In the name of Allah (Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem)
This is my understanding of the Ismaili religion and my story of how I came to Islam.
All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, The one who we seek help from, and the one we worship. Whoever Allah guides, nobody can misguide. And whoever Allah allows to be misguided, nobody can guide. I bear witness that Allah is my Lord, and that Prophet Muhammad (SAllahu alaiyhi wa salam) is the last and final messenger in the line of messengers and prophets beginning from Adam alaihis salam. I was born as an Ismaili (sometimes referred to as Aga Khani).
We will start with a bit of background explanation!
Who/what is an Ismaili (sometimes known as Aga Khanis)
They call themselves Shia Ismaili Muslims. They believe in One God, that Muhammad is the last Prophet, and that he appointed Ali as his spiritual leader and that leadership falls to their family until the end of time. The current living Aga Khan (a formal title of the Ismaili leader), known as Shah Karim Al-Husayni (referred to as Hazir Imam (the manifest imam) by Ismailis) is the 49th in the line of imams which began with Ali (RadiAllahu Anh, May Allah be pleased with him)
What is the role of Quran in an Ismaili’s life?
Ismailis do sometimes read the Quran, you may find it in their houses. They believe it is outdated (was revealed for a specific time, place, and situation) do not believe it is universally valid and relevant for all times and peoples.
What is Aga Khan’s role?
Aga Khan is the spiritual leader and advisor of the Ismailis. His rule is the law for them. For example, looking at history, there was a time where the Aga Khan of the time decided that Hijab (women’s outer garment that covers the hair) was no longer necessary and was not needed to be worn. Thus Aga Khan (being the current representative of God on Earth) can nullify the rulings stated in the Quran or taught by the last Messenger of Allah.
Weren’t you a Muslim?
I used to consider myself an Ismaili Muslim, yes. However, I later found out that the Islam that Ismailis are taught is not the true deen (way of life) that was sent by God.
How did you come to Islam
I had a good friend in high school that used to chat with me about religion and life. He invited me to come and pray namaz (Persian word for salaah – the ritual prayer of Muslims which is performed five times a day) after school and also invited me to come for the jumuah khutba (Friday prayers and sermon). I had been exposed to the prayer before and my father had always taught me that there is nothing wrong with praying however you liked, and thus I felt very at home coming to pray with the other Muslims. Nobody attacked me or my beliefs, or denied that I was a Muslim, and I felt quite welcome and happy to find a way to pray to God. In fact even though Sunnis prayed differently I felt that this was still a way for me to pray to God and I was very happy about this opportunity and I even told my younger brother to come join us.
As time passed, my friends alhamdullilah (All praise is due to Allah) continued to take me to the mosque and to different Islamic lectures, conferences, and events. It was amazing to have such good friends who really cared about me and my hereafter in order to involve me. They also gave me audio tapes and video tapes to watch. All this time I never felt that they were preaching to me or trying to convert me, infact the whole time I felt I was Muslim and I did not feel threatened in the least. Actually in the future when people used to ask me how I converted I used to get very upset and say that I never converted, but later I got over this phase and I accepted that I did convert/revert to another way of life.
What are the differences between Ismailism and Islam?
Just at a glance (and I am no expert), in general, Ismailis do not pray salah (their prayer is different), fast in Ramadan (some might), pay zakah (they pay something else), go for hajj (maybe some do), wear hijab (they do not believe in it), avoid interest (they believe interest is okay)
Whydid you convert?
In conclusion, as I began to see both sides of the fence, and I began to read the Quran, lots of questions began to appear in my mind. I always felt from a young age that it wasn’t necessary to ask Aga Khan for help when we could always talk to Allah, and this confused me. Questions began to appear such as: What is the worst unforgivable sin? Why do we (Ismailis) pray to Aga Khan when we can pray to Allah directly? and so on..
The answer to the first question is: 4:116 Allah forgiveth not (The sin of) joining other gods with Him; but He forgiveth whom He pleaseth other sins than this: one who joins other gods with Allah, Hath strayed far, far away (from the right).1
This answer was really scary to me. Because an Ismaili fellow told me that this is what Sunnis accuse us of. I did not want to risk my eternity in hell forever, so I decided that I did not want to practice Islam in this manner. I decided I would practice Islam as according to the way Allah wanted me to, not the way my parents or my culture taught me. I decided that I would read the Quran and find out what my Lord and Creator wanted from me.
…And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam)) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it) , and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment.” [Qur’aan 59:7]2
What is your advice to other Muslims?
First my advice to all the Muslims is to learn your deen (way of life) and practice it. Don’t take this amazing blessing of Islam for granted. You never know when you will die. Also, become friends with Ismailis, and invite them to come pray with you. DON’T DEBATE (but instead DISCUSS) with them, but be gentle, be kind, and pray for Allah to open their heart to Islam. Also keep in mind that you cannot convert anybody, all you can do is balagh (convey) the message, and then leave the rest to Allah. If they convert, All praise is due to Allah, and if they don’t, still the decision belongs to Allah and He guides whom He wills (period).
What is the Ismaili prayer like?
The Ismaili prayer is known as the “Holy Dua”, it is 6 parts, and it is compiled by Aga Khan. It is partly written by him and has some parts of Quran in it.
You mean Qadiani or “Ahmedy” when you say Ismaili, right?
Oh no, not again. This is a common mix-up. Qadianis and Ahmediyyas are a totally different group that have nothing whatsoever to do with Ismailism.
More details on this at another time. Any questions? I am sure you have tons!
Where are you now?
I have now left Islam
Ansar Housing Review (Islamic Housing Mortgage Company)
How Islamic Financing Works (Video)
If you don’t know how Islamic Financing works, please watch this video first on another company (Guidance Financial) that does a similar scheme.
About Ansar Housing
According to my understanding, Ansar Housing is the prominent and most easily available islamic financing instrument in the Toronto Area for home purchases. I have not used them to buy a house yet, and I may in the future. Most of this information was obtained from discussing with Tahir Qureshi at Ansar Housing. . I confirmed the details with Mr Naqvi at ISNA Housing Cooperating
Islamic Cooperative has been around 33 years, Ansar Housing 12 years, and have successfully financed several homes. Ansar Housing 189 homes currently financed, and Islamic Coop 582 homes. They use funds from direct investment from individuals, paying between 4% to 6% per year.
Who are ACHC, ICHC, and ISNA?
They are not a very straight forward or transparent company, and do not provide most of this information easily. Apparently there are two different companies in one, ACHC (ansar housing cooperative) and ICHC (IsnaHousing.Ca). (islamic housing cooperative). Confusingly, their site calls it “ISNA Housing”, yet the actual ISNA housing site has an almost identical website url (see next paragraph). Both of these companies share a common membership/shares form, but they have slightly different rules in terms of share ownership (not sure about the details how they differ, details to be filled in)
I spoke with Naqvi, Manager there to confirm the following details. The details are very similar, you need to put a deposit down (say 20-30%), and then there is a waiting period before you can purchase a home. Currently (as of March 2015) this waiting period is 1 year, but you can call them to confirm this if and when you are interested. They offer upto $500k towards a home purchase, so you could put down $120k to get this. The same rule applies towards transferring an existing mortgage, he said 20-30% would be needed, and it has to sit there for 1 year before you can buy a home. ISNA started in is 2008 when they split from Ansar Housing. They have 69 houses currently, 8-10 fully paid.
Purchase minimum shares of aggregate price equal to twenty per cent (20%) of the anticipated purchase price up to $300,000; thirty per cent (30%) of the anticipated purchase price between $300,001 – $500,000, and hundred per cent (100%) of the anticipated purchase price above $500,000.
Now back to Ansar Housing (ACHC)….
SAMPLE mortgage contract (Also attached) – apparently its slightly older and is missing some conditions from the one they use now.
How their financing works
Case 1 – No existing mortgage, finance directly with Ansar.
You require a downpayment between 20-30% or more according to this formula.
20% of first 100k, 20% of second 100k, 30% of third 100k, and 100% after that.
The maximum they provide $300k minus $75k deposit, resulting in $225k. You also need to keep the money there for 6 months. While its there, they will pay you profit on your investment/deposit. So if you need say $450k, you will require $75k for the first 300k, then everything on top of that, so $150k+$75k = $225k down
Case 2 – preexisting mortgage or house.
Lets say you already have some good collateral, In this case I was told you need to provide approximately 10% of the loan, so if you need $225k, you simply give $22.5k for approximately 3 months. This case applies if you take Conservatory Group's 0% mortgage for 3 years deal for example and then you need to get a mortgage with ansar after the 3 years.
Ansar housing uses a declining partnership model where they give you a rental amount that represents their portion of the house, say $1000, for a house of say $500,000 (numbers purely for illustration purposes). If you pay off half of the house and buy shares worth $250k, your rent drops by 50% to $500 a month. Month is recalculated each time you buy more shares towards owning the house. This is the most shady part of the business, there is no transparency and the rates you get are obtained by filling out a 'housing information form'
I filled out the form for two units. Finally after not getting a response, I called them up and Tahir called me back. He said they do not have time to respond to each and every single request for calculating rental fee that I send them, and that I should only be doing this once I have actually decided on which home to purchase, and have already made the offer and what not. Eventually he called me back and provided me the details "since they had already calculated it"/ They claim that the rent they come up with is based on the location and unit. Part of the problem is they charge different amounts to different people. And from 1 person I know, there is no room for negotiation. Take it or leave it.
The real numbers I got
For a 1300sq ft unit at 3700 Kaneff Cres in Mississauga, that was listed on MLS for $216,000 (also attached) the total rent would be $1300 (plus $15/month admin fee).
Thus, with the mandatory $49,800 deposit, this would bring down the rent to approx $1030 a month. I reverse engineered this to be 7.5% interest (but i dont know if this is exactly correct), based on the first month interest charge of $1300
Figure 1: RBC Mortgage Calculator Month 1 at 7.5% interest on $216k
Also see attached image
Keep in mind that RBC's posted 25 year fixed mortgage rate is essentially 8.750%
You can cinsider this a 45 year FIXED mortgage, so the rate, compared to the above, is not that bad
Length of mortgage
The length of mortgage is not limited but the minimum shares you have to buy is $5k per year. That means for a $225k house you could pay it off in 45 years. This would bring your total rental charge to a ridiculous $500k estimated on top of the $225k capital.
Additional Special Share
With Ansar Housing, there is an additional special share you have to buy, which costs 10% or 20% of the increase in house price. If you financed more than 50% of the home (i.e. home was $300k and you borrowed more than $150k), this special share is 20%, otherwise it’s 10%
By law in Ontario (or Canada?) there is mandatory mortgage insurance if the buyer puts less than 20% down. There is no mandatory CMHC mortgage insurance because the mortgage is more than 20%, so they can avoid this issue.
Details to be filled in. You may be hit with a double tax when the corporation first buys the home, then sells the home to you.
Otherwise as of now, with a traditional mortgage, with 10% down on a $225k mortgage its $4000, and for 10% down on a $435,000k mortgage its approximately $11k – CMHC fee calculator
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
Summary and analysis: Bitcoin is a currency and you should follow the same islamic rules that apply to other currencies. His concern is that if it is being traded in small quantities it can be manipulated.
Let us help our brother Omar Khadr to get out of his U.S. imprisonment.
If you live in Canada, please send this letter to the following people, and make sure to put your name and address otherwise its not as effective.
Prime Minister of Canada, Right Hon. Stephen Harper
CC Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Cannon
CC Minister of Justice, Hon. Rob Nicholson
CC Liberal Leader of the Opposition, Michael Ignatief
CC Leader, New Democratic Party, Jack Layton
CC Liberal MPP, Missisauga East, Albina Guarnieri
Omar Khadr is a 22-year-old Canadian citizen who was detained by the United States at the age of fifteen and has been held in Guantánamo since 2002. He is currently facing charges under the Military Commissions Act for acts alleged to have occurred when he was a minor. He is the only citizen of a NATO-allied country still in detention at Guantánamo Bay, and to date he has spent 2,355 days in US custody without trial: nearly one-third of his life.
Given his age at the time of his detention, Omar should have been afforded the special protections to which children are entitled under both US and international law. Regrettably, he has been denied almost all of these protections. Omar was subjected to prolonged periods of solitary confinement as a minor, was never separated from adult detainees in Guantánamo Bay, and was not allowed to speak with a parent for the first five years of his detention. Moreover, since the Military Commissions have no special due process or sentencing procedures to deal with youth offenders, Omar is being tried as an adult.
Omar has also provided detailed accounts of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment during his detention, which include descriptions of severe sleep deprivation, prolonged detention in stress positions and short shackling, and the denial of medical treatment for very serious gunshot wounds. These accounts are consistent with admissions made by Omar’s interrogators, reports by the FBI and independent investigations by the United Nations. That such credible allegations of mistreatment have been raised by any detainee in US custody should be cause for serious concern. The fact that they have been raised by a child makes them that much more shocking. Clearly, this situation requires prompt attention.
The coming weeks mark a decisive turning point in Omar’s case. On January 26, 2009, Omar’s trial before the deeply-flawed Military Commission is scheduled to begin. Out of deference to the close ties between our two countries, the Canadian government has maintained that it will not ask for the repatriation of Omar while a judicial process is ongoing under the jurisdiction of the United States. It is therefore imperative that the US act first.
As such, we call on you to immediately take the necessary steps to prevent further violations of Omar’s rights and to afford him the protections to which children in armed conflict are entitled – namely, that Omar be promptly withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the Military Commissions Act and repatriated to Canada for rehabilitation and disposition within the Canadian justice system.
This is really beautiful and shows you the nature of our deen, its about community and caring
36. Cheering up Muslims:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will cheer up (by His forgiveness) He who cheers up his fellow Muslim.” (Tabarani)
37. Easing matters for those in hardship:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Allah will make matters easy in the Hereafter for he who eases hardship for a Muslim.” (Muslim)
38. Being kind and merciful to the weak:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Allah will be merciful with those who are merciful with others; be merciful with those on the earth, and the One above the heavens will be merciful with you.” (Tirmidhi)
39. Reconciling between people:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Should I not tell you of a deed that is a rank higher than fasting, praying and spending in charity?” People replied: “Indeed, O messenger of Allah” He (peace and blessings be upon him) replied: “Reconciling between people.” (Abu Dawood)
40. Having good manners:
When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked about which act leads people to enter Paradise the most, he replied: “Piety and good manners.” (Tirmidhi)
41. Being bashful:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Bashfulness is a part of faith, and faith leads to Paradise.” (Ahmad)
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Be truthful, as truthfulness leads to virtue, and virtue leads to Paradise.” (Bukhari)
43. Forgiveness and controlling anger:
Allah says what means: “And march forth in the way (which leads) to forgiveness from your Lord and Paradise as wide as are the Heavens and the Earth, prepared for the pious. Those who spend (in Allah’s cause) in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger and who pardon men; verily, Allah loves the good- doers.” (ali-‘Imran:133-134)
44. Shaking hands:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Never do two Muslims shake hands except that their sins are forgiven before they depart.” (Abu Dawood)
45. Having a cheerful face:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Do not undermine any kind deed, even if it is to meet your Muslim brother with a cheerful face.” (Muslim)
46. Leniency during trade:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “May Allah have mercy upon the one who is easy when he buys and easy when he disputes (i.e., forgives easily).” (Bukhari)
47. Lowering one’s gaze:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that Allah says: “A lustful look is like a poisoned arrow of Satan; whoever refrains from it out of fear from Me, I will replace it with belief whose sweetness he will find in his heart.” (Tabarani)
48. Enjoining good and forbidding evil:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever sees an evil should stop it with his hands; if he is unable to do so, then with his tongue; if he is unable to do that, then with his heart (by hating it), and this is the lowest level of belief.” (Bukhari)
49. Attending virtuous gatherings:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Never do a group of people gather to mention Allah the Almighty, except that they will be surrounded with angels; the mercy of Allah will descend upon them, tranquillity will shade them and Allah will mention them (with pride) in front of the angels.” (Muslim)
50. Guarding one’s tongue:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever guarantees (i.e., restrains) what is between his two jaws (i.e., the tongue), and what is between his legs (i.e., the private parts), I will guarantee him Paradise.” (Muslim)
51. Guiding people to virtue:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Every good done to others is a charity, and the one who guides to a good deed gets the same reward as the one who performs the good deed.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
52. Calling people to the religion of Allah:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “One who calls people towards guidance gains the same reward (from Allah) as those who follow him, without their reward being reduced.” (Muslim)
53. Concealing people’s faults:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever conceals others’ faults in this life; Allah will conceal his faults on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim)
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Never is a Muslim is afflicted with a calamity, sadness, worry, harm, or hardship – even a prick of a thorn – except that Allah, will expiate his sins (due to this).” (Bukhari)
55. Expiation of a gathering:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever sits in a gathering and commits bad deeds (i.e., speech) in it; then says before he stands up to leave: ‘Subhanaka Allahumma wa bihamdika, ash- hadu alla ilaha illa ant, astaghfiruka wa atoobu ilayk,’ Allah will forgive that which he committed during the gathering.” (Tirmidhi)
56. Rearing daughters:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “He who has three daughters, and he shelters them, provides for them and is merciful to them, will definitely be admitted into Paradise.” (Ahmad)
57. Kindness to animals:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “A man saw a dog panting and eating mud out of thirst; so the man used his shoe to give the dog some water from a well. Allah appreciated this action and admitted him into Paradise.” (Bukhari)
58. Not asking anything of people:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whosoever guarantees me that he will not ask people for anything, I can guarantee him Paradise.” (Bukhari)
59. Exalting Allah:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whosoever says: ‘Subhanallah wa bihamdih’ one hundred times a day, Allah will forgive his sins even if they were as great as the foam of the sea.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
60. Charity with continuous benefit:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “When a son of Adam dies, he ceases to gain (additional) benefit from his deeds except from three: a charity that is continuous in benefit, beneficial knowledge and a righteous child that supplicates for him.” (Muslim)
61. Giving charity from the husband’s wealth:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “If a woman spends from the wealth of her house without causing harm (to her family), she will get the reward of what she spent and her husband also gets a reward because he earned it. (Moreover) the one who is entrusted with money gets the same reward (of spending it), without any of them (the wife and the entrusted) decreasing the rewards of the others.” (Bukhari)
62. Honesty in trade:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “When two people trade, they have the choice (to proceed with or stop the transaction), so if they are honest and clarify (e.g., defects in their merchandise) their trade will be blessed, but if they lie and conceal (defects) there will be no blessing in their trade.” (Bukhari)
63. Relieving Muslims:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whosoever relieves another Muslim of any hardship, Allah will relieve him from one of the hardships of the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim)
64. Assisting people:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Every day, charity is due from each of your joints; assisting a man to mount his beast or helping him load his luggage on it is a charity.” (Bukhari)
65. Intercession to fulfil people’s needs:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Intercede (to fulfil people’s needs) and you will be rewarded.” (Bukhari)
66. Supplicating for parents:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Allah the Almighty and Exalted will raise the rank of the righteous slave in Paradise, then the slave will ask: ‘O Allah! How did I attain this rank?’ Allah will reply, ‘By virtue of your child’s supplication for your forgiveness.’ ” (Ahmad)
67. Supplicating for Muslims in their absence:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whenever a Muslim supplicates for his Muslim brother in his absence, an angel says: ‘You will get the same (as you supplicated for).’ ” (Muslim)
68. Immediately following up a sin with a good deed:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Fear Allah wherever you are, and follow up a sin with a good deed, it will eradicate it – and deal with people kindly.” (Ahmad)
69. Defending Muslims in their absence:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whosoever defends his Muslim brother in his absence, Allah will keep the Hellfire away from his face on the Day of Resurrection.” (Tirmidhi)
70. Being fair between people:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Every day that the sun rises, charity is due from each of your joints, and being fair between people is a charity.” (Bukhari)