Rare Video: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, Visits a Pamiri House in Gorno-Badakhshan in 1995

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher/Editor BarakahSimerg and Simergphotos)

In a referral video that we recently provided through Barakah’s sister website Simerg, an artist states that when the Shia Ismaili faith was introduced by Nasir Khushraw into the Pamir region a thousand years ago, the Ismailis absorbed some of the cultural traditions and practices of the Zoroastrian faith that had been in the region for 3000 to 4000 years. A piece by Sarfaroz Niyozov that we had published much earlier also goes on to mention that Ismailis creatively incorporated some of the traditions of Zoroastrian in a manner that they became Ismaili in content to the degree where many scholars claimed that these rituals had always been Islamic.

Cheed, Ismaili Pamiri House,  Zoroastrian influence, Barakah
Interior of a Pamiri home, known as the cheed, with its 5 pillars that represent Ahl al-Bait or the people of the house, namely Prophet Muhammad, Hazrat Ali, Bibi Fatimah, Hazrat Hasan and Imam Hussain.

One such tradition, and a good example of creative adaptation by the Ismailis, is the peculiar structure of the Pamiri house (cheed or chid). Originally, the 5 vertical pillars of the Pamiri house, see photo above, used to hold the names of the Indo-Iranian deity Mithras and the Zoroastrian angels. Students of history believe that they were later renamed after the members of Ahl al-Bait, an Arabic phrase that literally means “the People of the House” — that is the Prophet Muhammad and members of his household including his cousin and son–in–law Hazrat ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, his daughter Hazrat Bibi Fatimah and his grandsons Hazrat Hasan and Imam Hussain. The Ahl al-Bait are referred in the South Asian Ismaili tradition as the Panjtan Pak which means the “Five Purified Ones.” It is believed that this status was applied to Ahl al-Bait by certain incidences that took place during the Prophet’s life.

A video in circulation on Youtube shows Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, paying a visit to a cheed during his historic visit to the autonomous region of Gorno-Badakhshan in 1995.

In describing the interior features of the Pamiri cheed to Mawlana Hazar Imam, the designated guide is constantly seen referring to his notes. He does get a few facts wrong though, including misstating Bibi Fatimah as Hazrat Ali’s daughter instead of as his wife. However, Mawlana Hazar Imam came away impressed by what he had seen. As he departed with the greeting of Khuda Hafez, he reiterated that his visit had been lovely. He also shared some light moments with the host.

Before returning to his car, Mawlana Hazar Imam is seen walking over to greet a small group of elderly men and women. We do not know if these individuals were occupants or family members of the cheed that Mawlana Hazar Imam visited or other residents living in the area.

Video: Mawlana Hazar Imam Visits a Pamiri Home in Tajikistan

VIDEO: Mawlana Hazar Imam visits a Pamiri home during his historic visit to Tajikistan in 1995.

Date posted: October 23, 2020.

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Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 200 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

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 and members of his family, as well as the Ismaili Imamat.

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