Saturday, June 04, 2005

Why I Became 'Sunni Muslim' [From Agakhani]

WHY WE BECAME "SUNNI MUSLIMS"? (With Rebuttals from a Shiah Ithna'Ashri Scholar and my Responses)

A question most often asked by the Shiah Muslims when they discover that my wife and I are no more the followers of Karim Aga Khan, is:
Why did we, who were Shiah Muslims by birth, joined the Sect of Sunni Muslims upon leaving the enigmatic Sect of the Agakhani Ismailis and not that of the Twelvers Shiah? The answer is simple and short; The **explicit** Hidayah (Guidance) of the Qur'an.
Here is that explicit Hidayah from Surah Al-Ahzab:
"Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of (conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day and who engages much in the praise of Allah." Verse 21.
The Arabic word sunna (singular sunnah) literally means; "custom" or "usage". Following the Sunna of the Prophet (s.a.s.) is an explicit Divine Hidayah from Allah (s.w.t.). Following the Prophetic Sunna is regarded as a compliment or commendation to the Holy Qur'an. How one interprets and answers; What is included within the realm of the Prophet's Sunnah and what is not? Is a personal matter.
I have not found any explicit verse within the Glorious Qur'an that Commands us to follow the Sunna of anyone besides the Prophet (s.a.)
The history records that the adherence and compliance to this explicit Command of Allah (s.w.t.) was never ever questioned by the Prophet's companions, his own family members including Hadhrat Ali (r.a.) and the rest of the Believers (the Ummah), who lived with the Prophet (s.a.s.). In other words, it would be correct to say that Sunnism (following the Sunnah of the Prophet) was the original path or the main stream of the Deen of Allah, followed by the Muslims of that period.
The history also records that the roots of "shi'at ul 'Ali" (lit. the party of Ali) were planted, a long time after the passing away of the beloved Prophet. In other words there was only ONE UNIT (or the main stream), before and the division happened much later. Allah (SWT), knows the future and He also warns us of the pitfalls. Please read the following Revealed Command keeping in mind which was the One Unit or the Mainstream of Islam, when this particular Verse was Revealed.:
As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects thou hast no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did. Surah An-An'am (6), verse 159 I hope that answers the question. Please read it with an open mind.
When I was a Shiah Ismaili, we were taught to recite in our daily Du'a, the fragmented portion of verse 59 of Surah Nissa, which read:
"Yaa ayyuhal lazina aamanua ati'ullaaha wa ati'ur rasuula wa ulil amri minkum," meaning; "O ye who believe! obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those charged with authority among you." (Note the phrase ulil amri minkum is not singular but plural) When I opened the Holy Book, I found out that the above verse did not end here but it continued further and the following text was intentionally expunged:
"fa in tanaaza'tum fi syai'in fa rudduuhu ilallaahi war rasuuli in kuntum tu'minuuna billaahi wal yaumil aakhir(i), zaalika khairuw wa ahsanu ta'wilaa(n)." meaning;
"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. Since that time I decided that the best and the most suitable thing was to place my complete confidence in the verses of the Holy Qur'an and not in an Ulil amri minkum who is either not physically alive to ANSWER and resolve the controversial issues or is physically alive but is UNAPPROACHABLE. I have not come across any verse in the Holy Qur'an, as clear as the quoted verse from Surah Al-Ahzab, that would induce me and my wife to join any party (sect) led by any Ulil amri minkum or any Imam. I have been bombarded with hundreds of re-narrated oral reports and riwayats but not a Single Verse from the Holy Qur'an that would compel me to set aside the above quoted verse. I earnestly suggest the readers to read my article on the subject of the re-narrated reports and riwayats, many of which were no doubt fabricated for the reasons clearly defined within the article, by clicking
Myths and Realities of Hadith
Finally, if the rest of the world (non Muslims), were to join Islam in the end time, and, the Islamic Ummah was to be united as a single community then the most likely candidate for that would be as the present trend of the new converts indicate; the Mainstream of Islam - the Sunni Tariqah of Islam, which has over 90% of the followings.
Above is my personal opinion and I am open for the dialogue IF someone has the verses from the QUR'AN to change my judgement.
Maa Salaam, Brother Akbar
In response to my above statement which reads; "Since that time I decided that the best and the most suitable thing was to place my complete confidence in the verses of the Holy Qur'an and not in an Ulil amri minkum who is either not physically alive to ANSWER and resolve the controversial issues or is physically alive but is UNAPPROACHABLE. I have not come across any verse in the Holy Qur'an, as clear as the quoted verse from Surah Al-Ahzab, that would induce me and my wife to join any party (sect) lead by any Ulil amri minkum or any Imam. I have been bombarded with hundreds of re-narrated oral reports and riwayats but not a Single Verse from the Holy Qur'an that would compel me to set aside the above quoted verse."; a Shi'a scholar - who claims that the Agha Khanis are not Shi'a and Ithna Asharis are Shi'a, has sent the following message by e-mail:
It is good that you have put your faith in the holy Qur’an. It also implies that you did not have your faith in the holy Qur’an before that. Well, that was wrong. Every Muslim must have firm faith in every word of the holy Qur’an.
With that note, let me ask you this: Have you recited the following verse of the Qur’an? Please do explain to your readership what you understand from this:
Yauma nad’u kulla unasin bi imami-him… (and the day when We will call every people with their respective Imam….) Q.17:71My Response:
You would notice that the Shiah scholar has quoted a *fragmented portion* of verse 17:71 from the Qur'an. The reason for fragmentation is obvious if you were to read the *entire verse* that is quoted below:
Translation by M. M. Pickthall of verse 17:71: On the day when We shall summon all men with their record, whoso is given his book in his right hand -- such will read their book and they will not be wronged a shred.
Translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali of verse 17:71: One day We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams: those who are given their record in their right hand will read it (with pleasure) and they will not be dealt with unjustly in the least.
Transliteration of verse 17:71: Yawma nad'uu kulla 'unaasim bi- 'Imaam -him fa- man 'uutiya kitaaba -hu bi- yamiini -hi fa- 'ulaa'ika yaqra'uuna kitaaba -hum wa- yuz-lamuuna fatiil(an)
One would notice that Pickthall has translated the word "Imaam" as "record" (of deeds), whereas Yusuf Ali has left this word non-translated and given his comments. However, upon reading the ENTIRE VERSE, the true meaning of this word "Imaam" as the "record of deeds" is very clear and needs no further comments. Secondly, there are many human beings upon this earth (e.g. Atheists), who have no "Leaders", whereas the verse specifically relates to **all human beings**. However, the deeds of all human beings are recorded as mentioned in verse 36:12 of the Holy Qur'an, quoted below. One may also notice that Yusuf Ali has translated below the same word "Imaam" as the "Book of (recorded) evidence". This verse 36:12 compliments verse 17:71. I hope that answers the Rebuttal of the Shi'a scholar.
Translation by Yusuf Ali of verse 36:12: 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)
Transliteration of verse 36:12: 'In(na) -naa nuh.yil- mawtaa wa- naktubu maa qaddamuu wa- 'aathaar -hum wa- kulla shay'in ah-saynaa -hu fii 'Imaamim mubiin.
Note: In verse 46:12 the "Book of Moses" is also called ""Imaam".
BTW, the followers of Karim Aga Khan who call themselves; The Shiah IMAMI Ismailis also recite the fragmented last line of the above verse 36:12 in their daily Du'a (prayers) and the enigmatic translation reads: "And We have vested (the knowledge and authority of) everything in the manifest Imam."
The Shiah scholar wrote:
Now consider this hadeeth report recorded by Mulla Ali Qari in his Sharh-i-fiqh-i-Akbar (Mulla Ali Qari is a Sunni Alim and this book is a commentary on Imam Abu Hanifa’s book of Islamic laws FIQH AKBAR), “man mata wa lam y’arif Imam-i-zamanihi, faqad mata meetat-al-Jahiliyya.” (one who dies without knowing the Imam of his time, dies the death of Jahiliyya).
How could the Prophet (peace be upon him), have spoken the above text of the Hadeeth, recorded by Mulla Ali Qari or by anyone for that matter, when the actual "Concept of The Imamah" and/or the very perception of "The Imam of his time" was not even known by the Ummah, that lived during the life of the Prophet? The Concepts of the Khilaphat and the Imamat were developed *after* the passing away of the Prophet. Even at the Gadir-e-Khoom, in accordance with the Shiah Traditions and Riwayats, the Prophet did not declare Hadhrat Ali as the "Imaam" of the Ummah. I suggest the Shiah scholar to read my article HADEETH
The Shiah scholar wrote:
The hadeeth report from the Prophet about the Muslims having twelve Imams is so strongly vouched by Isnaad that it is really impossible to deny it. Consequently, Mulsims had to invent at least twelve names to fit that hadeeth. However, in every century and every generation the list of the names has been changing, depending upon who was running the govrnment. It is only the Shi'a Ithna Ashari who have maintained the list of the twelve Imams from day one and it has not changed.
There is a serious problem of reconciliation within these two Ahadith. In the earlier Hadith, recorded by Mulla Ali Qari, the Prophet is supposed to have said (one who dies without knowing the **Imam of his time**, dies the death of Jahiliyya). In the later, so called as the strongly vouched Hadith, the Prophet is supposed to have said (the Muslims having **twelve Imams**).
These two statements contradict each other. IF the Prophet knew the future and he also knew it for sure that there were not going to be any more Imams (Leaders) after the twelfth Imam, he could not have made the earlier statement asking the Muslim Ummah that it was imperative to know the Leaders (Imams) of "their own times". How could those that were to be born after the twelfth Imam, know the "Imams of their own times" when there were going to be none, during their life time? The earlier statement in effect acknowledges the perpetually of the Leadership (Imams), which the later statement NEGATES. Here is one more reason why each and every narration that is in circulation could not be recognized as the authentic narration. Some are, others are not.


I have been flooded with mails from the followers of Aga Khan asking me; Why I refuse to acknowledge what Allah has Himself "vested" in "Imamim Mubeen", as per the verse 36:12 of the Quran?
The reason for this flooding is easy to understand. Ismailis are simply repeating what they have been reading since their childhood, from within their published Ismaili Du'a Books. A quarter century ago, when I was living in Pakistan as a "Devout Agakhani Ismaili" I too was asking the same question to my Sunni Muslim friends and associates. I would then add the following question; Why are you holding fast to the Quran and not to the Imamim Mubeen --- the second most important strand of "Hablillah" (The Rope of Allah), that has been sent by Allah to mankind?
Today, I know that nowhere in the Glorious Qur'an Allah (SWT) has mentioned about "vesting of the knowledge and the authority of everything" into any living or dead individual. As a matter of fact, the words "knowledge" and/or "authority" DO NOT appear in this verse. Of course, they are placed within the brackets but where did they come from or what do they represent? One can not just place anything and everything that one fancies within the brackets, while translating the Revealed Text. What is the justification for this addition to Allah's Words? Secondly, when one is quoting the written text to other person, one does not mention that this portion is inside and that portion is outside of the brackets. The false impressions that the bracketed text create within the minds of the listeners are deep rooted and permanent. The injection of words "knowledge" and "authority" to Allah's Text is THE GREAT DECEPTION No. 1.
In the Ismaili Du'a Book one would find only the LAST LINE of the verse number 36:12. The EARLIER text which has a very significant relevance to the Message is not at all printed or recited in Dua. The motive behind this CONCEALMENT of the expunged text is to mislead the readers and promoting erroneous dogmas. EXPUNGING of Allah's Text with a motive of misguiding is THE GREAT DECEPTION NO. 2.
Within this expunged text is the Arabic word "naktubu" which translates "We write" or "We record". Obviously, when the writing is done it is in a BOOK or a REGISTER. The word "imam" in the Arabic language has more than one meaning. Here is the translation of the word "imam" as found in; A Dictionary And Glossary Of The Koran by John Penrice. "A leader in religion, a model, example, rule, pattern, or book for guidance or instruction." In verse 46:12, the "Book of Moses" is also called "imam" (meaning, a book of guidance). In the English language the term "Guide" is used for a Person that could act as a Guide and also for a Book that one can read to find his way around. If the verb "read" is used in connection with the term "Guide", then there is no room left for an ambiguity of any kind. Intentionally concealing the phrase "We write" and then introducing an unrelated and inappropriate concept of the "Living Imam" as Imamim Mubeen is THE GREAT DECEPTION NO. 3.
Upon the reading of the ENTIRE verse appended below one can easily notice that the verse clearly indicates that Allah has been speaking of an act of KEEPING or TAKING accounts of ALL our deeds and footsteps. Changing that original concept of "accounting" or "recording" into "vesting" of ALL the "knowledge and authority" in a LIVING person and making him a Divine Personality with Authority is THE GREAT DECEPTION NO. 4.
As seen before, a major portion of verse 36:12 is expunged and in its place is taken up by another fragmented portion from verse 4:59. Strange it may sound, the enjoining of these TWO fragmented verses (4:59 and 36:12) happens with the Arabic word "wa" (meaning "and"). Only those who are knowledgeable in the verses of the Quran can detect such a skillful deception. IF Allah (swt) wanted the Ummah to understand and have FIRM FAITH in what has been done by "scotch-taping" (two separate verses from two different chapters), then would HE not have Revealed that CLEARLY AND EXPLICITLY? Why would Allah Reveal "naktubu" ("WE WRITE") and then want the Ummah to BELIEVE something which He DID NOT Reveal? "Truly, conjecture can be of no avail against Truth" (Quran 10:36). FRAGMENTING and then RECONSTITUTING of Allah's Revealed TWO SEPARATE Verses into ONE NEW "Scotch-taped" Verse is THE GREAT DECEPTION NO. 5.
Here is the translation followed by the transliteration of the RECONSTITUTED "SCOTCH-TAPED" INNOVATED VERSE as found in the Ismaili Dua Book. This act of "scotch-taping" was done by the grandfather of the present Aga Khan when he was the "Imamim Mubeen" and his ACTIONS were considered to be DIVINE, by his followers. The present Aga Khan has not removed or amended that "scotch-taped" verse, in spite of repeated request being made to him.
This is what is published in the Ismaili Dua Books: O ye, who believe, obey Allah and obey the Apostle and holders of authority from amongst you. And We have vested (the knowledge and authority of) everything in the manifest Imam.
Transliteration: Ya ayyuhal-lazeena amnoo, ati-Ullah wa ati-ur-Rasoola wa Ulil Amri minkum. Wa kulla shai'in ahsainahu fee Imamim-mubeen.
Here is the entire verse 36:12, as Allah has Revealed.
Translation by Yusuf Ali: Verily We shall give life to the dead and We record (naktubu) 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.
Transliteration of 36:12 In na nahnu nuhyil mauta wa naktubu maa qad damuu wa aasaarahum wa kul la sai in ahsainaahu fi imaamim mubin
Here is the entire verse 4:59, as Allah has Revealed.
Translation by Yusuf Ali: O ye who believe! obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those charged with authority among you. 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.
Transliteration of 4:59: Yaa ayyuhal lazina aamanuu ati'ullaaha wa ati'ur rasuula wa ulil amri minkum, fa in tanaaza'tum fi syai'in fa rudduuhu ilallaahi war rasuuli in kuntum tu'minuuna billaahi wal yaumil aakhir(i), zaalika khairuw wa ahsanu ta'wilaa(n).
Hablillah: After my settlement in Canada, one fine day I had an occasion to visit the Jamie (Sunni) Mosque in Richmond, B.C. In the foyer there was a copy of the beautifully printed Sermon of the Prophet (s.a.s.). It was a historical Sermon which he had delivered on the Ninth Day of Dhul Hijjah 10 A.H in the Uranah Valley of mount Arafat.
What caught my eyes was the end part of that Sermon, which read:
O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur'an and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness oh Allah that I have conveyed your message to your people. The above statement had a support from the Holy Qur'an. In Surah Al-Ahzab (33) Allah (SWT) has revealed:
Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of (conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day and who engages much in the praise of Allah." Verse 21.
Al-Hamdulillah, I found the answer to my earlier question on the subject of Hablillah, within these texts.
Footnote: In this sacred month of Ramadhan, there is only ONE community in the entire “Islamic Brotherhood” whose majority of the members DO NOT observe the PHYSICAL fasting, the world over. Furthermore, they have NO remorse or regret for the non-observance alike any member of a Christian or a Jewish community. HOWEVER, this situation would turnaround INSTANTLY, if their “Hazar Imam” - Karim Aga Khan, was to send a “Holy Message” (Farman), asking them to observe the fasting, like the rest of the Ummaah. This clearly indicates the SUPREME and FINAL AUTHORITY of “Imamim-mubeen” is firmly and squarely established within the community. An “Imamim-mubeen” whose photos you will see hanging prominently in the shops, offices and homes of the followers and most probably, smiling at you. That enigmatic smile should immediately trigger your mind to point your index finger back at him (the person smiling at you) and ask your question to the owner: "Is this the one in whom Allah has vested the 'Knowledge and Authority of Everything' ? If, every Muslim was to ask the "same specific" question, the owner of the photo would reflect: "Do these Muslims know something that I don't? You don't have to be Sigmund Freud to know the effect and the impact of your 'one line question' upon the mind of that person. It is a Da'wah in a subtle way.
When Prince Aly Khan was young, his father Sultan Muhammad Shah the 48th "Imamim-Mubeen", officially appointed Prince Aly Khan as Wali-ahad (Heir apparent, i.e. the next Imamim-Mubeen), in 1930. The photographs of Prince Aly Khan that were published in the Ismaili Magazines, after 1930, had the epithet "Wali-ahad Prince Aly Khan".
Every year, the day on which an Imam is installed on the throne of Imamat is celebrated all over the Ismaili world with feasts, dancing and sending Mehmanis (Cash Donations as Gifts), to the Imam. That day is known as Saleghreh. After the birth of Prince Karim came an order to hold the Sayyukt Saleghreh meaning "Joint Celebrations" of THREE IMAMS, viz., Sultan Muhammad Shah the 48th Imam, Prince Aly Khan the 49th Imam and Prince Karim the 50th Imam. Ismailis all over the world Celebrated with great pride these Sayyukt Saleghrehs. The above is an undeniable fact from the recent history of the Agakhani Ismailis.
When the "Last Will" of Sultan Muhammad Shah was read in 1957, this officially designated and celebrated "Wali-ahad Prince Aly Khan" was completely bye passed and Prince Karim became the 49th Imam. The entire Ismaili community was stunned, shocked, flabbergasted and bowled over. Many Ismailis from Syria and Punjab even REVOLTED to this unprecedented BYE PASS in the history of the Shiahs and openly refused to accept Prince Karim as their 49th Imamim-Mubeen. A grandson cannot become "Hazar Imam" if his father is ALIVE. A few Ismailis even stopped participating in the community rituals, with faith. For them Imamim-mubeen was no more the one who knows the future.
The followers of Aga Khan proudly claim that their Hazar Imam KNOWS what is going to happen in the future. Whereas, that same Hazar Imam clearly ADMITS in his own personal, sealed and signed legal document that he is IGNORANT/UNAWARE of the future. Below is the text from the Late Aga Khan's Last Will:
I APPOINT my grandson KARIM, the son of my son ALY SALOMONE KHAN, to succeed to the title of AGA KHAN and to be the Imam and Pir of all my Shia Ismailian followers, and should my grandson KARIM predecease me then I APPOINT his brother AMYN MAHOMED, the second son of my son ALY SALOMONE KHAN, as my successor to the Imamate. To contend, after reading the above text, that the Late Aga Khan knew the future quite well is to DECLARE that the Late Aga Khan was either knowingly play-acting or he was not hundred per cent candidly truthful when he wrote; "should my grandson KARIM predecease me"
Say (O Muhammad): "As to the knowledge of the time, it is with Allah alone: I am but a plain warner." Holy Qur'an 67:26
The Biggest Paradox of the Ismaili Beliefs: In spite of these manifest "Eye-openers" from Allah (SWT), which have conclusively proved that ALLAH ALONE (not the "Imamim-Mubeen") has the knowledge of what is going to happen tomorrow, the vast majority of the followers continue to recite this "scotched-taped" verse with absolute 'Blind Faith' and think that the "non-Ismailis" are the ones who have intentionally mistranslated this verse 36:12, within their translations!!!
ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT WILL ALLAH ACKNOWLEDGE THE FAITH OF THOSE WHO HAVE BASED IT UPON A RECONSTITUTED "SCOTCH-TAPED" VERSE, INNOVATED BY THE LATE AGA KHAN? "Those who oppose (the commands of) Allah and His Messenger will be among those most humiliated." Quran 58 : 20

Bio Data Of An Ismaili Shi'ia

By Akbarally Meherally
Seventy one years ago, I was born in England into a very dedicated and devoted Agakhani Ismaili family. Every grown-up member of our household was supposed to meditate in the early morning, between four and five. Three times a day, we all used to go to Jamatkhana (Ismailis' Prayer House), and recite the ritual prayer. This was a formally prescribed official prayer in Gujrati (a language the majority of Aga Khan's followers speak), known as the Ismaili Du'a. Every believing follower was supposed to recite this authorized Du'a with full faith, without any variation. Until replaced in 1956, that (old) Du'a had a phrase (Kalimah) which formally Declared and Witnessed; Aly (son-in-law of the Prophet), the master of the believers, is Shahi (truly) Allah. While reciting that enigmatic Du'a, one would repeatedly prostrate oneself before the photographs of His Highness The Aga Khan Sultan Muhammad Shah Mehlati and affirm with firm conviction; the photographed mortal was the prevalent physical manifestation of the Almighty God (Allah). Huge multicoloured photos of the Aga Khan were hung from all the four walls of all the Jamatkhanas in the world. There was also a verse in that Old Du'a which recited; Aly-Muhammad yakk Khuda huqq sanakh'th dafeh ballah. It translates; If you have the true understanding that 'Aly and Muhammad (jointly) are one Allah', then (all) your calamities will vanish. Any Ismaili can verify these facts from his/her Old Du'a Book or by asking the elders, over the age of sixty five. Those were the times in the Ismaili history, when I was born.
The Aga Khan had repeatedly announced that he was the 48th direct hereditary physical descendant of Hadhrat Aly. He had the same Noor (the manifest Light of Allah), that Aly - the first Imam had. Whenever the Aga Khan would give his Holy Deedar (glimpse of his Noorani face), he would address us as "My Beloved Spiritual Children". He would most graciously bestow upon us his "Special Paternal and Maternal Loving Blessings". Such merciful bestowing would bring the tears rolling down my cheeks. Our material and spiritual success was due to these Holy Blessings. We were the chosen few, out the billions to have been so very fortunate. Giving him 12, 1/2% of what was bestowed upon us by his mercy was like saying "Thank You". He would multiply our offerings and reward us manifold, here and hereafter. These were and are the popular beliefs. Majority of the Ismaili would pay this percentage once a month from their monthly gross income, but my parents would pay it daily.
Ismailis are taught by their parents and the missionaries that Aga Khan's Farmans (Proclamations), are the solemn Divine Dictates, being the very word of a Living God. Each and every Proclamation made by the Aga Khan should be entertained and understood as the verses of a "Speaking Qur'an". On several occasions, these Proclamations would overrule the sacred verses of the "Silent Qur'an" but that should not bother us. We were tutored into believing that what was revealed, 1400 years ago to a community of the Pagan Arabs living in the age of ignorance, through Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), was outdated. Instead, we were ordered by the late Aga Khan to recite the devotional Songs called Ginans, alleged to have been written by the Ismaili Pirs. Majority of these Ginans, which attributed Divinity to Aga Khan were composed at a much later date, by the Ismaili poets and printed by the Ismaili Printing Press in Bombay. Please click GINANS to read more on the subject.
Majority of these ancient beliefs and acts have not changed. Even today (1999), Ismailis do recite the Ginans that attribute Divinity to Aga Khan. Instead of a dozen or so photographs, today there are only a couple of them, which are pulled down during the official visit of a non-Ismaili dignitary. Ismailis do recite their Du'a (a modified version), facing all the directions. At times their backs are facing the "Sacred Mosque". In the 80's, when the multi-million dollar Burnaby Jamatkhana in British Columbia was under planning, I wrote a personal letter (as an ex-President of the Ismailia Council), to Karim Aga Khan. I earnestly requested that looking ahead of time it would be advisable to construct this new Jamatkhana facing the Qiblah (Ka'bah). The prestigious Burnaby Jamatkhana does not face the direction of Makkah. The verses of the Holy Qur'an explicitly dictate that every Muslim should face the "Sacred Mosque" in Makkah, while praying. (Qur'an 2:149/150) This is one of the major reasons why Ismailis do not allow any non-Ismaili to enter any of their Jamatkhanas, specially during the prayer timings. However, many young Muslim students in North America have, out of curiosity, sneaked into these restricted prayer halls and observed the UNIQUE practices of the so called "Ismaili Muslims".
For the next fifty four years, following the footsteps of my grandparents and parents, I whole heartedly served the two Imaams of my times and the Ismaili community, with Tan, Man and Dhan (Body, Mind and Money). Even today, my efforts are directed at bringing these misguided Ismailis to the Deen of Allah. In 1972, in the recognition of my dedicated services to the community, specially to the Ismaili orphans and widows of Karachi, I was appointed President of the Ismailia Regional Council for Karachi and Baluchistan by Karim Aga Khan himself. I devotedly discharged my duties as a senior community leader, until I emigrated to Canada in 1975.
Towards the end of 1982, when I was a devoted Ismaili, I published my first book on the history (the Divine Link) of the Aga Khans. It was entitled 'From Abraham to Aga Khan'. The information contained in it was mostly based upon the religious teachings that I had received over the years from my parents, the Ismaili missionaries (many of them were paid by the Aga Khans) and the literature published by the Ismaili Religious Institutions in India and Pakistan (financed by the Aga Khans). Several of the non-Ismaili and a few Ismaili readers pointed out to me that Karim Aga Khan was not the physical direct descendants of the Prophet, as claimed by him. They all suggested that I should read the history of the Assassins of Alamut.
As the years went on, I continued my research on the subject of Ismaili literature and history. At the same time I augmented my studies with the revealed and inspired messages that are to be found in the Bible and the Qur'an. By the grace of Almighty Allah , I got out of my inherited tunnel vision that I had so firmly established for more than half a century. I could now compare with an open mind what I had studied in the past, with what I was learning in the present. I began asking questions in private as well as in public, by writing letters and pamphlets. I approached from the lowest to the highest authority but got no answer.
The real change in my attitude came when I discovered to my utter surprise that the Aga Khans were not the direct descendants of the Fatimid Imaams that ruled Egypt between the ninth and tenth centuries. Even today (2000), no Ismaili organization or institute has published any book refuting my research or my published works. This total silence of more than a decade on their part has been a cause of true concern for the Ismaili students, facing a barge of questions from the Muslim Students who have visited my Internet Web Site. Yes, I have seen lots and lots of totally baseless and fictitious documents that simply does the unscrupulous dirty job of the author's "character assassination". I am not a Saudi Agent (paid or otherwise). I never ever had a kidney transplant, so the story of Saudis having donated a kidney and/or the money, is a Big Lie like the rest of the lies.
At the end of 1988, based upon my advanced studies and the most recent discoveries, I published 'Understanding Ismailism'. Shortly after its publication, in December 1988, the honorary secretary of the Aga Khan's Ismaili Council for British Columbia filed a "Complaint" before the Aga Khan's Conciliation and Arbitration Board. The Complainant had asked the Board to recommend my expulsion from the community, under the Ismaili Constitution that is ordained by Karim Aga Khan. In March 1989, before the Board could pass a judgement of ex-communication, I publicly withdrew my oath of allegiance to Karim Aga Khan, upon the advice of my lawyers.
The roots of Fatimid Ismailis were in the Middle East where Islam was born. The roots of majority of the Agakhani Ismailis are in the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent. Their conversion from Hinduism has gone through various phases of proselytizing. During the past one and half centuries, the religion of these converts has undergone such drastic changes that the present generation of the Agakhani Ismailis is totally ignorant of the practices of their forefathers that lived only three or four generations ago. To make these followers of Aga Khan, aware of their own roots and the various stages of proselytizing, in 1991, I published 'A History Of The Agakhani Ismailis'. The book has since then been well received by the open minded Ismailis and the Muslims at large. Anyone interested can download from my web site, 'Understanding Ismailism' and 'A History Of The Agakhani Ismailis'
Since the age of eighteen I had been reading with interest, the Holy Bible. In 1949 I wrote my first article based upon John's Gospel and the Book of Revelation. In the 1970's, I began comparing the texts of Holy Bible with the Holy Qur'an (Koran). At the end of 1989, I wrote 'Understanding the Bible - through Koranic Messages'. It was published at a time in the history of the Middle East when there was a greater need for Jews, Christians, and Muslims - the three children of Abraham, to re-examine their own roots and unite as brothers. Today the situation is out of hand due to the continued heavy handedness and the human right violations committed by the ruling Israeli Government. The book was reviewed by the famous Canadian author Tom Harpur. He is a former professor of the New Testament, and the Religious Editor of 'The Toronto Star'. Several months later, I was interviewed by Tom Harpur in his nationally televised series 'Heaven and Hell'.
For the past many years I have attended several Bible Study Classes run by Christian missionaries and scholars. Here I was given the opportunity to compare the teachings of prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), and the present day beliefs and practices of various denominations of Christianity. In 1992, I published a booklet 'Understanding Jesus - the factual perceptions'. In the field of inviting Christians to the path shown by Jesus - the righteous Messiah, I have invited scholars from North America and England and held several dialogues and public lectures in North America.
By the Grace of Allah (SWT), my wife and I are now Sunni Muslims. The question often asked by the Shiah readers is; Why my wife and I, who were Shiahs by birth joined the Sect of Sunni Muslims after leaving the enigmatic Sect of the Agakhani Ismailis?
To know the answer please click SUNNAH .
I cordially invite the readers to read the various articles placed on this Web Site. They are the tools for the Believing Muslims to give the "Daw'ah" (Invitation), to the misguided generations of Christians and to the mislead Agakhani Ismailis.
Ismailis are in the habit of quoting the last verse of Surah Al-Kafirun (109), "to you be your Way and to me mine" and add, why do not the Da'is (persons doing the Daw'ah) leave the Agakhani Ismailis alone to their own Way of following their Hazar Imaam and the Da'is just keep following the Qur'an? These interrogators are probably unaware that the Opening Verse of this Surah reads, "Say: O ye that reject Faith!". The obvious counter question would be; Are the interrogators, who wish to be left alone are in effect admitting; they are the Rejecters of Faith?
I conclude with a verse from Surah Al-I'imran (3)Verse 104 :
Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity.
May the Most Merciful Allah Guide the misguided rejecters of HIS TRUTH, that was Revealed through His Messengers, Ibrahim (a.s.), Musa (a.s.), Issa (a.s.) and Muhammad (s.a.w.s)

A Brif History of The Aga Khans

By Akbarally Meherally
"Aga Khan" Is a Pet Name and not a Royal Title
"Aqa" (also, Agha or Aga) is a word, said to be of Tatar origin, signifying a dignitary or lord. The term was applied by the Turks to the chief of the janissaries. "Khan," now degraded by its overuse, was a title of nobility, and was also used for a local ruler or official. "Aga Khan" is the adopted family name of a hereditary spiritual leader (Imam) of the Shiah Nizari Ismailis. One of the many legends that have circulated about this mysterious religious leader is that the title of "Aga Khan" was conferred by the Emperor of Persia upon the great-great- grandfather of the present Aga Khan, for his dedicated services to the throne. On the contrary, Hassan Ali Shah Mahallati Aga Khan I (1804-81), was an unsuccessful insurgent. A one-time governor of Kirman in Persia, he had "proclaimed an independent government." In the opinion of Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821- 90), a noted orientalist and British spy; the attempt at rebellion against the reigning sovereign was "ridiculous."
In 1905, during a trial in the High Court of Bombay, Hassan's grandson, Aga Khan III, testified before Justice Russell that "Aga Khan" was "not a title but a sort of `alias,' a pet name when Hassan Ali was a young man." The pet name was later adopted as a hereditary family name by the succeeding Imams, who also claim to be the direct descendants of prophet Muhammad (sas).
In his autobiography, `Ibrat-afza, written in Persian and published in Bombay, Hassan narrated his several unsuccessful military encounters in Persia, in which he had been aided by the British Raj. According to Sir Richard Burton, he had received weapons in quantity from John Company (British), including at least two heavy field pieces (cannons).
In 1840, accompanied by a few hundred horsemen, the "adventurous and romantic" Hassan (Aga Khan I), fled Persia. The defeated political refugee, sought and found sanctuary under the protection of the British Raj. Upon his arrival in Afghanistan, Hassan provided the mercenary services of his horsemen to the British army. In his memoirs, Hassan spelled out his reasons for joining the invading army of the British Raj in the conquest of Afghanistan and Sind from Muslim rulers. Hassan (a Muslim mercenary and so called direct descendant of the prophet!) referred to the British as "the people of God" (khalq 'ullah), and to his role of acting as a secret agent for the British general Sir Charles Napier as "for the sake of God's pleasure" (mahd-i rida-yi ilahi).
Nearly a century later, Hassan's grandson, Aga Khan III, was proud to record in his own Memoirs the mercenary services of his grandfather, which he described as "stout assistance" rendered to the British Raj in their process of imperialistic expansion. "Forthese services and for others which he rendered to Sir Charles Napier in his conquest of Sind in 1843-4, my grandfather received a pension from the British Government." Hassan's ambitions of recovering his lost territories from the Shah of Persia, with the help of "the people of God" (the British), were never fulfilled. However, he did receive a hereditary title of "Highness" which the present Karim Aga Khan uses with pride.1866: A British Court Seals the Fate of a Sunni Muslim CommunityUnder the protection of and with aid from the British Raj, Aga Hassan Ali Shah - Aga Khan I, successfully established his religious authority over a small Muslim "Khojah" communityof converted Hindus that lived on the west coast of India. The majority of these converts had adopted Sunni persuasion, the faith of their original converters to Islam. These Sheikhs - the converters, are presently known as "Pirs of Khojahs" by the Ismailis.
Aga Hassan Ali Shah wrote in his autobiography `Ibrat-afza' that he was himself a `Murid' of a Sufi Master Mast `Ali Shah (Haji Zayn al-`Abidin Shirwani), who was a successor to Majdhub `Ali Shah, the thirty-eighth Qutub of the `Ata Alllah Sufi Order. Hassan AliShah initiated a new era in the history of these converted mostly Sunni "Khojah" Muslims. Ismaili history books records that in 1864, he removed the officiating Sunni "Mullah" from the Khojah Mosque in Bombay and replaced him with a Shiah "Maulvi". In 1866, the fateof this "Khojah" Muslim community was sealed when a British judge, Sir Joseph Arnold, passed judgment in favour of the Aga Khan on all points, declaring him the undisputed religious leader of the "Khojah" community giving him the absolute control over allcommunal property, including prayer houses and burial grounds.This was a turning point in the history of the Khojah community.
Historical records and the court documents filed by the Aga Khan's counsel show that prior to the arrival of the Aga Khan, the majority of the Khojahs observed Sunni rites and rituals,with religious ceremonies carried out by Sunni Mullahs. After receiving the necessary mandate, Hassan began proselytizing the Khojah community. These documents also record that Hassan guided them to the creed of his ancestors, which was an Ithna'ashriyyah persuasion of the Shiah sect of Islam. Hassan's autobiography records that he himself believed in the Imamat of Musa Kazim (the younger brother of Ismail) and his descendants. Majority of the historians record that Imam Ismail died within the life time of his father Imam Jaffer as Sadiq. Today, the present Aga Khan claims to be the designated hereditary direct descendant of Imam Ismail. This is a major noteworthy glaring shift, within the last four generations of the Aga Khans.
Ismaili historians have recorded that until as late as 1874 (34 years after his arrival in India), the Aga Khan's authority as a religious leader was sharply opposed by some influential wealthy members of the community. His followers in Bombay objected to "his too great predilection for drinking and intriguing with females," according to Sir Richard Burton.
In 1881, Hassan died and was succeeded by his son Aga Ali Shah. His leadership lasted for a brief period of four years with no major events. His interests in life were horse breeding, racing, and big-game hunting. In 1885, Aga Ali Shah died and his eight-year-old son, Sultan Muhammad Shah, became Aga Khan III and the new leader of the community. The young Imam's mother, Lady Ali Shah, who was a very devoted Ithna'ashri Muslimah, became a trustee and, behind the scenes, acting leader of the community. She was instrumental in the introduction of various Ithna'ashriyyah rituals in the community. Some of these rituals are currently prevailent as a legacy of Lady Ali Shah who died in 1938.Aga Khan III, an International Politician
In 1898, the young Aga Khan undertook his first tour of Europe. On his way, he approached Sultan Abdul Hamid of the Ottoman Empire with "an elaborate plan for colonization." The statement submitted was prepared by Rabbi Kahn. The plan was based upon AgaKhan's Zionist friend Professor Haffkine's masterpiece scheme for the establishment of a Jewish settlement "that could be progressively undertaken in the Holy Land." Dr. Haffkine had suggested before Aga Khan that "the land would be obtained by purchase from the Sultan's subjects" whereas " the capital was to be provided by wealthier members of the Jewish community."
Aga Khan, who claimed to be an Imam and a direct descendant of the prophet, wrote in his Memoirs: "As Haffkine propounded it, I thought this sort of Zionism useful and practical." The scheme was turned down by the Sultan. The disappointed Aga Khan wrote: "I must say its rejection has always seemed to me one of Abdul Hamid's greatest blunders." Today, looking at what is happening in Palestine, I but cannot refrain from quoting a passage from the Ismaili Du'a (ritual prayer), with a bewilderment and a doubt. The passage recited is a "fragmented" portion of the verse 36:12 of the Holy Qur'ân. The translation thereof, as it appears in the Du'a book including the words within the parentheses, reads: "And We have vested (the knowledge and authority) of everything in the manifest Imam."
As long as the British Raj ruled in India, "the secret services of the Aga Khan III were in constant demand." He was an "Ambassador without Portfolio" for the British. In his Memoirs, he proudly referred to such services as "secret diplomatic missions." Besides several other titles, he received "the highest decoration which it was possible for any Indian subject of the Crown to receive (K.G.C.S.I.)," records Aga Khan.
In 1930, the Aga Khan led the British Indian delegation to the Round Table conference held in London. In 1934, following the Second Round Table conference, the Aga Khan approached the British Government of India with a request to give him a territorial State so that he could join the company of Indian Maharajahs and Princes. Sultan Muhammad Shah - Aga Khan the third, was greatly disappointed when his offer was rejected by the Mcdonald government. In 1937, he represented the British Indian government in the League of Nations. Thereafter, he was elected president of this prestigious international organization.Aga Khan introduces "Ali is truly Allah" as the Confession of Faith
Aga Khan III enjoyed a long life. During his 72 years of Imamat (leadership), from 1885 to 1957, he changed the course of history for the Khojah community. Socially and economically, Khojah community made great progress, and so did the Aga Khan. He became one of the richest men on earth, and a leading breeder and owner ofthoroughbred horses. Between 1930 and 1936, his horses made history in the racing world by winning several prestigious racing events in Europe. His grandson - Karim Aga Khan, has carried on the family tradition on the turf of horse racing.
During his leadership, Aga Khan III was literally weighed by his followers; in Silver at Bombay, in Gold at Bombay and Nairobi, in the rented industrial Diamonds at Bombay and Dar-es-Salaam, and finally in Platinum at Cairo and Karachi. Aga Khan gave back to thecommunity welfare projects, the money collected for these token ceremonies.
Long before the arrival of the Aga Khans in India, Khojah families had settled in East Africa, especially on the island of Zanzibar. The Aga Khan III, encouraged his followers to emigrate to East Africa in greater numbers. Many of these families became prosperous businessmen. Today, the majority of the descendants of these pioneers have resettled in Europe and North America.
Aga Khan was also successful in changing course of the religious path of the community. The Ithna'ashriyyah rites and rituals that his mother and grandfather had introduced in thecommunity were systematically thrown out by him. The jobs of the Shiah Maulvis were taken over by his close relatives and paid missionaries. Aga Khan introduced new theological concepts and sacred practices. Many of which attributed explicit divinity toHazrat Ali, such as; reciting of "Ali is truly Allah" as an integral part of the Shahadah (Declaration of Faith), in their daily ritual prayers called Du'a. This was the beginning of the third and final proselytization in the history of the Khojah community. Today, Ismailis recite "Aliyyullah" in their ritual Du'a which translates; "Ali, the Allah".
In 1905, the Aga Khan won a major civil suit brought against him by his relatives. One of the significant issues decided by the court was concerning the persuasion of the Khojah community. The judgment document declared the members to be "Shiah Ismailis".During this historic trial, the plaintiff's counsel suggested that the presiding judge Mr. Russell should not try the case, as he was a friend of Aga Khan - the defendant. In his judgment document, Justice Russell admitted: "I had exchanged calls with the Aga Khanand had dined twice with him and had asked him to dinner and he had not been able to come."
In 1906, Aga Khan dismissed the traditionally elected "Khojah Joostis" (jurisprudent committees), of the community. In replacement thereof, Aga Khan established "Ismailia Councils" and appointed office-bearers and members for the Councils. The practiceis prevalent to this day. In 1910, Aga Khan promulgated a legally drafted "Shiah Imami Ismaili Constitution" and ordained it under his personal seal. Thereafter, Aga Khan made a Farman (Royal Decree) commanding the followers to abide by the Constitution. Theopening article 1.1 of the most recent Constitution ordained in 1986 by the Hazar (present) Imam - Karim Aga Khan reads: "Mawlana Hazar Imam has inherent right and absolute and unfettered power and authority over and in respect of all religious and Jamati matters of the Ismailis."
Below are the faithful reproductions of the Arabic transliteration, the English translation and the Gujrati translation (transliterated) of the phrase "Aliyyullah", as they appears in the book of Ismaili Du'a, officially published by `The Shia Imami Ismailia Association for Africa, Kenya', 1963:-The Arabic transliteration: "La ilaha illallaha, Mohammedur-Rasoolullahi, Aliyyun Amirul-mu'mineen Aliyyullah:"The English translation: "There is no deity except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, Ali, the master of the believers, is from Allah."The Gujrati translation (transliterated) of the phrase "Aliyyullah":Please note the words within the parantheses are NOT mine, they do appear in the book of Dua: "Allah mahthi chhe (ane te ejh chhe)" which means; "Is from Allah (and is the same)".Here is a further clarification of the enigmatic phrase and its paradoxical translations:The phrase "Aliyyullah" is a combination of two words. "Aliyyun" and "Allah". When these two words are joined together, the letter "n" becomes silent and the phrase is read as "Aliyyullah. The word "Aliyyun" translates "The Ali", and the word "Allah" translates "The God". Hence, the phrase "Aliyyullah" means "The Ali, The God". In the Ismaili terminology it signifies "The Aga Khan (The 49th Ali), The God". The English translation which reads in the Du'a book "is from Allah" is just a smoke screen. The Gujrati translation with its elucidation within the brackets, removes that smoke screen. Furthermore, the Arabic word for "from" is "min", which does not appear in the Arabic text of the `Kalimah Shahadah'.Agakhan A Direct Descendant Of The Fatimid Caliphs!!!In 1935, the Aga Khan's department for religious propagation and publications, Bombay, printed and distributed a book in Gujrati `Noorum-Mubin - A Glorious History Of The Ismaili Imams'. Aga Khan's genealogy was designated by the author - A. J. Chunara,as a "Sacred Rope of Allah" (Hab'lillah). During his Golden Jubilee year, Aga Khan the third, highly recommended his followers to read this newly published book.
Although, many essential historical data were missing, the author had linked the Aga Khan's ancestry with the Grand Masters of the dreaded `Assassins' - a heretical sect of Islam, that flourished in Persia and Syria between 11th and 12th centuries. The current term `assassination' has its root from this community of Assassins. Most of the latter day Grand Masters claimed themselves to be the `Nizari Imams' of the Ismailis. These Nizari Imams were in turn shown as the hereditary physical descendants of the Fatimid Caliphs, who ruled in North Africa, Egypt, and Syria from 909 to 1171. Many western scholars such as Marshall G. Hodgson and Bernard Lewis have doubted the authenticity of the advocated `physical descent' and suggested, it was but a kind of "Spiritual Filiation" (esoteric descent), which, with the succeeding generations became a physical linkage in the fullest sense.
One of the Grand Masters of the Persian Assassins, Jalal al-Din Hasan - the 25th Nizari Imam, had publicly repudiated his grandfather's claim for being a physical descendant of the FatimidCaliphs. He proclaimed himself a Sunni Muslim. Made a complete turnabout from the heretical Nizari doctrines and demanded from his followers a strict observance of the Islamic Shari'ah Laws. In 1210, Jalal died of poisoning. His son, Grand Master Ala-uddinMuhammad - the 26th Nizari Imam, was a "sickly and unbalanced corrupt figure". In 1255, Ala-uddin; "died ignominiously, slaughtered with an axe by the hand of a former homosexual lover" records, Edward Burman of the University of Leeds in his book `TheAssassins - Holy Killers Of Islam' (Aquarian Press, Great Britain).
In 1256, the soldiers of Hulega Khan, razed to the ground all the fortresses and stronghold of the dreaded Assassins. The 27th and the last Imam of the Nizari Ismailis in Alamut "and his followers were kicked to a pulp and then put to the sword; and of him and his stock not trace was left..." writes professor Bernard Lewis, in his book `The Assassins', quoting historian Ata Malik Juvayni (1226-83).
In India, Aga Khan the third, gradually replaced the hitherto popular term "Khojah" with "Imami Ismailis", in the community documents and literatures printed by his department for religious propaganda called "The Recreation Club". The so called "Club" later on became "Ismailia Association". Today, the same organization is known as "The Shia Imami Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board." The term "Ismaili" is derived from Ismail - the eldest son of Imam J'afar as Sadiq. Ismailis consider Imam J'afar as their fifth Imam and the physical descendant of Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) Ismailis only recognize Hadhrat Ali's son - Husayn, as their Imam. The rest of the Shiahs recognize both the sons Hassan and Husayn, as their Imams and therefore they consider Imam J'afar as their Sixth Imam. According to the documents and historical accounts accepted by the vast majority of Shiahs (nearly 90%), Ismail died before his father. His younger brother, Musa Kazim, succeeded Imam J'afar and became the next Imam. Those who chose to depart from the mainstream Shiahs contended that Imam Ismail died after his father. Ismaili historians record that the funeral procession as well as the burial ceremony of Ismail did take place in Medina during the life time of his father, but, those were "mere ruse to mislead the enemies." This minority group became known as the "Seveners". The Nizari Ismailis comprise one group of the Seveners.
Those who accepted Musa Kazim as their Seventh Imam became known as the "Twelvers" (Ithna'ashariyyahs), when their 12th and the last living Imam, disappeared into the cellar of his family home. The Twelvers claim that their last Imam has gone into "occultation." Ismailis on the other hand claim, an Imam never goes into hiding or occultation. Ismailis vehemently contend, if an Imam was to disappear or to pass away without designating his own physical descendant as the next Imam, the world would come to anend. They proudly declare, their Imams have - in spite of political and religious persecutions - survived, and, are ever present (Hazar) to lead the community. They prefer to call the present Aga Khan as "Mawlana Hazar Imam". Having an absolute faith in thedoctrine of `a living Imam' is the absolute prerequisite for being an Ismaili.
Here is the pinnacle of paradox: It is a documented fact that Aga Khan I and II, their ancestors in Persia, the horsemen who accompanied the Aga Khan I from Persia, and the mother of Aga Khan III were all dedicated Twelver Shiahs. They lived and died believing in the Imamate of Musa Kazim and his descendants. This fact is evident from the court documents, from the Memoirs written by two Aga Khans, and also from the inscriptions on the tombs of their ancestors in Persia. Ignoring such incontrovertible evidence, Ismailis continue to acknowledge, as well as recite in their prayers, that Aga Khan I and II were their 46th and 47th Imams, and that their ancestors in Persia were the preceding Imams. In other words, Ismailis assert that these individuals were in fact legitimate descendants of Imam Ismail, but for some inexplicable reason they had accepted the faith of those who had repudiated Ismail's claim to the Imamate. To say otherwise would be to discredit the authors of the Memoirs, their 46th and 48th Imams!A Division Among The Followers Of The Aga Khan
The evidence presented before Justice Russell, in the Haji Bibi Case (Bombay - 1905), shows that Aga Khan the third, had introduced a "Du'a" (ritual prayer in Gujarati), upon hissuccession to the leadership of the Khojah community. Today, it is known as the Old (Gatpat) Du'a. In this daily prayer, the Aga Khan's physical ancestral lineage was devotedly recited. The family tree extended upwards from Hadhrat Ali to Shree Rama and Shree Krishna and continued further to the very First Incarnation (Fish), of the famous "Ten Incarnations" (Das-Avataras) of the Lord Vishnu. Thus, the Aga Khan was worshipped as; a physical manifestation of the `Noor' (Light) of Allah, the Tenth and Final Avatara (`Naklank' or `Kalkin') of the Lord Vishnu and the direct descendant of prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) from Hadhrat Ali (a.s.)
The followers of Aga Khan also used to recite, on the night of the New Moon (Chandrat), as well as on various occasions, a very devotional `Hymn in Gujarati' (Ginan), entitled "Das-Avatar". It was believed that mere listening to this Ginan, at the end moment of an Ismaili, would assure him/her of `Mok'sh' (Salvation) and the `Noorani Deedar' (Spiritual glimpse) of Noor Mawlana Hazar Imam Shah Sultan Muhammad Shah-Aga Khan the third, in the hereafter. Today, the Du'a has been changed. Before the western media, the present Aga Khan vehemently denies "Divinity". The fact that the Du'a had to be changed, the "Divinity" had to be denied publicly, indicates the growing influence of the Islamic Shariyya Laws on the world stage. Yet, to say otherwise would not only go against all the Ismaili religious practices, but even expose the "religion" to the charge of hypocrisy. HOW COULD A GOD CEASE TO BE A GOD? The present Aga Khan has yet to throw out `Ginans' recited in the Jamatkhanas, which even today attributed "Absolute Divinity" to Ali and thereby to him. One such popular Ginan is entitled "Haq tu- Paktu".
The introduction of the innovated `Shahadah' in the Gujarati Du'a which declared "Ali, truly Allah", became the basis of a major division among the followers of Aga Khan. In 1901, a small group of reprimanded followers, who had been admonished by the Ithna'ashriyyaMullahs during their visitation of Karbala, approached the Aga Khan with a special request. These followers were advised by the Iraqi Mullahs that the worship of Ali or Aga Khan as an Incarnation, Manifestation and/or Associate of Allah (SWT) nullifies their prayers, voids their fasting, pilgrimages, zakah, etc., and the eternal hell would be their place of abodein the hereafter. The special request was to replace the enigmatic "Declaration of Faith" from the newly introduced Gujarati Du'a, with the one that declared Ali to be "the beloved of Allah" ("Ali-un-Wally-Allah"). Such a Declaration was professed by the rest of the Shiahs. The young Aga Khan was adamant and refused to amend or discard the "heretic" Declaration. He insisted, if the phrase that attributed "Divinity" to Ali (there by to himself, the 48th Ali) was to be discarded, then the entire Du'a should be throw out by his followers. The enlightened followers, having failed in their mission, decided to revert back to the original Ithna'ashriyya persuasion of their ancestors. A persuasion which was practised and professed by Aga Khan the first. The splinter group renounced the leadership of Aga Khan and established the Khojah Ithna'ashriyya Jama'at in Bombay. From there it spread to the rest of India and Africa. Due to this split many Khojah families in India and Africa were divided. They continue to remain so, until now. Today, Khojah Ismailis say; "Ithna'ashri Khojahs are the Dissidents." The Khojah Ithna'ashris say; "Ismaili Khojahs are the one who have abandoned the faith of their forefathers."
The frustrated Aga Khan made a religious pronouncement (Farman), ordering his followers to sever all social and religious contacts with these so called Dissidents. Any of his follower, taking part in the marriage, or mourning of a Dissident could be excommunicated by the Ismailia Council, under the Rule Number 142 of the `Ismailia Constitution', ordained by the Aga Khan. The hatred between the two groups took a violent turn. Aga Khan's Mukhi (Chief Priest) for Bombay - Hassan, was stabbed with a knife by anIthna'ashri named Killu. Earlier, some Ismaili fanatics had severely beaten Killu and made him temporarily invalid. Killu admitted to the killing and was sentenced to death by hanging. The court trials, as well as the subsequent funeral procession and burial of Killu, brought the Dissident Khojahs out in the open. In 1901, two Ismaili `Fida'is' (the terminology has its root in the `self sacrificing' Nizari Ismailis of the 12th century, known as the `Assassins of Alamut') attacked three Dissidents. Two Ithna'ashris died and one survived.
Aga Khan's deep rooted hatred for the faith of his parents and grand parents (Ithna'ashrism) is glaringly visible in the quoted `Farman' made by him from Zanzibar on July 13, 1899. "Within ten, twenty or thirty years, the Ithna'ashri religion will be worn out. After 100 years the Ithna'ashri religion will not exist at all. It will not exist in Iran either because that religion's base is not on Aq'l (the power of reasoning). Our religion's base is on Aq'l." (Translation is from the Book of Farmans in Gujarati).Note: In the next four years, it will be 100 years to the above Farman. Today, the trend among the enlightened Ismailis is to revert back to the ancestral Tariqah of their forefathers. The one that was practised before the arrival of the Aga Khans in India,which was the Sunni Tariqah of Islam.
Mohammed Ali Jinnah (1876-1948), the founder of Pakistan, was also by birth an Ismaili Khojah. He and the most of his family members joined the groups of the so called Dissident Khojah Ithna'ashris and remained so until their last days. Mr. Jinnah's closest associate and a prominent Pakistani industrialist, Mr. M.A.H. Isphani, wrote: "Qaid-e-Azam (Mohammed Ali Jinnah) told me that...when he was twenty-one, decided to quit the ranks of the Ismailis and join the Ithna Ashari fold. ...that he tried to persuade the Aga Khan himself to abandon his headship of Ismailis and to join the ranks of the Ithna Asharis, to which sect most of the members of the Aga Khan's own family belonged."Aga Khan becomes the Imaam of Muhammad Shahi Syrian Ismailis
Rashid al-Din Sinan was a personal friend and a chief Da'i of Hassan II. Hassan, the Grand Master of Persian Assassins, had fraudulently declared himself an Imaam. In 1166, Hassan was stabbed to death by his own brother-in-law for making the factitious claim. Hassan's son Muhammad II, developed enmity with the chief Da'i Sinan. Muhammad's attempt to kill Sinan failed. Sinan who had moved to Syria, now established his own domain and became the Grand Master and Imaam of the Syrian Assassins.
In 1256, almost all of the Persian Assassins were massacred by the Mongolian army. In 1273, the Syrian Assassins were also annihilated by the army of Mamluk Sultan Baybars. Thus, the Nizari Ismailis in Persia and Syria, who were better known as the heretic Assassins, lost their political power. "Ismailism stagnated as a minor heresy in Persia and Syria, with little or no political importance", writes Bernard Lewis in his book `Assassins'.
In the realm of religion, nearly two centuries after their political downfall, the community of Nizari Ismailis split into two branches. Those who chose to follow Muhammad Shah, the elder son of the late Imaam Mu'min Shah, became known as the "Muhammad Shahi Nizari Ismailis". The others who opted for the younger son named Qasim Shah were known as the "Qasim Shahi Nizari Ismailis". The Agakhans claim to be the descendants of Imaam Qasim Shah. After this major split, there came the period of hiding (Dawr-i-Satr) for the Nizari Imaams. The Ismaili historians say; the period of hiding lasted for nearly three centuries. The historians have practically no records of the descendants of Imaam Qasim Shah, from 1480 to 1722 A.D. The majority of Syrians who had become Muhammad Shahi Ismailis, also lost contact with their fortieth Imaam, Amir Muhammad al Baqir, who had been living in southern India. They were desperately looking for a successor.
In 1888, a delegation of Sheikhs, representing a small group of exploring Syrians called Hajjawis came to India. In Bombay they met the young Aga Khan. The desperate Sheikhs accepted the Imamate of Aga Khan, who was claiming to be a descendant of the rival branch. In the archives of the Ismailia Council in Salamiyya, Syria, there is a letter bearing the seal of Aga Khan, written in 1307 A.H. (1890 A.D.).
In 1895, Aga Khan commanded his newly converted Syrian followers to substitute the Islamic Salah with the Gujarati Du'a, which he had introduced to his followers in India and Africa. Dick Douwes and Norman N. Lewis write in `The Trial of Syrian Ismailis'; "Some of the main innovations concerned the `salat', or ritual prayer: the Isma'ilis were now bidden to meet for prayer only twice a day, around a table on which a portrait of the Imaam was placed and towards which the worshippers were to turn, instead of in the direction of Mecca. Many of the prayers were to be said in Urdu. Among the formulae to be pronounced were the words, "Ali Allah, sahi Allah" (`Ali is God, truly God)." (p.218). Nauzbillah!
The Aga Khan appointed two Sheikhs from his Syrian followers, as his accredited representatives to collect Zakat, Khums and other donations. In 1901, three Syrian Ismailis were arrested in Tripoli as they were leaving for Bombay. They were carrying letters and money collected by these Sheikhs for the Aga Khan. The Sheikhs were arrested from Salamiyya on the charges of illegal "money-laundering". These leaders were charged with murder, attempted murder, and the use of violence for collecting money for the Aga Khan, records Douwes and Lewis. In 1903, the prisoners were tried in Damascus. In 1905, the Court issued a verdict condemning all the accused to life imprisonment.
In 1919 and 1920, the Syrian Ismailis suffered another major setback. They were repeated raided by the bands of Nusseirys, led by Sheikh Saleh El-Ali. The heretics (Ismailis) were obliged to surrender all their possessions. Nusseirys killed the males. "The Ismaili women and children, left the town bared-foot, and semi-naked" records a Syrian Ismaili scholar, Moustapha Ghaleb in `The Ismailis of Syria."
Six years ago in 1989, United States Federal Agents arrested three groups of Agakhani Ismailis in Dallas, Seattle and New York on the charges of illegal money-laundering. A total of thirteen Ismailis, eleven men and two women were charged. Five pleaded guilty. The illegal money-laundering operation stretched from United States to London and Switzerland, as well as from United States to Canada, London and Belgium. This was the largest money-laundering operation ever uncovered in North Texas and one of the largest in USA.
Vincent Perini, a lawyer representing one of the Ismaili Mukhis (the chief representative of the community), who had illegally taken more than US$ 30 million in currency out of USA,between 1985 and 1987, said; the sect's members are required to give 12 percent to 25 percent of pre-tax income to the Aga Khan, a billionaire resident of Paris. "Traditionally, members of the community literally take the money in the form of cash to the Aga Khan, and traditionally there was secrecy involved," added Perini.Aga Khan's three Marriages and one Mut`ah
At young age, Aga Khan fell in love with his uncle's beautiful daughter, Shahzadi Begum. In 1896, the marriage between Shahzadi and Sultan (A.K.III) was celebrated with grandeur and splendour in Poona (India). Mihir Bose records in his much publicized book `The Aga Khans'; "The Aga was seeking to make his mark as an Anglicized Indian in Western society, and his wife, brought up in strict Jenana quarters could hardly follow there. As the Aga moved into the wide world, his wife languished in the closed world, full of `resentment and reproach'."
In 1908, Aga Khan who had left his beautiful wife back home, lost his heart to a pubescent teenage ballerina "Ginetta" (Miss Magliano), during his visit to France. In his `Memoirs' Aga Khan wrote: "I made the acquaintance of Mlle. There is a Magliano, one ofthe most promising young dancers of the Ballet Opera of Monte Carlo, a ballerina..." In his Will document, Aga Khan wrote: "In the year One thousand nine hundred and eight I was married to CLEOPE TERESA MAGLIANO according to the Muta form of marriage..."In `The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam' under the heading Mut`ah, one reads; "Mut`ah: A marriage stipulated to be temporary, sometimes called a `marriage of pleasure'."
Out of this union of a French Ballerina and a Persian Imam, two sons were born. Giussepe Mahdi Khan the eldest, died in 1911.Aly Salomone Khan who lived to be a legendary playboy, was the second. In the archives of the Turin town hall (Italy), there exists a record of the birth of Aly Salomone from the union of an unmarried 22 years old Teresa, with 34 years old His Highness the Aga Khan.
In 1903, Aga Khan sent Aly Khan to Syria to visit his followers with his special `Holy Farman'. The Farman pronounced; "We are sending our son to you. Consider his arrival as my arrival. We are appointing our Prince as our `Wali-ahad' meaning, the successor to our throne." Members of the Syrian Jama'at took Bay'ah (oath of allegiance) at the hand of their future Imaam and offered Nazrana (gifts). Almost every magazine and home of Ismailis in India and Africa had a photo of young Prince dressed in white Arab dress riding a white Arabian horse, taken during his visit to Syria, with captions "H.S.H. Prince Aly Khan Heir Apparent to Mowlana Hazar Imaam".
Within 50 years, the infallible Mowlana Hazar Imaam realized that his `Holy Farman' had to be recanted. The beloved "Wali-ahad" did not live a life expected of a future Imaam. In the June 1995 issue of an American magazine `Vanity Fair', there is a spellbinding twelve page article `The Goddess and the Playboy' describing the "relentless pursuit of speed, sport, and women" by Prince Aly Khan. Aga Khan by his Will document, without making amention of his earlier pronouncement, made Aly Khan's son Karim as his successor to the throne of Imamate.
This recantation surprised his followers all over the world.They began asking questions; Did the infallible Mowlana Hazar Imaam really erred? Can the 1400 years old Ismaili tradition and the Shiah Law "that the issue of a son is not an heir if there be a sonalive", be broken? According to the deep rooted Ismaili tradition and uncompromising conviction, Hazar Imaam's "Holy Farmans" are to be reckoned as the verses of the "Speaking Qur'an". At any given time and place they can supersede the verses of the so called "Silent or Book Qur'an". Based upon this conviction, the majority of the Agakhani Ismailis have done away with most essential basic Qur'anic Laws, such as; performing of greater or lesser ablutions before praying, facing towards qiblah while praying, takbir al-ihram, qiyam, ruku, salat al-jum'ah, physical fasting during the month of Ramadhan, hajj as well as the "Oneness" of Kalimah Shahadah.
Biographer Willie Frischauer records in his book `The Aga Khans'; "Bettina (one of Aly's several girl friends) wrote: `To Aly it seemed that his father's preference for his son was a kind of public humiliation for him...He was never quite the same from that day on." When Aly Khan declared that he too had taken the Bay'ah of his own son Karim as his "Hazar Imaam"; Karim became the spiritual father of his own father, according to the Ismaili tradition. In 1960, the mortified Aly Khan was killed in a tragic car crash. He suffered crushed chest, fractured skull, broken neck and legs in that fatal accident.
Aga Khan's third marriage in 1929 was with a French brunette, Andree Carron. Aga Khan's wealth and persuasion failed to convert this Roman Catholic girl to accept Islam. Out of this Muslim and Catholic union was born Aga Khan's third son Sadruddin Khan. In 1938, Aga Khan who was nearly 60, met a tall French beauty contestant named Yvette in Cairo. Six years later, Aga Khan divorced his third wife Andree and married Yvette Lebrusse - "Miss Lyon" 1930 and "Miss Universe" contestant 1931. Aga Khan converted his fourth wife to Islam and named her "Umme Habibah". She accompanied the weak and ailing Aga Khan at all social and religious gatherings.
In 1953, during his visit of Africa, there was "a subversive campaign among members of the sect calling for his and Aly's abdication from their spiritual leadership" records, `Vanity Fair' (June 1995). The campaign grew to such a proportion that at a special meeting of the Ismailia Council, held at the hotel suite of the Aga Khan, a decision was taken that "all members of the East African communities be requested to sign a declaration of loyaltyto the Aga Khan, or be excommunicated if they refused." This was too much of a shock for the old and weakened Aga Khan.
In 1954, Aga Khan was virtually crippled suffering from lumbago and sciatica. He could barely walk two yards, writes Mihir Bose. Three years later, the debilitated and ailing Aga Khan, who was now also suffering from a prolonged cancer, died. His grandson Karim became the 49th Hazar Imaam of the community and `Aga Khan the Fourth' to carry on the family tradition. A follower forgives sins of the deceased 48th Imam
On November 4, 1935, the High Court of Justice at Strand, London, pronounced a decree nisi dissolving the marriage between Thomas Guinness, a member of the British Parliament, and, his wife Honourable Joan Guinness. Joan later became the mother of Karim Aga Khan the fourth. The grounds mentioned in the divorce petition filed before the High Court were that "the Respondent (Honourable Joan) had frequently committed adultery with Prince Aly S. Khan (father of the unborn Karim) from the 17th day of April 1935 until the 20th day of April 1935 at Hotel Ritz, Place Vendome, Paris."Note: The words within the parentheses are mine. Aly Khan was declared a co-respondent and had to pay the costs.
Prince Aly eagerly waited for the High Court's decree nisi to be made absolute. On May 11, 1936 the decree became absolute and Joan, the daughter of a former ADC to the Viceroy of India and a mother of one male child, was free to remarry. Within eight days, on May 18, Aly and Joan got married in a Town Hall of Paris. The couple got remarried at the Paris Mosque. At the wedding an announcement was made that the couple would remarry in India. The idea of the third marriage ceremony, to be performed before the followers, had to be abandoned because the Honourable Joan, who was now Princess Joan, was already pregnant, records Mihir Bose.
In less than seven months of their marriage, Prince Joan gave birth to Karim. The historical records differ as to the place and date of Karim Aga Khan's birth. A history book published in 1960 by the Ismailia Association for India records Karim son of Aly S. Khanwas born in Paris. Biographer Willi Frischauer records, he was born in Geneva, Switzerland. Historian Mihir Bose records in his book 'The Aga Khans', Karim was born on 17th December 1936. Ismailis all over the world celebrate their Imam Karim Al-Husseini's birthday on December 13.
Karim, the "ultimate cosmopolite" was born in Europe, raised in Africa, educated in United States and presently resides in France and Switzerland. He is half English aristocrat through his mother, one-quarter Italian through his father's mother and one-quarter Iranian through his grandfather. On July 13, 1957, Karim the Harvard-educated bachelor, by-passed his father and became the 49th Mawlana Hazar Imaam of the Shiah Imami Ismailis and the fourth Aga Khan. The new Imaam took an oath of allegiance from each of his followers that were present in Geneva for the ceremony.The sprinkling of holy water upon the face of a dead Ismaili and forgiving of his/her sins is an important ritual called "Chhantas". The ceremony is usually carried out before the burial, by a religious leader (Mukhi) of the local Jamatkhana to which the individual belongs. When the deceased Aga Khan was alive he used to collect a small donation, sprinkle the holy water and forgive the sins of his spiritual followers. The present Aga Khan has carried on the family tradition. In Aswan (Egypt), one of the several "Mukhis" that were present for the burial of their late 48th Imaam performed the traditional ceremony. The Qur'an reveals; "...And who can forgive sins except Allah?" 3/135.Strange it may sound, when the old Aga Khan was suffering from cancer, his wife Begum Ummeh Habibah sent a message to Ismailis the world over, to pray every day in the Jamatkhanas for the recovery of their Imaam to whom they attributed "Divinity". When the body of the late Imaam was to be laid to rest, another message came asking Ismailis the world over, to assemble in their respective Jamatkhanas, precisely at the time when the body was to be lowered in the grave in Aswan, and pray for the departed soul.On December 13, 1986, Karim Aga Khan ordained a legally drafted Constitution from Geneva which gave him "inherent right and absolute and unfettered power and authority over and in respect of all religious and Jamati matters of the Ismaili Muslims." Furthermore, the Constitution also defines that Karim Aga Khan's "Farman" ("Any pronouncement, direction, order or ruling made or given by Mawlana Hazar Imaam") "shall prevail over this Constitution, and a later Farman shall prevail over the earlier."One has but to admit the fact that unlike the divided and disintegrated Islamic Ummah of our era, the Ismailia community which is duty bound by the Ismailia Constitution has apparently and perceivably remained united in spite of all the enigmas and allegations. But, on the other hand the comparison is between a tiny group of less than one and halfmillion Ismailis with the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of 1.2 billion Muslims that is spread from one end of the world to another. The media project figure of between 15 and 18 million followers of Karim Aga Khan is a `ten fold exaggeration' of the actual number. Karim Agakhan resolves: "Imaam is the mazhar (image/copy) of God"
During the World War II, the late Aga Khan who was living in Europe had sent his two grandsons - Karim and Amyn, to Kenya as a precautionary measure. When the war was over, the cautious Aga Khan would not let his grandsons travel together in the same airplane. In the event one was to meet an accident, the other could carry on the genealogical chain of the Ismaili Imaamate. At the age of seven, Prince Karim who feared darkness, lead the Eid Salat (ritual prayer) of the Jama'at in Nairobi, Kenya. It was a significant event for the followers. The vast majority of whom do not know how to recite the Islamic Salat. Agakhani Ismailis recite "Du'a" instead of the Islamic Salat, facing any direction, in their Jamatkhanas.After completing his studies in Europe, Karim joined Harvard University in the United States of America. Karim did not do very well in the subjects of Mathematics and Science so he switched to the Middle-Eastern History and Islamic Studies. Before he graduatedfrom Harvard in 1959, the young Prince Karim who had by then become the 49th Imaam of Ismailis and His Highness Aga Khan the fourth, gave a gift of $50,000 to the University. Harvard matched the student's generous contribution with an equal amount and established a scholarship program.Following the accession of Karim in 1957 as an Imaam of the atomic age, the troubles began to erupt in the community. In the parts of Punjab, Pakistan and almost all of Syria there was an internal revolt against the new Imaam. The followers refused to recognize the appointment of a grandson as their "Hazar Imaam", when a designated "Wali-ahad" (successor to the Imamate) and the eldest son of the late Imam was yet alive. These Syrian and Pakistani Ismailis recognized Prince Aly S. Khan (father of Karim) as their49th "Hazar Imaam". Seeing that the split may widen and ultimately divide the Agakhani Ismailis into two sects, Prince Aly decided to intervene on behalf of his son. Aly Khan went to Syria, met the leaders of the revolting Ismailis and declared that his father hadchosen his eldest son Karim as the next Imam. Aly Khan also made a similar declaration when he met the leaders of the revolting Pakistani Ismailis in Karachi. Prince Aly died in a car accident in France in 1960. He is remembered by many Ismailis for his generosity to accept the personal humiliation without a note of protest. Some of his contemporaries expressed; if Aly - who was married to the leading Hollywood actress Rita Hayworth, hadcurtailed his relationships with other glamorous girls and celebrities, namely Kim Novak, Gene Tierney, Juliette Greco and Lise Bourdin Bettina, he would not have lost the throne of Imamate to his son.In 1953, the late Aga Khan had appointed one of his distant cousin Amir Khalili as his new Wazir (Chief Minister) for Iran. Four years later, when Karim acceded to the throne of Imamate, Wazir Khalili began pronouncing orders which instructed the followers to revert back to Ithna'ashriyya persuasion - the faith of their ancestors and the one that was devotionally practised by Aga Khan the first and his ancestors. Historian Farhad Daftary,also a distant relative of the Aga Khan, writes in his book `The Ismailis, their history and doctrines'; "During the 1960s, several clashes occurred between Agha Khan IV and Shah Khalili. Agha Khan IV finally decided to remove Shah Khalili... He sent two trusted Khoja Nizaris to Persia with a `firman' dismissing Shah Khalili and ordering his followers to stoppaying their tithes until further notice." Today, no one knows how many Ismailis are left in Iran and out of these how many follow the leadership of Karim Aga Khan.In the early 1970s, the issue of fundamental beliefs of the Ismailis became a cause of animosity between the community leaders from the Islamic States and the non-Islamic States. The subject at heart was the "Divinity" of Hazar Imaam. The former group preferred a more subtle approach that could be harmonized with the Islamic beliefs. The later wanted to carry on with the traditional concept of "Aly, sahi (truly) Allah". When the Hazar Imaam's highest ranking international leader - the late Sir Eboo Pirbhai of Kenya, failed to resolve the issue from his headquarters in Nairobi, an international conference of the world Ismaili leaders and high ranking Ismaili scholars was called in Paris. Karim Aga Khan chaired the renowned International Conference held in March 1975. The report of the Resolutions passed at the Paris Conference, under the chairmanship of Karim Aga Khan the 49th Hazar Imam, was published by the Ismailia Association Central Co-ordination Office at Nairobi in May 1975. The concepts of Prophethood and the Imamate resolved were as under:The concepts of Nabuwah and Imamah:
"These concepts to be explained and understood in the general perspective of God's communication to man. The Imaam to be explained as the `mazhar' of God, related to varying levels of inspiration and communication from God to man."Note: The Arabic word `mazar' means image; copy. Karim Aga Khan thus became an image/copy of God by the above resolution.The delegates from the Islamic States were disappointed. The concept if made public, was not easy to defend if declared "heretic" by the Grand Mufti of Pakistan or the religous head of an Islamic State. "Creditors Chip Away At Aga Khan's Lustre" New York Times.
It is reported that Karim Aga Khan had been articulating; the worst thing that could happen to an individual was to be got trapped in an unhappy marriage. Well it so happened, in October 1969, the articulator who was then thirty-two, got himself trapped.Karim married Sally Frances Croker Poole, an English divorcee. Sally once modeled coats under the slogan `to catch a sheik', records Mihir Bose. The marriage ceremony was performed according to the French Civil Law in a town hall in Paris. Karim changed thename of his bride Sally to Salimah. Thereafter, the duo visited the followers around the world, who were overjoyed to greet the married couple. Since Karim's grandmother was an Italian, his mother and wife British, one can say that the ancestry of the Ismaili Imaams which originated from Arabia and had relocated in Persia during the post Fatimid period, was now being established in Europe via BritishIndia. During his trip of British East Africa, in one of his religious pronouncements ("Farmans"), the 48th Ismaili Imaam while talking of the straight path ("Siratul Mustaqeem"), advised his followers not to "walk" upon the "talks" of Arabs and Moguls(Persian), who happened to be his progenitors. The reason put forward by the anglicised Imaam was; "Arabs are like donkeys" and "Moguls seek alms in every country", what will they teach you? Aga Khan's followers in British East Africa, whose ancestral roots werein India, became anglicized and proudly adopted the English names for their children, such as, John, Jimmy, Tommy, Sam and Mac. However, their family names remained unchanged. They are mostly derived from the names of Hindu idols, such as, Ramji, Kanji, Samji, Govindji and Shivji. Even today we find the same trend among the followers of Aga Khan.Begum Salimah became a mother to Princess Zahra in 1970; Prince Rahim in 1971 and Prince Hussein in 1974. It is not easy to guess the current financial standing of Karim. By one estimate, during his peak financial period, he was worth 1.5 billion dollars. Aga Khan receives, besides the returns from his personal investments, 12.5 to 25 percent of the gross income of his spiritual followers and other religious contributions that run in millions. Almost all of these collections and contributions are in cash (no receipts issued). Recently, there have been suggestions from the grass root levels that the community could save millions in tax refunds from their respective governments if proper receiptswere to be issued. Furthermore, the Jamaat may not have to face the embarrassment of illegal "money-laundering" as in the recent past. In 1990, a few Ismailis were convicted for running one of the largest illegal money-laundering operation in the Unites States, for the cash collections made in the Jamatkhanas. In 1988, Karim Aga Khan threw a lavish party to celebrate the 18th birthday of his daughter Princess Zahra, in his chateau near Paris. `Daily Express' of London reported that over 800 guests assembled to dine on caviare and smoked salmon, drink vintage champagne and dance to Lester Lanin's band specially flown in from America. The fire display alone was estimated to have cost pounds sterling 200,000. Five years later, Karim Aga Khan was caught in the global recession for making a series of bad decisions concerning his major business investments. His Italian holding company Fimbar was in deep financial trouble. Aga Khan had to give up the control of a chain of nearly 36 most glamorous hotels in six countries. The holding company and the CIGA chain of Hotels, which was running in deep red for the last number of years, owed nearly half a billion pounds to various international banks. When they failed to pay the interest on the loan, the creditors moved-in in May 1993 to seize the assets. That was no ordinary setback and public humiliation for the Aga Khan who was at one time dubbed "King of tourism" by the `Economist'. The `New York Times' reporting the creditors action wrote; "Creditors Chip Away At Aga Khan's Lustre".Karim Aga Khan has received several honours from many world governments and universities. The latest one of this decade was the Commadeur Legion d'Honneur, France, for services to humanity in the third world by the network of his international institutions and foundations. One of the major projects undertaken is The Aga Khan University and Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. The Aga Khan Foundation and the network of his institutions do receive very huge contributions (in millions of dollars) from various Governments, international Consortiums, major Corporations and individual philanthropists (Ismailis and non-Ismailis), especially from Europe, North America and Pakistan.Karim Aga Khan, the recipient of the Jefferson Foundation Medal, is a frequent visitor to the White House since the Kennedy era. In 1985, president Regan and the first Lady Nancy Regan stayed at the Aga Khan's villa in Geneva during the historical summitmeeting with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. One wonders why a religious leader of the Muslim community, having such close relationships with the world's greatest power broker the U.S.A., has remained noticeably silent on the issues such as the invasionof Afghanistan, Arab-Israel conflict, Gulf War and the ceaseless embargo upon Iraq, crisis in Somalia, Kashmiris struggle, Algerian election, Serbian atrocities and the continuing sufferings of Bosnian and Chechen Muslims. In the past a request was made to Karim Aga Khan by a source from Pakistan to financially assist the Muslim countries in the purchase of military hardware. There is no evidence of the request being acceded to. A documentary made and shown on the British TV, during the Afghan-Soviet war, showed that the followers of Aga Khan were proud to parade before the camera crew the Soviet Tanks and armaments that the Soviet army had left with them. The leader of the Afghani Agakhanis, Syed Jafferi - a hereditary chief Mukhi of the Imaam who had lived in the United States for sometime, bragged that the members of his Jamaat had repeatedly attacked, killed and captured the Muslim Mujaideens that were passing through their valley - a strategic mountain pass - to fight the Soviet army. When the documentary was shown to the leaders of the Mujaideens in Pakistan, he mentioned before the local media that once the Mujaideens have settled their scores with the Soviets they will take care of Syed Jafferi and his fellow tribesman. In the meanwhile, Karim Aga Khan and his followers are trying to relocate these Afghani Ismailis in Canada with the financial assistance of the Canadian Government and the Jamaat in North America.

Islam And Fundamental Rights in Pakistan

Islam and Fundamental Rights in Pakistan
The case of Zaheer-ud-din v. The State and its impact on the fundamental right to freedom of religion
by Martin Lau
I. Introduction
The decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the case of Zaheer-ud-din v. The State 1993 SCMR 1718 can be regarded as the the most important judgement of a Pakistani court on the fundamental right to freedom of religion since Pakistan came into being in 1947. The case contains ground-breaking judicial pronouncements on the scope of the fundamental right to freedom of religion in an Islamic state and discusses in extenso the legal definition of religion: it is for this reason that this decision is of interest to anybody concerned with the development of modern Islamic law.
The case concerned inter alia the constitutional validity of the Anti-Islamic Activities of the Quadiani Group, Lahori Group and Ahmadis (Prohibition and Punishment) Ordinance, 1984, which added the new sections 298B and 298C to the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, and amended section 99A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 and section 24 of the West Pakistan Press and Publications Ordinance, 1963. The constitutional vires of the Ordinance, which was promulgated in the last year of President Zia-ul-Haq's martial law regime, were challenged by a number of Ahmadis, who had been charged with criminal offenses under the provisions of the Ordinance. In their appeal against the convictions it was argued that the Ordinance was violative of the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right to freedom of religion as provided in Article 20 of the Constitution of Pakistan. Article 20 states that
Subject to law, public order and morality-
(a) every citizen shall have the right to profess, practise and propagate his religion; and
(b) every religious denomination and every sect thereof shall have the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has the power to strike down any law which is violative of any of the fundamental rights contained in Part II, Chapter 1 of the Constitution of Pakistan.
The Ordinance has to be seen in the light of a legal development, which began in 1974, when the Government of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Bhutto declared all members of the Ahmadiyya community to be non-Muslims. Up to then the Pakistani state had regarded Ahmadis as a religious minority within Islam. Members of the community were therefore governed by Muslim personal law in the area of family law. They were furthermore allowed to contest elections as Muslims and were able to assume public offices reserved for Muslims. In short, their legal status was not any different from any of the other Muslim communities in Pakistan, like for instance the majority Sunni sect or the minority Shia sect. Attempts to declare Ahmadis to be non-Muslims had up to 1974 been firmly rejected by both the respective Governments and Pakistan's higher judiciary.
The spirited defence of the Ahmadiyya community is well illustrated in the case of Abdul Karim Shorish Kashmiri v. The State of West Pakistan PLD 1969 Lahore 289 where it was held that Ahmadis as citizens of Pakistan were guaranteed by the Constitution the same freedom to profess and proclaim their religion as any other citizen of Pakistan and that Ahmadis are within the fold of Islam. The Court furthermore held the legal process as being incapable of determining who is a Muslim holding that there is an "absence of any legal right [...] to have this abstract question determined by any right legal process , unless it is somehow linked with any right to property or right to an office [...] [at p. 307]." The Court asserted that the true Islamic precepts and injunctions of Islam as manifested in the Holy Quran guarantee freedom of religion in clear mandatory terms and concluded that the persecutions of Ahmadis "are sad instances of religious persecution against which human conscience must revolt, if any decency is left in human affairs" [at p. 308].
The change of the legal status of Ahmadis from Muslims to a non-Islamic religious minority was achieved by an amendment to Article 260 of the Constitution, which defines terms used in the Constitution. The Constitution (Second Amendment) Act, 1974 added to these definitions a new clause 3 which provided that:
A person who does not believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) the last of the Prophets or who claims to be a Prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after Muhammad (Peace be upon him), or recognises such claimant as a prophet or a religious reformer, is not a Muslim for the purposes of the Constitution or the law.
The new clause was clearly aimed at Ahmadis, since it was alleged that Ahmadis regard Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of their religious movement, as a Prophet. The legal effect of the re-definition of Ahmadis as non-Muslims, was, however, limited. They were barred from contesting general elections as Muslim candidates or voters and were given special minority representation in Parliament along with Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and other non-Muslim communities but attempts to prevent Ahmadis from describing themselves as Muslims under Pakistan's civil law failed. In Abdur Rahman Mobashir v. Amir Ali Shah PLD 1978 Lahore 113 the High Court of Lahore decided that no permanent injunction could be granted to bar Ahmadis from continuing to perform religious practices associated, as it was alleged by the petitioners, exclusively with Islam as defined by the majority Sunni community. The Court held that civil law could only be used to protect rights of a legal character and explained that religious practices or religious terms could never constitute a proprietary right stating that 'a suit regarding such matter is only competent if it involves dispute about right to property or office'[at p. 143]. The Lahore High Court furthermore held that religious terms do not fall within the domain of intellectual property law either, holding that: "Rights in trademarks or copyrights are matters which are the concern of the statutory law. There is no positive law investing the plaintiffs with any such right to debar the defendants [i.e. the Ahmdaiyya community] from freedom of conscience, worship, or from calling their places of worship by any name they like"[at p. 139].
The Court further held that neither public nuisance law nor any direct application of Islamic law based on the equitable jurisdiction of "equity, justice and good conscience" could be used so as to prevent Ahmadis from calling themselves Muslims. A further constitutional amendment, carried out under the provisions of the Constitution (Third Amendment) Order, 1983, clarified the definition of non-Muslims as contained in Article 260 by inter alia adding a new sub-clause (b) which states that "'non-Muslim' means a person who is not a Muslim and in includes a person belonging to the Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist or Parsi community, a person of the Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves 'Ahmadis' or by any other name), or a Bahai, and a person belonging to any of the scheduled castes."
The difficulties in using the ordinary civil law to curb the religious practices of the Ahmadiyya community was overcome by resorting to the area of criminal law: for Ahmadis to call themselves Muslims was now elevated to a criminal offence. The Ordinance XX of 1984 provides that:
298B. Misuses of epithets, descriptions and titles, etc., reserved for certain holy personages or places. (1) Any person of the Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves 'Ahmadis' or by any other name) who by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, –
(a) refers to, or addresses, any person, other then a Caliph or companion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as 'Ameer-ul-Mumineen', 'Khalifa-tul-Mumineen', 'Khalifa-tul-Muslimeen, 'Sahabii' or 'Razi Allah Anho';
(b) refers to, or adresses, any person, other than a wife of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as 'Ummul-Mumineen';
(c) refers to, or adresses, any person, other than a member of the family (Ahle-bait) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as Ahle-bait; or
(d) refers to, or names, or calls, his place of worship as 'Masjid'; shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.
(2) Any person of the Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves 'Ahmadis' or by any other name) who by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, refers to the mode or form of call to prayers followed by his faith as 'Azan', or recites 'Azan' as used by the Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
298C. Person of Quadiani group, etc., calling himself a Muslim or preaching or propagating his faith.– Any person of the Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves 'Ahmadis' or by any other name), who, directly or indirectly, poses himself as a Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
Legal representatives of the Ahmadiyya community initially tried to challenge the validity of the Ordinance before the Federal Shariat Court. This Court has the power to invalidate certain laws, including criminal laws, if they are in the opinion of the court repugnant to the injunctions of Islam. In the case of Mujibur Rehman v. The Federal Government of Pakistan PLD 1985 FSC 8 the Federal Shariat Court upheld the validity of the Ordinance arguing that Ahmadis were not Muslims according to the tenets of Islam and that therefore any restrictions imposed on the Ahmadis's claim to be Muslims would not be repugnant to Islam as laid down in Quran and Sunnah.
The constitutional challenge of the Ordinance before the Supreme Court was therefore the last resort for the Ahmadiyya community to regain their right to freely practice their religion. It should be noted that Ordinance XX of 1984 has been vigorously enforced in Pakistan: Up to 1992 a total of 1790 criminal cases had been filed under the Ordinance XX of 1984 and were pending before the courts.
II. The Decision in Zaheer-ud-din v. The State
The Supreme Court of Pakistan in Zaheer-ud-din v. The State rejected by a majority decision of four to one the contention that the Ordinance XX of 1984 was violative of any of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
i. The Minority Judgement
The minority judgement delivered by Shafiur Rahman held that the restrictions imposed on the Ahmadiyya community on the use of the terms 'Azan', meaning the call for prayer, and 'Masjid', the Urdu term used to denote a place of worship, were unconstitutional since they formed part of the Ahmadi religion having been used by them for a long time:
Historically this [i.e. the naming of the place of worship by the Ahmadis as 'Masjid' and calling of 'Azan'] has been shown in the Lahore High Court case [PLD 1978 Lahore 113, quoted above] to be a tenet or a practice of Ahmadis or Quadianis not of recent origin or device and adopted not with a view to annoy or outrage the feelings and sentiments of non-Ahmadis and non-Quadianis. Being an essential element of their faith and not being offensive per se prohibition on the use of these by them and making it an offence punishable with imprisonment and fine violates the Fundamental Right of religious freedom of professing, practising and propagating and of [the] Fundamental Right of equality inasmuch as only Quadianis or Ahmadis are prevented from doing so and not other religious minorities[at p. 1747].
Furthermore, he held that the restriction on the Ahmadi's right to propagate or to preach their religion, contained in section 298C of the Pakistan Penal Code as amended by the Ordinance, to be violative of the fundamental right to freedom of religion. Shafiur Rahman concluded his argument by asserting that the wearing of badges by members of the Ahmadiyya community carrying religious messages pertaining to Islam would not constitute a criminal offence since "for ascertaining its peculiar meaning and effect one has to reach the inner recesses of the mind of the man wearing or using it and to his belief for making it an offence." This would be beyond the scope of the law and "in any case it will infringe directly the religious freedom guaranteed and enjoyed by the citizens under the Constitution, where mere belief unattended by objectionable conduct cannot be objected to" [at p. 1749].
ii. The Majority Judgement
The majority judgement, delivered by Abdul Quadeer Chaudhary did not follow Shafiur Rahman's liberal approach and dismissed the appeals. The decision, discussed in more detail below, was based on the following arguments:
1. Certain religious terms are peculiar to Islam. In analogy with the law on trademarks and copyrights these terms can be protected by the state from being used by other religious communities.
2. An Islamic state is under an obligation to protect Islam. In order to do this, it can prevent religious communities from claiming to be Muslims. It follows that Ahmadis are only allowed to use religious symbols and terms which are not already being used in connection with Islam.
3. The right of freedom of religion extends only to the integral and essential parts of a religion. It is up to the Courts to determine the nature of these integral and essential elements of a religion. However, even these essential elements, which are protected by constitutionnally guaranteed right to freedom of religion can be restricted if their exercise leads to law and order problems.
4. The fundamental right to freedom of religion together with all other fundamental rights is subject to the limits imposed by Islamic law since Islamic is the positive law of the land.
a. Islam and Intellectual Property Rights
Chaudhary's judgment is firmly based on the argument that religious terms can be protected by law from being used by those who are not members of the religion who has an exclusive right to their use. With reference to the terms mentioned in section 298 B of the Ordinance XX of 1984 he holds that
It will be appreciated that some of the epithets, descriptions and titles etc., as given in section 298-B have been used by the Qur'an for specific personages (See 33: 32, 33: 54 and 9: 100) while others undoubtedly and rather admittedly are being used by the Muslims, for those mentioned there, exclusively, for the last about 1400 years. These epithets carry special meaning, are part of the Muslim belief and used for reverence. Any person using them for others, in the same manner, may be conveying impression to others that they are concerned with Islam when the fact may be otherwise. [at p. 1751]
Having established that the terms listed in the Ordinance XX of 1984 are peculiar to Islam Chaudhary argues that legal protection of the use of names or terms is an established feature of English, Indian and Pakistani law. In a list of examples Chaudhary quotes inter alia Indian commercial law stating that:
'Section 20 of the Indian Company Law also lays down that no company shall be registered by a name which, in the opinion of the Central Government is undesirable and that a name which is identical with, or too nearly resembles, the name by which a company in existence has been previously registered, will be deemed to be undesirable by the Indian Government. The Indian Constitution has similar Fundamental Rights as ours but we have not seen a single decision of any Court there, declaring the restriction violative of these rights.' [at p.1752]
He continues this line of argument by proceeding to examine the law on trademarks in India and Pakistan arguing that:
'It is thus clear that intentionally using trade names, trade marks, property marks or descriptions of others in order to make believe others that they belong to the user thereof amounts to an offence and not only the perpetrator can be imprisoned and fined but damages can be recovered and injunction to restrain him issued. This is true of goods of even very small value. For example, the Coca Cola Company will not permit anyone to sell, even a few ounces of his own product in his own bottles or other receptacles, marked Coca Cola, [...].Further, it is a criminal offence carrying sentences of imprisonment and also fine. The principles involved are: do not deceive and do not violate the property rights of others. [at p. 1754]
Chaudhary then extends his findings to the protection of Islamic religious terms in an Islamic state holding that:
It must be appreciated that in this part of the world, faith is still the most precious thing to a Muslim believer, and he will not tolerate a Government which is not prepared to save him of such deceptions or forgeries.[...] If a religious community insists on deception as its fundamental right and wants assistance of Courts doing the same, then God help it. [at p. 1754]
The only way for Ahmadis to exercise their right to freedom of religion is by using a new, distinctive set of terms since
Do they not realise that relying on the 'Shaairs' [i.e. distinctive characteristics of Islam] and other exclusive signs, marks and practices of other religions will betray the hollowness of their own religion? It may mean in that event that their religion cannot progress on its own strength, worth and merit but has to rely on deception. [...] It must, however, be mentioned here that there is no law in Pakistan which forbids Ahmadis to coin their own epithets etc. and use them exclusively and there is no other restriction of any sort, whatever, against their religion.[at p. 1754]
b. The Definition of Religion
The obvious difficulty of squaring the demand that Ahmadis should be forced to coin their own terms for their religion with their constitutional right to freedom of religion is met by Chaudhury with two arguments. Firstly, courts are allowed to determine what constitutes a particular religion. He arrives at this conclusion by analyzing two leading Indian decisions on freedom of religion, Commissioner H.R.E Air 1954 SC 282 and Durgah Committee AIR 1961 SC 1402, which establish the principle that
[..]though religious practices are protected by the term 'freedom of religion' yet only such practices are so covered as are integral and essential part of the religion. [...] it is for the Courts to determine whether a particular practice constitutes [an] essential part of the religion or not. [at p. 1762]
Secondly, he states that the right to freedom of religion can be restricted not only in the interest of the maintenance of law and order but also by the limits on the scope of all constitutionnally guaranteed fundamental rights imposed by the positive law of the land, i.e. Islamic law.
c. The Restriction of Religious Freedom or: The Protection of Islam
The essential parts of a religion are, however, not protected as absolute rights under the fundamental right to freedom of religion. The State is allowed to interfere even with these 'essential' parts of a religion if they are liable to disturb law and order. Applied to the Ahmadiyya community this argument leads Chaudhary to assert that, firstly, the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent regard the movement as "a serious and organised attack on its ideological frontiers", a "permanent threat to their integrity and solidarity", and "a threat to the integrity of 'Ummah' and tranquillity of the nation", which "is also bound to give rise to a serious law and order situation". [at p. 1765]. Secondly, Chaudhary holds that Ahmadis have always claimed to be the only true Muslims, which leads him to conclude that:
It is thus clear that according to the Ahmadis themselves, both the sections, i.e. Ahmadis and the main body cannot be Muslims at the same time. If one is Muslim, the other is not. [...] However, being an insignificant minority [they] could not impose their will. On the other hand, the main body of Muslims, who had been waging a campaign against their (Ahmadis') religion, since its inception, made a decision in 1974, and declared them instead, a non-Muslim minority, under the Constitution itself. As seen above, it was not something sudden, new and undesirable but one of their own choice; only the sides were changed. The Ahmadis are, therefore, non-Muslims; legally and constitutionally and are, of their own choice, a minority opposed to Muslims. Consequently, they have no right to use the epithets etc, and the Shaa'ire Islam, which are exclusive to Muslims and they have been rightly denied their use by law. [at p. 1768]
The next point tackled by Chaudhury concerns the right to excommunicate members of a religious community. Again, he refers to Indian case-law to prove that religious communities are allowed to expel members, quoting the Indian case Sardar Syedna AIR 1962 SC 853, in which the Supreme Court of India had upheld the right of the head of the Bohra community, a Muslim community based in Gujarat, to excommunicate members. In applying this principle to the present case Chaudhary notes that:
[...] the Ahmadis always wanted to be a separate entity, of their own choice, religiously and socially. Normally, they should have been pleased on achieving their objective, particularly, when it was secured for them by the Constitution itself. Their disappointment is that they wanted to oust the rest of the Muslims as infidels and retain the tag of Muslims. [...] The reason of their frustration and dismay may be that now, probably, they cannot operate successfully, their scheme of conversion, of the unwary and non-Muslims, to their faith. May be, it is for this reason that they want to usurp the Muslim epithets, descriptions etc., and display 'Kalima' and say 'Azan' so as to pose as Muslims and preach and propagate in the garb of Muslims with attractive tenets of Islam. [at p. 1769]
In the last part of his judgment Chaudhury concludes this argument by holding that, firstly, Muslims cannot be blamed for loosing "control of himself on hearing, reading, or seeing such blasphemous material as has been produced by Mirza Sahib [the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement]." [at p. 1777] In such a scenario the state is obliged to take actions against the Ahmadiyya community since "'if an Ahmadi is allowed by the administration or the law to display or chant in public, the Shaair-e-Islam, it is like creating a Rushdi out of him. Again, if this permission is given to a procession or assembly on the streets or a public place, it is like permitting civil war." [at p. 1777]
d. The Impact of Islamic Law on the Scope of Fundamental Rights in Pakistan
The state's obligation to protect is Islam is furthermore supported by the Constitution and the legal system of Pakistan. Chaudhary arrives at this conclusion by offering a new interpretation of the position of Islamic law in Pakistan. Earlier Supreme Court decisions, especially the case of Hakim Khan v. Government of Pakistan PLD 1992 SC 595, had rejected the claim that Islamic law can be directly applied by courts as a source of law or as benchmark for the judicial review of legislation by arguing that only laws enacted in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution constitute valid law. The Islamization of the legal system was, according to Hakim Khan, to be carried out by the elected representatives of the people and not by the High Courts or the Supreme Court. Courts are therefore barred from directly applying Islamic law so as to strike down laws which might be repugnant to Islamic law. Zaheer-ud-din constitutes a departure from this principle since Chaudhury holds that the "Constitution has adopted the Injunctions of Islam as contained in Qur'an and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet as the real and the effective law. In that view of the matter, the Injunctions of Islam as contained in Qur'an and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet are now the positive law." [at p. 1774] This principle applied to the interpretation of the right of freedom of religion leads according to the Chaudhary to a situation where "Therefore, every man-made law must now conform to the Injunctions of Islam as contained in Qur'an and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet p.b.u.h.). Therefore, even the Fundamental Rights as given in the Constitution must not violate the norms of Islam. [...] Anything, in any fundamental right, which violates the Injunctions of Islam thus must be repugnant." [at p. 1775]
Zaheer-ud-din v. The State is a problematic decision. Not only does it confirm the legality of the continued persecution of members of the Ahmadiyya community, which is in itself a worrying prospect, but it also attempts to establish a new interpretation of the scope and the limits of fundamental rights in Pakistan. This restrictive interpretation of fundamental rights stands in stark contrast with the recent development of Public Interest Litigation in Pakistan, which is based on the argument that Islamic law can be used to add new rights to the list of fundamental rights contained in the Constitution rather than to limit them.
The assertion that religious term stand on the same footing as proprietary rights to the use of terms in commercial transactions constitutes a radical departure from established Pakistani law and creates a number of difficulties. Who is to determine which terms are the exclusive property of which religious community? The Supreme Court leaves this question open but indicates that in an Islamic state like Pakistan the state and the courts as the guardians of Islam are under an obligation to take measurers to prevent Islam from being 'usurped' by imposters. The actual mechanism of the registration of copyrights to religious terminology are, however, not discussed. In such a scenario the state and the courts are reduced to the guardians of just one religion, i.e. the state religion, namely Islam. The Supreme Court's re-definition of the role of Islamic law in Pakistan's legal system is also unprecedented: Islamic law is regarded as the positive law of the land, capable of restricting all fundamental rights, and binding on both the courts and the legislator. Consistently applied, such a principle would make the continued existence of statute law superfluous since judges could apply Islamic directly without any reference to other sources of law. Finally, the tenor of the decision deserves comment. The Supreme Court's choice of words, like for instance its comparison of Ahmadis with Salman Rushdi, constitutes an new element in the legal development of Pakistan and begs a troubling question: could it be that religious sentiments rather than sound legal logic constitute the underlying ratio decidendi of the decsion?