Unique Moments from the Extraordinary Life of His Highness the Aga Khan III – the Beloved 48th Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims

“On 2nd November, 1877 my beloved grandfather was born here in Karachi. Through 72 years of Imamat, he guided his spiritual children to happiness and prosperity….Many many memories come to our minds as we think of him. He achieved in his life, for our community that which could only have been accomplished normally in a period of many generations. The tributes that the world has paid him bear honest testimony to his great life and work” — His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, 49th Ismaili Imam

The late 48th Ismaili Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, seated on a wheelchair with members of his family with his successor, the present Imam, Prince Karim Aga Khan, standing at extreme right. Others in the photo (l to r), grandson Prince Amyn Muhammad ,and the late Imams two sons, the late Prince Sadruddin and Prince Aly Khan, who is seen holding his daughter Princes Yasmin Aga Khan Photo: Zul Khoja Collection, Ottawa.

The 48th Ismaili Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan (1877 – 1957), seated on a wheelchair with members of his family with his successor, the present Imam, Prince Karim Aga Khan, standing at extreme right. Others in the photo (l to r), grandson Prince Amyn Muhammad , and the 48th Imam’s  two sons, the late Prince Sadruddin and Prince Aly Khan who is seen holding his daughter Princes Yasmin Aga Khan. Photo: Zul Khoja Collection, Ottawa.

November 2, 2014 marks the 137th birth anniversary of the 48th Ismaili Imam, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III. Born in Karachi in 1877, he assumed the reign of Imamat at the age of seven, and ruled the Ismailis  for 72 years, becoming the community’s longest-serving Imam. He passed away on July 11, 1957, and willed that the mantle of Imamat should pass to his grandson, the present 49th Imam, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV.

We are pleased to provide our readers with links to diverse articles, stories and photo essays related to the beloved 48th Imam, who has been described in one of the pieces as the Imam of the Socio-Economic Revolution. Please click on the following selections:

BIOGRAPHY, DECORATIONS, IMAM’S WRITINGS AND TRIBUTES

His Highness the Aga Khan III,  48th Imam of Shia Imami Ismailis, in full regalia. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Collection.

His Highness the Aga Khan III, 48th Imam of Shia Imami Ismailis, in full regalia. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Collection.

1. Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah – An Astonishing and Extraordinary Personality

2. Literary Reading: Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III – Successor and a Son Reflect on Accomplishments of the 48th Ismaili Imam

3. Titles, Decorations and Honours Conferred on 48th Ismaili Imam; 72 Year Reign Spanned Six British Monarchs and Seventeen PM’s

4. Literary Reading: Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III – The Road to Happiness and The Concept of Life

5. “Work No Words” by His Highness the Aga Khan, and Other Rare Ismaili Historical Quotes on Service

6. His Highness the Aga Khan’s “Never-To-Be-Forgotten” Message to Ismaili Youth – “Keep Clean Soul in a Clean Body”

7. Literary Reading: Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III – Long Reign Ends

8. Literary Reading: Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III: The Face of Imamat 

9. The Memoirs of Aga Khan – World Enough and Time: A Translator’s Voice

ANECDOTES

The late Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan III pictured with Badrudin Adatia. Recalls Adatia: "I wanted to take picture of him with us and I asked his permission. The room was dim, however, and I didn’t have a flash on my camera. Although he was very sick and could not even walk, he told me he would head toward the window where there would be better light. Imagine! I clasped my hands with respect and said, “No Khudavind. I will take the picture just as we are.” Photo: Badrudin Adatia collection.

The late Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan III pictured with Badrudin Adatia. Recalls Adatia: “I wanted to take picture of him with us and I asked his permission. The room was dim, however, and I didn’t have a flash on my camera. Although he was very sick and could not even walk, he told me he would head toward the window where there would be better light. Imagine! I clasped my hands with respect and said, “No Khudavind. I will take the picture just as we are.” Photo: Badrudin Adatia collection.

10. I Wish I’d Been There: A Unique Moment in the Life of the Punjab Jamat

11. Yakimour 1954: A Golden Moment for an Aspiring Student – An Audience with the 48th Ismaili Imam, Aga Khan

12. “Mawla Fulfilled My Wish”

13. On Meeting the Noorani Family – My Voyage to Europe

14. An Ismaili Youth’s Rare Moment With Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah

EXTRA ORDINARY VISITS AND THE JUBILEES

His Highness the Aga Khan at a reception by the Ismaili community in South Africa.

His Highness the Aga Khan at a reception by the Ismaili community in South Africa.

15. Lakhpaty’s Intriguing Poster for 48th Ismaili Imam’s Diamond Jubilee Shows Artistic Ingenuity

16. Imam’s Message in South Africa Addressed Artificial Barriers, Unity, Education for All, and Damaging Social Habits

17. Photo Essay: The Historical Jubilees of His Highness the Aga Khan (1877-1957), the Imam of the Socio-Economic Revolution

18. World Renowned Photographer Sarite Sanders Portrays Mysterious Radiance of a Fatimid Tomb and the Elegance of the Aga Khan Mausoleum

19. When His Highness the Aga Khan III First Visited East Africa and the USA

DEDICATION TO ISLAM AND THE MUSLIM WORLD

A group comprising doctors, health and public officials gathered on a street in Bombay about to begin the day's work, during an outbreak of plague. Photo Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images. Copyright.

A group comprising doctors, health and public officials gathered on a street in Bombay about to begin the day’s work, during an outbreak of plague. Photo Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Copyright.

20. His Highness the Aga Khan and the Bubonic Plague of 1897: How the Ismaili Imam’s Courage and Leadership Saved Countless Lives

21. Hazrat Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III – A “Mendicant” Who Transformed a Dream into Reality and Stirred the Soul of a Bitter Critic

22. Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III – A Muslim’s Analysis of Lessons that Can be Learnt from the 48th Ismaili Imam

Date post updated: Saturday, November 1, 2014.

3 thoughts on “Unique Moments from the Extraordinary Life of His Highness the Aga Khan III – the Beloved 48th Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims

  1. I echo Valis remarks with respect to the Jubilees of the 48th Imam. They bring lots of beautiful and innocent memories. Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah (a.s.) gave us the gift of all the gifts, our beloved Mawlana Shah Karim Hazar Imam, who has dedicated his life to bringing to fruitation the dreams and aspirations of his beloved grandfather. We are ideed a community of destiny. Ameen.

  2. When we look at these pictures what do we think? Of course as Ismailis we feel very proud of our 48th Imam under whose Imamatship we lived and changed from dhotis to 3-piece suits, from utter poverty in India to riches in East Africa and don’t let’s forget most of us started coming here/going there under his guidance. But we also see how different the world was. The British Empire ruled from sunbreak to sunset and our Mowla was a prince in that empire, entitled to a 9-gun salute, confirmed by the title of His Highness and Sir. He instructed us to be loyal to our masters. When we look at pictures of people going to do his mulakat at his palaces we think back on those times of leisurely travel to the Continent. Not everyone got to travel but those who came near the gates asked to be allowed in. Now our present Imam comes to us so often. How lucky are we who lived under these two extraordinary leaders.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s