The Aga Khan Park: Tranquil, Contemplative Space, and a Place to be Enjoyed by All to be Inaugurated on Monday, May 25, 2015

PHOTOS CAPTURE THE 5 YEAR EVOLUTION OF THE SITE

April 2010: Preparation

A photo from April 2010 of the site of the Aga Khan Museum, the Ismaili Centre and their Park as the trees were being removed to make room for the contruction.

A photo from April 2010 of the site of the Aga Khan Museum, the Ismaili Centre and their Park as the trees were being removed to make room for the construction. “No need to worry…the trees will be replaced,” wrote Jim Bowie for a photo essay for Simerg. Photo: Jim Bowie. Copyright.

It was officially announced in Jamatkhanas across Canada yesterday, May 17th, that the opening of the Aga Khan Park will, Inshallah, take place in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, on Monday May 25th, 2015. The announcement also noted that arrangements are underway to webcast the event live as well as telecast the opening ceremonies at Jamatkhanas across the country.

This follows the opening last September of two architectural gems, the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre and Jamatkhana, which adjoin the Park.

September 2011: Construction

September 14, 2011. The return of the trees. Photo: Jim Bowie. Copyright.

September 14, 2011. The return of the trees, while the construction of the Aga Khan Museum (foreground) and the Ismaili Centre proceeds speedily Photo: Jim Bowie. Copyright.

The presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam once again in this country will be a source of immense grace and barakah, and the jamats across Canada truly offer their humble shukrana to their beloved Imam.

The Aga Khan Park is the newest addition to other civic green spaces established or restored by Mawlana Hazar Imam, such as the Al-Azhar Park in Cairo, Forodhani Park in Zanzibar, Khorog City Park, Babur’s Gardens in Kabul, and the parks currently under development in Burnaby and Edmonton.

September 2014: Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum Opening

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and Prime Minister Stephen Harpur at the opening ceremony of the Ismaili Centre on September 12, 2014. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and Prime Minister Stephen Harpur at the opening ceremony of the Ismaili Centre on September 12, 2014. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Mawlana Hazar Imam explains the significance of the garden in Islamic cultures and its establishment in Canada in the following remarks made at the Presentation of the Gold Medal by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in Ottawa in November 2013:

“… our faith constantly reminds us to observe and be thankful for the beauty of the world and the universe around us, and our responsibility and obligation, as good stewards of God’s creation, to leave the world in a better condition than we found it. The garden is, in this context, a particularly important space in Islamic cultures… Bringing such beautiful spaces to Canada is one of our intended contributions to the Canadian landscape. An example is the new park in Toronto which will surround the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre as well as new projects in Edmonton and Burnaby …”

The park’s architect, Vladimir Djurovic, describes its inspiring vision in the following manner in an interview in 2010:

“Our vision for the project is one that captures the essence of the Islamic garden and translates it into an expression that reflects its context and contemporary age. Embracing the five senses as the means to reach the soul, every space and garden are imbued with the delicate sensations that we seem to have lost in this fast-paced era.”

The Aga Khan Park is intended to be a space of tranquility and contemplation, and a place of beauty and reflection for the Jamat and the larger society. It is also designed to host educational programmes and outdoor gatherings, such as concerts and weddings. It will be an inviting space for diverse members of the larger community to meet, for families to gather and children to play.

It will be a place where people can take a walk, enjoy and immerse themselves in the beauty and majesty of Allah’s creation and perhaps also reflect upon the nature and significance of the two spectacular buildings that the park surrounds.

December 2014: Three Views of the Park

The  Aga Khan Park photographed in December 2014, with the Ismaili Centre in the background. Photo: Copyright. Rian Dewji, Toronto.

The Aga Khan Park photographed in December 2014, with the Ismaili Centre in the background. Photo: Rian Dewji, Toronto. Copyright.

The Aga Khan Park photographed in December 2014, with the  Aga Khan Museum in the background. Photo: Rian Dewji, Toronto. Copyright.

The Aga Khan Park photographed in December 2014, with the Aga Khan Museum in the background. Photo: Rian Dewji, Toronto. Copyright.

A panoramic view taken from the Aga Khan Museum, with the Ismaili Centre in the background. Photo: Rian Dewji, Toronto. Copyright.

A panoramic view taken from the Aga Khan Museum, with the Ismaili Centre in the background. Photo: Rian Dewji, Toronto. Copyright.

The Aga Khan Park is one of several significant Imamat institutions and projects established in Canada, including the Global Centre for Pluralism, the Ismaili Centres in Burnaby and Toronto, the Aga Khan Museum and the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat. Inshallah, through their respective functions and architectural idioms, these institutions will continue to express the aspirations, identity and values of our faith, such as respect for pluralism, the notion of a common humanity, search for knowledge and beauty, and balance between din (the sacred) and duniya (the material world).

In place of negative representations of our faith and the “clash of ignorance”, these “gifts” benevolently provided to us by Imam-e-Zaman will foster an increased and enlightened understanding of the faith of Islam, as well as stimulate dialogue and fraternity between different cultures and communities, which is so urgently needed today in a world filled with turmoil, intolerance and extremism.

Date posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2015.

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Hope, and not Despondency, in the Wake of Misfortune and Tragedy

LETTER FROM PUBLISHER
Yellow Tulips - Hope amidst Tragedy
“Despair not of the Spirit of Allah. Lo! None despaireth of the Spirit of Allah save disbelieving folk.” (Holy Qur’an, Chapter 12, Verse 87).

The recent tragedy in Karachi, where dozens of innocent Ismailis were the subject of wanton violence is extremely disquieting. Besides questioning the humanity of our fellow citizens, it may serve to bring to the fore the insecurities of a people who have been subject to religious persecution in the past and are today, without exception, minorities in every single land they live in. As the Ismailis of Karachi (and of Pakistan in general) reflect on the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, perhaps it would natural for them to give in to despondency. This, however, should be cautioned against, for the following reasons.

Today, Ismaili Jamats globally unite in prayers and solidarity with their brethren of Karachi sending a strong message that their brethren are not just a forgotten minority in a big state, but an indivisible part of a strong global brotherhood. Equally, and no less significant, is the Imam’s global work and name, which has resulted in condemnation across the globe by world leaders, and which will ensure that this tragedy will not end up as just another footnote in an unending series of attacks on religious minorities in Pakistan. As K. N. Pandita says in a recent article:

 “But given the international influence and reach of Prince Aga Khan and the great humanitarian works that his Foundation is doing in many parts of the world including Karachi, the massacre is bound to cause ripples in Pakistan politics. This is the reason why the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Army chief both lost no time in flying into Karachi to take stock of things”. [1]

There is reason to hope that from this tragedy, and from the blood of innocents, a reaffirmation of the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan will result, Inshallah.

Date posted: May 18, 2015.

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[1]  http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/tragedy-descends-on-ismailis/

Canadian Muslim Organizations Offer Condolences to the Ismaili Community + List of Deceased

“….Life is utterly sacred in all Faiths, and in Islam it has a special sanctity that outweighs the holiness of all sacred spaces, so much so that for the Ka’bah to crumble into dust is less a concern than that for one drop of innocent blood to be spilled! I am saddened by the senseless loss of life around the world, each soul is special, every life is important…” an excerpt from Mohamad Jebara’s message.

Editor’s note: Messages of condolences have been pouring in from all over the world for the Ismaili community and His Highness the Aga Khan for the precious lives that were lost in Karachi on May 13, 2015, resulting from a gun attack on an Ismaili bus.

A selection of messages from Muslim organizations in Canada is produced below. Please also see our previous post, Leaders and Communities Extend Condolences to His Highness the Aga Khan and His Ismaili Followers as Mass Funeral is Held in Karachi for Terror Victims.

At the bottom of this page we have published a list of individuals who passed away in the tragic attack. As we have noted, we will update the list with more details as friends and relatives of the victims review the list and send us updates by submitting their feedback at Leave a comment  or writing to simerg@aol.com, subject: Deceased details.

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Candle Light Vigil in Toronto on Saturday May 16th
to Commemorate Karachi Tragedy

Toronto 13th May 2015: The Pakistani-Canadian community of Toronto is holding a vigil at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, 16th May 2015 at the Consulate (7880 Keele Street, Unit #14, Vaughan, ON). The event is open to all communities and is being held to commemorate the victims of the Karachi attack in which 44 innocent Pakistanis lost their lives.

All Canadians are invited to join the vigil to express their solidarity with the Pakistani nation in this hour of grief.

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Statement from The Muslim Coordinating Council of the National Capital Region (MCC-NCR), mccncr.org
mccncr_logo_with_textFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa, Ontario (May 14, 2015) – The Muslim Coordinating Council of the National Capital Region (MCC-NCR) express our shock and grief at the massacre of at least 45 of our Ismaili Shia brothers and sisters in Karachi, Pakistan on May 13, 2015. We condemn this heinous crime in the strongest terms and offer heart felt condolences to Ismaili Muslims in Ottawa, and all over the world.

We note with dismay that the killing of Ismaili Shia Muslims is a part of a continuing pattern of persecution and harassment of religious minorities by extremist groups, that has included attacks on mosques, killing of doctors and teachers in Karachi, and attacks resulting in death and injury of a large number of men, women, and children of the Hazara community in the province of Baluchistan. The MCC-NCR calls upon the Government of Pakistan to take effective measures for the prevention of attacks on religious minorities in Pakistan.

President, Anwar ul Haq, Ottawa,
Tel: 613-863-9441
Email: anwarjee@gmail.com

Spokesperson: Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan,
Tel: 613-820-1064,
Email: mohammedazharalikhan9@gmail.com

Media Committee, Tariq Ahsan
Tel: 613-830-3106
Email: tariq.527@gmail.com

MCC-NCR represents Canadian Muslims of the National Capital Region of Ottawa and Gatineau and engages with fellow Canadian citizens of all of all faiths to promote human rights, equality, and justice for all Canadians.

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Statement from the Ottawa Shia Islamic Associationoshia_logo

In The Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

OSHIA.CA (613) 853-7881
Info@oshia.ca

Ottawa: May 13, 2015. We are shocked by the senseless act of violence against members of the Ismaili Shia community today in Karachi which resulted in the killing of more than forty men and women and scores of the others injured. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families of those killed and injured in the attack.

The barbaric attack on the bus carrying people to their places of work in Karachi once again highlights the danger the Muslim minorities and the people of other faiths face in Pakistan and the government of Pakistan’s inability to protect its citizens from the Wahhabi/Salafi militant groups.

We take serious note of this morning’s heinous act of violence in Karachi. We hope that Government of Pakistan will soon apprehend the perpetrators of these contemptible acts and bring them to justice.

Jaffar Hashmi
President

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Statement from the Cordova Spiritual Education Center
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)

cordova_spiritual_education_centernew

Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 10:51 AM
Official Statement

Life is utterly sacred in all Faiths, and in Islam it has a special sanctity that outweighs the holiness of all sacred spaces, so much so that for the Ka’bah to crumble into dust is less a concern than that for one drop of innocent blood to be spilled! I am saddened by the senseless loss of life around the world, each soul is special, every life is important. ​

My heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of our Ismaili brethren senselessly killed in Karachi yesterday. My condolences to His Highness Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan and the Ismaili Jamaat around the world.

During times of tribulation, when dark forces aim to divide us, we must work even hard to set aside our differences and unite for the common good of all people. Neither faith nor rational logic can justify such heinous acts of violence and destruction.

​In deep Respect,​

Mohamad Jebara
Chief Imam, Resident Scholar

Cordova Spiritual Education Center
Office: 1-855-567-3223 Ext. 804

http://www.cordovacenter.org/
email: imam@cordovacenter.org

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Statement from the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and Muslims Against Terrorism

4ISCCLogoalt

Date: May 13, 2015

For Immediate Release

Calgary: The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC) and the Muslims Against Terrorism (MAT) strongly condemn today’s massacre of Ismaili Muslims in Karachi, Pakistan. According to the media reports the attacks on a bus carrying Ismaili Muslims was carried out by the ISIS and Taliban recruits.

Once again today’s attacks on peaceful innocent people prove that the terrorism is on the rise and the strategy to control terrorism is failing. The worldwide governments must change their approach towards terrorism. Terrorism and extremism can only be eliminated by eliminating the ideology that creates terrorists and extremists. And clearly identify the people behind it.

Those who commit extremist and terrorist actions in the name of Islam are in fact the followers of Wahabi ideology which is being spread among Muslims by the Saudi funded and trained Imams and leaders under the patronage of the western countries especially the United States. The current level of sectarianism among Muslims never existed in the history of Muslims. The source of such hateful and violent sectarianism is the Wahabi interpretation of Islam with which Sunni Muslims strongly disagree.

“I am extremely disappointed by the CBC and the other media outlets for their ill-informed reporting of today’s tragedy in Pakistan”, Imam Soharwardy said in a statement today. “We have repeatedly informed the CBC and other Canadian media outlets that these terrorists must not be called “SUNNI MUSLIMS”. They are WAHABIS. We, the Sunni and Shia Muslims are the victims of Wahabi terrorism but media keep on misinforming and misrepresenting Sunni Muslims”. ISCC and MAT is consulting with legal experts on how to take legal action against some of the media outlets which are deliberately associating and identifying the Wahabi terrorists as Sunni Muslims. This is far from the truth. All Sunni Muslims condemn the massacre of innocent people regardless of their groups/sects or religious affiliations.

Once again our sympathies and condolences are with the Ismaili community. We pray for the victims and express our full support with their families and the community.

For any questions please contact:
Imam Syed Soharwardy
416-994-5467.

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List of Deceased 
(incomplete)

The following list of  individuals within the jurisdiction of Sachal Police Station who died in Karachi’s gun attack on May 13th has been released by the Sindh government, and was published in the Dawn newspaper. Simerg will try and obtain the complete names and ages of the deceased, and update the information.

List of  female victims (list may be incomplete, and exact ages and names as well as any relationship to other victims will be updated by Simerg shortly):

  1. Shireen Faqdar;
  2. Zahida Syed;
  3. Arifa Ameer Ali;
  4. Aneela Zulfiqar;
  5. Yasmin Nazar Ali;
  6. Shamim Shaukat;
  7. Saiedh Peer Mohammad;
  8. Wali Qasim;
  9. Zubaida Akbar;
  10. Shamim Ameer Ali;
  11. Zubaida Nazar Ali;
  12. Ameena Nazar;
  13. Neelam Rizwan;
  14. Asmeera Saleem;
  15. Sonia Ranish;
  16. Areesha Zulfiqar; and
  17. Laila Sultan.

According to Dawn newspaper, all the ladies listed above were stated to be between the ages of 20 to 50 years.

List of  male victims (list is incomplete, and exact ages and names as well as any relationship to other victims will be updated by Simerg shortly):

  1. Nazar Ali;
  2. Noor Mohammad Kadiwal;
  3. Sayed Nazar Manpura;
  4. Jawaid Dilawa Manpura;
  5. Liaquat Noorji Ladjipura;
  6. Nazar Miyaji Sunesra;
  7. Rajab Ali Kuwara;
  8. Rizwan Raheem Badarpura;
  9. Raheem Mianji Sherwa;
  10. NoorAli Bhai;
  11. Abdul Wale;
  12. Ramzan Wali; and
  13. Sultan Qasim Varsilla.

As a note of interest it was announced yesterday at the Ottawa Jamatkhana that family members and friends residing in Ottawa will be performing the ceremony of “samar” (remembrance and prayers for the deceased souls) in the Ottawa Jamatkhana on Sunday, May 17, 2015. Also, a  special 7 day tasbih at Jamatkhanas in Canada (and abroad) has been instituted to pray for the restoration of peace in various parts of the world where there is conflict and unrest. As part of this website, we offer an obituaries and tributes page to family members who wish to pay their respects and tributes for their deceased family members. Please visit Passings.

Date posted: Saturday, May 16, 2015 (10:05).
Date updated: May 16, (13:25).

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We invite our readers to record their messages of grief and sympathy by clicking Leave a comment

Leaders and Communities Extend Condolences to His Highness the Aga Khan and His Ismaili Followers as Mass Funeral is Held in Karachi for Terror Victims

KARACHI, PAKISTAN - MAY 13: Relatives of injured and killed cry and wait outside a hospital following a gun attack on a bus carrying members of Ismaili Shia community, in Karachi, Pakistan, 13 May 2015 that killed at least 45 people including over a dozen women and injuring more than 14 people. (Photo by Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

KARACHI, PAKISTAN – MAY 13: Relatives of injured and killed cry and wait outside a hospital following a gun attack on a bus carrying members of Ismaili Shia community, in Karachi, Pakistan, 13 May 2015 that killed at least 45 people including over a dozen women and injuring more than 14 people. (Photo by Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A genuine outpouring of sympathy has been extended to His Highness the Aga Khan and his followers after the gun attack on a bus in Karachi on May 13, 2015 in which 43 Ismailis were killed at point black range. Two more people died later in a hospital from injuries they suffered. An Associated Press report published in both the Washington Post and The Miami Herald (Karachi Mass Funeral) states that Pakistan was observing a day of national mourning, and state-run television was broadcasting live footage, showing mourners attending the last rituals for the victims of Wednesday’s assault. Forty-three of the victims were laid to rest in a mass funeral on Thursday, one was buried earlier, and another body remains to be identified. The following is a selection of messages of sympathy that have been publicly released by numerous leaders and governments around the world.

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Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada

Prime Minister Stephen and His Highness the Aga Khan at the Parliament of Canada.

Prime Minister Stephen and His Highness the Aga Khan at the Parliament of Canada.

“Canada condemns the cowardly terrorist attack on a bus carrying Shi’a Ismaili Muslims in Karachi.

“It is particularly chilling that gunmen opened fire indiscriminately, murdering many Ismailis regardless of their gender or age. It is an affront to everyone who cherishes religious freedom. We urge the Government of Pakistan to bring the perpetrators to justice and to ensure that all religious minorities in the country are protected and their religious freedom guaranteed.

“On behalf of all Canadians, Laureen and I offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who perished in this murderous attack. We also offer our heartfelt prayers that those injured may have a speedy recovery.

“I have worked closely with His Highness the Aga Khan over the years and know first-hand of the peaceful nature of the Shi’a Ismaili community here in Canada and around the world. We mourn with His Highness and the entire Shi’a Ismaili Imamat who have consistently stood for peace, pluralism and religious freedom.”

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Statement by the US Secretary of State

Secretary of State John KerryPress Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC May 14, 2015

“I strongly condemn the heinous May 13 attack on a bus in Karachi, which resulted in the deaths of dozens of members of the Ismaili community.

“The American people stand in solidarity with the people of Pakistan, and with the global Ismaili community on this tragic day. Make no mistake: There is more strength by far in the respect and solidarity that we feel towards one another than there could ever be in any terrorist attack.

“I extend my personal condolences to the families of the victims, and to my dear, esteemed friend His Highness the Aga Khan, who has led the Ismaili community in investing in so many important development and education projects not only in Pakistan, but around the world. We will support efforts to bring all those responsible to justice and stand ready to provide assistance to the investigation of this tragic attack.”

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Statement by Canadian Senator Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer

Senator Mobina Jaffer, left, pictured in Kenya.

Senator Mobina Jaffer, left, pictured in Kenya.

“Honourable Senators, I rise today with a very heavy heart. Very early this morning, I awoke to the news that forty- three innocent Ismaili Muslims who were riding a bus in Karachi, Pakistan, were senselessly gunned down by six armed individuals who were dressed in police uniforms. They were my brothers and sisters in faith.

“Sixty-two people were on the bus on their way to a community centre when the gunmen boarded after cutting off the bus with their motorcycles. Once inside, the gunmen shot indiscriminately at the men, women and children. When the gunmen left, an injured individual drove the bus to a nearby hospital. By the time they arrived at the hospital, most of the passengers had died.

“His Highness the Aga Khan, my spiritual leader, stated: ‘This attack represents a senseless act of violence against a peaceful community. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families of those killed and wounded in the attack’.

“Other leaders across Pakistan have expressed their absolute shock at this attack on the Ismaili Muslim community. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, called it ‘‘a deplorable attempt to spread chaos in Pakistan.’’

Honourable senators, the Ismaili Muslim community is one of the most peaceful and charitable communities in Pakistan. They are involved in a number of development projects across the country and work in all segments of society. Their roots in Pakistan are very deep, as they have inhabited that area of the world for hundreds of years. While the community is small, their positive impact on Pakistan is tremendous.

“As an Ismaili Muslim and as a Canadian, my heart breaks for the victims of this attack and for their families. Many of those killed had Canadian family members. I understand that one Canadian has lost his father, mother and brother. I know you join me in sending our condolences to those Canadians. I know this Chamber will join me in condemning this abhorrent attack on innocent individuals in Pakistan.

“As mine are, I know your thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their loved ones in Pakistan and Canada.”

Thank you.

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Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the
UN Secretary-General

New York, 13 May 2015

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moonThe Secretary-General condemns in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack today on a bus in Karachi, Pakistan, reportedly killing at least 45 members of the Ismaili community and injuring several others. 

The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Pakistan to take all necessary measures to bring to justice the perpetrators of this despicable act.

Taking note that a number of attacks against the Shia and Christian minorities have taken place in the recent past in Pakistan, the Secretary-General urges the Government of Pakistan to take swift measures aimed at effective protection of religious minorities in the country. Creating a climate of tolerance, understanding and respect will greatly contribute to achieving this objective. 

Pakistan, as a responsible member of the international community, must uphold its obligations and commitments towards protecting its citizens, including all minorities. 

The Secretary-General extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Pakistan.  He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured in the attack.

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Statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry

Marziyeh AfkhamIran’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham, pictured at left, condemned a Wednesday terrorist attack in the Pakistani city of Karachi that killed scores of Shiite Muslims on a bus.

Afkham slammed the atrocity and condoled with the bereaved families of the victims and the Pakistani people and government.

“Extremism and terrorism are against humanity and Islam, and killing innocent people, with any purpose and in any form, is rejected and unjustifiable,” she said.

The objective of such terrorist attacks is to undermine unity in Pakistan, Afkham warned, but expressed confidence that prudence and rapport between the Pakistani government and nation would safeguard stability and security in Irans neighboring country.

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Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Turkey“We have learned with great sorrow that more than 40 people lost their lives and around 20 others were injured, according to initial reports, as a result of the armed attack perpetrated against a bus carrying members of the Ismaili sect, in Karachi, Pakistan today (13 May) in the morning hours.

“We strongly condemn this terrorist attack. We share the grief of the friendly and brotherly people of Pakistan and express once again our strong feelings of solidarity with the Government of Pakistan.

“We wish God’s mercy on those who lost their lives in this heinous attack, convey our condolences to their families and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded.”

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Statement by the European Union Spokesperson

13/05/2015

“The deadly attack on a bus in Karachi today that has killed at least 43 people and wounded more civilians is a further instance of the scourge of sectarian violence.

“The Pakistani government must do its utmost to tackle sectarian violence and bring to justice the perpetrators of these violent and criminal acts. There must also be no impunity for these crimes. The rights of all citizens need to be protected, regardless of religion or belief.

“The European Union expresses its condolences to the families and friends of the victims.”

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Statement by the Pakistan Consul General in Chicago

Pakistan Consul General

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Statement by US Ambassador to Pakistan

May 13, 2015

us-ambassador-olson“On behalf of the American people, U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson extends his deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims of Wednesday’s heinous bus attack in Karachi, and strongly condemns this senseless terrorist act. 

“The United States remains steadfast in its commitment to the people of Pakistan in their efforts to counter terrorism, and supports the right of every person to worship as they choose, without fear of intimidation, coercion or violence. We support Pakistan’s efforts to bring all those involved to justice and stand ready to provide any appropriate assistance to authorities investigating this tragic attack.”

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Statement by US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky

US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky

WASHINGTON, DC – “I was shocked to learn of the devastating attack that brutally and senselessly murdered 43 innocent Ismailis and wounded many others.  They were attacked because of their religious beliefs by militants who are targeting anyone who doesn’t accept their view of Islam.

“I have a significant and highly respected community of Ismailis within my Congressional District, and I work closely with them.  For years I have participated in the Aga Khan Foundation Partnership Walk in Chicago, a walk that symbolizes the Ismaili community’s work to end global poverty, hunger, illiteracy and poor health around the world.  My district is home to two of their houses of worship called Jamat Khana, one in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago and the other in Glenview, Illinois. 

“My heart goes out to the families of the murdered and injured, and to the community as a whole which is deeply shaken by this act of terror.  I stand strongly with the Ismaili people, a peaceful people, and all those across the world who reject violence and intolerance.  We must join together as a global community to do everything possible to keep these attacks from happening in the future.”

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Statements from Muslim Organizations in Canada

PLEASE CLICK: Canadian Muslim Organizations Offer Condolences to the Ismaili Community + List of Deceased

Please click on image for Muslim organization statements.

Please click on image for Muslim organization statements.

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MEDIA DISPATCHES AND OPINIONS

Iran’s Press-TV reported that people in the Pakistani-controlled Jammu and Kashmir, home to other Shia communities, observed mourning and held ceremonies in commemoration of the victims.

Pakistan’s Express Tribune, a publication affiliated with the International New York Times (formerly the International Herald Tribune) reported that participants at the Ithad-e-Ummah Conference, organised by the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) condemned the massacre of Ismailis in Karachi, and said that the killers have no religion. Among those attending the conference, which was chaired by PUC Chairperson Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, was the Chief Guest, Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s President Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob, the Shia Ulema Council Secretary General Allama Arif Waheedi, International Islamic Study Council President Mian Abu Bakar, Qazi Kifayatullah, and Dr Allama Shabbir Hassam Mesmi.

In an opinion piece for the same paper, Raza Rumi, editor at The Friday Times, who is currently a visiting fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in the US wrote:

“The sheer barbarity of the attack on the Ismaili community in Pakistan’s largest and one of the more misgoverned cities shocked the country. It is not the first time that such a sectarian attack has happened. During the past two years, more than a thousand people have been killed in targeted sectarian attacks. However, this was the largest attack on Ismailis. The head of the Ismaili community, Prince Karim Aga Khan, rightly termed the massacre of 43 men and women “a senseless act of violence against a peaceful community”. It is ironic that the Pakistan movement owes its genesis to the contributions of Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah, Aga Khan III who was the founder, patron and the first president of the All-India Muslim League.”

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PEACEFUL REACTIONS IN HUNZA

http://www.Pamirtimes.net reports that the news of the attack created anger among the Ismailis of Gilgit-Baltistan. However, demonstrations that were held in Gilgit, Aliabad (Hunza) and Gulmit (Upper Hunza) were peaceful. The Karakuram Highway was blocked by protesters for several hours today to register protests. Shops and markets remained closed in different parts of Gilgit and Hunza after the carnage in Karachi.

Civil society groups held candle-light vigils in different parts of Gilgit city and Karimabad (Hunza). Photo: Pamirtimes.net

Civil society groups held candle-light vigils in different parts of Gilgit city and Karimabad (Hunza). Photo: Pamirtimes.net

Peaceful protests at a demonstration held in Gulmit village of Upper Hunza against Safoora Chowrangi attack. Photo: Pamirtimes.net

Peaceful protests at a demonstration held in Gulmit village of Upper Hunza against Safoora Chowrangi attack. Photo: Pamirtimes.net

Date posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2015 (20:45)
Date updated: Saturday, May 16, 2015 (09:30), more messages of condolences

We shall continue to post additional material on this page in the days and weeks to come.

Please also visit the latest post Canadian Muslim Organizations Offer Condolences to the Ismaili Community + List of Deceased.

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Please visit the following external links:

Also visit http://www.ismailimail.wordpress.com for links to numerous articles and photos on this tragic event.

We invite our readers to record their messages of grief and sympathy by clicking Leave a comment.

Also please see:

The Karachi Attack: Mawlana Hazar Imam Expresses Sadness and Sends Prayers

AGONY AND GRIEF IN KARACHI

Click for enlargement

KARACHI, PAKISTAN - MAY 13: Relatives of injured and killed cry and wait outside a hospital following a gun attack on a bus carrying members of Ismaili Shia community, in Karachi, Pakistan, 13 May 2015 that killed at least 45 people including over a dozen women and injuring more than 14 people. (Photo by Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

KARACHI, PAKISTAN – MAY 13: Relatives of injured and killed cry and wait outside a hospital following a gun attack on a bus carrying members of Ismaili Shia community, in Karachi, Pakistan, 13 May 2015 that killed at least 45 people including over a dozen women and injuring more than 14 people. (Photo by Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images). Photo published by Simerg under a licencing agreement with Getty Images.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, in an official press release issued on the website of the Aga Khan Development Network has expressed shock and sadness in the wake of an attack on a bus carrying Ismaili members of his community in Karachi, Pakistan, that left 43 people dead today, Wednesday, May 13th. There were 16 women and 27 men among those killed. Other external reports suggest that the death toll was 45.

“This attack represents a senseless act of violence against a peaceful community. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families of those killed and wounded in the attack,” Mawlana Hazar Imam said. He noted that the Ismailis are a peaceful global community living in harmony with other religious and ethnic groups in many countries across the world, including in the Muslim world.

According to a report by the  BBC (please click for full report and photos) a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban called Jundullah has said it carried out the attack. The report also states that a leaflet was left at the scene claiming the so-called Islamic State group was responsible. The BBC’s Urdu service editor Aamer Ahmed Khan in Karachi said it seemed to be a well-planned attack.

He said the bus was making one of five daily scheduled trips between a gated community housing mainly Ismailis on the north-eastern outskirts and the main city.

The relatives of some survivors said it was stopped as it was about to enter the city by men dressed as policemen who clearly intended to kill and fled minutes after the assault.

Pakistan’s  Dawn newspaper says that a survivor of the attack recorded her statement before the police and said that the attackers entered the bus from the rear portion a few minutes after its departure. She added that the occupants of the bus thought that robbers had embarked on the vehicle. The assailants subdued the driver and separated (two) children from the others, the victims said and added that, “They told the passengers to keep their head low. One of the attackers situated in the rear side of the bus then ordered his associates to ‘shoot every one’ after which they indiscriminately targeted all passengers of the bus.”

We express our deep sorrow at this horrible tragedy and convey our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims and the entire Pakistan Jamat and pray for the souls of the deceased members of the Jamat. We pray for the recovery of those who have been injured from this senseless act.

Date posted: May 13, 2015.
Last updated: May 13, 2015, 23:40 (photo added).

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We invite our readers to record their messages of grief and sympathy by clicking Leave a comment.

Links to additional coverage:

Also please see:

“Together-Ensemble”: The Amazing Aga Khan Foundation Exhibition on 18 Wheels – Interview and Photos

BY ABDULMALIK J. MERCHANT
Publisher-Editor, Simerg

“Development is ultimately about people, about enabling them to participate fully in the process and to make informed choices and decisions on their futures.” – His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Ismaili Imam speaking in 2013, excerpt on a panel display at the exhibition.

Stephanie in front of the exhibition bus. Photo: Malik Merchant

Stephanie in front of the exhibition bus. Please watch her interview with Simerg, link at bottom of page. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Launched on April 27th, 2015, at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building by the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, and Khalil Shariff, Chief Executive Officer of Aga Khan Foundation Canada, the collaborative exhibition of Global Development under the theme “Together” (French “Ensemble”) arrived at the city’s famed Le Breton neighbourhood, located by the new War Museum on Thursday, May 7, 2015 for a 7-day stop over.

I took an opportunity to visit the astonishing bus filled with educational and inspiring exhibits today (Sunday, May 10th), a much cooler day than the previous few days when the temperatures in the city had surged to 30 Celsius, not taking humidex into consideration. While thousands of local Ottawa residents and tourists were enjoying the marvellous and colourful annual tulip festival by Dow’s Lake, hundreds of parents with their children took to the Le Breton grounds to visit the Ottawa International Children’s Festival as well as take a tour of the exhibition in the “Together/Ensemble” bus, just metres away.

Before reaching the Aga Khan Foundation's magnificent Together bus, I was politely confronted by

Before reaching the Aga Khan Foundation’s magnificent Together bus, I was politely confronted by “a past British Monarch” who was measuring my loyalty to her rule. I excelled as a fine citizen, for which she offered to crown me with some kind of an Order named after the Ottawa’s River Parkway, a fine and scenic road running by the Ottawa River one hundred metres behind her! Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

The Together Exhibition Bus just metres away from  activity tents set up  for the Ottawa International Children's Festival. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

The Together Exhibition Bus just metres away from activity tents set up for the Ottawa International Children’s Festival. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

A youth takes the time to view the interactive global map and test out his knowledge. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

A youth takes the time to view the interactive global map and test out his knowledge. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

A panel introducing the work of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada and its  founder, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. The Aga Khan Foundation offices around the world are now agencies within the Aga Khan Development Network, a global network created by His Highness the Aga Khan to serve millions on this planet in all areas of human endeavour.  Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

A panel introducing the work of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada and its founder, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. The Aga Khan Foundation offices around the world are now agencies within the Aga Khan Development Network, a global network created by His Highness the Aga Khan to serve millions on this planet in all areas of human endeavour. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Children exchange their ideas and thoughts on global matters on these little leaves. They are invited to take away with them any leaf containing the though of another child. When the leaf is cut open at home it contains wild flower seeds that children can plant in their gardens. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Children exchange their ideas and thoughts on global matters on these little leaves. They are invited to take away with them any leaf containing the thought of another child. When the leaf is cut open at home it contains wild flower seeds that children can plant in their gardens. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

A young child's aspirations and hopes for a better world:

A young child’s aspirations and hopes for a better world: “No hunger, child labour, everyone being treated equally.” Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Another child, 8 year old Hannah Saikaley, describes her thoughts of helping others:

Another child, 8 year old Hannah Saikaley, describes her thoughts of helping others: “Donating food, money, drinks and clothes and by cleaning the earth.” Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Another informative section of panels inside the bus. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Another informative section of panels inside the bus. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

The front of the Togther-Ensemble exhibition bus. Over the next 2 years, the bus will be travelling across Canada to highlight perspectives on Global Developments to thousands of Canadians. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg. perspectives

The front of the Together-Ensemble exhibition bus. Over the next 2 years, the bus will be travelling across Canada and offer perspectives of Global Development to thousands of Canadians. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

The centre panel is the actual width of the bus. The two side panels show the extensions for this bus, giving the exhibition space inside the bus the feel of an actual museum gallery. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

The back of the Together-Ensemble Bus. The centre panel is the actual width of the bus. The two side panels show the collapsible exhibition extensions on the bus, giving the space inside the bus the feel of an actual museum gallery. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

Inside the bus, an exhibit. Photo: Malik Merchant/Malik

Voices of Change exhibit inside the bus. Photo: Malik Merchant/Malik

The

The “Together-Ensemble” Exhibition Bus at the Le Breton neighbourhood at the Canadian War Museum grounds. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

A display inside the bus under the theme

A display inside the bus under the theme “Stronger Together.” Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

Stephanie, coordinating the media on behalf of the Aga Khan Foundation, was eager to participate in an interview with me, though she felt before the interview that she was a little bit nervous. “Simerg is the first media I am talking to,” she explained. But any apprehension that she felt quickly dissipated as she enthusiastically explained the exhibition with all her charm and grace. Please watch her excellent interview by clicking on the link below.

Date posted: Sunday, May 10, 2015.

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We invite your feedback and comments. Please click Leave a comment.

Please also visit the Aga Khan Foundation Canada Website http://www.akfc.ca for more details and schedules about the Global Development Exhibition, which will be touring Canada in 2015/2016.

This piece has been simultaneously published under a different format at Simerg’s photoblog. Please click Photoessay and Interview: Aga Khan Foundation’s Unique Global Development Exhibition on 18 Wheels

Prophet Muhammad’s Miraj: A Powerful Metaphor for Our Spiritual Journey

Photo: The Trustees of the British Museum. Copyright.

Photo: The Trustees of the British Museum. Copyright. Click on image for article, I Have a Time with God

“While ascent (al-ma’arij) in its simple meaning gives a clue to the upward direction of the Prophet’s journey, it proclaims very emphatically that if God has placed man on this earth, He has also set up a ladder for man to climb up to Him. No wonder Allah calls Himself the Lord of the Ways of Ascent (Dhu ’l-ma‘arij).”Read more

This is an unusual example of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) pictured in an Islamic manuscript. It comes from a royal miniature made to illustrate a copy of the poems of the celebrated Persian Nizami, and depicts the Prophet’s ascension to heaven on the horse Buraq, guided by the archangel Gabriel, with an escort of angels. According to tradition, the face of the Prophet is blanked out in the miniature.

“In spiritual life, serial time no longer exists. The moment a soul breaks through created time and reaches the ‘Eternal Now in God’, everything created is annihilated in its experience. The serial time is torn. Finally, the Prophet says: ‘And He revealed to me secrets that I am not allowed to communicate to you’” — Read more

The identity of the artist who created the illustration is not known. The calligraphy in this piece was created by Shah Mahmud Nishapuri (d. 1564-5) for Shah Tahmasp (r. 1524-76) — the ruler of Iran who at one point owned the Koh-i-noor diamond, then the world’s largest, and now in the Tower of London.

“His yearning for the ‘exalted station’ becomes intense, and as often as he feels this longing he turns to Bilal and says: “O Bilal, comfort us by the call to prayer.” Thus to the Prophet every time of prayer is an ascension (mi’raj) and a new nearness to God.” — Read more

The story of Prophet Muhammad’s journey has had a profound influence on Islamic thought, and Sufism and other esoteric traditions in Islam particular see it as a powerful metaphor for man’s spiritual journey. Please read The Prophetic Tradition ‘I Have a Time with God’ (li ma’a Allah waqt).

Text for image compiled from the website of the British Museum. Please visit http://www.britishmuseum.org.

Date posted: Sunday, May 10, 2015

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A Beautiful Fashion Accessory: The Lapel Pin Canadian Ismailis Received on the Occasion of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s 78th Birthday

full pins

By Abdulmalik J. Merchant
Publisher-Editor, Simerg.com

I was among the thousands of Ismailis across Canada who received this tiny object of sublime grace and beauty on the occasion of the 78th Salgirah (birthday) of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, on December 13, 2014. The octagonal pin commemorates last September’s opening of the magnificent Toronto Ismaili Centre.

As a fashion accessory, the lapel pin has been growing in popularity in recent years, and is considered to be more memorable than many other accessories, as part of being “well-dressed!”

Lapel Pin Ismaili Centre Opening

The pin is octagonal, a pattern that has become very familiar in Islamic history since the 7th century. Within this octagonal structure are 3-sets of the eight-pointed star, which as a religious symbolism stretches in history to ancient civilizations. [1] The geometric octagonal design permeates numerous aspects of the new Toronto Ismaili Centre opened in 2014 as well as the first Ismaili Centre built in Burnaby, Canada, in 1985. Bruno Freschi, the architect of the Burnaby Ismaili Centre, said in an exclusive interview with Simerg:

‘GEOMETRY governs the entire site, the building. It is symbolized in the octagon, the mythical squaring of the circle. THE OCTAGON is Omni-directional. All axial relationships are equal providing an open and non-hierarchical circulation. The centre is everywhere, and everyone is in the centre.” [2]

Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre: Light, Shadow and Darkness as sunlight filters through the lantern like windows.The Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre, Burnaby. According to the architet, Bruno Freschi:

Ismaili Centre Tooronto Foyer

Top photo: Embossed octagonal patterns in the carpet of the  prayer hall of the Ismaili Centre and Jamatkhana located in Burnaby, Canada. Centre: The octagonal domes of the Burnaby Ismaili Centre. Bottom: The design of the exquisite lapel pin distributed to members of the Canadian Jamat on December 13, 2014, matches that of the floor in the foyer of  the Toronto Ismaili Centre, which has repeated octagonal geometric designs within which are 3 sets of the eight-pointed star. Photos: Gary Otte. 

The lapel pin will provide a great opportunity for members of the Jamat to stand out in public and achieve a look that is fresh and original. Wearing the pin will be an opportunity for Canadian Ismailis to make a historical statement in the context of the Jamatkhanas that have been built. It will draw the attention of others not familiar with the Ismaili Centres in Toronto and Burnaby to learn more about the buildings as well as the ethos of the Ismaili community and the Institution of Imamat by which Ismailis have been led since the demise of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.). On our part, an understanding of our faith and identity as Ismaili Muslims then becomes essential.

Ismaili Centre Lapel Pin

What may be regarded today as an object of fashion, might become one day an object of historic importance and lasting value like other objects, coins and memorabilia that have been produced during Ismaili history.

In the meantime, this graceful pin, whenever worn as part of your outfit will go to show how the addition of something so small can totally transform a look on someone or help to emphasize the image of our community and faith that we wish to portray. We can thus become role models and true ambassadors for the Jamat.

Enjoy the lapel pin!

Date posted: Monday, May 4, 2015.

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[1] For an interesting discussion about the significance of the 8-pointed star in Islamic architecture, please click on http://archnet.org/archive/message_107815.
[2] Please click Voices: Bruno Freschi, Architect of the Ismaili Centre in Burnaby, in Conversation with Simerg.

We invite your feedback and comments. Please click Leave a comment.

Hazrat Ali, the First Imam: A Collection of Easy Readings for Young and Adult Readers

THE IMAMS

We are the tree of Prophethood,
the place of descent
of Divine revelation,
the place of frequenting
of the angels,
and the mainsprings of knowledge.
Those who help us and love us
await (God’s) mercy…..Hazrat Ali

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Introduction: The birthday anniversary of Hazrat Imam Ali (a.s.) is commemorated on the 13th Rajab (corresponding to May 2, in the year 2015). This festival is celebrated by the Shi’te communities and is observed as an occasion to reflect upon the life and teachings of their first Imam. According to the Shi’a doctrine and tradition, Hazrat Ali  was the foundation (asas) of the institution of Imamah. His designation (nass) by the Prophet upon the Command of Allah (al-amr), to guide the believers after the termination of the institution of Nabuwah is central to the Shi’a theology. The Imam’s function is to continue the teaching (ta’lim) and interpretation (ta’wil) of Allah’s Final Message after the demise of the Prophet.

Today, the Shi’a Ismaili Muslims are led by His Highness the Aga Khan, who is the direct lineal descendant of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) through Hazrat Ali (a.s.) and Bibi Fatima (a.s.).

This post on Imam Ali will appeal to all readers, young and adults alike.

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THE ANT

By God,
were I given all the seven heavens
with all they contain
in order that
I may disobey God
by depriving an ant
from the husk of a grain of barley,
I would not do it…..Hazrat Ali

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THE PROPHET’S HOUSEHOLD

To them (the Household of the Prophet)
pertain the noblest of human virtues described in the Qur’an,
and they are the treasures of the Beneficent Allah.
When they speak, they speak the truth,
but when they keep quiet, no one can out strip them…..Hazrat Ali

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His Highness the Aga Khan seen giving his commencement lecture at the American University in Cairo on June 15, 2006. The excerpt on Hazrat Ali, from whom the 49th Ismaili Imam is directly descended, is from the address. Photo Credit: American University in Cairo.

His Highness the Aga Khan seen giving his commencement lecture at the American University in Cairo on June 15, 2006. The excerpts on Hazrat Ali are from the lecture. Photo Credit: American University in Cairo.

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Great Selections from Nahj al-Balaghah for Young People (II)

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ON BEING PATIENT

One who perseveres patiently
will not be without success,
even if it takes a long time – Hazrat Ali

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Great Selections from Nahj al-Balaghah for Young People (I)

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THE HEADSTRONG

One who is headstrong and opinionated perishes,
while one who seeks the advice of others
becomes a partner in their understanding — Hazrat Ali

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KALAM-I MAWLA

Ethics in the Kalam-i Mawla of Hazrat Ali by Farouk M. Topan

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A MESSAGE BY HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN
ON THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE AGA KHAN FOUNDATION

“The closer you come, the more you will know him” by Akber Kanji, Toronto, Canada

“This is a time of new freedoms, but it is also one in which new choices must be made wisely. In exercising freedom and making choices, our institutions must be guided, as they have been in the past, by the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace of Allah be upon him), and the tradition of our tariqah, which is the tradition of Hazrat Ali: A thinking Islam and a spiritual Islam – an Islam that teaches compassion, tolerance and the dignity of man – Allah’s noblest creation.” — His Highness the Aga Khan, May 14, 1992.

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THE BLESSED

Blessed is one
who is humble regarding himself,

whose livelihood is good,
whose inner thoughts are virtuous,
whose character is good,
who spends the surplus from his wealth
and removes superfluity from his speech,
who keeps his evil away from people — Hazrat Ali

Date Posted: May 1, 2015.

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Readers’ Reflections and Prayers for Grief-Stricken Syria

The following is a selection of comments received from readers in response to Simerg’s recent posts concerning Syria, namely:

LETTERS

Ya Ali Madad:

Friend, brother… I have so much pain in my heart, I can not write… my tears are bigger than my chances to talk. [We] are united and together to face the barbarism!

Abd an-Nur al-Gharib

~~~~

Being an Ismaili Muslim, we all have done bayah of the Imam of the Time and this means we are spiritual children of Mawlana Hazar Imam and he is our father and mother, which connects all murids around the world as Ismaili brothers and sisters.

My deep prayers, wishes, dua, bandagi, and concern for my brothers and sisters in Syria. May our beloved Hazar Imam, the Lord of din and duniya, please bestow his protection upon the jamat and guard them with his hands on their shoulders.

Mawla ease their difficulties, make the Syrian jamats prosperous, and bless them with long, healthy lives as well as abundance of peace and love.

Mawla, it is my humble prayer that with your divine grace and power, the murids facing difficulties are protected. Inshallah, these humble supplications will reach you. Ameen.

Amirali Minsariya

~~~~

Difficult times do come in life of an individual or jamat but we must face them with courage and patience. I just want to tell my brothers and sisters in faith dwelling in Salamiyah that you are not alone there; we all are with you and will stand by you and we are ready to help you in any possible way we can.

Rizwan Shariff

~~~~

Our prayer is for your peace! It is terrible to perceive that we are unable to help you physically.

Vasila Bozichaeva

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Dear Syrian Brothers and Sisters.

I am writing this to you from USA to let you know that our prayers and good wishes are always with you. May Mowlana Hazar Imam grant all Syrian Murids respite from their troubles and bless them with peace and prosperity.

Karim Hasham

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Ignorant as I am in Arabic, the English version you have given out of this Prayer (Naad-e-Ali) with beautiful Arabic script that sadly I cannot read, but can hear it and share it with our afflicted brethren not just in Syria but also in Bahrain, Iran and more currently with Shia in Sana’a in Yemen. This, the most powerful prayer of Nade Ali in its entirety rings in my ears and jogs my memory of times when I have addressed it to Mowla.

Since our young days our parents taught us lovingly while comforting us. When any of us face tribulations, for Mushkeel Asaan we privately recite it connecting as if on a direct line, a personal phone call to Ali. He is engraved in our hearts; this supplication is embossed deep down in our soul as the SOS, ultimate call out to help us, to our Mowla Ali present our ‘ghat’ closer than our jugular vein. Ginans: ‘Rome rome maaro Shah vase, jem champa phul manhe vaas…avun Janine bhagatai kijiye …’

Enough. Words fail me as I bow down my head in Sujjud with all his created human kind. Thank you for the beautiful gift of ‘Nade Ali’ to us, the victims of atrocities, pain and suffering. Ameen.

Zarinaspeaks

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It is indeed heart rendering and heart wrenching to see such cruelty taking place in Syria. It is my hope and prayer that sanity prevails and may Almighty Allah give strength and courage to the families who have lost their kith and kin and may their souls rest in eternal peace in the world beyond and they attain Jannathul Firdhouse.

Amyn Chatoor

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Ya Ali Madad,

I am Jalal from Salamieh, and I am an Ismaili teacher in the National council. From my side, I believe that your prayers with ours can open the sky for the end of this stupid civil war. So far, I really appreciate your interests and deep emotions about the Ismaili brothers and sisters.

Your brother in faith.

Jalal

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My deepfelt condolences to each and every family who has lost loved ones and intense prayers that Mawla gives you the courage to bear this loss and that Salamiya and indeed Syria returns to peace and tranquility. You are not alone; of that you can be sure! The world Ismailis are with you. You will prevail, inshallah! It must be so terrifying having ISIS at your doorstep! The threat is so very real.

Izat

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I feel extremely saddened by the torture and brutality that the jamat of Syria is facing. Our sincere prayers for their mushkil asan. May the peace and safety soon return to Syria.

Syria jamat please stay strong to your faith. We stand by you in your difficult times.

Nessa

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Time and again, in his farmans of recent years, especially during the Golden Jubilee Mowlana Hazar Imam has said to the jamat to say a silent prayer. Calling the names of the imams, or Prophet Mohammed or Ali. Also the most powerful prayer is the Salwat.
The Syrian jamat is going through a lot of difficult times and we pray for peace to be restored for them. Amen.

Ya Ali Tun Reham Kar, Ya Mowla Tun Fazal Kar, Har Bhala Tun Dur Kar, Mushkil ku Asaan, Mowla Ali.

Shirin Hirji

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Our prayers are with the bravest jamat in the world! May ALLAH protect you from all brutal acts of so-called Muslims. Syria is in our prayers.

Maqsood Ali Khan

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Thank you for the opportunity to interact. The situation is very dangerous in Salamieh. We are tracked in the city from both the east and the west by the ISIS and al Nusra fronts. The soldiers from Salamieh belong to Government force trying to defend. Note that Salamieh is represented by numerous Muslim tariqahs. We have lived peacefully together for many many years. We have some choices including:

1. The hope that Canadian air forces will also play a role around Salamieh;
2. More military support to Salamieh from the regime; and
3. Possible plane evacuation of women and children from the city in case we can’t defend the city any more.

No doubt, there is support to the community from AKDN, but it is like staying here (and dying?). Yesterday the rebels fired 2 missile at Salamieh and 10 people died, with 30 injured.

The world should move to stop this dangerous situation around Salamieh.

Ya Ali Madad

Ali

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Dear brothers and sisters:

Every moment holds love if we connect inside. Like the sea’s calm beneath, God’s strength rules if we submit the tides and ripples of pain to Him in total surrender and say Salwaat or His name in jaap continuously. Ali bolo Munivar jan Ali ke charan chint lao ek man. Solace and peace come from knowing that we are always in His sight even though we may not be able to see Him. This pain is necessary to awaken. Just submit all pain to Him aape uthi shah ne besan dije vira, sohi tamara dharam likhaiya (You get up and have Him sit at the driver’s seat of your heart, your religion is only that much. Ask Him continuously your next step, tauba shukhar madad).

Jal tu Jalal tu , Kudrat no karnaar tu , Har bala taad tu, Mushkil asaan kar tu Ya Ali Ya Ali Ya Ali

With love, prayers, light. We are one soul, we suffer with your suffering too. Rest assured that is true.

Naaz

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Ya Ali Madad,

I am extremely grief stricken to know about my beloved spiritual brothers and sisters along with our little Masoom angles to be the victims of horrendous brutalities of ISIS thugs. May our beloved Mowlana Hazir Imam help the jamat all over to get away with their worldly and spiritual challenges and may GOD bestow them the highest place in Jannah. Let us pray to Mowla to keep all humanity under his gracious custody safe and secure. The humanity is under threat and it is time that we all need to stay united and face them without any fear. They will meet their fate soon and will burn in hell. Their end is near.

Tahira Noor

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Your message has a very deep and touching impact on the Syrian Jamat. Your continuous support and prayers will definitely make a change hopefully.

With Ya Ali Madad

Mahmoud Syria

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Dearest Ismaili parents, brothers, sisters and children:

We are deeply sad for the difficult circumstances you are facing. We might be far but our hearts are heavy with grief. We cannot reach you but we are of the same spiritual parent that makes us pray for you more strongly. Inshallah Mowla will help you overcome this very difficult moment in your lives. Allah bless all the departed souls in eternal peace Ameen.

Nade Ali, Nade Ali. Ya Mawla to madat kar, mushkil assan kar, rahem kar.  Shukr Alhamdulillah.

Ya Ali Madad.

Zeenat Salim

~~~~

My prayers for our Syrian brothers and sisters. May Mawla bring peace and security to your homes. May the departed souls rest in peace. Ameen.

Amin Hunzai

~~~~

This is beyond troubling. It is like going back to the time of Genghis Khan who committed the same barbaric acts.

Mallee Stanley

~~~~

We remember you at this time and pray that peace return to you, your great city and great country. We remember you prayed for us when we were expelled from Uganda. We remember you were beloved of Prince Aly Khan and he of you – “Salamiyah ke pyare, himatwale, tumko lakho salaam”, we used to sing. (Beloved of Salamiyah, the brave one, 100 thousand greetings to you.) How he dashed out over the mountains from Beirut to declare to you that the naas had been passed to Karim al Husseini. May peace be upon him who rests in your city and may peace reign over you again. You are not forgotten.

Vali Jamal

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All I think of is how our beloved Hazar Imam must be feeling. Can you imagine how much this must hurt him? The scariest thing is there doesn’t seem to be an end to this war. In fact, things are just getting worse in so many countries – in Yemen too. Sincere prayers always.

Rashida Rahemtulla

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I pray to Hazar Imam that whatever sewa that I have done, the benefit of that service should go to my brothers and sisters in Syria. Ameen.

Karim Jivraj

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You are very right; with complete faith if one recites Nad-e-Ali; and Inshallah success will be positive. This particular piece of writing made my day.

Manji

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God: Keep and save Syria and defend its good people, culture and its deep history. Ameen, Ameen Ameen. Ya Allah, Ya Muhammad, Ya Ali, defeat its enemies. “There is no hero but Ali; there is no sword but Dhu’lfaqar”.

Hatim Mahamid

Date posted: Sunday, April 26, 2015.

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If you missed the earlier posts, please click on the following links:

We invite our readers to offer their solidarity with the Ismaili jamat in Syria and the people of Syria by conveying their heartfelt wishes and prayers by clicking on Leave a comment or in the comment box below. If you encounter any difficulty in submitting your comment, please email your comment for publication to Simerg@aol.com, subject “Syria.” Please note that we never publish your email address with your feedback, and that you may submit your feedback using a pen name or a partial name, if you wish.