Gouvieux, France, 12 July 2017 — Yesterday, Ismaili Muslims all over the world symbolically crossed the threshold of Aiglemont and joined in procession with hundreds of senior Jamati leaders, as they called on the residence of the Imam of the Time to offer homage on the occasion of his Diamond Jubilee.
Within the forested estate, the procession wound its way along a banner-lined path, which, together with the surrounding trees, reverberated with the yearning recitations of dhikr and devotional renderings that were led by Ismaili artists who drew from the rich Jamati ancestral traditions of Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent. The Jamati leaders gathered at Mawlana Hazar Imam’s door, beckoning the Imam with salwaat.
When Hazar Imam emerged, he was accompanied by members of his family — Prince Amyn, Prince Rahim with Princess Salwa and their children Prince Irfan and Prince Sinan, Princess Zahra, Prince Hussain, Prince Aly Muhammad, Princess Yasmin, Princess Catherine, and the children of Princess Zahra, Sara and Iliyan. All were dressed in ceremonial robes befitting the auspicious day.
Following a live rendition of the Nashid al-Imamah by an Ismaili ensemble, Mawlana Hazar Imam graciously invited all of the Jamati leaders inside his home.
Across the globe, Jamats were gathered for a special day of commemoration and celebration. Within hours of the ceremony’s conclusion, they were able to immerse themselves in the occasion through a video.
On 11 July 1957, Shah Karim al-Hussaini inherited the mantle of Imamat from his grandfather, Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan III, becoming the 49th hereditary Imam of the world’s Shia Ismaili Muslims. Mawlana Hazar Imam dedicated his life to the spiritual and worldly upliftment of Ismailis around the world, and since then has invested every day of the 60 years of his Imamat to achieving these goals.
It was therefore with deep humility and bearing the profound gratitude of all Ismaili murids around the world, that Dr Mahmoud Eboo, Chairman of the Ismaili Leaders’ International Forum conveyed messages of shukran and mubarak to Mawlana Hazar Imam on behalf of all Ismailis. He also welcomed the members of Hazar Imam’s family, and thanked them on behalf of the Jamat for their service in support of the Imamat.
As part of the ceremony, the insignia, which are ceremonial symbols of the Imam’s authority, were brought before the Imam by small groups from among the gathered leaders. Among the insignia were the Holy Quran, the Imam’s chain of office, and an inkwell symbolising the Shia intellectual tradition. Recitations of the Quran and devotional renderings from various Jamati traditions were also performed.
Before submitting the Jamat’s pledge of loyalty and allegiance to Mawlana Hazar Imam, the Chairman recalled some of the most significant challenges of the past 60 years, noting that the Jamat had only managed to navigate them successfully because of Hazar Imam’s guidance and support.
“Today, we reflect on 60 years of your loving guidance and generosity that have taken the Jamat to new levels of spiritual and material wellbeing, giving to us new directions, awareness, and confidence,” said Chairman Eboo.
Jamati leaders presented Mawlana Hazar Imam with two gifts in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee: an eight-point lustre star tile with Quranic inscriptions in naskhi script that was made in Kashan, Iran in the 13th century, and a gold medallion inscribed with the Diamond Jubilee emblem.
Mawlana Hazar Imam was visibly touched. He thanked his family and the Jamati leaders present, and he expressed his appreciation to Chairman Eboo for the pledges that were offered on behalf of the Jamat.
Following the ceremony, Mawlana Hazar Imam hosted a luncheon at his home for Jamati and AKDN leaders.