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CANCELLED EVENT: Aga Khan Garden to feature Treaty 6 Singers and Dancers and the Royal Canadian Artillery Band in Coronation Celebration at U of A Botanic Garden, Saturday May 13, 2023 — Free admission & parking!

Compiled and prepared by MALIK MERCHANT

UPDATE MAY 9, 2023: Due to the severity of wildfires in Alberta, this special event commemorating the coronation of King Charles III has been cancelled.

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta is joining with the University of Alberta in a special celebration to mark the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden in Edmonton. The celebration will feature free public admission to the Botanic Garden throughout the day, and an afternoon program to include performances by the Treaty 6 Singers and Dancers (Aga Khan Garden, 1:30 PM), the RCMP Pipes and Drums (Pine Pavilion, 2:15 PM), the Royal Canadian Artillery Band (Aga Khan Garden Amphitheatre, 3:00 PM) and Kita no Taiko Japanese Drummers (Kurimoto Japanese Garden, 3:45 PM.)

The official program will commence at 1:00 pm at the Aga Khan Garden’s beautiful Talar building with greetings by Her Honour, the Honourable Salma Lakhani, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.

Talar Building Aga Khan Garden Edmonton, University of Alberta Botanic Garden, Simerg
A view of Aga Khan Garden’s magnificent Talar Building, where Her Honour, the Honourable Salma Lakhani, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta will offer greetings on Saturday, May 13, 2023, before the commencement of special musical events celebrating the coronation of King Charles III. Photograph: Nurin Merchant/Simerg.

Here is a brief description of the bands that will be performing at the Coronation celebration:

Treaty 6 Singers and Dancers (Aga Khan Garden)

For our readers’ information, Treaty 6 encompasses 17 First Nations in central Alberta including the Dene Suliné, Cree, Nakota Sioux and Saulteaux peoples. Treaties are the law of the land in the relationship between First Nations and the rest of Canada.

The peoples of the Treaty 6 area have diverse cultural traditions that are reflected in their musical and dance styles. All of these groups regard music and dance as vital parts of their lives. For them, music has a strong presence in their lives; in ceremonies, rituals, prayer, and various other spiritual practices. Along with dance, it is a means to unite people with each other and with the Creator. Dancers follow the beat of the drum, which is interpreted as a continuation of the Earth’s heartbeat – the same heartbeat that unites all people and is first heard inside the mother’s womb.

Today, music and dance continue to play a vital role in the spiritual and cultural lives of the Treaty 6 peoples.


The Royal Canadian Artillery Band (Aga Khan Garden, amphitheatre)

The Band provides music for military parades and ceremonial occasions, formal concerts, government functions, tattoos, and special events. The RCA Band performs as a 35 piece Brass / Reed Parade Band, a 35-piece Concert Band, as well as in various smaller configurations.


The RCMP Pipes and Drums (Pine Pavilion)

RCMP Pipes and Drums. Simerg article
RCMP Pipes and Drums will perform at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden’s Pines Pavilion on Saturday, May 13, 2023 in honour of the coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey, London, on May 6, 2023. Photograph: RCMP Pipes and Drums.

The RCMP Regimental Pipes and Drums of Alberta is comprised of Civilian, Military and RCMP members. The band is a not for profit group with members throughout Alberta that promote the RCMP within Alberta and nationally. The band uniform consists of the RCMP scarlet tunic and the RCMP tartan kilt. This uniform is recognized world wide and represents a national institution.


Kita no Taiko Japanese Drummers (Kurimoto Japanese Garden)

This drumming group is one of the oldest Japanese drumming groups in North America and will enthrall the audience through the powerful, beautiful sound of the taiko (drum). Watch how taiko combines dynamic music, primal rhythms, and the human spirit to create an unforgettable artistic experience.


Coronation Celebration of King Charles III

King Charles Coronation Celebration, University of Alberta Botanic Garden, Japanese Garden, Aga Khan Garden
Please click on image to visit the Lt. Governor of Alberta website for further information about the coronation celebration event.

Date posted: May 8, 2023.
Last updated: May 9, 2023 (event cancelled.)


Material for this post was compiled from the following websites:

Exclusive: Khatoon Noonan, member of the UK Ismaili Muslim community, creates a winning dish in u3a competition celebrating the coronation of King Charles III

Khatoon Noonan presents her dish Pickling Mutton Curry which won Cook for the King competition to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III.
Khatoon Noonan presents her dish “Pickling Mutton Curry” which won Cook for the King competition to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III. Photograph: University of the 3rd Age (u3a).

(special to Simerg)

During the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953, Khatoon Noonan was in primary school at the small village of Kumi in Uganda. Being a British protectorate, Uganda had a public holiday and Kumi had a fair to attend and a village party to celebrate the Queen’s Coronation. During the party, Khatoon’s mother dearly called by all as ‘Maa’ had cooked her eclectic dishes for the invited dignitaries including the District Commissioner and local Saza Chiefs. Even in those days, Maa’s culinary fame was recognized far and wide, especially her pickling dishes.

Little had Khatoon dreamt that in the 21st century, in May 2023, she would have the singular accolade of being the winner of Nationwide “Cook for the King” competition to commemorate the coronation of King Charles III in her adopted home of London. Her mouth-watering winning entry is an epitome of Khoja Ismaili Fusion cooking.

Aptly named “Pickling Mutton Curry,” Khatoon cleverly blended fragrant and environmentally friendly spices and local ingredients with meat favoured by King Charles to encourage local farming community. These were some of the stringent requirement of the u3a competition. The judges, some of whom are from national TV and culinary talk-show, had rave reviews about her creation which has attracted national attention.

A career bio-chemist Khatoon was a natural cook, given her deep interest in chemistry. Her childhood interest in cooking were encouraged by observing her mother and two elder sisters in the kitchen, feeding a growing family of ten children, granny and a regular stream of travellers and guests who would drop-by (there being no eateries in the village or vicinity.) Besides the Khoja Ismaili cuisine from native Kathiawad, being the family staple, Swahili East-Africa costal and Gujarati vegetarian cuisines figured prominently in Khatoon’s family. This was rounded-off with adaptation of fragrant local, fresh Ugandan products which unlocked natural flavours a thousand-fold. Khatoon absorbed all this knowhow like a sponge.

Always a brand-ambassador of Khoja Ismaili cooking, Khatoon’s experimentation with fusion of Ismaili cuisine with other cuisine began when she attended the remote St. Mary’s Convent at Namagunga, Uganda, for her A-levels. The cheery-nuns were her companions and mentors and she started to blend Western and Middle-Eastern cuisines with her native Ismaili cooking. The results were stunning. The honing of these experimental efforts continued through her undergraduate at Makerere and later at Newcastle University where she was studying for her post-graduate in bio-chemistry. Uprooted from Uganda, Khatoon had to now adopt her cooking with English ingredients. But she was well-equipped with the skill-sets and this would set the stage for the later phase of her life.

Always eager to share her skill and cooking with other, Khatoon wrote several cook books, her magnum opus being, “My Life through Food”, packed with recipes handed-down from generation to generation but moderated with local ingredients to unlock the fragrance and aromas of meats and vegetables. She regularly runs a South Asian cooking demonstration classes in her kitchen under the umbrella of u3a (University of the Third Age).

The Crowning Jewel to Khatoon’s life came when she participated in u3a’s “Cook for the King.” All her skill, knowledge and years of experimentation came to fruition with her winning entry “Pickling Mutton Curry”, a simple enough dish fit for a King.

Date posted: May 7, 2023.



Simerg welcomes your feedback on Khatoon Noonan’s crowning achievement. Please click on Leave a comment. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

About the contributor

Shiraz Pradhan

About the contributor: Shiraz Pradhan, in parallel with his work as an international engineering consultant, has contributed for several years to furthering religious education among the Shia Ismaili Muslim community in the UK, Canada, USA and Japan. He is the author of several articles published on this website and was a regular contributor to UK’s flagship Ismaili magazine, Ilm. Currently he is concluding the script of a full-length play of the 10th Century trial of the Sufi Saint Mansur al-Hallaj in Baghdad based on historical facts. He is also the Chairperson for the Association for the Study of Ginans (ASG), an organization that has in recent years established close collaborations with institutions around the world, hosted several Ginan conferences, online webinars and Ginan mehfils.

Further reading

u3a Cook for the King — a competition to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III — has crowned its winner. To celebrate the coronation, u3a members were challenged to create Coronation recipes Fit for a King, while considering sustainability and the UK’s partnership with the Commonwealth. The winner, Khatoon Noonan, drew on her Ugandan, Indian and British heritage to prepare the winning dish ….READ MORE

Please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents as well as visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah and Simergphotos. The editor Malik Merchant may be reached via email at

Calgarians and Albertans: Experience the Majestic Oceans and its Sea Animals at Glenbow at the Edison – Free Visit from May 11-21, 2023


Albertans can count themselves lucky for being blessed with incredible nature and the scenic beauty of the Rocky Mountains. For example, the Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper is one of the most spectacular drives in the world. Along the entire route, there are mountains, canyons, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, forests and hiking trails and wildlife. The natural spaces in the province are utilized by its residents as well as visitors from around the world throughout the year. During the past 4 months, I was amazed to meet visitors from as far as Australia, New Zealand, Spain, the UK, Lebanon, Peru, Iran, Japan, the Netherlands and Brazil, among many other countries, enjoying our winter activities.

A stingray. Photograph: Hussain Aga Khan/Focused on Nature, Living Sea Exhibition, Glenbow Museum Calgary
A stingray. Photograph: Hussain Aga Khan/Focused on Nature.

As lovers of nature, and to experience nature of a different kind, Albertans travel to the oceans to swim and snorkel in warm waters as well as for relaxation. The oceans are filled with over one million species of living creatures — from the tiniest Zooplankton, to the nudibranch to the blue-ringed octopus, to the dolphin, to the shark and the whale. But how many of us, while playing and enjoying the ocean, will dive into its depths to experience the marvels of the underwater world?

Well, we have a wonderful opportunity here in Calgary as the Glenbow presents a captivating exhibition of sea animal photographs captured by Prince Hussain Aga Khan, whose love for wildlife began when he was only 5 years old. This early childhood interest has grown into a passion for diving into the oceans and mingling with sea creatures of all kinds. Over the last decade he has taken thousands of pictures and a selection of his photographs have been published in books such as Diving Into Wildlife and the most recent one The Living Sea which is also the theme of the Glenbow exhibition. Hussain’s photographs have also appeared on National Geographic blogs.

Aside from taking photographs, Prince Hussain has become an activist on the protection and preservation of ecosystems in oceans and seas. Through his organization Focused on Nature (FON), the Prince shares his passion and personal mission of conservation and the urgent need for more research and actionable initiatives on global issues negatively impacting the environment.

Glenbow’s exhibition from May 11-21, 2023, will feature a collection of his stunning photographs in large scale format. The exhibition is free and an opportunity that none of us should miss. It will be inspirational for everyone, and perhaps a turning point in many peoples lives when they see how the ocean is in danger of losing many of its species. It might even spur the youth to consider careers in oceanography. In any case, children as well as adults will be awed by Prince Hussain’s stunning underwater photographs.

Once again, this incredibly curated exhibition, The Living Sea – Fragile Beauty, is being held at the Glenbow at the Edison from May 11-21, 2023. It is FREE to attend. Please click Glenbow: The Living Sea to register.

Date posted: May 5, 2023.



From a young age, Prince Hussain Aga Khan developed a keen interest in conservation, tropical fish, reptiles and amphibians – and began scuba diving at 14. He started travelling to the tropics frequently after high school and began taking photographs of fauna and flora on a trip to the Brazilian Amazon in 1996.

Multiple photographic expeditions, often organized jointly with scientists or professional photographers, have led him to constitute extraordinary archives, covering various geographic areas and types of habitats. He has also captured many marine and terrestrial species.

His international exhibitions aim to inspire admiration for wildlife and the desire to protect it. Collections of Prince Hussain’s photographs have also been published in four books: Animal Voyage (2004), Diving into Wildlife (2015), Fragile Beauty (2022) and The Living Sea (2022). Proceeds from the sale of his books are donated, via Focused on Nature, to shark, cetacean or sea turtle conservation.


For World Book Day, we present a list of publications by the Institute of Ismaili Studies


How many titles does the Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) have under its banner since its founding in December 1977? Its first publication was in 1983 — Henry Corbin’s Cyclical Time and Ismaili Gnosis. The answer: 208! As many countries around the world observe UNESCO’S World Book Day on April 23, we present a link that provides a brief overview of the IIS’s 200+ titles. Please click IIS Publications or on the image below. There are filters of how you want the books to be listed, such as newest to oldest, by category and there is also a search function. For a detailed description of the book, click on the book title or its corresponding front cover image shown on the summary page. Some books may be out of print. The literature counters in Jamatkhanas in Canada and other parts of the world have many titles in stock. Pick up a book on World Book Day and make reading part of your daily habit.

UNESCO WORLD BOOK DAY Institute of Ismaili Studies
Please click on image for list of books published by the IIS since its founding in December 1977.

Featured photo at top of post: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, in conversation King Charles (then HRH The Prince of Wales), Lord Ahmad, Mayor Sadiq Khan, and Head Librarian of the Aga Khan Library Dr. Walid Ghali; June 26, 2018, opening day of the Aga Khan Centre. Photograph: The Ismaili/Shyrose Bhanji.

Date posted: April 23, 2023.


The Aga Khan’s principles and aspirations for a peaceful and equitable world

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT

Simerg and its sister website Barakah are pleased to launch a permanent PODCAST series that will contain timeless words from 65 years of speeches, interviews and messages that His Highness the Aga Khan has delivered since he became the 49th Hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims on July 11, 1957. The Aga Khan’s perennial words accentuate the common goal of societies living in the spirit of one humanity as well as flourishing in all areas of human endeavour. Appropriately, with Muslims commencing the auspicious and happy Eid ul-Fitr festivities from Friday, April 21, 2023, following the end of the month of Ramadhan, the first Podcast is of a written holy message (or Talika) that the Aga Khan sent to his followers on the occasion of Eid ul-Fitr in May 2020, at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The full English text of the Talika with its translation in eight languages can be read HERE.

The Aga Khan’s special Eid ul-Fitr message of May 23, 2020

His Highness the Aga Khan’s Eid ul-Fitr message of May 23, 2020.


Inline images below represent the Imam and his bond with his spiritual children


My beloved spiritual children,

On the occasion of Eid ul-Fitr, I send my special loving blessings to my Jamats throughout the world for your happiness, peace, safety, and good health. My family joins me in wishing you all Eid Mubarak.

At this difficult time, I applaud, with the highest admiration and gratefulness, the selfless services of all my Jamati volunteers, as well as the doctors, nurses, paramedics and support workers in the AKDN and other health facilities and related programmes: Their exemplary courage, commitment and dedication in extending care and comfort to my Jamat and others, and especially to those who are vulnerable and sick, is an outstanding actualization of the human values and ethics that all faiths cherish.

It is my wish that my Jamat should look to the future with hope and courage, in keeping with its age-old tradition of unity, generosity and mutual support which has at all times enabled it to move forward to a position of enhanced strength and resilience, from generation to generation.

My spiritual children should always remain mindful that it is the principles of our faith that will bring peace and solace in these times of uncertainty. I am with my Jamat at all times, and each of you, individually, is always in my heart, in my thoughts and in my prayers.

I send my most affectionate paternal, maternal loving blessings  to all my Jamat – for happiness, good health, confidence and security in your lives ahead, and for mushkil-asan.

Yours affectionately,

Aga Khan

Date posted: April 21, 2023.
Last updated: April 26, 2023 (improved version of podcast reading.)



Please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents as well as visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah and Simergphotos. The editor Malik Merchant may be reached via email at

Historic photo and story from 1944: At age 7, the young Prince Karim Aga Khan recited Eid ul-Fitr Namaz in Nairobi

As Muslims around the world prepare to end the fast of the month of Ramadhan, with the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr expected to take place on Friday April 21, 2023, we recall a historic day in the life of Mawlana Hazar Imam who, on or around September 19, 1944, recited the Eid ul-Fitr Namaz (lit. prayers) at the Nairobi Chief (Darkhana) Jamatkhana now known as the Town Jamatkhana. Prince Amyn, Mawlana Hazar Imam’s younger brother, was also present on the festive day. Their religious education tutor, Missionary Kaderali Patel, recorded the day’s events in his diary. Please click HERE or on photo below to read the story.

As we prepare to celebrate Eid, may we draw our readers’ attention to the beautiful Eid Mubarak stamp, shown at left, that was issued by Canada Post on April 3, 2023, ahead of the Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha, which will be celebrated at the beginning of July after the completion of the Hajj. The stamp was featured in our special post HERE.

On the auspicious occasion of Eid ul-Fitr, we convey our heartiest felicitations to Muslims around the world and wish everyone Eid Mubarak with prayers that Allah may fulfill all your wishes, and that He may in His Infinite Mercy shower His Creation with peace, tranquility and happiness. We also pray for the peace and rest of departed souls. Finally, we pray that Allah give us the strength and courage to face difficulties that we may be facing or that may come our way, and that He may ease our difficulties. Ameen.

Prince Karim Aga Khan reciting Idd Namaz on the occasion of Idd ul Fitr in September 1944 when he was 7 years old.
Prince Karim, now the 49th Imam of Ismaili Muslims, leading the Eid prayers in 1944 at the age of 7. Please click on photo for story.

Date posted: May 11, 2021.
Last updated: April 19, 2023.


Before departing this website please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few. Also visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah, which is dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, members of his family and the Ismaili Imamat, and Simergphotos.

Canada Post issues Eid stamp graced with image of a beautiful Iranian artifact crafted 700 years ago

“It may seem unusual that an ancient artifact from medieval Iran would make its way onto a Canadian stamp, but it’s really not at all. This is a wonderful reflection of who we are as Canadians and how diverse our country is. We celebrate cultures from across the world here.” — Dr. Fahmida Suleman, curator of the Islamic World collections, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, as quoted in Canada Post Magazine article.

Crafted nearly 700 years ago in medieval Iran, the elegant, hand-painted ceramic bowl on this year’s Eid stamp was made during Ramadan — one of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar, when Muslims in Canada and around the world fast as an act of worship, self-purification and spiritual growth. This is Canada Post’s fifth Eid issue. The 2023 stamp also features, in calligraphy, the words Eid Mubarak, a traditional Arabic greeting that means “have a blessed Eid”. Its issue date is April 3, in advance of both Eid al-Fitr which is expected to be observed on Friday, April 21, and Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, which marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to the Kaaba in Mecca. The 2023 Hajj is scheduled to take place between June 26 and July 1…. PLEASE READ MORE IN CANADA POST MAGAZINE.

To buy stamp (in booklet of 6), please click Eid (2023): Permanent domestic rate stamps. The link includes an image of the stamps booklet and describes the two Islamic Eid festivals in more detail. The booklets should be available at Canada Post locations around the country. The specifications for the stamp are as follows:

Designer: Subplot Design Inc; Issue date: April 3, 2023; and Quantity produced: 55,000.

Date posted: April 14, 2023.


Please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents as well as visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah and Simergphotos. The editor Malik Merchant may be reached via email at

Travelling the world with Muslim Harji: An exclusive photo series on Cairo, a city founded in 969 by the Fatimids, ancestors of the Aga Khan

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT

On Monday. April 17, 2023, Simerg’s sister website Simergphotos will launch a special 4-week series on Cairo — a city founded more than a 1000 years ago by the Fatimids, ancestors of the present 49th Hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, His Highness the Aga Khan.

Lanterns in Islamic Cairo. Photograph: Muslim Harji.
Lanterns in Islamic Cairo. Photograph: Muslim Harji.

Muslim Harji’s photographs will cover Islamic Cairo, the city’s popular foods including its street foods as well as the beautiful Al-Azhar Park that has captured the hearts of Cairo’s residents. He will conclude the series with photographs of his memorable visit to Aswan, the burial place of the 48th Ismaili Imam, Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III (d. July 11, 1957.)

Fellucas on the Nile in Aswan. Photograph: Muslim Harji
Fellucas on the Nile in Aswan. Photograph: Muslim Harji

As a forerunner to the Cairo series, we invite our readers to view a selection of Muslim’s highly acclaimed photo essays that have appeared in Simerg and its sister blogs over the last decade. Muslim’s dazzling pictures will capture your imagination and leave a permanent mark on your minds.



Please click on the hyperlink or corresponding image for full story
































Date posted: April 13, 2023.


Laylat al-Qadr: The Holy Night to Experience Spiritual Treasures and to Seek to Come Closer to God


“We have indeed sent it (the Qur’an) down in the Night of Power!
And what will make you understand what the Night of Power is?
The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
The angels and the Spirit (Ruh) descend therein with the permission of their Lord, to regulate all things.
It is peace until the rising of the dawn” — Qur’an, 97:1-5 (Surah al-Qadr)

The Qur’an affirms in the final two verses of this very short Surah of Qadr — The Night of Power — that angels and luminous spirits descend to earth on the blessed night, expressing the Grace and Mercy of Allah.

What symbolic dimension and esoteric meaning should we give to this night of the angels in the blessed Islamic month of Ramadan?

Of course, during this crucial night, as Shia Imami Ismaili Mulsims, under the spiritual authority of the Imam-of-the-Time, we will devote our time in congregation as well as individually to spiritual exercises that will especially help us to enter into communion with our soul and succeed in opening our heart to the vision of God.

The recitation of verses and surahs of the Qur’an, Ginans and Qasidas, special Tasbihs (invocations), the Hadiths (the traditions of the Prophet), the Farmans (guidance) of Mawlana Hazar Imam, as well as the remembrance of Allah, the Prophet Muhammad, Hazrat Ali and his (Hereditary) successors, as we commemorate this special event, will support our spiritual search.

On this Holy Night it is necessary to be in tune, by reason and with our hearts, with the angels and the luminous entities sent in mission as providential messengers.

Musicians know this phenomenon well. Here are two absolutely identical tuning forks: you touch one of them, it vibrates, and the other, which has not been touched, also vibrates. We say that there is a resonance.

Well, a similar phenomenon occurs with the human beings: if each one of us manages to tune our physical and psychic being to the most subtle vibrations of the universe, we can reach the celestial powers to make an exchange with them and thus receive help and comfort.

We also know that there is no true listening without the fundamental attitude of humility!

During this night of the angels, we can even touch certain currents of forces to make them come to us. As soon as we know this law (of tuning), we understand how important it is to surpass ourselves — to surpass ourselves to touch the most subtle chords of our being and to make them vibrate, because there will be forces that will respond by making us benefit from their knowledge.

Through Ibadat (worship), special Zikr prayers and Bandgi (meditation and contemplation), we can communicate and be heard! We have to make the sincere effort to enter the sacred silence of interiority and to understand the importance of the spiritual quest by going down to the bottom of our soul.

This Night of the Angels remains precious for introspection, awareness, offers moments of purification, forgiveness, enlightenment, contemplation, submission, renewing our act of allegiance to the Spiritual Authority of the Imam-of-the-Time.

Laylat al-Qadr is a night of the angels where Allah in His Great Mercy and Glory has concentrated His Blessings and entrusted the angels and the invisible light entities to make the night the centre of His Favours.

Laylat al-Qadr is a night that is conducive to our spiritual maturity because these hours of worship, allow us to see the treasures of knowledge and recognition.

We conclude by offering our prayers and sincere fraternal thoughts for a complete, serene and satisfying night of Laylat al-Qadr.

Date posted: April 12, 2023.

Featured image shown at top of post: In his Khamsa, Shab-i Qadr (the Night of Power), the renowned Persian poet Amir Khusraw Dihlavi (d. 1325 CE) tells the story of a saint who made a failed attempt to stay awake until the Laylat al-Qadr. This image is taken from a folio in the Aga Khan Museum collection in Toronto, Canada.


Born and raised in Madagascar, Mohez Nato went to France in the late 1960’s to pursue his university education. Political tensions in Madagascar prevented him from returning to his home country, where he had planned to teach and carry out research on medicinal plants. Instead, he remained in France and completed his PhD, following which he worked as a teacher-researcher in Plant Biotechnology at the University of Paris Sud XI from 1971 to 2011.

Now, in his retirement, Mohez does voluntary work giving courses in French-speaking Universities in countries like Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Benin, Algeria and Tunisia. He is also the president of a Humanitarian Association which has been active in Madagascar since 1993. Within the Ismaili community, Mohez was Secretary General of the Ismailia Association for France (with President Mohamad Peera) which organized Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan’s visit to Paris in 1980. Thereafter, he devoted time for the opening of a Jamatkhana in Antony in southern suburb of Paris, where he also held the position of Kamadia from 1981 to 1983. After the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2007-08, Mohez was bestowed with the title of Alijah by Mawlana Hazar Imam. Mohez is married to Farida, with whom he has two daughters, Farahna and Rahima. We invite you to read his earlier piece Ode à l’Imam du Temps Présent / Ode to the Imam of the Present Time published in Barakah.


Please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents as well as visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah and Simergphotos. The editor Malik Merchant may be reached via email at

Two Princes in the Aga Khan’s family have their birthdays 1 day apart – Hussain has turned 49 and his nephew Irfan is 8

Prince Hussain Aga Khan Simerg

“From the first Costeau film I saw and the fish I started keeping at the age of five, the first octopus and cuttlefish that squirted ink at me….I knew I couldn’t, wouldn’t stop exploring the sea,” says Prince Hussain. Read more about his marine expeditions and exciting encounters in the underwater world as well as his contributions to the work of the Ismaili Imamat by clicking on photo shown above or APRIL 10: PRINCE HUSSAIN AGA KHAN.


Prince Hussain’s nephew, Prince Irfan, is 41 years younger! His recent photo with his grandfather, His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th Hereditary Imam of the Ismaili Muslims and direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him and his family), brought immense joy to Ismailis around the world. Our piece on the young Prince includes the meaning of his beautiful name Irfan. Please click on photo or APRIL 11: PRINCE IRFAN AGA KHAN.

Date posted: April 11, 2023.