It was in the month of December 2010 that al-Vezaarat ul-Alaviyah got an invitational call from Iran Culture House, New Delhi informing about the scheduled visit to Iran for the proximity of different Islaamic sects based on Education and Culture. This was not merely an overnight surprise but a result of long-lived friendly relations with the Iranian Authorities. Saheb-e-Da’wat had attended various conferences in New Delhi before and expressed the wish to visit different educational institutions and libraries in Iran. These efforts saw the light of the day when Vezaarat got an invitation from International Relations and Cultural Affairs Ministry of Iran to participate in an Educational Tour of Iran. Allaamah Mohammad Ali Taskheeri, who visited India several months ago for a conference, promised Saheb-e-Da’wat that he will surely arrange a tour of Iran for the Muslim religious scholars, researchers, teachers and leaders from India. Accepting a formal invitation in the beginning of January, Mazoon ud-Da’wat Saiyedi Haatim Zakiyuddin (dm) and Mukaasir ud-Da’wat Saiyedi Mohammad Nooruddin (dm) went to Iran from 11-16 Safar 1432 AH/16-21 January 2011. The tour included the visit to three cities – Tehran, Mashhad and Qum.
This was first such opportunity for Saheb-e-Da’wat to visit Iran on Educational and Cultural basis under the patronage of Government officials and meet the scholars and researchers of various disciplines, sects and nations. It is a matter of pride that Mazoon ud-Da’wat represented our community “Alavi Bohras”, its culture, customs and practices in front of the Muslim World. Huzoor-e-‘Aali Saiyedna Saheb (tus) urges the mumineen in many of his Bayaanaat to establish the identity of Alavi Bohras wherever they go. He tells not to feel shy or hesitate in front of others to be recognized as Alavi Bohras – though it is a minority among a minority, it is still a distinct and distinguished community. “We all should feel proud that we are Alavi Bohras”, he encourages. The tour of Iran proved a golden opportunity to execute the words of Huzoor-e-‘Aali (tus). Mazoon ud-Da’wat and Mukaasir ud-Da’wat were the only Bohras from the entire group of 19 people who were from various Indian states. It was the blessing of Allaah Ta’aala that throughout the tour Saheb-e-Da’wat proved through the language, dress, namaaz and discipline that we, Alavi Bohras are totally different from the common Shi’as in the matter of worship, history, discipline, customs and practices etc. They explained others how we are different from other Bohras in the succession of Du’aat and how we all have same tenets and beliefs.
Saheb-e-Da’wat said that, “We got an opportunity to meet with different scholars with whom we had educational discussions. We came to know about how Iran has progressed in the religious education and preserved its rich cultural heritage. The most interesting and exciting thing to know from the historians was the Iranian Islaamic Revolution which changed the way the World saw Iran. Since then, Iran has progressed in all the fields – industrial development, manufacturing, education, technology, construction, transport etc. We attended the lectures of Deans and Faculties of various universities and institutions. We visited a library which houses the largest and oldest Arabic manuscripts in the World – about 37,500 manuscripts. Oldest among them is the Qur’an-e-Kareem written during the time of 4th Faatemi Imaam Maulaana Mohammad Baaqir (as) in Kufi script.
The most important person who we came across in our tour was an only Iranian scholar doing research on Bohras and writing a book consisting of their history and doctrines. He specially visited us in the Hotel and had a detailed discussion about our history and culture. To our surprise, he was well aware about the name of Huzoor-e-‘Aali (tus) and said that I know very well about Alavi Bohras through the website. He expressed a sense of gratitude and said that, ‘I am lucky to meet the Mazoon and Mukaasir of Alavi Bohras at the same time.’ He added that, this personal visit will help him to go into greater details of Alavi Bohras. We assured him to provide all help and furnish him the detailed information of our community.
It was the period between 11th Faatemi Imaam Maulaana Mehdi (as) and 20th Faatemi Imaam Maulaana Aamir (as), when several learned men from Iran came to quench their thirst of righteous and spiritual knowledge in the presence of Imaam (as) in Misr. Indeed they were in search of right path and lawful Hujjat of Allaah. They stayed back in Misr (Egypt) and did the khidmat of Imaam (served the Imaam), acquired the unparallel knowledge and were ascended to the rank of Du’aat ul-Balaagh (Da’i in the presence of Imaam). Among them were an-Nasafi, ar-Raazi, as-Sijistaani, al-Kirmaani, ash-Sheerazi, an-Nisaaboori etc. who are known for their distinguished Isma’ili literary works in the form of books, sermons and lectures. Their works are regarded as the highest and supreme peak of knowledge. They all were born and educated in Iran. We get an idea from this fact that if Iran has such a rich culture and heritage in the present day, how its culture, heritage and education would have been in the past? Obviously wisdom would have been reflecting from its populace, etiquette and mannerism and it would have been at its peak at that time. Each and every corner of Iran is still reflecting its golden past. We are feeling the opulence of knowledge by reading the books of our Du’aat ul-Balaagh of Iran.
Blessings of Huzoor-e-‘Aali (tus) have made the tour of Iran successful and memorable. It is the fruit of his efforts and encouragement that we have been able to represent Alavi Bohras in Iran. It is the Khidmat (service) of Da’wat and Community that through such educational and cultural tours, new opportunities of education and improvement come to us. Meeting new people help us to be in touch with the psyche and culture of other sects and it wipes out any misunderstandings and differences creeping in due to ignorance. May Allaah Ta’aala encourage every one of us to work for the community and the nation in every possible way so that our integrity is preserved for the generations to come.”