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What is the Grace of the Lord
Inna lillahi wa inna illaihi rajeoon - To God we belong and to God is our return
And proclaim/discourse the Grace of thy Lord
And proclaim/discourse the Grace of thy Lord
Inspired by the above, by utilizing original sources, I will illustrate from the various verses of the Quran, how Allah has ordained what He will, the Light from Him, as a Mercy to Mankind (Prophet Muhammad), and Grace (the Imams of the Age) for everyone that visits these pages to "reflect" as Allah says in the Holy Quran: [4.175] Then as for those who believe in Allah and hold fast by Him, He will cause them to enter into His mercy and grace and guide them to Himself on a right path.
Infinite is the Grace of Allah toward thee 4:113
Infinite is the Grace of Allah toward thee 4:113

Quran Sura 4:174, 175
Yaa- 'ayyu-hannasu qad O mankind! Verily
Jaa- 'akum  There hath come to you
Bur-hanum A convincing proof
Mir Rabbikum From your Lord:
Wa 'anzalnaa 'ilaykum For We have sent unto you
Nuram mubiinaa A light (that is) manifest.
Fa- 'ammal'lazina 'aamanu Then those who believe
Bil-laahi wa' -tasamu In God, and hold fast
Bihi fasa-yud-khiluhum fi To Him, - soon will he
Rahmatim-minhu Admit them to Mercy
Wa Fazlin And Grace from Himself,
Wa yah-dihim 'ilayhi And guide them to Himself
Siraatam Mustaqima. By a straight path.
I invite all my brothers in faith and all brothers in kind, to reflect upon the above. What is the Grace, what is the Seerat al Mustaqeem, the straight path, what is "by holding fast to Him", what is the Mercy, and then what is the Light that is Manifest? Please read further.

Quran 24:35 The Light

Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth; His light is as a niche in which is a lamp, and the lamp is in a glass, the glass is as though it were a glittering star; it is lit from a blessed tree, an Olive neither of east nor of the west, the oil of which would well-nigh give light though no fire touched it, Light upon Light, Allah guides to His light whom He pleases; and Allah strikes out parables for men; and Allah all things doth know.

(This section will be further developed, Inshallah!)

Related verses from the Quran
Prophet Muhammad's Teachings relating to above
Hazrat Ali's sermons alluding to above
For further explanation, please read Religion of my Ancestors by Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan III, 48th Imam

Islam is a religion of peace and historically the true believers have not persecuted members of other faiths as Allah says "let there be no compulsion in religion"* and elsewhere in the Quran Allah says that faith does not enter the hearts of people save for Allah's will* and our duty remains just to present the message. This is the reason that the Christian and Jewish faiths flourished during the Muslim rule during the middle ages and were allowed to practice their faith in peace and without persecution unlike the invading crusades and others in history.

The transmission of the message of God has been a continuous link since Prophet Adam as Allah says that He created man and knows the promptings of his soul* and therefore sent a living guide during every age*. Even though scriptural revelation ended with Prophet Muhammad*, the Prophet appointed his successor, like all others Prophets before him. He declared on return from his farewell pilgrimage in 632 A.C. that he was leaving behind two things of surpassing importance, the Quran and his progeny (Ahlul Bayt, Itrat). Prophet Muhammad had declared to the people what had been ordained by Almighty God. In the Scriptures Abraham was promised that his progeny would we made leaders of a great nation. By appointing Hazrat Ali as his successor, Prophet Muhammad was completing his covenant by ensuring that his grandchildren, Hassan and Hussain would succeed after Ali, carrying the blood of Muhammad through his daughter, Fatima taz-Zahra, who married Hazrat Ali. And therefore fulfilling the covenant Allah made with Abraham and Ishmael that their progeny would live through all ages, an eternal covenant, the Light of Allah Genesis 12:1-12.3 and 17:7

Even though this last sermon by Prophet Muhammad has been erroneously interpreted by others to have left two things i.e. the Quran and his sunnah instead of the Ahlul Bayt.

Now why would Prophet Muhammad, who came with a universal message for all nations, crystallize his life's work by commanding his followers to hold on to his traditions (sunnah) when everywhere in the Quran man has been exhorted to seek knowledge, to travel even to China to seek knowledge, to reflect, to read, to calculate, to seek the bounty of your Lord*, etc. . . Prophet Muhammad was very modern in his outlook in those days where he declared equality of women, established ethics in everyday life, laws to protect slaves, that everyone was equal before God and the rich were not favored and so on. He was acutely aware of changing times and was passing out laws as the situation demanded at that time. In fact, the whole reason for God to send another Prophet to the world was that the others had misunderstood His message and divided themselves into sects, and were attributing human qualities to God, were worshipping idols of their making or had made their God a racial God. Prophet Muhammad's mission was to clarify God's message to mankind and remove all misunderstanding.

Every Prophet had declared the coming of a Messiah who would free mankind and so was it with Prophet Muhammad. It was at the final revelation, with the verses that were revealed and the events that took place, when Muhammad declared Hazrat Ali as his legatee, his heir, that God declared and Prophet Muhammad announced: "This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion" Quran 5:3. In other words, it was only to declare "the favor" that every Prophet had been sent, and that favor is the institution of the Imamat. After declaring Hazrat Ali as the Wasi, the heir, Prophet Muhammad felt great relief and confidence that the religion he had established would survive beyond his years.

Even though these pages present a Shia Ismaili Muslim perspective, all readers are urged to use the center of knowledge given to man alone; to reflect, to "read" as "Iqra" was the first revealed word, it is by the pen and knowledge that we have to understand. The wealth of allegory and parables in the Quran need to be interpreted by "Those who are well-versed in knowledge"* and "every nation will be brought to Allah (on the day of judgment) with their intercessor"*.

Man would question God as to why was he at fault when he did not receive guidance according to his particular time and place in history. This is the function of the Imam of the age, to guide us in spiritual and secular matters. The proof is in the evidence, so to speak. If this chain of transmission was not ordained by God, it would have not continued unbroken during the last 1400 years, decended and appointed by Prophet Muhammad, through many turbulent periods, through many glorious periods like the Fatimid Empire when the Imams of the age were also the Caliph (ruler of the empire). In 969 A.C. the Fatimid Imam-Caliphs founded Cairo, al-Qahira al-Muizziyya and concerned themselves with social reform, the promotion of the arts and sciences, the construction of public libraries, colleges and mosques, again very contemporary pursuits. During this period the oldest University in the world, the famous Al Azhar University in Cairo was founded by Imam Al Muizz. Recently, a thousand years later, a similar center was established in the heart of the Muslim world by the Imam of the age, His Highness Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan, the Aga Khan University in Pakistan (also see Brown University President Vartan's address in acknowledgement).

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