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Published by: Coolboy Cool on Feb 10, 2011
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'Understanding Ismailism' was first published in English from Canada in 1988. Due todemand, it was reprinted in U.S.A. and twice in Pakistan. Book's Urdu and Gujratitranslations have also been published from Pakistan.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-- the Sacred Book for mankind.This Heavenly Book has been my Furqan - the Criterion,a standardof judgment.It has showed me the right path as my Guide (Imam) and Light (Noor), the same way itguided, 1400 years ago, the pagan Arabs to distinguish and discriminate between goodand evil to rid them of their age long superstitions, idolatry and various customs of the"age of ignorance".I have quoted verses from this final scripture - the Quran, with intent and prayers thatthese few out of over 6200 verses, may be a Guideand a Warner to the readers.
"Say: Lo! my Lord hurleth the Truth.(He is) the knower of things hidden."Holy Quran 34/48
Faith blooms with understanding. The expansion of understanding makes for anexpansion of trust, and reading widens the horizons of understanding. If one was to stepinto a public library and scan a computer listing, or go through a catalog under theheading Islam, he would discover enough titles to expand his understanding of Islamichistory and Islam. But, if he was to search under the heading Ismailism or Ismailis, hewould hardly come across a book written by an Ismaili author or published by an Ismailiinstitution that would open a door and invite him to examine the Tariqah (practices) orthe history of Ismailism, from inside out.Recently I came across two publications written in English, by Al-Waiz Abualy A.Aziz. Both of these books -- Ismaili Tariqah and A Brief History of Ismailism -- werepublished in Canada in 1985.Al-Waiz Abualy is the senior most Al-Waiz (missionary) who has devoted his entirelife propagating the Ismaili Tariqah (Ismailism) for and on behalf of the Aga Khan'sinternational institution for the propagation of faith and publication of religious literature.This institution is called "The Shia Imami Ismaili Tariqah and Religious EducationBoard." Al-Waiz Abualy is also the author of over a dozen books on the subjects of Ismaili faith and its history His favorite subjects are the esoteric aspects of Ismaili beliefsand the history of Ismaili Imams (Leaders) and Ismaili Pirs (Teachers - Dais),I have known Abualy since the early forties when I joined the "Recreation Club" inBombay India as a student missionary. Later the "Club" changed its name to "IsmailiaAssociation", and under the new Constitution promulgated recently by Karim Aga Khan,the Association is now known as 'The Shia Imami Ismaili and Religious EducationBoard". In effect, the so called "Club" has come out of its disguise. During the days whenI joined the Recreation Club as a mission student, Abualy was one of the youngestteachers to our group. I did not end up as a missionary propagating the Ismaili doctrinesbut I continued my research and studies.
Treat my Jamat psychologically
During the last forty years of my close association with the Ismaili community as anactive member of the Jamat (Community), I have studied the principles, practices andteachings of the Ismaili Tariqah from close quarters. As a past President of an IsmailiaCouncil I had the opportunity to observe the norms of leadership as well as conduction of Leadership Conventions and Conferences at all levels. One piece of advice that I receivedpersonally from the top authority was to treat my Jamat psychologically. I have watchedJamati leaders do exactly this. When the request was for desperately needed financialassistance, the Jamat was treated with the psychologically developed by the famousViennes physician Sigmund Freud. I have observed Ismaili preachers who would feed thecongregation with pep talks for days, when what was required were actual facts on the
fundamental and basic issues. This practice has been so common that a lot of the youngergeneration and middle aged adults walk out of the Jamatkhanas (prayer houses), beforethe preachers reach the pulpitExperienced missionaries who have been in the business of preaching and teaching fora long time have learned that the audience that remains behind to hear the sermon iscomposed mainly of Bhagats (genuine devotees), who are used to hearing pep talks andnot the Truth. They have to keep on harping the same tune that the Ismaili Pirs haverecited in their devotional songs Ginans. (To read one such Ginan please visit:http://www.mostmerciful.com/agakhan.htm). The moment they step outside of this welltrodden path they will be disqualified by the Jamat and reprimanded by the Board. I cannever forget one such typical example that I had the misfortune of witnessing in one of the Jamatkhanas in Burnaby, Canada.
Human Compositions and Divine Revelations
A husband and wife team of young missionaries was officially invited by the IsmailiaAssociation from The Islamic Republic of Pakistan to give a series of lectures on Islamand Ismailism. The subject for that night's sermon, suggested by the Ismailia Associationwas 'Comparison of the Ginanic verses with the Quranic verses'. Ginans are very near anddear to Ismailis because they were composed by Ismaili Pirs who had converted theirforefathers. Ismailis recite these Ginans each and every day in their Jamatkhanasthroughout the world. Professionally recorded Ginans are sold for home listening.The husband of the team began his lecture by pointing out an Islamic point of view:The word comparison in the title of his sermon was inappropriate. The Quran is a DivineRevelation revealed by Allah Himself whereas Ginans were composed by men andwomen. No Muslim can ever think of comparing a human composition with the mostSublime, Unparalleled Supreme composition. What he said was Pure Truth. It is said thatonly a lion's cub can digest the milk of a lioness. A large section of the congregation,male and female, walked out in silent protest. The young missionary coming from anIslamic State could not believe his eyes nor could he control his frustration and anger. Hediscontinued his sermon and left the pulpit. After much persuasion from the ExecutiveOfficers of the Jamat and the Association, the team resumed their lecture. They made arequest that those who did not hold similar views should leave and let others hear the restof their sermon. Practically, half the Jamat left the Jamatkhana. Some were not interestedin the teachings of the Quran. Others could not bear to hear the undisputed facts about theGinans.This attitude stands true also for the published literature. The majority of these peoplehave never even opened the Book of Islamic scripture - the Quran - even though they callthemselves Muslims. Ismailis would not touch any literature that disagrees with theGinanic teachings of their Pirs and Farmans (Commands) of their Imams. One of theFarmans of Aga Khan III made during his first trip of Zanzibar Africa tells Ismailis not toread books other than that written by Pir Sadruddin, which are known as Ginans.

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