“I am fortunate to lead an international community with a strong social conscience. Bridging North and South, East and West, the Ismailis have a long tradition of philanthropy, self-reliance, and voluntary service. Wherever they live, they faithfully abide by the Qur’anic ethic of a common humanity and the dignity of man. They willingly pool knowledge and resources with all those who share our social ethic to help improve the quality of life of less fortunate men, women, and children.”
Mawlana Hazar Imam, upon receiving the Die Quadriga Prize, Berlin, Germany, October 3, 2005

The year 2019 saw the global Jamat celebrating the centenary of the Ismaili Volunteer Corps, founded by Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah in Bombay in 1919. The following year, the first Ladies Volunteer Corps was formed, and these organized service efforts spread quickly, as Ismailis elsewhere joined the Corps to serve their Imam and the Jamat.

Service to others has been emphasized repeatedly in the Holy Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself also provided many examples to be emulated by others. Throughout history, Ismailis have adhered to this ethic by serving the Imam of the time and the Jamat. From the da’is (missionaries) in the Fatimid courts during the tenth century to the community’s I-CERV service organization and our youth clubs today, Ismailis have given of themselves to improve the lives of others.

During the Golden Jubilee, Hazar Imam introduced the Time and Knowledge Nazrana as another formal channel to serve. Through this endeavor, Ismailis across the world have had an opportunity to share their expertise and knowledge with the Jamat in other countries to improve their quality of life.

Service, however, extends beyond these formalized channels. Members of our Jamat give of themselves in hundreds of capacities every day, from teaching our young children in ECD or REC classes to mentoring students, cleaning our Jamatkhanas, managing numerous social programs, helping the elderly, and volunteering or collaborating with external service organizations. This sense of collective responsibility is widespread and has been reinforced by our Imam’s guidance. It is also gratifying to see so many of our youth continuing this tradition, one that instills discipline and empathy, while improving their organizational and interpersonal skills.

It is through giving of ourselves that we express our humanity. On this anniversary of the Ismaili Volunteer Corps, we express the Jamat’s gratitude to all our volunteers, uniformed and otherwise, who dedicate themselves selflessly for others and who illustrate a cardinal ethic of our faith.