My grandmother passed away 23 days ago, at the age of 84, and left behind a handful of stories which will continue to shape my life forever.
My grandfather taught my grandmother our Dua, the set of prescribed prayers for Ismaili Muslims all around the world, in 1957 when Prince Karim Aga Khan became our 49th Imam.
Four years later, my grandmother was widowed at the age of 28, and left to raise 6 children on her own in a studio apartment in Karachi, Pakistan. She worked as a maid in 10 homes, earning a total of 20 rupees a month, with no days off.
Many people observed her difficult situation and offered financial support for a price: renouncing her faith and severing ties with the Ismaili community.
Her conviction was clear: “My faith is not for sale.”
She brought home other peopleʼs leftovers to feed her children and dressed them in used clothing, but never compromised her faith.
This is the narrative of our family: we face challenges head-on, we donʼt lose hope, and we never give up.
But where did she find her courage to persevere and the will to carry on? How did she not lose hope?
There was only one guiding light in her life: the Imam of the Time. And today, weʼre celebrating 60 years of his guidance.
For me, this is also celebration of my grandparentsʼ steadfast faith, and particularly my grandmotherʼs dedication to it – for as far back as I can remember, she woke up every morning at 4am to meditate for an entire hour.
This is greatest gift she could have passed down to our family. Through a few minutes of daily meditation, Iʼm able to connect with the source of true strength, even during the darkest moments in my life.
My grandmother will be dearly missed during this Jubilee. This is the first time we wonʼt have her as the “designated meeting spot” for my huge family in Chicago, looking after our shoes, jackets, purses, kids, etc.
This is also the first time that all of us will not be gathering in one city – my brother is in Seattle, my parents and family in Chicago, and I’m in London – truly becoming a family of global citizens and weaving together stories from all over the world. #onejamat #soblessed