Poem “In Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Eyes” with a Digital Portrait Launches Our New Series on Historic Days in the Life of His Highness the Aga Khan

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher/Editor Barakah, Simergphotos, and Simerg

His Highness the Aga Khan
His Highness the Aga Khan. Photo: © Ulstein Bild, Getty Images, 1960.

When Barakah was launched four years ago, it was intended primarily as a commemoration of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee. Barakah included tributes in the form of photographs, eyewitness accounts, descriptive essays, in-depth articles, insightful interviews, detailed timelines, as well as audio and video recordings covering 60 years of his Imamat. During the 17 month period beginning March 2017, we published more than 130 pieces.

Although the Diamond Jubilee celebrations around the world were completed, the incredible work and achievements of the Imamat in all spheres of activity continues unabated.  We have therefore continued to publish articles of significant interest on Mawlana Hazar Imam, members of his family as well as the Ismaili Imamat, and our post count as of December 1, 2020 stands at more than 250 pieces.

In less than two weeks, Ismailis around the world will be celebrating Mawlana Hazar Imam’s 84th birthday, and we felt it opportune to launch a special new series entitled “Historic Days in the Life of Mawlana Hazar Imam.” A determining framework for this series will the Imam’s own words signifying the uniqueness of the event.

As we proceed with the series, all facets of the Imamat’s initiatives will be brought to the forefront. A unique or historic day may have a resulted in significant future beneficial outcomes for the community or society at large, and the series will seek to highlight such achievements.

Article continues below

His Highness the Aga Khan Digital Portrait by Akbar Kanji Barakah
This digital mosaic rendering is based on an existing photo portrait of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th Ismaili Imam. For graphic artist Akbar Kanji of Toronto, the concept is to “portray our Imam’s entire life and his dedications at a glance which we cannot imagine until we come closer to him.” The portrait is made up of 1500 ‘digital mosaic’ pieces.© Akbar Kanji.

Amazingly, some of the initiatives undertaken by Mawlana Hazar Imam during his Imamat were vividly captured in a spectacular digital image prepared by Toronto’s Akbar Kanji, under the title “The Closer You Come the More You Will See Him.” This is precisely our goal for the series too, with the hope that it will provide an enlightening, educational and inspiring history of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s magnificent Imamat.

We are delighted to start the series with a poem composed by Vancouver’s Farah Tejani, a truly gifted and talented creative writer. Her recent piece on our sister website Simerg entitled Celebrating the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre in Toronto resulted in an appreciative comment from Prince Rahim Aga Khan. Her special poem for Barakah “In Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Eyes” encapsulates Farah’s deep feelings as a murid of Mawlana Hazar Imam, and also conveys her understanding of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s work for Ismailis and non-Ismailis alike. It is appropriate therefore that we launch “Historic Days in the Life of Mawlana Hazar Imam” with Farah’s beautiful poem as well as Akbar Kanji’s superb work “The Closer You Come the More You Will See Him.”

In Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Eyes

His Highness the Aga Khan Digital Portrait by Akbar Kanji Barakah
“The Closer You Come the More You Will See Him.” This image is a pixel sample of the portrait of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, shown above and also on Barakah’s home page as the post’s featured photo. View the pixel strip further from the screen to see the facial features and move closer to the screen to see more of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s dedications. © Akbar Kanji.


In Your Eyes are my heart’s questions answered,
My soul’s voyage enlightened,
And all of my fears dissolved…
Because You, my Lord, are The Light and The Truth
And the Wisdom;
And now I am at peace with my responsibilities
As Your humble servant,
From now until the day I take my last breath.

Ya Ali, Ya Shah Karim, Ya Ali.

In Your Eyes there is a Flame so Pure,
None can behold it…
But I can always see Your Approving Smile,
On the inside of my eyelids;
While You Shower Your Blessings upon all of us,

Oh Ali, Oh Khudavind, Ya Mere Mawla.

In Your Eyes there is an All Embracing Love,
Like a Devoted Parent for His children,
No one is denied,
Please accept my humble fragrant garland of flowers,
Roses, Daisies, Carnations, and Pansies
That I have myself grown in my very own garden…
Please allow me to place it over Your Head,
While You Receive and Accept the Holy Salwaat,
Of the millions of your Steadfast Murids,
Who are with tears of joy,
Waiting at Your Door…

In Your Eyes there is the Future,
With Wisdom Beyond This Realm…
You prepare and protect us.
You hold The Key to The Known and the Unknown,
With Endless Hours of Service to Ismailis everywhere
You Pave the Road as our Spiritual Father
And we as Your humble servants,
Implore You to forgive us our shortcomings,
And Bless us with Your Holy Noorani Deedar.

In Your Eyes there is the Greatest Compassion,
For All who dwell on this Earth,
Regardless of Race, Creed, or Color,
And there is Love for ALL things living…
Oh Mawla, how fortuitous are we
To be within Your Loving Embrace?

In Your Eyes there are all the stars in the Galaxy,
Representing each and every one of us…

Ya Ali Bilutfika Adhrikni,

Oh Ali, help me with Thy Kindness.

In Your Eyes there is Peace.
World Peace and Unity…
You are the Visionary and the Vision.
I vow a lifetime of service to you my Lord…
Ya Mawla, Ya Ali, Ya Shah Karim.

Date posted: December 1, 2020.


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.

About the contributors

Born in Bangladesh, Akbar Kanji moved to Pakistan where he pursued his childhood dream of becoming an artist by completing a Graphics Design Diploma at the Karachi School of Art. He continued his interest at other Fine Art, Performing Art and Visual Art institutes in Karachi and Toronto, and also trained under well known Pakistani artists including the late Ismaili artist Gulgee, Rabia Zubairi, Talat Hussein and others. Akbar has served the Ismaili community’s Arts and Culture portfolio, and currently resides in Toronto where he works as a graphic designer.

Farah Tejani Barakah
Farah Tejani

Farah Tejani graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia in May of 1997 and earned top Honors for her Thesis on Short Fiction. She has published a collection of short stories “Make Your Own Chai, Mama’s Boy!” dealing with different dilemmas South Asians face. Farah also wrote and co-directed her stage play, “Safeway Samosas,” which won “The Best of Brave New Playwrights Award” in July 1995. Her short story , “Too Hot” won third place in the “Canada-Wide Best Short Fiction Award” and was read at The Vancouver Writers Festival. Currently, Farah is working on Childrens’ stories and a collection of poetry called, “Elastic Embrace” to be published in 2021.


Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 230 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

Forthcoming in historic day series: Sunday, 13th December 1964, Mawlana Hazar Imam celebrates his 28th birthday in person with the Jamat in Karachi, Pakistan.


  1. This could have been written for any birthday but is most poignant now with the ongoing pandemic and total shutdowns and partial openings, affecting even our Jamatkhanas. We miss seeing his photo in Jamatkhana. Imamat day Khushiali passed away and so may the saligrah, yet Mawla’s eyes are on us all the time as Farah tells us. Thank you Farah for expressing all of us’s love for the Living Imam.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you very much for your kind words. I really appreciate the feedback that I have received for my humble poem to our Blessed Imam.

    I would like to express how completely honored I am to be included in such an masterful layout by none other than Malik Merchant. What an amazing article showing the many years and dedication that have gone into three very powerful and illuminating websites. I am always so very impressed and now to be included with the beautiful digital image of our Imam composed by Akbar Kanji.

    All I can say is meant to be. There is none other than the Great Divine Orchestrator Himself with the will of His Blessings allows these things to come together… Shukran lillah. And it is with my full heart and dedication that I wish our Beloved Hazar Imam with a very very happy birthday with many many more healthy and prosperous years. To me he is one of the most altruistic humanitarians on this planet today. I feel very very blessed and fortunate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautiful combination of Farah’s poetry and Akbar’s digital imagery. They beautifully complement each other’s work, like a hand in a glove.

    Bravo Farah, Akbar and Malikbhai.

    May you all remain blessed…Ameen.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Farah, It is a very appropriate time to offer Mawla such an amazing poem for Hazer Imam’ Salgirah. Mubarak.

    Mawla has dedicated His life for us and the poem brought tears in my eyes.

    Wishing Mawla a very happy, healthy and long Imamat.. Ameen

    Mawla we beg for forgiveness of our sins and short comings and crave for your Holy blessings and Holy Noorani Deedar. Ameen

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kudos to Akbar Kanji for the fantastically insightful digital mosaic rendition of Mowlana Hazar Imam’s portrait.


  6. Farrah you have woven a garland brimming with devotion, submission and love for our beloved Mawlana Shah Karim al Hussaini, the perfume of which infuses the soul.


  7. As usual…Farah..you are UNSTOPPABLE
    loved your Poem…especially for our Mowla. Amazing Poem 💞💞

    Beautiful Portrait of Mowla by Akbar Kanji

    And Amazing Article by Malik.
    So PROUD of all of you.
    All the Best.
    Love & Blessings 🥰


    • Ya Ali Madad, Thank you Farah Tejani for the beautiful touching for out beloved Mawlabapa. You have woven beautiful words in your poem, and may Mawlabapa always bless you and encourage your skills. 💐😇

      Liked by 1 person

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