“Mawla Fulfilled My Wish”

A Heart-Warming Story from Hazrat Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

By Sakerkhanu Gulamhusain Gulamali

Special to Simerg

At his residence in Bombay, Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah examines some of the diamonds before the day of the Diamond Jubilee Ceremony at Bombay’s Brabourne Stadium.

I was about 6 years old at the time of Hazrat Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in the year 1946, marking the occasion of his sixty years of Imamat, which he inherited in 1885 when he was only eight years old. The celebrations in the Indian Sub-continent took place at various locations in Bombay. A child from each of the Religious Night Schools was to be selected to recite a ginan (an Ismaili hymn) or poem in front of the Jamat gathered for the Holy Didar at the Wadi Jamatkhana compounds. It was my sincerest desire to participate in this program, and to be amongst the chosen students. I therefore practiced a poem and worked very hard at it.

It was a most thrilling and joyous moment for me when my teacher informed me that I was selected to recite the poem in front of the Jamat before the Imam’s arrival. Like all little children I had a clean and pure heart, and now that I was selected, I wished that I would even get a chance to recite the poem in the presence of the Imam. Therefore, I left no stone unturned to see that I attained the highest possible standard in my recitation. I also kept up with the intensity of my prayer, so that I might be blessed with a chance.

The auspicious day for the Didar of Hazrat Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah finally arrived, and words are inadequate to express the joy and thrill that I felt within myself. Students came in turns to present their wonderful recitals before the Jamat. I was dressed in my lovely white dress, and as my name was called out I went up on the stage and stood before the mike to present the poem that I had learnt and practiced so well. Just as I finished my recitation, there was a deafening ovation from the Jamat, accompanied with the resounding claps and shouts of “once more, once more”.

The situation continued to prevail, and the only way the leaders could calm the very large gathering of over 20,000 murids was to get me to recite the poem again. At the end of my second recitation, I had another wonderful ovation and the crowd then urged on the leadership that I should recite the poem in the Imam’s holy presence.

In the meantime, Hazrat Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah had arrived, and the leaders decided to sit me close to the stage of the Imam. It seemed as if my wish was going to be fulfilled, and with that thought my tasbih (supplication) became even more stronger.

However, as the didar program ended, the Imam rose from his seat to leave. Seeing this my heart sank deeply, and it wept with the thought that this was not going to be my day to recite the poem in the Imam’s presence. The leaders then humbly submitted to the Imam that it was the desire of the Jamat for Khudavind to listen to a recital that I had presented earlier. Most graciously, the Imam accepted their request, and seated himself on his chair once again. This was a moment of emotional rollercoaster, and Mawla enacted a drama for me. Instead of the sadness that I had felt just moments ago, I was now buoyant and my heart leapt with joy as I rushed to the stage with confidence. It was an experience of  a lifetime as I felt paradise before me. I began my recitation and Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah  listened to it intently. I recited the first, second, third, fourth and fifth stanzas as follows:

Ekare Ek, Rakho Khane Jawani Tek,
Mara banduo, mari matao farman padu faraj che

 Bagare Be, Bolo Sultan Mahomed Shahni Jai,
Mara banduo, mari matao farman padu faraj che

Tragare Tran, Raho Hazat Imamne Charan,
Mara banduo, mari matao farman padu faraj che

Chogare Char, Mankho Nahi Ave Biji Vaar,
Mara banduo, mari matao farman padu faraj che

Panchare Panch. Ismaili Ne Na Ave Aanch


First (One), Make a firm niyaat (resolve) to attend Jamatkhana regularly
Bretheren, it is our duty to obey the farman

Second (Two), Evoke the praise of (Imam) Sultan Mahomed Shah
Bretheren, it is our duty to obey the farman

Third (Three), Remain under the care (and protection) of  the Imam
Bretheren, it is our duty to obey the farman

Fourth (Four), Life is not granted twice
Bretheren, it is our duty to obey the farman

Fifth (Five), Ismaili (brethren) should not suffer from any severe problems  

As soon as I had finished reciting the fifth stanza, Panchare Panch. Ismaili Ne Na Ave Aanch,  Hazrat Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah who was seated very close to the mike, immediately took me by both the hands, picked me up and placed me on his holy lap. He asked the leaders, “‘Where is her father?” My father, Huzurmukhi Samji Rajan, was seated in the middle of the crowd. The Imam said, “Iske bap ko bulao” (call her father).

My father’s name was called out on the mike, and he approached the Imam with a deep sense of humility and respect, falling at the Imam’s feet. The Imam gave both of us his affectionate loving blessings and said to me,  “bahot khub; shabash” (very very good, bravo). Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah then told my father that I would have a beautiful and enchanting voice in reciting ginans. The Imam then looking at me noted that I was frail and weak, and he asked my father that I should be fed well with eggs and milk so that I would grow up to be a strong and healthy girl.

This event was a great blessing bestowed on me. Mawla had listened to the prayers and supplications of his young spiritual daughter of only six. Not only did he provide me the chance to recite the poem in his presence, but he blessed me with a beautiful and enchanting voice, and he wished that I should recite the ginans for his Jamats.

Since that unforgettable and unique incident in my life, I have regularly recited ginans in Jamatkhanas around the world, and have continued the practice to this day with love, dedication and faith for our Imam. When members of the Jamat approach me and tell me that my ginan recitation touches the inner core of their hearts, my thoughts immediately turn to the blessings that were bestowed on me by our beloved 48th Imam on the historical celebration of his sixty years of Imamat in 1946.

The recitation of ginans since my childhood has given me immense happiness, and has remained a source of hope as well as spiritual strength and progress. It is gratifying to see, even in the Western World, beautiful recitations performed by children as young as 4, 5 or 6 years. These young boys and girls are continuing to keep alive a tradition that Mawlana Hazar Imam once described  as “so special, so unique and so important to my Jamat.”

Date article posted: September 15, 2012.
Date updated: September 18, 2012.

Copyright: Simerg.com


Vazirbanu Sakerkhanu Gulamhusain

About the writer: Vazirbanu Sakerkhanu Gulamhusain was born and raised in the Indian Sub-Continent. She pursued a career in teaching for a number of years after having obtained a Teaching Diploma and Bachelor’s Degree in Education.  After the untimely demise of her husband, Vazir Gulamhusain Gulamali, Sakerkhanu has shared her time between Pakistan and other countries where her children and family reside.

Other accounts and experiences of interest:

1. On Meeting the Noorani Family – My Voyage to Europe
2. Recitation of Qur’anic Verses in the Presence of His Highness the Aga Khan
3. Baba Ismail: The First Shamsi Convert in the History of the Gupti Ismailis of Punjab
4. The 1955 “Jubilee Ball” of His Highness the Aga Khan III at the Savoy
5. An Ismaili Youth’s Rare Moment With Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah
6. Yakimour 1954: A Golden Moment for an Aspiring Student

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18 thoughts on ““Mawla Fulfilled My Wish”

  1. Thank you for sharing very special, inspirational moments of your life with us. I feel enriched. Thank you once again. Zeni

  2. Congratulations sister vazir banu! You are so lucky that your great wish of life has been fulfilled. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  3. Dear Vazirbanoo Sakerkhanoo
    Ya ali madat ! I have never known you ever although I was from the same town, which is very sad since we did not have the technology to socialize as we do today. Anyway I do want to covey to you that I had heard this same poem from you in Dongri Darkhana Jamaatkhabna during that time, since I am your contemporary. It was indeed in the holy Huzur of Sultan Mohmed shah that you recited this poem and it has left an indelible mark on my memory since then. Sometimes I still hum this poem now and the whole scene comes dancing in front of my mind’s eye, after 66 yrs. I wonder who composed this poem for you or did you do It yourself? I am intrigued to know . Please let me know.
    Let me tell you how blessed you were to get this close to Hazar Imam and get all His blessings. You are really lucky Mashallah!!!!

    Lots of love and regards
    Hamida Cassum

  4. Your experience not only lifted up my heart but I pray that all leaders will take notice of many talented murids in their Jamats. Why not regard people’s opinion of how well these perform reciting Ginans or Dua, reading Farmans instead of their giving an opportunity to the same individuals, day after day without considering applause or opinion on many a 6yr old or others present there in carrying out their daily routine.

  5. Dear Sakuma,

    As your (older) sister I was overjoyed to see your excellent and inspiring account on Simerg. It triggers for me some very special and happy memories of you and our family, especially our beloved parents. It is interesting to note that this mulaqat was particularly for the students of the Jamat from around India – a Mijlas – where parents and other Jamati members were also present. I reckon there were several thousand more than the 20,000 you have mentioned. At the time, I was the Mukhiani of the Bandra students Jamat and was seated with other colleagues from across the country. I could feel the pulsation of all those who were present for this didar and the happiness of the entire gathering to witness young children like you came up to the stage to recite the poems and ginans before the Imam’s arrival. I vividly recall the cheers and the support that was shown for you. The most touching incident for me was to witness Mawlana Sultan Muhammad Shah lifting you and placing you on his laps, and the arrival of Bapaji on the stage. I think the grace of that incident some 66 years ago continues to be with you whenever you recite ginans today. I feel the sweetness in your voice and an abundance of spiritual barakah in your heart as you recite the ginans. I hope you come to Vancouver soon!!! Congratulations for such a wonderful account.

    Love and Ya Ali Madad


  6. Very Inspiring, May Mowla grant this opportunity to every Murid. Thanks a lot for sharing. May Mowla Bless you always…..

  7. Ya Ali Madad Vazirbanu, (a comment in Portuguese) Parabens pela sua experencia, Mashaallah, fiquei muito muito satisfeito em ler experiencia. Huzur Mukhiani Tazim Sadrudin Carmali Popat & Sadrudin Carmali Popat

    (Congratulations and Mashallah – I was delighted to read about your experience)

  8. Excellent piece of reminiscence. What more would a momin desire except the happiness of the Imam? Mubaraki to Vazirbanu! And thank you for sharing your personal experience. These personal reminiscences do make you feel elated and happy.


  9. Really, it was a wonderful chance. My heart was filled with joy and happiness. Lots of mubaraki. May Mawla bless you always and also may he give the same chance to his murids. Ameen. Gulzar Juma. Kuwait.

  10. Very inspiring article and show that the verse: ‘Eji Je Je Mangu….’ comes true for all those who believe in the power of prayer.

    Shirin Hirji
    London, Uk

  11. Respected Vazir Bano Sakerkhano Ghulamhussain
    Ya Aly Madad

    You are no doubt one of the luckiest person on the earth to have such special blessings from Mawla – A very few people get such opportunities in their lives

    Mawla Bless You and entire Family.


    Rai Habib Khairani, Karachi, Pakistan

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