The following piece has been adapted from our earlier post The Aga Khan: Sweet and endearing stories of his childhood days in Kenya. The anecdote is from the diary of Kaderali Patel who was the religious education tutor of Mawlana Hazar Imam and Prince Amyn Muhammad during their childhood days in Kenya.
Articles recording the historical and unforgettable day, do not specify the date of Eid ul-Fitr in 1944. We have gathered from numerous websites that Eid ul-Fitr was celebrated on Tuesday, September 19, 1944. Mawlana Hazar Imam (b. Dec. 13, 1936) was then 7 years old. There may be a discrepancy of a day because at that time, as is the case today with many Muslim communities, the celebration of the Eid is only announced after the physical sighting of the new moon.
By LATE MISSIONARY KADERALI PATEL
There were many children who attended the Idd Namaz. Most of these children came to wish us Idd Mubarak and shake hands with us. Among these children were some who shook hands with us and then, greatly excited, came back for a second handshake — Prince Amyn Muhammad
Prince Karim first recited the Idd Namaz in public in his childhood, at the age of seven, at Nairobi Chief Jamatkhana. It had been announced in the Jamatkhana the previous day that Prince Karim would lead the Idd Namaz at 10 a.m. All Ismailis were delighted when they heard the announcement.
Next day was Idd-ul Fitr. Early in the morning all Ismailis arrived dressed up in their best clothes. The officers all wore golden red gowns. This was a very unique occasion and everyone’s heart was filled with inner happiness.
At 10 a.m, Prince Karim arrived at the Main Jamatkhana on Government Road with his brother Prince Amyn. The Jamat’s chief officers welcomed the Princes.
Prince Karim took his place in front of the Jamat and recited the Namaz. Then Prince Karim and Prince Amyn stood in line with the officers and for hours shook hands with Ismaili brethren and wished them ‘Idd Mubarak’.
They gladdened the hearts of thousands of people who will never forget the ‘Idd Mubarak’ uttered by Prince Karim.
In the evening, when I went to see the Princes at their bungalow, I found them talking to Miss Lyon on the verandah. I went nearer and greeted them with a salaam. Prince Karim asked me to come closer. I respectfully bowed before him and said: “You must be tired, standing for hours and shaking hands with so many people.”
Prince Karim replied, smiling: “We are not at all tired. In fact we are very pleased that on this holy occasion we were able to meet and shake hands with all Ismailis, young and old alike. Indeed, we are very happy.”
I asked Prince Amyn if he was tired. He replied: “Not at all. There were many children who attended the Idd Namaz. Most of these children came to wish us Idd Mubarak and shake hands with us. Among these children were some who shook hands with us and then, greatly excited, came back for a second handshake. Even though we knew this, we shook hands with them again. We were pleased to make them happy.”
I said: ‘You are right when you say some children came twice to shake hands with you. As this was their first occasion to shake hands with you, they were tremendously happy.’
I asked Prince Amyn if he would offer the Idd Namaz the following year. He replied: “I cannot promise you that. It depends on what my parents have to say. It is every child’s duty to obey his parents.”
Prince Karim added to this: “That’s true. We must obey our parents. God is not pleased with those children who do not listen to their parents.”
It seemed that flowers poured out of the Princes’ mouths when they said these words.
Prince Karim and Prince Amyn were extremely happy on that auspicious day.
Date posted: May 23, 2020.
Last updated: May 11, 2021.
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