Date posted: January 4, 2017.
Date posted: January 4, 2017.
“The medium Gulgee used in these mosaics is blue lapis lazuli stones. He had to pick through thousands of pieces of blue stone, in varying colors and shapes and sizes. Then, he had to arrange them in such a way that they formed a perfect portrait of a living person. He described it as being similar to a giant jigsaw puzzle.” Read More…
Immerse yourself in beautifully vibrant photos that Muslim Harji captured in Montreal during the celebration of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s historic 80th birthday on December 13th and 17th, 2016. Like his other distinguished and highly acclaimed photo pieces on this site and its sister photo blog Simergphotos, Muslim Harji brilliantly captures — and brings to life — the spirit and happiness of Ismailis at the event in Montreal’s headquarters jamatkhana. Volunteers, children, youth, the senior citizens…no one is left out in this fine assortment of photographs!
Date posted: December 21, 2016.
INTRODUCED BY ABDULMALIK MERCHANT
(with material from The Ismaili website)
“No ocean, no mountain, and no desert can keep the Imam from his murids,” was the caring message that Mawlana Shah Karim al-Hussaini Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, delivered to his spiritual children, the Ismailis, during one of the many visits which he undertook to his global community during his Golden Jubilee Celebrations. The Jubilee began on July 11, 2007, when he completed 50 years of his reign as the 49th hereditary Imam, directly descended from the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.), and ended on December 13, 2008, on the exact day of his 72nd birthday. He was born in Geneva in 1936.
Eight years on, on Saturday December 17, 2016, the harsh elements of nature — snow, freezing rain, and cold — did not subdue or keep tens of thousands of Ismailis in Canada, from attending the video showing of their beloved Imam’s 80th birthday celebration that had taken place just a day earlier at his estate and the Imamat headquarters in Aiglemont, France.
Ismaili leaders from around the world, including President Malik Talib of Canada, travelled to France on behalf of their constituents to personally offer congratulations, express shukrana (thanks), and to reaffirm the Jamat’s bayyah (oath of allegiance) to the 49th Ismaili Imam. Also attending the birthday celebration, were members of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s family – Prince Amyn Muhammad, Princess Zahra, Prince Rahim and his wife Princess Salwa along with their son Prince Irfan, Prince Hussain, Prince Aly Muhammad and Princess Zahra’s children, Sara and Ilyan.
Earlier during the week, on December 13, the actual day of his birthday, Ismailis had gathered in their local jamatkhanas for special prayers and ceremonies to affirm their loyalty and love for their Imam. Mawlana Hazar Imam, in becoming 80, has established himself as the oldest serving Imam in Ismaili history!
The celebration in Aiglemont was housed in specially designed marquee, with a protective dome that signified the guidance and shelter that Hazar Imam constantly provides. The dome itself was inspired by an icosahedron — a geometric structure composed of 20 triangles. Each triangle symbolised one of the 20 national Ismaili Councils appointed by the Imam to oversee the community’s well-being.
Reflecting on the progress of the Jamat over the past several decades, Hazar Imam said, “I think we can conclude today that the Jamat is a strong community. It is a global community. It is a community with strong institutions, with strong ethics and it is respected around the world. This evening is an extraordinarily special occasion for the global Jamat and for the leaders who are here present tonight who are representing them.”
He said that his wish for the decades ahead was that “you stand firmly by the principles and ethics of our faith. Wherever you are, whatever age you are, whatever you do in your lives, it is essentially important to me that the principles of our faith should be respected everyday of your lives.”
When Mawlana Hazar Imam cut a birthday cake presented on behalf of the global Jamat, he was serenaded by all those gathered with Happy Birthday sung in two languages. Hazar Imam was also presented with a gift of art — a mosaic of horses by the late Ismail Gulgee that was commissioned in 1989. It was selected “because of Hazar Imam’s passion for horses, the history of horses within Islamic civilisation and the history even within Mawlana Hazar Imam’s own family,” explained Chairman Eboo.
Mawlana Hazar Imam expressed great happiness at the celebration of his 80th birthday. “If I had known it was going to be so wonderful, I would have tried to bring it forward,” he joked, “and I would have tried to multiply it!” He said, “I hope that in the decades ahead, you will remember this occasion as one of special happiness, as I do.”
The jamat at the Darkhana, where I was present for the showing, watched the entire program with awe and absolute discipline.We then proceeded in an orderly fashion to a specially constructed tent in the parking lot to partake of the feast (jaman) prepared by a team of special volunteers of the jamat – the randhan committee. It consisted of fresh lettuce, vegetable and chicken biryanis with kachumber (diced tomatoes and onions), a dessert (barfi), soft drinks and chai! The tent was heated and very comfortable, protecting everyone from the freezing temperatures. The senior citizens of the jamat were served their dinner at the jamatkhana’s social hall on the second floor. After the feast, members of the jamat joined for a dandhia raas (stick dancing and hand clapping) program!
The 80th birthday celebration has generated the momentum for yet another significant milestone in Mawlana Hazar Imam’s life – the celebration of his Diamond Jubilee beginning July 11, 2017, which will take place as Canada begins celebrating its 150th birthday on July 1, 2017.
Date posted: December 20, 2016.
For a video of the 80th birthday celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan held in Aiglemont, France, on December 16, 2016, please visit http://www.theismaili.org, the official website of the Ismaili community. Readers will also find there a gallery of more than 30 photographs of the celebration.
Mr. Malik Talib, the President of His Highness the Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for Canada, along with the Chairmen of the Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board (Dr. Kabir Jivraj), Grants and Review Board (Mr. Amir Lakhani), and Conciliation and Arbitration Board (Mr. Karim Sunderji), and the Mukhi of Darkhana Jamatkhana (Mr. Zahir Bhatia) issued the following message through the Canadian Ismaili community’s special newsletter edition of “Al-Akhbar,” as tens of thousands of Ismailis gathered in jamatkhanas across the country to observe the historic 80th birthday or Salgirah of Mawlana Shah Karim al-Hussaini Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan on December 13. The celebrations will continue late into the week with special cultural events, voices from the jamat and video presentations.
Mawlana Hazar Imam pictured at the 1998 darbar held in Lisbon, Portugal.
This is a historic event for our Jamat. No part of our lives has been untouched by the work and dedication of Mawlana Hazar Imam. For the Jamat in Canada, our very presence here and all of the opportunities afforded to us, have been made possible by the singular concern of our Imam for our material and spiritual well-being.
The spirit of frontierless brotherhood and sisterhood that has helped the community weather many storms springs from a common allegiance to our Imam, uniting us in purpose and vision.
The volume and quality of initiatives established and sustained by the office of the Imamat are staggering. More importantly, these have improved the well-being of millions.
In light of all with which we have been blessed, what can we give back? Perhaps the most powerful form of gratitude would be a re-commitment to the principles of our faith and many of the efforts to which they give rise:
- Attending to our spiritual lives in a world increasing concerned with material well-being as the sole objective of life;
- Improving the quality of life of the Jamat and the communities in which we live;
- Strengthening community and family ties amidst the challenges of modern living;
- Enhancing our understanding of our faith and our ability to articulate the peaceful, compassionate message of Islam;
- Promoting pluralism in a world that seems ever more fragmented.
As we approach Canada’s 150th birthday and look forward to commemorating the Diamond Jubilee, it is our hope and prayer that the coming months will be a time of excitement, fulfillment, renewal and happiness.
To all our volunteers and donors who unconditionally and generously commit their time and resources, we sincerely express our special thanks and gratitude.
We offer our humble shukrana to our beloved Mawlana Hazar Imam for his continued guidance, and pray for peace and stability for the Jamats living in difficult circumstances and for our collective good health, faith, prosperity, success and unity. Ameen.
Date posted: December 14, 2016.
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