Ode à l’Imam du Temps Présent / Ode to the Imam of the Present Time

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT

Over the past decade, France-based — and French- speaking — Mohez Nato has often written to me or submitted comments expressing his appreciation for articles that numerous authors have contributed to this blog and its sister website Simerg. Impressive and deeply thoughtful as his letters and comments have been, one that struck me most was his ode to Mawlana Hazar Imam that he submitted as a comment in response to Simerg’s post Ismaili Muslims Celebrate 86th Birthday of His Highness the Aga Khan. We published his beautiful ode in Simerg as a post in its own right and requested him to submit its French version, along with his profile. His expressions through the ode and brief profile reflect his profound commitment and belief in the Institution of Imamat, and show how the Imam-of-the-Present-Time has helped him in all aspects of his life and contributed to his spiritual development. We are pleased to share his inspiring thoughts with our readers around the world.

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“In truth, the Hidayat and the Farmans of our Beloved Hazar Imam during his Imamate have only consolidated my Ismaili identity and above all, they have confirmed to me that our spiritual elevation, the quest for truth can be based on our Intellect. And that in the practice of the Ismaili Tariqah there is no conflict between Intellect and faith” — Mohez Nato

PROFILE OF MOHEZ NATO AND HIS PERSONAL REFLECTION ON THE IMAMAT

By MOHEZ NATO

Mohez Nato an ode to the Imam of the Present Time, His Highness the Aga Khan
Mohez Nato of France

I was born in 1945 in Madagascar. From 1957 to 1965, I was a student at the Ismaili Boarding of His Highness Aga Khan in Tananarive. I arrived in France in 1968 to pursue my university studies. The socio-political events of 1972 in Madagascar did not allow me to return to the country to teach at the University and do research on Medicinal Plants.

I have been married to Farida since 1970; she is Doctor of State (or PhD) of Biochemistry and Immunology, who made a long career at the Pasteur Institute of Paris. I myself have a PhD and worked as a a Teacher-Researcher in Plant Biotechnology at the University of Paris Sud XI from 1971 to 2011. I am currently retired and during this period of retirement I have done voluntary work giving courses in French-speaking Universities in countries like Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Benin, Algeria and Tunisia. I am also the President of a Humanitarian Association which has been active in Madagascar since 1993. Farida and I have two daughters who live in Paris — Farahna holds a doctorate in pharmacy and Rahima is a lawyer.

As far as institutional service is concerned, I was Secretary General of the Ismailia Association for France (with President Mohamad Peera) which organized Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visit to Paris in 1980. Thereafter, I worked for the opening of a Jamatkhana in Antony (southern suburb of Paris), where I held the position of Kamadia from 1981 to 1983. After the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2007-08, I was bestowed with the title of Alijah.

My religious education in Madagascar was fragmentary and incomplete. However, during the early years, I was able to observe the faith expressed in the daily life of my grandparents, parents, and family members. I was also touched by the faith and conviction of the new generation of Jamath members. They all left an imprint in the mind of the young man that I was, and helped me to structure my Ismaili identity. I analyzed in depth the concept of Bayah (allegiance to the Imam) and I soon began to appreciate the unity within the globalized Jamath through the authority of the Spiritual Guide, the Imam of the Present Time.

In France, the numerous contacts I made with my brother and sister Ismailis from Iran, Hunza Pakistan, Syria, Afghanistan and Tajikistan as well as other parts of the world — allowed me to deepen my faith as a Shia Muslim Ismaili Imami Nizari. I became convinced through these contacts and friendships that I formed that our religious heritage is very rich in its diversity.

And, in truth, the Hidayat (guidance, direction) and the Farmans (lit. edict) of our Beloved Hazar Imam during his Imamate have only consolidated my Ismaili identity and, above all, they have confirmed to me that our spiritual elevation, the quest for truth can be based on our Intellect. And I have also become convinced that in the practice of the Ismaili Tariqah there is no conflict between Intellect and Faith, that knowledge must be sought if necessary in China! What a comfort and what a challenge for the academic that I was!

In all frankness and humility, all the Farmans, especially those made to members of Baitul-Khayal during the Diamond Jubilee Celebration have definitely convinced me (intellectually and spiritually) that we are blessed to be guided by a Being of Light who is the Imam of the Present Time.

We observe that this 21st century which I hope will be a “spiritual” one, has started with a lot of violence, intolerance, major troubles, climatic, sociological, political and economic.

However I believe very strongly that the spiritual children of Mawlana Hazar Imam will be able to face, with wisdom, all these difficulties by following the Farmans and, by engaging with conviction, in the way of spiritual elevation and the Quest of the Divine Light. This is the great challenge and goal not only for us but for the young generation.

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Ode à l’Imam du Temps Présent

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, pictured at the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Paris, France. Photograph: The Ismaili.
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, pictured at the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Paris, France. Photograph: The Ismaili.

Par MOHEZ NATO

Au nom d ‘Allah le plus Clément,le plus Miséricordieux ,

Aux premières lueurs de ce Jour Béni de Ton Anniversaire, Oh Bien-aimé  Khoudavind, des millions et des millions de voix de Tes Murids de Ton Jamat Globalisé, vont invoquer La Grâce, La Miséricorde d ‘Allah pour que Tu aies une Bonne Santé, une Longue Vie , un Bonheur familial serein et que tous Tes chers voeux se réalisent.

Et que toujours, Tu restes ce Phare si lumineux dans ce Monde qui traverse  une profonde crise sanitaire sans précédent, accompagnée de dérèglements climatiques, des guerres et des bruits de botte, des troubles socio- économiques dans un monde en pleine mutation géopolitique.

Et nous aurons aussi, en ce Jour Heureux , des pensées affectueuses remplies de gratitude, d’estime et de sincère reconnaissance pour tous les Membres de Ta famille Noorani pour leur infatigable engagement, afin de faire rayonner à travers le monde tous Tes souhaits, Tes voeux et qui présentent Ton Jamat , comme des Musulmans Shia Imami Nizari responsables,dignes et porteurs de valeurs et de projets humanistes à portée universelle.

En ce Jour Heureux d’Anniversaire , nous allons renouveller, comme Tes Enfants Spirituels liés par le Bhayatt, notre indéfectible attachement à Ton Autorité Spirituelle.

Nous t’exprimons très humblement nos Sincères Sukranas pour Ta haute Bienveillance, Tes Hidayaths, Tes Farmans pour toujours  nous protéger, nous guider vers la voie droite du Siratal-Mustaquim et nous encourager pour la quête spirituelle.

Grâce à Tes constantes Directives, Oh Etre de Lumière, nous cherchons, comme des Murids vivant une foi de conviction, comme des Ambassadeurs de l ‘Islam , comme des dignes Dais responsables, à appliquer les précieux  préceptes de l ‘Ethique de notre foi.  Et comme Tu l’as souvent souligné et prôné , nous oublions jamais de nous  remémorer la Présence d’Allah et cherchons  à etablir un bonc équilibre Din/Dounia.

Et dans ce monde si troublé, nous cherchons,  grâce à Ta vision d’un Islam contemporain Lumineux, à élargir ces préceptes dans nos engagements quotidiens  comme citoyens loyaux, responsables et engagés dans la société civile pluraliste, tolérante et généreuse.

Bonne Santé et Longue vie à Notre Imam du Temps Présent!

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Ode to the Imam of the Present Time

Aga Khan and the Flag of the Ismaili Imamat
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, flanked by flags of the Ismaili Imamat (left) and the Diamond Jubilee commemorative logo, makes his appearance at the Homage Ceremony on July 11, 2017, to celebrate his Diamond Jubilee. The ceremony was held at his residence and Imamat Headquarters at Aiglemont in France.

By MOHEZ NATO

In the name of Allah the Most Clement, the Most Merciful,

At the first hours of this blessed day of your birthday oh Beloved Khudavind, millions and millions of voices of your murids of your globalized Jamat, will invoke the Grace, the Mercy of Allah so that you have a good health, a long life, a serene family happiness and that all your dear wishes are realized.

And may you always remain this Bright Lighthouse in this world which is going through a deep sanitary crisis, accompanied by climatic disturbances, wars and the noise of boots, socio-economic troubles in a world in full geopolitical changes.

And we will also have, on this happy day, affectionate thoughts filled with gratitude, esteem and sincere recognition for all the members of your Noorani family for their tireless commitment to make radiate throughout the world all your wishes, projects and who present your Jamat, as Muslims Shia Ismaili Imami Nizari responsible, worthy and bearers of values and humanistic projects with universal scope.

On this happy anniversary day, we will renew as your spiritual children bound by the Bayat, our unwavering attachment to your Spiritual Authority. We humbly express our sincere shukranas for your high benevolence, your Hidayats, your Farmans to always protect us, guide us to the right path of Sirat al-Mustaqim and encourage us for the spiritual quest.

With your constant Guidance, O Being of Light, we seek, as murids living a faith of conviction, as ambassadors of Islam, as worthy and responsible dais, to apply the precious precepts of the ethics of our faith. And as you advice us, we never forget to always remember the presence of Allah in our life journey.

And in this troubled world, we seek, thanks to your vision of a contemporary enlightened Islam, to extend these precepts in our daily commitments as loyal, responsible and committed citizens in the pluralist, tolerant and generous civil society.

Good health and long life to our Imam of the Present Time!

Date posted: December 23, 2022.

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REVIEW BARAKAH’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 300 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, members of his family and the Ismaili Imamat. Also visit our two sister websites, Simerg and Simergphotos. Barakah’s editor may be reached at mmerchant@barakah.com. Please follow Malik @Facebook and @Twitter.

2 comments

  1. All my family knows Nato’s family since Madagascar. It is an honor for us. More specifically me — I learn every day with Moez because he is a great and smart man who likes sharing in all fields: plants, books, reflections on our guide Mawlana Hazar Imam.
    Love
    Sheila’s family

    Like

  2. We have known Moez and Farida for decades. We congratulate him on this great article which has lots of meaning and wish and pray success in all his endeavors. Ameen

    Like

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