56th Imamat Anniversary: Magnificent Historical Portraits of His Highness the Aga Khan, with Quotes on the Nature of Imamat and Succession

Compiled by Malik Merchant
(Publisher-Editor, Simerg and Simergphotos)

MAWLANA HAZAR IMAM, HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN

A portrait of the new 49th Ismaili Imam taken shortly after he succeeded his late grandfather to the throne of Imamat on July 11, 1957 at the age of twenty. A framed portrait of the late 48th Imam who served the community for 72 years is seen in the background. Photo by Philippe Le Tellier/Paris Match via Getty Images. Copyright. Please click on image for full enlargement.

A portrait of the new 49th Ismaili Imam taken shortly after he succeeded his late grandfather to the throne of Imamat on July 11, 1957 at the age of twenty. A framed portrait of the late 48th Imam who served the community for 72 years is seen in the background. Photo by Philippe Le Tellier/Paris Match via Getty Images. Copyright. Please click on image for full enlargement.

THE WILL OF IMAM MAWLANA SULTAN MAHOMED SHAH, THE 48TH IMAM

“Ever since the time of my first ancestor Ali, the first Imam, that is to say over a period of thirteen hundred years it has always been the tradition of our family that each Imam chooses his successor at his absolute and unfettered discretion from amongst any of his descendants whether they be sons or remoter male issue.

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

This thoughtful study of the late 48th Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah  was done in clay by his late wife, the Begum Aga Khan. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS. Please click for enlargement.

“In view of the fundamentally altered conditions in the world in very recent years due to the great changes which have taken place including the discoveries of atomic science I am convinced that it is in the best interests of the Shia Moslem Ismailian Community that I should be succeeded by a young man who has been brought up and developed during recent years and in the midst of the new age and who brings a new outlook on life to his office as Imam.

The late 48th Ismaili Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah, seated on a wheelchair, is pictured with members of his family including his successor, Prince Karim Aga Khan, standing at extreme right. Photo: Zul Khoja Collection, Ottawa.

The late 48th Ismaili Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah, seated on a wheelchair, is pictured with members of his family including his successor, Prince Karim Aga Khan, standing at extreme right. Photo: Zul Khoja Collection, Ottawa.

“I appoint my grandson Karim, the son of my son Aly Salomone Khan to succeed to the title of Aga Khan and to be the Imam and Pir of all my Shia Ismailian followers.”….His Highness the Aga Khan III.

SUCCESSION AND THE NATURE OF IMAMAT

Ceremonial installation of the 49th Imam in Kampala, Uganda.

One of the several ceremonial installations of the 49th Imam that took place around the world. This photo is from the installation (Takht Nashini) that took place in Kampala, Uganda.

“…the [installation] ceremony is a public installation of the Imam. The Ismailis pay homage to the Imam and that is when you are recognised by the world at large as the Imam. Officially as soon as one Imam passes away, his successor takes on from the very minute the Imam has passed away.” — His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan [1]

A TRIBUTE TO THE 48TH IMAM, AND THE NEW IMAM’S DEDICATION

Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan (1877-1957), direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) and 48th Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. Photo: Copyright National Portrait Gallery, London.

Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan (1877-1957), direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) and 48th Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. He ruled the Ismailis for 72 years. Photo: Copyright National Portrait Gallery, London.

“My grandfather dedicated his life to the Imamat and Islam, both of which came first, and above all other considerations. While I was prepared that one day I might be designated the Aga Khan I did not expect it so soon. I follow a great man in a great responsibility and he could have given me no more appreciated honour than to bequeath me this spiritual leadership. My life, as his, will be dedicated to the service of my followers.”….His Highness the Aga Khan.

DEDICATION FULFILLED

"The closer you come the more you will see him." A digital representation of some of His Highness the Aga Khan's activities during his Imamat. Please click ofr enlargement. Copyright: Akber Kanji.

“The closer you come the more you will see him.” A pixel snapshot from a digital portrait of His Highness the Aga Khan representing some of his activities as the 49th Imam of Ismaili Muslims. Please click for enlargement. Copyright: Akber Kanji, Toronto, Canada.

 THE LOVE FOR THE IMAM OF THE TIME

Ismaili girls in Central Asia proudly and lovingly display a decorated frame holding a photo of their beloved 49th Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. Please click for enlargement. Photo: Matthieu Paley. Copyright.

Ismaili girls in Central Asia proudly and lovingly display a decorated frame holding a photo of their beloved 49th Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. Please click for enlargement. Photo: Matthieu Paley. Copyright.

In all four ages,
I went about,
looking hard.
I found none
to match you, my lord.

My lord,
my heart
is fond of you. [2]

~~~

MAWLANA HAZAR IMAM, HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN

A portrait of the new 49th Ismaili Imam taken shortly after he succeeded his late grandfather to the throne of Imamat on July 11, 1957 at the age of twenty. A framed portrait of the late 48th Imam who served the community for 72 years is seen in the background. Photo by Philippe Le Tellier/Paris Match via Getty Images. Copyright. Please click on image to enlarge

A portrait of the new 49th Ismaili Imam taken shortly after he succeeded his late grandfather to the throne of Imamat on July 11, 1957 at the age of twenty. A framed portrait of the late 48th Imam who served the community for 72 years is seen in the background. Photo by Philippe Le Tellier/Paris Match via Getty Images. Copyright. Please click on image to enlarge

Date posted: Monday, July 9, 2013.

© All photos are Copyright by the respective copyright owners. Reproduction strictly prohibited without licensing agreement(s) from the copyright sources mentioned in the photo captions.

For an extra-ordinary version of this photo essay please visit our sister blog Simergphotos. Please click For 56th Imamat Anniversary, Magnificent and Unique Historical Portraits of His Highness the Aga Khan

__________

References:

[1] http://www.nanowisdoms.org/nwblog/10260/

[2] Verse 3 translation of Saiyad Imamshah’s ginan Sahebaji tun more mana bhave,  from “A Scent of Sandalwood” by Dr. Aziz Esmail

For other Imamat related readings including an explanation of the Munajat recited during Imamat Day please click on the following links:

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5 thoughts on “56th Imamat Anniversary: Magnificent Historical Portraits of His Highness the Aga Khan, with Quotes on the Nature of Imamat and Succession

  1. Immamat Day Mubarakis to Ismailis all over the world. May ALLAH Bestow all with Noorani understanding and lead all to the Noor of Imamat. Aameen.

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