“For two minutes we were suspended in bizarre, truly ethereal state….All around, people were visibly moved, shocked, blown away. Some had tears in their eyes. Nobody was untouched.” — Read more with photos by Arif Babul
(Arif Babul’s eye witness account of the total solar eclipse in Stanley, Idaho, will appear shortly, with more photos).
Date posted: August 21, 2017.
On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere – the corona – can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk. NASA will cover the eclipse live from coast to coast, beginning at noon EDT.
THE ISLAMIC WORLD AND ASTRONOMY
Islamic astronomy became the western world’s powerhouse of scientific research during the 9th and 10th centuries AD, while the Dark Ages engulfed much of the rest of the western world. The works by Ptolemy, Plato, and Aristotle were translated, amplified upon and spread throughout the Muslim world. Al-Khwarazmi developed the first tables trigonometric functions (ca 825 AD) which remained the standard reference well into the modern era. Al-Khwarazmi was known to the west as “Algorizm” and this is, in fact, the origin of the term ‘algorithm’. Al-Khwarazmi’s calculations were good to five places, allowing for unprecedented precision in astronomy and other sciences. At Antioch, Muhammad al-Batani (ca 850 AD) began with Ptolemy’s works and recalculated the precession of the equinoxes, and produced new, more precise astronomical tables. Following a steady series of advances in Islamic trigonometry, observations by Ibn Yunus of lunar and solar eclipses were recorded in Cairo ca 1000 AD. Ibn Yunus is regarded as one of the greatest observational astronomers of his time. The pace of Islamic science and scholarship eventually slowed down in the 11th and 12th centuries. Many great books and great ideas of the Islamic Age lay fallow for hundreds of years until they were finally translated into Latin and fueled the European revolution in thinking and the birth of science as we know it today. 
FATIMID ASTRONOMER IBN YUNUS
The Fatimid astronomer Ibn Yunus (950-1009), was one of the greatest astronomers of medieval Islam and the most important astronomer of medieval Egypt. He recorded both the lunar and solar eclipses in Cairo. As a young man he witnessed the Fatimid conquest of Egypt and the founding of the new city of Cairo in 969. In the period up to the reign of 15th Ismaili Imam and 5th Fatimid Caliph, Mawlana al‐ʿAzīz (975–996), he made astronomical observations that were renewed by Mawlana al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, who succeeded Imam al‐ʿAzīz in 996 at the age of 11. Ibn Yunus wrote a major astronomical handbook called Al-Zij al-Hakimi al-kabir (The Great Hakimi astronomical table) which he dedicated to Imam al-Hakim. Although Ibn Yunus’ handbook was widely used in Islam, and his timekeeping tables survived in use in Cairo into the 19th century, his work only became known in the West less than 200 years ago. 
Yunus expressed the solutions in his Zij without mathematical symbols, but Delambre noted in his 1819 translation of the Hakemite tables that two of Ibn Yunus’ methods for determining the time from solar or stellar altitude were equivalent to the trigonometric identity 2cos(a)cos(b) = cos(a+b) +cos(a-b) identified in Johannes Werner’s 16th-century manuscript on conic sections. Now recognized as one of Werner’s formulas, it was essential for the development of prosthaphaeresis and logarithms decades later. 
Date posted: August 19, 2017.
Islamic astronomy and Ibn Yunus sections compiled from the following sources:
It was here, well over a century ago, in 1899, that a young 22-year-old Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III, came by yacht from Zanzibar, the first Ismaili Imam ever to set foot on East African soil, in the then German East Africa….READ MORE
Date posted: August 19, 2017.
Simerg’s sister website http://www.barakah.com is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. Here are links to the latest pieces on Barakah.
“We have all heard of twin cities, why not twin newspaper companies and news organizations between the industrial world and the developing world? These could provide mutually beneficial exchanges of managerial, technological and editorial experience and news” — Read more of the Aga Khan’s advice
Yes, I’m quoting the Old Testament in a conversation about the Aga Khan. Many Christian traditions take this passage to be a reference to the concept that generations must grow closer together to prevent the collapse of society –- it is the Higher Power we reach towards which encourages hearts of many generations to turn towards our fathers and children — Read more by Andrew Kosorok
Date posted: August 5, 2017.
Bruno Freschi, one of North America’s most honored architects, built the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre in Burnaby, BC, for His Highness the Aga Khan.
In Barakah’s unique visual and textual portrayal of His Highness the Aga Khan, Freschi provides remarkable insights into the thought processes that were used to conceive the beautiful Jamatkhana. Please click on link or image below to read the piece.
The architect Bruno Freschi shared the above message with Simerg. It was penned down by His Highness the Aga Khan in a special commemorative volume celebrating the opening of the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre located in Burnaby, Canada. Please click for Freschi’s essay.
Date posted: July 29, 2017.
DELIGHTFUL ESSAYS, TRIBUTES, STORIES, PHOTOS AND INTERVIEWS…
The lapel pin distributed during the Diamond Jubilee celebration serves as a powerful reminder for an Ismaili of his/her loyalty and allegiance to the Imam of the Time, and enables Ismailis to act as ambassadors of the faith of Islam. MORE BY MALIK MERCHANT
A rare and insightful 1960 interview of the Aga Khan with Radio Pakistan has just surfaced from a Pakistani archive. MORE BY RADIO PAKISTAN
Around 8000 Ismailis from all over Quebec gathered in Montreal for an amazing event on July 11, 2017. MORE BY MUSLIM HARJI
A poetic expression of the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee Homage Ceremony that took place on July 11, 2017, in Aiglemont, France. MORE BY JALAL JAFFER
“My responsibilities as the present Imam of the Ismailis concern not only interpretation in matters of faith to a broad diversity of people residing in more than 25 countries, but also relating that faith to the conditions of the present”. MORE BY HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN
“….[the Aga Khan] and his followers continually remind the world that quiet good work can be more powerful than loud rhetoric and sensational acts, that the intellect and reason are the keys to progress, that openness and tolerance heal the world, and that peace is the expression of the divine on earth.” MORE BY MICHAEL HAMILTON MORGAN
A student with a hidden love for poetry uses the literary medium to educate the world about his school in Mombasa, Kenya, as his tribute to His Highness the Aga Khan. MORE BY ZIYAAN HIRJI
“I thoroughly enjoy reading the Daily Nation regularly. The writers know how to make the stories interesting. The format is excellent. The writers know how to attract the readers, as the story flows smoothly.” MORE BY TAZMIN JAMAL
The musical tribute honouring 60 years of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s glorious Imamat. offers an expression of deep gratitude to the Imam through the musical voices of Ismaili artists from all corners of the world. MORE BY THE ISMAILI
The International Headquarters of the Global Centre for Pluralism was officially opened on May 16, 2017 by His Highness the Aga Khan and the Right Honourable David Johnston. We have great photos of a “great day” with speech excerpts. MORE BY JEAN MARC CARISSE
A day before the official opening of the Global Centre for Pluralism, this informative posts situates the building within the overall picture of Sussex Drive, Ottawa’s ceremonial route, as well as offers glimpses of some buildings and monuments close to it. MORE BY NURIN MERCHANT
The Prophet Muhammad taught: “The doors of goodness are many: enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind…” And the Aga Khan has accepted this hadith as a personal job description. MORE BY ANDREW KOSOROK
“[the Ismailis] represent in Islamic Ummah a very exceptional community. The reason is that you have since 1957, His Highness the Aga Khan as a spiritual guide, as an intellectual guide” MORE BY MOHAMMED ARKOUN
…If any person or entity can restore Islam to its rightful place, it would be AKDN under the enlightened, visionary, and revolutionary leadership of the 49th Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and his successors.” MORE BY NIZAR MOTANI
“The colossal work which you achieve day after day towards a better living standard in the most deprived countries is not unknown to us. The spirit on which this action is based is amongst the purest expressions of human fraternity.” MORE BY RENE LEVESQUE
“To a non-Muslim the arguments were difficult to follow, but it was clear to me that a strong difference of opinion existed and that the Aga Khan would be called upon to resolve a ticklish point of theological doctrine.” MORE BY MICHAEL CURTIS
Prince Karim Aga Khan: “Just as we need food and water, so do the plants. Near our vegetable garden there are many large trees. The wind blows many leaves onto our crops. Young plants would get buried under the weight of these leaves, so every morning both of us collect all the leaves and burn them.” MORE BY KADERALI PATEL
“Time went and we reached the most momentous day in our life: May 25, 1995, a historical date that no Badakhshani will ever forget. We were blessed with Mawla’s didar for the very first time. That is when we really knew that we would never be alone, ever again. This was the day for which all our elderly and ancestors were longing, for centuries. MORE BY GULNAR SARATBEKOVA
“What we admire in you is that you have been able to integrate a modern outlook with religion so that religion has been allowed its true role which is not merely to provide an all-embracing explanation of the universe but also to furnish the fundamental solutions of the problems which life poses us.” MORE BY LEOPOLD SENGHOR
Prince Sinan Aga Khan was born in London, England, on January 2, 2017. Sinan is an Arabic name for boys meaning spearhead and is derived from the root word S-N-N which is used in the Qur’an. MORE BY THE ISMAILI
“He’s a man who represents the very best in Islam”
“It is the extraordinary sense of humanity that he has. The great depth of real feeling for real people wherever they find themselves in society. He is a holy man. He is the leader of his faith. He’s a man who represents the very best in Islam.” MORE BY JAMES WOLFENSOHN
Date posted: July 17, 2017.
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“….For centuries, Ismailis survived in Persia and elsewhere either in mountaintop redoubts or underground and or in nearly permanent exile…to the benefit of today’s world and many millions of people, the Ismailis have not been exterminated or absorbed. In some ways, their intellectualism may have been intensified by the centuries of persecution. Today, the Aga Khan and the Ismailis have bent over backward — and at great risk — to nurture the elements of progressive Islam that changed the world 1000 years ago. The fruit of all this historical tumult is the Ismailism of today, and the Aga Khan. He and his followers continually remind the world that quiet good work can be more powerful than loud rhetoric and sensational acts, that the intellect and reason are the keys to progress, that openness and tolerance heal the world, and that peace is the expression of the divine on earth.” Read more of Michael Morgan’s article
Date posted: July 9, 2017.
BY MALIK MERCHANT
(reporting from Winnipeg)
2,500 red T-shirts were handed out at 8:30 a.m. on July 1 in downtown Winnipeg’s iconic intersection at Portage Avenue and Main Street to help create Canada’s Largest Living Maple Leaf for the celebration of the country’s 150th birthday. The event first began in Winnipeg in 2011, and thousands have annually participated since to form a living Canadian flag at different locations in Winnipeg including the Manitoba Legislature, the historic Forks and Shaw Park.
Tinelke de Jong, the director of marketing and advertising for downtown Winnipeg biz, said that for Canada’s 150th anniversary the organizers decided to opt for an all-red maple leaf at the famous intersection which is rarely turned into a pedestrians only site. The show was MC’d by Nigerian born Ismaila Alfa, who hosts Up To Speed on CBC Radio One in Winnipeg. The organizers began positioning the crowd for the Maple Leaf at 8:30 a.m. and after a few practice sessions, Ismaila Alfa asked the crowd to look up at the camera for two photos — the first with a smile and the second one with the cheerful singing of “Canada” (see video below). This was a truly memorable moment for me as I have never witnessed anything like this before, and have only attended Canada Day Celebrations in Ottawa!
Please click to watch video
…..WHILE IN CANADA’S CAPITAL
Date posted: July 1, 2017.
BY ABDULMALIK MERCHANT
The Youtube link to the Diamond Jubilee Tribute Song to Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, is one you can play repeatedly and keep on enjoying forever. The expression of love for Mawlana Hazar Imam is visible on each musician’s face, and this is what is most inspiring about this video. What we might say is our “unmeasurable love” for Hazar Imam becomes even more unfathomable to grasp when we read what Hazar Imam said to his jamat (community) during his visit in 1964 to Pakistan that “my love for my Jamat is a lot stronger than yours can ever be for me and I would like you to remember this….When I leave, each and everyone of you will be in my heart, in my prayers, in my thoughts and you must remember that Imam loves you more, much more than you can ever love him and you must be strong in this knowledge.” Unmeasurable unmeasurable love indeed! We are all recipients of his care and barakah, 1000fold, nay a million fold….Happiness forever to all Ismailis.
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Date posted: June 8, 2017.
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