By MALIK TALIB
(Chairman of the Ismaili Leaders’ International Forum)
On the occasion of Navroz, our beloved Mawlana Hazar Imam has most graciously sent a Talika Mubarak to be shared with our global Jamat, which reads as follows:
My dear Malik,
On the occasion of Navroz, I send to my worldwide Jamat my best blessings for peace and happiness in their lives.
I am also sending my special blessings for Mushkil Asan for my Jamats wherever they may be, and I pray for their health and their well-being.
I convey warm Mubarak to the global Jamat on the occasion of Navroz and, on behalf of all the murids world-wide, I express humble shukrana to our beloved Mawlana Hazar Imam for the gracious Talika.
Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Guidance Central to Ismaili Institutions’ decision making during the COVID-19 crisis
….Malik Talib’s message continues below
The festival of Navroz is a time for hope, optimism, renewal, and faith – even in times of uncertainty and difficulty.
I would like to assure the Jamat that all Jamati institutions and leaders around the world are doing everything possible to ensure the Jamat’s safety and security.
For so many of us, the temporary suspension placed on Jamatkhana gatherings is perhaps the most difficult among the wide array of disruptions to our everyday lives. The decision to temporarily suspend our Jamatkhana gatherings was not taken lightly, and was implemented in accordance with Hazar Imam’s guidance to comply with government and public health guidelines around the world.
While we appreciate that this indeed is a very difficult disruption, and that we are no longer able to gather physically at the present time, we remain unified in our faith, in devotion and compassion.
These bonds of community have sustained throughout the vagaries of time and history, and will continue in the difficult weeks and months ahead. As we prepare ourselves, we will work together as a united Jamat.
It is of great importance that we follow the directions given by the Jamati institutions who are working with the AKDN [Aga Khan Development Network] to ensure compliance with government measures to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.
Ours is an esoteric faith. Our Imam has time and time again reminded us of the importance of spiritual contemplation, reflection, personal search and prayer. In these moments we will find peace and solace to overcome our current challenges. We would be well advised to recall Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Farmans regarding engaging in personal prayer, when we are unable to attend Jamatkhana. It is my conviction that adhering to this guidance will bring us comfort in these challenging times.
Virtual Jamatkhanas Inappropriate
….Malik Talib’s message continues below
The temporary closure of our Jamatkhanas has resulted in the appearance of electronic and digital channels offering a “virtual Jamatkhana”. This is clearly inappropriate, as a Jamatkhana may only be established and function under the Imam’s authority, through his institutions and appointed Mukhi-Kamadias.
At this time in particular, it is critical that we understand the risks of misinformation and miscommunication, and rely only on credible government and Jamati institutional sources – including The Ismaili – the official website and social media channels for the Jamat.
At a time of increased economic anxiety, it is also imperative that we act rationally, with prudence and sound judgement.
COVID-19 pandemic at the forefront of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s thoughts
….Malik Talib’s message continues below
The current developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic have been at the forefront of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s thoughts, and I would like to inform the Jamat that, following Mawlana Hazar Imam’s guidance, an international Steering Group has been established to coordinate the efforts to ensure the Jamat’s safety and well-being, and to support the responses being undertaken in each national Jamati jurisdiction.
These are difficult times. However, as one Jamat, our faith unites us, and gives us the strength, courage and hope to face this adversity, and emerge from it, a stronger community, bound by our values, and our allegiance to the Imam-of-the-Time.
Let us offer shukrana for Mawlana Hazar Imam’s continued love, grace, protection and guidance, and pray for the Jamat’s safety, good health and Mushkil Asan.
A Note from the Publisher/Editor of Simerg
By MALIK MERCHANT
Nothing can be more gratifying for a murid of Mawlana Hazar Imam than receiving his blessings on the occasion of Navroz, as well as special blessings for Mushkil Asan at this particular time of a world wide novel coronavirus pandemic. Instead of celebrating Navroz in Jamatkhanas, we will be observing it in our unique ways in our homes. This is unprecedented in recent history! However we have received the Imam’s Blessings as we would in Jamatkhanas. That should bring contentment and happiness in our hearts and give us immense strength and hope for the future.
The message from Malik Talib, the Chairman of the Ismaili Leaders’ International Forum, has outlined our responsibilities as members of a universal brotherhood. It is important that we follow the instructions of the leaders at this time of crisis, and act according to the wishes of Mawlana Hazar Imam.
Date posted: March 21, 2019.
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Before departing this website please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few. In the past few days, we have published some excellent pieces on Navroz.
Navroz Mubarak. Let us all pray for the worldwide jamat & offer our humble shukrana to our beloved Hazar Imam for his continued care, love, protection for his jamat. Let us pray for Mushkil Asan. Ameen.
Ameen and may Mawla bless us more. What if jamati member are affected by this virus? What are the guidelines?
Each country, state or province has issued specific guidelines recommended by their respective Federal, provincial or state health authorities as to how affected patients should act. Each Jamati member should try and follow the procedures that have been recommended. You might wish to visit our Jamati institutional websites for more information. There are also special newsletters and phone line(s) that institutions have set up to address questions from the Jamat.
I agree that virtual Jamatkhana concept is inappropriate. Jamatkhanas have been the axis of our faith the world over for centuries. They are established with the blessings of Imam and are officiated by Mukhi/Kamadia appointed by the Imam. They are spaces of worship where we practice the rituals and forms of worship in accordance with the approval of the Imam. Any deviation from this will compromise the dignity and sanctity of our Jamatkhans and negate the very ethos of our faith. The very first Ginan we teach our children, Eji Gat Mahe Avine… outlines in simple and beautiful verses the very basis of our Jamatkhanas: Ehi Gat Mahe Aavine Virabhai Sanmukh rahiye…O brother, come to Jamatkhan and stay in the presence of the Imam.
There are numerous Firmans and Ginans that explain the sanctity of Jamatkhans and I am certain most Momins are familiar with these. In these times of anxiety, it is possible that people in their zeal for devotion and comfort seek to fill the void of Jamatkhana. But to resort to unauthorised means is inappropriate. Yes, it is Okay to use technology to pray with friends an family, but to designate such forums as Jamatkhanas is not okay.
It is always a great source of happiness to receive Mawlana Hazar Imam’s blessings and more so in this difficult time when humanity at large regardless of faith, culture, race, religion, and nationality etc has come together as one being to resolve the universal pandemic. For the first time they are beginning to realize that if it is not taken seriously, it is going to wipe out humans at some stage. This very well reminds us of Sheikh Sadi’s famous saying that humans are like different organs of one body, when one organ is in pain, the entire body becomes restless.
To those Ismaili brothers and sisters who try to materialize our Tariq’a by suggesting virtual jamatkhanas, I say that they are doing serious harm to the Tariqa. We must realize that we are a batini jamat that believes more on the esoteric interpretation of Islam than the Zahiri practice I.e sharia. Therefore, there is no need for such material practice in the form of virtual jamatkhana.
Shukhar Mawla for great blessings.
I refer to Chairman Talib’s concerns about Virtual Jamatkhanas. They shouldn’t be allowed to proliferate and those who are promoting their virtual Jamatkhanas or prayer spaces do not realize the “competition aspect” they may be unknowingly creating between different prayer groups and thus dividing the Jamat rather than enhancing togetherness. After all aren’t websites vying for more and more readers all the time, and competing each other in order to gain popularity and subscriptions. Let’s be careful about encouraging virtual Jamatkhanas.
Happy Navroz Mubarakeeee!
Ya Ali Madad
May Mawla mushkil asan murids’ problems and illnesses. Ameen.
Very happy to read Mawla ‘s Talika. Ameen, Ameen, Ameen. Nice message from Malik Talib. Inshallah, we will get over this soon. We just have to keep praying. Mawlana Hazar Imam is looking after us.