By: Mynyr Z. Nazifi
On Sunday March 25th, Bektashis from across North America gathered for the annual Sultan Nevruz celebration at the First Albanian American Bektashi Teqe in Taylor, Michigan. In the Bektashi faith, Sultan Nevruz is an important holiday that commemorates the birth of Imam Ali. While Imam Ali’s significance cannot be conveyed in words alone, a brief history of this key Islamic figure is as follows:
Imam Ali was the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhamad may peace be upon him. As the only person to be born in the sacred sanctuary of the Kaaba in Mecca, Imam Ali was the first male to accept the teachings of Islam. From an early age, Imam Ali was the “right arm” of the Prophet Muhamad PBUH, protecting him and taking part in almost every battle fought to defend the early Muslim community. After the passing of the Prophet Muhamad PBUH, Imam Ali assumed the responsibility as the rightful successor and continued to spread the Islamic religion.
In the Bektashi faith, Imam Ali is cherished for his sense of duty, commitment to fairness and justice, and for the countless sacrifices made by him and his family in carrying on the true Muslim religion. To show thanks for these sacrifices and his important place in the Bektashi faith, Bektashis from across the United States and Canada arrived in record numbers to this year’s successful Sultan Nevruz celebration – a success due in part to the great planning of Dervish Eliton and the contributions from sponsors Leonard Dervishi, Andrea Toroveci, Ekrem Bardham and Nevrus Nazarko. Also, for spreading awareness about the celebration additional thanks goes to Huseyin Abiva for his work on the postcards, along with Gani Vila and Mynyr Nazifi for their weeklong advertising campaign presented on Albanian TV.