While the Homage Ceremony was designed to encourage reflection, Jamati members found creative ways to personalize the experience, beyond a single day. Natasha Ladhani spoke with some of them.

Throughout the day of the Diamond Jubilee Opening Ceremonies various Jamati members used the site’s reflection spaces to ponder what this Jubilee means to them. 
The hallmark of this exercise was the Journey to Homage exhibit, an interactive, multi-sensory exercise in reflection that highlighted major milestones for the Imamat institutions. Structured as a walk-through, the exhibit was an oasis from the hustle and bustle of the day. Participants viewed eight panels and three interactive exhibits with the help of special guides who narrated the historical significance of each item in the exhibit. “At the end, there was a letter that Hazar Imam had written to the Leaders International Forum members. To see his writing was very impactful and special to me,” commented Farzan Bhanwadia of Manhattan Jamatkhana, adding, “I wish there was more.”
Reflecting about the life of the Imam was not limited to a certain square footage. Reflection is a constant and ever present endeavor, and in anticipation of the homage ceremony, Jamati members were preparing themselves for the upcoming experience. Afroz Sumar from Edison Jamatkhana explained how homage is a journey for her. In preparation for this journey, Afroz said, “I promised myself that I would say salwat for 180 days, and I did it.” This spiritual preparation sparked her prayers throughout the day. She said it was important for her to “ask for peace,” and for those praying during this year, “get whatever you ask for”.
Some used the upcoming Jubilee to not only reflect, but launch into action. Anoosha Virani from Lake Success Jamatkhana was only a one-year- old during the Golden Jubilee, but now that she is old enough to remember her experience, she used the past year to become more regular in her prayers and volunteered throughout the year. “I’m going around just seeing if anyone needs help with anything. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I have to take advantage of,” said Anoosha. 
As the Jubilee year continues, let us all take time out to purposefully reflect on our faith and what being a Shia Ismaili Muslim means to us.