On July 11, 2015, which coincides with the 25th day of Ramadan, Ismailis around the world are celebrating the 58th Imamat Anniversary of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan.
The poetry and thank you letter produced in this post are expressions of gratitude and love the Ismailis carry in their hearts for their Imam of the Time. Such expressions have resonated throughout Ismaili history, because Ismailis affirm the Principle of the Unity of Imamat, that is the belief and understanding that each Imam, from the time of Hazrat Ali (a.s.), is the bearer of the Noor (Light) of Imamat; he is the same irrespective of his own age or the time he lives in.
On this happy and momentous day, we convey Imamat Day Mubarak to all our readers, and wish everyone barakah (happiness) and success in all aspects of life.
MY ULTIMATE DESIRE
عندما تأتي يأتي النور
عندما تأتي يأتي النور
إمامي أنت مولانا
معك نشعر بالسعادة والامان
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 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.
KALEIDOSCOPE OF FAITH
By Zainul Nasser
Takhtnashini in Nairobi
An event so momentous,
My heart is filled with wonder
And childish piety
Giving Bay’ah in Mombasa
Hazar Imam’s gentle hand
On my bowed shoulder
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
A constant, reassuring presence
And with it certainty
New ideas, new experiences
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
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
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
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
THANK YOU LETTER TO THE PERSON OF THE INSTITUTION OF IMAMAT
INTRODUCTION: The following traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) speak about the Person of the Institution of Imamat: “I am leaving amongst you two weighty things after me, the Qur’an and my Progeny (ahl al-bayt). Verily, if you hold fast to them both you will never go astray. Both are tied with a long rope and cannot be separated till the Day of Judgement,” and, “He of whom I am the Mawla, Ali is also the Mawla.”
Thus, the Person of the Institution of Imamat is the direct descendant of Hazrat Ali (a.s.). The preamble of the Shia Imami Ismaili Constitution states: “Mawlana Hazar Imam Shah Karim al Hussaini, His Highness Prince Aga Khan, in direct lineal descent from the Holy Prophet (s.a.s.) through Hazrat Mawlana Ali (a.s.) and Hazrat Bibi Fatima (a.s), is the Forty-Ninth Imam of the Ismaili Muslims.”
In Simerg’s special series dedicated to Thanking Ismaili Historical Figures, Dr. Aziz Kurwa, a retired medical practitioner and a long serving member of the Ismaili community in the United Kingdom, gives his “heartfelt thanks” to the Person of the Institution of Imamat who is responsible for guiding the Ismaili community through the ages, since the time of the first Imam, Hazrat Ali (a.s.). The wisdom of the Imam has inspired and motivated individuals such as Pir Sadardin, Pir Nasir Khusraw and Hasan bin Sabah, and continues to nourish the present-day Jamat.
Wa Kulla Shay’in Ahsayanhu Fi Imamim-Mubin
(Holy Qur’an, Sura Yaseen, 36:12)
May it Please the Person of the Institution of Imamat,
Thank you for blessing us with an understanding of the miracle and gift of the Person of Imamat, that we may more fully appreciate the miracles of Allah, and our place in His creation. The Person of Imamat is endowed with Knowledge and Wisdom that Allah has bestowed through centuries and the Imam-e-Zaman guides those who believe in Him with the benefit of this wisdom and knowledge .
This wisdom is for the benefit of the murids of the Imam and the Ummah; it is for the individual to access this wisdom and knowledge, and he who uses this wisdom benefits himself as well. Any person can access this but it is according to his or her understanding and ability to use that knowledge for good deeds to be achieved.
I am particularly conscious of this and whenever possible I give shukhrana to Allah for allowing me to learn and to implement the Imam’s guidance. The Imam carries the wisdom and knowledge of the ages and allows us to access this knowledge. It is our duty to acknowledge this and be thankful for the inspiration to act according to the wisdom and knowledge we acquire. As a humble servant of the Imam, I am most grateful for this barakah and constantly pray that I am inspired by it.
Throughout the ages there have been Ismaili Heroes who had the good fortune to access this wisdom and if they were alive today, they would also sing their thanks.
Thus, Pir Nasir Khusraw would be thanking the Fatimid Imams for the esoteric knowledge that led him to Central Asia, to train the murids in Ismaili gnosis, and to write literature and poetry filled with a deep understanding of the Imamat—from which, even today, we draw our inspiration.
Dai Hasan ibn Sabah would have been thankful to the Imam of the time for the initiative to establish the kingdom of Alamut, to train a group of fidai to protect the Ismaili dawa, to establish the programme of talim from which we are benefitting even now—and many such innovations.
Pir Sadardin and other Nizari Pirs, leaders of all those who are now Ismailis of Satpanth tradition in the Indian sub-continent—they would be thanking Imam Islam Shah and other Imams for inspiring them and sending them on such a marvellous journey.
In these modern times, all those who have led the whole Ismaili Jamat with their selfless service must express deep gratitude for the guidance and inspiration from Hazrat Imam Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah and Imam-e-Zaman. These good works and service have been extended through National Councils, Tariqah Boards and the Institute of Ismaili Studies, AKDN Hospitals, Universities, academies and Financial Institutions, all primarily led by honorary members who have been blessed by Imamat inspiration.
By this inspiration, and with hard intellectual effort, we, the Jamat, have come into the most ambitious and envious position in the World to benefit peoples in all countries in the developing world—with no discrimination. All such excellent volunteers are thankful for the guidance from the Imamat and its Institutions. They are the heroes for whom we are thankful, and the heroes in their turn thank the ultimate source of knowledge that is the Divine Institution of Imamat.
The list goes on and will continue to be extended as long as there is an Ismaili Imam to guide the murids. The uniqueness of Ismaili tariqah comes from its thriving on centuries of cumulative knowledge and wisdom, through which all of mankind may be blessed—because of the guidance of the Imams.
Thank you, with all my heart,
Dr. Aziz Kurwa,
Last updated: October 15, 2020.
About the writer: Aitmadi Dr. Aziz Rajabali Kurwa has served the Ismaili jamat in numerous capacities. In brief, he was appointed in 1979 by Mawlana Hazar Imam as the President of the Ismailia Association for the United Kingdom. A true visionary, as Ismailia Association’s chief, Dr. Kurwa developed the concept of Baitul Ilm during the Silver Jubilee of Mawlana Hazar Imam, which to this day continues to have a tremendous impact on the U.K. Jamat. Dr. Kurwa and his wife, Aitmadibanu Shirin Aziz Kurwa, reside in London.
Thank you for posting Zainul’s poem. She writes so well – we were classmates. She is a math genius. Her twins are too. I Love the image of the kaleidoscope. I remember being so lucky to have one as a child. The patterns changing. Yes they may dim and distort but the pattern remains. Pressed forever. Beautiful poem, beautiful image!
Thank you Editor for publishing a Letter and a Poem of two people I know well. Firstly, Dr Aziz Kurwa was our Mukhi Saheb following Dr Ali Mohammed Rajput the pioneer of our first Jamatkhana in Birmingham that was held at his residence. Dr Kurwa named his house Dar-ul-Hikmat after Imam Shah Hakim-bin-Amrillah, but by then we met in a Community Hall for Jamatkhana activities.
The poem by Zainul Nasser is of a friend and our Co-ordinator for the Reading Club; we are fortunate to have such a brilliant person in that role. She is a prolific reader and finishes reading a book in a couple of days, literally! In just a day or two. She is an expert in suggesting best-selling fictions and insists that these depict a piece of real life and can be interesting reading than heavy academic prose. Who can disagree? She converted me into that line, I thank her. Imamat Day Mubarak!