With a particular focus on the cultural, intellectual and textual expressions of the Ismailis and related Muslim traditions. Quote: “Voluntary service 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.
AN INSTALLMENT FROM SIMERG’S MUST READ SERIES ABOUT NASER-E KHOSRAW’S MEMORABLE JOURNEY TO FATIMID EGYPT
“….The tallest mountain near Mecca is Abu Qubays, which is round like a dome, so that if you shoot an arrow from the foot of the mountain it reaches its top.…Having come into the city, you enter the Haram Mosque, approach the Ka’ba, and circumambulate….. always keeping the Ka‘ba to your left [shoulder]. Then you go to the corner containing the Black Stone, kiss it, and pass on….”
A bird’s-eye view of the Ka’ba crowded with pilgrims. The photo is from the archives of the US Library of Congress and was created by American Colony (Jerusalem), Photo Dept., in 1910. Please click for article by Naser-e Khosraw.
________________ Complete series by Michael Wolfe:
The Ginan Ek Shabda Suno Mere Bhai by Pir Shams is a summary of the initial step of Ismaili Spirituality. An MP3 of the Ginan rendered by Mohammad (Mac) Virjee of Vancouver accompanies a short commentary and translation by Shiraz Pradhan.
A MUST READ PIECE FOR CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS ALIKE
“Given a right understanding of the foundations of Islam and Christianity, and the spiritual values which they have proclaimed, it should not prove very difficult to build a bridge of mutual respect and co-operation between the two great religions. Unfortunately, it is a fact that the close similarity between the two remains largely unknown to the West.”
Photo taken at the opening on 15th September 1959 of the 14th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Seated at the head of the delegation of Pakistan is Mr. Manzur Qadir, then Minister for Foreign Affairs. At right is Prince Karim Aga Khan’s father, the late Prince Aly Khan, Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Photo: United Nations Photo Library. Please click for article.
This painted page from a manuscript shows the Archangel Gabriel with the Prophets Moses (left) and Muhammad (right). Surrounded by angels they discuss the question of daily prayers. This happened during Prophet Muhammad’s ascent to heaven. Because it was forbidden to show Muhammad, his face is veiled. Image: Copyright Museum With No Frontiers (MWNF). Please click on image for literary reading.
DETAILS OF THE IMAGE
This single sheet probably came from a handwritten work completed for the Ottoman Sultan Murad III (r. AH 982–1003 / AD 1574–95), and is currently housed at the Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany. It features, between bands of script, the prophets Moses and Muhammad and the Archangel Gabriel conversing in heaven. Angels, perched on five clouds behind these three principal characters, appear to be listening. The scene portrayed is one from Muhammad’s visionary ascension to heaven. Muhammad stands on the right-hand side in a long green robe and turban, and Moses, wearing a long dark red robe, is on the left, in front of his heavenly throne, which is denoted by an inscription in Arabic lettering. Moses is gesturing his hands in speech. Muhammad, with whom he is conversing, stands on the opposite side. A white veil conceals his face, while his hands are hidden in the long sleeves of his gown. The heads of both prophets are crowned with halos, within which their names, written in a black script, can be deciphered. The Archangel Gabriel stands between Muhammad and Moses, turning towards Muhammad. He is characterised by a twin pair of multi-coloured wings and a crown. He is featured in the Old Testament as the gate-keeper of Paradise. As one of two angels standing in the presence of God (Luke 1:19), it was Gabriel who explained the story of the Messiah (Daniel 8:16ff.). In Muslim tradition, the angel brought the Divine Revelation of the Holy Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad. In Sura 2 verse 97 it is written that: Gabriel ‘has by God’s grace revealed it [the Qur’an] to you [Muhammad] to your heart’.
The text above the three personages, which describes the story, is written in Ottoman Turkish. It includes the account of Muhammad discussing with God the number of daily prayers. Both eventually agreed on five daily prayers. Moses is Muhammad’s heavenly adviser and Gabriel is his companion. The direct speech of all those involved is written in Arabic. The text is taken from a biography of the prophet which had appeared from the AH 1st century/AD 7th century on. The generic term for this type of biography is sira, which translates as ‘life facts’ or ‘way of life’. (Text adapted from the website of MWNF – see link below).
“Unfortunately, in some parts of the Muslim world today, hostility to diverse interpretations of Islam, and lack of religious tolerance, have become chronic, and worsening, problems. Sometimes these attitudes have led to hatred and violence. At the root of the problem is an artificial notion amongst some Muslims, and other people, that there is, or could ever be, a restricted, monolithic reality called Islam.”….More
“Without an acceptance of diversity, without the ability to harness the creativity that stems from pluralism, the very spirit of the Knowledge Society is stifled. We must encourage, I believe, that Muslims of all communities come together, working collaboratively to tap into the vast endowment of knowledge available today, and without which progress is, if not halted, at least deferred. This cannot be done in the absence of open-mindedness and tolerance” — Prince Rahim Aga Khan….More
“…Islam has become part of Africa in a process as complex as the history of the continent itself….If the language of Islam in Africa has been Arabic, it has also been indigenous African Languages. The coming of Islam sometimes meant the imposition of new political and social order, but also the absorption of Islam into an existing order…” –Nelson Mandela, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, July 11, 1997
Please click for article “Journey Towards the Nur”. Photo: Muslim Harji, Montreal, Copyright.
Amidst all this greatness, this splendour this glory of Your Majesty I feel like a poor peasant as I follow my inadequacy! I see these Times and Your Magnanimity and look at my humble affordings – In this phase and to this Light all the World’s treasures would be a trifling
From birth recovery to welcoming a new baby, post-pregnancy rituals vary around the world. This fascinating set of photos at Simergphotos from Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country with a population of over 200 million, is something you will wish to view and also share with your entire family and friends as you learn about the customs associated with the birth of a new born in that country including the symbolism of the placenta, and the blessings as well as the loving and tender care with which the new baby is welcomed. Please clickPhoto Essay: A Baby is Born – Customs in a Rural Muslim Community in Indonesia.
Please click for photo essay. Credit: Wellcome Images.
An amulet [similar to a talisman] is any object that is imbued with protective powers, and all cultures and faiths have manifestations of such objects. In the world of Islam, they bear Qur’anic inscriptions, and religious narratives. Many Muslims believe that an object that is inscribed with the word of God will protect the person who reads, touches, or sees it and that the word of God has the power to ward off evil…Read More
May 26, 1996: His Highness the Aga Khan receives a standing ovation at the conclusion of the Baccalaureate Address at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. Next to him is Vartan Gregorian who was then President of the University. In 2010, the Ismaili Imam established the Aga Khan Visiting Professor of Islamic Humanities at Brown University in honour of Vartan Gregorian, who is currently the President of Carnegie Corporation of New York. Please click on image to download his essay “Islam: A Mosaic, Not a Monolith.”
“Huntington [author of The Clash of Civilizations and The Remaking of the World Order] and others who write about a clash of civilizations do not recognize that class, tribal, family, personal, ethnic, cultural, economic, and national interests have always defied a unity of purpose that transcends all these divisions….instances when the Muslim world was a unified monolith have been extremely rare. Throughout Islamic history, the gravitational pull of regional, dynastic, and since the nineteenth century nationalist interests has consistently outweighed the spiritual affiliations of some idealized, transcendent, organic umma. If history is a guide, it shows that in Islam, as in most major religions, there is a broad gulf between the ideal of unity and the realities on the ground… Read More