Holiday Reading: 9 Inspiring Ismaili Stories That You SHOULD Read and SHARE with Your Family and Friends


This thoughtful study of the late Aga Khan was done in clay by his late wife, the Begum Aga Khan. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

“You must remember that life will have for you many disappointments. If one-fifth of one’s hopes are realised, one is extremely lucky and fortunate, so do not be discouraged by disappointments. Failures should be forgotten and new efforts made. Despondency is a sin, and hope a necessary part of iman (faith) both for material wealth and, above all, for progress to spiritual enlightenment.”


2012 Stories

1. Please click: On Meeting the Noorani Family – My Voyage to Europe

This is an extraordinary account, blended with unique photos, of a remarkable voyage to Europe in 1957 by an Ismaili youth. Badrudin Adatia’s first-hand narrative, lyrically told from a story-telling perspective, is full of rich and colourful detail and nostalgic vocabulary as he recounts his meeting with the late 48th Ismaili Imam, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, and members of the Imam’s family.


2. Please click: “Mawla Fulfilled My Wish”

Sakerkhanu Gulamhusain was only 6 when she was selected to recite a poem at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of His Highness the Aga Khan in 1946. She received an incredible ovation during her recital before the arrival of the 48th Ismaili Imam, and by public demand was requested to repeat her recital. But Sakerhanu’s wish – along with that of the audience – was that she should recite it in the noble presence of her Imam.


3. Please click:  “Shukr Mawlo, Shukr Mawlo” – When Hope is All You Have Left, a Story for Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Salgirah

From a summer vacation of despair in the 1990’s, Gulnor Saratbekova takes us to the days of hope as she recounts her early life during one of the most dangerous phases in the modern history of Tajikistan.  “…I remember clearly when I saw our Mawla on TV for the very first time. I was at my uncle’s and there were about 15 of us living at his house. I didn’t understand why suddenly all the grownups started to cry and say SHUKR MAWLO, SHUKR MAWLO…” Gulnor’s warm story will touch the heart of Ismailis and non-Ismailis alike.


4. Please click: Loving Tales of our Beloved Imams: (I) Farazdaq’s Praise and Support of Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.)

Please remember the name, Farazdaq. This tale belongs to ages past. It goes back to the era of Hazrat Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.), our third Imam, from whose veins was to ensue the Divine Line of the Imams. He was the Imam who, on the battlefield of Karbala, received the nass of Imamat from his father, Hazrat Imam Hussain (a.s.) with the blessing: “Through you, the line of Imamat will continue till the Day of Judgment.”


5. Please click: Remarkable Voices of Ismaili Women from Shimshal, a Remote Village in the Karakoram

Pam Henson of New Zealand has visited the remote Ismaili village of Shimshal in the Karakoram four times, either as a trekker or a volunteer teacher. During her last visit she invited women to talk about themselves, and documented their remarkable and candid revelations in a ground-breaking book called Women of Shimshal. The three-part series starts with two stories as told by Guljon Bibi and Roshan Noma.


2012 Stories Post 4


6. Please click:  Baba Ismail: The First Shamsi Convert in the History of the Gupti Ismailis of Punjab

Khizar Hayat’s story is from 1910 about a young man who, in his twenties, went to see the 48th Ismaili Imam, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan III (1877 – 1957), in Bombay at his Walkeshwar bungalow. Fortunately, he got the opportunity to have a personal audience with the Imam of the time. When asked for the purpose of his visit, he said (in Urdu) “Ya Mawla, I am a Shamsi Ismaili from Multan and wish that Mawlana Hazar Imam give me a Muslim name.”


7. Please click: An Opportunity of a Lifetime – Recitation of Qur’anic Verses in the Presence of His Highness the Aga Khan

This is a a story of determination and hard work by a youth who took a keen interest in his religious studies. Ahamed Ismail recounts how he got an opportunity to recite Qur’anic verses in 1957 in Dar-es-Salaam in the presence of His Highness the Aga Khan.


8. Please click: Fond Memories of Salamieh, 51 Kensington Court, and Yakymour

An Ismaili youth, Abdul Mamdani, travelled through the Middle East and Europe in a motorcycle and arrived in London in 1953. He soon had an opportunity to meet with the 48th Ismaili Imam, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan at 51 Kensington Court. He informed the Imam about his earlier visit to Salamieh, Syria. On being ‘prompted’ by the Imam, Mamdani remembered an instance from his Syrian visit concerning a devout Ismaili woman.


9. Please click: The 1979 London Didar: The Setting and The Experience

“We all looked towards him, perhaps with different attitudes and varying emotions, but we all gazed in the same direction. Some considered him with awe and humble reverence, others with frankness and sincere curiosity, some looked for the fulfillment of aspirations and dreams, others simply looked,” wrote Farah Ramzan in an essay as a young student on Mawlana Hazar Imam’s weeklong visit to the UK in 1979.

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