Eid ul-Fitr: An Inspiring Talika Mubarak of Mawlana Hazar Imam from May 23 2020, and the Auspicious Day in 1944 When He Recited Eid Namaz Aged 7

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

As more than 1.5 billions Muslims around the world prepare to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr of 2022 on or around May 2, we take this opportunity to remind our readers of the holy written message (Talika) that Ismaili Muslims around world received from their beloved Imam, Mawlana Hazar Imam Shah Karim al Hussaini, His Highness the Aga Khan, on the auspicious occasion of Eid ul-Fitr in 2020. Dated May 23, this was one of twelve Talikas that were posted on-line on the official website of the Ismaili community during the Covid-19 lockdown. We reproduced all the Talikas in Barakah. The following are excerpts from the Eid ul-Fitr Talika, which is followed with a beautiful anecdote from September 1944 when Mawlana Hazar Imam recited the Eid Namaz in Nairobi’s Town Jamatkhana (then Darkhana) when he was seven years old.

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Excerpts from Eid ul-Fitr Talika Mubarak

My spiritual children should always remain mindful that it is the principles of our faith that will bring peace and solace in these times of uncertainty. I am with my Jamat at all times, and each of you, individually, is always in my heart, in my thoughts and in my prayers.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee France
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, pictured at the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Paris, France, in 2018.

23 May 2020

My beloved spiritual children,

“On the occasion of Eid ul-Fitr, I send my special loving blessings to my Jamats throughout the world for your happiness, peace, safety, and good health. My family joins me in wishing you all Eid Mubarak.

“At this difficult time, I applaud, with the highest admiration and gratefulness, the selfless services of all my Jamati volunteers, as well as the doctors, nurses, paramedics and support workers in the AKDN and other health facilities and related programmes: Their exemplary courage, commitment and dedication in extending care and comfort to my Jamat and others, and especially to those who are vulnerable and sick, is an outstanding actualization of the human values and ethics that all faiths cherish.

“It is my wish that my Jamat should look to the future with hope and courage, in keeping with its age-old tradition of unity, generosity and mutual support which has at all times enabled it to move forward to a position of enhanced strength and resilience, from generation to generation.”

“My spiritual children should always remain mindful that it is the principles of our faith that will bring peace and solace in these times of uncertainty. I am with my Jamat at all times, and each of you, individually, is always in my heart, in my thoughts and in my prayers.

“I send my most affectionate paternal, maternal loving blessings to all my Jamat – for happiness, good health, confidence and security in your lives ahead, and for mushkil-asan.”

___________________________

The unforgettable Eid ul-Fitr of September 1944

The Khoja Jamatkhana or Town Jamatkhana in Nairobi Kenya
Views of Town Jamatkhana on its opening day in 1922 (left), Photo: © Al-Karim Walli, Calgary, and 2010: Photo: © Isabelle Prondzynski; Flickr photostream, prondis_in_kenya. Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, recited the Eid ul-Fitr Namaz at this Jamatkhana in September 1944. It was then Kenya’s Darkhana Jamatkhana and is now known as the Town Jamatkhana, with the Parklands Jamatkhana assuming the designation as the Darkhana of Kenya several decades later.

The story below 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 his younger brother Prince Amyn Mahomed during their childhood days in Kenya. Articles on numerous websites and Ismaili magazines which refer to the auspicious occasion, do not specify the exact date of Eid ul-Fitr in 1944. Barakah has gathered from numerous websites that the Eid was celebrated on Tuesday, September 19, 1944. Mawlana Hazar Imam (b. Dec. 13, 1936) was then 7 years old. There may be a discrepancy by 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.

Astronomically, the new moon will rise in Calgary (Canada) on Sunday May 1 2022, at 6:35 am and set at 10:18 pm, with an illumination of 1%. Ismaili Muslims and many other Muslim communities in Canada will observe Eid ul-Fitr on Monday, May 2. For information about moon and sun phases in your city please visit the excellent website Time and Date. And may we suggest that you download one of several freely available compass applications onto your mobile to determine the location of the heavenly objects in the sky!

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 Mahomed. 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.”

A beautiful photo of Mawlana Hazar Imam as young boy, published in the Diamond Jubilee Souvenir, Ismailia Association of Africa. Photo from the Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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.

Photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and his younger brother Prince Amyn during their childhood days in Kenya, with Mawlana Hazar Ima m reciting the Eid ul-Fitr Namaz at Nairobi’s Town Jamatkhana (then the Darkhana) in September 1944 at the age of 7.

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: April 30, 2022.

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FEEDBACK

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3 comments

  1. Thank you Malik for sharing this memorable account of the 1944 Eid ul Fitr This very poignantly reminds us that our Khudavind Hazar Imam has been with us since his tender age of 7 (Toto days as one would say in Swahili) to-date incessantly guiding us spiritually and in the worldly manners too. By his benevolence we all feel reassured and hopeful in life despite all the trials and tribulations that we all have been going through during this pandemic period.

    Eid ul Fitr Malik and to all brothers and sisters in Faith

    Like

  2. Another very timely post on the auspicious occasion of Eid ul-Fitr. The writing and also the pictures have provided historical information about our most beloved Mawlana Hazar Imam. Shukhar Alhamdulillah!.

    Malik, our very best wishes and prayers for your hard work and efforts. Ameen. Kamrudin A. Rashid – April 30, 2022.

    Like

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