Roz-e-Nur: The day of light

To celebrate the occasion of Roz-e-Nur this week, The Ismaili is pleased to present From a Thousand Years ago into the Next Millennium, a 93-minute film of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s historic first visit to the Tajikistan Jamat in May 1995.

This first formal encounter of the Imam-of-the-Time with the Tajik Jamat in recent history is celebrated annually on 24 May as Roz-e-Nur, or the Day of Light, marking the anniversary of the Imam’s first mulaqat with the Jamat in Dushanbe, and his first foot-step in Gorno-Badakhshan on 25 May. The year 2020 marks 25 years since that momentous occasion.

The dismantling of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and the ensuing civil conflict had led to severe food and energy shortages in the geographically isolated Badakhshan region in the Pamir mountains. In the winter of 1992, a severe humanitarian crisis arose, putting countless lives and livelihoods at risk. In response to a request of the Government of Tajikistan, Mawlana Hazar Imam launched an emergency relief effort through the Aga Khan Foundation, which led to a process of positive change for the newly emerging nation. This crucial intervention protected those living in the area at that time of an existential crisis.

During his 1995 visit, Mawlana Hazar Imam met with government leaders and also granted mulaqats to the Jamat in Dushanbe, Porshinev, Roshtkala. Rushan, Sijd, Ishkashim and Murgab. Among the many thousands of murids who travelled long distances on foot to these locations, there were those who had never even seen a picture of the Imam before then.

After decades of isolation and waiting, the Tajik Jamat greeted Mawlana Hazar Imam with elated joy. Having gone through many years of challenging times politically, economically, and socially, and also faced difficulty in practising the faith. Roz-e-Nur brought for them  a sense of salvation, and renewed hope for the future.

Today, the Tajik Jamat looks back upon this day as a turning point in their lives. Roz-e-Nur is joyfully commemorated as a celebratory occasion when families gather to feast on the traditional palau and sweet dishes, sing songs, recite qasidas and maddoh, and share unique memories and experiences.

It is also a time of happiness and festivity in expressing loyalty to the Imam-of-the-Time, and offering gratitude for his grace and care for all murids worldwide.