The epochal finale in Lisbon of the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee: Prelude to an exclusive narrative of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s darbar



The word that was uppermost in my mind was the word ‘FINALE’ and this very small word, finale, actually gives visions and intimations of grandeur, of explosive colours and celebrations that would give a fitting end to what was certainly an epochal year. The year of our beloved Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee.

And certainly a finale it was! The whole week from 5th July leading up to 11th July, 2018, can be described unequivocally as a fitting finale. Could all this just have been achieved within a few months of preparation? To me, it seemed as if years must have been spent to organise such a mela. The Jubilee Arts Gallery, the Film Festival, Celebrity Concerts, Talent Shows, the Diamond Jubilee Bands marching and performing among the crowds all of it was awe-inspiring. This was further enhanced by the presence and intermingling of murids from all four corners of the globe.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon
Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations brought more than 40,000 Ismailis from all over the world to Lisbon. This group represents several countries and was pictured on the terrace of Eduardo VII Park after Mawlana Hazar Imam’s motorcade had driven past the park following his arrival in Lisbon on July 5, 2018. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.
International Arts Gallery
“God’s creation” at the International Arts Gallery in Lisbon. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.
Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon
A band performs for the Jamat at the Diamond Jubilee celebration in Lisbon. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.
Diamond Jubilee Lisbon
Jamati members mingle at food court during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Lisbon. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

What was more exciting was the honourable presence and loving, familial interactions of the Noorani Family, some members of which a large number of us hadn’t seen ever or in ages!

Who can forget Prince Rahim striding up to murids behind barriers to shake their hands and greet them cordially? Who can forget Prince Irfan waving at assembled murids, standing up on his chair, clapping along to the beats of Dama Dam Mast Kalander, Ali Da Pehla Number? He stole the show and our hearts!

Adorable Prince Irfan, pictured with with his father, Prince Rahim, stole the hearts of everyone who saw him standing up on his chair, and clapping along to the beats of Dama Dam Mast Kalander.
Princes Hussain (right) and Aly Muhammad photographed after their visit to the International Arts Gallery in Lisbon.
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.
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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.

Who can forget the young Prince Sinan, clinging on to Princess Salwa and sucking his thumb or the regal Prince Amyn, gorgeous Princesses Zahra and Sara and handsome Prince Illyan graciously acknowledging murids? Who can forget Prince Hussain and Prince Aly Muhammad turning up unexpectedly to showcase their respective projects and lend their support and contributions to those of the jamati members, thus proving they are part of us?

These were once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, which will add pizzazz to our history books forever, and for which I deeply commend the organisers, all the volunteers and contributors who must have spent countless sleepless nights but who will carry, in their hearts, these memories forever, and who will regale their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren of anecdotes from this epochal finale of Mawlana Shah Karim al Hussaini’s Diamond Jubilee.

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.
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 we have marked with an arrow. See another close up below, with the diamond showing. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.
Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Portugal
The 1.24mm diamond is visible in this close up photo of the Portugal Post Souvenir Sheet which is shown above. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.
akbar_hakim_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Belem Palace mhi_president_meeting_july_9_-10333
Portugal President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa officially welcomed Mawlana Hazar Imam to Portugal on  July 9, 2018 with full state honours at Palácio de Belém, the official residence of the President. In the photo the Portugal Army Band performs the Portuguese national anthem and the Nashid al-Imamah to welcome Mawlana Hazar Imam to the Palace. Photo: The Ismaili/Akbar Hakim
180709-PRMRS-RO-0015-6578 Aga Khan Banquet
The President of the Portuguese Republic hosts a dinner in honor of Mawlana Hazar Imam at the National Palace of Queluz in the historic city of Sintra. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.
180710-PRMRS-MFL-0788-1759-Aga Khan President of Portugal
Mawlana Hazar Imam receives Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at the Palacete Henrique de Mendonça for viewing of restorations that are underway at the historical Palace which will become the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat. Photo: Website of the President of Portugal.
mo_govindji_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Portuguese parliament_address_july_10_-0494
Mawlana Hazar Imam delivers an address to the Portuguese Parliament in the Senate Chamber at Sāo Bento Palace on 10 July 2018. Photo: The Ismaili/Mo Govindji.

And I am extremely proud to state that a fitting finale it certainly was for our beloved Hazar Imam, Shah Karim al Hussaini. Credit for this goes to the President, the Government and the People of Portugal who received our beloved Imam and Murshid with splendorous honour. The colourful State Honours at the Palace of Belem, the Prime Minister’s Luncheon at the Foz Palace where postage stamps were unveiled in honour of the Diamond Jubilee; the visit by Portugal’s President and representatives of Sovereign and Civil Society Bodies to see the restoration works of the Palacete Henrique de Mendonça, the Presidential Banquet at the Palace of Queluz in Sintra; Mawlana Hazar Imam’s historical address to the Portuguese Parliament – all this made my heart swell with pride and joy. When Hazar Imam is honoured on such a grand scale, it is a matter of pride and joy for the entire global Ismaili community.

And now that my narrative of the Darbar has been published, please click Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Darbar in Lisbon.

Date posted: July 24, 2018 (inserted link to Darbar narrative).


Zafeera KassamZafeera Kassam is a high-school teacher of English Language, Literature and Psychology, residing in Nairobi, Kenya. She spends her free time in creative writing and poetry, and has had her short stories and poems published in various media around the world. As a devotee of Mowlana Hazar Imam, her greatest joy is in penning verse and poems in praise of Hazar Imam. Her latest publication, Always and Forever, is a book of 60 poems dedicated especially to Mowlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee (available on Amazon Kindle). She is also an amateur photographer who takes great interest in capturing nature. Currently, she is concentrating on developing her skills in graphic design and digital imagery. Most of all, she hopes to be continuously inspired to keep penning poems in praise of beloved Hazar Imam.


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This website, Barakah, is a special project by and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan as he celebrates his Diamond Jubilee or 60 years of Imamat.



  1. Zafeera, you brought back those amazing memories of Diamond Jubilee that we witnessed few days back. Thank you for those flash backs and beautiful pictures collections. Keep going. All the best on your journey of poetry.


  2. Impressive coverage made on various events held on Diamond Jubilee Celebration in Lisbon. The pictorial write-up gives feeling to reader as his/her presence during this memorable historic occasion! Fabulous job done & Hats-Off to you Ms Zafeera for the magnificent work. Mawla Bless you more success in future. Aameen.


  3. Thank you for the beautiful Narrative, Zafeera! The amazing photos and images capture the special moments we witnessed which we will cherish forever! Best Wishes and God Bless!


  4. Zafeera, you write straight from the heart. I felt we were all with you . Thank you so much for sharing with us this grand “finale”. Now I can’t wait for the Darbar piece.


  5. Thanks Zafeera. This is the best info and pictures I’ve seen so far, especially the Noorani family with their children who many don’t get a chance to see. I had been longing to see the whole family with their children. Excellent. Best wishes in all your endeavours.


  6. Very well encapsulated, with photos capturing some of the pertinent moments. The photo at top is beautiful. Thank you Ms. Kassam, and looking forward to your next piece.


  7. What a splendid article for a person like me who had to stay at home and not venture on my own. Thank you, Zafeera!


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