The commemoration of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee was a unique and momentous occasion for Ismailis around the world. In North America, Australia, and New Zealand, the planning for the celebrations began over a year ago by thousands of volunteers as they prepared to host the Jamat in 19 different cities. The multitude of activities from conceptualization of the commemoration to the execution of the epochal event were performed entirely by volunteers who on this day, gave with their tan, man, and dhan (material, spiritual and financial resources.)

“Service to the Imam is always a fulfilling experience, but the opportunity to serve on this special and rare occasion is something I will cherish forever.” (anonymous volunteer, 11 July 2007).


Ismailis across North America, Australia and New Zealand were filled with anticipation as they arrived at major centres to celebrate their beloved Mawlana Hazar Imam's Golden Jubilee year. In each city, the Jamat marvelled at the magnificent arrangements: from intricately adorned walls to beautifully arranged galleries depicting the work of the Imam to photographs and artwork lovingly displayed to mark the occasion. Each commemoration echoed the quiet dedication of our volunteers, underscoring the tradition of service. Indeed, the Golden Jubilee celebrations across the globe stood as a testament to the spirit of volunteerism in our Jamat, and a reflection of the enormous contribution that thousands of volunteers made to celebrate this memorable and historic occasion. Rashid Merchant a member the Ismaili Council for Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea, summarized that “the strength of our Jamat lies in volunteerism." He added that within the New Zealand Jamat, almost every family had contributed to the organization of the celebrations.

Volunteerism has always played an important role in the Ismaili community. Mawlana Hazar Imam has often referred to it as a “time honoured service” and on this day, the energy and excitement of volunteers resonated throughout the celebrations. Whether they were dressed in official uniform or incognito, it was the volunteers who provided the critical services to ensure comfort, care, and enjoyment of the Jamat. Serving as safety officers, physicians, information providers, or helping to prepare and serve meals, Jamati volunteers of all ages worked together, diligently coordinating activities to ensure a memorable day for the entire Jamat.

Shahsultan Mohammad, a volunteer with the food committee for over 30 years, worked enthusiastically alongside her daughter Rosmin and granddaughter Fatima as they prepared the biryani, vegetable curry, and sweets, for the multitude of people who would gather in Vancouver. Jameel Mawji, from Toronto believed that “this celebration differed in that you felt more part of a global community because everyone was participating in the celebration together at the same time.”

The spirit of volunteerism and the desire to serve was strong as smiling faces were found in every corner, ready to assist, inform, or simply entertain. In Edmonton, volunteers made sure the day started off right as they arranged for door-to-door transportation for their entire Jamat. Temporary lanes fitted with pylons, volunteer traffic controllers, and a host of shuttles created “a system that worked like clock-work,” said Riyaz Shivji, the Human Resources Chairperson.

For the 28 members of the Northern Texas Marching band, the hundreds of hours of practice were well worth the Jamat's appreciation. “It was an honour to lead the procession” said Captain Shiraz Noorani, “We are grateful for this opportunity to serve.”

Reza Kaba and Saher Valiani of the Western USA Jamat represented hundreds of youth volunteers who devoted much time and effort to organise such an event. “It's great to give back to the community on this Golden Jubilee Day,” said Saher. “I'm so excited about this upcoming year. Our Imam has great expectations of us and I just can't wait to contribute whatever I can in my way to fulfill his vision.” Like many Ismaili youths globally who aspire to serve, Saher hopes to join FOCUS USA to assist victims of disasters get back on their feet.

After working tirelessly over the last year to help prepare for the Golden Jubilee, a volunteer from Ottawa noted “the many meetings, conference calls and emails all come down to this one day.” As the activities culminated on this auspicious and unique occasion, every volunteer – young and old, male and female – came together, serving with a united heart and a united desire to make the Golden Jubilee celebrations truly memorable for the Jamat.