One of the unique, binding principles which unites all Ismaili Muslims is the principle of the Imamat. The presence of a living Imam who is a direct descendant from Prophet Muhammad (S.A.S.), through Hazrat Ali (A.S.) and Hazrat Bibi Fatima (A.S.) is a key marker in the articulation of the Ismailis’ religious identity.
From the day he ascends the throne of Imamat, the Shia Ismaili Imam dedicates his life to provide spiritual guidance and establish institutions and systems to allow for the progress, growth, development and enrichment of his spiritual children around the world, and the communities they live in. He also provides spiritual guidance with his interpretation of the faith carried out in a current view context.
Globally, Ismaili’s celebrate Imamat day on the 11th of July marking Mawlana Shah Karim al-Hussaini’s ascent to the throne of Imamat as their 49th Imam. This day gives Ismailis the opportunity to reflect on the immense love and commitment the Imam has for his spiritual children. Imamat day is also an occasion to reaffirm our oath of allegiance (ba’ya), devotion and dedication to the Imam-of-the-Time, and try to live our lives according to his Farmans and to the expectations that the Imam aspires of us.
Reflecting on the verses of the Qur’an in the Golden and Diamond Jubilees emblems, the Imam aims to instill the values of pluralism and brotherhood. These verses of the Qur’an remind us that we share a common bond of humanity through the creation of a universal Single Soul, although diversely spread throughout the globe but uniquely connected to each other through the realm of that Single Soul. Mawlana Hazar Imam, on various occasions, reminds us to be united towards making the world a better place. The Imam also emphasizes that we respect and learn about beliefs and views of other communities within the Muslim ummah and outside, without compromising on the fundamental principles of our faith and values of our Tariqah.
On this Imamat day, let us aim to implement this message from the Imam and reflect on how we play a role in these difficult times to be ambassadors of our faith and to support in enriching the quality of life for ourselves, our fellow brothers and sisters, and humanity at large.
Imamat Day Mubarak!
[Adapted from The IIS Secondary Curriculum: Faith and Practice Vol 2]
Photo courtesy: The Ismaili