~ HOLY DU’A ~
A RITUAL PRAYER OF THE ISMAILIS SECTION ONE
The “BATINI” & “ZAHERI” Muslims…
The Agakhani Ismailis do not recite the obligatory ritual Islamic Prayer (Arabic; Salaah – Persian; Namaz ). In lieu thereof, Ismailis recite in their Jamatkhanas a ritual prayer called “Holy Du’a”. Ismaili Jamatkhanas are closed during the noon hours, even on the Fridays. One does not hear the sound of universally recognized Islamic call to prayer (Adhan), emerging out of a Jamatkhana. The obligatory Islamic ritual of performing an ablution (Wadhu), before reciting a ritual prayer, is not a prerequisite for the Agakhani Ismailis. They consider themselves Momeenins or the Batini (esoteric) Muslims, who are absolved of the rituals of physical cleaning, as well as of physical fasting. The followers of Aga Khan firmly believe, they are a step above the rest of the Ummah (the Brotherhood of Muslims), who are regarded by them as the Shariyatis or the Zaheri (exoteric) Muslims. For a Shariyati Muslim, the physical rituals are of primary significance and of greater consequences than the inner most spiritual ones. Ismailis are advised by their elders to hide their inner practices and secret beliefs. Hence, ISMAILI Muslims are not allowed to enter their prayer halls. Ismailis are also told not to discuss their faith with other fellow Muslims. The reason being; the rest of the Ummah is not yet matured enough or ready to comprehend or digest their philosophy of Marifat (the highest level of spiritual understanding). The leaders are apprehensive that their Batini Ismaili community may be unjustly labeled as “the apostate” after such dialogues by their contenders or by everyday inquisitors, for the lack of their own knowledge and understanding for the inner values of true Islam.
One Can Pray Facing Any Direction…
Since Allah is every where, Agakhani Ismailis feel themselves totally comfortable reciting his/her Holy Du’a, facing any direction or even with their backs to the Ka’bah. Some of the recently constructed multi-million dollar Jamatkhanas in North America are so built that the main congregation has their backs facing Mecca. That need not necessarily be an act of deliberate anti Islamic or rebellious expressions for the Shariyati Laws. But, these designs have not been considered as “faulty planning” by Karim Aga Khan, his brother Amyn Muhammad and the members of the Aga Khan’s committee who have endorsed the building plans, for these most modern Jamatkhanas.
It is customary in each and every Jamatkhana that a row of Jamati (community) Leaders and the Title Holders (male and female), should sit facing the rest of the congregation, even while praying and prostrating. There would be a row of individuals, sitting with their backs to the side wall, in the male as well as the female section. Both these sections are kept side by side in one big hall. Hence, a row of males would face and prostrate that of the females and vice versa.
Here is what the Holy Quran Declares as “the truth” on the subject of facing Qiblah while praying and also Reveals about those “who are bent on wickedness” by refusing to follow this Command, after having known it. If this does not prove that the Farmans of Aga Khan have supersede the Verses of the Holy Qur’an, in this Unique Tariqah of Islam, what can?
Holy Qur’an 2:149 “From whencesoever thou startest forth turn thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque; that is indeed the truth from thy Lord.Â And Allah is not unmindful of what ye do.”
Holy Qur’an 2:150 “So from whencesoever thou startest forth turn thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque; among wheresoever ye are turn your face thither that there be no ground of dispute against you among the people except those of them that are bent on wickedness; so fear them not but fear Me; and that I may complete My favors on you and ye may (consent to) be guided.”
“…they Bow (Ruku) not down!” the Qur’an
The members of the 1.3 billion Islamic Ummah, begin their ritual prayers while standing in rows after rows, facing the direction of the Ka’bah (the Qiblah). Thereafter, they go into the Ruku (the Bowing position), and the Sujood (the Prostration). The members of the community of less than 1.3 million Batini Ismailis, recite their entire Holy Du’a – from the beginning to the end – in a sitting (the squatting) position on a carpeted floor. This Du’a has been ordained personally by the late Aga Khan and is rigidly adhered to. The Holy Qur’an Reveals; what is the Truth in this matter and who are “the Rejecters of Truth”.
O, ye who believe! Bow down (Ruku) and prostrate (Sujood) yourselves and worship your Lord…. Holy Qur’an 22:77
Woe unto the Rejecters of Truth on that Day! and when it is said unto them: Bow down (Ruku), they bow not down. Qur’an 77:47
Suggestion: While discussing any issue from my web page on the Ismaili Tariqah with an Ismaili, you may hear in response that the author has personal grudges or vendetta and a score to settle. Some may even go to the extend of falsely accusing me as; “the paid agent of the Wahabis”. No Wahabi or any Muslim has paid me any money at any time. My reward is with Allah (swt). However, it is suggested that the above mentioned facts, which are so obvious and cannot be denied by any upright Ismaili, may be noted and presented as if they are from you rather than from me, to have better impact and not to be swayed from the main topic.
“Shah-jo-Deedar” (Glimpse of Aga Khan)
A Muslim, while in Ruku, recites: “Subhaanna Rabbiyal Azeem” (Glory to my Lord the Great)Â andÂ Â “Subhaanna Rabbiyal Aala”
(Glory to my Lord the Highest) in their Sujood. Ismailis do not recite the above two phrases. They glorify Hadrat 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 ritual prayers. Are Ismailis trying to communicate toÂ Allah (SWT) who was Ali?
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”. The highest aspiration that a devout Ismaili harbors in his/her heart is to have the “Noorani/Ruhani Deedar” (Spiritual Glimpse) of their Mawla (Aga Khan) before his/her death. I have yet to meet an Ismaili who has had that fortune! I have met hundreds who have tried their level best to have that Glimpse, but with No Luck!
MALE OR FEMALE OF ANY AGE, CAN LEAD PRAYERS
An individual of any gender and of any age, who has memorized the Du’a, can lead the Congregational Daily Prayer. In other words, any male or female child can become a Pesh Imam. This individual, irrespective of his or her age, would join the rank of the Title Holders and face the congregation. The multicolored photographs of their Hazar Imam – Karim Aga Khan, which only a couple of decades ago used to hang from all the four walls and the pillars of the prayer halls of the Ismailis Jamatkhanas, are now placed on the side walls. There are a few occasions when the special “guided tours” of the prestigious multi-million dollar modern Jamatkhanas are conducted. Usually these tours are for the State dignitaries and the media, but strictly during the off prayer hours. The multicolored photographs of Karim Aga Khan are quickly removed and placed in a drawer of the pulpit by the volunteers, while the tours are being conducted. Again, for not to be labeled “the apostates” by the media, for their lack of knowledge of the inexplicable inner spiritual values.
Having practiced the Ismaili faith diligently for nearly half a century, I can vouch for the above facts. These are some of the reasons, why the admission to the Ismaili Jamatkhanas are RESTRICTED. These restrictions equally apply to members of the Islamic Ummah. The Agakhani Ismailis call themselves Muslims, but when it comes to standing “shoulder to shoulder” with their Brothers for the Daily Prayers, they part company and sit down in a secluded quarter and recite their own supererogatory prayer.
HOLY DU’A IS A SUPEREROGATORY PRAYER,
DECLARES THE ISMAILIA COUNCIL, PAKISTAN
Every visitor to the Jamatkhana is asked to remove his or her shoes before entering the prayer hall of the Jamatkhana. Karim Aga Khan enters the prayer hall with his shoes on. He conducts the various religious ceremonies, such as, of forgiving the sins of his followers by sprinkling the Holy Water on their faces and whispering in their ears: “your sins are forgiven”, with his shoes on. I know this with certainty, since he had whispered that in the ears of my wife and me.
Recently in Pakistan, before the High Court of Sind at Karachi, it was declared by the Ismailia Council’s President and Secretary that:
“inherent right of devolution of ownership of Jamatkhanas
(is) in the Imam. …Jamatkhanas are not dedicated as Masjids (Mosques) …(they are) additional places for religious practices, other than Masjids, for supererogatory prayers.”
Such a Declaration, before a Court of Law, demonstrates that the Islamic Mosques are the Houses of Allah (SWT), and the Ismaili Jamatkhanas are the Houses of the Aga Khans. The prayers that are recited in the”Houses of Allah” are the Obligatory Prayers, Commanded by Allah. The Holy Du’as that are recited in the “Ismaili Jamatkhanas owned by the Aga Khan” are Supererogatory Supplications, Commanded by the Aga Khan.
The synonyms to be found in a dictionary for the legal/technical term “supererogatory” are; “superfluous, nonessential, uncalled-for”.
DUAL STANDARDS FOR THE “NEW DU’A”
Over the period of nearly 1400 years, the Islamic Salaah and the Shahadah have not been revised. Within a period of half a century, I have observed the Ismaili Du’a and the Ismaili Shahadah, each being revised three times. The present Du’a in Arabic, replacing the old Du’a in Gujrati, was formulated and officially pronounced by the Farmans (Holy Commands) of the late Aga Khan in 1956. Since he was suffering from lumbago, sciatica and the cancer, he sent his grandson – the present Aga Khan, to introduce the “New Du’a” in the Eastern Africa. The “New Du’a” introduced officially in Africa had an ending:
“al-Imamul haziril maujood li zikrihis sujood.” meaning:
“the present Imam, to whose name prostration is due.”
When the same “New Du’a” was introduced in the Islamic State of Pakistan,the above mentioned phrase was changed to read:
“Allahumma laka sujoodi wa ta’ati.” meaning:
“O Allah, to Thee is my prostration.”
Again, the same old apprehension of being labeled “apostate” by those Pakistani Muslims, who the lack knowledge and true understanding of the inner Ismaili gnostic, which is not so easy to comprehend.
Though it may sound strange, the Karim Aga Khan himself has never lead the Ismaili Du’a (new or old), or joined the congregation in any of the Ismaili Jamatkhana. He has often attended the Sunni Mosques and recited the customary Islamic Salaah, behind Sunni Pesh Imams. I am told that he was once asked to lead a Friday noon prayer, by an Imam of a Mosque in India, but he declined the offer. Several written requests from the Ismaili leaders and the everyday “Khane-goers”, made to Karim Aga Khan in the last two decades, to re-introduce the Islamic Salaah which was originally being recited four to five generations ago by their ancestors, remain to this day “unacknowledged”, which can be translated as “declined”.
HOLY DU’A OF THE ISMAILIS & IT’S OFFICIAL TRANSLATION
ALHAMDU LIL-LAHI RAB-BIL-’ALAMIN; AR-RAHMANIR-RAHIM;
MALIKI YAWMID-DIN. IY-YAKA
NA’BUDU WA IY-YAKA NASTA’IN. IHDINAS-
SIRATAL-MUSTAQIM. SIRATAL-LADHINA AN’AMTA
‘ALAYHIM. GHAYRIL-MAGHDUBI ‘ALAYHIM WA LAD-DAL-LIN.
SAJADA WAJHI ILAYKA WA TAWAK-KALTU
ALAYKA; MINKA QUW-WATI WA ANTA ‘ISMATI
AL-LAHUM-MA SAL-LI ‘ALA MUHAM-MADINIL-
MUSTAFA, WA ‘ALA ‘ALY-YINIL-MURTADA, WA
ALAL-A-IM-MATIL-ATHAR. WA ‘ALA HUJ-JATIL-AMRI
SAHIBIZ-ZAMANI WAL-’ASRI IMAMINAL-HADIRIL-
MAWJUD. MAWLANA SHAH KARIMIL-HUSAYNI.
AL-LAHUM-MA LAKA SUJUDI WA TA’ATI.
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds,
the most Beneficent, the most Merciful, the Lord of the
Day of Judgment. Thee alone we worship and Thee
alone we seek for help. Guide us to the right path, the
path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favours,
not of those cursed ones and nor of those who have
gone astray. (Sura Al-Hamd – Sura 1).
I prostrate before Thee and I rely upon Thee; from
thee is my strength and Thou art my protection, O Lord of the worlds.
O Allah, let Thy peace be on Muhammad – the
Chosen, and on ‘Aly – the favourite, and on the Imams -
the pure, and on the evidence of Thy Authority – the
Lord of the age and the time, our present living Imam, our Lord Shah Karim al-Husayni.
O Allah to Thee is my prostration and obedience.
YA AY-YUHAL-LADHINA AMANU, ATI’UL-LAHA WA
ATI’UR-RASULA WA ULIL-AMRI MINKUM WA KUL-
LA SHAY-IN AHSAYNAHU FIÂ IMAMlM-MUBIN.
(Raising hands in invocation)
AL-LAHUM-MA YA MAWLANAÂ ANTAS-SALAM, WA
MINKAS-SALAM, WA ILAYKA YARJI’US-SALAM, HAY-
YINA RAB-BANA BIS-SALAM, WA ADKHILNA
DARAS-SALAM. TABARAKTA RAB-BANA WA
TA’ALAYTA. YA DHAL-JALALI WAL-IKRAM.
AL-LAHUM-MA YA MAWLANA MINKA MADADI WA
‘ALAYKA MU’TAMADI; IY-YAKA NA’BUDU WA
IY-YAKA NASTA’IN. YA ‘ALY BILUTFIKA ADRIKNI,
LA ILAHA IL-LAL-LAHU, MUHAM-MADUR
RASULUL-LAHI. ‘ALY-YUN AMIRUL-MU’MININ
‘ALY-YUL-LAH MAWLANA SHAH KARIMUL-
AL-LAHUM-MA LAKA SUJUDI WA TA’ATI.
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most
“O ye, who believe, obey Allah and obey the
Apostle and holders of authority from amongst you.”
(Suratun Nisa – Sura 4 Ayat 59)
“And We have vested (the knowledge and authority
of) everything in the manifest Imam.”
(Sura Yaseen – Sura 36 Ayat 12)
O Allah, O our Lord, Thou art the peace, and from
Thee is the peace, and to Thee returneth the peace, O
our Lord, give us life of peace, and usher us in the
abode of peace. Blessed Thou art, our Lord, the Most
High, O the Lord of Majesty and Reverence.
O 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 support. O ‘Aly, help me with
There is no deity except Allah, Muhammad is the
Messenger of Allah, ‘Aly – the master of believers is
Our Lord Shah Karim al-Husayni is our present
O Allah to Thee is my prostration and obedience.
1. The quoted verse 4:59 is an edited portion of the entire verse. The rest of theÂ crucial text of verse 4:59 is deleted with a motive. One can easily notice the reasons for its deletion by reading the expunged text. Unfortunately, majority of the Ismailis do not read the Qur’an.
Here is the entire verse 4:59:
Translation by Yusuf Ali:
O ye who believe! obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those charged with authority among you.Â If ye differ in anything among yourselves refer it to Allah and His Apostle if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: that is best and most suitable for final determination.
Translation by Pickthall:
O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and those of you who are in authority; and if ye have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to Allah and the messenger if ye are (in truth) believers in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more seemly in the end.
2. The quoted text of verse 36:12 is the last line of verse 36:12. This fragmented text is connected to the edited portion of the verse 4:59. The Reconstituted Verse conveys a meaning which Allah (SWT) had not revealed. The expunged portion of the verse 36:12 speaks very clearly about “writing”, and tells us that the revelation was for the “writing of the deeds” and not for the “vesting of knowledge or authority”.
Here is the entire verse 36:12.
Translation by Yusuf Ali:
Verily We shall give life to the dead and We record that which they sent before and that which they leave behind and of all things have We taken account in a clear Book (of evidence).
Translation by Pickthall:
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.
3. Please notice the words: “the knowledge and authority” within the parentheses that appear inÂ the Dua Book are injected. They do not appear in any published Sunni or Shiah translation. Even the prophet had not the knowledge and authority “of everything”.
4. Please read carefully the Ismaili Shahadah (the Confession of Faith), which is recited in this second part of the Du’a. The Arabic text reads:Â ‘ALY-YUN AMIRUL-MU’MININ ‘ALY-YUL-LAH.
The translation of it reads: ‘Aly – the master of believers is from Allah.
The Arabic word for “from” is “min”. This word does not appear in the Arabic text. The phrase ‘ALY-YUL-LAH translates: “The Ali, the God” which negates the earlier Confession: “There is no deity except Allah.”
To read the Du’a Parts 3 to 6, please click DU’A SECTION TWO