Simerg Banner

An open book spills out words across the banner. These words represent the voices of individuals around the world and the insight everyone has to share. As they flow, the bearer of light casts out rays of light beams from the lamp, enlightening all who seek wisdom and a comforting place.

A note on the words in the banner (some partially hidden):

1. “People oppose what they are ignorant about” and “No honour is like knowledge” – Hazrat Ali (a.s.), 1st Shia Imam

2. “Human genius is found in its variety” – His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th and current Imam of Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims

3. “If you want to light a candle in your heart, make knowledge and goodness its wick and oil.” -  Nasir Khushraw, Ismaili Poet and philosopher

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Banner Designed byLiza Clyne, formerly of John McCrae Secondary School, Ottawa, Canada.

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Current quote on the banner:

A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim; he neither oppresses him, nor does he lie to him, nor does he look down upon or humiliate him. Piety is here (and he pointed to his chest three times)…Allah will not look at your body nor your appearance, rather he will only look at your hearts — Traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s)

Previous quotes published on the banner:

  • “I was studying at Harvard some 50 years ago…when I became the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. The Ismaili Imamat is a supra-national entity, representing the succession of Imams since the time of the Prophet” — His Highness the Aga Khan, The Parliament of Canada, February 2014.
  • “The divine intellect Akl-e-kul’, both transcends and informs the human intellect. It is this intellect which enables man to strive towards two aims dedicated by the Faith: that he should reflect upon the environment Allah has given and that he should know himself. It is the light of intellect which distinguishes the complete human being from the human animal and developing that intellect requires free enquiry. The man of Faith who fails to pursue intellectual search is likely to have only a limited comprehension of Allah’s creation. Indeed, it is man’s intellect that enables him to expand his vision of that creation.” — His Highness the Aga Khan, Inauguration Ceremony of Aga Khan University, Karachi, November 11, 1985.
  • “I would be surprised if such a big Mehfil-e-Ginan has ever been held…many times I have recommended to my spiritual children that they should remember ginans, that they should understand the meanings of these ginans and they should carry these meanings in their hearts. It is most important that my spiritual children…hold to this tradition which is so special, so unique and so important to my Jamat….I have been deeply happy tonight, deeply happy because I have seen the happiness in the hearts of my Jamat and this is what makes Imam happy” — His Highness the Aga Khan, Karachi, December 16, 1964
  • “In the Shia Ismaili Muslim tradition, voluntary service to others is viewed as an integral and positive part of daily life, and never as a burdensome obligation or an elective activity. Service is a means for each individual to actualise Islam’s ethics of inclusiveness, of compassion, of sharing, of the respect for life, and of personal responsibility for sustaining a healthy physical, social, and cultural environment” — Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Edmonton, Canada, August 25, 1998.
  • “As you build your lives, for yourselves and others, you will come to rest upon certain principles. Central to my life has been a verse in the Holy Quran which addresses itself to the whole of humanity. It says: ‘Oh Mankind, fear your Lord, who created you of a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them scattered abroad many men and women’. I know of no more beautiful expression about the unity of our human race — born indeed from a single soul.” — Address of His Highness the Aga Khan to both Houses of the Parliament of Canada in the House of Commons Chamber, Ottawa, 27 February 2014
  • “…in Islamic thought, as in this building, beauty and mystery are not separated from intellect – in fact, the reverse is true. As we use our intellect to gain new knowledge about Creation, we come to see even more profoundly the depth and breadth of its mysteries. We explore unknown regions beneath the seas – and in outer space…As the Holy Quran 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, Inaugural Ceremony of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, Ottawa, Canada, December 6, 2008.
  • “Then We sent unto her Our Spirit and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man.She said: Lo! I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from thee, if thou art God-fearing.He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son. She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste? He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained. And she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a far place” — The Holy Qur’an, 19:17-22
  • “There has always been a human tendency to seek a simple, all powerful answer to the world’s problems…The hard reality of life is that there is no single button we can push that will set off an unstoppable wave of progress. Social progress, in the long run, will not be found by delegating an all-dominant role to any one player – but rather through multisector partnerships.” — the Aga Khan, 49th Ismaili Imam, at Aga Khan University Convocation, Karachi, 2006.
  • “Voluntary service to others is viewed as an integral part of daily life in the Ismaili tradition, never as a burdensome obligation or an elective activity. Service is a means for each individual to actualise Islam’s ethics of inclusiveness…” — Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Edmonton, Canada,  August 25, 1998.
  • “Mawlana Hazar Imam Shah Karim al Hussaini, His Highness Prince Aga Khan, in direct lineal descent from the Holy Prophet (s.a.s.) through Hazrat Mawlana Ali (a.s.) and Hazrat Bibi Fatima (a.s), is the Forty-Ninth Imam of the Ismaili Muslims.” — Clause G, Preamble of the Ismaili Constitution
  • “Nine-eleven has scarred America, but not just America. It has scarred the Islamic world, and hundreds of millions of devout and practicing Muslims for whom the word of the Qur’an is the word of God. We have clarity and direction enough when the Qur’an affirms that to save a life is, as if, to save humankind altogether” — His Highness the Aga Khan, inauguration of the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center, Houston, Texas, June 23, 2002.
  • “Labour for the welfare of others is the best way of improving oneself, because its results are sure and certain. If you work for yourself, you are never happy” — His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah (1877 – 1957), March 12, 1924, Recreation Club, Mumbai, India.
  • “The authority of the Imam in the Ismaili Tariqah is testified by Bay‘ah by the murid to the Imam which is the act of acceptance by the murid of the permanent spiritual bond between the Imam and the murid. This allegiance unites all Ismaili Muslims worldwide in their loyalty, devotion and obedience to the Imam within the Islamic concept of universal brotherhood. It is distinct from the allegiance of the individual murid to his land of abode.” – Clause D, Ismaili constitution preamble.

To read the Preamble in full, please click The Preamble of “The Constitution of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims”

  • “The years of development and change which lie ahead are certain to throw up many new problems. We should not be afraid of these. You will surely surmount them if you stand by your faith and meet your difficulties in the spirit of humility and tolerance that your religion demands of us. This is specially important for the younger generations who will have to carry the future on their shoulders.” – His Highness the Aga Khan, Nairobi Takht Nashini, October 22, 1957
  • “Education is not just picking up facts and learning to read and write. There is another side of education and that is the formation of character – the formation which must in the future teach the children to think out the problems which they have to face.” – His Highness the Aga Khan, Convocation Address, Peshawar University, Pakistan, November 30, 1967.
  • “…the fundamental principles of faith enshrined in the Shahada and the Tawhid therein, which bind the Ummah in an eternal bond of unity…..are continuously reaffirmed by the Shia Ismaili Muslims of whom I am the 49th hereditary Imam in direct lineal descent from the first Shia Imam, Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib through his marriage to Bibi Fatimat-az-Zahra, our beloved Prophet’s daughter” — His Highness the Aga Khan, Message to The International Islamic Conference, Amman, Jordan, July, 2005
  • “The noble Qur’an extends its principle of pluralism also to adherents of other faiths. It affirms that each has a direction and path to which they turn so that all should strive for good works, in the belief that, wheresoever they may be, Allah will bring them together.” – His Highness the Aga Khan, The Ismaili Centre, London, October 19, 2003.
  • “I am leaving behind me two things: the Book and my Progeny. If you hold fast to them, you will never go astray. Both are tied with a long rope and cannot be separated until the day of judgement” — Tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.)
  • “The revolution in bio-engineering promises to change rural societies as the old industrial engineering once reshaped urban landscapes. Genetic research – like the stem-cell breakthroughs which dominated front pages across the world just two days ago – will transform our approaches to personal and public health, including scourges like AIDS and malaria.” – His Highness the Aga Khan, IPI World Congress, Nairobi, May 22, 2005
  • “A thousand years ago, my forefathers, the Fatimid imam-caliphs of Egypt, founded al-Azhar University and the Academy of Knowledge in Cairo. In the Islamic tradition, they viewed the discovery of knowledge as a way to understand, so as to serve better God’s creation, to apply knowledge and reason to build society and shape human aspirations” — His Highness the Aga Khan, 25th June 2004, Mozambique.
  • “Islam…urges the individual to lead a balanced life, one that strives to accommodate both material progress and spiritual well-being. But no man, woman or child can hope to achieve this balance in sickness, illiteracy or squalor..… I, as the leader of my community, have become deeply involved in the provision of basic health and education, which I believe are crucial stepping stones towards mankind’s self-realization and growth.” His Highness the Aga Khan
  • “Education is not just picking up facts and learning to read and write. There is another side of education and that is the formation of character – the formation which must in the future teach the children to think out the problems which they have to face.” – His Highness the Aga Khan, Convocation Address, Peshawar University, Pakistan, November 30, 1967.
  • “In [Hafiz] we can find all the strivings, all the sorrow, all the victories and joys, all the hopes and disappointments of each and every one of us…It is not for nothing that his “Divan” has become… the supreme book of divination of millions…far beyond the confines of Iran. In perplexity and sorrow, whatever the cause…men turn to Hafiz for comfort and solace.” The late Aga Khan.

Please see Hafiz and the Place of Iranian Culture in the World

  • “…I told the Iranians several years ago: “Your history is that of an intellectual nation several thousand years old which has brought to Islam all the richness of its culture and its philosophical thought. Keep following the path that is truly your own and the world will thank you for it.” His Highness the Aga Khan.

Please see The Power of Wisdom” – His Highness the Aga Khan’s Interview with Politique Internationale

  • “…Our Ismaili tradition…has always accepted the spirit of pluralism among schools of interpretation of the faith, and seen this…as a true reflection of divine plenitude…Through your studies you have known the many Qur’anic verses and hadiths of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that acknowledge and extol the value of diversity within human societies.” – Prince Rahim Aga Khan, IIS Graduation Ceremony, London, September 2007.

For full speech, please click Prince Rahim Aga Khan Commencement Address

  • “…the fundamental principles of faith enshrined in the Shahada and the Tawhid therein, which bind the Ummah in an eternal bond of unity…..are continuously reaffirmed by the Shia Ismaili Muslims of whom I am the 49th hereditary Imam in direct lineal descent from the first Shia Imam, Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib through his marriage to Bibi Fatimat-az-Zahra, our beloved Prophet’s daughter….Our historic adherence is to the Jafari Madhhab and other Madhahib of close affinity, and it continues, under the leadership of the hereditary Ismaili Imam of the time.” – His Highness the Aga Khan, Message to The International Islamic Conference, Amman, Jordan, 4th – 6th July, 2005

For full message, please click Text of His Highness the Aga Khan’s  Amman Message, The Institute of Ismaili Studies

  • “The Holy Prophet’s…example of integrity, loyalty, honesty, generosity both of means and of time, his solicitude for the poor, the weak and the sick, his steadfastness in friendship, his humility in success, his magnanimity in victory, his simplicity, his wisdom in conceiving new solutions for problems which could not be solved by traditional methods, without affecting the fundamental concepts of Islam, surely all these are foundations which, correctly understood and sincerely interpreted, must enable us to conceive what should be a truly modern and dynamic Islamic Society in the years ahead.” – from Presidential address by His Highness the Aga Khan, Seerat Conference, Karachi, March 12, 1976
  • “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, Rushan, Badakhshan, May 27, 1995.

Excerpted from The Ismaili (Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Visit to Central Asia, 22 – 31 May 1995).  Also, see Voices: A Western Correspondent’s Account of the Aga Khan’s Historic First Visit to His Followers in Gorno-Badakhshan

  • “You can have nothing in your pocket, and only the clothes and the shoes you wear, but if you have a well educated mind, you will be able to seize the opportunities life offers you, and start all over again.” – His Highness the Aga Khan, The Peterson Lecture, Atlanta, USA, April 18, 2008.
  • “It is of special significance that this mosque…will be used by young men and women at such a vital and formative period in their lives. It is this time of life that each of you has to search for a balance between self-confidence and true humility, between appraisal of the past and preparation for the future. If your religion is not an integral part of this preparation then your future cannot be complete” – His Highness the Aga Khan, Mosque Foundation Ceremony, University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, 1966

Quoted in The Ismaili Crescent, published by the Ismailia Association for Tanzania. Exact issue date will be published in due course.

  • “…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 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.” Excerpts from His Highness the Aga Khan’s message dated May 14, 1992, to mark the Aga Khan Foundation’s 25th anniversary….(Week of May 28, 2012)
  • What some describe as a clash of civilizations in our modern world is, in my view, a clash of ignorances. This is why education about religious and cultural heritage is so critically important—and why we will continue to invest in these institutions. We deeply believe that scholarship, publication and instruction—of high quality and generous breadth– can provide important pathways toward a more pluralistic and peaceful world. His Highness the Aga Khan, Golden Jubilee Banquet, UK, July 3, 2008 (week of June 3, 2012).
  • “I am reminded of the verses of the Holy Qur’an in which Allah reminds us that He gives the blessing of wisdom to whoever He wills, but only those with intelligence remember that He has done so. My most sincere prayer is that I, my fellow citizens of Timbuktu and my brothers and sisters in Islam can continue our journey to bring greater wisdom and understanding to all.” — His Highness the Aga Khan, Timbuktu, Mali, 24 April, 2008

Date page updated:  Tuesday, September 2, 2014 (new banner quote, top).

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We welcome feedback/letters from our readers. Please use the LEAVE A REPLY box which appears below OR send your comment to Simerg@aol.com. Your feedback may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation. We are unable to acknowledge unpublished letters. Please visit the Simerg Home page for links to new and recent posts.  For chronological links to articles posted on this Web site since its launch in March 2009, please click Table of Contents (you are currently on the page).

7 thoughts on “Simerg Banner

  1. Dear Malik

    It is a great pleasure to discover a site which inpires to promote the intellectual traditions of Islam and the pursuit of self realisation for a deeper understanding of faith and human purpose. However, one key position I hope it does not take and does not promote amongst it followers is that truth can be reached by advice from others. One truth is one’s truth and there is no short cut to it.

    Asif Merchant

  2. Very great work and contribution. This site is touching the eternal parts of one’s life. It provides knowledge and wisdom. Keep it up! May Mawla’s Grace be with all of us.

  3. The site is truly wonderful and inspiring. May Mawla shower all kinds of blessings on you!

    Ya Ali Madad!

  4. Wonderful way to stay connected and be inspired by your site!

    Besides the Ismaili religious histories in Egypt, Arabia and Iran, I would also like to celebrate the variety of our social histories in Saurastra, Sind, Syria, parts of Central Asia, Madagascar etc as well as the diversity of worship styles among us.

    “Human genius is found in its variety” – His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th and current Imam of Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.

    Ya Ali Madad,
    Sultan Somjee

  5. Wonderful site. May Mowla bless you and your family members with Barkaat. Ameen.

    Links need to be highlighted in big text forms. Thanks

  6. Dear Malik

    This is a wonderfull website and I personally appreciate your work and effort. Maintain this good work and use your resources, expertise and skills to the best of your ability .

    Best of luck and if you need any help, please ask.

    May Mawla’s grace be with all of us.

    Thank You

    Ya Ali Madad

    Ahmad Ladhani
    http://www.ahmadladhani.wordpress.com

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