VISIT SIMERG’S NEW EXCITING BLOG “ALL THINGS LISBOA”
Date posted: May 8, 2018.
VISIT SIMERG’S NEW EXCITING BLOG “ALL THINGS LISBOA”
Date posted: May 8, 2018.
Finally, the REGISTRATION DAY is here and the President of the Aga Khan Ismaili Council for Portugal has sent a warm and special message of welcome to the worldwide Jamats! Thousands of Ismailis around the world who have already made arrangements to travel to Lisbon or have been anxiously waiting for the registration to commence before finalizing their air and hotel bookings, can now begin to REGISTER at the official website of the Ismaili community. The Darbar and Diamond Jubilee events will take place in Lisbon between July 5th and 11th, 2018. We recommend that you visit FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS first for answers to numerous questions about the visit, the registration process and how to complete the registration form. If you encounter technical or other issues, please click on CONTACT US hyperlink at bottom of FAQ page. Here is the link: CONTACT US.
Simerg, together with its sister website Barakah, has launched a special blog All Things Lisboa that will be a point of reference for Ismailis travelling to Lisbon to celebrate Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee. It will offer comprehensive information about the events planned in Lisbon as well as provide links to the official website of the Ismaili community, http://theismaili.org.
All Things Lisboa will help you enjoy the best of Portuguese culture and will seek to provide ideas to enhance your experience of the historic city — its sights, sounds and tastes. While the focus of attention for tens of thousands of Ismailis of Portugal and around the world will be on the Diamond Jubilee events from July 5th until July 11th, 2018, including a grand Darbar, we think that you can take advantage of your stay to explore Lisbon by bus, foot, tram or with guided tours. All Things Lisboa also provides a listing of Ismailis offering professional travelling services as well as a list of other reliable options for reserving accommodation etc..
We will provide you good information about Lisbon in the coming weeks!
Date posted: May 7, 2018.
Last updated: May 8, 2018.
BY ABDULMALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher/Editor Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos, .com)
Note: This post will be updated at regular intervals as more information become available.
Flights to Lisbon are becoming harder to find on specific travelling dates in early July, and hotels are now quickly filling up as Jamati members respond to the official LIF (Ismaili Leaders International Forum) announcement made on Navroz, March 21, 2018 that, with Mawlana Hazar Imam’s approval, the Jamats around the world would be welcome to join the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Lisbon. Some weeks earlier, Nazim Ahmed, the AKDN representative to Portugal and one of the 5 senior officials of the Imamat to Portugal, made a statement to Portugal’s Ministry of External Affairs that the celebrations in Lisbon would be the highest point of the celebrations of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee. This set off a flood inquiries about what form the celebration would take, and many even started preparing for the trip then.
We want to tell you not to despair about flight and hotel bookings yet, but urge you NOT TO DELAY despite the fact that registration details for the Portugal Darbar have not yet been announced on the official Ismaili community website. The Ismaili, however, has launched a special website that presently informs the Jamat about events that are planned in Lisbon. There are seats available on some of Air Canada’s return flights from Toronto; and TAP, the Portuguese airline flies directly from Boston. Please get in touch with your airlines or travel agents, many of whom are offering complete packages from various cities around North America. Of course if you are in Europe, distances are shorter and many residing there may drive or take the train, as alternatives to flying!
My recent searches at some of the hotel booking sites that I have provided below — and that I have used many times — show that there are rooms available in Lisbon’s downtown at varying prices — from as low as CAD $55.00 per night to a high of CAD $1700.00 per night.
(Note: There may be visa requirements to travel to Portugal from your country, so you have to resolve that before making any kind of booking).
From the Jamat’s perspective, while the Darbar would undoubtedly be the high point of the visit, we want to say that there are plenty of interesting activities such as the Diamond Jubilee Festival that will be staged in Lisbon during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s presence in Lisbon. The official community website, the Ismaili, mentions that the Festival will include concerts featuring world-renowned performers; an international Jamati Talent Showcase; an Art Gallery; a Film Festival; and a general Imamat Day celebration. Also, a carry forward from the Golden Jubilee is the Rays of Light exhibition depicting Mawlana Hazar Imam’s commitment to improve the human condition during his 60 years of Imamat. A Mela (get together space) for friends and family to meet, relax, and share experiences will be the central hub of the Diamond Jubilee Celebration.
The Portuguese Jamat, as we learn, are very excited about welcoming the world wide Jamat for the “high point of the Diamond Jubilee celebration.”
Over the weekend of March 24-25, 2018, I attended in Toronto the Canadian Jubilee arts festival and was impressed with stage performances and visual art exhibits. Now, that talent will converge in Lisbon from Ismaili Jamats who held local and national Jubilee events in their respective countries.
Lisbon hosts the third high profile Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre to be built after the London and Burnaby Ismaili Centres. So visiting the Festival and seeing the Ismaili Centre during Hazar Imam’s presence, meeting thousands at the Festival grounds, enjoying Portuguese delicacies at the site and Lisbon restaurants, visiting historic sites in and around Lisbon as well as shopping are some of the wonderful memories that you will take back with you, Darbar aside.
Moreover, the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat is being established in Lisbon, and we would all be very excited to visit its location in the heart of Lisbon.
The city of Lisbon itself is enchanting and has a lot to offer. Not far from Lisbon, approximately 300 kms away, is Portugal’s Algarve, one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world. Spain’s Cordoba is 500 kms from Lisbon. Then, from there it is another 2 hours to the architectural wonder of Alhambra, in Granada.
Lisbon has been at the centre of my heart for almost 56 years and it all started with Eusébio (1942-2014), the football player, who was essentially “kidnapped” from Mozambique by the great Portuguese team of the time, Benfica. Soon after joining Benfica he led the team to a 5-3 win over Real Madrid in the finals of the European Cup (now known as the UEFA Champions Cup) on May 2, 1962 in Amsterdam. As an 8 year old, I stayed awake to listen to the live commentary in Lourenço Marques (LM) at my friend Aziz Noorali’s place at the other end of the apartment complex where we stayed. “Golo de Benfica” – yes that was when I first fell in love with Lisboa! Eusébio broke the 3-3 tie, scoring the last 2 goals that made Benfica victorious, and a side to be reckoned with for the next few years with him as its superstar, like today’s Portuguese Ronaldo who plays for Real Madrid.
A few years later in the 1970’s the small Ismaili Jamat started leaving Mozambique for settlement in Portugal, and my first glimpse of Lisbon was in 1977 when I travelled there from London. The Keshavjee family hosted me, and Lutafbhai spent hours showing me the city, taking me to its most historical and charming sites. His older brother, the late Madatbhai, took me to other points of interest as well as to a coastal restaurant, where I enjoyed the tiger prawns that I had missed in Tanzania and London since leaving Mozambique.
I vividly remember one night during that first trip to Lisbon when more than a dozen family members from the Keshavjee clan took me to a very traditional Portuguese restaurant where I experienced a wide variety of local delicacies. The weight gain from that meal has not been lost to this day! During my subsequent visits, I was welcomed to Lisbon with hugs and kisses, because my parents had served the LM Jamat admirably and with distinction during their 8 year tenure there in the 1950’s! Then, in 2008, I took my daughter with me to Lisbon for Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee.
What about today’s Mozambique and Portugal Jamats? I am happy to share a warm invitational letter from Aly Faruque in response to an earlier version of this post published on Barakah. He writes:
“As a Portuguese citizen currently residing in Mozambique, I would like to, in the first instance to welcome you to Portugal. We all look forward to receiving our brothers and sisters, and to experience together this incredible moment of history that our Community is celebrating.
“Your words, comments, and memories deeply touched us [referring to my Barakah post], by your humility and availability to share precious and valuable information. The history and the past that you shared from our Countries bring us nostalgia and willingness to remember even further our great memories from the past, as well as when looking at pictures that connect us back to our roots and traditions. This is indeed very heartwarming.
“But our history and tradition did not stop in the second half of the 20th century. Mozambique currently has a vibrant Ismaili community spread across the country, that includes 7 (and growing) Jamatkhanas, and, Portugal, where our community has prospered, is now the home of many brothers and sisters that are well integrated and without any doubt a part of the socio-economic fabric of the Portuguese society.
“In addition, and although Eusebio is still well respected, we are currently living the most glorious years of our football history. Portugal is the current holder of the European Cup and the best player in the world, perhaps of all times, is named Cristiano Ronaldo and started his career in Sporting Clube of Portugal, probably the best school of football talents in the world.
“As for the city of Lisbon, the highlights you mentioned are brilliant and definitely a must-see during a visit to our beautiful country and city. There are other places, those that are not on the itinerary of tour guides, and that could be a more genuine view of the Lisbon vibrant hospitality. Some of these places would be the Mercado de Campo de Ourique, where you can have a gourmet experience in an informal environment, the LX Factory, where you can visit some of the trendiest restaurants in Lisbon, and the Bairro Alto, Principe Real, Chiado and Cais do Sodre neighborhoods, suitable for both day and night experience.
“We look forward to receiving you all.”
Aly would like readers to note that his views about sightseeing and places to visit in Lisbon are personal. Readers who want more information about the city, from his perspective, may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today the city’s (and the country’s) institutions have recognized Hazar Imam’s contribution and have bestowed him with honours. The Ismaili Imamat and the Portugese government signed a historical agreement to establish the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal. Long before that, Lisbon already had established the third high profile Ismaili Centre in the world.
There are plenty of things to do in and around Lisbon, and I would suggest that anyone travelling to the city experience its history and architecture by taking day tours or simply jumping on Tram 28 to see the best of Lisbon! Hop on and off buses are available! Aly Faruque has also provided unique insights in his letter, above.
Amin Jiná has sent me a link to the exclusive ground transportation that he offers through http://www.amiroad.pt. I normally don’t endorse services that I have not utilized myself but I would be inclined to use his services due to the extremely positive reviews and high ratings he has received at https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g189158-d7134166-Reviews-Amiroad_Luxury_Transports-Lisbon_Lisbon_District_Central_Portugal.html.
Lisbon’s subway system is great (see map, below). With regard to accommodations do not necessarily look for one closest to the Ismaili Centre. There are lovely hotels and charming Airbnb rooms and apartments available in centre city and other historical areas of the city such as Alfama. Taking a cab to the Ismaili Centre or the site of the Darbar from downtown Lisbon (or Baixa) will not take you more than 20 minutes! So be an intrepid traveller – not a boring one! Kids love excitement, remember that, if you are travelling with children and youth. And of course staying in the more traditional and popular areas of the city will allow you to walk to nearby restaurants for great coffees and pastries, and make sightseeing and shopping exciting as well as easier.
I have made bookings over the past several years through all the websites listed below, with a very high level (95%) of satisfaction. Where a hotel has not met the expected star level or service as indicated at the site where the reservation was made, their customer service representatives have been extremely considerate in fixing the problem or applying credits for subsequent stays. I have also stayed at many Airbnb accommodations over the past 2 years that have been positively reviewed and I don’t have anything to complain about. With the oncoming rush many new properties will be listed that do not yet carry reviews. If they look good in photos and the person you communicate with is responsive, go for it. Here are the sites I have made bookings through. Note that many properties offer cancellations!
Tip: Use filters (eg. price range, dates of stay, star rating, location from city centre or major attractions etc.) to narrow down search
Note: This is an updated version of a piece that was first published at http://www.barakah.com. Both the pieces now contain almost identical information.
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Since the commencement of his Diamond Jubilee on July 11, 2017, His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Hazar Imam, has visited 9 countries and flown more than 90,000 kilometres. At the age of 81, the 49th Hereditary Imam of the Ismailis is the oldest reigning Imam in Ismaili history. We invite our readers to read and learn about his life through a treasury of insightful essays, memorable quotes, narratives, beautiful songs and stunning photographs, including rare and historical images, on our sister website Barakah. The following is Barakah’s table of contents as of March 26, 2018.
Date posted: February 25, 2018.
Last updated: February 27, 2018.
The purpose of this post is to provide external links to news of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). We we will make every effort to ensure that links are filtered so that the news is not repetitive – often the same news agency report is shared by different media. The page will be updated on a regular basis.
Mawlana Hazar Imam bids Khuda Hafiz before departing the UAE. The Ismaili/Simon Milne-Day.
Mawlana Hazar Imam walks through the Jamat during the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Dubai. The Ismaili/Akbar Hakim.
A view of the beautiful stage for the Darbar held in Dubai for the Emirates Jamat. On the centre, behind the chair, is the circular Diamond Jubilee logo bearing the crest of the Ismaili Imamat. The crest has 60 crescents surrounding it, representing Mawlana Hazar Imam’s 60 year reign. A Kufic rendition of the Qur’anic ayah or verse (49:13) from Surah Al-Hujurat (the Dwellings) with the following meaning, forms the outer perimeter of the logo. “O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.” — Translation by Pickthall.
Mawlana Hazar Imam addresses the Jamat during the Diamond Jubilee Darbar held at Dubai World Central. Photo: The Ismaili/Akbar Hakim.
Photos and stories in Al-Ittihad
For story and photos in Arabic, see Al Khaleej link, below.
His Highness the Aga Khan meets with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (left column) and His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Click on The Ismaili link below for report and enlarged photos.
Arabic MediaPhoto and story in Al-Ittihad
In printed media, headline in red, top right, states that the Crown Prince welcomes Patriarch Yuhana Xth and Aga Khan IV.
Photo and report in printed media of Aga Khan’s arrival in Dubai on Monday January 22, 2018.
Mohammed bin Rashid receives Imam of Nizari Ismailism
For more coverage related to this event, please click https://sheikhmohammed.ae/en-us/
Date posted: January 24, 2018.
Last updated: January 27, 2018, 01:03 AM, EST (explanation of Diamond Jubilee logo, and photo of stage)
Note: This post is simultaneously published on http://www.barakah.com, a website dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan.
As part of his famous Apostolic Journey to France in 2008, Pope Benedict XVI, on September 13, paid a visit to the “Institut De France” in Paris. The Pope, who had been elected as the 265th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church in 2005, was presented with a gold medal by the Institut, and also unveiled a plaque commemorating his visit. During his very brief remarks to the audience, the Pope expressed his gratitude to the Institut “both personally and as the successor of [Simon] Peter.”
His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Hazar Imam, was also in attendance at the Institut de France as the Associate Foreign Member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts (Academy of Fine Arts), one of five learned societies within the Institut which was founded in 1795.
Everyone’s attention in the hall was drawn to Mawlana Hazar Imam and the Pope, with an extraordinary sense of interest and keenness, as the two faith leaders greeted each other with a handshake.
A couple of years earlier in 2006, the Pope made some controversial remarks concerning Islam to which the Aga Khan responded in an Interview: Islam is a Faith of Reason which appeared in Germany’s widely read Spiegel website.
In 2013, Pope Benedict dramatically resigned his position as the Head of the Catholic Church due to his deteriorating strength, advanced age and the heavy demands of being Pope, and retired at the Mater Ecclesiae, a small monastery located inside the Vatican State City. His present successor is Pope Francis I, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
The Catholics adhere to the belief that the Pope is a successor of St. Peter or Simon Peter. The succession of the pope is determined by a college of cardinals who elect the pope, while the office of the Imam of the Ismailis is a hereditary position.
In a speech made at the Canadian Parliament in 2014, the Aga Khan declared that “the Ismaili Imamat is a supra-national entity, representing the succession of Imams since the time of the Prophet.” And, in an interview with Politique International he said, “The religious leadership of the Ismaili Imam goes back to the origins of Shia Islam when the Prophet Muhammad appointed his son-in-law, Ali, to continue his teachings within the Muslim community. The leadership is hereditary, handed down by Ali’s descendants, and the Ismailis are the only Shia Muslims to have a living Imam, namely myself.”
In the Catholic tradition, the foundation for the office of the Pope is found primarily in Matthew, where Jesus is quoted as telling Simon Peter:
“You are ‘Rock,’ and on this rock I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
This series of successions of the Pope is known as “Apostolic Succession,” with the line of Bishops stretching back to the apostles, who lived during the time of Jesus. Simon Peter is recognized as having been the first Pope. Early Christians however reserved the title of “Pope” for St. Peter’s successors.
In branches of Shia theology as well as Ismailism, Simon Peter’s role is seen as the direct parallel to that of Hazrat Ali as the first Imam. Ismailis along with some other Shia groups maintain that every major Prophet had a spiritual legatee (Waṣi) or successor called the Asas (foundation) who taught the inner meaning to those who had the capacity to understand it. In this regard, Adam had Seth; Noah had Shem; Moses had Aaron, and Jesus had Simon Peter. A well known sacred tradition of the Prophet Muhammad says that “Ali is to me as Aaron was to Moses,” confirming that Ali held the same level of authority as Aaron did.
Date posted: January 3, 2018
An earlier version of this post appeared on this website on December 31, 2015.
We welcome your feedback, please click Leave a comment or send it to email@example.com, Your feedback may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation. We are unable to acknowledge unpublished letters.
The following were used as references for the compilation of this piece:
Also see the following important features to learn more about the Aga Khan and the Ismaili Imamat:
“Islam Is a Faith of Reason” – SPIEGEL Interview with Aga Khan in which His Highness the Aga Khan responded to Pope Benedict’s controversial remarks concerning Islam that he had made in 2006; and Special Series: Ismaili Expressions on the Imamat and Imam of the Time — (I) The Preamble of the Constitution of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims
PAGE LAST UPDATED: December 20, 08:25 AM EST (in Karachi +10h, December 20, 06:25 PM).
The purpose of this post is to provide external links to media coverage of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee visit to Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and its commercial capital. We we will make every effort to ensure that we skip on links that contain repetitive information – often the same news agency report is shared by different media.
COVERAGE OF AGA KHAN’S VISIT TO NORTHERN PAKISTAN: Pertinent external site links for Prince Karim Aga Khan’s visit from December 7–14, 2017 to Islamabad, Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan in the northern areas of Pakistan are available at The Aga Khan in Pakistan: (1) A thorough and comprehensive coverage of his Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Pakistan, Dec. 7-14, 2017
Videos: Conclusion of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Momentous Visit
Date posted: December 14, 2017
Last updated: December 20, 2017, 08:25 AM EST
We welcome your feedback. Please click Leave a comment
Latest updates were applied at 00:47 AM on Thursday, December 14, 2017.
The purpose of this post is to provide external links to media coverage of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee visit to Pakistan. This post will specifically cover his visit to Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan in the northern areas of Pakistan. We we will make every effort to ensure that we skip on links that contain repetitive information – often the same news agency report is shared by different media.
NOTE TO OUR READERS: All material related to his Karachi visit will now be covered in a new post dedicated to Karachi. The link will be available shortly.
Newspaper reports suggest the following darbar attendances in Gilgit-Baltistan: 150,000 in Yasin (Ghizr District) and 100,000 in Aliabad (Hunza District). Also, original estimates for Chitral, 2 locations — Booni and Garam Chashma – were 140,000.
(a) Media Coverage
NOTE: All material related to his Karachi visit will be covered in a new post dedicated to Karachi!
(a) Media Coverage
(a) Media Coverage
(b) Daily Motion Video: Welcome message to the Aga Khan from Shia Community
(a) AKDN Initiative
(b) First page coverage (Urdu newspaper)
(c) Photos with Governor Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan
(d) Gilgit arrival, a Gbee News Twitter video (must watch, photos with children)
(e) Media Coverage
(f) Hunza preparations ahead of visit
(a) Booni Darbar video
(b) Helicopter departure video (from town of Chitral to Booni)
(c). Booni pre-darbar photos
(d) Flight Delay in Islamabad: “The C130 aircraft in which he was supposed to fly could not takeoff from Islamabad in time. The AKF Helicopter Wing however took over and proved its worth by promptly dashing over to Islamabad in marginal weather and ferried the Imam and his entourage to grace Chitral and allay the anxiety of tens of thousands of the waiting faithful at Garam Chashma and Booni. Due to the four hour delay in scheduled departure from Islamabad and extended ceremonies at both the Deedar Gahs, the Imam decided to stay overnight in Chitral” — Excerpt from ChitralNews.com
(e) Media Coverage
(a) Chitral preparations ahead of Darbar
(b) Comment on the volunteers
“Volunteers from the community have been working day and night for weeks on, to clean the area and upgrade roads and prepare two grand ‘deedar gahs’ (congregation areas) at Booni and Garam chashma, which will hold thousands of disciples of the Imam of the Ismailia community. Ismailis from all over Chitral with their women folk and children have converged on Booni and Garam Chashma the two venues where the Ag Khan would address his followers. The scathing cold has not deterred the faithful to brave the weather and catch a glimpse of their Imam.” — Excerpt from Chitralnews.com
(c) Media Coverage
(d) Social Media Tweet by Marvi Mennon
Marvi Memon, aged 45, is a Pakistani politician who serves as the Minister of State/Chairperson of the Benazir Income Support Programme. She has been a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan since 2013 as a member of Pakistan Muslim League.
(e) Video (Urdu news on Aga Khan arrival in Pakistan + meeting government leaders)
(e) Expressions (Song honouring Mawlana Hazar Imam)
(a) Conventional or Social Media Coverage
Date posted: December 9, 2017.
Last updated: December 13, 2017, 11:42 PM EST.
A young boy from Chitral presented a bouquet of flowers to Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan on December 7, 2017. What then followed is a brief conversation the boy will remember all his life.
Date posted: December 9, 2017.
PLEASE CLICK: Ismailis, as spiritual children of Mawlana Hazar Imam, always take to rejoicing when they hear about their Imam’s confirmed visits to other jurisdictions. Each visit by the Imam is filled with blessing for that particular jamat, as well as for other jamats around the world. I became truly conscious of this fact during an extraordinary moment in Montreal, just over a week ago, on the morning of November 21 — Read more at Barakah, a special project by Simerg dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan