Prince Karim Aga Khan is the spiritual leader of about 20 million Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims and is now turning 74.  He was born on December 13, 1936 in Switzerland. Every year on December 13, the Ismailies around the world celebrate his birthday with religious and emotive zeal.

The Murids arrange religious Majalises in Jamat Khanas where they make religious offerings, supplications and reaffirm their allegiance to the Imam of time. Sweets and festive refreshment is served and the Ismailies wish each other Khushhali or Salgira Mubarak.

Ismailies around the world celebrated the Salgira, this year, jubilantly. Jamat Khanas were decorated in many parts of the world. Many people in North America, Australia and Europe closed their offices and businesses early to get to Jamat Khanas in time.

In Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral of Pakistan, Ismailies also congregated the Birthday of their Imam in a festive and religious fashion. Houses were seen decorated, lighting on the mountains and around Jamat Khana (prayer and social hall) premises and cultural dishes were especially prepared in the designated area of Jamat Khana called Langer.

Various Day and evening Majalises were arranged in which waezeen delivered speeches urging the Murids to follow the guidance of their Imam in their worldly and religious matters. The waezeen emphasized the Jamat to work for the better image of Islam through service to humanity.

This year’s celebrations were congregated modestly as the Ismailies simultaneously honour the holy month of Muharam in which one of their Imams, Imam Hussain Ibn Ali was martyred and his family was massacred by Umayyad Caliph Yazid, at Karbala in 680 CE

They pledged that every member of the community will continue to serve the humanity which, their Imam has consistently taken as mission since 1957.

The Ismailies concluded their celebrations with special prayers for all the Muslims around the world who are passing through difficult times. They also prayed for their national prosperity, peace and development in all their respective countries.

Q.K Sunny from Gilgit-Baltistan has contributed to this story

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