“Mawlana Hazar Imam Shah Karim al Hussaini, His Highness Prince Aga Khan, in direct lineal descent from the Holy Prophet (s.a.s.) through Hazrat Mawlana Ali (a.s.) and Hazrat Bibi Fatima (a.s), is the Forty-Ninth Imam of the Ismaili Muslims. By virtue of his office and in accordance with the faith and belief of the Ismaili Muslims, the Imam enjoys full authority of governance over and in respect of all religious and Jamati matters of the Ismaili Muslims”…from the Preamble of the Ismaili Constitution, 1986
Introduced by Abdulmalik Merchant
Andrew Kosorok, an artist living in Utah made this poignant observation about the 49th Ismaili Imam on this Website: “The more I read about His Highness, the greater my respect. When someone can literally do whatever it is he wants, or can literally have anything his heart desires, whatever that is, says a lot about the person. It is a consistent source of hope to see to what ends the Aga Khan uses the resources at his disposal. I am grateful for a world leader of such stature, with a heart such as his.”
These are highly complimentary words for His Highness the Aga Khan, who explained his role in an interview with Politique Internationale:
“…The Imam’s responsibility covers both domains….his first concern is for the security of his followers; his second is for their freedom to practice their religion; his third is for their quality of life, as I have just mentioned. I repeat, the Imamat is an institution whose two-fold mission is to guarantee quality of life and to interpret the faith….”
If we consider the last half of this year alone, we see how the Ismaili Imam is fulfilling his mandate. In June and July, he spent an extended period of time with his followers in East Africa to perform religious ceremonies and inspire them with words of wisdom for their spiritual and material well-being. Then, in a very short period between October 29th and November 7th, His Highness the Aga Khan visited half-a-dozen countries for Imamat related projects, which fall under the aegis of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), of which he is the chairman and founder. He began his tour in New Delhi to review progress on the restoration of Humayun’s Tomb and the work at Sunder Nursery in the capital region of Delhi; his next stop was Kabul where he met with President Karzai to discuss the progress of AKDN activities in Afghanistan. This was followed by a brief two day visit to Tajikistan where he witnessed the inauguration of the Dushanbe Serena Hotel as well as participated in the foundation-stone ceremony of a new bridge connecting Afghanistan and Tajikistan to be built with AKDN support.
Not more than 72 hours after, he was in Ottawa to preside over a meeting with the directors of the Global Centre for Pluralism and also to meet with the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to discuss the Canadian Government’s priority to establish the Office of Religious Freedom. At the wink of the eye, he was in Chicago signing an Agreement of Cooperation between the State of Illinois and the Ismaili Imamat. The visit to Chicago also included talks on early childhood education and media and communications.
Such has been the life of His Highness since he began his reign as the Ismaili community’s 49th spiritual leader at the age of twenty. He has over the past 54 years, guided the spiritual growth of his Ismaili followers as well as helped them achieve a better material life through economic, social, and cultural progress. The Aga Khan has articulated that education, self-help, unity, character and generosity as well as the ethic of keeping a balance between the spiritual (din) and temporal (dunya) are the elements which keep a community vibrant and healthy and lead to enlightenment and dignity. His tireless endeavours for his global community have also led to the improvement, well-being and dignity of human beings in some of the world’s poorest, most deprived and most diverse communities regardless of faith, origin or gender.
“THE CLOSER YOU COME THE MORE YOU WILL SEE HIM”
It is impossible to do adequate justice to his vast and monumental work in any form. Akber Kanji of Toronto sought to capture some of the numerous projects of the Ismaili Imam through a highly creative digital work which he titled “The Closer You Come the More You Will See Him.” We published his remarkable image last March, and do so again in this brief tribute so that our readers may get a glimpse and seek to understand and appreciate the scope and depth of the work of His Highness the Aga Khan.
Ismailis around the world have a very deep sense of affection and love as well as engagemnent with their beloved Imam. However, we all realize that even in ordinary lives the affection that parents have for their children is unsurpassed and cannot be equally recipocrated. The same holds for the Ismaili Imam. The Prophet and his successor, the Imams, are regarded as the spiritual parents of their respective communities, and for this reason Mawlana Hazar Imam has himself said: “When I leave this evening I would like that you should remember two things. One, that I will take with me in my heart the remembrance of each and everyone of you, the face of each and everyone of you. Secondly, 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…you must remember that Imam loves you more, much more than you can ever love him and you must be strong in this knowledge.”….Farman Mubarak, Pakistan visit 1964, Ismailia Association for Pakistan.
These words convey hope and inspire confidence amongst his followers around the world.
To honour His Highness the Aga Khan on his 75th birthday, we present this short tribute that encaspulates the life of the Ismaili community from the earliest times to the present through images, photos and pertinent quotes. We join Ismailis and other well wishers around the world in one voice to wish His Highness the Aga Khan a very happy birthday and a very long life. Ismailis eagerly await the celebration of his Diamond Jubilee in 2017.
“Allah did choose Adam and Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of Imran above all people – offspring, one of the other, and Allah knows and hears all things.” (Holy Qur’an, 3:33-34)
“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”….His Highness the Aga Khan, Politique Internationale
THE PROPHET OF ISLAM AND HAZRAT ALI
“The Holy Prophet’s life gives us every fundamental guideline that we require to resolve the problem as successfully as our human minds and intellects can visualise. His example of integrity, loyalty, honesty, generosity both of means and of time, his solicitude for the poor, the weak and the sick, his steadfastness in friendship, his humility in success, his magnanimity in victory, his simplicity, his wisdom in conceiving new solutions for problems which could not be solved by traditional methods, without affecting the fundamental concepts of Islam, surely all these are foundations which, correctly understood and sincerely interpreted, must enable us to conceive what should be a truly modern and dynamic Islamic Society in the years ahead”….His Highness the Aga Khan, Pakistan, Seerat Conference, 1976.
“This is a time of new freedoms, but it is also one in which new choices must be made wisely. In exercising freedom and making choices, our institutions must be guided, as they have been in the past, by the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace of Allah be upon him), and the tradition of our tariqah, which is the tradition of Hazrat Ali: A thinking Islam and a spiritual Islam – an Islam that teaches compassion, tolerance and the dignity of man – Allah’s noblest creation.” ….His Highness the Aga Khan, May 14, 1992
NORTH AFRICA AND EGYPT
“The future of the Ismaili Faith rests in the hands of the youths of your age and mine. Are we to follow the example of those, who in Egypt, Iran and Sind raised the flag of Ismaili Imams high enough for the world to see its glory? I say, ‘Yes’. We should not fail where our ancestors achieved glorious success” – the late Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan
“A thousand years ago, my forefathers, the Fatimid imam-caliphs of Egypt, founded al-Azhar University and the Academy of Knowledge in Cairo. In the Islamic tradition, they viewed the discovery of knowledge as a way to understand, so as to serve better God’s creation, to apply knowledge and reason to build society and shape human aspirations” – His Highness the Aga Khan, Mozambique, June 25, 2004
“Dr. Kurwa earlier, presented to me some coins from the Fatimid Caliphate. This was a period of great glory and great pride, and I would like to express to all my students my very deep gratitude for the gift that you have offered. It is a link to the past, but it is also an ideal to be achieved, an ideal of strength, an ideal of performance, an ideal of happiness.”…..His Highness the Aga Khan, London, September 1979
“Bequeathing a legacy that to this day enlightens the region’s intellectual traditions Nasir Khusraw was among the premier thinkers whose contributions will be celebrated in the space that we initiate today.”…His Highness the Aga Khan, Foundation Ceremony, Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe, August 2003
“I would be surprised if ever such a big Mehfil-e-Ginan has ever been held…many times I have recommended to my spiritual children that they should remember ginans, that they should understand the meanings of these ginans and they should carry these meanings in their hearts. It is most important that my spiritual children…hold to this tradition which is so special, so unique and so important to my Jamat….I have been deeply happy tonight, deeply happy because I have seen the happiness in the hearts of my Jamat and this is what makes Imam happy”…His Highness the Aga Khan, Karachi, December 16, 1964, Farman Mubarak, Pakistan visit 1964, Ismailia Association Pakistan
ANCESTRY AND SUCCESSION – 19TH AND 20TH CENTURIES
“Each Imam presents to the world of his time that facet of the multi-faceted splendour the Ismailis call Imamat. All Ismaili philosophers have emphasized the principle of the Unity of Imamat under the superficial diversity exhibited by each Imam of the Time. It is in this sense that the Ismailis believe that Imam is the same irrespective of his own age or the time he lives in”…Esmail Thawerbhoy, Ismaili author
“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.
“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.
“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
“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
CEREMONIAL INSTALLATION: DAR-ES-SALAAM AND KAMPALA
Dar-es-Salaam: Clad in a white high-necked tunic, black trousers and astrakhan cap, Mawlana Hazar Imam mounted the dais upon which the 48th Imam, Hazrat Mawlana Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III, was weighed in diamonds in 1946. Mawlana Hazar Imam gave his permission to commence the ceremony with the recitation of verses from the Holy Qur’an.
The robbing ceremony was performed by putting the red and grey robe over the shoulders of Mawlana Hazar Imam. The robe had been worn by Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah during his Jubilee celebrations. The Chief Mukhi of Dar-es-Salaam, Najmuddin Devji, made the presentation of the black astrakhan cap to which was pinned a golden ‘taj’ inlaid with 49 diamonds and precious stones. The beautifully ornamented and jewelled ‘Sword of Justice’ was placed in the hands of Mawlana Hazar Imam and it signified that Imam is the ‘Defender of the Faith.’ Mawlana Hazar Imam was then presented with a golden chain with 49 links which represented the lineal descent of the Imam.
The last of the pageant rites was performed when a signet ring was placed on the finger of Mawlana Hazar Imam. The ring had been used as a seal for communications from Imams to his murids (followers) throughout Ismaili history, particularly during the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries and specially to communicate with the Ismailis who were difficult to contact in places such as Central Asia where extra authority, apart from signature, was needed.
Mawlana Hazar Imam then rose to address the Jamat and spoke of the unbounded sources of energy which would be made available to mankind and of the changes that would surely come with them, and added: “I shall devote my life to guiding the community in all the problems which these rapid changes will bring in their wake.”
THE 49TH IMAM: SOME EARLY PORTRAITS AND PHOTOS
IMAMAT ENDEAVOURS FOR HUMAN PROGRESS
The Aga Khan Development Network and its numerous agencies are a recent phenomena. In the 1960’s and 1970’s much of the mandate was carried out by the Aga Khan Foundation. Subsequently, other agencies were added to meet the diverse needs and spread of the Ismaili community and the population among whom they lived. The following chart illustrates the magnitude and scope of the work of the Ismaili Imamat today.
An explanation of the Seal: The circular form of the Seal, with its different levels of imagery contained in concentric circles, has its visual roots in the rosettes of early Islamic periods. The circle also symbolises the world and reflects the internationality of the University. At the centre of the Seal is a star, or sun. Light is a universal symbol for the enlightenment that education provides.
The light emanating from the star is also symbolic of Nur (Divine light). The star incorporates 49 points to commemorate the University’s founding by His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, the forty-ninth Imam of the Ismaili Muslims.
The outer ring circumscribes a Quranic Ayat rendered in classic thuluth script and reads as follows:
“And hold fast, All together, by the rope Which God (stretches out for you), And be not divided among yourselves. And remember with gratitude God’s favour on you: For ye were enemies And He joined your hearts In love, so that by His grace Ye became brethren.”
HAPPY ISMAILI PEOPLE
Date posted: Monday, December 12, 2011.
Date updated: Wednesday, December 14, 2011
MORE…Tribute to His Highness the Aga Khan – Part II
A Tribute to His Highness the Aga Khan – Part III
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Very Inspiring article. Mowlabapa. I wonder how can you work so hard even at this age. Managing thousands of Schools, Hospitals, Hotels, Industries, the list will go on & on & on. UNBELIEVABLE. Mowla take care of your Health & do take some Rest too. (We Know who you are Spritually) but you need to take some Rest & Relax a bit. Love You.
What an inspiring story that was published for my beloved Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Salgirah.
Tuj vina koi avar na dise,
mawla amne che tamaro aatharje.
Tuj vina ame akala mawla,
mawla tame thajo rakhvalje.
Our Family’s humble Shukarana in Mowla’s Holy Huzur pur noor for always being there for us and our loved ones and for the entire Jamat and ummah. Every time we think of you, we find you are right there holding our hands and comforting us and blessing us with your grace and mercy., Shukar Mawla for giving us strength in our hardships and humility in succes. Shukar Mawla for your countess blessings and barakats. Please forgive us for our short commings. A very happy birthday, Mawla. We hope and pray that all your murids are able to see your Diamond Jubilee. Inshah Allah. We crave for your blessings for good health and Imanji Salamati. Ameen
Happy birthday ya ali bapa. You are with us and we are with you.
Tum jiyo hazaro saal saal ke ho pachas hazar – Happy birthday to you Mawla bapa I love you, you are always on my mind, you are always on my mind.
Shukranlillah, walhamdulillah! We Ismailis are so fortunate and can be proud to have a leader in our midst who is continuously guiding us for our spiritual and material well being. No community can claim that. Happy 75th Birthday to our beloved Hazar Imam Shah Karim Al-Hussainy. Ya Mawla, we still feel your hand on our shoulder which you gifted to your Murids during your Golden Jubilee celebrations. Please, please do not let it go and let our Iman grow stronger each day!
Thanks to Simerg for sharing this beautiful and priceless collection of pictures and activities of Mawla’s unique and incredible way of life. This is a treasure indeed!
A great human being, and an example for others.
Happy birthday Mawla Bapa.
Thanks for your hard work for providing this enlightening series on His Highness the Aga Khan who is doing so much for the socio-economic progress of millions around the world as well as for the spiritual uplift of his Ismaili followers.
May His guidance always be with us. How blessed we are!
“AN UNMATCHED LEGEND OF OUR TIMES”–Only an Enlightened Soul could Accomplish, what Our Beloved Imam has, in his Glorious years of Imammat.
Khudawand-e-Karim Salgirah Mubarak
Khudawand please gives us all Ruhani Roshani and Rushani Raaz. Khudawand please forgive all sins for our all ruhani souls and send them to eternal peace.
Shukar Mawla and we all know you are there for us.
My Beloved Hazar Imam.
Heartiest congratulations on your 75th Salgirah. Wishing that your presence remains with us for a very long time, and that your choicest blessings lead us along the rocky lives of ours and your guidance becomes the very bright star on the darkest nights. May you alway walk by our sides and grace us with your Holy Zaheri and Batuni deedar. Ameen.
I’m proud to be born an Ismaili. No matter where I remain, what I do, my feelings for the Imam shall never change. My faith shall never lose its path – the path of Siratul Mustaqeem.
Wishing all my brothers and sisters a heartiest Khushiali Mubarak.
A greatest honour and luck to be born in Ismaili faith and be Hazar Imam’s murid. It is he who brought our fathers from the slums of India, educated us in his Schools in Africa, prepared us for western world and spending his entire life for the betterment of his community.
Looking at the pictures and reading the article makes me realize once again that we are indeed a very blessed jamat. I am very thankful to Mawla for keeping us a safe and secure jamat for the last so many years.
No doubt, we all Ismailis are very lucky to have been born in this sathpanth deen, Shukar Mawla tera lakh lakh.
Khushyali Mubarak to all Ismailis around the world…Ya Ali Madad
Imam writes his destiny, no one can write one for him. The Imam likes his murids to follow his farmans.
Proud to be Ismaili.
Daily Bedtime prayer from Kahzmir (MY GRANDSON)
Dear Mowla Bapa
Thank you for all things small and big
and ask you please to forgive our sins.
Make our faith as strong as the monuntains and
our love as high as the sky.
Day and night bring us closer to your light
and be with us for ever and ever……………….amen
Dear Rashida: What a down-to-earth prayer. I am simply awed and impressed.
The composition is just simple, but otherwise, so deep.
Every word in the prayer is so genuine – we need to thank Him, we need His help in all matters, we need to be “close to the Light”, we need Him to be with us always and above all, we need to ‘recognize’ Him for what He really is! Therefore we need our faith to be as “strong and as High” as Kahzmir pleads in his Bedtime Prayer. Thank you for sharing this unique ‘conversation’ with Mawla! Thanks to Simerg for creating a platform where the Ismailis of the World come together and share their humble thoughts ………
The guidance that the Imam and the Imamat has given to us, has helped foster a Muslim community that is respected the world over. He is truly the Noor of our time!
A 21st century leader of leaders with vision, power, commitment and devotion for his spiritual children.
I convey my mubaraki to our global Ismaili Jamat on the auspicious occassion of our Beloved Mawlana Hazir Imam’s birthday. May Mawla Bless us with lots of Barakat….. Ameen.
Birthday of Our Mavla is a Birthday of a New World. A world full of Hope and Happiness. He comes again and again to be with us, so that we may not feel alone in this troubled world. He accompanies us everywhere….and we know that even if the world will crash down any day we are happy…so happy…because He is with Us….Murtaza Ali is with us….our Creator is with us…our Guide is with us…our Hope is with us….our Happiness is with us…we love Him more than ourselves….O Movlana…ya Noor-e Parvardigar we love you forever.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE for the Imam of the time. Happy Birthday Mawla Bapa and my humble Shukharana for your continuous guidance, love, comfort and strength that you give me every day! Shukhar Mawla for your blessings that you pour on me and my family. Mawla you inspire me so much. I am so blessed to be an Ismaili.
Saligrah Mubarak to all my brothers and sisters worldwide. Congratulations Simerg for your inspiring knowledge. Keep up the good work.
Dear Mawla Bapa ,
We thank you for all things; small and big
and ask you please to forgive us our sins;
Make our faith strong as a mountain
and our love as high as sky;
Day and night bring us closer to your light
and be with us for ever and ever.
Saligrah Mubarak to all Ismailis Worldwide from Japan jamat and from my family.
Let us all say Salwat on this precious occasion and give Shukhrana to our beloved Imam.
“Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammadin wa aali Muhammad”
Saligrah Mubarak to all Ismailis Worldwide.
My sincere prayer: “May He shower His choicest blessings on all the Ismailis all over the world on this occasion of Salgirah Mubarak.”
True Leader of 21st century…Abdulsacoor in the Portugal Ismaili jamat
Happy birthday to Mawlana Hazar Imam and Salgirah mubarak to all Ismailis all over the world. Nice collections. Congratulations to Simerg.
Very inspiring , refreshed knowledge. We are blessed to be Ismaili Muslims. I believe sharing true knowledge of the Ismaili faith is one of best gifts we can give to living Imam.
Heartiest Salgirah Mubarak to all Ismailis the world over.
The posting is very appropriate and befiting the happy occasion.
It is also very inspirational and educational and the pictures are of very high quality.
Congratulations and keep up the great work.
Kamrudin A. Rashid
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammadin wa aali Muhammad.
Salgirah mubarak to all my brethren around the world on the joyous occassion of the 75th birthday of our beloved Hazar Imam.
In a sense our Mawla has been Imam of the Time for the whole Muslim Ummah. He has worked relentessly to project the ethics of Islam and bridge the gap between the Muslim world and the rest. He has sought to strengthen the links between various tariqahs within Islam by his outreach to everyone. He is truly a world leader.
Ya Ali Madad,
All Dear Beloved Ismailee Brothers and Sisters
I wish you all khoshali Mubarak…
My Beloved Hazar Imam
My humble Shukarana in your Holy Huzur for always being there for me and my loved ones. Every time I think of you, I find you are right there holding my hand and comforting me and blessing me with your Dua, and telling me “don’t worry my beloved child, I am here and I will take care of you.” Shukar Mawla for giving me strength in my hardships and allowing me to keep my head no matter what the situation is; shukar Mawla for your countess blessings and barakat. A very happy birthday, Mawla. I hope and pray that we all murids of yours are able to see your Diamond Jubilee. We crave for your blessings for good health and Iman Salamat. Ameen.
Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammadin wa aali Muhammad.
He is everything in our life. We are nothing without him. He has given us life, discipline, courage, health, wealth and everything we need.
This is incredibly wonderful!
On this auspicious occasion of our beloved Imam’s 75th Salgirah, let us express our gratitude and shukhrana for the untiring efforts of our beloved Mowla for his continued care and benevolence for his world wide Jamats.
The one who stands above all else – The most beneficient and the most merciful.
True leader of 21st century
An excellent set of knowledgable photos.
DEAR MAWLA BAPA
A very happy birthday to beloved Mawla Bapa. We are nothing with out You. You are Mother and Father of us. We love you so much. Day and night be with us.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY. MAWLA BAPA.