Exclusive: The conclusion of a stirring account of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Darbar in Lisbon on July 11, 2018 – the “highest point” of his Diamond Jubilee

[If you have not yet read the stirring first part of Zafeera Kassam’s account of the Darbar in Lisbon, please do so before you read this final piece. Also, re-reading Part 1 may engage you even more deeply with what you are about to read — a fascinating journey into the Darbar of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, the direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) and 49th Hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims — Ed.]

By ZAFEERA KASSAM

So, here is Mawla, dressed down in his white Sherwani. A car has pulled up to him. Our hearts in our mouths, terrified at the prospect of him leaving. 

To our utter relief, out stepped someone familiar though, in our cloud of confusion, it took a few minutes of murmuring within the Jamat to confirm the visitor’s identity His Excellency Professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the President of Portugal had come to pay Mawlana Hazar Imam a surprise visit! 

vazir_entrance_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon_Portugal President july_11-0864
Mawlana Hazar Imam receives President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa upon his arrival to the Darbar hall in Lisbon. Photo: The Ismaili/Vazir Karsan.

Again, I was dimly aware of the Alwaezin requesting the Jamat to stay seated because Mawla would be bringing his guest back into the hall. At this point, that sounded like malarkey; just something the Alwaezin would say to keep the Jamat sequestered in Hall 1 and prevent the congregation from dispersing.

We watched, with piqued interest, as Mawla embraced the President warmly and introduced him to the Leadership as well as the Noorani Family, who had conspicuously divested their ceremonial jubas. Mawla led the President towards the lounge, at which point the President made as if to take off his shoes but was quickly dissuaded from doing so by Mawla. The screens faded to the DJ logo again and we were again instructed to sit in contemplative silence, which was something of a challenge given the excitement and palpable confusion. I can’t imagine what the Jamats in Halls 2 and 3 were experiencing perhaps trepidation? Had they too been brought up to speed? Had they been told that Hazar Imam would be making an unplanned return to Hall 1? 

nayyir_entrance_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon july_11-0625
Mawlana Hazar Imam introduces President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to the members of the Ismaili Leaders International Forum. Photo: The Ismaili/Nayyir Damani

Just as the bumbling mix-match emotions and thoughts were beginning to take shape, the screens came alive to show Mawlana Hazar Imam, in his full regalia, escorting the President of Portugal, whose shoes were noticeably missing, from the lounge. Simultaneously, the doors of Hall 1 swung open and it was then that the truth registered and the fantastical dawned upon us. Mawla was actually returning to Hall 1! 

That has never happened in the 30 years of my existence. Mawla was bringing with him a non-Ismaili into the Darbar Hall! Again, never in my 30 years have I seen that (though I later came to learn he brought the Honourable Njoroge Mungai into one in Nairobi in the early 80’s and, in Pakistan, President Bhutto was present at a mulaqat, together with many non-Ismaili dignitaries in Chitral). 

My astonishment quickly evaporated into unbridled, quintessential euphoria. Hazar Imam was granting us another audience! Together with the Noorani Family again! Together with the President of Portugal! Unbelievable! What had we done to have the heavens open up and grant us such a unique and invaluable boon? Yet again, Hazar Imam fulfilled a whimsical wish many had nurtured in their hearts that, once, just once, he chooses to return to his Jamat instead of departing. Alhamdulillah!

The salwats picked up fervour, indeed in the presence of a non-Ismaili. Not a single murid balked at this because Hazar Imam himself had invited the President inside. How many analyses can be drawn from this gesture? Mawlana Hazar Imam bridged the secular with the spiritual with this one magnanimous gesture. He made it obvious that he wanted the President to know who he is and what the Darbar entailed. And I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I described his appearance now as ‘majestic’. Incredibly majestic. Swelled with pride and glory. Mashallah!

As he had done before, he did so again walking along the red carpet throughout the hall – with the President of Portugal at his side, both acknowledging jamati members. The procession made its way to the stage and Mawlana Hazar Imam gestured to the President to take a seat. Because I was sitting at the side of the stage, it appeared as though the Imam was offering the President his own takht. I’m pretty sure my mouth was hanging open until the screen closest to me displayed that, in fact, there was an extra chair on stage now the work of quick-footed volunteers, no doubt. 

Once the Noorani Family had taken their seats, the President of the Council of Portugal claimed the mic to profess: “On behalf of all the Jamat that is present here, I welcome his Excellency the President of the Republic of Portugal, Professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, to this Darbar.” 

And the Imam clapped. The Noorani Family clapped. So how could the Jamat not clap? As mentioned in Part 1, though the Alwaezin cautioned the Jamat not to engage in applause, applause became very much part of this Darbar. As it should be. Happiness and love should never be restricted in expression. The Jamat applauded most heartily, using this opportunity to convey their immense thrill to have the Imam in their midst again as well as his guest as well as his family. 

The chit of paper, which had been discreetly placed in the Imam’s hand when he sat down, was now unfolded as Mawlana Hazar Imam came to the mic for the third time! With glee iridescent on his countenance, he opened with: “this was an unexpected blessing” which earned a roar of laughter and thunderous applause that faded into a ripple of amusement once he thanked the President for sharing his time with us and wore his glasses, confessing: “I’m reading now.”

He repeated his speech of earlier that morning, about having signed the Instrument designating the Diwan of the Ismaili Imamat, here in Lisbon. 

More applause.

He spoke about strengthening the institutions to better serve the needs of the Jamat and thanked the government and people of Portugal for inviting him to establish the Seat here; committed to working together to enhance understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims and contribute to peace and stability around the world. 

We now have — Alhamdulillah — Portugal as our partner.” 

The hall was ringing with ovation and Hazar Imam was positively beaming when he took his seat again.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Preident of Portugal at Darbar on 11 July 2018 medium
President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of Portugal addresses the Darbar gathering in Lisbon on July 11, 2018, in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam.

The President of Portugal was invited to address the congregation: “Few words, very much felt in this historical moment of the Diamond Jubilee of Your Highness and Spiritual Leader of this so meaningful Community and millions and millions spread across all continents. Portugal, home of peace and universal understanding congratulates Your Highness for the Jubilee and also for the constant contribution to peace, tolerance, dialogue, social commitment, plus building a better world.” Once again, applause blossomed in the halls, expressing pride at the laudatory remarks. 

“Portugal, always a grateful nation, marks Your Highness’ choice to host the Seat of the Imamat Ismaili Mendoça; Your Highness’ support, among us and all over the world, to development, to justice, to the fight against poverty and inequality.” 

More applause.

“Portugal welcomes, with open arms, those who arrive, greets the dear thousands of believers of the Ismaili Community, including the 7000 Portuguese, that day after day, endlessly work with competence and social solidarity.”

Ringing applause.

“All of this, much in line with a verse of the Qu’ran, namely ‘Righteousness is not that you turn your faces to the east or the west, but is in one’s faithful God, the prophets and the book; despite love for it, righteousness is in giving wealth to relatives, orphans,  the needy, the traveller, those who ask for help.’” Surah Al-Baqarah, if I’m not mistaken “May all of you as well as all of us pay tribute to Your Highness and your family on this historic day and be welcome to Portugal.”

Deafening applause! 

“I’m sure that Portugal will become your home forever.”

If it were at all permissible, this was a standing-ovation moment. Nonetheless, enthusiastic applause erupted throughout the hall, echoing the sincere sentiment. 

The President of the Portuguese Aga Khan Council then announced: “Hazar Imam and the President of Portugal will now take your leave.”

But nor Hazar Imam neither the President wanted to leave! They looked at each other and this embarrassing moment (for the President of the Portuguese Council) dissolved into a comical contradiction and the Jamat looked on fondly at their quizzical expressions, putting their hands together for the Imam and the President of Portugal one last time.

It was obvious that they had been expecting some ceremonies to take place, but what to do? The President of the Council had already announced their departure. Mawlana Hazar Imam and Professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa started laughing and just before they descended, Mawla sidled up to the mic to quip: “I am missing instructions from my Mukhi.” Cue more laughter, which petered away as they came down the steps. 

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon bidding farewll to Portuguese president
Mawlana Hazar Imam bidding farewell to the President of Portugal.

The procession left the hall buoyed by salwats once more and, eventually, the coverage cut to Hazar Imam bidding the President of Portugal goodbye. Mawla retired to the lounge and the period of quiet contemplation resumed. 

However, we were hardly able to indulge in any kind of quietude. Hall 1 was wide-eyed with jubilation, agog with astonishment and restless with need to discuss and dissect the momentous and monumental event that had just unfolded before our eyes. 

Distant salwats broke the enchantment and we joined in as the screens filled with the view of Mawlana Hazar Imam and Noorani Family entering Hall 2, walking along the red carpet and taking their places on the identical stage there. 

‘Dhan Dhan Aaj No’ was belted out in all sincerity and it really was a ‘het no melavado’ (gathering of love). Hazar Imam came to the mic, his own jubilation unconfined and his humour at its pinnacle in this hall:

My beloved spiritual children are in front of me; my family are behind me,” he joked and his spiritual children and his family chuckled indulgently.  

I want my Jamat to know how happy I am, that on this occasion my family have been able to accompany me for this Mulaqat.”

How blessed we were to have them all seated in front of us and doubly blessed we were to bear witness to the Imam’s sublime joy. 

It is a source of great happiness for me; certain amount of humour; occasional questions cue chuckles all around  “which you never experience. But it is a moment of great happiness for me to have my family with me, for this Mulaqat, with my Jamat.” 

As the saying goes, the cup runneth over, with happiness, boundless happiness. The heart and the soul were in seventh heaven. 

Hazar Imam moved on to speak about the future, telling us to ask ourselves: how to build the future; where to build the future; what are the foundations upon which to build a solid future. 

And I say to my Jamat who speak Urdu, Gujarati, Arabic, other languages – learn English. Be bilingual, trilingual, quadralingual…quintiwingual?” Hazar Imam wiggled his eyebrows mischievously and I could see Princess Zahra, by virtue of the angle of the camera, sharing in the laughter. 

He reiterated the need to know more than one language, emphasizing the necessity of being able to read English and to speak in English, in order to have greater access to global knowledge. 

You don’t need to pretend you’re Shakespeare,” Imam mocked. “He’s long gone.” Imam waved his hands to emphasize this, to which the Jamat roared with laughter. He grinned widely and the camera panned to reveal the whole Noorani Family was unabashedly amused too. 

Following this, Mawla spoke of serious issues such as coming together in our professional lives, mentioning jamati institutions, other associations, even informal collaborations, because “you’re stronger when you come together.” 

He further advised the Jamat to prepare for the future, stating that the Jamat is currently living in a context whereby we can create small amounts of wealth for future generations. He directed this point to Jamat of Western nations: “Create small amounts of wealth to protect future generations in the years ahead. Just be careful. Live within your means. Set aside what you can and prepare for future generations. What I’m seeking from my Jamat is strength from generation to generation. Look past your generation to look to the second, to the fourth, to create capacity.”

Without taking a breath, Imam segued straight into ethics and spoke of integrity in our activities and the imperativeness of Best Practice. 

Hazar Imam concluded this farman with: “I give to each and every one of you individually, and to your families, my warmest and my most best best loving blessings. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. I want you to know that my family behind me rejoices with you. So you should have a good time. You probably know that a Darbar is an occasion of fun, of humour, of dancing, of music. So go ahead.” 

If it were at all permissible, we could have just leapt up and start dancing immediately. The effervescence of the Imam in this hall was just magical. And he wasn’t done with the Jamat yet. He still had a humorous anecdote to share:

Many years ago, when I was much younger, I used to participate with the Jamat in these events in the evening. And there was a terrible dance called the stick dance. And if you weren’t careful, you’d get hit on the hand!”

The Jamat was in fits. 

So I say to my Jamat, beware of the stick dance.” 

Hazar Imam was on a roll. Ever charming, ever suave.

Aga Khan in Tananarive Madagascar playing Dandhia stick dance
A rare photo of Mawlana Hazar Imam playing dandhia, the stick-dance, with Jamati members during his visit to Tananarive, Madagascar, in September 1956. Photo: Jamica Andani Family Archives.

He took his seat only to briefly consult with the Mukhi Saheb and reclaim the mic to joke: “Mukhi has given me geographic guidance.” Bursts of giggles punctuated every sentence here. “That is to go straight to the next hall. And I hope he will guide me there. If he gets lost, come and help me.

Our attention rapt on the live-action feeds, we followed Hazar Imam and the Noorani Family retrace their way from the stage, along the runners, and out into the foyer where Mawla declined heading into the lounge and promptly entered the third hall. The procession moved through Hall 3 with equal adoration, bolstered through with fervent salwats until they came to the stage, again identical in form to the previous two. 

zafarani_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon_darbar_hall_3_july_11-7497_-_copy
Mawlana Hazar Imam walks through the Jamat at the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Lisbon, followed by the Mukhi and Kamadia Sahebs of the Libon Drakhana Jamatkhana, Prince Amyn, Princess Zahra, Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa, Prince Hussain, Prince Aly Muhammad, Miss Sara Boyden, and Master Iliyan Boyden. Photo: The Ismaili/Zafarani Mansurali.

I recognised the rendition of Goyum Ali but the Ginan sung in this hall is one of my favourites and I witnessed something I’ve never seen before. Hazar Imam was actually smiling, knowingly, at the outpouring of ‘je je maangu, te tuhi deve’. Indeed, Mawlana Hazar Imam is the fulfiller of all wishes and countless desires of the heart had been fulfilled during this monumental Darbar and, I’m confident, countless more would be. That is one of the invaluable boons of such an intimate Mulaqat with the Lord of Light, Age and Time. An even more invaluable boon was the dazzling sight of our beloved Imam so relaxed and cheerful. Words don’t converge to explain what it feels like to look upon this aspect of the Imam. He seemed most at ease in this hall and, in turn, our hearts were swirling, with contentment, as if Sufi dancers lost in this personal paradise. 

He began this farman with blessings. First to individuals present, their families and Jamat and then for the eternal peace and rest of all the Ruhani members of the Jamat. He followed this up with blessings to those who served the Jamat — the volunteers — and he made it a point to say that he has great gratitude and respect for their wonderful work.

Hazar Imam reiterated the need to think of the future, to think beyond one generation, and addressing this point particularly to those with young children, he said: “Be careful. Protect them. Save. Put assets aside.” He stressed to the Jamat to “be thoughtful, be prudent, competent…and very competent.” Smiling, he continued by expressing his gratitude to the government of Portugal for all the kindnesses and courtesies extended, not only to his family, but to the whole of the Jamat. 

Mawla, once again, imparted special blessings for mushkil aasan. “Whatever problems you may have, let them go away. I give special blessings. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. I give special blessings. For mushkil aasan,” he repeated and made his spiritual children giggle with affection when he flapped his hands, mimicking birds in flights, and joked, “away, away, away!”

Salwats escorted him back to the takht where he exchanged a few words with the Mukhisaheb before returning to the mic to say: “in many circumstances, the Jamat is extended amongst different halls so I had to ask Mukhi, is there anooother Hall?” Hazar Imam beamed as his Jamat laughed at this. It was quite the unusual circumstance. I don’t think such an arrangement has ever been done before, but that’s one of the facets that made this Darbar that much more special. Though people see it as a segregation of three, I see it as a triple opportunity. Seeing and hearing the Imam on live action feeds —  being able to witness what was happening at the exact time it was happening —  is what made this a three-in-one jewel in the crown of the Diamond Jubilee Year. 

Do I have the whole of my Jamat in front of me? And he said yes. So I give to each and every one of you individually, and to your families and to your Jamats, my best, best affectionate blessings. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. I also want to tell you how happy my family is to be with my Jamat. And how happy I am that they’ve accompanied me. So I give best blessings for happiness, for longevity, and mushkil aasan in whatever issues you may be facing. Khanavadan. Khanavadan. Khanavadan.”

And with that, some three hours after he had arrived for this historic Darbar, beloved and munificent Mawlana Hazar Imam and his Noorani Family departed from the Darbar, leaving us in a daze of mixed emotions —  that of gratitude, of exhilaration, of spiritual invigoration intermingled with the nostalgic awareness that the moment we had all been looking forward to for months was now over. He had given us a plethora of gems to treasure, including a cherished Mulaqat with Himself and His Noorani Family as well as something special in every hall: a double-audience in Hall 1; his most endearing effervescence and humorous quips in Hall 2; the maximum amount of duas and blessings in Hall 3.

Additionally, this was the longest period of time spent with his Jamat, making this the most memorable deedar of our lives, making this the most outstanding and choicest blessing to receive. Subhanallah! 

Like a loving parent, he declared the jubilation ongoing and left us to continue the Darbar into the evening with music and dance, Biryani and the dangerous Stick-Dance, weightless souls, singing hearts and unburdened feet, and a splendorous display of fireworks.

fireworks
Fireworks conclude the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in Lisbon, Portugal.

What words, what actions, what can express
the hearts’, the souls’ the beings’ appreciation?
What can be said of the ineffability of our Imam,
of the way he opens his arms and we are spiritually
and wholly embraced in a cocoon we despise leaving;
of the way he ensures our happiness is paramount;
of all he has done to make this world a better place?
What calibre of thanks can we verbalise, or display, for decades
he has tirelessly, selflessly dedicated for ubiquitous upliftment?
 And we have no gifts, no diamonds, no gems, no wealth,
no tangible or intangible thing of real, comparable value
to offer in return. So, humbly, we extend something small.
Ya Shah Karim, you choose to not rule over lands or people,
but, please, accept our hearts as a tiny piece of your kingdom.

DIAMOND JUBILEE MUBARAK!

Date posted: July 25, 2018

This website has an excellent array of thoughtful articles and beautiful photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam. Do not leave this website before checking out Barakah’s Table of Contents.

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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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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.

 

 

 

45 comments

  1. Ya Ali Madad

    Below is the story that i would like to narrate from the Portugal darbar (July 11, 2018) which many may not have heard of and I am happy for this to be shared across platforms.

    It has been a while since I wanted to share this with the wider jamat because this incident will remain with me for the rest of my life and I cannot express in words but I will try.

    As many who were in Lisbon would recollect there were 3 halls set up for the Darbar that Mawlana Hazar Imam went to. I was in the first hall and was sitting on the right side of the stage in the second row. People that were in the first hall might be aware that the Imam’s entrance/exit was on right side of the stage, the side also where tilawat, qasida etc and various kriyas were taking place.

    The first walk which the Imam made was a slightly a long walk and Imam climbed the stairs to the stage from the front side. After all the kriyas were done the Imam left the first hall but this time took a short walk by basically getting off the steps and turning right towards the exit/entry point.

    It also came to all of us as a big surprise when we were told that the Imam was coming back to the first hall. So when he entered the hall again (this time with Portugal’s President) he followed the same path which he took to exit the hall above.

    There was a little kid in the same row that I was seated in – the little kid and his family were in the corner of the row near the red carpet. And as we all know that the kids are excited and they stand to watch the Imam. So as Imam was walking towards the stage and came across our row – Imam touched the head of the little kid in a playful manner and kept walking.

    The Darbar itself was a joyous occasion for all of us but this particular incident left me speechless as Imam was very happy and was in a very jolly mood.

    So this is my story which I witnessed and thought not many would know about this as it was not shown on the big screen nor is in the official video.

    Thanks and Ya ali Madad

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  2. Zafeera, What an inspiring recollection of the Diamond Jubilee Darbar of our Beloved Hazar Imam in Lisbon. As someone who was there in person, I read all three articles and ‘re-lived’ and ‘recalled’ every nuance of the Darbar again in vivid detail as if I was actually experiencing it all over again. Mashallah! Shukriyah!! May Mawla bless you with continued inspiration to share your faithful thoughts and penmanship and enlightening experiences. Ameen.

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  3. Ya Ali Madad

    Thanks for sharing. Shukar, I too witnessed the Darbar in Lisbon – an event that all of us will cherish forever. Well, the narrative will be appreciated by everyone who could not be in Lisbon. I am however concerned that you mentioned so much of the Farman in your narrative, along with the blessings Khanavadan. Malik correct me if I am wrong.

    Thank you again.

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    • Thank you Aziz for the comment. I am perfectly fine with Zafeera’s narrative as well as the inclusion of certain parts of the Farman both directly and indirectly. It is time for a complete book of Farmans to be produced without any delay and be made available to Jamats all over the world. Recently when I missed a DJ Farman that was read out in a Jamatkhana in Toronto and I approached Mukhisaheb for the Farman, there were already 8 people queued up to read the Farman. I had to wait for 45 minutes before I got my turn. I felt for Mukhi/Kamadiasaheb who were definitely running late and rushed to complete reading the Farman, because their families were waiting patiently for them. This kind of situation is unacceptable and only 40-50% of the Jamats get to listen to the Farmans, which then are not read for another several weeks and months (Jamatkhana attendances run at an average of 8-10% daily, in any given part of the world – may be there are exceptions where the attendances reach 20%). The incredibly important Farman on Imamat that Hazar Imam made in 1982 in Aiglemont was mentioned in the passing by an Alwaez a few months ago. A subsequent Farman made by Hazar Imam in Kenya about the continuity of Imamat into the “space age” has been heard by me only twice in the last 36 years, although I have been a regular Jamatkhana attendee for much of the last 3-4 decades.

      At least the institutions should make the DJ Farmans available in printed form without any delay, if they don’t have the capacity to publish the entire collection of Farmans made by Mawlana Hazar Imam in the last 61 years!

      The entire world has been waiting for a definitive institutionally published Farman book(s) for the last 42 years!!! The last Farman book was published in 1976! I remember that because my (late) dad and I were actively involved for the UK ITREB to publish the official set of Farmans that had been received.

      The way I see it: As soon as Farmans are approved, publish them in printed (booklet) form without delay. A child, a youth or a professional member in the family may decide to open the Farman book to a random page and Inshallah be inspired by Hazar Imam’s love and guidance for his spiritual children. We all need inspiration today, and handy availability of Farmans can play a significant part in transforming us and in decision making.

      Furthermore, it is also important for Hazar Imam’s Farmans to be played in Jamatkhanas in audio format, as was being done from the 1970’s until the early 1990’s. How soothing and inspiring that would be. We seem to have gone backwards, somehow.

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    • Thank you Mr Aziz Juma for your remarks.

      The way I see it, Hazar Imam gave each and every one of us the status of “Da’i”. As a Da’i, it becomes our duty to spread the word of our beloved Hazar Imam. We are now obligated to share our knowledge of the faith and create awareness of it. By this generous act, Mowla has not only given us the permission but also the responsibility to break the old stigma of silence and secrecy.

      I was extremely appalled to learn, in Malik’s reply, about how Farmans are not readily available to Jamats and what jamati members have to endure in order to read the words of their Imam – it is absolutely demeaning that murids should have to go through such loops to gain access to Farmans – Farmans that beloved Hazar Imam has made for our benefit and upliftment. The injustice of the matter is appalling and the incompetence of the authorities in charge of publishing Farmans is shocking.

      Anyway, to summarise, as a Da’i, I felt I had the authority to convey, verbatim, my Imam’s words, blessings and thoughts. That’s why I quoted the Farmans extensively (and carefully) in my article.

      And I am extremely grateful to Malik for the opportunity to do so.

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      • Thank you so much Zafeera for such a heart warming rendition of the Darbar experience. I relived the experience, once again, through your narrative. I am thankful that you so skillfully related the experience also, for our brothers and sisters who were not physically present in Lisbon. Mawla bless you and your endeavors.

        I do however share the concern expressed by Aziz above regarding quoting Mawlana Hazar Imam’s farmans verbatim. As a Dai, I would have paraphrased the farmans, expressing them in my own words. You are much more eloquent than I could ever be.

        Imam’s words are his exclusive copyright, as we know from another case, arising from the Golden Jubilee. Your precise quoted texts, would lead one to believe that you had access to audio recordings, which I am sure is not the case. Your love for the Imam and his guidance are very apparent from your narrative.

        I hear Malik’s concerns about access to the farmans in Jamatkhanas. I brought it up with our Mukhisaheb in Toronto and he informed me that the leadership is aware of the issue, and are in the midst of addressing it.

        Thank you Malik for this website. It is very informative and timely. May Mawla bless you both, and continually guide you in your endeavors as Dais.

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      • Anil: Thank you for your thoughtful wishes and kind prayers for both Zafeera and myself. Amen. With regard to the publication of Farmans, you will recall that when the controversy about the Golden Edition was brewing up, the LIF made an announcement that an institutionally led initiative to have the Farmans printed was underway and that the Jamat would have access to Farmans in due course – within a few months (I am not sure whether the exact timeline was mentioned).

        Over 9 years have elapsed since that announcement. The Silver Jubilee Farmans on the compatibility between science with faith, the 2000 Farmans in Pakistan specifically on the notion of education, the Golden Jubilee Farmans with an emphasis on the Jamats coming together as well as on eliminating poverty and of course Farmans on many other topics of significant importance are messages that every very member of the Jamat should have access to at their homes.

        Remember the Jamatkhana attendance is very low on a daily basis. In addtion, there are thousands of individuals who are no where near Jamatkhanas; they may be living in remote towns or studying at institutions where there are no Jamatkhanas nearby and desperately look to inspiration and guidance from Farmans that are not available.

        I wish to add here that when I was a young child my parents would give me the task of reading one Farman EVERY NIGHT before I retired to sleep. I have a daughter in her 20’s who is asking me, “dad for how long can I continue to read the same Farman from Precious Gems and Pearls over and over again?”

        We have missed a tremendous opportunity to make Farmans the guiding force and inspiration for hundreds of thousands of murids around the world. It is time that with the conclusion of the DJ we now enrich the lives of millions with quick and ready access to Farmans that Hazar Imam has delivered during the past 12 months, as well as of course from his Jubilees and hundreds of visits from the past.

        Most of the Farmans are relevant today as they were when they were first made, including the Farmans that were made in India and Kenya during the early to mid 1970’s and that got printed in 1976. That book, if you will recall, included the Bombay mehmani Farman of 1973 regarding the importance of balance between din and dunya, where Hazar Imam talks about the clock moving one second…..and that we have 1 second or 1 minute less in which to fulfill the Farman.

        I sincerely hope that the task gets underway quickly and that a beautiful Farman book is published within the next 2 months – that would be one important tangible result from the wonderful celebrations of the DJ.

        I say give the Jamat 2 documents without further delay: A Farman Book and the latest Constitution. I would like to see a third one: to see the actual large scale version of the Seat of the Imamat designation on the morning of July 11 that I can actually feel proud to read, bearing Mawlana Hazar Imam’s signature! If a small group of leaders saw it, so should the Jamat.

        Malik

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for the duas, Mr Anil, and I’m glad you appreciated the narrative.

        With all due respect, I’ve never heard from Hazar Imam’s own mukh-mubarak that His Farmans should not be recorded or remembered and shared outside of the jamatkhana or Darbar. If there is such a farman or taliqa, please let me know about it. I’d be grateful for that.

        Also, copyright law does not apply here as I have quoted Farmans, delivered in my presence, from memory, for no financial or commercial gain.

        Anyway, your point is well noted and perhaps next time I may paraphrase. But, as a writer, paraphrasing is dangerous. We all know the rules of hearsay. Words and meaning may become distorted due to erroneous interpretation and the wrong message may be imparted. The original words are always safest.

        I second Malik in that it would be tremendously awesome if a book of DJ Farmans would be published in the near future, especially since each Darbar was closed to respective jurisdictions. It would be truly something to read Hazar Imam’s pearls of wisdom that He has showered all around the world.

        Like

      • Zafeera, as I mentioned in my previous email, you have done a fantastic rendition of the Darbar account and I am elated that you were able to quote Mowla Hazar Imam’s firmans and although all that were present in the darbar heard the firmans reading them in your account refreshed our memories of the pearls of wisdom that we all heard. Thank you and bless you for your renditions. We will read them over and over again and feel the warmth of happiness. And… Malik thanks again for your comments and for facilitating this.

        Like

  4. Zafeera, immense gratitude for these magnificent accounts. Many of us, even those fortunate enough to be there in person, will save these, to read them again and re-live the heavenly experiences and kindle again the love and devotion we felt. Each time we do, a prayer will come from our hearts, for Mawla to bless you, your family and all those whose efforts brought these articles to us, Ameen. Ya Ali Madat.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bravo to the author Zafeera Kassam and editor Malik Merchant for the details of grand Darbar of our Beloved Hazar Imam. It was like a heaven in earth and I was lucky with the blessing of Maula bapa that my entire family of twenty members were present for this unique occasion of 2018. I had seen Diamond and Platinum Jubilees of Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah in Bombay and Karachi. My request is that these eye witness accounts of the Lisbon visit be published in all the languages all over the world. Love to all Jamats around the world.
    Noorally Moosa and family , Dallas TX, USA

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Zafeera, thank you for taking the time to write about the Diamond Jubilee Festivals. We truly appreciate it. It all comes back to me and so I will cherish these moments the rest of my life.
    Thank you
    Nasim Charania

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great writer, so observant of everything around her. Two months ago she wrote up the Nairobi didar equally brilliantly. She should be made the official scribe of all didars.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you Zafeera for compiling and sharing your memorable experience in Lisbon. You’ve put in tremendous effort in vividly narrating your unforgettable experience for which we express our sincere appreciation and commend you for this outstanding work.

    Mubarakis and thank you again.

    Regards,

    Mahedi Meghani

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What an awesome and terrific rendition of the events of the Darbar and Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Holy Deedar! Thank you for taking us all there with you through your direct emotional and devotional experience. What a journey!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I just want to say I am truly humbled by all the encouraging comments and warm messages everyone has taken the time to write here and otherwise. I consider myself extremely blessed to receive all the generous duas and to them I say Ameen. I do hope and pray to get more opportunities/ inspiration to write narratives and/or poems for and about beloved Hazar Imam. Insha Allah ❤️

    Once again, thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart for all the benevolences extended. A big thank you to Malik for inviting me to participate on this respected and valued platform, Barakah.com.

    In case I’ve missed out on any details or erred in accuracy, I ask for forgiveness. 🙏

    Like

  11. First of all lots of Mubaraki to you Zafeera Kassam for the excellent write up that I feel like reading again & again & reliving the memories of the Darbar. Her narrative was accurate in details, as we were there.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you Zafeera! I have read both of your narratives over and over again, I have relived every moment I spent in the Hall 1 with my 10 year old grandson Ayaan who imbibed every moment of the Darbar. I plan to print a copy of it and read it every other month to relive the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Lisbon forever!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ya Ali Madad
    Mubarak on this very very auspicous Darbar. We could not attend due to my husbands health BUT by reading what you have written I honestly feel that we participated.

    Thank you
    Warm wishes and good luck to you in all your endeavours
    Amir and Shameem

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Shukar Mawla. Thank you for writing such a beautiful article. It took us to the live Darbar. It was truly a spiritual journey. May Mawla Bless you
    ( Zafeera) for good work and give you strength to do so throughout your life. Aameen.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow, and Super Wow ! Wonderfully written ! I was there! Even though I wasn’t…..Zafeera – your use of the language is MAGICAL!

    I have only the superlatives.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Marshallah…all memories are coming back Zafeera… Sukhar Mowla …..well done for writing a beautiful article…it touched me and many others ..
    Mawla bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Zafeera has written these pieces of the eye witness’s account in a manner that without having been to the Darbar, I felt that I was there physically. Many thanks, Zafeera, for all your efforts that have been put in to pen these marvelous pieces of writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Once again thank you very much for the 2 exclusive, detailed renditions of our beloved Imam’s Darbar in Lisbon., Although I wasn’t there, just reading the two pieces made me feel that I participated with tens of thousands in Lisbon. Your articles are very well written and few can do what you can. I take this opportunity to to thank Malik of Barakah for putting all this together. May you all be blessed forever and I pray that Zafeera will continue writing forever. I will read your narratives over and over again because this was a very unusual Darbar and it be difficult to replicate it for years.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you Zafeera, you have rekindled my spiritual experience of July 11 once again and will continue to do so as I read your articles again and again. Mawla bless you with lots of Barakat. Please continue to enlighten us.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Zafeera Kassam did an excellent justice for the recollection of Mawla’s Diamond Jubilee (DJ) celebrations in Lisbon. Zafeera’s account is well articulated and for me it brings back memories of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s DJ, While the events of the DJ are permanently engraved in the memories of all who witnessed it in Lisbon, this write up will refresh our memories when we repeatedly will read it in the future. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. A fantastic conclusion to the first part of the account of the historic Lisbon Darbar. This is history in the making and Zafeera has captured every detail of the Darbar. Thanks for this wonderful rendition. We will all cherish these memories till time immemorial. Thanks to Barakah and Malik for facilitating this.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. What a beautiful article. It’s like experiencing the dedaar all over again. I can picture and feel each moment Zafeera discribes like I was there all over again. Thank you Barakah thank you Zafeera Kassam. May Mawlana Hazar Imam bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Thank you for allowing us to journey with you on this epic Darbar. You wrote with such passion and excitement we felt your journey with each of your footsteps. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  24. My admiration to your publication and to the author, Zafeera Kassam, for the fantastic piece of narrative. It makes us relive once again all the emotions and experiences of this unforgettable Darbar. Hats off to both!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Wow! No words to express. To be able to describe the Darbaar in such poignant detail and to be able to capture the exact sentiments being experienced by assembled jamat…that is a blessing, a talent that should be treasured and nurtured. My heartiest gratitude and congratulations to you, Zafeera and Barakah.com for making it possible for me to feel a part of this historic Darbaar. I loved the concluding poem most of all. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I was there. It was the most amazing experience ever which will be in all our miss for many years to come. Shukr.

    Ismaili’s are lucky to have our beloved Mawla’s blessings. Amen.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. The visit of Mawlana Hazar Imam with the late ZA Bhuto was in 1976; the Darbar was in the grounds of Shah Karim Hostel, Gilgit.

    I was then in my grade 10th High School 1. In his Darbar speech Bhuto claimed that “I have promised I will bring your Imam, so I fulfil my promise.

    We prayed a lot for good grade in our 10th grade, and we secured top positions.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Ya Ali Madad.
    I was extremely fortunate to witness the climax of Golden Jubilee as well as the Diamond one. One can’t be in or at every place of celebration. Whatever I enjoyed, what ever I witnessed and whatever I couldn’t is all covered by Zafeera!

    I don’t think anyone else has put the pen on the paper ( or fingers on the keyboard for that matter) as she did. These are the memories for life but we are humans and we tend to forget. I really wish and hereby request Zafeera, a wonderful Ismaili story teller, to publish this and her previous articles along with her poetry. That would be a great memorabilia for the readers and for the generations to come!

    Big thanks to Mr. Malik for being instrumental in bring this to light!! Jubilee and Didar Mubarak!!

    Liked by 1 person

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