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 roles 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.

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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The Meaning of Irfan, the Name of the New Prince Welcomed by Prince Rahim Aga Khan and Princess Salwa Aga Khan

Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa during their nikah ceremony in September 2013. Photo: TheIsmaili / Gary Otte

Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa during their nikah ceremony in September 2013. Photo: TheIsmaili / Gary Otte

Compiled by Simerg

Following last October’s happy announcement by Prince Rahim Aga Khan and Princess Salwa that that they were expecting their first child, a son named Prince Irfan, was born in Geneva, Switzerland on 11 April, 2015. The couple were married in September 2013 in the grounds of the Château de Bellerive, overlooking the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland.

An official announcement on the community’s website, http://www.theismaili.org, said that both Princess Salwa and Prince Irfan were in good health. Mawlana Hazar Imam’s special message to the global Jamat on this occasion expressed the great happiness of both his as well as the family of Princess Salwa. Jamats around the world received the news of Prince Irfan’s birth with immense joy and traditional celebrations.

The Meaning of Irfan

Irfan is an indirect Qur’anic name for boys. Irfan means “wisdom”, or more correctly, Wisdom with a capital W. It refers to all that is good and true of thoughts and deeds. It is derived from the Ain-R-F root (to know, to recognize), which is used in many places in the Holy Qu’ran, [1] as in the following verse:

Transliteration:

Wa Jā’a ‘Ikhwatu Yūsufa Fadakhalū `Alayhi Fa`arafahum Wa Hum Lahu Munkirūna — Sura Yusuf, Chapter 12, Verse 58

Translation:

And the brethren of Joseph came, and entered unto him, and he knew them, but they knew him not — Holy Qur’an, 12:15, translation by A.J. Arberry.

The Term Irfan in Islamic Mysticism

The term ‘irfan (gnosis), which literally meaning knowledge, is widely applied in Islamic mysticism. In the mystical context, like another term in the same family, mari’fa, which is also translated as gnosis, the knowledge is of certain kind which can be achieved neither through the senses nor experience, nor through reason nor narration, but rather is acquired by inner witnessings and interior unveilings. [2] It is that knowledge that unites man with God after penetrating and transforming him completely.

The famous prayer of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) sums up the end toward which the gnostic strives with all his mind, soul and body:

“O God, deliver us from preoccupations with worldly vanities and show us the nature of things ‘as they really are’. Remove from our eyes the veil of ignorance, and show us things as they really are…Deliver us from ourselves, and accord us intimate knowledge of Thee.” [3]

We rejoice with our thousands of  readers around the world on the wonderful news of the birth of Prince Irfan, and join with jamats around the world to congratulate Mawlana Hazar Imam, Prince Rahim, Princess Salwa and their families, with prayers for Prince Irfan’s long life and well being.

We also sincerely hope and pray that the birth of Prince Irfan may bring immense barakah and peace to jamats worldwide.

We encourage readers to express their wishes and thoughts on the birth of Prince Irfan by clicking on Leave a comment or scrolling down to the comments box below.

Date posted: Friday, April 17, 2015.
Last updated: Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

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This compiled piece contains excerpts from the following sources:

[1] http://quranicnames.com/irfan/
[2] http://www.alseraj.net/
[3] http://www.allamaiqbal.com/publications/journals/review/apr89/7.htm

See also:

A Nikah in the Noorani Family: Prince Rahim Aga Khan Weds Ms. Kendra Salwa Spears by Navyn Naran

A Simerg Brief: “I Absolutely Admire the Aga Khan” — Howard Shearer

Howard Shearer

Howard Shearer

Highly accomplished, Jamaican born Howard Shearer served as a member of McMaster University’s Board of Governors while heading Hitachi Canada Ltd. as its President and CEO. In an interview with the University’s McMaster Times for its 2008 Winter/Spring edition, Mr. Shearer talked about “Leading by a Moral Compass” that readers of this website will find interesting.

When asked, “What living person do you most admire?”, Howard Shearer replied:

His Highness the Aga Khan

His Highness the Aga Khan

“I have to say my mother. She dared us to imagine what is possible. That’s crucial. I absolutely admire the Aga Khan. He established a moral compass in terms of his teaching and his commitment to social responsibility – for contributing to society.”

As for his motto, Shearer explains, “Carpe diem. The opportunity to do something always exists today. I encourage people to make every effort to seize the opportunities that are in front of them and not to wait until tomorrow, because tomorrow will bring its own opportunities.”

To read Mr. Shearer’s inspiring interview, please click: Leading by a moral compass, and scroll to page 16.

Date posted: Monday, March 23, 2015.

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Voices of Graduates: The Magnificent Aga Khan University Convocations in Nairobi, Kampala and Dar-es-Salaam

….The guiding rope
That God has cast
We hold fast to it
The pendulum moves

We Appreciate…Read More

PLEASE CLICK: “We Appreciate” – Poem and Voices from the Aga Khan University East Africa Convocations: Graduates and Families Speak About Hopes and Express Gratitude to University’s Founder, His Highness the Aga Khan
Dar-es-Salaam Procession

Simerg Profiles His Excellency Gordon Campbell, Canada’s Representative to the Ismaili Imamat

Mawlana Hazar Imam receives His Excellency Gordon Campbell at Aiglemont. Left to right: Malik Talib; Rouben Khatchadourian, Prince Rahim, HE Gordon Campbell, Mawlana Hazar Imam, Dr Mahmoud Eboo, and Dr Shafik Sachedina. AKDN / Cécile Genest

Mawlana Hazar Imam receives His Excellency Gordon Campbell at Aiglemont on March 4, 2015. Left to right: Malik Talib; Rouben Khatchadourian, Prince Rahim, HE Gordon Campbell, Mawlana Hazar Imam, Dr Mahmoud Eboo, and Dr Shafik Sachedina. AKDN/Cécile Genest

Mawlana Hazar Imam received His Excellency Gordon Campbell, Canada’s Representative to the Ismaili Imamat, at Aiglemont, France, on Wednesday, March 4, 2015.

Recently appointed to this role by the Government of Canada, Gordon Campbell has also been serving as Canada’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom since September 2011. Prior to his appointment, Mr Campbell served three terms as Premier of the province of British Columbia from 2001 to 2011, during which time he was ranked best fiscal manager among Canadian premiers by the Fraser Institute.

Joining Mawlana Hazar Imam and Mr. Campbell at the meeting were Prince Rahim, Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Personal Representative to Canada; Dr Mahmoud Eboo, Resident Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network in Canada; Malik Talib, President of the Ismaili Council for Canada; Rouben Khatchadourian, Political Counsellor at the Canadian High Commission to the UK; and Dr Shafik Sachedina, Head of the Department of Diplomatic Affairs at Hazar Imam’s Secretariat.

Mawlana Hazar Imam at a luncheon hosted by Premier Gordon Campbell that was attended by community, education and business leaders in honour of Mawlana Hazar Imam's Golden Jubilee visit to British Columbia. Gary Otte

Mawlana Hazar Imam at a luncheon hosted by Premier Gordon Campbell that was attended by community, education and business leaders in honour of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee visit to British Columbia in 2008. Photo: The Ismaili/Gary Otte.

In 2008, Mr. Campbell as BC’s Premier hosted a luncheon in Mawlana Hazar Imam’s honour for the Golden Jubilee visit to the Province. At the event, Mawlana Hazar Imam signed his book Where Hope Takes Root for the Premier. Mr. Campbell spoke about the contribution made by the Ismaili community in the Province and across Canada: “It touches us in British Columbia when we go to the Partnership Walk and we see literally thousands and thousands of people, not just Ismaili people, but many, many others as well joining the Ismaili community here. And most importantly, young people, young people who are becoming aware of the fact that we live in a great place and there may be things we can do to help others live in better places around the world. That is your message, and it is a message that is based on not just talking about the opportunities here before us but actually taking steps down that road to hope and to promise that you have talked about so much in the past.”

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness Aga Khan, signing his book "Where Hope Takes Root" for Gordon Campbell, the Premier of British Columbia during his 2008 visit to the province to celebrate his Golden Jubilee.  Photo: With permission of The Vancouver Sun.  Copyright. Please click on photo for book review.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness Aga Khan, signing his book “Where Hope Takes Root” for Gordon Campbell, the Premier of British Columbia during his 2008 visit to the province to celebrate his Golden Jubilee. Photo: With permission of The Vancouver Sun. Copyright. Please click on photo for book review.

Mr Campbell, a Vancouver native, studied English and Urban Studies at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and completed his MBA at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. He spent two years teaching in Nigeria with the Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO) where he also coached championship state basketball and track and field teams in addition to launching a major library restoration initiative. After his return to British Columbia, Mr Campbell founded a successful property development firm. He then began his political career in local politics in Vancouver, where he went on to serve as Mayor for three successive terms from 1986 to 1993, and spearheaded key urban regeneration projects and ground-breaking initiatives in literacy and cultural diversity.

As Premier, Mr Campbell was recognized for his leadership on climate change issues and his reconciliation initiatives with Canada’s First Nations.  He was recognized as a champion of Canada’s highly successful 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia.  Mr Campbell worked to ensure that the 2010 Olympics were not just about the city of Vancouver, but were a Games that all Canadians could celebrate and call their own.

The Globe and Mail recently reported that Mr. Campbell is being floated as federal Conservative candidate for a new federal riding in Vancouver. Residents are receiving phone calls asking them if they’d vote for the former B.C. premier were he to run for the federal Conservatives in their electoral district.

Date posted: March 5, 2015.
Last updated: March 6, 2015 (typo, Hazar Imam received Gordon Campbell at Aiglemont on March 4, 2015, and not on February 4 as mentioned previously).

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Material compiled from the following sources:

Three Reasons Why Ismailis Are An Exceptional Community in the Islamic Ummah by Mohammed Arkoun

“Coming from Algeria, which is my country, I can tell you that you represent in Muslim world, in Islamic Ummah a very exceptional community, exceptional community for three reasons.” — Professor Arkoun, please click to read article

“Heresiographic literature describes all the sects in Islam from one point of view, the Sunnite point of view, the Shiite point of view, telling that ‘we, we have the truth, and the others don’t have anything’. This is the heresiographic interpretation of Islam which is totally irrelevant for us today.” — Professor Arkoun, please click to read article

PLEASE CLICK: Three Reasons Why Ismailis Are An Exceptional Community in the Islamic Ummah

Please click on image for article.

Please click on image for article.

“The Honourable Task of Caring for the Sick” — Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, on Nursing

Aga Khan Dar arrival

Editor’s note: Mawlana Hazar Imam has arrived in East Africa to preside over the Aga Khan University Convocation in Dar-es-Salaam (February 24, 2015), Kampala (February 26) and Nairobi (March 2). We are pleased to publish the following excerpts from his speeches on the profession of nursing.

EXCERPTS FROM MAWLANA HAZAR IMAM’S SPEECHES

I. 1981…Inauguration of the Aga Khan School of Nursing, Karachi, Pakistan

Mawlana Hazar Imam  with Pakistan President Zia ul-Haqq at the opening of the School of Nursing in Karachi in 1981. Photo: Christopher Little/25 Years in Pictures, Volume 1, 1983, Islamic Publications, UK.

Mawlana Hazar Imam with Pakistan President Zia ul-Haqq at the opening of the School of Nursing in Karachi in 1981. Photo: Christopher Little/25 Years in Pictures, Volume 1, 1983, Islamic Publications, UK.

“The School of Nursing’s primary mission is to raise the standards and standing of the profession itself, so that it is accorded the recognition and prestige earned and deserved by the women whose working lives are dedicated to the demanding and honourable task of caring for the sick. We are confident that the nurses in our hospital will be rewarded with respect, appreciation and remuneration that their integrity and loyal commitment justify. The key note to the School’s philosophy is excellence.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, presents diplomas to graduating nurses during his 17-day visit to Pakistan in 1991. Photo: Gary Otte/The Ismaili, UK, December 1991.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, presents diplomas to graduating nurses during his 17-day visit to Pakistan in 1991. Photo: Gary Otte/The Ismaili, UK, December 1991.

“Let me end by addressing directly the first Aga Khan School of Nursing students. Here today, you like me, are at the beginning. You are starting your chosen professional training. The opening of your School is for me the beginning of a new major philanthropic medical complex. My purpose is to make possible the development of your career, but you must achieve. If you fail, I have failed. If you succeed, Pakistan will be rewarded.” [1]

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II. 1996…Baccalaureate Address  at Brown University, Providence, USA

May 26, 1996: An audience at Brown Univeristy's "Green" watches a live telecast from the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church where the Aga Khan delivered the Baccalaureate Address to graduating class. Photo: Abdulmalik Merchant

May 26, 1996: An audience at Brown Univeristy’s “Green” watches a live telecast from the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church where Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan delivered the Baccalaureate Address to the graduating class. Photo: Abdulmalik Merchant/Simerg.

“The Aga Khan University was founded thirteen years ago in Pakistan with planning assistance from Harvard. It was the first private self-governing university in that country of 125 million people. Medical Science was the initial field of engagement. As Pakistan had one of the lowest ratios in the world of nurses to doctors, and the nursing profession was mired in mediocrity, social unacceptability and low pay, nursing became our priority. With the assistance of McMaster University in Ontario, a curriculum was designed and a School of Nursing launched. In addition to becoming a leading academic institution, it has transformed the role of women in society by providing them with new educational and professional opportunities.

“This solution to some of Pakistan’s most pressing health care problems, which has also enhanced the social self-worth and professional status of women in the country, may soon be replicated in other areas. Under the university’s international charter, the nursing school now envisages the creation of an Institute of Advanced Nursing Studies in East Africa to extend the same professional and societal opportunities to the women of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and further afield.” [2]

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III. 2001…Archon Award Ceremony, Copenhagen, Denmark

“It is particularly meaningful to receive this recognition from Sigma Theta Tau with its record of focussed dedication to the global advancement of nursing. I have long felt the enhancement of the nursing profession to be absolutely critical to the improvement of health care in the developing world, and the Islamic world. The way forward was to professionalise, to institutionalise, and to dignify this great profession.

“More than twenty-five years ago, these were some of the central concerns that led to the establishment of the Aga Khan University in Karachi and its School of Nursing. Universities have the unique capacity for forming the human resources necessary for all fields of human development.

“The School of Nursing was the first academic programme offered by the Aga Khan University for a combination of reasons, some universal in nature, and others particular to countries like Pakistan. It is generally accepted that high quality health care, both in institutional as well as community settings, cannot be provided effectively without capable nurses to support physicians and other health professionals. But Pakistan suffers from an acute shortage of nurses. Even now, there are four physicians for every nurse whereas the international norm is at least five nurses to every physician. In addition, because women constitute an overwhelming number of nurses in the developing world, the Board of Trustees of the Aga Khan University felt that the School of Nursing could foster the enhancement of nurses, and women professionals more generally, empowering them, and increasing their standing and effectiveness in society.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, talking with graduating students at a luncheon held on the Aga Khan University Campus during his 17-day visit to Pakistan in 1991. Photo: Gary Otte/The Ismaili, UK, December 1991.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, talking with graduating students at a luncheon held on the Aga Khan University Campus during his 17-day visit to Pakistan in 1991. Photo: Gary Otte/The Ismaili, UK, December 1991.

“Today, the AKU School of Nursing takes pride that:

“More and more women are coming forward to join the profession. By adding programmes that lead to Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Nursing for the first time in Pakistan, the School is providing opportunities for career advancement that were out of reach for nearly everyone in the profession in the country.

“The School of Nursing has become an important resource for policy dialogues with the government and the nation’s Nursing Council. It has assisted in the review and reforming of nursing policies, and the curriculum for nursing education for the country as a whole.

“The School of Nursing is also in the vanguard as the Aga Khan University launches its first programmes outside Pakistan, in fulfilment of the provisions of its charter as an international university. The School is developing an initiative in Advanced Nursing Studies regionally in Eastern Africa, responding to the needs for advanced training in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya.” [3]

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IV. 2014…House of Commons, Ottawa, Canada

“The nursing school’s impact has been enormous; many of those who now head other nursing programmes and hospitals in the whole of the region — not just Pakistan — are graduates of our school.” [4]

Date posted: Friday, February 20, 2015.
Last updated: February 21, 2015.

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Notes:

[1] Speech at the Inauguration of the Aga Khan School of Nursing, Karachi, Pakistan, February 16, 1981.

[2] Baccalaureate Address to the Class of 1996 at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 26, in the Meeting House of the First Baptist in America, near the Brown University campus in Providence, Rhode Island, USA.

[3] Speech by His Highness the Aga Khan at the Archon Award Ceremony of Sigma Theta Tau International, Copenhagen, Denmark, June 7, 2001.

[4] Address of His Highness the Aga Khan to both Houses of the Parliament of Canada in the House of Commons Chamber, Ottawa, February 27, 2014.

For speeches made by Mawlana Hazar Imam, please visit http://www.akdn.org/speeches and http://www.nanowisdoms.org.

Kundan Paatni: A Dedicated Nurse Shares Her Special Moments at the Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi, in the 1960s

“To my overwhelming surprise the lift door opened on to the fifth floor where I was in charge. There they were, the Aga Khan and the President. I was honoured and awed. I felt like the luckiest person on earth. I met all the dignitaries and escorted them through the impeccable ward of which we were so proud.” — Kundanben Paatni

ESSAYS AND LETTERS: The Amazing Story of Kundan Paatni: A Graduate of the Aga Khan Nursing School in Nairobi in the 1960s

His Highness the Aga Khan and the late President Jomo Kenyatta visit the Aga Khan Hospital. Photo: Kundan Paatni Archives.

His Highness the Aga Khan and the late President Jomo Kenyatta visit the Aga Khan Hospital. Photo: Kundan Paatni Archives.

Unity and Self-Effacement by Prince Aly Khan

“If self-effacement is achieved, the foundation of unity will have been well and truly laid…Be guided by the lives of men like Hasan bin Sabah and Pir Sadar Din.”

Prince Aly Khan in Nagpur,India. The following can be identified (l to r): In Turban and Saafa with medal on his lapel is Late Vazir ValiBhoy Sunderji. The person in front with glasses is Vazir Ibrahim Suleman Haji. Seen behind the mirophone is Late Vazir JaferAli Abji Bhalwani. The person on extreme right of the photograph is Late Alwaez AliBhai Hasham Jiwani  Photo: Samsu Jalali Collection, Atlanta, Georgia.

Prince Aly Khan (13 June 1911 – 12 May 1960)  in Nagpur, India. The following can be identified (l to r): In turban and saafa with medal on his lapel is Late Vazir Valibhoy Sunderji. The person in front with glasses is Vazir Ibrahim Suleman Haji. Seen behind the mcirophone is Late Vazir JaferAli Abji Bhalwani. The person on extreme right of the photograph is Vazir H. Javeri. Photo/Caption: Samsu Jalali Collection, Atlanta, Georgia.

“Unity and self-effacement are the greatest contributions we can make individually to the rest of the community.

“By self-effacement, I mean the forgetting of oneself sometimes and making one’s personal interests subservient to those of the largest number. If self-effacement is achieved, the foundation of unity will have been well and truly laid. For, at present, it is the consciousness of one’s self-importance and dignity which is making people forget their duties and responsibilities, and indulge in petty squabbles and bitter trivialities.

Prince Aly Khan pictured with members of  Lourenço Marques (Maputo after independence) during his visit to Mozambique in 1958. Photo: Jehangir A. Merchant Collection.

Prince Aly Khan pictured with members of Lourenço Marques (Maputo after independence) during his visit to Mozambique in 1958. Photo: Jehangir A. Merchant Collection.

“The welfare of the Ismailis is so near and dear to my heart that I cannot light-heartedly bring myself to overlook the weak points of the community. It is by recognizing our own faults that we can hope to improve. Let us realize that in the matter of helping our brethren we have much to learn from our sister communities, and that if we ever hope to achieve what we have set out to, we must resolutely follow the principles of the faith, be guided by the lives of men like Hasan bin Sabah and Pir Sadar Din and concentrate on the two most important principles of life — namely, Unity and Service of the Imam-e-Zaman and Community.” – Ismaili, India, February 2, 1941.