We asked you to be a fly on the wall and answer the question: What is the one scene, incident or event in Ismaili history you would like to have witnessed — and why?
Simerg published thirty one contributions over a period of nine weeks for this highly anticipated series. We began the series on Wednesday April 7, 2010, with Hussein Rashid’s intriguing piece, The Mind of Yazid, the Faith of Hussein and concluded on June 17 with Jehangir Merchant’s Ghadir-Khumm and the Two Weighty Matters.
Individual articles in the series may be accessed by clicking on links or images shown below. The illustrated narratives are also available in a single PDF file. To download this wonderful publication please click I Wish I’d Been There Series – PDF
- Ghadir-Khumm and the Two Weighty Matters
- Ikhwan al-Safa
- The Love for Ali
- The Eid-i Qiyama!
- Al-Qahirah: Then and Now
- Khawja Nasir Tusi’s Tales
- Pir Satgur Nur: Miracles in Ginan ‘Putla’
- Ismaili Penmanship in 1906
- Discourses of Hazrat Ali
- Ibn Ridwan and Supernova 1006
- Light the Candle of Wisdom in the Heart
- A Fida’i Mission: Into Saladin’s Tent
- His Name is Jawhar
- Inferno of Alamut
- Fatimid Power and Learning Spirit
- A Young Murid Aspires to Understand Commonalities Between Past and Present
- Hazrat Ali’s Example: What We Can Do Today
- Varas Ismail Gangji: The Turning Point
- The Three Kings Without Crowns
- “Riding Forth to Open the Canal” with Nasir Khusraw
- Weaving a Web of Silence, Only to Know
- A Christian Envoy at the Ghadir Khumm Campsite
- Volunteering at the Dawn of the Age of Imamat
- The Unveiling at Sijilmasa
- Another Shalimar
- A Unique Moment in the Life of the Punjab Jamat
- The Faith of My Forefathers
- 13th-14th Century “Avatar” Discourses; 1885 – Aga Khan III Investiture; 1907 – Aga Khan III in New York
- The Mind of Yazid, the Faith of Hussein
LINKS VIA IMAGES. PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGE.
IMAGE: A DESERT SCENE
Karbala Tragedy (supplementary reading, not part of series)
IMAGE: HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN III INSTALLATION
IMAGE: A FOLIO FROM A GINAN MANUSCRIPT AND A SCENE ON THE FRONT COVER OF TAZIM KASSAM’S BOOK “SONGS OF WISDOM AND CIRCLES OF DANCE”
IMAGE: TWO BOATS TO REFLECT IMAM SULTAN MUHAMMAD SHAH’S GUIDANCE TO THE PUNJAB JAMAT (IN QUOTES)
IMAGE: SHALIMAR GARDENS, LAHORE, PAKISTAN
IMAGE: A DESERT SCENE
IMAGE: MAP OF CURRENT DAY MOROCCO SHOWING THE RELATIVE LOCATION OF SIJILMASA WHERE IMAM AL-MAHDI REVEALED HIMSELF
IMAGE: PRESENT DAY VOLUNTEERS; INFINITY (CIRCLES) TO REFLECT TWO WEIGHTY MATTERS AND ETERNITY OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTION OF IMAMAT, AS ALSO SHOWN BY THE NUMBERS 1-49………..
IMAGE: A REPRESENTATION OF THE KAABA SHOWN ON THE COVER OF A EUROPEAN EDITION OF ONE OF BARNABY ROGERSON’S BOOK
IMAGE: A ‘SPIDER’ WEB AND A PHOTO TO REFLECT THE NARRATIVE OF THE PROPHET’S MIGRATION TO MEDINA AND THE AGA KHAN’S VISIT TO BADAKSHAN
IMAGE: A VINTAGE PRINT ILLUSTRATING THE NILOMETER IN CAIRO
IMAGE: A COLONIAL MAP OF EAST AFRICA WITH IMAGES OF TOPAN, PAROO AND VISRAM
IMAGE: A PORTRAIT OF VARAS GANGJI ALONGSIDE HIS MOTHER’S QUOTE ON TRUTH
IMAGE: AN ISMAILI CROWD IN BADAKHSHAN AS THEY LISTEN TO THEIR 49TH IMAM, HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN
IMAGE: A MODERN DAY PAINTING DEPICTING THE ALAMUT VALLEY
IMAGE: A SIGN REFLECTING THE WRITER’S TOPIC
IMAGE: A VINTAGE PRINT OF THE AL-AZHAR UNIVERSITY
IMAGE: A MODERN DAY CASTLE ON FIRE
IMAGE: FATIMID ARMY AND ARMORY BASED ON AVAILABLE DESCRIPTIONS, WITH A PORTRAIT OF JAWHAR
IMAGE: A STATUE OF NASIR KHUSRAW IN BADAKHSHAN
IMAGE: A MEDIEVAL SCENE – ARMY AND TENTS SET IN A VALLEY IN THE MIDST OF MOUNTAINS
IMAGE: JUST OVER A THOUSAND YEARS AGO, THE STELLAR EXPLOSION KNOWN AS SUPERNONVA SN 1006 WAS OBSERVED AND RECORDED BY FATIMID ASTRONOMER IBN RIDWAN. THIS COMPOSITE VIEW INCLUDES X-RAY DATA IN BLUE FROM CHANDRA OBSERVATORY, OPTICAL DATA IN YELLOWISH HUES AND RADIO IMAGE DATA IN RED.
IMAGE: A Folio from Hazrat Ali’s Nahj al-Balagha (Peaks of Eloquence). Photo: Wikipedia
IMAGE: AN ANTIQUE PEN, A THUMBNAIL PHOTO OF ALI VELJI AND A LINE FROM HIS GUJARATI NOTEBOOK
IMAGE: The Mausoleum of Pir Satgur Nur in Navsari, Gujarat, India, and a thumbnail depicting a putla (idol).
IMAGE: TOP LEFT IS IMAGE CROPPED FROM AZERBAIZAN STAMP COMMEMORATING TUSI’S 800TH ANIVERSARY, THEN CLOCKWISE: TUSI WITH STUDENTS, MARAGHA OBSERVATORY, MONGOL SIEGE AT ALAMUT, CONTEMPORARY ART WORK OF THE ALAMUT CASTLE AND ADJOINING VALLEY
IMAGE: AL-AZHAR UNIVERSITY, A PLATE OF EGYPTIAN PASTRY KAHK, PLANET MARS, IMAM MUI’ZZ FATIMID GOLD DINAR, A VIEW OF CAIRO FROM AL-AZHAR PARK
IMAGE: HASAN-I SABBAH ACQUIRED THE FORTRESS OF ALAMUT FROM A CERTAIN INDIVIDUAL NAMED MAHDI, AND GAVE A DRAFT OF 3,000 GOLD DINARS AS THE PRICE OF THE CASTLE. THE VELLUM DOCUMENT IN THE CENTRE OF THE IMAGE IS DEEMED TO BE A LATER COPY OF THIS DRAFT. PHOTO: THE INSTITUTE OF ISMAILI STUDIES.
IMAGE: A MODERN COMPUTER-AIDED SHI`ITE CALLIGRAPHIC DESIGN, WITH THE NAME OF `ALI IN THE CENTER. CALLIGRAPHY HAS THE PROPHET’S WORDS “DHIKR ALI IBADA” (REMEMBRANCE OF ALI IS AN ACT OF WORSHIP).” SOURCE: AL-ISLAM.ORG
IMAGE: THE EARLIEST MANUSCRIPT (LEFT) OF THE RASA’IL IN THE INSTITUTE OF ISMAILI STUDIES COLLECTION PROBABLY ORIGINATES FROM SYRIA AND WAS COPIED IN THE MID-THIRTEENTH CENTURY; OTHER MANUSCRIPTS IN THE COLLECTION WERE COPIED BETWEEN THE SIXTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES IN PERSIA AND INDIA. CREDIT: THE INSTITUTE OF ISMAILI STUDIES.
SERIES INTRODUCTION: “I Wish I’d Been There” – Summoning the Past Into the Present
Design and Art Work by Nurin Merchant, Grade 12, Colonel By Secondary School Ottawa. Copyright: Simerg.com
Thumbnail images in outer border depict scenes from Ismaili history.
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We welcome feedback/letters from our readers. Please use the LEAVE A REPLY box which appears below. Your feedback may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation. We are unable to acknowledge unpublished letters.
I really enjoy the articles submitted in this section. I hope you keep this section open to encourage future entries from readers.
It seems incomplete to experience this fantastic voyage through history without expressing my praise, delight and indebtedness to you for this amazing trampoline of knowledge, of service. Alhamdulillah
Thanks for making the series available in PDF document. Having re-read the contributions and from the comments received, I must say, the series has been enjoyed by both the young and the old. It is like living and learning the Ismaili history through virtual time.
I really enjoy the articles submitted in this section and I second Zarina. I hope you keep this section open to encourage future entries from readers.
Congratulations for this site, specially “Three Kings Without Crown.” I am happy to read about my great grandfather, Alidina Visram. Well done.
Nellie, how fortunate to have had such an illustrious great grandfather. I have always been fascinated by the Visram family – the school was such a constant reminder, especially the architecture and it has certainly stood the passage of time. Years later, when I was a student in England, I met one of his daughters in law, at the Ismaili Centre, 5 Palace Gate. She was such a gracious lady, she mentored all the new students, kept in touch with them, talked to them, and there was at that time, an influx of refugees from the Congo and she was more than a mother, and a friend. She was affectionately called Bebibai. After my return to Kenya, some years later, I also met one of his great grandsons, who was working for an oil company in Nigeria and was on holiday in Kenya, and had taken time to look at the school. All those who hail from East Africa have certainly met and been with the Paroo family members as well as the Topan family. I met Dr. Farouk Topan at SOAS in London. All the very best to you Nellie.
Ya Ali Madad,
Congratulations for making available this site and in particular the new series “I Wish I’d Been There” – it is a brilliant idea and I hope you will keep the series open beyond May as I am sure many more people from all over the world would like to contribute. All the very best and I will keep reading.
Thank you, Zarina. The idea, as I noted in introduction to the series, was from “American Heritage” magazine which dedicated a section to American History under the same theme, “I Wish I’d Been There.” It has been in my head for 25 years…what a long wait! Thank you to all the authors as well as readers who are showing such a tremendous interest, judging from the readership. Please spread the word about Simerg.com
Introduction to the series at: