Menu Close

The Imamat on striving for leadership

By KARIM H. KARIM

“No belief is like modesty and patience, no attainment is like humility, no honour is like knowledge, no power is like forbearance, and no support is more reliable than consultation.”

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, has frequently quoted this saying of Hazrat Ali in his speeches. [1]

Modesty, patience, humility, knowledge, forbearance and consultation are some of the key attributes of good leadership. History has many examples of individuals who have risen above their circumstances to become great leaders. These are people who, for the most part, have surmounted obstacles with faith, determination and hard work. One of the primary challenges a human being faces through life is to overcome personal limitations. Successful leaders tend to be those who seek to recognize their own negative tendencies and strive to rise above them.

Hazrat Ali’s saying identifies some of the positive personal characteristics that would serve very well the head of an institution, organization, business, family or even an informal peer group in which leadership is constantly changing.

Aga Khan_cairo_june2006_1m.cairo_june2006_1l

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, delivers the commencement address  at the American University in Cairo on June 15, 2006 in which he quoted Hazrat Ali on attributes for good leadership. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte.

MODESTY

Modesty appears old fashioned in a world that constantly prompts us to sing our own praises. A leader generally finds it difficult to inspire others if his or her achievements are not known. On the other hand, talking about oneself turns people away. The answer may be in actions rather than in words. Among the most admired individuals are those who seek to lead by example. Their deeds and adherence to principles stir others to follow them.

PATIENCE

Patience appears to be rare in a society that places enormous value on instant gratification. Technologies which are meant to serve human beings are instead changing our personalities to demand results at the push of a button. However, many of the natural rhythms of life flow slowly over long time-spans.

Good leaders have learned to distinguish between those demands that require quick responses and those that can be dealt with only after careful thought. They also recognize that some of the most important processes in life need time to unfold.

HUMILITY

“There is no attainment like humility.” Indeed, maintaining humility is no easy task when one is engaged in the hustle and tussle of heading an organization. There is a fine line to walk between false modesty and over-confidence. Constantly self-effacing oneself can be misinterpreted as obsequence and can damage the position of the institution that one leads. On the other side is pride and arrogance.

The sincere and continual effort to attain humility is in itself a mark of integrity and true leadership. This struggle (jihad) is an ethical practice of high order and engages with our spirituality. Din and dunya have a close connection even in the leadership of worldly institutions, as Mawlana Hazar Imam has demonstrated.

KNOWLEDGE

Knowledge is often misinterpreted as the mere accumulation of facts. True knowledge is a way station on the path to wisdom. It involves an understanding of the world as well as of oneself. It is also characterized by the humility to appreciate what one does not know and what one finds difficult to comprehend.

Discerning leaders are aware that the “knowledge society” has multiple forms and levels of understanding and that we learn not only with the mind but with the heart and the spirit. Successful heads of organizations recognize that leadership is shared, and that persons who have previously held office have an understanding of the organization that continues to remain valuable. Indeed, as Mawlana Hazar Imam has asserted, institutions should continue to treat them as leaders.

FORBEARANCE

“No power is like forbearance” because attaining this quality signals is a triumph over one’s self. Forbearance requires patience and self-discipline. Leaders are constantly under pressure to lean one way or another. It is tempting to act out of emotion and to favour those whom we prefer over others.

One may also be drawn to do what is easy and expedient rather than what is difficult and ethical. Ultimately, forbearance comes through understanding our own emotions and subjectivity.

A person who has attained mastery of his or her self is indeed powerful; one is able to respond to various challenges and to changing circumstances with integrity and clarity of mind. It is a unique form of power that draws strength from our spiritual selves.

CONSULTATION

Consultation is an expression of respect for one’s fellows and of the recognition that one does not know everything. Even though a person may formally be at the head of an organization, he or she remains accountable to others. The performance of leaders is inevitably judged by those upon whom their actions have a bearing. An astute leader seeks out others’ opinions — even at the risk of being contradicted.

An important characteristic of leadership is the willingness to adjust one’s position following consultation. This is where humility can help to ensure that integrity and pursuit of larger interests hold sway over the ego.

A benchmark of effective leadership is the ability to make a decision, follow its course of action and to take responsibility for it. Some decisions are very difficult to make, especially when opinion is seriously divided and when serious risks are involved. A good leader tends to be at ease with her conscience if she has sincerely pursued the path of truth and integrity in making choices.

However, even the best leaders make errors in judgement. They usually follow through by analyzing the mistakes carefully and using the knowledge to improve their methods in a constant feedback loop.

There is no final destination on the path of good leadership; some of the most successful people in the world continually strive to better themselves. In the words of Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah, “Struggle is the meaning of life. Defeat or victory are in the hands of God but struggle itself is man’s duty and should be his joy.”

Date posted: October 7, 2018.

___________________

This is a slightly revised version of Karim H. Karim’s article that was published in The Ismaili UK (Winter 2009-2010), as well as the December 2009 issues of The Ismaili Portugal, The Ismaili Canada and The Ismaili USA. An edited piece also appeared online at the IIS website under its special series on lifelong learning articles.

Karim H. Karim Professor Karim H. Karim is the Director of the Carleton Study for the Study of Islam. He has previously served as Co-Director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies and as Director of Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication. Dr. Karim has also been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University. He has published extensively and is an award-winning author. He has also delivered distinguished lectures at venues in North America, Europe and Asia.

Notes:

[1] Mawlana Hazar Imam’s quote on Hazrat Ali can be found in the speeches he made at American University in Cairo, State banquet in Tanzania, and the Tutzing Evangelical Academy.

___________

See Table of Contents for Barakah’s beautiful, thoughtful and wonderful articles and photos.

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

Please join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and also follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan.

Expressions for the Silver, Golden & Diamond Jubilees (and beyond) of our Beloved Imam Mawlana Shah Karim al Hussaini Aga Khan

By ROSE MOTANI

Author’s note: The verses of the compositions in Urdu, Hindi and Arabic are given in transliterated form. As the actual meaning and feelings get lost in translation, I have tried to convey only the gist of the verses.

O Karim Shah Hamara

img_0312

GIST: O our Karim Shah, you are the support of my life, The Lord of my life, you are the Lord of the two worlds. O our Karim Shah …

O Karim Shah hamara
Tun hai jiné ka sahara
Méri zindagi ké maalik
Tun hai do jahan ka maalik
O Karim Shah hamara ….

GIST: You are in my eyes, you are in my breath, I am passionately in love with you, there is no other for me. O our Karim Shah …

Méri aankhon mé bhi tun hai
Méré saanson mé bhi tun hai
Mujé ishq hai tujisé
Méra koi aur nahin hai
O Karim Shah hamara ….

GIST: My caretaker, you have knowledge of everything – that which has past and that which is to come. O our Karim Shah …

Jo bhi aanéwala hai aur
Jo guzar chuka hua bhi
Tumhi ko ilm hai sabki
Méré rakhsha karné wala
O Karim Shah hamara ….

GIST: My request, my heart’s prayer is that every step I take, be on ‘The Straight Path’. O our Karim Shah …

Itni si iltija hai
Méré dil ki yé dua hai
Ké mé har kadam uthaun
Sirat al Mustaqim par
O Karim Shah hamara ….

~~~~~~~~

Jubilee Mubarak

Aga Khan GJ Darbar Syria Thumbnail for Rose Bhanji

GIST: My beloved Karim Shah, Jubilee Felicitations to you.

Karim Shah pyaara méra
Jubilee Mubarak tujé

GIST: You are my beloved and you are my support, You are my father, you are my everything. I will dance and sing so much, I will celebrate happiness of the Jubilee. I lose myself to you, I bend over backwards for you.

Tun hai pyaara méra, aur sahara méra
Tun hai bapa méra, tun hai sab kuchh méra
Itni nachungi mé, aur gaungi mé
Jubilee ki kush hali manaungi mé
Tujpé mé haari jaun, tujpé mé vaari jaun
Jubilee Mubarak tujé
Karim Shah pyaara méra

GIST: All the glory, respect and so much that we have gotten is due to your name. You gave (your) love, you gave (your) life, what is it that you did not do for us. I am forever thankful to you.

Shaan hamé jo mila,
maan hamé jo mila
Hamé bahot kuchh mila
Téra naam léné sé
Pyaar tuné diya, jaan tuné diya
Tuné kya na kiya tum hamaré liyé
Zindagi bhar ké liyé
Shukhar guzaar hun mé
Jubilee Mubarak tujé
Karim Shah pyaara méra

GIST: Your Farmans are a treasure; he who follows them becomes ‘wealthy’. May Allah protect and flourish Shah Karim al Hussaini; this has been my prayer for ages and ages.

Farman téra bhi ék khazana to hai
Jo amal karé wo maalo maal hojavé
Allah méhfuz rakhé aur abaad rakhé
Shah Karim al-Husayni ko
Jooga joogo ké liyé yéhi dua hai méri
Jubilee Mubarak tujé
Karim Shah pyaara méra

~~~~~~~~

Mpenzi Karim Shah Nakupongeza Wewe

Aga Khan Darbar Uganda Thumbnail for Rose Bhanji

GIST: My beloved Karim Shah, I congratulate you on 60 years of your Imamat.

Mpenzi Karim Shah nakupongeza wewe
Imamat wako wa miaka sitini
Nakupongeza wewe
Mpenzi Karim Shah nakupongeza wewe ..

GIST: I thank you, I believe (in) you, You are ‘the Teacher’. You put your heart, you bring sweetness and hope (into my life). Do not leave me even for a second, I am begging you.

Nakushukuru, nakuamini
Wewe ndiyo mwalimu
Unatiya moyo, unaleta utamu
Na utumaini
Usiniache mpenzi, hata nukta moja
Nakuomba wewe
Mpenzi Karim Shah nakupongeza wewe ..

GIST:  God bless Shah Karim al Hussaini. You are my caretaker, you are my Shepherd, you are my Imam. I tell you, without you I cannot carry on.

Mungu ibariki Shah Karim al Hussaini
Mtunzaji wangu wewe
Mchungaji wangu wewe
Imam wangu wewe
Bila wewe siwezi kuendelea
Nakuambia wewe
Mpenzi Karim Shah nakupongeza wewe

~~~~~~~~

Merci Beacoup

Diamond Jubilee Poem Jalal Jaffer

GIST: On the occasion of your Diamond Jubilee, I renew my Baiyah to you. Thank you dearest Shah Karim for your Imamat of sixty years.

À l’occasion de ton Jubilé de diamant,
Je te renouvelle ma Baiyah.
Merci beaucoup
Cher Shah Karim pour
Ton Imamat de soixante ans.

GIST: My Allegiance to you is ‘a must’. Just as I had pledged my allegiance to Allah on ‘The Day of Alast’ (The day when Allah asked all souls gathered in His presence: ‘Alastu bi rabbikum’, meaning, ‘Am I not your Lord?’ and the souls replied ‘Yes’, (Holy Qur’an, 7:172), and so it is ‘a must’ to pledge my allegiance to you.) You are my Guide and I am your follower for now and forever.

My Baiyah to you is ‘a must’,
Just as I did on ‘The Day of Alast’.
You are my murshid,
And I am your murid,
For now and forever.
Merci beaucoup ..

GIST: You are the light of Ali, (as referred to by ‘Light upon Light’ in the Holy Qur’an: Surah ‘an-Nur’, 24:35). You are that ‘rope of Allah’ (that is referred to in the Holy Qur’an, Surah 3:103). Shah Karim al-Hussaini, you are the ‘Imam of the time’, You are ‘the True Manifest Imam’.

Noor-e-Ali ho tum, Noor-un-ala-noor sé,
Tumhi to ho wo habl-ul-llah.
Shah Karim al-Hussaini,
Imam-e-zamaan ho tum,
Imam-e-mubeen ho tum
Merci beaucoup ..

GIST: You and I will not leave each other: this and here we are making a deal. I am begging you beloved, do not leave me till the ‘Day of Judgement’.

Mimi na wewe hatuta achana,
Hayo na hapa tunapatana.
Nakuomba mpenzi,
Usiniache mpaka
Siku ya qiyama
Merci beaucoup ..

GIST: Allah said (to Prophet Muhammad): “Verily, those who give you their allegiance, they give it but to Allah”, (Holy Qur’an, Surah 48:10). The Messenger of Allah (i.e. Prophet Muhammad, ‘pbuh’) said to the Muslims at Ghadir-é-Khum (during his last pilgrimage), “He whose Mawla I am, Ali is his Mawla”.

Qaala Allah: Inna al ladhina yuba’a yiunaka
Innama yuba’a yiunallah.
Qaala Rasool-Allah,
Aindh al-Ghadir-é-Khum:
Man kuntu Mawla fa Aliyu Mawlahu
Merci beaucoup ..

Copyright. © Rose Motani. 2018.

Date posted: September 13, 2018.

___________________

About the author: Rose Motani, originally from East Africa, has lived in UK, Australia, Canada and France. Her interest in cultural travel, which has taken her to more than fifty countries, has enabled her to better appreciate the music of diverse cultures. Rose’s love for poetry, singing and music took a creative turn with the inspiration of the Silver Jubilee of our beloved Hazar Imam, when she began her journey of devotional compositions which continued during the Golden and Diamond Jubilees. Her compositions are in English, French, Swahili, Arabic, Urdu/Hindi and Gujarati.

_______________

See Table of Contents for Barakah’s beautiful, thoughtful and wonderful articles and photos.

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

Please join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and also follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan.

 

A thank you letter to Prince Amyn Muhammad Aga Khan for a life of service and dedication to Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan

Editor’s note: On the occasion of Prince Amyn’s 80th birthday on September 12, 2017, Azeem Maherali wrote a thank you letter as his tribute to a remarkable contemporary historical figure from the 49th Ismaili Imam’s family whose contribution to the Imamat institutions have always been influential and impactful. Azeem’s piece is published once again as the Prince celebrates his 81st birthday this week. We wish the Prince a joyful birthday, and a continuing life of service to the Imamat for many years to come.

Dear Prince Amyn,

While I was still a “toto”, my mom frequently showed me and my brother pictures of the Noorani family and told us how you were always by Mawlana Hazar Imam’s side. I can honestly not remember seeing any pictures of Mawlana Hazar Imam without you, until well after he became the Imam, requiring him to travel extensively to see the jamats while you were still at Harvard. This sentiment carried on in the stories that my father shared with us, about Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah in the 1950s sending Mawlana Hazar Imam on special missions to visit the jamats in East Africa and South East Asia. Even then, you were always with him.

Prince Karim and Prince Amyn at play on a treePrince Karim (top) and Prince Amyn at play on a tree. Photo: Africa Ismaili, July 1982.

Aga Khan III with grandsons Prince Karim and Prince AmynMawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III, 48th Ismaili Imam, with his grandsons Prince Amyn (right) and Prince Karim. The picture was taken in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1942. Photo: 25 Years in Pictures. Islamic Publications, London, UK, Volume 1.

Then later on in the late 1960s, when Mawlana Hazar Imam informed the world wide jamat of your decision to leave the United Nations and to join the Imam in improving the quality of life of the jamats everywhere, the jamats were jubilant. Subsequently, various jamats had the good fortune of being in your presence on various Imamat related works, and at times you brought special messages from our beloved Hazar Imam.

For more than fifty years now, perhaps even longer, you have dedicated your entire life in the service of the Institution of Imamat, channeling your creativity, intelligence, time and energy, knowledge and leadership in numerous Imamat endeavours benefiting both jamati and non-jamati constituencies. Given that Mawlana Hazar Imam rarely speaks about the work of the members of his family; graciously directing compliments to the jamati leadership and countless volunteers, I do recollect a very rare instance that took place in Lisbon in July 1998. Mawlana Hazar Imam referring to you stated that he deeply valued your time, talent, thought and creativity for many of the exceptional projects that had been developed for the Jamats around the world. Mawlana Hazar Imam continued to say that in many ways you exemplified the true spirit of service in Islam – seeking no recognition.

France conferred honours on Mawlana Hazar Imam and Prince Amyn for their contributions to culture at the Ministry of Culture in Paris.His Highness the Aga Khan and his brother Prince Amyn Aga Khan pictured together at a ceremony held in November 2010 in Paris when the Government of France conferred them with honours for their contributions to culture, both personally and through the activities of the Aga Khan Development Network. Photo: Farida Brechemier Guerdjou//MCC via the Ismaili.

zahur_ramji_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon_d_day_-_hall_1_july_11-4459

Mawlana Hazar Imam shares a light moment with the Jamat at the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Lisbon on July 11, 2018, as Prince Amyn looks on. Photo: The Ismaili/Zahur Ramji.

Dear Prince Amyn, we have witnessed and continue to witness with immense happiness your enormous love, loyalty and respect for our beloved Hazar Imam. Throughout your life, you have been by his side as his trusted supporter, loyal advisor and confidant. You continue to be an epitome of inspiration in the service of the Imam, the Institution of Imamat, worldwide Jamats, greater Muslim Ummah and the totality of humanity.

You are “living history”: Brother par excellence; patron of arts and culture; trusted advisor to many; trustee of civilizations past, present and future; an optimistic yet pragmatic futurist; and a great humanist; highly regarded and well-liked by many.

Even as I record my thank you and join with millions of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s murids to wish you a happy 80th birthday, my emotions, feeling and words fail to adequately express my sincerest appreciation for the tremendous magnitude of the work that you are doing. At best, I humbly present below a constellation of honours and a few of the many extraordinary activities that you have been engaged throughout your life in the service of the Imamat and humanity.

I remain inspired and in awe,

Azeem Maherali,
Atlanta, Georgia,
USA.

Date posted: September 12, 2017.
Last updated: September 10, 2018.

Copyright: Azeem Maherali/Barakah. 2017.

______________________

This constellation of honours and activities of Prince Amyn is by no means complete. His contribution to the Imamat and humanity at large has been responsible for fostering goodwill, peace and trust among millions around the globe.

Knowledge Diplomacy

  • “Honorary Academician” Albertina Academy of Fine Arts – Turin, Italy
  • Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), Director of Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) – Genève, Switzerland
  • Distinguished Speaker at the Scottish Parliament – Edinburgh, Scotland
  • New Cities Foundation (NCF) – Switzerland, France, Canada, USA
    • Member of the Board of Trustees
  • The Silk Road Project – Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    • Advisor to the Silk (Road) Encounters Project Educational Programs
  • BA Magna Cum Laude and MA from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University – Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • New England Conservatory of Music – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Cultural Diplomacy

Prince Amyn Aga Khan Museum of Anthropology UBCAn eager and excited crowd of several hundred people applauded handsomely as the chief guest of honour, Prince Amyn, the younger brother of His Highness the Aga Khan, arrives for the opening of a special exhibition “Traces of Words” at the Grand Hall of the Museum of Anthropology of the University of British Columbia in May 2017. Photo: AKDN/Asif Bhalesha.

  • Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters – Government of France;
  • Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) – Genève, Switzerland
    • Director of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC);
    • Chairman of the Aga Khan Museum (AKM) Oversight Committee; and
    • Funding Partner to acquire Sequeira masterpiece ‘Adoration of the Magi,’ for Portugal’s National Museum of Ancient Art – Lisbon, Portugal
  • Museé du Louvre – Paris, France
    • Member of the Board of Directors;
    • Council of the Friends of the Louvre;
    • Member of the Acquisitions Board; and
    • Cercle Cressent (Crescent Circle) Patron
  • Opera National de Paris, Patron – Paris, France;
  • Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Patron – Paris, France;
  • Fondation pour la sauvegarde et le développement du Domaine de Chantilly (The Foundation for the Development of Chantilly) – Chantilly, France;
    • Chairman of the Friends of the Domaine de Chantilly (FODC) – New York City, New York, USA
  • Syndicat National des Antiquaires – La Biennale Paris 2017 Committee, Member;
  • World Monuments Fund (WMF) – New York City, New York, USA
    • Member of the Board of Trustee;
    • Member of the International Advisory Committee; and
    • Patron
  • Museum of Modern Art, Member of the International Council – New York City, New York, USA;
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Member of the International Council – New York City, New York, USA;
  • The Silk Road Project – Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    • Founding Supporter via AKTC;
    • Member of the Board of Directors; and
    • Sustaining Patron
  • Sotheby’s, Member of the Advisory Board – London, England;
  • Chief Guest at the Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy from Asia at the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada;
  • Distinguished Speaker at Edinburgh International Culture Summit – Edinburgh, Scotland;
  • Juror:
    • Premio Venezia – Venice, Italy;
    • Vendôme Prize – International venues;
    • Concours de Genève – Genève, Switzerland; and
    • 10th International Architecture Exhibition award at the Venice Biennale 2006 – Venice, Italy

Economic Diplomacy

  • United Nations Secretariat, Department of Economic and Social Affairs – New York City, New York, USA;
  • Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) – Genève, Switzerland
    • Member of the Board of Directors of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) and Chairman of its Executive Committee;
    • Member of the Board of Directors of the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM); and
    • Member of the Board of Directors for Tourism Promotion Services (TPS).

Quiet Diplomacy

Vazir Sherali Alidina, President of the Scouting Association, left, was in charge of conducting the investiture ceremony, which began with Prince Amyn Mohamed Aga Khan reciting the Scout Promise with his left hand on the flag of the Ismaili Scouts Association and his right hand raised in half salute. The President then wrapped the Scout Scarf on Prince Amyn Mohamed’s nape, and pinned the scout badge on his left pocket completing the task with a left-handed scout hand shake with the Prince; the Prince now officially became the second Chief Scout of the Ismailis, following his late father, Prince Aly Khan, who was the first Chief Scout of the Ismailis. The dignified ceremony was short and lasted fifteen minutes. Photo: Khizar Hayat Collection, Toronto, Canada.Prince Amyn Muhammad Aga Khan reciting the Scout Promise with his left hand on the flag of the Ismaili Scouts Association and his right hand raised in half salute during his investiture as the Chief Scout of the Ismailis in a ceremony on December 7th 1974 in Karachi, Pakistan. held . Photo: Khizar Hayat Collection, Toronto, Canada.

  • Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Personal Representative to Bangladesh;
  • Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Representative for the renewal of the Partnership Agreement Between AKF Portugal and the Patriarchate Of Lisbon;
  • Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Representative on special missions to Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Portugal, Turkey, Singapore and other countries; and
  • Chief of World Ismaili Scouts.

_________________

About the writer: Azeem Maherali, originally of Ottawa, Canada, is currently based in Atlanta, Georgia.

_________________

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation. You may choose to remain anonymous. Please note that we never show your email address when we publish your comment, and don’t share it with others without your express written permission.

For links to all the posts in this special project on His Highness the Aga Khan, please see the drop down menu bar at top of this page or click on Table of ContentsAlso join/like Barakah’s faceboook page http://www.facebook.com/1000fold.

 

Karim Aga Khan IV: Modern personification of historical Islamic rationalism, charity and peace

BY MICHAEL HAMILTON MORGAN

Lost History: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers and Artists by Michael Hamilton Morgan with a Foreword by Jordan`s King Abdullah II.Lost History: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers and Artists by Michael Hamilton Morgan with a Foreword by His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan.

When I published my book Lost History in 2007, only 6 years after the attacks of 9/11 and while the US and allies were still fighting wars in the ancient Islamic treasure-houses of Iraq and Afghanistan, I thought that non-Muslims were finally beginning to be open to the breadth and depth — and global debt owed —  to historical Muslim culture.

My publishers and editors — while firmly supportive of the book — had been privately concerned that the book might trigger angry reactions both from conservative Muslims and from Islamophobes.

Their concerns were not borne out. Contemporary antagonists on both sides chose to ignore my historical discussions, or to focus on other disputes. My argument showing how much the modern digital world owes to the ancient Muslim-sponsored thinkers in Baghdad, Aleppo, Isfahan, Cairo, Palermo, Cordoba, Bukhara, Isfahan, Delhi and many other cities was well received. The surprise to me was how well received it was in the Muslim world, being translated into languages like Arabic and Indonesian, as well as for faraway non-Muslim readers in Japan and even Korea.

If only that modest success could have been sustained. But then came the continuing disintegration of Iraq and Syria, the rise of ISIS, floods of refugees and horrific Islamophobic political demagoguery in both Europe and the US. It was as though one beheading could erase all the slow progress made in getting non-Muslims to understand that ISIS and its fellow travelers were not the spokesmen for the faith of Islam that most Muslims know and practice — or that history teaches us.

Perhaps there is no hope of counteracting the sensationalism of terrorism with a book…or even a parade of books. Perhaps the only way is through decades — or even centuries — of hard work in the areas of education, scientific research, medicine, public works, charity, economic development and entrepreneurship.

Believe it or not, those are the behavioral pillars of historical Muslim culture. Though most non-Muslims don’t realize, it was those pillars and others that made Muslim culture the single most progressive force in the world from about 650 to 1500 of the current era. Those pillars seeded the European Renaissance and Enlightenment and gave us things like the algorithm, data mining, evidence-based medicine, universities, hospitals, psychotherapy, modern optics, space travel and a thousand other things that we think come exclusively from the West.

And it would be dishonest to say that all those things were purely Muslim-generated. Instead, they were Muslim sponsored — the fruits of a vision of Islam that opened its intellectual doors to all good ideas and thinkers, no matter where they came from or which deity they worshipped. In hadith, the Prophet Mohammad is quoted as saying, “even if ye must go to China, seek knowledge,” and “The ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of the martyr”. These were the scriptural guides that drove these centuries of invention and discovery.

In fact, I argue that Islam was the most intellectual of the three Abrahamic faiths, and perhaps of any religion in human history. For hundreds of years, mainstream Islam taught that the secrets of God’s universe could be unlocked with reason and logic — that those intellectual tools were in fact keys to divine revelation. Classical Muslim thinkers saw no contradiction between reason and divine revelation — for them, logic and revelation were one and the same. Unfortunately, that lesson seems lost now, even in that direct product of the European Enlightenment, the United States, where state legislatures and US Senators argue that science should be ignored when it comes to climate change and Darwin’s theory of evolution. On top of that, no one remembers that Darwin had been previewed by Al Jahiz’ theory of natural selection in Baghdad 1,000 years earlier.

This ancient Muslim religious devotion to science, ideas, openness and empirical evidence has indeed been obscured in the mainstream. In the West, the loss of this connection has come from the hard separation of science from faith, and both have suffered. Faith for many in fundamentalist Christianity has become an anti-intellectual thing, when there need not be such a dichotomy. On the scientific side, the compartmentalization of Western intellectual tradition means that science has become very secular. Career scientists are generally uneasy to have their faith mixed into science: many see the two as directly contradictory.

And in the Muslim world, incomplete popular understanding of the faith of Islam has weakened understanding of the importance of logic and reason to the Islamic tradition.

But some have always been quietly swimming against that popular tide of prejudice and misunderstanding. Whether they will be able to offset the currents of ignorance and mistrust that dominate the media and politics remains to be seen — but it is certain that among those most directly touched by their work, the lesson of logic, reason, openness and peace is resonating.

In this vast tapestry of the interaction of Muslims with each other, and with other cultures and faiths, there is one tradition that unfailingly continues the progressive heritage of classical Islam — profoundly intellectual, open, tolerant, pacific — and in particular one leader who has made it especially attuned to the many difficulties of the world today.

That would be Ismailism and its revered Imam, the current Aga Khan IV.Aga Khan portrait by Jean Marc CarisseAs a minority within a minority of Islam, Ismailism does not enjoy hundreds of millions of followers. Its adherents today number about 15 million — though they are dispersed to many corners of the world — South and Central Asia, Africa, Canada and elsewhere. This is only a drop in the ocean of greater Islam that may number 1.6 billion worldwide.

Additionally, Ismailism is not well understood, even by mainstream Shiites, much less majority Sunnis. In some ways its situation is similar to Christian misunderstanding of Judaism, which is hugely outnumbered by its Christian and Muslim descendants. Like Judaism with its pogroms and anti-Semitism, Ismailism has suffered historical persecution at the hands of the majorities. As with Jews in the Holocaust, Ismailis in the 13th century were even threatened with extermination, first at the hands of the Sunni majority and then at the hands of the Mongol invaders of Persia. For centuries, Ismailis survived in Persia and elsewhere either in mountaintop redoubts or underground and or in nearly permanent exile.

But to the benefit of today’s world and many millions of people, the Ismailis have not been exterminated or absorbed. In some ways, their intellectualism may have been intensified by the centuries of persecution. Today, the Aga Khan and the Ismailis have bent over backward — and at great risk — to  nurture the elements of progressive Islam that changed the world 1000 years ago.

The fruit of all this historical tumult is the Ismailism of today, and the Aga Khan. He and his followers continually remind the world that quiet good work can be more powerful than loud rhetoric and sensational acts, that the intellect and reason are the keys to progress, that openness and tolerance heal the world, and that peace is the expression of the divine on earth.

Since the Aga Khan was crowned in 1957, he has devoted his time, energy, fortune and the efforts and contributions of his followers to major global efforts in education, economic development, entrepreneurialism, charity, medicine and other fields.

By no coincidence, all these fields are at the core of classical Muslim culture and greatness. They have done more for the world than blind piety and xenophobia ever could.

His Highness was explicit on the powerful intellectual tradition of Islam when interviewed by Der Spiegel in 2006:

SPIEGEL: Does Islam have a problem with reason?

Aga Khan: Not at all. Indeed, I would say the contrary. Of the Abrahamic faiths, Islam is probably the one that places the greatest emphasis on knowledge. The purpose is to understand God’s creation, and therefore it is a faith which is eminently logical. Islam is a faith of reason.

And His Highness has spent his lifetime walking the talk of that. Through global institutions like the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), he has founded and inspired multiple initiatives like the Aga Khan University, the University of Central Asia, the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the Aga Khan Foundation, the Aga Khan Health Services, the Aga Khan Education Services, the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, and the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance. One of the companies where AKFED is the main shareholder is Serena Hotels Group. 

The Aga Khan Development Network, which coordinates the activities of over 200 agencies and institutions, employs approximately 80,000 staff, the majority based in developing countries. AKDN is dedicated to improving living conditions and opportunities for the poor, without regard to their creed, ethnicity or gender. The AKDN’s annual budget for non-profit development activities in 2010 was estimated to be US$625 million. The network operates in more than 35 of the poorest countries in the world

Each one of these efforts would merit articles longer than this. But one that should be singled out and explained is the AKDN’s business activities like Serena Hotels.

Many coming from the Christian tradition will find a religious group’s investment in business puzzling to say the least. That is because Christianity, unlike Islam, has always had an ambivalent view of business. Witness Jesus’ statement, “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of needle, than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Islam never had that antipathy to business, owing in large part to the Prophet himself, who was aided in promoting his religious vision after marrying caravan entrepreneur Khadija. Although Islam has strong requirements to devote a share of one’s wealth to public charity and to the faith, it has never had the antipathy to commerce that Christianity did.

Although many in the West have argued that business can be a force for change, few have explicitly based their business activities in religious faith. I would argue that the Aga Khan has showed that religiously-inspired business can be a progressive force in society, by creating jobs, spreading wealth, providing needed services, stimulating economic growth and higher tax revenues and social progress.

Aga Khan at the opening of the Kampala Serena and photos of the Serena Lodges at Lake Manyara and Serengeti National ParksHis Highness the Aga Khan and His Excellency President Museveni speak to Mr Expedito Wakibulla at the opening of the Kampala Serena Hotel. Mr. Wakibulla is a renowned Ugandan wood carver, whose artworks are used extensively throughout the Kampala Serena. Shown at the left are the Serena Lodges at Lake Manyara (top) and Serengeti National Parks. Photos: AKDN/Gary Otte.

His efforts in education — for how can logic and reason advance without education — are equally admirable. Founded in 1983 by Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan University launched a medical college and a teaching hospital in Pakistan. The university grew to be international, and  in 2004 established a teaching hospital in Nairobi and in 2016 another one in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In 2002, the university established a campus in London dedicated to the study of the Muslim Civilizations. In 2015, the university established the Institute for Human Development. In 2016, the university launched the East African Institute. The university’s clinical laboratories in Karachi are the only in Pakistan to be accredited by the College of American Pathologists.

The university’s campus in Karachi is ranked among the top universities in Asia and among the top 300 in the world for medicine. Pakistan ranks the university as the top medical school in Pakistan. The university runs one of the world’s largest networks of accredited teaching hospitals, with 14 hospitals in Pakistan, East Africa and Afghanistan. In 2016, these hospitals treated  an estimated 1.75 million patients.

But there’s more to this story. The University of Central Asia (UCA) was founded in 2000. The Presidents of Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan and the Aga Khan signed the treaty establishing this secular, not-for-profit, private university. The Presidents are Patrons of UCA and His Highness the Aga Khan is the Chancellor.

Aga Khan reviews progress of University of Central Asia's Naryn Campus in 2014. The campus was inaugurated in October 2016.His Highness the Aga Khan, the Chancellor of the University of Central Asia (UCA), accompanied by Kyrgyzstan’s Minister for Education Mr Kanat Sadykov, Naryn Governor Mr Amanbay Kayipov, Mayor Mr Rakhat Adiyev, the Akim of the Naryn District Zhanboev Tugolbai and UCA leadership as the delegation reviewed the first campus of UCA in Naryn in November 2014. The campus was inaugurated by the Aga Khan on October 19, 2016. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte.

UCA’s mission is to foster the socio-economic development of Central Asia, particularly its mountain societies, while helping the peoples of the region preserve and draw upon their rich cultural heritages as assets for the future. The university is advancing construction of three campuses in Khorog, Tajikistan; Tekeli, Kazakhstan and Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic (which was inaugurated in October 2016).

The three campuses, hosting academic, administrative, residential, library, cultural and athletic facilities, will serve almost 4000 students, faculty and staff. 

Let us hope that all these noble efforts will finally begin to undermine the mis-named “clash of civilizations” and the mis-named “Islamic terrorism”. We will not know for some time.

This article started by referring to the deep misunderstanding in the world and even among Muslims about what Islam is and what Islam has given to the world. ISIS and fellow travelers continue to steal the headlines with their acts of violence. But the Aga Khan showed us the way out of this fog of ignorance in the same interview with Der Spiegel. I will close the article with his words:

SPIEGEL: “The West (will stand) against the Rest” wrote Professor Samuel Huntington in his famous book “Clash of Civilizations.” Is such a conflict, such a clash inevitable?

Aga Khan: I prefer to talk about a clash of ignorance. There is so much horrible, damaging, dangerous ignorance.

SPIEGEL: Which side is responsible?

Aga Khan: Both. But essentially the Western world. You would think that an educated person in the 21st century should know something about Islam; but you look at education in the Western world and you see that Islamic civilizations have been absent. What is taught about Islam? As far as I know — nothing. What was known about Shiism before the Iranian revolution? What was known about the radical Sunni Wahhabism before the rise of the Taliban? We need a big educational effort to overcome this. Rather than shouting at each other, we should be learning to listen to each other. In the way we used to do it, by working together, with mutual give-and-take. Together we brought about some of the highest achievements of human civilization. There is a lot to build on. But I think you cannot build on ignorance.

Date posted: Saturday, July 8, 2017.

Copyright: Michael H. Morgan/Simerg. 2017.

_______________

Michael Hamilton MorganInternational speaker, author, business advisor and award-winning former U.S. diplomat Michael Morgan currently advises companies in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia-Pacific seeking capital and partnerships — in industries like energy, infrastructure, telecom, pharmaceuticals, entertainment, sports and real estate. Morgan is a member of the Advisory Board of Proximera Fund/Fuchs Group (www.fuchsgroup.com) in Luxembourg, CBT Fund in Shanghai and is Head of Investor Relations at Aseare Health (www.aseare.com).

Since 2007, Morgan has been a keynote speaker at the Arab Business Council, British Parliament, World Economic Forum, U.S. Treasury, Georgetown University, UCLA, University of Virginia, the Mohammed bin Rashid Foundation in Dubai, the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, the Asia Society and many other venues.

Morgan’s 2007 book Lost History: the Enduring Legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers and Artists (National Geographic/Random House) has reached thousands of readers around the world, and has been translated into Arabic, Indonesian, Urdu, Bosnian, Japanese, Korean and other languages. Morgan received Egypt’s Presidential award for the Arts & Sciences in 2008. Morgan’s 2002 book Collision with History: the Search for John F. Kennedy’s PT 109 has been optioned as a feature film by Atmosphere Entertainment in Hollywood.

_______________

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. For links to all the posts in this special project on His Highness the Aga Khan, please see the drop down menu bar at top of this page or click Table of Contents. Also, visit us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold.

 

India’s Aga Khan Council President shares 3 personal stories and lessons he learned from gracious moments with Mawlana Hazar Imam during Diamond Jubilee visit

[The following piece by President Ashish Merchant originally appeared in The Ismaili India under the title “From the President’s Desk.” It has been slightly edited, and is published here with his kind permission. His enlightening and informative piece is relevant to the Jamats worldwide as it is to the Jamat in India, and we sincerely hope readers will share it with their family members and friends around the world – Ed.]

By ASHISH MERCHANT
(President, His Highness the Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for India)

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Jamati leaders arrival in Mumbai

President Ashish Merchant of the Aga Khan Council for India is seen at left as Mawlana Hazar Imam is welcomed to Mumbai by the Mukhi, Mukhiani, Kamadia and Kamadiani of the Darkhana Jamatkhana. Photo: AKDN/Aziz Ajaney.

After the glorious Diamond Jubilee Padhramni to India, I have often been asked what Hazar Imam’s guidance was.  Those ten days [February 20 – March 1, 2018] were magical and there is so much to share and learn from. 

The most memorable takeaways happened from personal experience. And many experiences resulted from personal naivety that our generous spiritual father affectionately responded to with love and support.  So, in my limited capacity, I will try to express my understanding of 3 big lessons I learned, through personal stories:

  1. The ethic of best practice
  2. The idea of long-term anticipatory thinking
  3. The importance of working with and strengthening institutions

The Ethic of Best Practice

The first story happened in Ahmedabad.

I had the privilege of accompanying Hazar Imam in his car to the venue of our first Jamati work in Gujarat.  Hazar Imam was keenly looking at the constructed facility at the Gujarat University Convention Centre complex, the hundreds of police personnel deployed on the roads and the uniformed volunteers helping guide the Jamat with assertiveness and empathy as our car slowly navigated through the complex.

Hazar Imam asked me to explain what we had done. Naïvely, I responded by describing the location, the construction techniques used, the financial savings experienced by using rentals vs. buying and by giving a short history of the contractor and volunteers. Playfully, Hazar Imam invited me to compare this current effort with those of the past when we used bamboo and cloth mandaps. 

I laughingly told Hazar Imam that I don’t think our Jamat would have tolerated it, if institutions hadn’t given them a good built environment experience for the mulaqat, even in a temporary context. Hazar Imam nodded in approval and reinforced that the built environment, albeit temporary, was an important signal to our Jamat on the notion of best practice. And just as our institutions had made a choice to deploy quality resources and efforts for a superior mulaqat experience, so should the India Jamat strive for best practice in all we do – in maintaining our health, in planning the quality of life for our families, in making choices about the education institutions we choose to attend, and in our conduct at our professions and trade. Best Practice in other words Hazar Imam explained is not a business strategy, but a personal ethic. And this ethic would directly impact how the Jamat and our AKDN institutions would be perceived and treated in India.

Long Term Anticipatory Thinking

My second story is from Hyderabad.

Hazar Imam learned about many young children preparing for examinations. And about how the marks they score impacts the colleges and universities they access. Hazar Imam asked me about the students and what he expects the students to do after their examinations.  I went on to describe the profile and ambition of the students of the Aga Khan hostel, the Aga Khan Academy and of the other students from Nagpur, Delhi, Yavatmal, Bengaluru and other such centres. I then again, naïvely remarked how perhaps the best and brightest would probably take off to the USA and Canada for higher studies.

Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad-india-2015-55945

Mawlana Hazar Imam meets with students during his visit to the Aga Khan Academy in Hyderabad, India, in April 2015. Photo: AKDN/Ahmed Charania.

Hazar Imam sensed my unencouraging tone and went on to explain how of all the youth who go overseas for studies, many may stay back and get married and start a family.  However, several of these will then Inshallah, return one day.  And when they return, they would bring with them their high-quality education and professional ethics to be in the service of the Jamat. Hazar Imam used this example to explain the importance of long-term anticipatory thinking. While the departure of bright young minds was being viewed as a set-back today, it may actually turn out to be an investment for superior leadership in the future!

Hazar Imam invited the India Jamat to think in terms of multiple generations, in terms of safeguarding and growing wealth and assets, in terms choices of careers that we can differentiate on with our knowledge, competence and ethics and to be optimistic in our attitude.  In other words, to be prepared to make some hard choices today in anticipation of a superior outcome tomorrow.

Choices always have trade-offs. Hazar Imam encouraged us to think through those trade-offs for the long-term.  For example, Hazar Imam explained how some parents had been courageous to let their children be resident at the Aga Khan hostel or at the Aga Khan Academy. Of course they must have been uncomfortable letting their children go and live away from them. But they made the choice to undertake this personal discomfort for long-term benefits of access to quality residential life programmes and quality education provision.  And Inshallah, the children will as a result emerge with superior independent thinking and interpersonal skills of a residential life programme and of emerging stronger from receiving a quality education provision. And these positives are worth the trade-off of living away from the family.

So, my lesson from that Hyderabad experience was to always think of the long-term before making decisions in the short term. 

Working With and Strengthening Institutions

My third story is based in New Delhi.

We were witnessing the historic opening of Sunder Nursery.  I was naïve again and asked Hazar Imam about the rationale of investing resources on a public park.

Hazar Imam lovingly explained the notion of strengthening institutions especially those that can help with civil society. Most people don’t consider a public park as an instrument to improve quality of life.  However, when such a national asset is ready, it becomes a powerful force in the service of a city and a country.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee inuguration of Sunder Nursery_0334

Mawlana Hazar Imam with Honourable Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu light the lamp to mark the inauguration of Sunder Nursery. Photo: Shamsh Maredia via the Ismaili.

The Humayun’s Tomb-Sunder Nursery-Nizamuddin Basti project is not only an economic asset that draws tourists and livelihoods but also an important catalyst for civil society as well as a tool for the health of the citizens of New Delhi.  It also offers a physical space for civil society to potentially bloom and flourish. And to do all of this, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the Aga Khan Foundation and the associated institutions would need to be even stronger than they have been in the past to go beyond just the single project in Delhi to the second project in Hyderabad as well as to other projects in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

When I comprehended those profound remarks, the Delhi project transformed in my mind as an amazing example of the combination of all 3 lessons – the notion of long-term anticipatory thinking, the commitment to best practice at all times, despite the temptation to cut corners for speed, as well as in ensuring that through all our efforts, institutions emerged stronger. 

I convey Jubilee Mubarak to each one of you! And may you enjoy success in incorporating these three values in your own families and lives. 

Date posted: August 22, 2018.

___________________

See Table of Contents for Barakah’s beautiful, thoughtful and wonderful articles and photos.

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of ContentsAlso join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan.

Advertisements

Perspectives on the International Art Gallery at the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in Lisbon

Introduced by ABDULMALIK MERCHANT

Ways of Seeing and Ways of Knowing – A conversation with Zainub Verjee

As one of the anchor programs of the Jubilee International Arts Festival in Lisbon, International Art Gallery (IAG) was located at the famous Portuguese National Pavilion. My experience visiting the Gallery was captivating. Led by Zainub Verjee, the Director of the International Art Gallery, her visionary work of bringing such International Art Gallery to reality was not only a success but set a new standard for any successive iteration of the Festival. In total, 129 artworks were exhibited with participation of 135 artists from 29 countries.

Zainub Verjee is an accomplished leader in the art and culture sector and has shaped culture policy at all levels of governments and contributed to building of cultural institutions and organizations in Canada and internationally. She is also an accomplished writer, critic, curator, contemporary artist and public intellectual. She is invited to speak nationally and internationally, on cultural policy, contemporary art and cultural diplomacy. Her art work has been shown at the Venice Biennale, Museum of Modern Art, NY, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland US, and resides in private and public collections (Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada).

In continuation of this interview, there is going to be an on-going series on this blog and will seek to contextualize the numerous artworks for the benefit of everyone who attended the IAG in Lisbon as well as readers of this blog who will be seeing images of the artworks.

Here are some excerpts of my conversation with her:

Abdulmalik Merchant: What was the vision of the International Art Gallery?

Zainub Verjee: As part of the vision of the International Art Gallery we not only wanted to offer the visitors and the Jamat an international standard of Visual Arts Exhibition, we also wanted to encourage the visitors to understand how one experiences an Art Gallery, how Visual Arts is spoken about, and how to developVisual Arts Literacy.

More importantly, it was to break the commonly held understanding that an Art Gallery = Exhibition! Actually, an art gallery is composed of many things of which exhibition is one part!

The nuanced aspect of the setting up the International Art Gallery was also to make a differentiation between Public Relations model of visual display (eg: Rays of Light), a trade fair model of visual display (eg: Art Trade Fair) etc and allow the Jamati members to experience and negotiate the difference appropriately. The larger part of the educational objective of IAG was to build cultural literacy. Thus, the Jamati member is able to optimize their experience when they visit Art Galleries / Art Museum and learn the protocols of doing so.

AM: The site of International Art Gallery could not have been better for such an historic event. How was your experience of the Portuguese National Pavilion?

ZV: I still cannot believe that we had an opportunity and privilege to put up this exhibition at the International Art Gallery in the Portuguese National Pavilion!

The Portuguese National Pavilion is an imposing work of modern architecture designed by the famous Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza who is the winner of the Pritzker Prize, akin to Nobel of Architecture!

Apart from the beauty of the building, we were faced with the challenge of the huge body of disparate artworks and vastness of the space. The space was not an homogenous one but a multiple combination with different room sizes and some open grand halls and a dark enclave. Further we wanted to know how best we can ensure that the visitor invariably will be overwhelmed and may get lost in the scope of the exhibition. Keeping that in mind our Curator devised a spatial strategy of dividing the whole exhibition into four zones or sections. They were called Sala Rio (River Room), Sala Lago (Lake Room), Sala Oceano (Ocean Room) and Sala Dois Raven (Room of Two Ravens). These were Portuguese names and connected to local history and context. For eg: the Sala Dois Raven was our way of acknowledging the local legend of St. Vincent and the story of two ravens which we see on the coat of arms of the City of Lisbon.

Thus, at the International Art Gallery, the exhibition was divided into these four spatial division and each division had its own story. But at the same time in order to keep the visitor engaged with the entire exhibition we ensured through curatorial strategies of display of the artworks that these four stories emerging from four zones merged into one to make the narrative of the exhibition. This was facilitated by creating four conceptual categories – Imagination, Heritage, Community and Identity – which offered a vessel to hold these disparate works together. They were like the four wheels of a vehicle on which a visitor toured the exhibition!

AM: So, what was the big picture of the International Art Gallery?

ZV: Various element of the IAG were put in place to help Jamat understand that Art gallery doesn’t equal to an exhibition. A commonly held mistaken notion that is! That’s why, the IAG was like a full-fledged “institutions” that was brought together with a complete set of services and programming that one can get in an international art gallery.

For instance, the IAG had a well-staffed with teams covering Visitor Services, a Knowledge Production (Education and Programming), Exhibition Design, Logistics that covered Art Shipping, Art Handling and Art Registrar components, and also, Marketing and Special Events work streams. In addition, we had the overarching Operations and Finance streams. What I am implying here is that the International Art Gallery that you experienced was like walking into an established Art Gallery. International standards and best practices were observed, be it the temperature levels in Exhibition Halls or Art handling protocols or Art Condition Reports or Art Shipping or the labels or the way finding or wall texts or the public programming! Not to forget that there were Mentoring sessions and Master Classes!! I can give you full program, in case you don’t have one.

Jamati artists were exposed to an international slate of Curators, Scholars, Artists and many of them have communicated to me as to how critical and game-changing this experience has been for them.

IMG_5821__Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Internationl Art Gallery Lisbon medium

A view of “Refugees,” a sculpture by Gulzar Quintino. See close up below.

AM: What kind of impact did they have?

ZV: Some have decided to change their academic and professional pursuits and shift towards Art History, Visual Arts or Architecture instead of pursuing professions such as law or accountancy. There were some young volunteers on the Art Handling team who discovered a whole new professional field of Art Handling. Another one said, “I never thought so much thinking and detailed planning and process goes behind Exhibition Installation.” He continued “I have a new found respect for Art Galleries, Artists and Artworks.”

For many artists it was a first time their artwork was being shown in a professional art exhibition, let alone at an international level! For such artists, this show was a real shot in the arm! They had this wonderful opportunity through Mentoring sessions and Masterclasses where they could discuss their artworks, practice…..what they should do and not? These interactions with renowned slate of international artists, curators and scholars was the biggest opportunity of all! Most important was to get a chance to bond as artists of the global Jamat!

AM: You mentioned art gallery is a site of knowledge production. Could you explain?

ZV: An art gallery is a site of knowledge production and it is one of the crucial, and if I may add, very few such sites where public pedagogy is deployed. The point I am making is that Knowledge Production is not limited to an education institution but it occurs at multiple site in our society. For instance, at the International Art Gallery, in addition to the Exhibition did you know there was an elaborate public programming and especially for artists there were Master classes and Mentoring sessions?

Talking of the public programming, three Keynotes were delivered by eminent Curators, Art Historians and Scholars who were invited Faculty and Guests of International Art Gallery from around the world.

During the three panels a range of themes were discussed passionately [see special panel feature below, following interview – AM].

As much the demanding engagement was there for a viewer in the Gallery. It is in these discussions, the viewing of the artworks, the tours, and other programming modalities that the Art Gallery created an experience and an apparatus for the discovery of new knowledge.

AM: Moving on to the exhibition, can you give help us understand how should we see the artworks and make meaning?

ZV: Let me give you an example. Recently we heard about how a young Swedish girl protested to stop the deportation of Afghani Refugees. Let’s look at how some of the artists at the International Art Gallery in Lisbon were engaged with this issue. In one of the evocative and powerful rooms of the Sala Rio section of the Art Gallery, we see the foregrounding of the refugee crisis. Gulzar Quintino’s sculpture titled Refugees deeply moves the viewer. Placed in the centre of the room, it holds and defines the centrality of the crisis: the contemporary condition.

IMG_5823 2__Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Internationl Art Gallery Lisbon medium

International Art Gallery: “Refugees,” sculpture by Gulzar Quintino.

On the wall, the series of photographs retain the disembodied element and yet documentary relevance of the ravages of war in Syria. This is a moving work ironically titled Full of Life by Yamam Alshaar (Salamieh, Syria). From a happy and united family in the first photograph, the sequence details the ravages, losses, and despair wrought by war as the family unit is broken up and left bereft. Hope for a better life and the return of the father drives this family, but the poverty, instability, and effects of war leave marks that only the children, as the last surviving hope, manage to transcend.

IMG_5824__Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Internationl Art Gallery Lisbon Revised

International Art Gallery: “Full of Life,” photographs by Yamam Alshaar.

More poignant element in this room is how Anish Kapoor, the British sculptor, is brought into conversation with Gulzar’s and Yamam Alshaar’s works. We see his quote on the wall opposite Yamam’s artwork and it reads:

“We are demanding creativity of others, recognising that those who leave their country and go on a journey across the water full of danger or who walk hundreds of miles across land are also making a creative act.”

IMG_5834__Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Internationl Art Gallery Lisbon

International Art Gallery: “The Return,” woodwork by Awos Ward.

And as our gaze shifts out of this dialogue one sees a statue. As if like an astute observer standing by the side listening in this conversation, we see the sculpture, a woodwork titled The Return, by Awos Ward (Ghent, Belgium). Made from Azobe wood the sculpture plays with the materiality reflecting the long and enduring processes of preservation; symbolizing an individual’s struggle to find peace and preserve an ethical set of values in the face of adversity.

__________________

Three Panels and Keynotes at International Art Gallery

Inaugural Panel: HOMELAND AND DIASPORA – ART AND ARTIST

Shaheen Merali Keynote Speech

Shaheen Merali delivering the Keynote of the inaugural panel.

In these times of increased mobility and our histories of migrations, where is our home? Or what is home? This panel offered an engaging exploration of the creative tension between Homeland and Diaspora and how this tension impact the artists and their art. The panel discussed how this creative tension is the driving force of the contemporary art. The panel consisted of Zainub Verjee (opening remarks), Shaheen Merali (keynote), and Rosemin Keshvani, Niranjan Rajah, Zarina Bhimji (panelists) with Yasmin Jiwani as the moderator.

Yasmin Jiwani and panel

From left to right: Yasmin Jiwani moderating the panel with Shaheen Merali, Rozemin Keshvani, Niranjan Rajah and Zarina Bhimji.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Premier Panel: ARTISTS’ JOURNEY – ROLE OF ARTIST IN OUR SOCIETY

Sara Diamond

President Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD University, delivering the Premiere Keynote.

This panel had the President of OCAD University, Dr. Sara Diamond, from Toronto, Canada, an eminent artist, inventor, and scholar who delivered the keynote on what it is to be an artist and why artists are critical to our society. Her keynote encouraged the panelists for further discussions on the role of artist in society and what their individual journeys have been.

Artists Journey panel

The panelists on Artists’ Journey: Role of artist in our society were (left to right) Shamina Senaratne, Ilyas Kassam, Dr. Sara Diamond, Amin Gulgee, Christian Bernard Singer, João Ludovice and Rozemin Keshvani as the moderator.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Power Panel: WILL PLURALISM SET THE AGENDA FOR GLOBAL ART?

Faisal Devji

Faisal Devji , a Critic, Historian and Professor at Oxford University, delivering the keynote address.

This panel explored the important role of Pluralism in our anxiety ridden world. Pluralism seeks to balance by demanding that society actively embraces difference.

An exciting panel consisting of international thought leaders, senior artists, art historians and critics spoke on this topic that explored the promise of pluralism in art.

Panelists discussed how artists and contemporary art are engaging with issues of the times and whether it saw the prospects of Pluralism to be the force of future that shapes the global art debate. The panelists were Niranjan Rajah, Zarina Bhimji, Bryan Mulvihill, Pedro Gadanho (Director of Museum of Art, Architecture & Technology, Lisbon), and was moderated by Narendra Pachkhede.

Pedro Gedanho and others

Pedro Gadanho (Director of Museum of Art, Architecture & Technology, Lisbon) offering an insightful observation as the other panelists (from left to right) keenly listen: Bryan Mulvihill, Niranjan Rajah, Pedro Gadanho, Zarina Bhimji and Faisal Devji.

Sara Diamond engaging with audience member IAG panel Lisbon

Dr. Sara Diamond seen here engaging with a member of the audience.

IAG Lisbon artist asking question

Artist from audience asking question to the panelists.

To be continued……

Date posted: August 14, 2018.

__________________

Zainub Verjee

Zainub Verjee is an accomplished leader in the art and culture sector and has shaped culture policy at all levels of governments and contributed to building of cultural institutions and organizations in Canada and internationally.

A trailblazer of her generation, Zainub is a mentor and role model for generations. Fueled by passion, vision, and a staunch conviction about art as public good, Zainub advanced vital interests of artists, and created spaces and access for artists across different disciplines in Canada.

Zainub is also an accomplished writer, critic, curator, contemporary artist and public intellectual. At the forefront of the two decades of cultural politics of the 1980s and 1990s in Canada, Zainub was the co-founder and Festival director of the critically acclaimed In Visible Colours: An International Film/Video Festival & Symposium for Third World Women and Women of Colour (1988–90). She is invited to speak nationally and internationally, on cultural policy, contemporary art and cultural diplomacy.

Zainub has published in numerous academic, cultural and critical fora including, Leonardo Journal (MIT), Kinesis, Parallelogram, Fuse, Horizon, Canadian Art Magazine, Journal of Art and the Public Sphere etc.

Currently Zainub is the Executive Director of Ontario Association of Art Galleries, Toronto.

Among many appointments to Boards, she is proud of her work at the B.C. Arts Board that led to the legislation B.C.Arts Act and the formation of the institution B.C. Arts Council. Among others, currently she sits on the Advisory Board of ArtsBuild Ontario, national steering Committee of Cultural Human Resources Council and is the Chairperson of the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre. She was invited as an expert for the Opening and Closing ceremonies of Vancouver Olympics 2010.

Her art work has been shown at the Venice Biennale, Museum of Modern Art, NY, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland US, and resides in private and public collections (Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada).

_______________

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of Contents. Also join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan.

 

Joyful photos from His Highness the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Lisbon through the lens of Muslim Harji

The editor’s dilemma is what to select from hundreds of photos that are made available through the kindness and generosity of a passionate and great photographer. Montreal’s Muslim Harji has contributed significantly to this blog since the commencement of the Diamond Jubilee as well as to its sister blogs, simerg and simergphotos, over the past 8 years. We have selected the following to provide a glimpse and capture the beauty of the magnificent Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Lisbon in July 2018. For more photos by Muslim Harji, please visit his Flickr page  (see link on his profile, below). 

The Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee in Lisbon

By MUSLIM HARJI

DSCF3953

The symbol of Global Unity. A free standing Diamond Jubilee motif at Park of Nations, the venue where tens of thousands of Ismailis gathered to celebrate Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee for 7 days. Photo: Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

It’s exactly a month since we celebrated the Diamond Jubilee Darbar of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, on July 11, 2018, in Lisbon. When we arrived in the beautiful city of Lisbon, it was buzzing with joy and happiness. Ismailis from every corner of the Globe were to be seen everywhere — in hotel lobbies, corner stores, buses, metros, trams, restaurants, cafes, tourist sites and of course at the  Park of Nations (Parque das Nações), the primary site of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. At the closing time of each night, the Oriente Metro station and all the carriages would be jam packed with Ismailis! I have never seen anything like this before.

4V9A3159_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Red Line metro carriage is packed with happy Ismailis as they depart Oriente station for a night’s rest after an eventful day at the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

The epic Diamond Jubilee celebration in Lisbon, the closing out of the incredible year of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s 60th year of Imamat, was truly a memorable and historic experience for everyone who was there; I will personally cherish it in my heart, mind, and soul for the rest of my life. This event was a testament to the diversity and beauty of our community, and we should all take comfort in the fact that our community is flourishing around the world.

4V9A3090_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Volunteers guiding senior Ismailis. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3317_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Volunteers: The pride of the Ismaili community around the world. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3181_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Proud youth of the Jamat. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

Close to 45,000 murids from every corner of the planet came together as “ONE JAMAT” and celebrated the event for seven straight days.

The Diamond Jubilee celebrations would not have been possible without the help of the Portuguese volunteers and hundreds of  international volunteers, some of whom had arrived weeks earlier to help plan and organise this event for all of us to enjoy. They were kind, gentle and compassionate.

4V9A3022_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

A view of Park of Nations (Parque das Nações) where the Diamond Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan was celebrated in Lisbon. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

At the same time, the hospitality and warmth of the Portuguese leadership and jamat were remarkable and their ability to plan an innovative and forward-thinking event on such a large scale was truly impressive. I am delighted to share these photos with readers of Barakah.

4V9A2997_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

One of the 5 entrances at the venue of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in Lisbon. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

DSCF3921_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

The registration desks where electronic wrist bands for entry to the grounds were issued. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3157_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Digitized wrist bands for gaining entry to the grounds. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

DSCF3929_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Transportation within the mela grounds. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3104_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

A family takes advantage of the transportation to take them to events at the mela grounds. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3102_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

A view of the Altice Arena which hosted the Diamond Jubilee concerts and the Talent show. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3395_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

A banner displaying one of two major concerts that were held at the Altice Arena. The evening show on July 10 was a sell out and a special afternoon show was added to accommodate the overflow. The first concert, Kings of Rythm, featuring Algerian Cheb Khaled was held on July 5. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3363_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Concert in progress at the Altice Arena. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3212_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Ismaili talent performing at the Altice Arena. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3220_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Ismaili talent performing at the Altice Arena. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3040_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Mehndi (Henna) artists at work. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3045_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Be warned, no high fives, please! Seniors with fresh Henna tattoos. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3031_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

The ever busy memorabilia counter. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3203_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Nothing less than joy. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

DSCN7100_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

When the food court is full, enjoy biryani on stairs at the Altice arena. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

DSCN7114_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Indifferent to the gorgeous dress and suit, eating in comfort on stairs of the Altice Arena. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3293_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Visitors at the International Arts Gallery. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3290_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Artists and visitors at the International Arts Gallery. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

DSCF4094_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

A pipe band performance. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

DSCF4231_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Happy faces from around the world. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

DSCF4125_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Happy faces from around the world. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3352_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Happy faces from around the world. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3330_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Happy faces from around the world. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3020_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Happy faces from around the world. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

4V9A3488_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon

Ismailis visit Palacete Henrique De Mendonça, the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat which Hazar Imam proclaimed as the Diwan of the Ismaili Imamat on July 11, 2018. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

Thank you!

Date posted: August 11, 2018.

__________

Muslim and Nevin HarjiMuslim Harji has been acclaimed for his wonderful photo essays for this blog as well as its sister websites Simerg.com and Simergphotos.com. He and his wife Nevin have lived in Montreal for over 35 years, where they raised two children and ran a successful business. Upon retiring in 2004, Muslim and Nevin started to explore the world. All told, together and individually, they have visited almost 50 countries around the globe, and plan to continue fostering their love for travelling the world.

For more photos of Lisbon, please click https://www.flickr.com/gp/134574605@N03/u6B8G6.

__________

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of ContentsAlso join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan.

Portugal President’s surprise Darbar visit in Lisbon: A highpoint during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee; includes video clip

By AZEEM MAHERALI

vazir_entrance_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon_Portugal President july_11-0864

Mawlana Hazar Imam receives President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa upon his arrival to the Darbar hall in Lisbon. Photo: The Ismaili/Vazir Karsan.

The entire Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Lisbon on July 11, 2018, the 61st Imamat Day of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, was filled with beautiful and surprising moments that will be deeply entrenched in everyone’s hearts, carrying indelible memories. Who would have imagined that Mawlana Hazar Imam with his family would visit all the three halls where the Jamats were seated and spend so much time at the Darbar; that in each of the halls he would graciously speak to the Jamat and ask us, as his dais, to convey his blessings to our families and Jamats around the world; and that the Darbar would be filled with so much laughter and happiness as well as applause. Mawlana Hazar Imam made it all happen! For those who were not present in Lisbon, I would recommend Zafeera Kassam’s narrative of the Darbar which has been acclaimed by readers from around the world.

Of course, as a murid of Mawlana Hazar Imam, every moment of his holy presence was touching and deeply inspiring. However the moment that particularly stood out for me was the Portuguese President’s surprise visit at the Darbar. As I came to learn later, the President was deeply touched by the discipline of the Jamat and the adoration of the Jamat for their beloved Imam. The salwats for the Imam rang out from thousands of lips, and I begin to wonder what the President may have personally felt at this highly charged atmosphere.

Aga Khan welcomes President of Portugal to Darbar 05

Mawlana Hazar Imam speaks at the Darbar in Lisbon on July 11, 2018, calling the visit of Portugal’s President as an unexpected blessing. Members of his family are seen applauding.

Mawlana Hazar Imam termed the visit by His Excellency Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa as “an unexpected blessing.” The mood was euphoric among the approximately 42,000 Ismaili faithfuls from 45 countries who were witnessing an unprecedented event in modern Ismaili history.

Before making way to the Darbar hall, Mawlana Hazar Imam introduced the esteemed President to members of the Noorani family (Prince Amyn, Princess Zahra, Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa, Prince Hussain, Prince Aly Muhammad, Miss Sara Boyden, and Master Iliyan Boyden) as well as  members of the Ismaili Leaders International Forum (LIF) who represent the global jamat.

There were warm and sincere sentiments exchanged in the Darbar hall as the President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa brought greetings from the Portuguese people.

The President’s inspiring message of shared hopes and aspirations for a progressive partnership were reinforced as the President proclaimed “I feel, I’m sure, that Portugal has become your home forever.” Mawlana Hazar Imam concluded his own remarks with “We now have — alhamdulillah — Portugal as our partner.” There were applauses everywhere.

Aga Khan welcomes President of Portugal to Darbar 02

The President of Portugal congratulates Mawlana Hazar Imam on the occasion of his Diamond Jubilee during the Darbar in Lisbon on July 11, 2018.

The President’s profound message of solidarity and gratitude for Mawlana Hazar Imam and the Jamat is as follows:

“Few words, very much felt in this historical moment of the Diamond Jubilee of Your Highness and Spiritual Leader of this so meaningful community and millions and millions spread across all continents.

“Portugal, home of peace and universal understanding congratulates Your Highness for the Jubilee and also for the constant contribution to peace, tolerance, dialogue, social commitment, plus building a better world.

“Portugal, always a grateful nation, marks Your Highness’ choice to host the Seat of the Imamat Ismaili at Palacete Henrique de Mendonça in Lisbon, Your Highness’ support, among us and all over the world, to development, to justice, to the fight against poverty and inequality.

“Portugal welcomes, with open arms, those who arrive, greets the dear thousands of believers of the Ismaili Community, including the 7000 Portuguese, that day after day, endlessly work with competence and social solidarity.

“All of this, much in line with a verse of the Qu’ran, namely:

‘Righteousness is not that you turn your faces to the east or the west, but is in one’s faithful God, the prophets and the book; despite love for it, righteousness is in giving wealth to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveller, those who ask for help.’

“May all of you as well as all of us pay tribute to Your Highness and your family on this historic day and be welcome to Portugal.

“I feel, I’m sure, that Portugal became your home forever.”

~~~~

A video clip from the Darbar in Lisbon

Date posted: August 8, 2018.

______________

About the writer: Azeem Maherali, originally of Ottawa, Canada, is currently based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of Contents. Also join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan.

‘A diamond is forever’: In honour of His Highness the Aga Khan, Portugal Postal Service releases a unique souvenir sheet embedded with a 1.24mm genuine diamond – a family keepsake for generations to come

By ABDULMALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher/Editor Barakah, Simerg and Simergphotos)

This close up photo shows a 1.24mm diamond on the Portugal Postal Service’s Souvenir Sheet issued for Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee. The value of this commemorative sheet is  euros 20.00. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

The Diamond Jubilee memorabilia store located by the entrance to the exhibition space was one of the busiest places during the week long Darbar celebrations at Park of Nations (Parque das Nações) in Lisbon. The queues at the store got even longer when an  announcement was made that the store would also be selling a diamond embedded  stamp commemorative sheet that it had received from the Portuguese Postal Services  (CTT).

Within a day, as I found out from an enthusiastic sales volunteer, more than 1000 units of the sheet were sold at the store, out of a total of 7000 that had been manufactured.  I acquired 2 sets at 20 euros each, and have become one of the thousands of proud owners of this magnificent diamond embedded “memorabilia”.

What a fantastic idea by CTT to come up with this unique object honouring Hazar Imam. As the saying goes “a diamond is forever.” To the “thoughtfully wise” at CTT I say on behalf of every Ismaili: ‘We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for honouring our beloved Imam in such a wonderful and unique manner.”

nazim_lokhandwala_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Postage Stamp mhi_pm_lunch_july_9-5424

Prime Minister António Costa unveils the official Diamond Jubilee commemorative postage stamp in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam, as Francisco Lacerda, CEO of CTT (Portugal Postal Services), and Raul Moreira, Head of Philately for CTT, look on. Photo: The Ismaili/Nazim Lokhandwala.

nazim_lokhandwala_mhi_pm_lunch_july_9-5433

Mawlana Hazar Imam signs a special commemorative issue of the Diamond Jubilee postage stamp, as Francisco Lacerda, CEO of CTT (Portugal Postal Services), and Raul Moreira, Head of Philately for CTT, look on. Photo: The Ismaili/Nazim Lokhandwalla.

The CTT stamp was unveiled on July 8, 2018 during a luncheon the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, hosted for Mawlana Hazar Imam. The event was attended by Mawlana Hazar Imam’s younger brother, Prince Amyn Aga Khan, the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, the Mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, as well as CTT’s CEO, Francisco Lacerda, and its Head of Philately, Raul Moreira.

Portugal’s Prime Minister, António Costa and Mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, with Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan,  and his brother, Prince Amyn Aga Khan, at Foz Palace following a presentation by the Prime Minister to His Highness of commemorative limited edition First Day Diamond Jubilee stamps issued by the Postal Service of Portugal. Photo: AKDN.

A close up of the Portugal Post’s souvenir sheet commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of Mawlana Hazar Imam. A genuine 1.25mm diamond is affixed on the souvenir sheet at the location we have marked with an arrow. See close-up of diamond at start of article.

On July 9, 2018, CTT launched the entire philatelic issue. This issue consists of a stamp with a face value of € (euro) 0.91 (125,000 copies) and a souvenir sheet, which has  two versions: One with a value of € 2 and 50 thousand copies and another one of only 7 thousand copies, with a diamond of 1.25 mm, at a price of € 20. Also, on sale are a first day cover with the stamp with a value of € 1.69 and a first day cover with a souvenir sheet with a value of € 3.21. We have provided a link to the CTT’s on-line shop at the bottom of this post, where you may be able to purchase these items (subject to availability). The website does not list the diamond sheet of € 20, making me wonder if all 7000 sheets have been sold!

 On July 10, 2018, the CTT Facebook page was updated with the following image:

Set image on CTT’s Facebook page.

A downloadable PDF file explaining the stamp’s features along with a profile of Mawlana Hazar Imam in both Portuguese and English was released by CTT on its website. To download this informative file, please click Pag diptica_sua_alteza_aga_khan_2018.

In releasing the stamp, CTT explains:

“Prince Karim Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of Muslims Shia Imami Ismailis. According to 1400 years of Muslim tradition, the Imam is not only spiritual guide, but also leads the effort to improve the safety and quality of their lives and all those with whom they share their destiny, regardless of their creed, gender or ethnicity . It was in this context that the Aga Khan Development Network was created, which has been present in Portugal since 1983 through the Aga Khan Foundation.

“In 2015, His Highness Aga Khan signed an agreement with the Portuguese Republic on the establishment of the formal headquarters of Imamat Ismaili (a supranational entity representing the succession of the Imams since the time and in the progeny of Prophet Muhammad ) in Portugal. The Palacete Henrique de Mendonça, in Lisbon, will become the world headquarters of Imamat Ismaili and will operate according to the rules of a foreign diplomatic delegation. In Europe, Portugal has one of the largest concentrations of Muslim Ismailis.

“This philatelic issue consists of a stamp with a face value of € 0.91 (125,000 copies) and a stamp with a stamp, which will have two versions. One with a value of 2 € and 50 thousand copies and another one of only 7 thousand copies, with a diamond of 1.25 mm, at a price of € 20.

“The first day obliterations will be made at the Restauradores stores in Lisbon, Muncipio do Porto, Zarco in Funchal and Antero de Quental in Ponta Delgada.”

~~~~~~~~~

CTT set commemorating the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee

Stamp (referred to as set), face value Euro 0.91.

___________

First day cover with set (stamp); face value Euro 1.69.

___________

Souvenir sheet without diamond; face value Euro 2.00.

First day cover with souvenir sheet; face value Euro 3.21.

________________

Portugal CTT Aga Khan Brocuhre with Set and Souvenir Sheet 4.43 Euros

Brochure with set and souvenir sheet; face value Euro 4.43.

________________

Link to CTT on-line store to purchase Diamond Jubilee set and associated philatelic objects

PLEASE CLICK: Purchase collection of His Highness the Aga Khan set at CTT

Click on image to purchase Ag Khan set on CTT on-line store.

Date posted: August 2, 2018.

___________________

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of ContentsAlso join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan.

 

50+ magnificent photos of His Highness the Aga Khan with the President of Portugal at Belem Palace, National Palace of Queluz, and Palacete Henrique de Mendonça

Barakah is pleased to present this superb collection of more than 50 photos of His Highness the Aga Khan from the website of the President of the Republic of Portugal, Dr. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. The President honoured him at Belem Palace and the National Palace of Queluz as well as visited the future Seat of the Ismaili Imamat at the invitation of His Highness to see the renovations that are underway at Palace Henrique de Mendonça. A link to audio remarks made by President Marcelo is provided after the photos.

180709-PRMRS-11-MFL-0302-0954

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

09:07:2018: O Presidente Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa recebeu, em audiência no Palácio de Belém, o Príncipe Aga Khan, que se encontra em visita oficial a Portugal por ocasião das celebrações do Jubileu de Diamante, que assinala 60 anos enquanto Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili.

Após ter sido recebido pelo Presidente da República no Pátio dos Bichos, local onde foram executados os hinos, o Príncipe Aga Khan tirou a fotografia oficial e assinou o Livro de Honra na Sala das Bicas.

Depois da apresentação das delegações na Sala Dourada, o Presidente Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa reuniu-se a sós com o Príncipe Aga Khan na Sala de Audiências. A reunião foi mais tarde alargada às respetivas delegações

Google translate:

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa received Prince Aga Khan, who is on an official visit to Portugal on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, which marks 60 years as the Spiritual Leader (Imam) of the Shia Muslims Ismaili.

After being received by the President of the Republic at Pátio dos Bichos [1], where the hymns were performed, Prince Aga Khan took the official photograph and signed the Book of Honor in the Sala das Bicas. [1]

After the presentation of the delegations in the Golden Room, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa met alone with Prince Aga Khan in the Hearing Room. The meeting was later extended to the respective delegations.

180709-PRMRS-01-MFL-0031-9761

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-02-MFL-0063-9790

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-03-MFL-0114-0834

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-04-RO-0003-6346

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-05-MFL-0166-0886

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-06-RO-0009-6366

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-07-RO-0012-8616

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-08-MFL-0212-0932

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-09-MFL-0230-9823

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-10-MFL-0258-9851

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-11-MFL-0302-0954

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-12-MFL-0367-0979

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-13-MFL-0433-9926

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-14-MFL-0457-9948

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-15-MFL-0465-9956

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-16-MFL-0553-1049

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-18-MFL-0674-0076

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-19-MFL-0733-0135

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-20-MFL-0781-1178

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-21-MFL-0808-1205

Audiência ao Príncipe Aga Khan, Líder Espiritual (Imam) dos Muçulmanos Shia Ismaili, no Palácio de Belém/Audience to Prince Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of Muslims Shia Ismaili, at the Palace of Belém. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

__________________

His Highness the Aga Khan at Palácio Nacional de Queluz

09.07.2018: O Presidente Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa ofereceu um jantar, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz, [2] em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, que se encontra em visita oficial a Portugal.

Google translation:

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa offered a dinner at the National Palace of Queluz in honor of Prince Aga Khan, who is on an official visit to Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0007-6503

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0009-6515

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0011-6524

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0012-6533

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0015-6578

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0016-6587

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0018-6625

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0022-6652

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0026-6744

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0027-6757

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0028-6776

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0031-6823

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0034-6861

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0037-6885

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0046-7025

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0052-9099

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0062-7091

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0067-7158

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0079-7226

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0081-7247

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0082-

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0083-9173

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0084-9209

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0085-7283

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0086-9267

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0089-7347

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0098-7521

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0101-7541

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

180709-PRMRS-RO-0103-7563

Jantar oferecido pelo Presidente da República em honra do Príncipe Aga Khan, no Palácio Nacional de Queluz/Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic in honor of Prince Aga Khan at the National Palace of Queluz. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.

______________

The President of Portugal visits Palacete Henrique de Mendonça, the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat

180710-PRMRS-MFL-0803-1772_Palace

Visita à futura Sede Mundial da Comunidade Ismaelita (Imamat Ismaili) no Palacete Henrique de Mendonça em Lisboa/Visit to the future World Headquarters of the Ismaelite Community (Imamat Ismaili) at the Henrique de Mendonça Palace in Lisbon. Photo: The website of the President of Portugal.

10.07.2018: O Presidente da República visitou os trabalhos de recuperação do Palacete Henrique de Mendonça, em Lisboa, futura Sede Mundial do Imamat Ismaili.

A convite do Príncipe Aga Khan, que está em Portugal no âmbito do encerramento das celebrações do seu Jubileu de Diamante, o Presidente Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa e representantes de outros Órgãos de Soberania e da Sociedade Civil visitaram o espaço que deverá ser inaugurado no ano que vem como sede mundial da Comunidade Ismaelita (Imamat Ismaili).

Translation:

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousao of Portugal and representatives of other Sovereign and Civil Society Bodies visited the restoration works of the Palacete  Henrique de Mendonça in Lisbon, future World Headquarters of Imamat Ismaili, at the invitation of Prince Aga Khan, who is in Portugal to close the celebrations of his Diamond Jubilee.

180710-PRMRS-MFL-0903-1870_Palace

Visita à futura Sede Mundial da Comunidade Ismaelita (Imamat Ismaili) no Palacete Henrique de Mendonça em Lisboa/Visit to the future World Headquarters of the Ismaelite Community (Imamat Ismaili) at the Henrique de Mendonça Palace in Lisbon. Photo: The website of the President of Portugal.

180710-PRMRS-MFL-1028-1945_Palace

Visita à futura Sede Mundial da Comunidade Ismaelita (Imamat Ismaili) no Palacete Henrique de Mendonça em Lisboa/Visit to the future World Headquarters of the Ismaelite Community (Imamat Ismaili) at the Henrique de Mendonça Palace in Lisbon. Photo: The website of the President of Portugal.

180710-PRMRS-MFL-1073-1985_Palace

Visita à futura Sede Mundial da Comunidade Ismaelita (Imamat Ismaili) no Palacete Henrique de Mendonça em Lisboa/Visit to the future World Headquarters of the Ismaelite Community (Imamat Ismaili) at the Henrique de Mendonça Palace in Lisbon. Photo: The website of the President of Portugal.

______________________

Speech by the President of Portugal in honour of His Highness the Aga Khan

Audio Link: http://media.presidencia.pt/videos/mrs2018/audio/PRMRS_180709_A01.mp3

Date posted: July 31, 2018.

_____________

NOTES:

[1]. The Sala das Bicas Palace, located in Belém, formerly a palace of kings, is now a national monument and seat of the Portuguese Presidency. Called “da leoneiras” in the eighteenth century, it seems to have as its emblem the lion a solar symbol that combines Wisdom with Power. A green flag with the national shield – the presidential banner is hoisted in the palace indicating the presence of the President in Belém. The entrance to the palace is made by the ramp of the Pátio dos Bichos. Around here are the guests of the President of the Republic and official visits.

[2] The National Palace of Queluz and its historical gardens in Sintra are one of the most remarkable examples of the harmonious link between landscape and palatial architecture in Portugal. They illustrate the evolution of the Court’s tastes in the 18th and 19th centuries, a period that was marked by the baroque, rococo and neoclassicism. Built in 1747 at the orders of the future King Pedro III, the consort of Queen Maria I, the Palace of Queluz was initially conceived as a summer residence, becoming the royal family’s preferred place for their leisure and entertainment. They lived there permanently from 1794 until their departure for Brazil in 1807, as a result of the French invasions.

For photos at source, please visit the following links:

____________________

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of ContentsAlso join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan.

A poetic piece on the grand finale of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee

The Lisbon Darbar

zahur_ramji_d_day_-_hall_1_july_11-4459

By JALAL JAFFER

When the welcome siren sounded
Murids from far-flung areas gasped
Conversations around kitchen tables
In pedestrian homes of Gujrat
To lavish bungalows in Nairobi
In rudimentary apartments of London
To water-front homes in Vancouver
Nuclear families, or multi-generational
Centred around past jubilees
The collective wisdom cried out
“How can we not go!!”

There were few questions about Portugal
Fewer still about the Seat of Imamat
Implicit in the hearts and minds
Unfolded an imagery:
A Darbar of majestic proportions
Amidst a frontierless brotherhood
Bowing its collective head
Pledging its loyalty, love, devotion
To their beloved Mawla.

Some forty-thousand Murids
From forty-five countries
Descended upon the ancient city.
Cheerful demeanour, adventurous spirit
Left no room for strangeness
No time for anxiety
Soon, colour-coded wrist bands
Solidified an identity, provided a protective shield.

For days before the epochal event
The vast spaces at the Expo Lands
Blared with song and dance
Food and frolic
Expositions and movies
Concerts and performances
Quality and calibre beyond excellent
Participation and engagement beyond expectation
Happiness and appreciation beyond description
Joy, excitement, gratitude beyond belief.

The stage was set
Murids in their thousands
Comfortably settled in
Final minutes of Intezar
In quiet contemplation, personal zikr
Allowing each to connect
The inner recesses of hearts.
Deep sense of anticipation, excitement
Rising within the collective silence
Peace…inner joy…gripping ever so gently
And, then, the moment arrived.

The salwats, in unison, in humility
Greeted the Imam’s Noorani presence.
The booming rendition, wholesome, unrestrained
Accompanied each and every step
All the way to His high chair, nay His throne.

The Imam’s happiness was palpable
His love, his grace, his blessings
Pouring out without measure.
His levity, smiles, laughter
Enlivening and captivating.
No bowls were large enough
To capture, retain and cherish
No heart remotely capable
Of expanding and embracing
All the Rahemah…the blessings and love
So freely flowing.
It was Magical…Indescribable.

Beyond magic…beyond description
The Imam walking back into the Darbar Hall
With his “surprise guest” at his side.
No one flinched, no one strayed
The booming rendition
Of salwats, and more salwats
Welcomed the Imam and his guest
The President of Portugal.

The warmth and affection
Percolating between the two
The tributes and accolades
Celebrating each other
The unreserved and sincere respect
Accorded by each to the other
The sealing of genuine partnership
Between the Seat of Imamat
And the Government of Portugal
Was a script written
Not on paper, not in a document
Only in the heart and mind.
Goodwill, common cause, humanity
Dwell in the realm of open hearts, open minds.

Historians will describe and explain
In books and videos
The nature and importance
Of the DJ Darbar in Lisbon.
The Murids present
Instinctively knew, instinctively recognised
The unfolding of a historic moment…
They will tell their children, and grandchildren
With pride and gratitude
“We were there–
When history was made”

Date posted: July 30, 2018.

__________________

About the author: Jalal Jaffer is a practising lawyer in Vancouver. He has held numerous leadership positions in Ismaili institutions in Canada. He attended the recent conclusion of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee in Lisbon, and was also present on July 11, 2017 at the Homage Ceremony in Aiglemont, France, which marked the commencement of the Jubilee Year.

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of ContentsAlso join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan.

 

Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee: Memories of a modern day pilgrimage to Lisbon

By RAHIM HIRJI

Eduardo VII Park

Jamati members from around the world stand as One Jamat for a group photo at Eduardo VII park after Mawlana Hazar Imam’s motorcade had passed way moments earlier by the Park road where 3000-4000 Ismailis had lined up to welcome him. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant

In the months and years to come, the Lisbon Diamond Jubilee Celebration of 2018 will become folklore in the modern history of the Ismailis. This whole Jubilee year has been a full-on celebration – something we haven’t experienced before and the atmosphere that surrounded this grand finale in Lisbon really is quite difficult to put into words. At the Darbar, Hazar Imam told us we were all Dais. This is my humble attempt of sharing the message of the Lisbon Darbar and the events surrounding it. 

For those of us who had just had Darbar in London, we were still riding that wave. That Darbar itself was a magical experience. We all knew that Lisbon would be different, but no-one really knew quite what to expect. Ever since the opportunity to travel to Lisbon was presented, there had been much conjecture about how so many Ismailis could be catered for in one city and at one location. Many were changing summer plans to give themselves the opportunity to go, and many were basing their summer holiday around the Portugal Darbar. Hotels were being sold out within days and planes were being chartered from Canada and the US. When it came to us, it just took my daughter to say – “How can we not go?” school would be out for summer, and this was an opportunity of a lifetime.

We booked our tickets in March and July arrived in a blink of an eye. Right from the time that we arrived at Heathrow for our flight, we were bumping into Ismailis Ismailis we knew, and those we didn’t, all on different legs of their journey to witness and experience the changing of the Seat of the Imamat. Some called it Didar tourism. I call it a modern-day pilgrimage.

4V9A3528-2_Muslim Harji Syrian Ismaili visitors

Ismaili family from Syria with long time Montreal resident Nevin Harji (left). Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

DSCF4219_Muslim Harji Jamati members from around the world Aga Khan DJ

Canadian Ismailis pictured with Ismailis from Iran. Copyright © Muslim Harji.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ismailis from Central Asia at the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in Lisbon. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

Even Portuguese Passport Control wished us a “Diamond Jubilee Mubarak” and as we exited customs at Lisbon International Airport we were greeted warmly and somewhat unexpectedly by volunteers at our very own stand in arrivals, diamond jubilee colours to boot! And with that, the week began for us, and for many thousands of Ismailis who had come from all over the world. The majority came from North America, but there were also many from India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Africa and all over Europe apparently 45,000 Ismailis from 45 countries. Wherever there are Ismailis, there was representation. This really was #onejamat.

We opted to stay in and amongst the steep narrow roads of the old town, paved with cobbled stones and, most importantly, at a location with close access to the many bakeries selling Pasteis de Nata, Lisbon’s legendary, deliciously sweet, custard tart. Many did spend time between seeing Lisbon and the surrounding area and Feira Internacional de Lisboa (FIL), the location of all of all the festivities, slightly outside of town. Others stayed within walking distance of the venue and took in the odd trip on sightseeing buses and Tuk Tuk motorcycles. And some took the metro to Oriente every day, where there were also volunteers helping to buy tickets and making sure you got on the right train.

The days in the run-up to Darbar are a blur. There were exhibitions and activities for everyone, old and young alike. The entertainment program was world-class from the awesomely produced Jubilee Arts talent shows to concerts with the likes of Cheb Khalid, Salim Sulaiman and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan to Dandia Raas from our very own Khayal. There may have been excitement at these events, but the real conviviality surrounded being in and amongst Ismailis from all around the world, planned family reunions, unplanned meetings with old friends and making new friends. There were also unofficial events like the Young Professionals Boat Cruises in place for 20 to 40-year-olds to meet.

4V9A3480_Muslim Harji Seat of Imamat

A view of the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat, the historic Henrique Mendonça Palace. Photo: Copyright © Muslim Harji.

aziz_ajaney_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Prince Hussain and Prince Aly Muhammad

Prince Hussain and Prince Aly Muhammad admire a photograph of Mawlana Hazar Imam as a young boy, during their tour of the Rays of Light exhibition at the Diamond Jubilee Celebration in Lisbon. Photo: The Ismaili/Aziz Ajaney.

As we got closer to the 11th of July, more Ismailis arrived and more events were in the diary. Ismailis flocked around town to have a guided tour of the Ismaili Centre and also to get a peek at our Ismaili tourist hotspot, Hazar Imam’s new home, the Henrique Mendonça Palace. And I can’t forget the exhibitions that were at the venue, including the updated Ray of Light exhibition, highlighting all the amazing work that Hazar Imam has achieved in his lifetime. I think it’s fair to say that The Ismaili Village was a hive of activity and I call it a village because it’s as close as I’ll get to understand what it’s like to live amongst so many Ismailis in one place, and perhaps what it might have been like in some of the towns where our parents and grandparents came from.

aziz_ladha_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon J its_july_9_-0638

Prince Amyn, Princess Zahra, Miss Sara Boyden, and Master Iliyan Boyden enjoy a performance at the International Talent Showcase. Photo: The Ismaili/Aziz Ladha.

akbar_hakim_nf_Rahim and Salwa Aga Khan at_concert_july_10-11672

Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa acknowledge the crowd as they depart from the Altice Arena after attending the Sufi Voyage concert. Photo: The Ismaili/Akbar Hakim.

There were waves of excitement and members of the Noorani family were rumoured to be visiting the venues and they did multiple times! Crowds gathered, videos were taken, and roaming charges went through the roof as those videos were shared on every Lisbon Ismaili WhatsApp group going. These were celebrity-esque moments that we hadn’t quite experienced before. Seeing Prince Hussain and Prince Aly Muhammad walking through the main thoroughfare or seeing Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa at a concert you attend was one of many moments that took this week of celebration to another level. Hazar Imam was invited to a banquet by the President of Portugal where he was given state honours. He was also hosted by the Prime Minister where he was presented with commemorative limited edition Diamond Jubilee Stamps. And then there was that very small matter of Hazar Imam being asked to address the Portuguese Parliament that was broadcast and reported on by all the Portuguese channels.

akbar_hakim_mhi_president_meeting_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon july_9_-10397

Mawlana Hazar Imam in conversation with President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa inside Palácio de Belém. Photo: The Ismaili/Akbar Hakim.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Portugal

A close up of the Portugal Post’s souvenir sheet commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of Mawlana Hazar Imam. A genuine 1.25mm diamond is affixed on the souvenir sheet at the location that has been marked with an arrow.

I have a feeling that Lisbon wasn’t quite sure what hit it. The adjacent mall, Vasco de Gama through which many walked through to get to the main venue was bombarded with Ismailis. Of course, the irony is that Vasco de Gama was a Portuguese explorer who discovered India, and, at times, this felt like Indians had discovered Vasco de Gama. The food court was packed at meal times with crowds queueing at the many restaurants. KFC even ran out of chicken at one point. And I’m sure the shops thought that their marketing was finally working. The queue for taxis at the end of evening events was regularly longer than 100 people deep and Uber was at constant surge pricing. There were Ismailis everywhere: in town, at the best restaurants (Zubir Churrasqueira, anyone?) and nightspots and at every tourist destination.

salim_nensi_iag_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon july_11-9791

An attendee at the International Art Gallery is seen wearing the digitized security wrist band as she snaps a photo of one the art works on display. Photo: The Ismaili/Salim Nensi.

Aga Khan DJ Lisbon Registration Band

A close up of the electronic registration band to gain access to the Diamond Jubilee events in Lisbon. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

You kind of knew they were Ismailis first there was the sheepish look, followed by a smile, a check to see if you were wearing your registration band, followed by a Ya Ali Madad. You see, everyone who had registered was wearing a coloured band (green/yellow/red etc) which contained an electronic chip attached to it which determined the events that you were booked in and which hall you would be sitting in. So, you had Ismailis wandering around Lisbon with 2018 version of the “Ghat Pat Nu Dhoros” which is worn by many Ismailis as an amulet.

Darbar day came and people planned their strategy to queue the least amount of time. Invariably with more than 40,000 Ismailis (There were rumours that up to 60,000 registered) in one venue (three halls), we all had to queue, and we all eventually got to our spots in relevant halls, grabbed our sustenance bags, and watched a recording of the actual changing the Seat of the Imamat on the screens. The Intezar programme started and zoomed by and before we knew it Hazar Imam had arrived at the venue and was greeting the Leaders.

sohil_lalani_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon_d_day_-_hall_1_july_11-4073

Mawlana Hazar Imam is joined by his family at the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Lisbon. Photo: The Ismaili/Sohil Lalani.

The Darbar was unprecedented and what happened next was something no one was really anticipating: firstly, Hazar Imam was joined by Prince Amin, Prince Hussain, Prince Aly Muhammad, Princess Zahra, Prince Rahim, Princess Salwa, and Sara and Iliyan Boyden; secondly, we received what totalled three (+1) Darbars with Hazar Imam visiting all three halls; and finally you will have heard this already the President of Portugal joined the Darbar Hall with Hazar Imam.

I think I speak for many of us there, but after the first Darbar when we saw Hazar Imam on the screen looking as if he might be leaving, we weren’t quite sure what was happening. And when we were told that Hazar Imam would be receiving a guest, we couldn’t imagine who it might be. I don’t think we could have been more ecstatic that it was the actual President of Portugal.

Bear in mind that we had had a darbar and when we saw the President arrive, and after a few moments, Hazar Iman returned to the same hall, this time with the President. I can’t stress how astonished we all were, that a head of state was joining Hazar Imam in the hall. Both Hazar Imam and the President gave speeches and I remember Hazar Imam joking, “I’m reading now,” because it was a speech and not a Firman. I think even Hazar Imam looked surprised that He was giving a speech, because even He said, “This was an unexpected blessing”. Hazar Imam gave his vote of gratitude and then the President stepped up to speak. He gave his short but full speech in broken English and implied that we will never leave Portugal i.e. that this is a permanent seat of the Imamat. That received loud applause and even Hazar Imam clapped.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Preident of Portugal at Darbar on 11 July 2018 medium

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of Portugal addresses the Darbar gathering in Lisbon on July 11, 2018, in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam.

You could tell that Hazar Imam was extremely happy, smiling for much of the time. He even said that He was immensely happy at this happy occasion. There were jokes aplenty, more so than I can ever remember in any Didar. We were also blessed to have had the longest Didar in modern times. This really did feel like four (3+1) Darbars in one.  We had thought beforehand that he wouldn’t be able to walk the full distance between all of the halls. Boy, were we wrong!

The themes of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Firmans were as follows:

1. He said “May all your difficulties go away and stay away”

2. He referred to us all as “Dais”, both those in the room and to those who we would spread his message to. (This is my way of passing forward the message)

3. He talked of saving money for future generations, saving “pockets of wealth” so that each generation is better off than the one before it. He said this more than once.

4. He emphasised the importance of English if it is not your first language. He joked that you didn’t need to be Shakespeare “He’s long gone,” while gesturing – which was an amusing moment for us all.

5. There was Dua ashish (blessings) for the Ruhanis

6. Apply best practice in all that you do in your professional career

7. Work together, come together as a Jamat from different parts of the world, from different spheres. He said that we are stronger if we work together.

Aga Khan in Tananarive Madagascar playing Dandhia stick dance

A rare photo of Mawlana Hazar Imam playing dandhia, the stick-dance, with Jamati members during his visit to Tananarive, Madagascar, in September 1956. Photo: Jamica Andani Family Archives.

The moment that stood out as most amusing and memorable was when He told us that we should dance and be happy because that is what a Darbar is for. He then recounted that he used to partake in the festivities when he was younger and talked of the “stick dance” and that if you were not careful you would hurt yourself. “Beware of the stick dance!” which had the Jamat in fits of laughter.

The night ended with biriyani, sherbet, and one final Pasteis de Nata, of course, eaten on the steps of the stadium. And we fulfilled Hazar Imam’s wishes by finding one of the many halls to do Raas. We missed the fireworks which looked phenomenal in the videos – but that ended our trip as we returned to London early the next morning. I still feel that I haven’t been able to describe what this celebration was like. It was a mash-up of an Olympic Games where the Closing Ceremony was the main event, with a run-up of A-list music concerts, reality TV talent shows and exhibitions, Disney-like excitement all packaged up with a quasi-coronation. But even that doesn’t do it justice.

For football (and to those who call it soccer) fans from England, we thought that because Darbar clashed with England’s game in the semi-final versus Croatia, that England would make it through to the World Cup Finals. In the end, it wasn’t to be. But that blow was overtaken by the fact that we had just experienced a once in a lifetime experience. For those of you that made it, I hope this brings back fond memories. For those of you that didn’t, I hope this gave a flavour of what it was all about. Just remember one thing, beware of the stick dance!

Date posted: July 28, 2018.

_________________

Rahim HirjiRahim Hirji works in the ever-changing area surrounding technology, media and education (and sometimes all three). In his spare time, he writes Box of Amazing, (https://boxofamazing.com/) a free newsletter covering the latest emerging technology and disruptive trends. Rahim lives in London with his wife and two daughters.

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.comYour letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of ContentsAlso join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan.

Older Posts