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Syrian Jamat prepares to welcome Mawlana Hazar Imam on his Golden Jubilee visit
Ebaa Mustafa Alkhateeb
Yamen Mahmoud Farha
Faisal Al-Jarf
24 August 2008
  • Ass'en Street in Salamieh decorated in green, red and golden colours to welcome Mawlana Hazar Imam. Photo: Yamen Mahmoud Farha
    Ass'en Street in Salamieh decorated in green, red and golden colours to welcome Mawlana Hazar Imam. Yamen Mahmoud Farha

    On 24 August 2008, Mawlana Hazar Imam will arrive in Syria, and during his time here, he will meet with President Bashar Al-Assad, various government officials, as well as faith and civil society leaders. Hazar Imam will also grant Golden Jubilee Darbars in Salamieh and Al-Khawabi. It has been nearly seven years since Mawlana Hazar Imam last visited the Syrian Jamat. The enthusiasm and excitement are building as the Jamat looks forward to the upcoming Darbars.

    In anticipation of Mawlana Hazar Imam's visit, residents of Salamieh, both from the Jamat and others, have decorated the town for this happy occasion. In the local Ismaili Council hall, traditional folk dances, parties and weddings are also taking place as part of the celebrations. One of the highlights included the presentation of Sada Alrooh (Soul's Echo) performed by Hala, an ensemble of local young students, at the National Council's open air theatre. The performance conveyed messages of a common humanity and peace, deepening the sentiment behind the celebrations.

    The Hala ensemble in cooperation with the Ismaili Council for Syria present “Sada Alrooh” at the occasion of Mawlana Hazar Imam's Golden Jubilee. Photo: Yamen Mahmoud Farha
    The Hala ensemble in cooperation with the Ismaili Council for Syria present “Sada Alrooh” at the occasion of Mawlana Hazar Imam's Golden Jubilee. Yamen Mahmoud Farha

    Over 100 000 people are expected to attend the Darbar in Salamieh, including Jamati members from around the world. The local Jamat is looking forward to hosting them. Esmaeel Al Yazaji, the head of the local communications committee, noted that some 5 000 volunteers are working on various committees to help with a wide range of tasks before, during and after the visit.

    In Damascus, the Youth and Sports portfolio organised a series of workshops to prepare the youth for the visit. At the culmination of the last workshop, the participants sat around the edge of a large room at the local Council office. Each participant then made a special Golden Jubilee wish or prayer for the Imam, the Jamat and the world at large. Upon expressing their wish, each lit a candle from the flame from the previous person's candle, symbolically expressing the notion of unity through one light.

    Youth in Damascus offer Golden Jubilee wishes as they light candles and place them in a formation that spells “Golden Jubilee” in Arabic. Photo: Courtesy of Ismaili Council for Syria
    Youth in Damascus offer Golden Jubilee wishes as they light candles and place them in a formation that spells “Golden Jubilee” in Arabic. Courtesy of Ismaili Council for Syria

    Once everybody had spoken and the candles were lit, the group sang Arabic qasidas (devotional poetry) while each participant, in turn, placed their candle on a table in the centre of the room in a formation that spelt “Golden Jubilee” in Arabic. An emotional scene followed as the participants embraced one another and bid farewell, knowing that the next time they would meet would be in Salamieh for the highly anticipated Golden Jubilee Darbar.