Ghadir-Khumm and the Two Weighty Matters by Jehangir A. Merchant

In our classic series, I Wish I’d Been There, we had asked our readers to pick up one incident in Ismaili History which they would like to have witnessed. One of the thirty-one contributors for the series, Ismaili missionary (Alwaez), teacher and writer Jehangir Merchant, went back 1400 years to the beginnings of Islamic history and imaginatively constructed a picture of the iconic event when Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) raised the hand of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) and declared, “He of whom I am the Mawla, Ali is also the Mawla!” Based on authoritative sources, this piece by a long-serving Alwaez shows his vast knowledge and flair, and brings alive a pivotal time in human history.

Please click Ghadir-Khumm and the Two Weighty Matters

Lourenço Marques, 1958: His Highness the Aga Khan, direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) and current 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims is seen taking a keen interest as Alwaez Jehangir explains the Gujarati history texts that were used to impart religious education to Ismaili youth in Mozambique.

Photo Essay: The Historical Jubilees of His Highness the Aga Khan (1877 – 1957)

“The measure of the Imam’s achievement can be gauged from the phenomenal progress of the Ismaili Community during the Imam’s regime. The community’s proud position in modern civilization during the course of only about half a century, is a saga of success with probably no parallel in history…the Imam was the architect of this modern miracle…The resurgence of the Ismaili Community, literally from rags to riches, is a fitting monument to the Imam’s indefatigable efforts”

Photo Essay: The Historical Jubilees of His Highness the Aga Khan (1877-1957), the Imam of the Socio-Economic Revolution

Please click for His Highness the Aga Khan’s Jubilees

The Hajj by Naser-e Khosraw, from Michael Wolfe’s “One Thousand Roads to Mecca”


“….The tallest mountain near Mecca is Abu Qubays, which is round like a dome, so that if you shoot an arrow from the foot of the mountain it reaches its top.…Having come into the city, you enter the Haram Mosque, approach the Ka’ba, and circumambulate….. always keeping the Ka‘ba to your left [shoulder]. Then you go to the corner containing the Black Stone, kiss it, and pass on….”

Naser-e Khosraw’s Pilgrimages to Mecca

A bird’s-eye view of the Ka’ba crowded with pilgrims. The photo is from the archives of the US Library of Congress and was created by American Colony (Jerusalem), Photo Dept., in 1910. Please click for article by Naser-e Khosraw.

Previous posts in the four-part series (the above is Part III):

Naser-e Khosraw’s Pilgrimages to Mecca: From “One Thousand Roads to Mecca” Edited by Michael Wolfe (Part I)
Naser-e Khosraw in Fatimid Cairo: From “One Thousand Roads to Mecca” Edited by Michael Wolfe (Part II

One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Naser-e Khosraw’s Writing About the Muslim Pilgrimage Edited and Introduced by Michael Wolfe

In the early 1990’s Michael Wolfe, a prolific American writer and award winning producer of Islamic documentaries including Muhammad: The Legacy of a Prophet, became aware of a string of accounts by Muslims and non-Muslims who over the last one thousand years had gone to Mecca on the pilgrimage. Wolfe’s accounts are collected into a single volume called One Thousand Roads to Mecca, and the first of the twenty-four edited accounts is based on the Book of Travels, a classic text by the famous Ismaili poet, philosopher and traveller Naser-e Khosraw who lived during Islam’s expansive Middle period between the 11th and 14th centuries. The period has also been called the Golden Age of Muslim travel and, as Wolfe notes, Khosraw set the tone for a thousand years of Persian travel writing.

To begin reading Naser-e Khosraw’s spirited account of his journey, with an excellent introduction by Michael Wolfe, please click One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Naser-e Khosraw’s Writing About the Muslim Pilgrimage or the image below.

Please click for Naser-e Khosraw’s Writing About the Muslim Pilgrimage


Previous post:

Tales of Ismaili Women of Shimshal

“Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet” – A Film Created and Produced by Alex Kronemer and Michael Wolfe

Originally aired on PBS to a word-wide audience exceeding 150 million people


Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) changed world history in 23 years and continues to shape and inspire the lives of more than 1.4 billion Muslims around the world.

Simerg is pleased to make available for its readers around the world a link to the film, Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, that was originally aired on PBS to a world-wide audience exceeding 150 million people.  The internet age is a blessing of our time that, through outstanding movies such as this, we are able to learn more about the wonderful and noble qualities of  Prophet Muhammad. In his Presidential Address to the Seerat Conference in 1976, His Highness the Aga Khan had asked:

“In the face of this changing world, which was once a universe to us and is now no more than an overcrowded island, confronted with a fundamental challenge to our understanding of time, surrounded by a foreign fleet of cultural and ideological ships which have broken loose, I ask, ‘Do we have a clear, firm and precise understanding of what Muslim Society is to be in times to come?’ And if as I believe, the answer is uncertain, where else can we search then in the Holy Qur’an, and in the example of Allah’s last and final Prophet?”

 His Highness continued:

“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.”

Some of these examples from the Prophet’s life come alive through this ground-breaking PBS film, which takes the viewers from the ancient Arabian sites where Prophet Muhammad’s story unfolded to the homes, mosques, and workplaces of some of America’s estimated seven million Muslims. The Los Angeles Times called the film “a candid, thoughtful, flowing, visually stunning film,” while The Catholic News Service commented that the Prophet’s biography offers viewers fresh insights into the spiritual foundations of Islam.

Simerg is grateful to Daniel Tutt of for facilitating the showing of the film though this website. We strongly encourage all the viewers to watch the complete film, if not in one seating then by watching the timed segmented clips which will open at the bottom of the viewing window. We are sure you will enjoy this film. Please click:

Readers who wish to watch a preview of the film and other selected clips before viewing the full-length movie are invited to click or on the following image:

Please click for links to full length movie and excerpts

His Highness the Aga Khan – “The Smile of a Prince” by President Léopold Sédar Senghor…and more

Flashback into the 1960′s: Admiration for His Highness the Aga Khan by President Senghor and A K Brohi

“….What we admire in you above all is the fact not that you have a modernised religion, but that you have been able to integrate a modern outlook with religion so that religion has been allowed its true role which is not merely to provide an all-embracing explanation of the universe but also to furnish the fundamental solutions of the problems which life poses us…”

Please click for “Admiration for His Highness the Aga Khan”

An Englishman Reflects on the Nature of Imam Ali by Barnaby Rogerson @Simerg

Please click: An Englishman Reflects on the Nature of Imam Ali

“….No one could ever doubt the devotion with which Ali held Muhammad and the many bonds that connected them: Ali was the Prophet’s cousin, the Prophet’s son-in-law, the Prophet’s first male believer, the father of the Prophet’s only male grandchildren, the Prophet’s most intimate disciple and the first heroic warrior champion of Islam. Ali had also served the Prophet as an army commander, missionary, diplomat and administrative secretary…..”

This is an image of Nurin Merchant’s mixed media canvas painting titled “Nature of Prayer.” Secured on the 14″ x 10″ canvas with strong glue are a handmade Tasbih (prayer beads), and 3 dried leaves bearing the Arabic inscriptions of Allah, Ali, and Muhammad. The whole piece represents prayer through the invocation of these names. Copyright: Nurin Merchant. Please click for Barnaby Rogerson’s article.

Previous post: Readings for the Birth Anniversary of Hazrat Ali (a.s.): Kalam-i Mawla, Nahj al-Balaghah for Young People, and more @Simerg

A Thank You Letter to the Institute of Ismaili Studies by Dr. Hatim Mahamid

Hatim Mahamid’s Thank You Letter to the IIS

Please click on image to read complete "Thank You" letter.

Note to Readers: Please scroll down or click  Home page for other recent posts and click What’s New for links to all articles published on this blog since March 2009. Subscribe to this Website via the box near the top right of this page.

Previous post: Simerg’s Third Anniversary and the Blog’s Popular Pieces (2/2)

Treasures of Iran by Muslim and Nevin Harji, with Excerpts on the Poet Hafiz by His Highness the Aga Khan III

The Treasures of Iran, with Excerpts on Hafiz by His Highness the Aga Khan III

Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth, “You owe Me.”
Look what happens 
With A love like that,
t lights the Whole Sky.

Please click on image for "Treasures of Iran" by Muslim and Nevin Harji

I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in the darkness,
The Astonishing Light
Of your own Being! – Hafiz


A Note to Readers: Please scroll down or click Home page for other recent posts and click What’s New for links to all articles published on this blog since March 2009. Subscribe to this Website via the box near the top right of this page.

Previous post: Simerg’s Third Anniversary and the Blog’s Most Popular Pieces (Part 1 of 2)

Simerg’s Third Anniversary and the Blog’s Most Popular Pieces (Part 1 of 2)

To mark this blog’s third anniversary, we recently launched the series, “Thanking Ismaili Historical Figures,” with the publication of three letters by Andrew Kosorok (Makers of the Fatimid Blue Qur’an), Mohezin Tejani (Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan) and Aziz Kurwa (The Person of the Institution of Imamat). Several “Thank You Letters” will be published over the coming weeks and months, and cover numeous historical figures during the past 1400 years.

What did this blog begin with, and which are the pieces that have been viewed the most since our launch in the spring of 2009? We wish to present some twenty-four selections in two instalments from over 600 fine articles. Motivation does not necessarily come from anything that is lavish and extravagant. Lasting impressions and effects often come from small things, and in this regard there are two short and wonderful anecdotes that set the website rolling. “Thank You” to the Ismaili historical figures Muayyad din Shirazi and Nasir Khusraw for the momentum and inspiration they provided. Both the anecdotes are definitely worth a read, and should provide the readers with an appetite to read the remaining contents of this blog, as and when time permits. Please share this page and the website with your contacts around the world.


Dazzled by the Light of Imamat

The Missing Mount Nasir Khusraw

Here is an array of some dozen top reads, not in any order, that will be of interest to readers who have joined us recently as well as those who may have missed the readings altogether. The remaining twelve popular post links will be provided later during the week.


Mehboob Dewji: Islamic Patterns

H.H. the Aga Khan's historic Badakhshan visit

Arif Babul Interview: Creation, Science, God

H.H the Aga Khan III: Long Reign Ends

Nazim Bhimani Poem: Hurricane Katrina

Bruno Freschi Interview: Darkhana Canada

Tashkorgan Jamatkhana, China

Karim Master's Legacy Lives On

Ismaili Constitution Preamble

Diwan Sir Eboo Pirbhai

Politique Interview with H.H. The Aga Khan

The Memoirs of Aga Khan in 7 Languages

A Note to Readers: Please scroll down or click Home page for other recent posts and click What’s New for links to all articles published on this blog since March 2009. Subscribe to this Website via the box near the top right of this page.

Follow up: Simerg’s Third Anniversary and the Blog’s Popular Pieces (2/2)