'UNDERSTANDING ISMAILISM', Section Three

'UNDERSTANDING 

ISMAILISM'

Section Three


Continued from Section Two

Ginans - Creations of anonymous authors!

  Professor W. Ivanow, a well known Russian scholar and a reputed researcher of Ismaili history has translated many books and manuscripts of Ismaili literature.

He writes in his book 'Ismaili Literature' (Tehran University Press - 1963):-

    "A great majority of gnans are the creation of anonymous authors. Apparently quite a considerable proportion of those attributed to the authorship of Great Pirs probably have nothing to do with them, and were composed at a much later date. 
    This particularly applies to the gnans about various Pirs, their miracles, their sayings". (Page 174)
    Hundreds of Ginans which were composed by the children and grandchildren of the Pirs were attributed to Pir Sadruddin and Pir Hasan Kabirdin by these descendants. Writing new Ginans and selling them to newly converted Khojas was the main source of income for these hundreds of relatives of Pirs. Ismailia Association for India has confirmed these facts and added that "out of 18 sons of Pir Hasan Kabirdin, 17 sons had opened various religious Bazaars of their own and had started their own independent factories. Some of these so called Sayyids had even established their own sects.

    In 1969, the Ismailia Association for India published a series of "Collection of Ginans" (2nd edition). This series includes Ginans composed by officially appointed authorized Pirs, Ginans by Sayyids (descendants of the Pirs) whose names and brief history are published in the introduction, and also Ginans composed by so called Sayyids, whose historical record is neither available nor known.

   Below are three excerpts from the introductions of this series published from Bombay, India by the Ismailia Association:-

(Here appears in the book, the three excerpts in Gujrati)

Translation of the above excerpts:

    1.  Besides the authorized Pirs, descendants of the Pirs have also propagated faith in the same manner as their fathers and grandfathers.  These descendants have composed some Ginans in which Sayyid Imamshah's contribution is the greatest.

    2.  It should be borne in mind (by Ismailis) that many Ismaili Poets, Philosophers and Bhagats (devotes) have written songs and propagated the true path of Ismailism. Similarly Sayyids (and one Sayyidah) have also composed Ginans and propagated the faith. These compositions have been preserved in our religious literature. We have only to adopt the preaching that are within these compositions (Ginans). But, the Ginans of these composers cannot be given the same "weight" as those composed by the authorized Pirs that were nominated by Imam-e-Zaman.

    3.   Who were the original creators (composers) of all these sacred writings (Ginans)? In trying to find an answer to this question it is being observed that it is likely that some Sayyids (descendants of Pirs) might have added their names to the original Ginans or sacred writings created by Pirs.

    It is evident from the last excerpt that the Ismailia Association is trying to impress upon Ismailis that although a Ginan may mention the name of a Sayyid or Sayyidah as the composer it could be a composition of an authorized Pir. In other words, it should be given the same "weight" as an authorized composition.

   The collection of "Ginans" published by the Ismailia Association for India is made from the following categories:-

    1.   Authorized Ginans composed by appointed Pirs.
    2.  Devotional Songs composed by known Sayyids.
    3.  Devotional Songs composed by unknown Sayyids.
   Officially, Ginans and Songs are both called Ginans. Both are being equally honoured, trusted and obeyed by Ismailis, because they bear the same nomenclature. In some cases the name of a father appears as the creator Pir and his son's name appears, in the same verse, as the reciter Pir. There are even cases where the prefix 'Pir’ is added to the name of the composer when he is neither a Pir nor a descendant of any Pir or Sayyid. Below is one such "Phony Ginan" created during my lifetime.

Who wrote "Par karo beda Guruji"?

   A Ginan which begins with "Par karo beda Guruji" is often being recited in the Jamatkhanas of Canada. It is a "song" composed by Head Master (Head Teacher) Hussain Gulamhussain Hussaini of a religious night school at Khadak, Bombay, India in the 1940's. In those days I was one of the teachers in that school. The Head Master had a poetic talent and used to compose songs for students of the night school to sing in the night school "Majlis". Later on, this particular song became a "Ginan". Master Hussaini who had composed the song, under the pen-name of "Musst" (in high spirits - carefree), became 'Pir Musst Musst Hussaini" instead of 'Musst Master Hussaini". The majority of Ismailis do not know such historical facts behind the origin of Ismaili Ginans. A missionary would not reveal these facts, in order to preserve the "weight" of Ginanic literature. They want Ismailis to obey each and every "Ginan" with the same respect in spite of the fact that there are more unauthorized Ginans than there are authorized ones.

Who wrote "Garbis" of Pir Shams?

   Ismaili sources record that Pir Shame was sent to India by one of their Imams from Iran. He was born in Iran. He died in Multan, Pakistan (formerly India). The custodian of the shrine in Multan has a genealogy tree (Sajrah) which records that he was born in Gazhni and came from Afghanistan. He was not an Ismaili and he did not propagate the Ismaili faith. However, the point to note is that he was a foreigner when he came to India. History records that he traveled from Afghanistan to Sind, Punjab, Kashmir and Tibet and settled in Multan (Punjab) where he died. Even the Ismaili sources have no records of his stay in Cutchh, Kathiawar or Gujrat where the inhabitants speak Gujrati.

  In the Jamatkhanas of Punjab, Ismailis recite Ginans in Punjabi which they say were composed by Pir Shams, seven centuries ago. In most of the other Jamatkhanas the world over, Ismailis recite Garbis (folk songs in Gujrati to which men and women would dance at a festival, with music), Kathas, Salokas and Ginans in Gujrati which they claim were all composed by Pir Shams. This entire collection in Gujrati language would be of over 2000 verses.

This gives rise to a series of questions: 

    1.   When and where did Pir Shams learn Gujrati?

    2.   Why would he  compose  and  sing Ginans  in 
    Gujrati before his non-Gujrati adherents?

    3.  Was the art of poetry writing in Gujrati 
    already developed 700 years ago?

   Examining the standard of the language of the Garbis and Ginans by Pir Shams, one can say that they are the work of an individual well versed in contemporary as well as medieval Gujrati.

Who edited "Pir Pandiyat-i Jawan-mardi"?

    It is interesting to note that in the Ismaili Tariqah, one of the "Authorized Pirs" is a "Book". The Book is supposed to have been written by a Nizari Imam whose name was All, but who has been called Mustansir Billah II. The Book is called 'Pir Pandiyat-i Jawan-mardi"
- a strange name for a Pir. For more details please read page 123 and 124 of 'A Brief History of Ismailism' by Abualy A. Aziz.

   Professor W Ivanow translated "Pir Pandiyat-i Jawan-mardi' into English and published the text of the work and its translation through 'The Ismaili Society', Bombay, in 1953. Ten years later he wrote:-

    "Taking into consideration the fundamental differences between various versions of the text, mentioned in the Introduction, it is easy to suspect that the work (Pandiyat-i Jawan-mardi) has passed through the hands of Khayrkhwah (Herati) who had no scruples about 'editing' it, and probably ultimately it reached India in his version". 
    'Ismaili Literature' Tehran University Press, 1963. Page I39
Who wrote "Kalam-i Pir"?

   Khayrkhwah Herati is also suspected by Professor Ivanow of committing 'the worst plagiarism" and converting "Haft-bab-i Bu Ishaq" (Haft-bab written by Abu Ishaq Quhistani) into "Haft-bab-i Shah Sayyid Nasir" (Haft-bab written by Sayyid Nasir-i Khusraw), otherwise known as "Kalam-i Pir". This book is considered as "Pir", by Ismailis of Badakshan and Northern Pakistan. It has also been translated by Professor W. Ivanow into English in 1959.

   "Editing" of books written by Pirs and Imams is not an uncommon practice in this Unique Tariqah. The "edited" version is treated with the same veneration and glory as if it was the original unedited version, because an Ismaili cannot distinguish the edited portion from the unedited.

Who were "Khojas"?

   Pirs had converted Hindus into Khojas and not into Ismailis. It has been a subject of debate whether the converted Khojas were Shias or Sunnis. History records and 'Noorum Mubin' confirms that prior to the arrival of Aga Khan I, in India from Iran in 1843, all the essential communal ceremonies of the Khojas, such as marriages, deaths, circumcisions, Fatehas etc., were being performed by Sunni Mullahs as per the traditions of 'Ahle Sunnat'; showing that the names of Shia Imams were not included in these rituals. 'Noorum Mubin' records that in 1271 A. H. Aga Khan I issued a "circular" to the Khojas asking them to change these ceremonies to 'Shia Tariqah' and rituals to be performed by Shia Maulvis and Sayyids, instead of Sunni Mullahs. For 20 years, the influential Jamati members in Cutch and Kathiawar disputed the change and the authority of Aga Khan and his circular 'Noorum-Mubin' records that a compromise was reached between the disputing Khojas and Aga Khan I. Khojas agreed to abide by the circular except in the matter of marriages, where the Nikah ceremonies would continue to be performed as per 'Sunni Tariqah'.

   Slowly the term "Khojas" was phased out and the Khojas became known as 'Ismailis" (followers of the 6th generation of Ali, called Ismail), hence followers of Ali (Shias) in their true sense. In North America the name Ismail has often been confused with Ishmael, the eldest son of patriarch Abraham.

   For further information please refer to Noorum Mubin pages 438 and 439. Also, a booklet published in 1932 by Universal Printing House, Karachi, written by K. Goolamali, entitled 'An Appeal to Mr. Ali Soloman Khan'. Abualy has recorded a very brief account of the above but the equivalent dates in A.D., recorded by Noorum Mubin and Abualy differ Noorum Mubin records that 1279 A.H. = 1832 A.D. and 1293 A.H. = 1866 A.D. Abualy records that 1252 A.H. = 1836 A.D. and 1282 A.H. = 1866 A.D.!

Who made "w'Allah" ("By God!"), 
into Allah?

   Over a period of seven centuries, the original Ginans have gone through lots of transitions. Most of the old Ginans have either been lost or removed from circulation permanently In their places new Ginans have been added. Ginans were composed by Sayyids (male and female) until the last century. Many Ginans have been edited by the Ismailia Associations. Some Ginans are banned by the Imams. Others have been modified or recast to incorporate Shia beliefs or to glorify the image of Ali. For example, the word "Hari" has been replaced with "Ali", "Swami" is changed to "Sami' and "w'Allah e'hi Imam" meaning "By God! that (Islam Shah) is Imam" has been altered to read "Allah e'hi Imam" meaning "Allah that is (equal to) Imam", (nauzbillah). The texts of some of these Ginans are beyond human reasoning and logic. Yet, in spite of these corruptions, Ginans are the basis of Ismaili beliefs. Ismailis burst with joy and pride when they sing "Allah e'hi Imam" not knowing that they are uttering a blasphemy and committing a heinous sin.

   On pages 136 and 137 of ‘Ismaili Tariqah' Abualyhas quoted nearly a dozen or so Farmans of Aga Khan III on Ginans. Reproduced below are three Farmans:-

    "Pir Sadruddin composed the Ginans, in Indian languages, which are the extracts from the Quran".

    "Pir Sadruddin has given you, in his Ginans, the tafseer (interpretation) of the Quran-e-Shariff".

    "Pir Sadruddin has guided you to the Right Path. If (instead) you will follow the path of the Moguls and the Arabs, you will be lost".

Prophet Muhammad came to India as "Pir"!

   On page 133, Abualy has quoted a Ginan of Pir Sadruddin in Gujrati and has given the translation thereof as under:-

  (Here, in the book appears the text in Gujrati)

Translation:

    "Before the creation there was Nabi Mohammed Mustafa. 
    The same Murshid has come to India."
   Such fantastic claims made in the names of Fire are the basis of the Ismaili Tariqah's bizarre teachings and beliefs of the repeated incarnations of Hazrat Ali and Nabi Muhammad as the 'Avtaras' of Hindu deities; 'Vishnu' and 'Bramah' respectively, from before the Creation. Ismailis are also taught that the Pirs who came to India were the holders of the Noor of Prophet Muhammad - the Bramah,
and the Aga Khans are the final Avtaras of Lord Vishnu.
Rama and Krishna were also Avtaras of Vishnu.

Prophet acknowledged Ali was the Creator!

   Quoted below is another "Unique Ginan". The Ginan is published under a collection entitled "Momin Chetavni". This Ginan is in connection with the birth of Ali ibn Abu Talib. It narrates a dialogue between Muhammed Mustafa (who was not yet Prophet and was 29 years of age) and a group of Angels who had come down from heaven to see Ali ibn Abu Talib, who had just been born.

(Here in the book appears three verses of the Ginan in Gujrati)

Translation:

    'When Nabi Muhammed, the leader of the Angels, returned after doing his Salaam (to Ali), the Angels said to Nabi Muhammed "He (Baby Ali) is the creator of 'Arsh Kursh' (Heavenly throne); He (Ali) is the one who has commanded us and kept us under your leadership. He is indeed the same, without any doubt: Then Nabi Muhammed replied "Brother Angels, let me tell you my thoughts; He (Baby Ali) has made known to me, he is the Creator of this Universe".
    Can these Ginans be considered as the "extracts from the Quran"? Does the Quran speak of "Ali the Creator of this Universe"?

Additional Note: Why is Karim Aga Khan NOT STOPPING his 
followers from reciting such Ginans, if he is in reality what he claims to be (a direct descendant of the Prophet)?

   No Muslim in his right mind would believe a single verse of the above Ginans. Any individual (Muslim or non-Muslim) who has read the history of the Great Prophet of Islam would say that when the Prophet Muhammad heard Angel Jibrael (Gabriel) for the first time in his life, it was in the cave of Mount Hira and he being about 40 years old. If the Prophet at the age of 29 years knew "Ali is the Creator of this Universe" then why did he go to Mount Hira? Why was the Prophet shocked to hear the voice of Angel Jibrael in the cave, if they both had known each other and spoken before? Finally, who told the Pir what the Prophet said to the Angels 700 years ago? Such Ginans are the basis for establishing the "Unique Supremacy" of Ali and his successors, the Aga Khans.

   Allah created Adam and gave him wisdom. He implanted in him the faculty of knowledge and judgement, before sending him upon this earth. He also gave him the power of reasoning, intuition and instinctive feelings. He therefore enjoys a special place within the creation of Allah - "Ashraful Makhlukat". Allah has honouredd AAdam to be His vicegerent on earth - "Khaliful Ardh". We, the human race, inherited these faculties. Today, the sources of acquiring knowledge are unlimited and easily accessible. This makes one wonder why Ismailis of this 20th century who are so advanced and discerning in managing their financial affairs, become so gullible as to place their entire confidence in Ginans, and base their religious beliefs on such bizarre Ginanic legends of Ali and Nabi and not upon the Quranic teachings?

    The Quran teaches: "Say I (Muhammad) am no more than a human being like you".                      Holy Quran 18/10
   As for the supremacy of Hazrat Ali; in the Fatimid period (i.e. pre-Alamut and pre-Ginanic period), Ali was considered as "al-Wasiyin wa Wazir Khair al-Mursalin", meaning "the distinguished Nominee and Representative(Wazir) of the Messenger". These words were inscribed on the obverse of the Fatimid Dinars to describe their Imams - the descendants of Ali.

   Should not the Aga Khan ask his followers to consider him,
'Wazir of the Messenger', since he claims to be a descendant of the Fatimid Imams?

Who are Moguls and Arabs?

   Incidentally, there is another Farman of Aga Khan III which speaks of Moguls as being "beggars" and Arabs "like donkeys' and "what will they teach Ismailis?" The Farman is in "Khojki" (a script especially developed by Khoja-Ismailis, for private records and secret writings). This Farman was made on August 20, 1899 in Zanzibar, Africa.

(Here appears in the book, the original text of the Farman in Khojki). 

Translation:

    "Pir Sadardin has shown you the straight path, if you leave that, and walk upon the talks of Moguls and Arabs, then you will fall down. Arabs are like donkeys. What will they teach you? They themselves do not know anything, then what will they teach you? Moguls seek alms in every country. What will they teach you? If you follow their talks, then you too will become donkeys".                 (Bahere Rehmat, pages 30 & 31)
   Aga Khan III tells Ismailis in the Farman that if they follow the words of Moguls and Arabs they will fall down and become like donkeys. The question is, who was Aga Khan III? Did he not call himself a Hashemite? Who were Hazrat Ali (r.a.) and Nabi Muhammad (s.a.s.)? Finally, who is Aga Khan IV? Is he Italian, French, British, Irani or an Arab? He calls himself Karim al-Hussaini. Who were Hashem and Hussain, if not Arabs?

   Muslims - those who submit to Allah - have based their religious beliefs by reference to the "Words of their Creator" - the Quran. Ismaili Momins - those who submit to their Imams - have based their religious beliefs by reference to the "words of Poets" - the Ginans. Which Tariqah is on the right path? Allah says:

    "Shall I inform you, (O people!), on whom it is that the evil ones descend? They descend on every lying, wicked person, (into whose ears) they pour hearsay vanities, and most of them are liars. And the Poets, -- it is those straying in evil, who follow them: Seest thou not that they wander distracted in every valley? And that they say what they practise not?"  Holy Quran 26/221 to 226
   Unique Du'a

    In the Ismaili Tariqah the first Article of Faith is a Declaration of faith, the second is Baiyat (oath of allegiance to the Imam) and the third is Dua (prayer). In Islam the first article is a Declaration of faith and the second is Salat - the canonical daily prayers. In the Persian and Urdu languages they are called Namaz. 

   An Ismaili is enjoined to perform only three obligatory prayers (Dua). A Muslim is enjoined to perform five obligatory prayers (Namaz) every day. When possible, prayers must be performed in congregation, especially the Friday noon prayers. In the Ismaili Tariqah there is no noon prayer (Dua) on Frin. Ismaili Momins - those who submit to their Imams - have based their religious beliefs by reference to the "words of Poets" - the Ginans. Which Tariqah is on the right path? Allah says:

    "Shall I inform you, (O people!), on whom it is that the evil ones descend? They descend on every lying, wicked person, (into whose ears) they pour hearsay vanities, and most of them are liars. And the Poets, -- it is those straying in evil, who follow them: Seest thou not that they wander distracted in every valley? And that they say what they practise not?"  Holy Quran 26/221 to 226
   Unique Du'a

    In the Ismaili Tariqah the first Article of Faith is a Declaration of faith, the second is Baiyat (oath of allegiance to the Imam) am the Quran, he goes into bowing position (Ruku). After Praising and Glorifying the Lord in the Ruku, he resumes the standing position and goes into Prostration (Sajdah) An Ismaili recites his (or her) entire Dua in a squatting position, and as such, does not do the Ruku.

    "O, ye who believe! Bow down (Ruku) and prostrate (Sujood) yourselves and worship your Lord and do good that ye may prosper".
    "Woe unto the Rejecters of Truth on that day! and when it is said unto them: Bow down (Ruku), they bow not down.!
           Holy Quran 22/77; 77/47-48
   A Muslim, upon meeting another, would greet him with "Peace be upon you" or "Peace be upon you, and Mercy of Allah, and Prosperity" and he would be reciprocated with a similar or better greeting. An Ismaili, upon meeting another, would say: "Ya Ali Madad" (O Ali, Help) and he would be reciprocated with "Mawla Ali Madad" (Our Lord Ali, Help).

   The entire Islamic Ummah (Brotherhood), including all schools of thought of Sunni and Shia Tariqahs (except Ismailis), recite "Subhaanna Rabbiyal Azeem (Glory to my Lord the Great) while in Ruku, and "Subhaanna Rabbiyal Aala" (Glory to my Lord the Highest) in their Sujood. Ismailis do not recite the above two phrases. They glorify Ali and his sword "Zulfiqar" in their Dua. They recite "La fata illa Ali la saifa illa Zulfiqar" ("There is no Hero except Ali, there is no sword except Zulfiqar"). An individual is meant to be in communication with his Creator in his institutional prayers. Are Ismailis trying to communicate to (i.e. inform) Allah that Ali is the only Hero or Victorious one from amongst His creation and his sword is exceptionally divine?

   At the end of their Dua, Ismailis shake hands with the persons (male or female) sitting on either side of them, saying "Shah-jo-deedar", meaning "May you have Deedar (glimpse) of Shah (Hazar Imam - the Aga Khan)". Whereas, a Muslim worshipper turns his face to the right saying "Assalamu allai kum wa rahmattu Allah", meaning "Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy"; and then turns his face to the left saying the same words. Thereafter he raises his hands, seeks forgiveness, etc., etc., and concludes his prayers by reciting "Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds".

    "Those who believe and work righteousness, their Lord will guide them because of their faith: Beneath them will flow rivers in Gardens of Bliss. Their prayer therein will be: "Glory to thee, O Allah!" and their greetings therein will be: Peace. And the conclusion of their prayers will be: Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds!"           Holy Quran 10/9-10
Double Standards

   Reproduced below are a few excerpts from the book of Dua to show the kind of Standards upheld. Addressing Allah, in Part II of Dua, Ismailis recite:-

    "Oh Allah, O our Lord, from Thee is my help and 
    upon Thee is my reliance. Thee alone we worship 
    and from Thee alone we seek help".
Immediately after this, they recite:
    "O Ali, come to my help by Thy favours".
In Part III of Due, they recite:
    "Seek at the time of difficulty the help of your Lord, the present (Imam) Shah Karim al-Husayni".
There are two points worth noting:-

1.  The sincerity and earnestness of "Thee alone" expires and vanishes the moment they seek help from Aly, besides Allah.

2.  The wording of the excerpt from Part III indicates that it is neither a supplication to Allah, nor to Aga Khan. It is like a command or a sermon to the reciter. And yet, it forms an integral part of a prayer to Allah.

    In the fifth part of the Dua (Ritual prayer), there is a 'Tasbih' in which Ismailis recite "O Aly, O Muhammad; O Muhammad, O Aly", eleven times. Allah says:

    "And the places of worship are only for Allah, so invoke not 
    unto anyone along with Allah"                    Holy Quran 72/18.
Ismailis recite 'reconstituted' verse in Dua

   As a rule, a Muslim would not recite a partial or incomplete verse of the Quran in his (or her) Salat. A Muslim could never imagine that someone would knowingly ask his fellow Muslims, by virtue of his authority, to recite in their daily Salat, the beginning of verse "A" coupled and connected together with the end part of verse "B", from a totally different chapter of the Quran. It would be a great shock for Muslims, as well as for the majority of Ismailis, to learn that Aga Khan has commanded Ismailis to recite such a "reconstituted" verse in their daily Dua. The reconstituted verse is an admixture of an incomplete verse 4/59 and an incomplete verse 36/12.

   Salat means contact prayer. In his Namaz, a Muslim is expressing his feelings and thoughts to Allah -- the Glorious Author of the sacred verses of the Quran. Knowingly interchanging the lines of two verses and connecting the message of one incomplete verse to another incomplete verse whilst reciting the prayer is to convey to the Author that he knows a better formation or the correct arrangement of the revealed text. To delete the bottom half of the one verse and the top half of the other verse, is to express that he (a Muslim - one who has submitted himself to Allah) is a better editor and is more knowledgeable to judge and decide what is essential and what is superfluous (nauzbillah). Commanding with his authority one million Muslims (Ismailis) to repeat the "reconstituted and edited" verse, three times a day for a period of over 30 years, is to endorse and establish the "edited version" as opposed to the "Original Text". Such an "Edited Salat" is neither a supplication nor a glorification. It is a profanity and sacrilege. Even from a worldly point of view a similar act of editing and then reconstituting the works of say Homer or Milton,would be an act uncondonable by society It would be a serious affront to these great poets. How great then the affront to Allah?

Two Duas (Pakistani and African)

   The old Due, which is alleged to have been given by Pir Sadruddin, was in Gujrati. In 1956, this was replaced by a new Dua in Arabic. This Dua was formulated and authorized by the Farman of Aga Khan III. It was introduced in Africa by Karim Aga Khan and into the other parts of the world through the Ismailia Associations. In those days I was living in Karachi, Pakistan. The Ismailis of Pakistan were commanded by Aga Khan III to recite in their prostration, "Allahumma laka sujoodi wa ta'ati" meaning "O Allah to Thee is my prostration and obedience".

   I had occasion to visit my parents in Congo, Africa and was surprised to hear the Ismailis of Africa reciting "al-Imamul haziril maujood li zikrihis sujood" meaning "the present Imam, to whose name prostration is due", instead of the above mentioned phrase being recited in Pakistan. Aga Khan III had devised two Duas; one for the Ismailis of the Islamic States and the other for the Ismailis of the non-Islamic States. What a Unique Deception! One could deceive the Government of Pakistan and its citizens, but Allah knows what was in the hearts and what was on the tongues of Ismailis and their Imam.

    "Verily Allah is Aware of what is hidden in the breasts"
                     Holy Quran 39/7
   Ismailis of Africa were also commanded by Aga Khan III to say an extra phrase in their daily prayers; "Ya hazir ya maujood fee kullil wujood" which meant "O Ye (Hazar Imam) who is apparent, O Ye who is present in all existence". Today, every Ismaili recites what was ordained for the Pakistani Jamat.

   An Ismaili might say agreed we had two Duas, but that is history; today under the leadership of Aga Khan IV, we have a uniform code of religious practices and conduct, the world over. But the facts show it is otherwise.

1.  In Pakistan, under the auspices of Aga Khan's Institutions, Ismailis have been getting together to offer Juma Namaz (Friday afternoon Islamic congregational Prayers) for the last couple of decades. Juma Namaz for Ismailis, outside of Pakistan, however, is unheard of. Many Ismailis may be surprised to learn of this for the first time.

2.  In Pakistan, many Jamatkhanas - old and new - have facilities for Wadu (ablution) like in Islamic Mosques. The newly built prestigious Jamatkhanas constructed at a cost of millions of dollars outside of Islamic States like Burnaby Jamat-khana in Canada (foundation laid 1982) and London Jamatkhana in England (foundation laid 1979), have no such facilities. They have toilets for men and women but no place to perform Wadu after the use of toilets.

3. In Pakistan, marriages of Ismaili couples are registered by the Jamati Officers after the couples have gone through the solemnity of 'Nikah' (an Islamic ritual for the marriage vows), In North America the marriages are registered without going through the 'Nikah' ceremony. A few Ismaili couples in Canada have of their own choice opted for 'Nikah'. Those couples have to find their own Mullah or a scholar who can perform the 'Nikah: In most cases they have invited Sunni Imams from the Mosques, to perform the ceremony. A request for a uniform marriage custom for Ismailis was made, but so far it has not been responded.

    An Ismaili begins his Dua with the popular seven verses of Sure al-Fatihah. Thereafter he recites a few phrases in Arabic which are ordained by Aga Khan. These phrases glorify Hazrat Ali and Hazar Imam, besides Allah. Thereafter he goes into prostration and sits up and recites the under mentioned "reconstituted and edited"
verse, the text of which is reproduced photo mechanically from an official book of Dua, transliterated and translated by The Ismailia Association for Pakistan, and published by The Shia Imami Ismailia Association for Africa, Mombasa, Kenya (1963).

Arabic text: (Here appears in the book, the Arabic Text).

Transliterated text: Ya ayyuhal-lazeena amnoo, ati-Ullah wa
                 ati-ur-Rasoola wa Ulil Amri minkum. Wa kulla shai'in 
                 ahsainahu fee Imammim-mubeen.

English translation:  O ye, who believe! obey God and obey the Apostle
                                  and (obey) those who hold Authority from amongst
                                  you. And we have vested (the knowledge and 
                                 authority) of everything in the manifest Imam.

Gujrati translation: (Here appears in the book, the Gujrati translation).

   The majority of Ismailis do not have the faintest notion that the verse under question is a combination of two "edited" verses from the Quran. The top portion of the text is the beginning of verse 59 of chapter 4 and the last line is the end portion from verse 12 of chapter 36, of the Quran. In the Ismaili Tariqah, recitation of this reconstituted verse in the daily Dua is made obligatory, and, unlike in the Namaz, it cannot be substituted with any other verse or verses from the Quran. Anyone who has not read the original text of the Quran in Arabic or its transliteration, would not be able to detect the editing, because the coupling of the two partial verses is done in such a professional manner that the enjoining fragment begins with the word "wa" in Arabic, meaning "and". In the Gujrati translation, verse 59 ends with a comma (,) instead of a period (.), and then continues further with the portion from verse 12, making the two separate verses into one.

Motives behind editing of verses

   To pinpoint the motives, one has to divide the "reconstituted verse" into two sections (A & B) and then study them individually. The translation of section A of the reconstituted verse reads:

    "O ye, who believe! obey God and obey the Apostle and (obey) those who hold Authority from amongst you".
The entire verse 4/59 reads as below:
    "O ye, who believe! obey Allah and obey the messenger and those who hold authority from amongst you; and if ye have a dispute concerning any matter refer it to Allah and the messenger if ye are believers in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more seemly in the end".
   Reading the entire text, it is quite simple and easy to see what was expunged and why. The object was to hide that part of the Original Message that could open a door for Ismailis to step forward and question the decisions taken by "those who hold authority from among you" (Ulil amr minkum). The obedience to Aga Khan, the "Ulil amr minkum", would no longer remain unequivocal and unopposed.

Imam's decision can be disputed - The Quran

   The deleted portion clearly indicates that a believer can be at variance with his "Ulil amr minkum" (Imam) and can dispute Imam's judgement. Furthermore, in the event that a dispute is raised, concerning any matter then the Quranic Laws will overrule the Commands of an Imam by virtue of the proviso stipulated in the omitted portion of the Supreme Command of Allah. If an Ismaili is a believer in Allah and the Day of Judgement, then obeying the Quranic Laws is the right course, whether the "Ulil amr minkum" likes it or not. Farmans of an Imam can be disputed, but not the Commands of Allah.

    "None can dispute concerning the Revelations of Allah save those who disbelieve, so let not their turn of fortune in the land deceive thee".  Holy Quran 40/4
   To establish the motive behind the editing of the section B, the end portion of the reconstituted verse, one has to compare the translation of the fragmented portion, as it appears in the book of Dua, with the entire verse as it appears in the Quran.

    The well known translator Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation of verse 36/12 is:

    "Verily We shall give life to the dead, and We record (naktubu) that which they send before and that which they leave behind, and of all things have We taken account in a clear book".
Translator M. M. Pickthall's translation reads:
    "Lo! We it is who bring the dead to life. We record that which they send before (them), and their footprints. And all things We have kept in a clear register".
   Below is the translation of the fragmented verse as it appears in the book of Dua, published by the Ismailia Association for Africa, Mombasa. Please note that the preceding three lines from the original verse have been intentionally expunged by the one who created this Unique Dua for Ismailis. As mentioned before, the Dua was authorized and given to his followers by Aga Khan III.
    "And we have vested (the knowledge and authority) of everything in the manifest Imam."
   There is no explanation given as to why or from where the words "the knowledge and authority" within the brackets, have been inserted. Ismailis who memorize the above translation, always quote it inclusive of the words within the brackets, as if these words were part of the Revelation. Even the missionaries who preach the subject of Imamat say that Allah has vested the knowledge and authority of everything in Mawlana Hazar Imam - the Aga Khan.

   In line with all other Ismaili authors of the past and present, Al-Waiz Abualy has over and over again quoted the above mentioned last line of verse 36/12 in his book. Ismaili authors do not publish the verse 36/12 in full, although it is only a small verse of just four lines. The reason is obvious. Whichever way they switch the words and tamper with their translation, under no circumstances would they be able to make the translation of the first three lines of the text so as to connect it with the distorted translation of the fourth line. Attribution of the word "Imamim-mubeen" to a living person makes it totally impossible for the translator to translate the word "naktubu" of the second line. The word "naktubu" means "we write" or "we record". How can a translator justify the act of "writing" to be an act of "vesting in a living person and his successors"?

    On the other hand, it is very simple for the translators like Yusuf Ali or Pickthall to justify their translations of "Imamim-mubeen" as "clear book" or "clear register" because in verse 46/12 Allah has called the "Kitabu Musa" (Book of Moses) - "Imaaman".

Double Prostration

   Some Ismailis would say the Aga Khan is God, period. They would attribute 100% divinity to their Imam (nauzbillah). To read more on the subject of Absolute Divinity, please click  HERE . Some would observe the age old practice of "Taqiyya", meaning, permissible dissimulation; believe one thing with your heart but say another with your mouth in public. Most of the Ismailis are so confused that they avoid discussing the subject in order to escape embarrassment. There are some Ismailis who openly deny the Age Khan's divinity. Ismaili scholars and missionaries are also divided on the issue. As we will see ahead, their Imam has created more confusion than clarification on the fundamental issue of divinity.  That not withstanding, all these Ismailis, wherever in the world they may be living, go to their Jamatkhanas and recite the same Dua. In the Dua they prostrate and recite:

    "Allahumma laka sujoodi wa ta ‘ati" meaning 
    "O Allah, to Thee is my prostration and obedience".
   Immediately after the last prostration of the Dua, they an join in the supplementary Dua called "Tasbih". At the end of the "Tasbih" they go into physical prostration, touch their foreheads to the floor and recite:
    "Accept our humble beseeching of Tasbihs 
    (for forgiveness of sins, pleadings for prosperity, 
    pleas for health and wealth, petitions for easing of problems, 
    etc, etc) in Your presence, Mawlana (Our Lord), Shah (King), Karim al-Hussaiyni (Karim Aga Khan), Hazar (Present) Imam."
   What a Unique Prayer and Unique Supplementary Prayer. Double Prayers and Double Prostration. One to Allah, the other to Aga Khan.

Aga Khan has yet to disclaim Divinity

   Whenever an article (e.g. LIFE, International - December 1983) or an author (e.g. Mihir Bose in 'The Aga Khans') labels the Age Khan as a "Living God", he reacts and vehemently denies, through his lawyers and secretariat, any claim of divinity either by himself or his grandfather. Yet, neither he nor his grandfather has ever told their followers to stop attributing divinity to them, or to stop seeking forgiveness from them for sins, or to stop prostrating in the Imam's name or to stop reciting Ginans which openly attribute Total Divinity to him - in spite of appeals and requests by both, Ismailis and non-Ismailis, that this be done.

   If Karim Aga Khan had taken a firm and consistent stand either way on the issue of divinity and also acted accordingly within, as well as outside of the community, then the Ismaili Tariqah would no longer be called a Unique Tariqah. It would either be an "Islamic Tariqah" in its true sense or a totally "Non-Islamic Tariqah".

   In Karachi, Pakistan I had paid a sum of rupees fifty one into the treasury of Aga Khan and taken my turn standing in a long queue for a special "Chhatta" (forgiving of sins by sprinkling holy water), by Karim Aga Khan. One by one, each Ismaili who had paid the prescribed amount for "Mahadan Ka Chhatta" (Day of Judgment's Chhatta) and was of over the age of 45 years, approached the Aga Khan. He sprinkled holy water on the face of each and said: "I have forgiven your sins". On the Day of Judgment, we would not be questioned about the forgiven sins. Before forgiving my sins, he did not question me what my sins were, as if he knew everything. He spoke in my ear and said that all my sins were forgiven. Does it not require divinity to forgive all sins?

    ....And who can forgive sins except Allah?" Holy Quran 3/135
   Before that, in Bombay and Poona, India, his grandfather, Aga Khan III, had sprinkled water on my face and forgiven my sins on many many occasions. These ceremonies of "Chhatta for the Day of Judgement" have been performed, even after the denial of Divinity in the High Courts of London in 1986.

   Now the question is: Can these Ismailis turn around and question the authority of Karim Aga Khan and his grandfather for forgiving the sins or all sins since he has publicly denied that either had Divinity? 
Can they ask (claim) for financial and spiritual restitution?

   After studying the past as well as the present performances of the Jamat, even an Is Khan.

Aga Khan has yet to disclaim Divinity

   Whenever an article (e.g. LIFE, International - December 1983) or an author (e.g. Mihir Bose in 'The Aga Khans') labels the Age Khan as a "Living God", he reacts and vehemently denies, through his lawyers and secretariat, any claim of divinity either by himself or his grandfather. Yet, neither he nor his grandfather has ever told their followers to stop attributing divinity to them, or to stop seeking forgiveness from them for sins, or to stop prostrating in the Imam's name or to stop reciting Ginans which openly attribute Total Divinity to him - in spite of appeals and requests by both, Ismailis and non-Ismailis, that this be done.

   If Karim Aga Khan had taken a firm and consistent stand either way on the issue of divinity and also acted accordorth his hands towards water (asking) that it may come unto his mouth, and it will never reach it. The prayer of disbelievers goeth astray".                    Holy Quran 13/14 --------------------------------------------------------------------- 
Please click  HEREto read Section Four


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