“Navroz, with the awakening of nature, is also a good opportunity to revitalize in us these landmarks — the fundamentals of the ethics of our faith, gratitude, humility, wisdom, compassion, tolerance, service, solidarity, and a frontierless brotherhood…. our reflections and resolutions should be focused on the meaning we want to give to our family life, which must remain more than ever united”
By MOHEZ NATO
Alhamdulillah and Shukran Mawla
First of all, let us give thanks to Allah for His Mercy and for blessing the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims with guidance under the divine authority of the Imam-of-the-Time. We lovingly express our gratitude to our revered Mawlana Hazar Imam for his constant blessings and prayers for all his murids around the world for good health and happiness, spiritual progress, worldly success, strength of faith, unity, barakah and mushkil-ahsan. It is indeed gratifying that we are able share this happy day of Navroz (also Nawroz, Nowruz) with our family members, with those of the Jamat and with those who are cherished to us.
Navroz 2023 has a very special character for the Ismaili Jamats around the world. It is now almost 5 years since the memorable Diamond Jubilee, when more than 50,000 Ismailis gathered in Lisbon for a momentous Darbar and where we witnessed the installation of the Headquarters of the Imamat — the Divan — in Portugal. The precious Farmans that were delivered by Mawlana Hazar Imam during the Lisbon Darbar remain in our hearts, and we are glad that they accessible in printed format along with other Farmans that Mawlana Hazar Imam has made in the last two decades.
A Time of Renewal
Navroz, with the awakening of nature, is also a good opportunity to revitalize ourselves in these landmarks: the fundamentals of the ethics of our faith of gratitude, humility, wisdom, compassion, tolerance, service, solidarity, and a frontierless brotherhood.
The current time is going through health crises, climatic, ecological, geopolitical and economic turbulence. And in this troubled world, so stressful and anxious, our reflections and resolutions should be focused on the meaning we want to give to our family life, which must remain more than ever united. We must also more than ever before express our Ismaili identity and our brotherhood without frontiers as a “One Jamat” in solidarity.
We have to reflect on the meaning and direction of our professional achievements, on how to remain faithful to our loyal commitments in the national civil society.
A clear vision of these goals will result in progress in our spiritual quest and in remaining true murids of Mawlana Haza Imam. We seriously have to reflect on his Farmans and aspirations for the Jamat.
With the faith of conviction and with Mawlana Hazar Imam guidance to us on the path of Siratal-Mustaqim, we will overcome our fears and face our difficulties.
Navroz is also the occasion of an awareness, the adoption of firm resolutions for a high ideal, for the spiritual quest and the choice of a serene life, made of brotherhood, love and generosity.
And this awareness necessarily leads to a commitment for one’s family, for one’s community, for one’s country, and for those most in need, and must lead to greater service to fellow human beings, by putting aside our personal interests.
Mawlana Hazar Imam, in his speech at Columbia University on May 15, 2006, specifically called “for a concern for personal responsibilities in order to pursue common goals such as passion for justice, pursuit of equity, respect for tolerance, and dedication to human dignity.”
We must not compromise on the fundamentals of our ethics, and never forget to feel at all times grateful to Allah’s Mercy and place ourselves at all times under His Blessing and Protection.
Islam is an art of living! And part of this art and Islam’s ethic is to balance our material and spiritual lives. This fundamental balance must be explained to the younger generation and the youth of the Jamat. In our daily lives, in our social and professional relationships, we must be meritocratic, irreproachable and considered above all as values or models of example. And in religious matters, we must strive to add a spiritual dimension through constant prayers and remembrance of Allah.
Our life, since the turn of the 21st century, seems to be marked by a great rush. We often feel as if we are running after our existence, with the feeling that it is slipping away from us more and more. And yet, in spite of the hectic pace, we must commit ourselves to taking care of our interiority. This raises the question of how to combine the ethics of our faith with our personal, professional and social life.
We need to manage our time in order to devote moments to our interior life, reinforced by a moral ethic, and thus give an increasingly richer meaning to all the moments of our life.
It is therefore inwardly, in our soul and in our spirit, that we must seek the meaning of our life, our commitment to a harmonious and fulfilled life so that the cause of our joy, of our fulfillment remains within us. Our sincere and humble endeavours in our spiritual quest through meditative silence will give us the presence of a Light, which escapes any explanation, but which is something subtle, a reality rich in spiritual happiness.
The day we decide to look for the essential in ourselves, we will be on the way to freedom, serenity, plenitude. We only need to silence the discordant voices of our egoistic instincts, of our proud passions, of our jealous thoughts and our dark, chaotic feelings.
The silence of Ibadat and Bandagi (early morning meditation) will have the power to project us in another time, in another space, where the divine knowledge inscribed in us from all eternity, will reveal itself little by little to our conscience. And we will feel fulfilled, filled with divine light. With sustained and selffless efforts, this quest for light will lead to living a faith of conviction.
The challenge is to unify our all aspects of our lives, which will give us an opportunity to live a time that is not accelerated. Let us not let ourselves be “devoured by time”. We have to let our mind wander to marvel at the beauty of creation, to be inward looking and take hold of the questions, “What is the meaning of our life?” and “How can we have a successful life?”
Prayers and Hopes for Navroz
Let’s take the courageous decision to cultivate our spiritual life and our interiority in a consumer society that invites scattering and produces an imbalance in our existence.
On this blessed day of Navroz, let us raise our prayers together:
– O Mawla Ali, O Hazar Imam, make us confident and serene murids living a solid faith of convictions;
– O Hazar Imam, please pour on the darkness of our intelligence some rays of your Noor, that will illuminate us, give us the key and the inspiration to face and solve all the options of the din and the duniya!
Date posted: March 20, 2023.
Born and raised in Madagascar, Mohez Nato went to France in the late 1960’s to pursue his university education. Political tensions in Madagascar prevented him from returning to his home country, where he had planned to teach and carry out research on medicinal plants. Instead, he remained in France and completed his PhD, following which he worked as a teacher-researcher in Plant Biotechnology at the University of Paris Sud XI from 1971 to 2011.
Now, in his retirement, Mohez does voluntary work giving courses in French-speaking Universities in countries like Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Benin, Algeria and Tunisia. He is also the president of a Humanitarian Association which has been active in Madagascar since 1993. Within the Ismaili community, Mohez was Secretary General of the Ismailia Association for France (with President Mohamad Peera) which organized Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan’s visit to Paris in 1980. Thereafter, he devoted time for the opening of a Jamatkhana in Antony in southern suburb of Paris, where he also held the position of Kamadia from 1981 to 1983. After the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2007-08, Mohez was bestowed with the title of Alijah by Mawlana Hazar Imam. Mohez is married to Farida, with whom he has two daughters, Farahna and Rahima. We invite you to read his earlier piece Ode à l’Imam du Temps Présent / Ode to the Imam of the Present Time published in Barakah.