To Ismailis of Portugal: We are now preparing to be with you in Lisbon to celebrate the “highest point” of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan

BY ABDULMALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher/Editor Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos)

Nurin Merchant Ismaili Centre Lisbon Golden Jubilee Photos 001
Friends meeting friends at the magnificent Lisbon Ismaili Centre during the Golden Jubilee celebrations of His Highness the Aga Khan in 2008. Photo: Nurin Merchant.

Note: This post will be continuously updated as more details are forthcoming.

Lisbon: The “highest point” of Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

Flights to Lisbon are becoming harder to find on specific travelling dates in early July, and hotels are now quickly filling up as Jamati members respond to the official LIF (Ismaili Leaders International Forum) announcement made on Navroz, March 21, 2018 that, with Mawlana Hazar Imam’s approval, the Jamats around the world would be welcome to join the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Lisbon. Some weeks earlier, Nazim Ahmed, the AKDN representative to Portugal and one of the 5 senior officials of the Imamat to Portugal, made a statement to Portugal’s Ministry of External Affairs that the celebrations in Lisbon would be the highest point of the celebrations of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee. This set off a flood inquiries about what form the celebration would take, and many even started preparing for the trip then.

We want to tell you not to despair about flight and hotel bookings yet, but urge you NOT TO DELAY despite the fact that registration details for the Portugal Darbar have yet to be be announced on the official Ismaili community website. There are still seats available on Air Canada’s return flights from Toronto; and TAP, the Portuguese airline, and United Airlines fly directly from Boston and New York respectively. Please get in touch with your airlines or travel agents, many of whom are offering complete packages from various cities around North America. Of course if you are in Europe, distances are shorter and many residing there may drive or take the train, as alternatives to flying!

My recent searches at some of the hotel booking sites that I have provided below — and that I have used many times — show that there are rooms available in all quarters of Lisbon at varying prices — from as low as CAD $55.00 per night to a high of CAD $1700.00 per night. There are lots of apartments at decent prices on Airbnb that are ideal for couples, families as well as friends who wish to share and save on accommodation costs.

(Note: There may be visa requirements to travel to Portugal from your country, so you have to resolve that before making any kind of booking).

From the Jamat’s perspective, while the Darbar would undoubtedly be the high point of the visit, we want to say that there are plenty of interesting activities such as the Diamond Jubilee Festival that will be staged in Lisbon during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s presence in Lisbon. The official community website, the Ismaili, mentions that the Festival will include concerts featuring world-renowned performers; an international Jamati Talent Showcase; an Art Gallery; a Film Festival; and a general Imamat Day celebration. Also, a carry forward from the Golden Jubilee is the Rays of Light exhibition depicting Mawlana Hazar Imam’s commitment to improve the human condition during his 60 years of Imamat. A Mela (get together) space for friends and family to meet, relax, and share experiences will be the central hub of the Diamond Jubilee Celebration.

The Portuguese Jamat, as we learn, are very excited about welcoming the world wide Jamat for the “high point of the Diamond Jubilee celebration.”

Reasons to be in Lisbon

Over the weekend of March 24-25, 2018, I attended in Toronto the Canadian Jubilee arts festival and was impressed with stage performances and visual art exhibits. Now, that talent will converge in Lisbon from Ismaili Jamats who held local and national Jubilee events in their respective countries.

National Ismaili Arts Festival Canada
A painting at the Jubilee Arts National Festival held in Toronto on March 24-25. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant.
Canada Jubilee Arts Festival
An amazing and graceful performance by Azaz Hussain (in wheelchair) and Rehana Meru at the Canada Jubilee Arts National Festival on March 25, 2018 in Toronto. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant.

Lisbon hosts the third high profile Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre to be built after the London and Burnaby Ismaili Centres. So visiting the Festival and seeing the Ismaili Centre during Hazar Imam’s presence, meeting thousands at the Festival grounds, enjoying Portuguese delicacies at the site and Lisbon restaurants, visiting historic sites in and around Lisbon as well as shopping are some of the wonderful memories that you will take back with you, Darbar aside.

palc3a1cio-henrique-de-mendonc3a7a-featured-image1
The exquisite Henrique Mendonça Palace in Portugal that will house the Seat of Ismaili Imamat. Situated in an extremely exclusive neighbourhood, the Henrique Mendonça palace won the Valmor Prize in 1909, and is part of a panoramic green area of ​​three hectares in the heart of Lisbon.

Moreover, the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat is being established in Lisbon, and we would all be very excited to visit its location in the heart of Lisbon.

time-out-2829979_1280
The Time Out Market in Lisbon has 35 kiosks selling regional specialities. Five top chefs have restaurants here.

The city of Lisbon itself is enchanting and has a lot to offer. Not far from Lisbon, approximately 300 kms away, is Portugal’s Algarve, one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world. Spain’s Cordoba is 500 kms from Lisbon. Then, from there it is another 2 hours to the architectural wonder of Alhambra, in Granada.

My Past Memories

Eusebio in action
The Benfica and Portuguese superstar Eusébio in action in the 1960’s. Photo: Fifa

Lisbon has been at the centre of my heart for almost 56 years and it all started with Eusébio (1942-2014), the football player, who was essentially “kidnapped” from Mozambique by the great Portuguese team of the time, Benfica. Soon after joining Benfica he led the team to a 5-3 win over Real Madrid in the finals of the European Cup (now known as the UEFA Champions Cup) on May 2, 1962 in Amsterdam. As an 8 year old, I stayed awake to listen to the live commentary in Lourenço Marques (LM) at my friend Aziz Noorali’s place at the other end of the apartment complex where we stayed. “Golo de Benfica” – yes that was when I first fell in love with Lisboa! Eusébio broke the 3-3 tie, scoring the last 2 goals that made Benfica victorious, and a side to be reckoned with for the next few years with him as its superstar, like today’s Portuguese Ronaldo who plays for Real Madrid.

Alwaez Merchant with Loureco Marques Friends large 2
The author’s father, Jehangir Merchant (2nd from left) with friends including the late Noordin Ahmed Keshavjee (left), Haider Ali Issa (right) and Tajdin Hussein (centre with glasses, second row) at the gate of Lourenço Marques Jamatkhana. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.
Nizar Ahmed Mahmed (d. appx 1960)
A portrait of Ismaili soldier Nizar Ahmed who died when the ship he was sailing in sunk off the coast of Mozambique around the year 1960. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.
Chaganbhai of Lourenco Marques
Remembering Chaganbhai of Lourenço Marques Jamatkhana. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.
Lourenco Marques Aga Khan Club Cricket Team
The Lourenço Marques Aga Khan Club cricket team. Jehangir Merchant is in the front row at extreme right and standing behind him is the great Ismaili football player, Satar, who represented the Mozambique national team as a defender on many occasions including in a game against Benfica (and Eusébio). Photo: Late 1950’s, Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.
Ismaili Ladies Volunteers Lourenço Marques Jamat late 1950's
Ismaili lady volunteers of the Lourenço Marques Jamat, late 1950’s. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

A few years later in the 1970’s the small Ismaili Jamat started leaving Mozambique for settlement in Portugal, and my first glimpse of Lisbon was in 1977 when I travelled there from London. The Keshavjee family hosted me, and Lutafbhai spent hours showing me the city, taking me to its most historical and charming sites. His older brother, the late Madatbhai, took me to other points of interest as well as to a coastal restaurant, where I enjoyed the tiger prawns that I had missed in Tanzania and London since leaving Mozambique.

Alwaez Merchant joining in a student recitation in Lourenco Marques
A recitation by Ismaili students at a Jamati gathering in Lourenço Marques. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

I vividly remember one night during that first trip to Lisbon when more than a dozen family members from the Keshavjee clan took me to a very traditional Portuguese restaurant where I experienced a wide variety of local delicacies. The weight gain from that meal has not been lost to this day! During my subsequent visits, I was welcomed to Lisbon with hugs and kisses, because my parents had served the LM Jamat admirably and with distinction during their 8 year tenure there in the 1950’s! Then, in 2008, I took my daughter with me to Lisbon for Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee.

Prince Aly Khan admiring a needlework by an Ismaili Student during his visit to Lourenco Marques
Prince Aly Khan admiring needlework by an Ismaili student during his visit to Lourenço Marques in 1957. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.
prince-aly-khan-lm-being-greeted
Prince Aly Khan bids farewell as he leaves the Lourenço Marques Jamatkhana during his visit in 1957. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.
mawlana-hazar-imam-being-shown-needle-work
In May 1958, Mawlana Hazar Imam visited the Jamats in South Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar. Here he is shown a display of needlework and crafts prepared by Ismaili students during his visit to Lourenço Marques. His beloved father, Prince Aly Khan (13 June 1911 – 12 May 1960), had visited the Jamat in 1957, a few months before Mawlana Hazar Imam became the Imam on July 11, 1957. See previous 2 photos. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.
His Highness the Aga Khan, in front row in white suit, seen with leaders and teachers of the Lourenço Marques during his 1958 visit to Portuguese East Africa
1958, Lourenço Marques: Mawlana Hazar Imam, then 21 years of age, pictured with leaders and teachers of Lourenço Marques at the front staircase of the Jamatkhana entrance. Mrs. Merchant is in second row at left, and Mr. Merchant is seen immediately behind Mawlana Hazar Imam. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.
Mawlana Hazar Imam entering a classroom in Lourence Marques
Mawlana Hazar Imam meets with Ismaili students during his visit to Lourenço Marques in May 1958. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

Lisbon and Mozambique today

Cristiano_Ronaldo_20120609
Today’s Portuguese and Real Madrid superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, pictured playing against Germany at Euro 2012. Photo: Football.ua [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

What about today’s Mozambique and Portugal Jamats? I am happy to share a warm and gracious letter from Aly Faruque in response to this post. He writes:

“As a Portuguese citizen currently residing in Mozambique, I would like to, in the first instance to welcome you to Portugal. We all look forward to receiving our brothers and sisters, and to experience together this incredible moment of history that our Community is celebrating.

“Your words, comments, and memories deeply touched us [referring to my Barakah post], by your humility and availability to share precious and valuable information. The history and the past that you shared from our Countries bring us nostalgia and willingness to remember even further our great memories from the past, as well as when looking at pictures that connect us back to our roots and traditions. This is indeed very heartwarming.

“But our history and tradition did not stop in the second half of the 20th century. Mozambique currently has a vibrant Ismaili community spread across the country, that includes 7 (and growing) Jamatkhanas, and, Portugal, where our community has prospered, is now the home of many brothers and sisters that are well integrated and without any doubt a part of the socio-economic fabric of the Portuguese society.

“In addition, and although Eusebio is still well respected, we are currently living the most glorious years of our football history. Portugal is the current holder of the European Cup and the best player in the world, perhaps of all times, is named Cristiano Ronaldo and started his career in Sporting Clube of Portugal, probably the best school of football talents in the world.

“As for the city of Lisbon, the highlights you mentioned are brilliant and definitely a must-see during a visit to our beautiful country and city. There are other places, those that are not on the itinerary of tour guides, and that could be a more genuine view of the Lisbon vibrant hospitality. Some of these places would be the Mercado de Campo de Ourique, where you can have a gourmet experience in an informal environment, the LX Factory, where you can visit some of the trendiest restaurants in Lisbon, and the Bairro Alto, Principe Real, Chiado and Cais do Sodre neighborhoods, suitable for both day and night experience.

“We look forward to receiving you all.”

Aly would like readers to note that his views about sightseeing and places to visit in Lisbon are personal. Readers who want more information about the city, from his perspective, may contact him at aly.faruque@gmail.com.

Aga Khan Arrives in Portugal
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan arrives in Lisbon on July 19, 2017, ahead of two ceremonies on July 20, when the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa in Portugal honoured the Aga Khan with a doctorate honoris causa and the President of Portugal bestowed upon him the Gra-cruz da ordem de Liberdade. Following him, at left, is Nazim Ahmed, the AKDN representative in Portugal and one of five senior Imamat officials introduced by His Highness the Aga Khan to Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousain in May 2016. Photo: The Ismaili.

Today, the city as well as the country have recognized Hazar Imam’s contribution and  bestowed him with honours. The Ismaili Imamat and the Portugese government signed a historical agreement to establish the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal. Long before that, Lisbon already had established the third high profile Ismaili Centre in the world.

July 20 2017 Aga Khan and Portugal President
On July 20, 2017, Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa presented His Highness the Aga Khan with the Gra-cruz da ordem de Liberdade in recognition of his service to uplifting lives around the world. Photo: AKDN/Antonio Pedrosa.

Enjoy Lisbon to the fullest!

There are plenty of things to do in and around Lisbon, and I would suggest that anyone travelling to the city experience its history and architecture by taking day tours or simply jumping on Tram 28 to see the best of Lisbon! Hop on and off buses are available! Aly Faruque has also provided unique insights in his letter, above.

Amin Jiná has sent me a link to the exclusive ground transportation that he offers through http://www.amiroad.pt. I normally don’t endorse services that I have not utilized myself but I would be inclined to use his services due to the extremely positive reviews and high ratings that Amiroad has received at https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g189158-d7134166-Reviews-Amiroad_Luxury_Transports-Lisbon_Lisbon_District_Central_Portugal.html.

1920px-Alfama-CCBY
View of Alfama from the Miradouro of Santa Luzia in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: Wikipedia/Miguel Vieira. This image was originally posted to Flickr by MiguelVieira at https://www.flickr.com/photos/11563230@N04/1224473888. It was reviewed on 27 August 2007 by FlickreviewR and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.

Lisbon’s subway system is great (see map, below). With regard to accommodations do not necessarily look for one closest to the Ismaili Centre. There are lovely hotels and charming Airbnb rooms and apartments available in centre city and other historical areas of the city such as Alfama. Taking a cab to the Ismaili Centre or the site of the Darbar from downtown Lisbon (or Baixa) will not take you more than 20 minutes! So be an intrepid traveller – not a boring one! Kids love excitement, remember that, if you are travelling with children and youth. And of course staying in the more traditional and popular areas of the city will allow you to walk to nearby restaurants for great coffees and pastries, and make sightseeing and shopping exciting as well as easier.

Hotel Booking Websites

I have made bookings over the past several years through all the websites listed below, with a very high level (95%) of satisfaction. Where a hotel has not met the expected star level or service as indicated at the site where the reservation was made, their customer service representatives have been extremely considerate in fixing the problem or applying credits for subsequent stays. I have also stayed at many Airbnb accommodations over the past 2 years that have been positively reviewed and I don’t have anything to complain about. With the oncoming rush many new properties will be listed that do not yet carry reviews. If they look good in photos and the person you communicate with is responsive, go for it. Here are the sites I have made bookings through. Note that many properties offer cancellations!

Tip: Use filters (eg. price range, dates of stay, star rating, location from city centre or major attractions etc) to narrow down search

  • http://www.booking.com (excellent, and one good thing is that it offers cancellations on many bookings or pay at property)
  • http://www.hotels.com (again, an excellent website)
  • http://www.trivago.ca (scans partner hotel booking sites for best rates, and lists the top few)
  • http://www.priceline.com (you can name your own price and, if lucky, be rewarded or get up to  60% off express deals; no refunds once booked for special offers)
  • http://www.hotwire.com (offers very competitive rates that once booked are not refundable)
  • http://www.tripadvisor.com (an amazing site that also provides reliable reviews of everything travel related — things to do, hotels, restaurants etc.)
  • http://www.expedia.com (excellent and offers special discounts for registered users)
  • http://www.airbnb.com (hosts who offer private rooms/apartments for short term or long term stays)
  • NOTE: The author has used all the sites listed above without any major issues; concerns raised, eg. incorrect property description/star rating, have been addressed satisfactorily!

Other Lisbon Notes

  • Sources indicate that the 1998 Expo World Fair site, PARQUE DAS NAÇÕES (Park of Nations), is where the Diamond Jubilee events will be taking place;
  • The site is appx. 9-10 kms and a 15-20 minute drive from the Ismaili Centre (Nº1, Av. Lusíada, 1600-001 Lisboa, Portugal);
  • Appx. distance to the Ismaili Centre from downtown Lisbon (or Baixa) is 9 km, 20 minutes by car; and from downtown to PARQUE DAS NAÇÕES, 10-12 kms, 26-30 minutes;
  • For a beginners guide to downtown Lisbon, please click: https://www.pousadasofportugal.com/a-beginners-guide-to-lisbons-downtown-district/;
  • Write to aly.faruque@gmail.com to get information on a more genuine and authentic view of Lisbon’s vibrant hospitality normally not found on guided tour itinerary;
  • Consider Amin Jiná’s http://www.amiroad.pt, highly rated on tripadvisor, for exclusive tours and ground transportation;
  • Avenide de Liberdade is one of the main streets through Lisbon and well known for designer shops. It is a good base for a hotel to have access to all parts of the city;
  • The Alfama is the oldest district of Lisbon, spreading on the slope between the São Jorge Castle and the Tejo river. Its name comes from the Arabic Al-hamma, meaning “hot fountains” or “baths”;
  • Details and registration procedures will be communicated to the Jamat globally on the official website of the Ismaili community, https://the.ismaili/ (NOTE: no Darbar registration information yet; info for Jubilee Arts Festival in Lisbon is now posted)

ENJOY Lisbon and Portugal. Make your plans, don’t delay!

Date posted: March 29, 2018.
Last updated: April 8, 2018.

__________________

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of Contents. Also join/like Barakahat http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

Note: This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan as he celebrates his Diamond Jubilee or 60 years of Imamat.

67 comments

  1. Hi there. I am a visiting student from Canada and I was working on my application when I suddenly stumbled upon some information I had to provide such as: address/email address of inviting person(s), telephone and fax of inviting person(s): I do not have any contacts whatsoever in Lisbon and I was looking to get in touch with one person whom I can refer to as an inviting person in my application. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Like

  2. Yam
    A lot of us Canadians have registered for Lisbon DEEDAR still pending no update yet. Do you know when they will be processed?

    Like

    • A NOTE TO ALL ISMAILI TRAVEL AGENTS, TOUR OPERATORS AND HOTELIERS RE: PORTUGAL:

      For the Diamond Jubilee of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, we have established a new website dedicated to all things Lisbon. If you are a certified and legal travel agent, tour operator or hotelier or a verified Airbnb host (in Lisbon) send us your basic information such as what Salim has provide above, and we will list you on a soon to be established page on http://www.allthingslisboa.wordpress.com. Interestedl travellers then can contact one or more of the agents, hoteliers etc from that list. This is a FREE service that we are providing in fairness to all Ismaili businesses connected with travelling to Portugal for the Diamond Jubilee.

      PLEASE NOTE: We won’t list prices/packages or any other details – just your contact information (phone, website link, email address). Visit http://www.allthingslisboa.wordpress.com week of April 23 to submit your information. It will remain for the prospective traveller to contact you for details and pricing! To be listed, you must be a certified travel agent in the country you are operating from. Please provide your certification/licensing designation information!

      NOTE TO READERS: This is a service we are providing and our listing does not imply any endorsements of the businesses listed!

      Like

  3. Exciting city. Amazing programs in Lisbon for the Diamond Jubilee; lots to do. Look forward to 11th July 2018 as a landmark date in an Ismaili’s life.

    Like

  4. It’s a bit disappointing that the international Jamat will only get to see Hazir Imam from a screen in a hall. Yes, he will walk thru, but we cannot be a part of the entire celebration. Comments?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Malik

    What a terrific piece of work. 👏👏

    You have put together a comprehensive article that educates us, provides a historical context with priceless illustrations from your collection.

    The information about the momentous occasion and the issues brought forth in the present context are of timely and practical use. It provides a roadmap for any Ismaili family planning to go to Portugal for the epic event. The amount of research and hard work required to put something like this together is huge !! Thank you and Bravo!!

    Dr Alnoor Abdulla

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much Mr Malik Merchant for your beautiful article. We already feel as if we are in Lisbon. Please keep us posted on the developments.
    We would also like to know about opportunities for Volunteers for Sewa.
    Thank you once again.
    Yasmin Virji.
    Santa Clara JK
    N California.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Obrigado!–mashalla, for a brilliant coverage of our community in Mozambique, the future Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Lisbon and your family’s generous and historical contribution to our community. Now the torch has been passed to the Nouveau Generation of the MERCHANTS. May Mowla ‘s Grace and Mercy envelope you, to enable you to continue your brilliant journalistic endeavors for many years to come!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Malik Merchant, Editor : It will indeed be considered great service if you kindly check and inform when the registration of Ismailis outside Lisbon will start as people are getting a little bit ichy and want to know registration status as soon as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raisaheb: I will inform readers when I know – that would be when you come to know with the rest of the Jamat, not any sooner. I don’t accept all that is circulated on the social media. I think we have to allow institutions the time they require to get everything coordinated with respect to the registration process. Volumetrics, stress and security testing along with quick response times as well as potential system failures (and recovery) are all part of a thorough implementation of an IT based system.

      Having said all that I think Jamati members who wish to go should not hesitate to take the step of booking for their trip.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Mashallah Mashallah. All will go smoothly as we now have very experienced volunteers and sevadharis across the Jamat and in our Jamati institutions. I don’t think registration is about selecting who can go and who can’t. It is for planning and preparation purposes.

    Ya Ali Madad

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I would like to commend the editor of this blog, Malik Merchant, for the initiative he has taken to publish this highly informative and useful post about the forthcoming Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in Portugal where the Darbar is going to be open to the global Jamat. Some of the comments before me are very useful too. Barakah is making us feel part of a mammoth and historical Ismaili event. I consider the Barakah project as a work of perfection and complete devotion. Those who are not familiar with Barakah and its sister literary website Simerg are missing an emotional and spiritual treasure. I have been following his work for the past several years.

    There are skeptics everywhere and controversies surrounding official announcements and so on at a time when we must be truly excited in our hearts and minds. But this blog’s perspective is positive and has boosted and energized us. We are now excited and looking forward to not only a “blessed” time during our two weeks there, but also a mini-holiday!

    Thank you Barakah! We pray for your happiness and success.

    Sherali Jiwani

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear Abdulmalik,

    Ya Ali Madad,

    As a Portuguese citizen currently residing in Mozambique, I would like to, in the first instance to welcome you to Portugal. We all look forward to receiving our brothers and sisters, and to experience together this incredible moment of history that our Community is celebrating.

    Your words, comments, and memories deeply touched us, by your humility and availability to share precious and valuable information. The history and the past that you shared from our Countries bring us nostalgia and willingness to remember even further our great memories from the past, as well as when looking at pictures that connect us back to our roots and traditions. This is indeed very heartwarming.

    But our history and tradition did not stop in the second half of the 20th century. Mozambique currently has a vibrant Ismaili community spread across the country, that includes 7 (and growing) Jamatkhanas, and, Portugal, where our community has prospered, is now the home of many brothers and sisters that are well integrated and without any doubt a part of the socio-economic fabric of the Portuguese society.

    In addition, and although Eusebio is still well respected, we are currently living the most glorious years of our football history. Portugal is the current holder of the European Cup and the best player in the world, perhaps of all times, is named Cristiano Ronaldo and started his career in Sporting Clube of Portugal, probably the best school of football talents in the world.

    As for the city of Lisbon, the highlights you mentioned are brilliant and definitely a must-see during a visit to our beautiful country and city. There are other places, those that are not on the itinerary of tour guides, and that could be a more genuine view of the Lisbon vibrant hospitality. Some of these places would be the Mercado de Campo de Ourique, where you can have a gourmet experience in an informal environment, the LX Factory, where you can visit some of the trendiest restaurants in Lisbon, and the Bairro Alto, Principe Real, Chiado and Cais do Sodre neighborhoods, suitable for both day and night experience.

    We look forward to receiving you all.

    Thank you.

    Ya Ali Madad,
    Aly Faruque

    Editor’s note: Aly would like readers to note that his views about sightseeing and places to visit in Lisbon are personal. Readers who want more information about the city, from his perspective, may contact him at aly.faruque@gmail.com.

    Like

    • Is there a Jamatkhana in Porto? I’ll be there with my family for 3 days prior to arriving in Lisbon on 5th July, 2018. Thank you.

      Like

    • Please read the article – links to hotel reservation websites are provided. There are numerous other sources for making reservations. The official community website, the Ismaili, may provide pertinent travel info when details are announced.

      Like

  12. Ya Ali Madat
    I felt as though I was already there as I read through your writing. Thank you so much for all the information.

    Portugal here I come!

    Like

  13. Wonderful coverage of forthcoming celebration of Diamond Jubilee in July 2018 at Lisbon. It is indeed rejoicing for Ismailis all over the world that LIF has made timely announcement that Ismailis living elsewhere will be permitted to participate in Darbar and other week long celebration from Jugly 5 to July 11. While only the Lisbon Jamat can participate in Jamat work,

    Number of people have raised apprehension about registration to limit number of Ismailis from outside Lisbon. My experience tells me it is for the LIF and Leaders of Lisbon Jamat so that they can make adequate arrangements keeping in view how many Ismailis from abroad will be registered and not to limit their number.

    There is enough time between March 28 and July 5. Both travellers from abroad and leaders of Lisbon Jamat can plan and arrange things in most efficient way with the help of LIF

    I congratulate Barakah for adequate coverage, LIF and Leaders of Lisbon Jamat for bold decision and wish all the best to Ismailis who want to travel to Lisbon to participate in culmination of Diamond Jubilee Celebration.

    Like

  14. Ya Ali Madad. We are very excited and now the excitement has doubled after reading your article. Thanks from bottom of heart. We are going to be there for sure for the very blessed Diamond Jubilee Darbar and One Jamat Celebrations Mubarak to all brothers and sisters. See you soon in Lisbon.

    Like

  15. What can I say Malik. You are our inspiration and what a lovely way to serve the Imam and His Jamat. You are truly following in your father and mother’s footsteps. Please keep going. We are all most grateful for your tremendous contribution. Ya Ali Madad and all the best for the future. Diamond Jubilee Mubarak.

    Nizar Dhanani

    Like

  16. Hope LIF do not let us down on registration as they have said on 21 March, all are able to come. Pity the announcement was circulated on 19 March and kept as a TOP SECRET and the family members of LIF knew of this message.

    Like

  17. Ya Ali Madad,
    Thank you so much for everything and please continue writing. The insight and orientation to Portugal, the history with Portugal from 1958 to date for our Ismailis and your personal time and effort into making the Diamond Jubilee event historical for our Imam and his murids are well appreciated and will go down in history for the whole world to remember.

    Your family has contributed immensely for the community and serving our beloved Hazar Imam. Keep up the wonderful job. May Mawla bestow your family and you with his choicest loving blessing.
    Ya Ali Madad.
    Karim Kara

    Like

  18. Thank you so much for all this information and advice. Please keep us posted. Hope all who aspire to go, make it and bring lots of blessings for the rest.
    Mumtaz Maker

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  19. Excellent! Keep it up. For all who are travelling, please be vigilant as there is lots of pickpocketing in Lisbon. It happened to me when visiting the Ismaili Centre. I lost a huge chunk of money! Please use the inside pockets (such as in jackets). Good luck and if you go please bring Mawla’s blessings.

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  20. Thank you so much for sharing the information. Can we confirm bookings now as the dates and other related informations are officially announced?

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    • Almas: If you want to know, I have booked my return fare, and thousands probably did so before me. I haven’t yet booked my accommodation. I think I might be able to find one at the last minute if need be! I’m taking a chance but that’s fine with me.

      Air Canada offers cancellation on its flights with a penalty of $300.00 up to the last few hours before departure. Other chartered flights such as Air Transat (in Canada) may have similar policies when you book directly through them, either flight or package. Tickets may be reasonable/available if you want to stretch your departure dates to and from Lisbon; travel a few days earlier – say around July 1/2 and depart Lisbon later than July 12th! The coast of Algarve is fantastic, if people want to travel early or return later and spend time outside Lisbon! See 5 reasons why you should visit algarve at https://www.pousadasofportugal.com/5-reasons-why-you-need-to-visit-the-algarve/. May I add that Spain is next door!

      As for me, the excitement of being there, participating in the celebrations that will take place between the 5th and 11th of July will be the highlight along with the Darbar which is open to everyone. I have no clue with regard to the registration process, and how that might impact those who have already booked either directly or through agents. I might note that many hotel reservation websites I have mentioned in my post have a cancellation policy – and some quite generous. But please check. Hotwire and Priceline will not offer cancellations for their highly discounted rates. I cannot say anything more than that.

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      • I personally feel lots of hotel will be available at the last minute as many people have blocked the hotel rooms and probably in the end some will be cancelled where there are free cancellations.

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  21. Malik,

    Again you have shared great knowledge, history and excitement leading to the epochal event in Portugal. This will be a historical day in Portugal and it will be etched in history of our Imam and his murids.

    Many, many thanks and prayers for your health as well as your amazing parent al-waezins who have served the Imam and his Jamat for many, many years.

    A very special prayer for your dad’s health.

    Malik, may you be blessed in sharing knowledge and spreading the light as our Mawla wishes.

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    • Again sources indicate everything will take place at PARQUE DAS NAÇÕES. I do not know much about the capacity of that place. I think we will have to wait for confirmation about Darbar dates, where etc. Lisbon is not a huge city.

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  22. Thank you. I will be Inshallah going; have booked at hotel called Czar not too far from airport…flights selling out quickly.

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  23. Ya Ali Madad. Thanks for sharing, I’m sure it will come in useful. But I think we have to be registered first with confirmation from there before we book. Please keep us posted

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    • Theismaili.org should be announcing the registration details shortly. It would be a big shortcoming and a mistake if individuals who have already made plans to travel and reserved their booking would not be able to register, if you know what I mean. As soon as the LIF announcement was made – actually the announcement was leaked on the social media before the LIF announcement was read in Jamatkhanas – people were making bookings and travel agents had started working on preparing packages. I don’t think there should be any limitations as to the numbers who can be there – that would cause a great deal of disappointment. I hope the decision-makers are reading this, plan this out well and make the right decisions. I am confident they will. We have some outstanding organizers and volunteers across the world!

      Also, Portugal nationally has the highest percentage of voluntary workers in Europe – more than a million out of a population of 11 million plus. I am sure the Jamat can seek the assistance of non-Ismaili volunteers, if necessary, to assist with this historical event. As a community, the Ismailis have built great bridges with other local citizens, and I think it would be a good idea to reach out to them and seek their help.

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    • My sources indicate that the 1998 Expo World Fair site, PARQUE DAS NAÇÕES (Park of Nations), is where the events will be taking place.

      The site is appx. 9-10 kms and a 15-20 minute drive from the Ismaili Centre (Nº1,, Av. Lusíada, 1600-001 Lisboa, Portugal).

      Appx. distance to the Ismaili Centre from downtown Lisbon (Baixa) 9 km, 20 minutes by car; and from downtown to PARQUE DAS NAÇÕES, 10-12 kms, 26-30 minutes.

      For a beginners guide to downtown Lisbon, please click https://www.pousadasofportugal.com/a-beginners-guide-to-lisbons-downtown-district/

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