A portrait of Prince Rahim Aga Khan’s family, as oldest son Prince Irfan becomes 6 years old; and meanings of the Princes’ names Irfan and Sinan

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

This piece was first published on April 11, 2020, when Prince Irfan became 5 years old. He is now six (as of August 8, 2021, when the post was last updated.) His younger brother Prince Sinan became 4 years old on January 2, 2021. The meanings of both Irfan and Sinan are provided in this article. Their parents Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa were born on October 12, 1971 and August 5, 1988, respectively — Ed.

Prince Rahim Aga Khan with Princess Salwa in Geneva on their wedding day, August 31 2013.
Prince Rahim (b. October 12, 1971 in Geneva, Switzerland) and Princess Salwa (b. August 5, 1988 in Seattle, Washington, USA) 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.

Prince Rahim, Prince Irfan and Princess Salwa Aga Khan Barakah.com
Prince Rahim holds his baby son, Prince Irfan born on April 11, 2015, together with Princess Salwa. 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.

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.

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 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.

December 16, 2016: Mawlana Hazar Imam, whose birthday falls on December 13, celebrates his 80th birthday on December 16, 2016 at Aiglemont with his family and Ismaili leaders from around the world. Prince Irfan, then 20 months old, is present at the birthday.

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:


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


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.
Last updated: August 8, 2021 (Updated with birth dates of Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa).


Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 275 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

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com if you don’t see the comment box. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

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.


  1. Thank you Malik for yet another beautiful presentation of our beloved Noorani Family, not merely by photography but also educating us the readers of the deeper and actual meaning of the beautiful names of our two lovely “Noorani Princes Irfan And Sinan.”


  2. Ya Ali Madad
    Thanks for sharing. It brought back the wonderful memories of Diamond jubilee. May Allah bless you and accept your service.


  3. Another timely, elaborate and a very educational and meaningful post with information about the Noorani Family, their beautiful pictures and and also the meanings of the names of the Noorani Princes Irfan and Sinan. The post is indeed unique in every respect and we all unconditionally need to convey our grateful thanks for your hard work and efforts. Malik, we pray that you are able to continue serving the Barakah readers and others around the globe for your thoughtful posts. Our best wishes and prayers are with you.

    Also our heartiest felicitations to our most beloved Prince Irfan on his 6th Birthday today.

    Our prayers also for the entire Noorani Family to have a long, healthy and a life full of service to humanity! Ameen.


  4. Thank you for sharing beautiful pictures of Noorani Family..

    Wishing our Beloved Prince Irfan a very Happy 6th Birthday.

    Allah bless our Beloved Prince Irfan a very Happy, Healthy and Peaceful

    Long Life. Ameen.


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


  6. 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.


  7. Excellent insight into the meanings of names! Thank you for sharing this informative and educational news.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s