By ZAFEERA KASSAM

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The word that was uppermost in my mind was the word ‘FINALE’ and this very small word, finale, actually gives visions and intimations of grandeur, of explosive colours and celebrations that would give a fitting end to what was certainly an epochal year. The year of our beloved Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee.

And certainly a finale it was! The whole week from 5th July leading up to 11th July, 2018, can be described unequivocally as a fitting finale. Could all this just have been achieved within a few months of preparation? To me, it seemed as if years must have been spent to organise such a mela. The Jubilee Arts Gallery, the Film Festival, Celebrity Concerts, Talent Shows, the Diamond Jubilee Bands marching and performing among the crowds all of it was awe-inspiring. This was further enhanced by the presence and intermingling of murids from all four corners of the globe.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations brought more than 40,000 Ismailis from all over the world to Lisbon. This group represents several countries and was pictured on the terrace of Eduardo VII Park after Mawlana Hazar Imam’s motorcade had driven past the park following his arrival in Lisbon on July 5, 2018. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

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“God’s creation” at the International Arts Gallery in Lisbon. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

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A band performs for the Jamat at the Diamond Jubilee celebration in Lisbon. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

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Jamati members mingle at food court during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Lisbon. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

What was more exciting was the honourable presence and loving, familial interactions of the Noorani Family, some members of which a large number of us hadn’t seen ever or in ages!

Who can forget Prince Rahim striding up to murids behind barriers to shake their hands and greet them cordially? Who can forget Prince Irfan waving at assembled murids, standing up on his chair, clapping along to the beats of Dama Dam Mast Kalander, Ali Da Pehla Number? He stole the show and our hearts!

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Adorable Prince Irfan, pictured with with his father, Prince Rahim, stole the hearts of everyone who saw him standing up on his chair, and clapping along to the beats of Dama Dam Mast Kalander.

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Princes Hussain (right) and Aly Muhammad photographed after their visit to the International Arts Gallery in Lisbon.

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Prince Amyn, Princess Zahra, Miss Sara Boyden, and Master Iliyan Boyden enjoy a performance at the International Talent Showcase. Photo: The Ismaili/Aziz Ladha.

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Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa acknowledge the crowd as they depart from the Altice Arena after attending the Sufi Voyage concert. Photo: The Ismaili/Akbar Hakim.

Who can forget the young Prince Sinan, clinging on to Princess Salwa and sucking his thumb or the regal Prince Amyn, gorgeous Princesses Zahra and Sara and handsome Prince Illyan graciously acknowledging murids? Who can forget Prince Hussain and Prince Aly Muhammad turning up unexpectedly to showcase their respective projects and lend their support and contributions to those of the jamati members, thus proving they are part of us?

These were once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, which will add pizzazz to our history books forever, and for which I deeply commend the organisers, all the volunteers and contributors who must have spent countless sleepless nights but who will carry, in their hearts, these memories forever, and who will regale their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren of anecdotes from this epochal finale of Mawlana Shah Karim al Hussaini’s Diamond Jubilee.

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Prime Minister António Costa unveils the official Diamond Jubilee commemorative postage stamp in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam, as Francisco Lacerda, CEO of CTT (Portugal Postal Services), and Raul Moreira, Head of Philately for CTT, look on. Photo: The Ismaili/Nazim Lokhandwala.

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A close up of the Portugal Post’s souvenir sheet commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of Mawlana Hazar Imam. A genuine 1.25mm diamond is affixed on the souvenir sheet at the location we have marked with an arrow. See another close up below, with the diamond showing. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

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The 1.24mm diamond is visible in this close up photo of the Portugal Post Souvenir Sheet which is shown above. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

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Portugal President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa officially welcomed Mawlana Hazar Imam to Portugal on  July 9, 2018 with full state honours at Palácio de Belém, the official residence of the President. In the photo the Portugal Army Band performs the Portuguese national anthem and the Nashid al-Imamah to welcome Mawlana Hazar Imam to the Palace. Photo: The Ismaili/Akbar Hakim

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The President of the Portuguese Republic hosts a dinner in honor of Mawlana Hazar Imam at the National Palace of Queluz in the historic city of Sintra. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam receives Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at the Palacete Henrique de Mendonça for viewing of restorations that are underway at the historical Palace which will become the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam delivers an address to the Portuguese Parliament in the Senate Chamber at Sāo Bento Palace on 10 July 2018. Photo: The Ismaili/Mo Govindji.

And I am extremely proud to state that a fitting finale it certainly was for our beloved Hazar Imam, Shah Karim al Hussaini. Credit for this goes to the President, the Government and the People of Portugal who received our beloved Imam and Murshid with splendorous honour. The colourful State Honours at the Palace of Belem, the Prime Minister’s Luncheon at the Foz Palace where postage stamps were unveiled in honour of the Diamond Jubilee; the visit by Portugal’s President and representatives of Sovereign and Civil Society Bodies to see the restoration works of the Palacete Henrique de Mendonça, the Presidential Banquet at the Palace of Queluz in Sintra; Mawlana Hazar Imam’s historical address to the Portuguese Parliament – all this made my heart swell with pride and joy. When Hazar Imam is honoured on such a grand scale, it is a matter of pride and joy for the entire global Ismaili community.

And now that my narrative of the Darbar has been published, please click Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Darbar in Lisbon.

Date posted: July 24, 2018 (inserted link to Darbar narrative).

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Zafeera KassamZafeera Kassam is a high-school teacher of English Language, Literature and Psychology, residing in Nairobi, Kenya. She spends her free time in creative writing and poetry, and has had her short stories and poems published in various media around the world. As a devotee of Mowlana Hazar Imam, her greatest joy is in penning verse and poems in praise of Hazar Imam. Her latest publication, Always and Forever, is a book of 60 poems dedicated especially to Mowlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee (available on Amazon Kindle). She is also an amateur photographer who takes great interest in capturing nature. Currently, she is concentrating on developing her skills in graphic design and digital imagery. Most of all, she hopes to be continuously inspired to keep penning poems in praise of beloved Hazar Imam.

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