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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims

The Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims

I am pleased to add a few comments on the write up by Jim Davis below.

As Muslims we have to learn to accept different practices of Muslims. God has intentionally created diversity, every thing in creation is different and unique, it is a model for us to accept the spiritual differences and co-exist in harmony. Prophet Muhammad expanded on that by acknowledging the otherness of other faiths and including them, as they were, with their own belief system into the Madinah pact, an inclusive form of governance.

God knew we are obdurate beings and had asked us to recite the Sura Fateha with every unit of the prayer, Muslims recite “God alone is the master of the day of Judgment” at least fifty times a day, God was hoping that it will rub off on us, he was hoping we would understood the meaning of it and not be judgmental towards others. A good majority of us do believe that only God alone is the judge in matters of faith, the few others may not be sure about God’s wisdom, so they keep on judging other people.

The Ismailia’s pray differently than the Shia’s, Sunnis and Bohra, it is their right and their belief, just as others do what they are taught. They do believe in God and the prophet like all other Muslims.

Please remember, no one is responsible for other’s deeds, each one of us is on our own.
Let's acknowledge the otherness of other and let every one take pride in their practices.

Mike Ghouse
http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/
http://www.worldmuslimcongress.org/
# #

Now comes the article by Jim Davis

The Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims

The Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim sect, or Ismaili for short, is one of the largest and little known esoteric sects in Islam. Its members otal about 15 million people and can be found in India, Pakistan, Central Asia, China, East Africa, Europe, and North America. They are all united by their common allegiance to their spiritual leader, Imam Karim Aga Khan IV, who is a direct descendant of Imam Ali, Prophet Mohammed's son-in-law and successor, appointed to lead the Islamic community.

Most people in the West view Islam as sort of monolithic religion, but in actuality it is divided into numerous sects. The basic division is the Shia/Sunni split over who should have succeeded the Prophet after his death. Before his death, the Prophet appointed Ali as his successor during his last hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) in the year 632 CE. However, Ali as rejected by a group of the Prophet's close followers, known as the Companions, who elected Abu Bakr as their Khalif (political successor the Prophet). Ali was eventually elected as the fourth Khalif, but was always considered the leader (Imam) of the Shia (party of Ali). His assassination and the death of his grandson Hussein split the Islamic community permanently into two factions: the Shia and the Sunni.

Imam-e-zaman (The Imam of the Time) must always be a descendant of Imam Ali, and has the sole authority to interpret the Koran according to the time and place. Ismailis hold that Allah's Noor (the Light) is eternal; they believe this same Noor which was with Ali resides in the current Imam. This light allows the Imam to speak authoritatively and to give out firmans.(spiritual teachings) which Ismailis follow. The Imam has also been called a speaking Koran. As an Ismaili friend once said, "Allah did not stop talking to humankind 1400 hundred years ago; he never has stopped guiding us." They see the Imam as a reflection of the Divine Reality in this world.

The Shia followed Imam Ali and each succeeding Imam thereafter, who is appointed (nass) by the Imam from amongst his male offspring (usually the eldest son, but not always). Shia Muslims have occasionally faced internal problems regarding the succession of an Imam. As a result of disagreements, the community split and a new sect came into existence. Such a split occurred over the succession of the 6th Imam, Jafar es-Sadiq. It was this split that gave rise to the Ismaili sect. They followed the Imams from Imam Jafar's son Ismail, while the majority of the Shia followed his other son, Musa al-Kazim. Musa's followers are known as Ithna Asharis (The Twelvers) which became the state religion in Iran.

Since the split from the Ithna Asharis, the Ismaili movement went on to spread throughout the Islamic world as a social revolutionary movement. Ismaili Dais (religious teachers), appointed by the Imam, would form teaching cells in local communities and conduct missionary work (Dawa).

Their mission was to lead others to recognize and give allegiance to the Imam of the Time. By the 9th century, these groups were strong enough to launch a revolt in North Africa and Eastern Arabia, which resulted in the formation of the Ismaili led Fatimid Empire in Egypt (lasting until 1171 CE).

During the later days of the Fatimid Empire, the Ismaili movement split into two factions over the succession to the 19th Imamate. The Must'ali factions, who maintained control over the Fatimid Empire, are now known as the Bohras, who live mainly in India and Yemen. Since their line of Imams went into hiding, the Dais assumed leadership of the community in the Imam's name. Before the murder of Imam Nizar by his brother Must'ali, a Dai by the name Hasan bin Sabbah established an Ismaili stronghold in the mountains of Northern Iran. When Nizar was killed, Sabbah started a Dawa called, "The New Preaching." A son of Nizar was smuggled out of Egypt and kept concealed at the fortress of Alamut. From Alamut, Ismaili missionaries (Pirs) spread the ideas of Ismailism throughout the Middle East and South Asia. They were very successful in South Asia, where several Hindu castes converted en mass to the new faith. These South Asian Ismaili's gave the Ismaili faith a body of religion called ginans.

In the year 1256 CE, the Ismaili State at Alamut came to end when the expanding Mongolian Empire destroyed it. Ismaili Imams and their followers then went into hiding. They mostly disappeared from history until Imam Aga Khan I fled Iran in 1841 and took charge of his Khoja Ismaili followers in South Asia. In Iran, the group took on the appearance of a Sufi Order, whereas in South Asia, they appeared as Hindus. This concealment, called "taqqiya," is practiced by all Shia sects for self-defense. From the time Imam Aga Khan I entered India, the Ismailis have gradually lifted taqqiya and practiced their faith openly as a group.

Ismailis today continue to practice their beliefs in secrecy for fear of persecution. The faith, however, is becoming more recognized by outsiders and no longer a secret. They meet daily in Jamatkhanas for prayer and community activities. Only Ismaili Muslims who have pledged allegiance to the Imam are allowed in the Jamatkhanas for services (though most Jamatkhanas do give tours to interested persons). It is Ismaili doctrine that unless one has taken baiyat (oath of allegiance) to the Imam, then Jamatkhans services would not be of any value to the visitor or to the Ismailis worshiping. So visitors during services would merely be a distraction.

While the religious rites are performed privately in Jamatkhanas, their doctrines are not hidden from public view. The teachings and practices of the Ismailis are readily available in books and on the Internet. The group is open to converts, though they do not seem to actively recruit new members. The Ismailis follow the Five Pillars of Islam by obeying the Farmans (official teachings) of the Imam of the Time. Their interpretation of Islamic doctrines and practice can change according to the time and place in which they live. This change can only be brought about by the Imam of the Time.

Ismailis learn from their Imam how to live ethically and find the true way o achieve union with "Divine Reality." The first step taken by an Ismaili to begin this journey is to recite the Shahada: "There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and Ali, the commander of the faithful, is from Allah." Every Ismaili, or a convert to the faith, must pledge allegiance to the Imam of the Time and follow his Farmans. This is basically how Ismailis receive and follow Allah's achings.

Ismailis perform Du'a (prayer) three times a day in Jamatkhanas or at home. This is derived from the later Shia practice of combining the five regular prayers into three prayer sessions.

Ismailis pay Zakat (alms levied) to the Imam of the Time, which is collected monthly in the Jamatkhanas. It is set at 12½ % of one's income, but individual Ismailis may pledge to pay more. This tithe is called the Dasond. A portion of this money is used to finance local Jamatkhanas,with the rest being sent to the Imam. The current Imam has used these funds in various Aga Khan Foundation projects throughout the Third World, often in close association with the United Nations (many of the Imam's close family work in various U.N. developmental projects). Ismailis practice ritual fasting according to the religious customs of the regions in which they live. Some follow the typical Islamic fast of Ramadan as a form of taqqiya in countries ruled by Islamic Governments, while others living in secular societies do not. Many Ismailis fast on days of the year known as Shakravari Beej, which occurs when Fridays coincide with the appearance of a New Moon. This is a traditional fast practiced by Ismailis of South Asian origin. During this fast they repent of their sins and ask for Allah's forgiveness through their Imam.

Ismailis perform their hajj (pilgrimage) by seeking a Deedar (glimpse) of the Imam of the Time. Since the Noor (Light of the Imam) is present in every Jamatkhana, going to Jamatkhana each day is equal to performing hajj. In the Prophet's time, to go on hajj was to be with the Prophet.

Therefore, to be in his successor's (the Imam) presence is the modern hajj. Also, Imam Aga Khan IV has been the most accessible of all Imams. He regularly visits his followers all over the world. This can be seen as an interesting reversal of the pilgrimage. The ultimate goal of Ismailis is to achieve union with Divine Reality.

This part is the deepest secret of Ismailism and must be taught in person. It is pure gnosis, a gift from Allah given to those who prepare to receive the Light of Qiyamat.

Esoteric means the "inner, in the sense of the inner consciousness;
the contemplative, mystical or meditative transpersonal perspective.
This can only be understood by intuition or higher mental or spiritual
faculties.Shiites, more especially Shia Ismailis or Batinis follow the
esoteric interpretation of some of the verses of Qur'an.

Exoteric is opposite of esoteric, which means the "outer", i.e. the
outer or surface or everyday consciousness.This includes both the
scientific-materialistic and the conventional (or literal) religious
perspective.Sunni Muslims follow exoteric interpretation of Qur'an.

Peace and Light,
Jim Davis

37 comments:

  1. farrukhabidi@yahoo.com wrote:

    mr. ghouse! .... you are extremely ignorant about the teaching of islam are you working for kuffar? how much money do you get from kuffar??? ......

    I told you before ismailis are not muslim, not only ismailis but almost all of the shia's sect
    (ismailis, bohri, khuja, jaafri, aga khani) are not considered muslim because of their wrong beliefs......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The most problem of humain been is ignorance. There's only one God and he is the only Juge in matters of faith only him knows what every body has in his heart.

      Sallaam

      Delete
  2. Mike, do you have to make room for thesebigoted, hateful ignoramuses who are so convinced about their own righteousness that they cannot be persuaded otherwise with any rational approach?
    Inayat

    ReplyDelete
  3. Inayat,

    Prophet Muhammad gave us several models, one of them was to forgive and pray for the well being of those who are ugly to you. I will follow that model.

    Had I not followed the Prophet, it would have been tempting to give him tit for tats. I can be real ugly, but I will not do that, I know that would not be pleasing to Allah. I will be polite, that is what a Muslim is supposed to be and instead would ask him to say Iqra and request him to step into the arena of intelligence and show me where in Quraan is such a judgment. I urge him to discuss the topic and not get carried away into personalities. If he does not like that, then I will ignore him. It is up to him to display who he is. May Allah guide him.

    No one owns religion, no one owns Islam. It is a faith that any one on the earth can choose to follow, but not own it.

    Jazak Allah Khair

    Mike Ghouse

    ReplyDelete
  4. AA

    It is sickening to see people spouting venom against fellow Muslims and sects of Islam. Personally I belong to a Sunni Deobandi family, but I call myself only a Muslim, and I do not believe in sects. But at the same time I respect all he sects that are acceptable (except Qadiyani and Bahai) to the established fundamentals of Islam. The more appropriate course would of course ne to talk asunite Islamic Ummah. But the realy cannot be denied that sectsdo exist within Muslims, and all must respect one another while resrving the right of criticism on specific issues without being derogatory.

    Dr Javed Jamil

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dr. Jamil,

    Hon. Bahaullah, the founder of Bahai faith was born in to a Muslim family, he respected the general concepts of Islam of equality, accountability and oneness of humanity, however the Bahais do not claim be to a sect of Islam. Let's stand corrected.

    As far as the Ahmadiyya's are concerned, the critical difference comes from their belief that Hon. Mirza Ghulam was the promised Messiah; Mehdi. They do believe Prophet Muhammad is the last prophet, they follow the same Quraan as we do, I have been to the Ahmadiya Mosque and looked up the Qur'aan the follow, it is the same Quraan.

    There is a fundamental disagreement on issue of their belief in Hon. Mirza Ghulam as Mehdi, that would not give me or any one an authority to judge them about their faith, I would leave that to Allah, as I beleive Allah is the Master of the day of judgment when it comes to someone's faith.

    We can disagree on issues, they are not harming any one, indeed, in several cities they are appreciated for the good work they do as a community serving fellow beings.

    The fundamentalist find it hard to swallow the differences, but Allah has assured paradise to every one if they are good to their fellow beings.

    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dear Farrukh Abidi,

    To their credit, Ismaili Muslims are the only group from our family that have reconciled with modernity, the 20th century (yes, I know we are in the 21st) and the concept of the nation state.

    You do not have to follow their creed or custom, but they are Muslims just like any other Muslim. They believe in 'tauheed' as well as in the Prophet as a Messenger of God, and as far as I am concerned the definition of a Muslim is strictly one who reads the Shahada as his or her oath.

    I recognize that in today's world, the symbol of a Muslim is rudeness, anger and frothing at the mouth at every possible opportunity and that you may have been tempted to follow suit, but trust me, some of us do not consider such behaviour as a badge of honour. You may, and you are welcome to sink to the gutter to make your point, but spare us the stench.

    Cheers,
    Tarek

    ReplyDelete
  7. It is my understanding too, Indeed, Shahada is the only requirement coupled with a belief in accountability of one's actions to follow Islam. The ritual elements are what it takes one to be a Muslim religiously. There are a few Muslims who would argue that "La ilaha illal Lah" is all required to be a follower of Islam, but they do take the full Shahada with Muhammadur Rasoool Allah.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I just cannot understand why people like you cannot accept that Islam has sects and that Islam has to be like this. This diversity exists in all religions and so does in Islam.

    Why can't people like you be in your shell of righteous thinking and let others live!

    Ghouse did not say that Ismailis or Shias are right or wrong, He just gave a view!

    Best Regards,
    Tahir Maqbool, ACA, CIA, M.A. (Eco.)

    ReplyDelete
  9. [All postings are posted as is, but this one is edited for infmatory, bigoted words]

    Assalamu alaikum to all muslims

    Br. Tahir Maqbool! You may not have read mike's mail before otherwise you would not say a single word for the favor of this ignorant person, he is extremely ignorant and idiot person but he think that whatever he come in his mind is 100% correct.

    In this world .....kind like mike ghouse. Or maybe he is thinking that all muslim are dumb just write any stupid kind of article people will believe him... no mr mike .....people are only in your gang who are also exposed by their articles I just saw some of the mail today about salah, who are trying to prove that daily salah are only 3 times farz, and who are they???? aga khani,..............sect.

    whoever believes that daily salah are only 3 times farz, he or she become kaffir..

    This zina khan has post many misguided mail which expose her enough, anybody who has some basic knowledge of islam, can understand that this person zina khan or her gang members are not muslim, they are trying to misguide muslim through internet but they don't realize that Alhamdu lillah they did the half work to exposed satanic sects of ............

    By the way brother tahir I know there are sects in islam but it doesn't mean that all sects are belongs to islam. if any sect have beliefs which are against islamic basic beliefs then that sect is not considered islamic sect. all shia sects have many beliefs which are completely against islam you can find in internet, I will insha Allah expose them more in other mail.

    farrukh abidi

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dr.Muhammad Mukhtar AlamThursday, August 13, 2009 6:00:00 AM

    Dear Farrukh Abidi saheb,

    I would like you please consider verses where use of best words and means of persuasion has been commanded. I endeavour to be in Islam as in each prayer we recite Sura Fatiha and we all do. Please do not use the abusive words..Mike Ghouse is looking after World Muslim Congress and seeks wellbeing of Muslims and humanity globally. U may like to do a google search for his name for his writings and works. U may like to do the same for me. Now a days, it is possible to find about people who are using ICT enabled forums and portals for communicating.

    With warmest regards

    Dr.Muhammad Mukhtar Alam
    http://muhammmad_mukhtar_alam.tigblog.org
    http://slideshare.net/mukhtaralam
    http://transitionurbanindia.ning.com
    http://ecostrategiccommunicator.ning.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Respected Brothers and Sisters, ASA

    Alhamdulillah, you all are reciting Al-Fateha at least 17 times daily in your obligatory prayers.

    Just please go through my latest book: AL- FATEHA & ITS SIGNIFICANCE and see by yourself *what importance it carries within its depth, *what it surmounts as the Preface to the Qur'an, *what changes it can bring in your life, *how can you cement your relation with the Lord of this cosmos and * how can you be the most benevolent instruments to human society.

    You can have it from either of these places:

    1. Ksidd37398@aol.com ; 1-443-869-5233
    2. Info@ibpublisher.com;; 1-631-254- 0900
    3. ICNA Book Service, Jamaica, NY; 1-917-821-6149
    4. Muslim Center Book Store, Flushing, NY; 718-460-6300

    Shamim Siddiqi
    WWW.dawahinamericas.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Dear Br. Abidi

    I would advise you to check on the viewpoints of Mike Ghouse and Tarek Fatah on the American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq and the bombing of Pakistan. Also check their support for or recognition of Israel and cooperation with Jews under the banner of pluralism.

    These people with Muslim seeming names are very useful for US imperialism and Zionism.

    Don't waste too much time on them. Where Salman Rushdie could not succeed, I don't think Agha Khan or oter sectarians have a chance.

    The Islamic movements are powerful, alhamdulillah. Pray for their success. Only if Israel and NATO win, Mike Ghouse, Tarek Fatah, Agha Khan will be effective in collaborationist activities with the oppressors.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I just cannot understand why people like you cannot accept that Islam has sects and that Islam has to be like this. This diversity exists in all religions and so does in Islam.

    Why can't people like you be in your shell of righteous thinking and let others live!

    Ghouse did not say that Ismailis or Shias are right or wrong, He just gave a view!

    Best Regards,
    Tahir Maqbool, ACA, CIA, M.A. (Eco.)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Assalamu alaikum to all muslims

    Br. Tahir Maqbool! You may not have read mike's mail before otherwise you would not say

    a single word for the favor of this ignorant person, he is extremely ignorant and idiot person

    but he think that whatever he come in his mind is 100% correct.

    In this world there are very few people who are such dumb kind like mike ghouse.

    Or maybe he is thinking that all muslim are dumb just write any stupid kind of article people

    will believe him... no mr mike dumb people are only in your gang who are also exposed by

    their articles I just saw some of the mail today about salah, who are trying to prove that

    daily salah are only 3 times farz, and who are they???? aga khani, satanic shia's sect.

    whoever believes that daily salah are only 3 times farz, he or she become kaffir.

    This zina khan has post many misguided mail which expose her enough, anybody who

    has some basic knowledge of islam, can understand that this person zina khan or her gangmembers are not muslim, they are trying to misguide muslim through internet but they don't

    realize that Alhamdu lillah they did the half work to exposed satanic sects of shia.

    By the way brother tahir I know there are sects in islam but it doesn't mean that all sects

    are belongs to islam. if any sect have beliefs which are against islamic basic beliefs then

    that sect is not considered islamic sect. all shia sects have many beliefs which are completely

    against islam you can find in internet, I will insha Allah expose them more in other mail.

    farrukh abidi

    ReplyDelete
  15. walaikum asalam

    Dear Br. Abidi

    I would advise you to check on the viewpoints of Mike Ghouse and Tarek Fatah on the American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq and the bombing of Pakistan. Also check their support for or recognition of Israel and cooperation with Jews under the banner of pluralism.

    These people with Muslim seeming names are very useful for US imperialism and Zionism.
    Don't waste too much time on them. Where Salman Rushdie could not succeed, I don't think Agha Khan or oter sectarians have a chance.

    The Islamic movements are powerful, alhamdulillah. Pray for their success. Only if Israel and NATO win, Mike Ghouse, Tarek Fatah, Agha Khan will be effective in collaborationist activities with the oppressors.

    ReplyDelete
  16. No personal attack or harsh words, Plz.

    "Islam for pluralism" should mean to live side by side with other communities peacefully without conflict and/or hatred. However, "Islam for pluralism" doesn't mean Muslims have to believe in all the religions as FACT including the propaganda of Darwinists. As they live in America, Mr. Mike Ghouse and Co. seem to have submitted their will to the will of Darwinists. No, Mr. Ghouse, you can't promote Islam and Darwinists' propaganda at the same time. It doesn't make sense. Because, according to the Quran, Adam was created from earthly matter and water. On the other hand, according to Darwinists' propaganda, humans have been evolved from ape like animal through random mutation and natural selection without the help of God! So, please think over it.

    SMR

    ReplyDelete
  17. Dr.Muhammad Mukhtar Alam said it very well as a learned muslim, Mike.

    Looks like I have again opened up floodgate of harangue and harassment against you, and your noble work of 'Islam for Peace' by none other than our own brothers of Islam.Look at slacks you get for your non-discriminatory attitude and love for humanity.Islam means,do what prophet Muhammad (pbuh)did for humanity,not what he wanted Muslims to do.These muslim brothers call
    themselves muslims, but do exactly against what our beloved prophet did,bring peace to mankind by inventing religion of peace.

    Mike, whether some muslims believe it or not, but we all believe you preach religion of peace, regardless of race or religion;that your kind act permeateslove for humanity;your power of pen and internet to bring us all together.

    People of all race come and go, but only good people of peace and pluralism shall conquer the earth, regardless of race or religion.

    Hasni

    ReplyDelete
  18. Salaam,

    Kaukab: “Why is Darwinism stirring you up?”

    Mike: Darwinism is indeed the talk of the world at this juncture, and I am not going to bury my head in the sand and believe it is not there. As Muslims, we want to read, think and assimilate the information. After all God has distinguished the human race over the Farishtas’. Humans are expected to think and because of that choices are available. More in the third item below

    Ahumanb: "Islam for pluralism" doesn't mean Muslims have to believe in all the religions as FACT including the propaganda of Darwinists. As they live in America, Mr. Mike Ghouse and Co. seem to have submitted their will to the will of Darwinists.”

    Mike: Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) respected the otherness of other religions, didn’t he? He honored them and invited them to dialogue with him in his own Masjid, and even offered the Christians to pray in his mosque – not his way, but their way in his mosque. The Prophet did not submit to other faiths, but respected them enough to have them pray in his presence. Folks learn something from his. He was one of the first interfaith dialoguers around the world. Do you realize that? A true interfaith dialogue in fact. Thanks God, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is my mentor (it’s on my profile for the last several years) and I follow him in as many aspects as I can.

    If Darwin had lived during the times of the Prophet, he would have been invited by the Prophet in his mosque to dialogue with him, wouldn’t he? Taking the head out of sand does not mean submission to Darwin.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ahumanb :: “Because, according to the Quran, Adam was created from earthly matter and water. On the other hand, according to Darwinists' propaganda, humans have been evolved from ape like animal through random mutation and natural selection without the help of God! So, please think over it.”

    Mike: “That has been our interpretation and understanding for centuries, we also believed that earth was flat one time, didn’t we? “. God gave us freedom and endowed us with thinking ability. If we did not need that, he would have made us an Angel. We have to explore the Verses in Qur’aan, and the possibility that Adam was the first man in the species that was able to control his environment and not be a victim of it may have been the reason to call him the first man. God’s wisdom is far superior to ours, his words are not limited to smaller interpretation. Let’s not put a noose around God’s word and fix it to mean only one thing.

    Kaukab :: “Also check their ( Mike or Tarek) support for or recognition of Israel and cooperation with Jews under the banner of pluralism.”

    Mike: Recognition of Israel amounts to abandonment of Islam? What kind of screwed up logic is that? If you guys even care about one Palestinian life, you would find means to achieve “Sulah” or conciliation, instead you want them get stuck in the quick sand and never come out of it. Just try to understand the Prophet and the things he did, he set up a model for us to emulate. It is attitudes like these that is causing non-stop deaths of the Palestinians, and continuation of oppression by the Israeli regimes. Didn’t the prophet made “Sulah’s” with his “so called enemies” for the sake of life?

    “These people with Muslim seeming names are very useful for US imperialism and Zionism.”

    Mike: The name Muhammad was not a Muslim name until Muhammad was 40, same goes with Umar, Siddiq, Ali, Uthman and other names. None of them were Muslim Names. When they became Muslims, they did not change their names either, nor was that a requirement. Even as Islam spread around the world, many a names were retained. What is in a name after all? Indeed the prophet recommended names that meant good, sounded good, he did not give a list of name as a requirement of Islam. There are thousand of Muslims out there who have converted to Islam and have retained their names, it must be painful to them to hear this or they may ignore this as a a call of ignorance.

    Mike: I am a Muslim and no one on this earth has a right to strip that off me. Thank God I live in America where extremism has no place and I will stand up to any one who denies me or any one a right to believe in what he or she believes. May Allah guides us all from darkness to light.

    To be a Muslim is to be a peacemaker, one who seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; that is indeed the purpose of religion, any religion. Mission statement

    ReplyDelete
  20. AA,

    Please don't be alarmed to read some of the comments below, it is good for us, the average moderate Muslims to know the extremes we are dealing with, they'd scare the devil out of the non-Muslims, let alone Muslims. The good news is in this large group of people - only about 3 are on the extreme side, and the overwhelming majority is moderate. Be assured that world is a beautiful place and continues to be good place to live despite the hick ups.

    Prophet Muhammad is perhaps the first religious person to initiate interfaith dialogue, he not only invited people of other faiths to dialogue, but he also offered them to pray, their own prayers in his mosque. Didn't prophet Muhammad accept the otherness of other faiths? Sure he did. He did not believe what others beleived but he certainly did not denigrate any one one of them. That is the confidence we must develop in our faith.

    Prophet Muhammad was not only a pluralist religiously, but he believed in co-existence, thus pluralistic governance was intiated by thim through the Madinah Pact, where he honored the Jews and Christians and invited them to be part of the pact, where their faith was respected enough to give them full acord to practice their faith.

    The topic was about Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, we are talking about HH Aga Khan, who has adopted the system Prophet Muhammad had initiatied and thank God, an overwhelming majority of the Muslims are in tune with the idea of co-existence, they want to get along and live a peaceful life with their families and friends.

    I am blessed to have taken the initiative on Pluralism that began with my Radio show in 1994. Where I spoke about Ismaili traditions on the Imamat day. My Mentors are Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Jesus, Gandhi and Aga Khan among others, I am inspired by the models of co-existence they have created for us to emulate.

    Alhamdu Lillah, I am committed to dust off layers of ignorance on the Islamic values of co-existence; aka Pluralism. God wants his creation to live in harmony and you find beautiful guidance in Quraan to create that abode. Insha Allah, I will do my share of work.

    A few among us are still clamoring to see Islam's value of Pluralism and about 1/10th of 1% of Muslims are far from getting it. In my reach out of about 24,000 Muslims across the world, my formula approximates about 240 individuals to be abhorrent to this idea... again thank God, you will find less than 24 people among the 24,000 who are obdurant to the idea. That is about 1/100th of 1% of Muslims. Are they significant statistically?

    A list of all the blogs on Islam and Pluralism are on my pesonal site www.MikeGhouse.net if you wish to learn about them.

    To be a Muslim is to be a peacemaker, one who seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; that is indeed the purpose of religion, any religion. Mission statement

    Jazak Allah Khair
    Mike Ghouse
    www.MikeGhouse.net

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  21. May I also add that Ismaili understanding of monotheism, (which is the central tenet of Islam) is far more sophisticated than that of ordinary Muslims who believe in the 99 attributes of Allah, some with human characteristics...As far as I know, Ismailis consider God above these.

    Farzana

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  22. Dear All:

    The Quran mentions about people dividing their religions into numerous sects. This is true in case of all major religions. Islam is no exception. Also among Sunni and Shia - the two main divisions there are also many sub-sects.

    Just as Mike Ghouse says: To be Muslim is to be a peace-maker. Islam means surrendering to One God. Something of this kind is also there in the Quran in Surah 30:32, 42:13 & 14, 43: 64 & 65. The main idea is:

    1) Different sects will arise and they will remain till the Day of Judgment. (No need for our ulemas & scholars to press panic button)
    2) That Allah will judge among them. No human (ulema or Imam) is vested with judging others.
    3) Allah is the only one to have perfect knowledge of passing judgment and this is the mercy and love of Allah. It has taken the responsibility off the hands of ulemas, Imams or Muftis.

    4) Allah's extreme mercy, love, compassion and justice is exemplary in the following verses in the Quran in Surah 2:62, 5:69, 2:112 & repeated numerous times all over the Quran.

    Since the core message in all the scriptures is to worship One and Only One God, belief in the Day of Judgment and to live a Righteous way of life. God in His message gives hope to all people by saying, “Those who believe (in the Quran), those who follow the Jewish Scriptures, the Christians (who follow the teachings of the Gospels) and the Sabians (followers of John the Baptist or Zoroastrians), any (Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, etc. in any part of the world) who believe in God, the Last Day and work righteousness, shall have their reward from their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” 2:62, 5:69, 2:112 (repeated numerous times all over the Quran).


    I AM COMPLETELY AT PEACE WITH ALL SORTS OF DIVERSITY AND PLURALISM THAT IS ALSO EXPLAINED IN MORE DETAILS:

    ISLAM RECOGNISES DIVERSITY & PLURALISM

    To you we have given the scriptures, just as we have given the scriptures to people before you (Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc). We have protected your scriptures (Quran) in its entirety. So judge among people from what knowledge has come to you (from Quran) and do not be carried over by your vain desires (that Muslims are the only righteous and chosen people to lead). To each among you (referring to diverse groups – not excluding anybody) We have prescribed the Law (teachings of the indigenous, native people and Buddhist scholars, Gitas, Vedas, Torah, Gospels and The Quran) and an Open Way (given a conscience with reference to the spiritualists people). If God had willed, all humanity would have been of one single community (this means diversity is part of God’s creation). God’s plan is to test you in what each one has received (in form of Holy Scriptures or Conscience). So strive, as in a race in all virtues. The goal of all the people is to God. God (alone) will tell you the truth in matters of which you dispute.” 5:48

    (This means do not fight over religious matters, establish peace and conduct dialogues with wisdom and beautiful conduct to understand each other so all can live in peace)

    Iftekhar A. Hai
    UMA Interfaith Alliance
    www.umaia.net

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  23. There is one major mistake in the article. Its a claim of the nizaris [Aga Khani Ismailis] that Nizar was murdered by Imam Musta'ali SA. But if one were to glean through scholarly studies on Faitmid Empire, one would realise that this is a bogus claim. That Mr Jim Davies seems to continue with this lie shows that he has written this article with an Aga Khani slant.

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  24. Dear Farrukh Abidi,

    To their credit, Ismaili Muslims are the only group from our family that have reconciled with modernity, the 20th century (yes, I know we are in the 21st) and the concept of the nation state.

    You do not have to follow their creed or custom, but they are Muslims just like any other Muslim. They believe in 'tauheed' as well as in the Prophet as a Messenger of God, and as far as I am concerned the definition of a Muslim is strictly one who reads the Shahada as his or her oath.

    I recognize that in today's world, the symbol of a Muslim is rudeness, anger and frothing at the mouth at every possible opportunity and that you may have been tempted to follow suit, but trust me, some of us do not consider such behaviour as a badge of honour. You may, and you are welcome to sink to the gutter to make your point, but spare us the stench.

    Cheers,
    Tarek

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  25. Well said Tarek Fatah! Right on. Kick their asses for our amusement and for the good of mankind!

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  26. Dear Mike,
    I am reading the messages and opinions of different people . I am getting very disappointed by the language used and labeling of different groups. In every religion and mythology there are and there have been different groups who have differed views from each other on particular issues. Muslims have done the same and it is not surprising. I grew up in a small village and had no idea about what sect I belonged to. We thought we were all Muslim and that there were a few Hindus in the area WHO WENT ELSE WHERE TO PRAY .
    When I joined the urbanites I came to know about Shias and others but there was no venom and no sectarian violence. I strongly feel that we do not need so many sects specially with divisive thinking and violence and detriment of the serene Muslim society as it existed. I sincerely feel that this discussion is not going any where positive. It has been going on for centuries and has hurt rather than helped the cause of love and peace amongst Muslims. All nations have enemies and the reason is greed of nations and national blocks and need to get resources whether minerals,gas or human flesh. Religion has been used by the "thinkers" to motivate the "non thinkers" in the name of religion,democracy,civilization or preservation of culture to violate the rights of others.
    I would pray to stop this verbal assault on each other and let ALLAH SUBHANA HO WA TA'ALA decide what is right. Let us try to love each other rather than hurt each other. I think we know by now who our friends are and who our enemies are.
    May God bless THE HUMAN RACE WITH ALL IT'S FOLLIES.
    KIMAT GUL KHATAK MD.

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  27. Kimat,

    My story is similar to yours, grew up with no prejudices and thank God, open mindedness has become a part of my life.

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  28. Mike,

    It is the wrong question to start with. We are the judge, who is a Muslim or not a Muslim. Some time you leave Allahs job to Allah. Please dont ask this question again on any sect or individual. The real question is what is Ismailis or Shiites or Sunnis doctorine is. There may be one or two or many good aspect that will come out of each sect's practice. Lets look at glass half full without criticizing. Look at the amazing thing, My eleven year old son asked me once which version of Quran we believe in as he had learnt about several versions of Bible. When I answered him that there is no version of Quran and I ponder on just this fact. Isn't this amazing, we may have 72 different sects of Islam, but there is only one single Quran to guide us. See what Maulana Rome talks about the humankind. We are all striving to find our lost love (Which is love of God or jannat) and everyone has his or her own way to romanticize his or her struggle. We all have one common love for God

    Thanks
    Syed Hassan

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  29. Hey Mike,
    I'm an Aga Khani myself and ive read evrything that u'v written very carefully.
    I must say that ur totally right about stuff and our customs.
    I needed knowledge about my religious history and got so.
    AKDN network is widespread throughout the world now.
    My IMAM OF THE TIME works long hours in the development of the world as well as the well-being of Aga Khanis and other people.
    I guess the progress which He has done is un-attainable.
    He's put in 50years of hard work and dedication.
    For my fellow muslim brothers i would like to say that ull should atleast surf about His achievements, farmans in d form of guidance and spiritual guidance as well.

    Once again THANX alot.
    tc.

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  30. I m in a big problem...plx help me u people...m sunni girl n m in lov who is aga khani..my father rejected his proposal because they want me 2 convert as aga khani..his demand is i ld go jamatkhana..

    should i join jk?

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  31. I am Ismaili and I love all the Muslims in the world. I believe, all the Muslims who call themselves Muslims, are Muslims. I had a very tough time with my Wahabi Friend, Rehan, in my boarding house in Pakistan. With my good deeds and sincerity, I made him my best friend. His cousin, Jalal also respects me. I gurantee, they do not hate me. Here is how we Ismailies call ourselves Muslims:

    "I believe in Allah, Muhammad (PBUH) as the last Prophet, I believe in Malaika (Angels) Kutub (The books), Yawmil Akher (the Day of Judgement), Qadar Khair (the Good Deeds), Shir (Bad Deeds) and Baasa Badal Mout(Life after Death).

    I follow Prince Karim Aga Khan, the direct descendant of Mowla Ali, the cousin of Muhammad (PBUH) I and millions of Ismailies are satisfied with his worldly and religious leadership.

    For our 1400 years, we have been following the house of Muhammad (PBUH) and the Holy Quran. We look different to you as we have been with different guiding stars than others do. We do not believe the Tehran based or Riadh based Religious Licensing Authorities..

    So far as, the War in Iraq and Afghanistan is concerned. I have seen and volunteered to serve thousands of legless, armless and blind Ismaili refugees in Pakistan who went through the crucible of war. We also do not support the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan or any other part of the world should not be messed up with the belief of Ismailies. We believe all wars in the world have a political or economic grounds not a religious grounds.

    We the Muslims should stop hating each other and terming each other Kafirs. We have created more than 73 sects within Islam, still we are not satisfied. Did god say segregate each other? If you believe in the Day of Judgement than there is no point to be judgmental about others' believes.

    Religion is nothing but a triangular relationship: 1. God 2. We 3. Universe

    We really need to analyze ourselves: what level of spirituality are we in terms of our relationship with God.

    How honest and respectful are we with ourselves and what is our contribution to the humanity and the universe at large?

    Our efforts should be focused on strengthening these areas. I wonder how ignorant is the person above who says all the Shias and related branches are not Muslims.

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  32. Hi just want to say that we are now in a pluralist world and all muslims should be united.

    However, i also would like to add one incident as a reminder. if you remember the story of Gaddir-e-Khum, we all agree that the Prophet (S.A.W) when appointing Mawlana Ali as his successor also mentioned that he is leaving behind two things the Quran and AHL AL BAYT. did the Prophet (S.A.W) say this to leave us hanging? (with other muslims and non muslims, unlike Ismailis the Ahl Al Bayt seems to have diminished or not existed). No he said this because it was his promise to mankind that if we hold fast onto these two we will always be on Siratul Mustaqim and receive Jannah.

    If the Prophet (S.A.W) didnt believe that the Ahl Al Bayt would still be on this earth today decades ago as is the Quran, he would never have promised this to us. Let us not forget that the Prophet (S.A.W) was passing a message of Allah Tala to us are we following it half way by only reading the Quran and forgetting the interpretor that we need as the Quran is much beyond human understanding?

    please just take a moment to think this over.

    everyone has a right to choice of religion and all religions must be respected but this is a note to ponder on.

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  33. hello i want to say u that allah is one no body can under stand becarefull we never do all what allah say so pleas calme and thear is no need to guide anyone guide your self firest thean see what ru doining it right the anser is no read quran and c did allah say heart any one did he say to do gibat did he say to insalt islam .now its your wisshe thankyou byyy all friend

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  34. yam i am marred a girle sunee an i am ismali after 16 year we r problem my wife she do not want to come jamatkhana and i want she come with me for me it a big problem what should we do give me a advise that she can undestand. i want that she should be thear with me.if any one thear that he r she in this codition repaly me thankyou.

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  35. Quran is not specific of so many things like how many time one should pray or how to pray and regarding how many days to fast and many other things ,this was interpreted by Hazrat Nabi(sas)to the people of his times,just like prophet before him from Hazrat Adam to Moses did not practice the way Muslims practiced Islam in Hazrat Nabi (sas) time and had not done Hajj the way Muslim do now,so were they not Muslim what would you consider them?Ismailis believe in the Imam of the time for them he is the interpreter of faith in the present time,the concept of judging each other is forbidden in Islam,the people who are abusive and insulting should fear Allah and the day of judgement,he will decide who has gone astray and who is Muslim instead of making a judgement on his behalf.Nabi(sas)for sake of peace had a treaty with Jews and Christians so Muslim could practice there faith without persecution,we Ismailis believe in Allah and the last prophet,we beg you to follow the way of his messenger who was a mercy to the entire human kind and not just Muslims.

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  36. Dear Muslim brothers and sisters,

    In the name of God, please, please, please stop fighting over your differences. Over hundreds of years, this mentality has dragged all muslims into darkness, ignorance, injustice, conflicts, wars, suicides and several other social problems. Everyday Muslim children either die from hunger, sickness or get killed by bombs and rockets. Millions of Muslims have lost their family members in wars. Majority of Muslims have little education to no education. Several Muslim countries are in war and the list of issues goes on and on. In short, Islam is in a dark age. We have to stop pin pointing at each other and judging who is the right Muslim and who is the wrong Muslim. Let's start looking at our similarities and let's decide to get out of dark age. All Islamic Sects have much much much more similarities than differences. Let's unite based on our similarities. Let's stop hating each other and embrace understanding and compassion. Faith shouldn't divide us but instead it should bring us together.

    If you are a true muslim, you will understand my words....

    Thanks,

    Kamal

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