Ismaili tariqa practices - theismaili

 Ismaili tariqa practices


theismaili , ismailimuslim  Rahim padaniya

Ismaili jamatkhanas are private tariqa spaces. Tariqa is an Arabic word meaning “path” and refers to a path to spiritual enlightenment and union with God. Tariqas are communities of Muslims that follow a path guided by a spiritual leader, such as a Shia Imam or a Sufi murshid. They guide their community’s interpretation and practice of the Islamic faith as part of an inward search for spiritual enlightenment. 

As direct hereditary descendants of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny), Imams in the Shia interpretation of Islam are responsible for interpreting the faith and improving the quality of life of the community and the societies in which they live. The Imam-of-the-Time has the sole authority to determine Ismaili tariqa practices in jamatkhana at any time.

Ismaili tariqa practices include a variety of prayers recommended in the Holy Qur’an. These include du‘a (prayer for supplication), tasbih (glorification), dhikr (remembrance), and salawat (seeking blessings on the Prophet and his progeny). Practices also include the recitation of verses of the Holy Qur’an, affirming the shahada (the Islamic declaration of faith), reciting devotional poetry such as qasidasnashids and ginans, and the reading of farmans, which is guidance from the Imam. Special prayers may be observed on religious festivals, to seek help during times of difficulty, and during rites of passage, particularly deaths. These practices reaffirm Ismaili beliefs in the oneness of God, in His Messenger, Prophet Muhammad, and a belief and commitment to those in authority (uli’l-amr), the hereditary Imams. The pledge of allegiance (bay‘a) to the Imam-of-the-Time is reaffirmed daily in various prayers and jamatkhana practices. 

Seeking intercession and forgiveness from the Prophets and Imams

Many Ismaili prayers and practices seek the intercession of the Prophets and the Imams, particularly the Imam-of-the-Time. Intercession means to plead or intervene on behalf of another. Believers ask those who are considered close to God to intercede with the Lord on their behalf. Many religious communities around the world, including both Sunni and Shia Muslims, believe in the concept of intercession. Practices seeking intercession and forgiveness through Prophet Muhammad are rooted in various verses of the Qur’an, such as the following verse: And if, when they had wronged themselves, they had but come to you [Prophet] and asked forgiveness of Allah, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Forgiving, Merciful. (Q 4:64)The Shia extend the Prophet’s role as intercessor to the Imams descended from him, through the lineage of Hazrat Ali (peace be upon him), the Prophet’s cousin and the first Shia Imam, and his wife, Hazrat Bibi Fatima (peace be upon her), the Prophet’s beloved daughter. Therefore, Ismailis invoke the names of Allah, Prophet Muhammad, Hazrat Ali, and the Imams in their devotional practices and prayers. This is why Ismaili practices include seeking forgiveness and spiritual purification through the Imam’s intercession. 

Offerings to the Imam

In the time of Prophet Muhammad, believers would go to him to seek his blessings, prayers, forgiveness, and help. We find in the Qur’an that they were asked to give offerings to the Prophet when they went to see him:[O Prophet] Take of their wealth a freewill offering (sadaqa), to purify them and to sanctify them, and pray for them. Your prayers are a comfort for them… (Q 9:103)

Thus, it is customary for Ismailis to give freewill offerings out of love and devotion to the Imam-of-the-Time as a means of purifying themselves, and to receive blessings and prayers for forgiveness through the Imam’s intercession, just as in the time of the Prophet. Because the Imam cannot always be physically present, this is often undertaken in jamatkhanas through the Imam’s appointed representatives on his behalf. Another type of offering in jamatkhanas is voluntary service. Ismaili community institutions, including jamatkhanas, are largely run by dedicated volunteers who offer their time and knowledge out of love and devotion to the Imam and the community. Jamatkhanas are a place where Islamic values are put into practice, including humility, generosity, kindness, compassion, and service to others. 



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