Tonight we will celebrate Chandraat, the night of the new moon. Tonight is also the first night of of the first Muslim month, Muharram. Thus, tomorrow is the New Year Day for year 1432 AH. The martyrdom of NOOR Mowlana Imam Hussain (a.s.) took place on the 10th day of Muharram in the year 61 AH. In this context it is important to note that the Ismailis are sensitive to this event because, in our Dua and every prayer, we refer to Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam as "Noor Mowlana Shah Karim Al-Hussaini Hazar Imam". This is an explicit statement that the progeny of Noor Mowlana Imam Hussain (a.s.) is in front of us and the Institution of Imamat is still flourishing in this day and age. Al-Hamdulillah!
Today, we are most fortunate to have the direct, descendant of the Holy Prophet (s.a.s.), a hereditary, present and living Imam, to guide us through the Institution of Imamat. It is imperative upon us to continually present a bouquet of angelic salwats to our Holy Imam and his family from the time of Amirul-Momineen, NOOR Mowlana Murtaza Ali (a.s.) till today, and remind ourselves of the sacrifices that they have given and are giving for the upliftment of the Ismailis, the Ummah and humanity at large over the past 1400 years.
Let us now present a bouquet of angelic salwats to our beloved Mowla. Real Audio and mp3 sound tracks are available for your convenience.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has developed a climate resilience action plan because the greatest burden of climate change will fall on countries in the developing world. The calendar a diagram which shows the structure of the AKDN under the umbrella of The Imamat and information and quotations of Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam on twelve major projects. Please visit the AKDN site and learn about the initiatives which are being taken by Noor Mowlana Shah Karim Al-Hussaini Hazar Imam.
The Aga Khan Development Network is a contemporary endeavour of the Ismaili Imamat to realise the social conscience of Islam through institutional action. It brings together, under one coherent aegis, institutions and programmes whose combined mandate is to help relieve society of ignorance, disease and deprivation without regard to the faiths or national origins of people whom they serve. In societies where Muslims have a significant presence, its mandate extends to efforts to revitalise and broaden the understanding of cultural heritage in the full richness of its diversity, as the quality of life in its fullest sense extends beyond physical well-being. The primary areas of concern are the poorest regions of Asia and Africa. The institutions of the Network derive their impetus from the ethics of Islam which bridge the two realms of the faith, din and dunya, the spiritual and the material. The central emphasis of Islam's ethical ideal is enablement of each person to live up to his exalted status as vicegerent of God on earth, in whom God has breathed His own spirit and to whom He has made whatever is in the heavens and the earth, an object of trust and quest.
Din and Dunya
A person's ultimate worth depends on how he or she responds to these Divine favours. Din is the spiritual relationship of willing submission of a reasoning creature to his Lord who creates, sustains and guides. For the truly discerning, the earthly life, dunya, is a gift to cherish inasmuch as it is a bridge to, and preparation for, the life to come. Otherwise it is an enticement, distracting man from service of God which is the true purpose of life. Service of God is not only worship, but also service to humanity, and abiding by the duty of trust towards the rest of creation. Righteousness, says the Quran, is not only fulfilling one's religious obligations. Without social responsibility, religiosity is a show of conceit. Islam is, therefore, both din and dunya, spirit and matter, distinct but linked, neither to be forsaken.
The Guidance of the Imam
The challenge of choice is moral and individual, but meaningful in a social context. For while personal morality is a paramount demand of the faith, Islam envisions a social order which is sustained by the expectation of each individual's morally just conduct towards others. The function of ethics is to foster self-realisation through giving of one's self, for the common good, in response to God's benevolent majesty.
By grounding societal values in the principle of human moral responsibility to the Divine, Islam lifts the sense of public and social order to a transcendent level. The lasting legacy of the Prophet Muhammad is the strong suffusion of the mundane, of daily life, with the sense of the spiritual. This prophetic example remains a source of emulation for Muslims everywhere, in every age. Within Shia Islam, it is the mandate of each hereditary Imam from the Prophet's progeny, as the legatee of the Prophet's authority, to seek to realise that paradigm through an institutional and social order which befits the circumstances of time and place. In a world of flux, the Imam gives leadership in the maintenance of balance between the spiritual and the material in the harmonious context of the ethics of the faith, of which he is the guardian.
Ethical Foundations of AKDN Institutions
Notionally, the AKDN seeks the ideal of social action, of communitarian strategy, to realise the social vision of Islam. Although the outcome of its action is pragmatic, the motivation for it is spiritual, a universal ethic whose purpose is to elicit the noble that inheres in each man and woman. The abiding traits which define this ethic, inform the principles and philosophies of AKDN institutions: their collective focus on respect for human dignity and relief to humanity; the reach of their mandates beyond boundaries of creed, colour, race and nationality; their combined endeavour towards empowering individuals, male and female, to become self-reliant and able to help those weaker than themselves; their policy of nurturing and harnessing a culture of philanthropy and voluntary sharing of time and talent; the transparency of their governance based on the values of trust, probity, equity and accountability; and their overall aim generally to seek to engender, or contribute to other efforts which seek to engender, a fraternal ethos of enlightenment, peace, "large-hearted toleration", mutual aid and understanding.
What are the abiding traits of Islam's ethical ideal which inform the AKDN mandate?
Ethic of Inclusiveness
Islam's is an inclusive vision of society. The divine spark that bestows individuality also bonds individuals in a common humanity. Humankind, says the Quran, has been created from a single soul, as male and female, communities and nations, so that people may know one another. It invites people of all faiths to a common platform, to vie for goodness. The Prophet sought to harness individual and group differences and talents to serve common needs of different religious groups, among whom he encouraged a spirit of harmony and toleration as constituents of a larger community of his time.
Ethic of Sustainable Environment: Physical, Social and Cultural
Care of the environment, in its comprehensive meaning, is a duty of trusteeship which humankind owes by virtue of its vicegerency over creation. Each generation of people are described as both "viceroys and successors in the earth", stewards over its resources for the benefit of all living beings. Profligacy, wastage and acts that corrupt the balanced order of nature, which is a sign of divine beneficence, earn a severe reproach. The evil that people do "vanishes as jetsam and what profits men abides in the earth." Hence, those who create wealth in its diverse forms, intellectual and spiritual, cultural and material, are raised to a position of honour, but only if they recognise and respect the element of trust in what they create. To squander in vanity or to withhold in jealousy what they are able to create, amounts to usurping the rights of those, including the generations yet to be born, who need the fruits of their talents. Each generation is, thus, ethic bound to leave behind a wholesome, sustainable social and physical environment.
The lit candle represents the Light of Imamat. Let us actualize this Light into our spiritual hearts, heads, & consciences so that we may also be able to submit spiritual & luminous nazranas in the Diamond Jubilee.