, 2007. Also click » Ismailis in the Middle Ages.

3 and 4 are from Shimmering Light: An Anthology of Ismaili Poems, ed. Faquir M. Hunzai and Kutub Kassam, pub. I. B. Tauris in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 1997. For a PDF catalogue of IIS publications please click IIS publications.

5. For complete explanation click Literary Reading: The Munajat – Ya Ali Khuba Mijalas (on this Website).

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