It took two years and much perseverance, but in 2017, a group of dedicated seniors from Ottawa Jamatkhana finally unveiled their hand-stitched quilt in celebration of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee.

The quilt contains 49 squares, each featuring a logo or depiction of one of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s agencies, institutions, or restoration projects around the world. It was unveiled at Ottawa Jamatkhana in the presence of Jamati members, local Jamati leaders, and Dr. Mahmoud Eboo, Chairman of the Leaders’ International Forum and Resident Representative of the AKDN in Canada.

Though the quilt was a culmination of the effort of many volunteers, the original idea came from Ottawa Jamatkhana members Parviz Hirani, Shirin Amlani, Shuley Kachra, and Presidentbanu of the Ismaili Council for Ottawa Nasim Surani.

“This quilt was made for Hazar Imam, to commemorate 60 years of [his] Imamat,” said Surani.. “The greatest thing is that the embroidery has been done by the ladies of the Jamat...every stitch has some kind of special meaning in it.”

Hirani enjoyed how the hand-embroidered stitching brought the restorations of ancient buildings to life with their colour.

“Our core Ismaili values of charity, humanity, education and volunteerism are also represented on the quilt,” said Hirani.

Ottawa Jamati member Noorain Noorani commended the amount of hard work put into the quilt.

“Different people in the Jamat came together to create one beautiful piece,” said the university student.

The quilt-making process was truly an effort of the global Jamat, bringing  together women from Afghanistan, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Tanzania and Uganda. Hirani remembers how the 20 seniors spent almost a year tracing and embroidering the 49 squares by hand, often working late into the evening to make sure each stitch was perfect. As they worked on the project, the women bonded over discussions around their cultural backgrounds and the hardships they faced back home.

“It’s a masterpiece,” continued Hirani. “Seniors are the pillars of our community. They found time to show their love for Hazar Imam by creating an exquisite quilt that we can be proud of.”

Ottawa Jamati member Saman Ferozali, a recent university graduate, spoke about the impact she believes the quilt has had.

“Seeing the outreach we have – not just within the community, but across the world – and having a manifestation of that in our Jamatkhana makes me feel proud to be an Ismaili,” said Ferozali.

The seniors were recognized when the quilt was displayed at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat during one of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visits to Ottawa in 2018. Hirani and the other seniors were proud to hear that Hazar Imam admired the quilt for several minutes.

“We are so proud of the ladies,” concluded Presidentbanu Surani. “And [that] Hazar Imam actually saw it.”

The quilt still hangs inside Ottawa Jamatkhana.


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