Introduction: The birthday anniversary of Hazrat Imam Ali (a.s.) is commemorated on the 13th Rajab. This festival is celebrated by the Shi’te communities and is observed as an occasion to reflect upon the life and teachings of their first Imam. According to the Shi’a doctrine and tradition, Hazrat Ali was the foundation (asas) of the institution of Imamah. His designation (nass) by the Prophet upon the Command of Allah (al-amr), to guide the believers after the termination of the institution of Nabuwah is central to the Shi’a theology. The Imam’s function is to continue the teaching (ta’lim) and interpretation (ta’wil) of Allah’s Final Message after the demise of the Prophet.
Today, the Shi’a Ismaili Muslims, in addition to the celebration of Yaum e-Ali, commemorate the birthday anniversary (Salgirah) of their present living Imam (Mawlana Hazar Imam), His Highness the Aga Khan, who is the direct lineal descendent of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) through Hazrat Ali (a.s.) and Bibi Fatima (a.s.).
His Highness the Aga Khan seen giving his commencement lecture at the American University in Cairo on June 15, 2006. The excerpts on Hazrat Ali are from the lecture. Photo Credit: American University in Cairo.
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