A portrait of Prince Rahim Aga Khan’s family, as oldest son Prince Irfan becomes 5 years old; and meanings of the Princes’ names Irfan and Sinan

Prepared and compiled by MALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher-Editor, BarakahSimerg and Simergphotos)

Prince Rahim Aga Khan with Princess Salwa in Geneva on their wedding day, August 31 2013.
Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa were married on 31 August 2013 on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Photo: Gary Otte/The Ismaili.

AUGUST 31, 2013: Prince Rahim, the eldest son of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, marries Princess Salwa (née Kendra Spears) on 31 August 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland on the grounds of the Château de Bellerive – the residence of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s uncle, the late Prince Sadruddin and his wife Princess Aliya.

The proceedings commence with the recitation of a traditional qasida in the Farsi language, in praise of Hazrat Ali. This is followed by the nikah recited by His Eminence Sayyed Muhammad Musawi, a prominent Shia faith leader.

OCTOBER 24, 2014: Mawlana Hazar Imam informs the Jamat that Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa are expecting their first child. Around the world, Ismailis gather in Jamatkhanas to celebrate the happy news.

His Highness the Aga Khan, Princess Salwa, Prince Irfan Aga Khan and Prince Rahim.
Prince Irfan, the first child of Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa, pictured together with his parents and grandfather, Mawlana Hazar Imam. Photo: The Ismaili.

APRIL 11, 2015: Prince Irfan is born in Geneva, Switzerland on April 11, 2015. Mawlana Hazar Imam’s special message to the global Jamat on this occasion expresses happiness of his and Princess Salwa’s family. Jamats around the world receive the news of Prince Irfan’s birth with immense joy and traditional celebrations.

Prince Rahim points out an element of the decor to the young Prince Irfan at the 80th birthday celebrations of Mawlana Hazar Imam in December 2016. Photo: The Ismaili.

OCTOBER 7, 2016: Mawlana Hazar Imam informs the Jamat with great joy that Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa are expecting their second child.

“It gives me the greatest happiness to announce that Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa are expecting their second child,” says Mawlana Hazar Imam in a written message. “This wonderful news, which I am delighted to share with you, brings immense joy and happiness to all our family and to the Ismaili community worldwide.” Ismailis gather in Jamatkhanas around the world to celebrate the happy news.

Prince Rahim Aga Khan, Princess Salwa, Prince Irfan and Prince Sinan.
Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa with Prince Irfan and Prince Sinan, who was born on January 2, 2017. Photo: The Ismaili.

JANUARY 2, 2017: Prince Sinan is born on January 2, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. “Prince Sinan’s birth has brought immense joy to our family,” writes Mawlana Hazar Imam in a message to the global Jamat. “We are most touched by your kind thoughts and prayers over the period leading to Sinan’s birth.” Ismailis gather in Jamatkhanas around the world to celebrate the happy news.

Meaning of Irfan

Princess Salwa shows Prince Irfan a picture of Mawlana Hazar Imam as a young boy at the Rays of Light exhibition in Lisbon in July 2018 during the Diamond Jubilee. Photo: Aziz Ajaney/The Ismaili.

Irfan is an indirect Qur’anic name for boys. Irfan means “wisdom”, or more correctly, Wisdom with a capital W. It refers to all that is good and true of thoughts and deeds. It is derived from the Ain-R-F root (to know, to recognize), which is used in many places in the Holy Qur’an, [1] as in the following verse:

Transliteration:

Wa Jā’a ‘Ikhwatu Yūsufa Fadakhalū `Alayhi Fa`arafahum Wa Hum Lahu Munkirūna — Sura Yusuf, Chapter 12, Verse 58

Translation:

And the brethren of Joseph came, and entered unto him, and he knew them, but they knew him not — Holy Qur’an, 12:15, translation by A.J. Arberry.

The Term Irfan in Islamic Mysticism

Prince Rahim Aga Khan and Prince Irfan.
Prince Rahim shows Prince Irfan a photograph taken by Prince Hussain at the Nature Photographic Exhibition in Lisbon. Photo: Shireen Nazim/The Ismaili.

The term ‘irfan (gnosis), which literally meaning knowledge, is widely applied in Islamic mysticism. In the mystical context, like another term in the same family, mari’fa, which is also translated as gnosis, the knowledge is of certain kind which can be achieved neither through the senses nor experience, nor through reason nor narration, but rather is acquired by inner witnessings and interior unveilings. [2] It is that knowledge that unites man with God after penetrating and transforming him completely.

The famous prayer of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) sums up the end toward which the gnostic strives with all his mind, soul and body:

“O God, deliver us from preoccupations with worldly vanities and show us the nature of things ‘as they really are’. Remove from our eyes the veil of ignorance, and show us things as they really are…Deliver us from ourselves, and accord us intimate knowledge of Thee.” [3]

Meaning of Sinan

Prince Rahim, Princess Salwa Aga Khan, Prince Irfan and Prince Sinan Aga Khan in Lisbon
Prince Rahim, Princess Salwa, and young Princes Irfan and Sinan tour the Rays of Light exhibition in Lisbon in July 2018 during the Diamond Jubilee of Mawlana Hazar Imam. Photo: Vazir Karsan/The Ismaili.

Sinan is an Arabic name for boys meaning spearhead. It is derived from the root word S-N-N which is used in the Qur’an. Sinan is pronounced [(SI)mple] + [(NA)p + (N)ew] with emphasis on the second syllable. Wikipedia mentions that the name might also be related to the Ancient Greek name Sinon.

In Ismaili history, the name Sinan is associated with the revered personality of Rashid al-din Sinan, one of the greatest and most valiant of the Syrian Isma’ili da’is of the thirteenth century A.C.

Date posted: April 11, 2020.

___________________

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 200 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

This compiled piece contains excerpts from the following sources:

[1] http://quranicnames.com/irfan/
[2] http://www.alseraj.net/
[3] http://www.allamaiqbal.com/publications/journals/review/apr89/7.htm

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Please follow us http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and 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 and members of his family, as well as the Ismaili Imamat.

5 comments

  1. Good! Really nice pictures with meaning of Princes’ names. May Allah bless Prince Rahim’s family health and happiness, spiritually and worldly. Ameen.

    Like

  2. Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos, brought back memories of the Diamond Jubilee in Portugal. Let us all pray for the Noorani Family to always be full of peace, joy, happiness and 100% health.

    Like

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