Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day 11 - The Ismailis and Their Leader

The Eleventh Day (Thursday, September 11)

“We have the duty to make the World a better place”! - His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV.

To his followers Prince Karim Aga Khan IV is more then just their leader; he traces his ancestry back to the Prophet Muhammad through the line of Ali and Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter. The Aga Khan’s 18 million followers reside in more than 25 countries, stretching from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe all the way to North America. Although most Ismailis have their roots in India, their major language today is English. The Aga Khan’s grandfather had urged the community to become more western oriented, and his grandson’s headquarters has moved from India to Paris in Europe.

As Imam and spiritual leader of the Shiite Ismailis, he has absolute authority over his followers. The Aga Khan has been concerned about the well being of all Muslims and particularly the Ismailis in the face of challenges of modern life. Therefore he has dedicated his life to improving the quality of life for his multicultural and multinational family. He even calls his followers “my spiritual children”. The feeling of family within the Ismaili community is so strong that the Aga Khan’s picture is not only put up in every shop and office but a photo of him and his close family are in every Ismaili family photograph album.

The spiritual and much of the social life of the Ismaili community takes place in a “Jamaatkhana”. It is more a community centre than a mosque. Ismailis pray three times instead of five times a day and don’t use the general practice of Muslim worship postures; one even finds Indian and Hindu elements in their worship.

Prayer Starters
* Pray for a spiritual hunger for the Ismailis, that they will discover life in Christ.

* Pray for culturally sensitive outreach towards the Ismailis, wherever they are, through friendship with believers.

* Pray for boldness and sensitivity for the few Ismaili believers who have mostly been ostracised from the community and sometimes from their families.

Bridging Gaps
Harvard educated, one of the Aga Khan’s primary goals is to bridge the gap between Islamic faith and western society. As one of the richest men on earth, he uses his wealth and influence to start humanitarian projects. The Aga Khan Development Network is a group of institutions concerned with education, health, economic development, and culture in Asia and Africa.

HT: 30 Days Muslim Prayer Focus

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