by Shellyza Moledina
When I look at the Muslim Ummah today, I am always in awe and confusion at the immense pluralism at hand. At the basis of our religion, each Qur’anic ayat has not only a multitude of interpretations – but also multiple types of interpretations. For example, there are the literal fundamentalist interpretations, the theological ones, the mystical Sufi ones, the philosophical ones, the feminist ones, the modern ones, the historical ones based on social contexts, etc.
Although as academics, one can admire and accept this beauty of diverse opinions, an inner spiritual core yearns for a ‘path’ based on a set of non-contradicting interpretations, which in turn correlates to a subjective ‘validity of interpretations’. I call this validity subjective, as this validity differs in content for various tariqahs of Islam and for individual Muslims.
Ismailis establish this validity and path through their Imam, the Aga Khan, who guides the community according to the current Imam’s interpretations of the text.
If I were to go back in time, I would witness the entire 23 years at which the Qur’anic ayats were revealed, and also observe how the Prophet himself understood and carried out these revealed concepts.
By doing so, I believe that one could better understand the concept of the ‘Rope of Imamat’ – a rope which not only extends for the future, but also stems firmly from the past.
As a young Mu’rid, I have never witnessed the times of another Imam. By establishing an understanding of how the past relates to the present, I could further understand how I could apply my present concepts to the generations of the future.
Going to the Prophet’s time would thus allow me to understand Imamat as a continuous flowing rope in various social contexts, instead of understanding Imamat as several blocks of history, with various awe- inspiring yet certainly different spiritual figures.
As Ismailis, we are lucky to have spiritual guidance within the community, which has aided us to have strength and survive in the world. However, more strength and intellect to further understand how we are to live in the future could be obtained by comparing and understanding the continuous commonalities between the past and present: between the guidance of the Prophet, of Imam Ali, and of our current Mawla Bapa.
About the writer: Shellyza Moledina is final-year pharmacy student who also enjoys reading history and theology, writing poetry regularly, and debating about current events. She also likes singing and is also a song-writer.
Some of her poetry is featured in the Modern Artistic Expressions category of this Web site. Please click Shellyza Moledina: Mawla’s Eyes and other poems.
She also has her own blog, http://shellyza.wordpress.com.
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Absolutely! Mawlana Hazar Imam tells us in his firmans how we should learn from our past , think about the future and excel in our present . Such an important concept , and so much more. We just have to give ourselves a quiet time and keep our minds open.
A job well done, Shellyza.
Shellyza’s article ‘Serenity in Central London’ (Ismaili Center) was published around 20 years back with the poem in ‘the Ismaili’ and was beautiful. I must have read it many times. Hope she will keep on writing.