Special Series: Exclusive Photos of His Highness the Aga Khan by “Papa Jaan”

PLEASE CLICK: Exclusive: Photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s 1961 Visit to Hunza by the Late Abdul M. Ismaily (“Papa Jaan”)

Photo: Abdul M. Ismaily. Copyright. Please click on image for more photos.

Photo: Abdul M. Ismaily. Copyright. Please click on image for more photos.

Editor’s Note: Over the coming weeks Simergphotos, the sister blog of this literary website, will be publishing historical photos of His Highness the Aga Khan that were captured by the late Abdul Mohamed Ismaily, lovingly known to his family and friends as “Papa Jaan.” A passionate amateur photographer, Mr. Ismaily followed His Highness and his entourage during the Ismaili Imam’s visits to his followers in Hunza, Kampala, and Dar-es-Salaam.

"Papa Jaan"

“Papa Jaan”

Papa Jaan passed away in 1981 at the age of 55, and his photos remained part of his estate. They have been reproduced here with the permission of his family. We commence the series with Mr. Ismaily’s photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visit to Hunza in 1961, which also includes a  rare anecdote by a journalist who accompanied  His Highness to Hunza. Please click Exclusive: Photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s 1961 Visit to Hunza by the Late Abdul M. Ismaily (“Papa Jaan”)

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NEXT: PHOTOS OF HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN IN UGANDA

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, arriving at Kampala's Entebbe Airport. Photo: Abdul M. Ismaily ("Papa Jaan"). Copyright,

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, arriving at Kampala’s Entebbe Airport. Photo: Abdul M. Ismaily (“Papa Jaan”). Copyright,

1957-1958 Photos: His Highness the Aga Khan and Prince Aly Khan in Lourenço Marques + Forthcoming @Simergphotos

PLEASE CLICK: Photos of Visits by Mawlana Hazar Imam and Prince Aly Khan to Mozambique in the late 1950’s

Prince Aly Khan, Lourenco Marques, 1957Please click image for more photos

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Forthcoming Photo Essays at Simergphotos

EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS BY PAPA JAN: HUNZA AND UGANDA 
(from Muslim Harji Collection, to be published week of Monday, February 8, 2016)

Please click on photos for enlargement

Papa Jan Photo: His Highness the Aga Khan Hunza VisitHunza. Photo by Papa Jan (late Abdul Mohamed Ismaily). Copyright.

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EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS BY AZHAR CHAUDHRY
(from Sultan Jessa Collection, to be published week of Monday, February 15, 2016)

Photo: Azhar Chaudhry. Copyright

Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: Azhar Chaudhry. Copyright.

Date posted: Saturday, February 6, 2016.

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We invite readers to submit historical photos in their collection for publication on this web site and its sister blog, http://www.simergphotos.com. Please write to the editor, Abdulmalik Merchant, at simerg@aol.com.

 

 

Coming Soon: An Exclusive Collection of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Photos Captured by “Papa Jan” in Hunza and East Africa

A note to our readers: Publication of new pieces on Simerg and Simergphotos will resume after February 2, 2016.

Hunza Volunteers

Lady Volunteers of Hunza outside the bangalow of Mawlana Hazar Imam.

Readers of http://www.simergphotos.com, the sister publication of this literary website, will later this week have a chance to view a collection of photos of His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Hazar Imam, that were captured in Hunza and East Africa some 55 years ago by the late Abdul Mohamed Ismaily, lovingly known as “Papa Jan.” Never seen previously, this exclusive collection of historical photos is being published with the permission of the late photographer’s family in a multi-part series which will commence in February with photos taken in Hunza, Pakistan. Two photos from “Papa Jan’s” vast collection are shown here in this introductory post. Please watch out for this new special series. In the meantime, we warmly invite you to visit http://www.simergphotos.com to view a few of the 101 photo essays that have appeared on the photo blog since the autumn of 2012. For example:

Please click on photo for enlargement

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Imam of Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, signing an autograph for Roshan Dhanani, Kampala.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Imam of Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, signing an autograph for Roshan Dhanani, Kampala.

Date posted: January 11, 2015.
Last updated: January 31, 2015 (revised publication date, re: Hunza photos)

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Simergphotos: Tajikistan Landscapes Through the Lens of Muslim Harji

“The Qur’an refers very often to nature as a reflection of Allah’s power of creation, and it says, look at the mountains, the rivers, the trees, the flowers, as evidence of Allah’s love for the people whom He has created. Today, I look at the environment and I say to you, I believe Allah is smiling upon you, and may His smile always be upon you.” — Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, Badakhshan, 1995.

PLEASE CLICK: Photo Essay: Tajikistan Landscapes Through the Lens of Muslim Harji

Please click on image for Tajikistan Landscapes.

Please click on image for Tajikistan Landscapes.

His Highness the Aga Khan and Pope Benedict XVI: A Very Special Photo of Two Faith Leaders Meeting Each Other at the Institut De France in Paris

PREPARED AND COMPILED BY ABDULMALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher-Editor http://www.simerg.com and http://www.simergphotos.com)

As part of his famous Apostolic Journey to France in 2008, Pope Benedict XVI, on September 13, paid a visit to the “Institut De France” in Paris. The Pope, who had been elected as the 265th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church in 2005, was presented with a gold medal by the Institut, and also unveiled a plaque commemorating his visit. During his very brief remarks to the audience, the Pope expressed his gratitude to the Institut “both personally and as the successor of [Simon] Peter.”

His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Hazar Imam, was also in attendance at the Institut de France as the Associate Foreign Member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts (Academy of Fine Arts), one of five learned societies within the Institut which was founded in 1795.

Everyone’s attention in the hall was drawn to Mawlana Hazar Imam and the Pope, with an extraordinary sense of interest and keenness, as the two faith leaders greeted each other with a handshake. Simerg is pleased to present this licensed copyright photo with permission from Getty Images.

Pope Benedict XVI is seen greeting His Highness the Aga Khan on September 13 at the Institut de France in Paris during an official visit to France in 2008. Photo: Copyright. Getty Images. Published on Simerg/Simergphotos with a Licencing arrangement with Getty Images. Fench caption: Vue plongeante du pape BENOIT XVI serrant la main de l'AGA KHAN à son arrivée sous la coupole de l'Institut de France à PARIS entouré de nombreux académiciens et autres personnalités dont Gabriel DE BROGLIE, Hélène CARRERE D'ENCAUSSE, Jean-François JARRIGE, Jean-François BACH, Arnaud D'HAUTERIVES, Michel ALBERT, Christian PONCELET président du Sénat, Jean TULARD, Alain DECAUX, Pierre-Jean REMY, Michel MOHRT, Max GALLO, le cardinal André VINGT-TROIS archevêque de Paris et le cardinal Paul POUPARD. (Photo by Philippe Petit/Paris Match via Getty Images)

Everyone’s attention is drawn to Pope Benedict XVI and His Highness the Aga Khan as they greet each other on September 13, at the Institut de France in Paris during an official visit by the Pope to France in 2008. Photo: Copyright. Getty Images. Published on Simerg/Simergphotos with a Licensing arrangement with Getty Images. Fench caption: Vue plongeante du pape BENOIT XVI serrant la main de l’AGA KHAN à son arrive sous la coupole de l’Institut de France à PARIS entouré de nombreux académiciens et autres personnalités dont Gabriel DE BROGLIE, Hélène CARRERE D’ENCAUSSE, Jean-François JARRIGE, Jean-François BACH, Arnaud D’HAUTERIVES, Michel ALBERT, Christian PONCELET président du Sénat, Jean TULARD, Alain DECAUX, Pierre-Jean REMY, Michel MOHRT, Max GALLO, le cardinal André VINGT-TROIS archevêque de Paris et le cardinal Paul POUPARD. (Photo by Philippe Petit/Paris Match via Getty Images).

In 2013, Pope Benedict dramatically resigned his position as the Head of the Catholic Church due to his deteriorating strength, advanced age and the heavy demands of being Pope, and retired at the Mater Ecclesiae, a small monastery located inside the Vatican State City. His present successor is Pope Francis I, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

SOME BRIEF NOTES ON THE PAPACY AND THE IMAMAT, AND SIMON PETER IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC AND ISMAILI TRADITIONS

The Catholics adhere to the belief that the Pope is a successor of St. Peter. The Ismailis regard their 49th hereditary Imam as the direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) through Hazrat Ali (a.s.) and Hazrat Bibi Fatima (a.s.). In a speech made at the Canadian Parliament in 2014, the Aga Khan declared that “the Ismaili Imamat is a supra-national entity, representing the succession of Imams since the time of the Prophet.” And, in an interview with Politique International he said, “The religious leadership of the Ismaili Imam goes back to the origins of Shia Islam when the Prophet Muhammad appointed his son-in-law, Ali, to continue his teachings within the Muslim community. The leadership is hereditary, handed down by Ali’s descendants, and the Ismailis are the only Shia Muslims to have a living Imam, namely myself.”

In the Catholic tradition, the foundation for the office of the Pope is found primarily in Matthew, where Jesus is quoted as telling Simon Peter:

“You are ‘Rock,’ and on this rock I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

This series of successions of the Pope is known as “Apostolic Succession,” with the line of Bishops stretching back to the apostles, who lived during the time of Jesus. Simon Peter is recognized as having been the first Pope. Early Christians reserved the title of “Pope” for St. Peter’s successors.

However, in branches of Shia theology as well as Ismailism, Simon Peter’s role is seen as the direct parallel to that of Hazrat Ali as the first Imam. Ismailis along with some other Shia groups maintain that every major Prophet had a spiritual legatee (Waṣi) or successor called the Asas (foundation) who taught the inner meaning to those who had the capacity to understand it. In this regard, Adam had Seth; Noah had Shem; Moses had Aaron, and Jesus had Simon Peter. A well known sacred tradition of the Prophet Muhammad says that “Ali is to me as Aaron was to Moses,” confirming that Ali held the same level of authority as Aaron did.

Date posted: December 31, 2015.
Last updated: January 1, 2015.

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We welcome your feedback, please click Leave a comment or send it to simerg@aol.com, subject: Aga Khan and Pope.  Your feedback may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation. We are unable to acknowledge unpublished letters.

The following were used as references for the compilation of this piece:

  1. Apostolic Journey to France: Greeting by the Holy Father during the visit at the Institut de France (September 13, 2008)
  2. The Popes: From St. Peter to Pope Frances by Rupert Matthews,  2014 Edition published by arrangement with Moseley Road Inc.
  3. http://www.catholic-pages.com/pope/peter.asp
  4. Peter in Islam, at Wikipedia.
  5. Comparing the Imamat and the Papacy: Some Short Notes (at Ismailignosis.com).
  6. The Delegation Decoded – An Esoteric Exegesis of the Delegation of the Isma‘ili Imamat, by Khalil Andani.
  7. Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, C. Glasse.
  8. Voices: “The Power of Wisdom” – His Highness the Aga Khan’s Interview with Politique Internationale (English translation)
  9. In a Dynamic and Stirring Address to Members of the Canadian Parliament, His Highness the Aga Khan Shares His Faith Perspectives on the Imamat, Collaboration with Canada, the Muslim World Community (the Ummah), the Nurturing of Civil Society, Early Childhood Education, Voluntary Work, and the Unity of the Human Race

Also see the following important features to learn more about the Aga Khan and the Ismaili Imamat:

in which His Highness the Aga Khan responded to Pope Benedict’s controversial remarks concerning Islam that he had made in 2006; and Special Series: Ismaili Expressions on the Imamat and Imam of the Time — (I) The Preamble of the Constitution of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims

A Marvellous Collection of Photos of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Visits to Canada, India and Greece

Editor’s note: In Part II of a special series on the 49th Ismaili Imam’s visits to numerous countries that he undertook during 2015, we cover India (April), Canada (May) and Greece (September). Please click A Marvellous Collection of Photos of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Visits to Canada, India and Greece.

Please click on photo for complete story and more pictures. Photo: Ontario Liberal Part. Copyright. Published with permission.

Please click on photo for complete story and more pictures. Photo: Ontario Liberal Part. Copyright. Published with permission.

Profound Reflections on Nature by the 49th Ismaili Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan; and Stunning Photos of the Autumn Foliage in Ottawa-Gatineau

“Look at the mountains, the rivers, the trees, the flowers, as evidence of Allah’s love for the people He has created”

His Highness the Aga Khan or Mawlana Hazar Imam is seen addressing his followers in Ishkashim, Badakhshan, during his first historic visit to the region in 1995.

His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th Ismaili Imam, is seen addressing his followers in Ishkashim, Badakhshan, during his first historic visit to the region in 1995.

“The Qur’an refers very often to nature as a reflection of Allah’s power of creation, and it says, look at the mountains, the rivers, the trees, the flowers, as evidence of Allah’s love for the people whom He has created. Today, I look at the environment and I say to you, I believe Allah is smiling upon you, and may His smile always be upon you.” — His Highness the Aga Khan speaking in a mountainous setting in Badakhshan in 1995.

Please click on image for autumn foliage in the Ottawa-Gatineau, the National Capital Region.

Visitors enjoying fall colours on the grounds of Rideau Hall. Please click on image for photos of autumn foliage in Ottawa-Gatineau, the National Capital Region. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

Please visit http://www.simergphotos.com for a marvellous and unique collection of photo essays

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“When I invited Professor Maki, a master of form and light, to design this [Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat] building, I made a suggestion to him – one that I hoped would help connect this place symbolically to the Faith of Islam. The suggestion I made focused on creating a certain mystique, centred around the beautiful mysteries of rock crystal.

The architecture of the dome of Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building seen above from Jacques Cartier Park is centred around the beautiful mysteries of rock crystal. Please see the Ismaili Imam's quote and click on image for photos of Ottawa-Gatineau foliage.

The architecture of the dome of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building seen above from Jacques Cartier Park is centred around the beautiful mysteries of rock crystal. Please read the Ismaili Imam’s quote and click on image for photos of Ottawa-Gatineau foliage. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

“Why rock crystal? Because of its translucency, its multiple planes, and the fascination of its colours – all of which present themselves differently as light moves around them. The hues of rock crystal are subtle, striking and widely varied – for they can be clear or milky, white, or rose coloured, or smoky, or golden, or black.

Please click: Photo Essay: The Beauty and Glory of Autumn Foliage in Ottawa-Gatineau, Canada’s Capital Region

“It is because of these qualities that rock crystal seems to be such an appropriate symbol of the profound beauty and the ever-unfolding mystery of Creation itself – and the Creator. As the Holy Qur’an so powerfully affirms, “Allah is the Creator and the Master of the heavens and the earth.” And then it continues: ‘Everything in the heavens and on earth, and everything between them, and everything beneath the soil, belongs to Him’.” — His Highness the Aga Khan, on the occasion of the inauguration  of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building in Ottawa on December 6, 2008.

Date posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015.

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@Simergphotos – An Ismaili Wedding in Badakhshan Through the Lens of Muslim Harji

Muslim and Nevin Harji have just returned from a remarkable trip to Badakhshan, which is located in one of the most remote corners of the earth, in the midst of the magnificent Pamir mountains. The Harjis were fortunate to be invited to an Ismaili wedding in the small village of Namadgut (near Ishkashim). The whole village consisting of forty Ismaili families was involved in the preparation and celebration of the wedding. We continue our special series on Badakhshan with this special photo essay An Ismaili Wedding in the Pamirs Through My Lens by Muslim Harji.  

A bride-to-be is pampered with a manicure and pedicure before her wedding in a small village in the Pamirs.   Please click on image for Muslim Harji's photo essay.

A bride-to-be is pampered with a manicure and pedicure before her wedding in a small village in the Pamirs. Please click on image for Muslim Harji’s photo essay.