Photo Essay: Celebrating the Ismaili Flag and the Beautiful Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam; the Ismaili Ethos of Valour and Peace Are Representative of the Flag’s Red and Green Colours

Prepared and compiled by MALIK MERCHANT
with contribution by IQBAL MOTANI

the PERSONAL standard of MAWLANA HAZAR IMAM at Three Historic Events

July 11, 2018: The Diwan of the Imamat

Aga Khan ordains the seat of the ismaili Imamat in Portugal
2018: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, ordains the instrument to designate the Henrique de Mendonça Palace as the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Lisbon on July 11, 2018, during his Diamond Jubilee. Mawlana Hazar Imam then declared that the Seat be known as the “Diwan of the Ismaili Imamat.” On the desk is the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest (or taj) of the Imam. Photo: The Ismaili/Zahur Ramji.

July 11, 2017: Homage Ceremony

Aga Khan and the Flag of the Ismaili Imamat
2017: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, flanked by the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam (left) bearing the golden crest of the Imam, and the Diamond Jubilee commemorative logo, makes his appearance at the Homage Ceremony on July 11, 2017, to celebrate his Diamond Jubilee. The ceremony was held at his residence and Imamat Headquarters at Aiglemont in France.

December 13, 1986: New Constitution for the Ismailis

Aga Khan ordaining new Ismaili constitution
1986: Some 32 years before ordaining the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Lisbon, Portugal, which was designated as the Diwan of the Ismaili Imamat on July 11 2018, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, ordains a new constitution for the worldwide Ismaili community on the occasion of his 50th birthday on December 13, 1986. On the desk is the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam.

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Article: The Ismaili Flag and the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam

For decades, Ismailis have been familiar with the red and green flag which was commonly and proudly referred to as My Flag. It is now known as The Ismaili Flag. [1] It is a simple flag, yet rich and beautiful in appearance. The colour red forms a narrow diagonal strip between the colour green on either side. It certainly has an impact. It is the first thing I look at when I enter the grounds of the Aga Khan Park in Toronto, and I am deeply inspired and feel proud when the flag flutters in the wind. The other day, I watched three birds trying to unsuccessfully dislodge a bird that was perched at the top of the Ismaili Flag pole. The strong-willed bird remained firm in its position!

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2008: The Ismaili Flag being carried by children during the Golden Jubilee Games held in Nairobi, Kenya, in June 2008, as part of Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan’s Golden Jubilee anniversary marking 50 years of his Imamat. Photo: The Ismaili.

I recall the days when the flag would be featured in parades and adorned Jamatkhana decorations, especially during festive Khushiali celebrations of Imamat Day and Salgirah. I have fond memories of Upanga Jamatkhana in Dar es Salaam, and seeing The Ismaili Flag flying on the building, meant that a Talika (written message) had been received from Mawlana Hazar Imam, and that it would be read out that evening. The Ismaili Flag continues to be hoisted during Imamat related celebrations around the world. I have participated in flag raising ceremonies in many cities across Canada and also at the Aga Khan Park in Toronto. Many readers will also recall that during the Golden and Diamond Jubilees of Mawlana Hazar Imam, we were given the opportunity to wave The Ismaili flag along his motorcade route.

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Aga Khan Plane Ismaili Flag Barakah
2009: The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan bearing the golden crest of the Imam seen on the tail of his plane plane as it flies into the sky in Paris on June 7, 2009. Photo: © Flickr photo stream: ThreeForty.

We also see the flag on Mawlana Hazar Imam’s car when he is on official visits to countries around the world. It is also on his plane as well as adorns hallways, rooms and desks during Mawlana Hazar Imam official visits or when he signs agreements with governments and non-governmental institutions. The flag however in these instances is referred as the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam [2] because it bears a crest (emblem or Taj) of Mawlana Hazar Imam in the centre. For example, the flag at Aga Khan Park in Toronto is routinely The Ismaili Flag without the crest, but when Mawlana Hazar Imam is in Toronto, it is replaced with a crest bearing red and green flag which is referred to in the Ismaili Constitution as the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam.

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TWO Artistic Renditions of the Ismaili Flag

The Ismaili Flag
A rendition of the Ismaili Flag, part of several works of art by Syrian Ismaili children aged 8-12, at a Navroz (Persian New Year) art exhibition held in Salamieh, Syria, under the theme Golden Vision with Golden Hands. Photo: The Ismaili/Karim Meghani.
The Ismaili Flag by Romana Kassam
“Salt Wounds” painted by Canadian Ismaili artist Romana depicts an immigrant woman in a shalwar kameez standing in front of the Ismaili Flag on Khushiali, a term used by Ismailis to refer to festive days in their calendar. The work was exhibited at Toronto’s Metro Convention Centre in December 2018. The two hands and salt shakers in the upper right and left corner symbolize the colonial cost that immigrants sometimes pay to “belong” in Canada. Photo: © Romana Kassam.

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the Ismaili Flag: THE COMMUNITY’S PRIDE

Aga Khan in Kenya, The Ismaili Flag
2018: Ismailis and friends of the Ismaili community wave the Ismaili and Kenya flags as they prepare to welcome Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, to Kenya for his Diamond Jubilee in April 2018.
The Ismaili Flag and the flag of Portugal, Diamond Jubilee Aga Khan, Barakah
2018: Members and friends of the Ismaili Community gather at Jardim Amalia Rodrigues waving Portuguese and Ismaili Flags to celebrate the arrival of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan in Lisbon, Portugal on July 6, 2018 for the celebration of his Diamond Jubilee marking 60 years of leadership as the 49th hereditary Imam of the world’s Shia Ismaili Muslim community. Photo: The Ismaili.
ismaili imamat flag
2018: Against a backdrop of the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam, and the flag of Canada, volunteer leaders of the Canadian Ismaili community greet Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, as he arrives in Ottawa on May 1, 2018, at the invitation of the government of Canada to celebrate the second stage of his Diamond Jubilee visit to Canada. Photo: AKDN/Zahur Ramji.
The Ismaili Flag Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee
2017: Scouts and junior guides wave the national flag of Pakistan and the Ismaili Flag as they eagerly await the arrival of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, for his Diamond Jubilee visit to Pakistan in December 2017. Photo: The Ismaili.
Ismaili mountaineers Samina Baig and her brother Mirza Ali hoist the Ismaili Flag after reaching the summit of North America’s highest mountain, Mt. McKinley, in Alaska,
2014: Ismaili mountaineers Samina Baig and her brother Mirza Ali hoist the Ismaili Flag after reaching the summit of North America’s highest mountain, Mt. McKinley, in Alaska, on June 28, 2014. Photo: Samina Baig and Mirza Ali.

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The ISMAILI FLAG AND THE STANDARD of the Ismaili Imamat on Mawlana Hazar Imam’s plane, at Arrivals and the Motorcade carrying him

The Flag of the Ismaili Imamat
2019: The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam, and the flags of Russia and the Russian Republic of Tatarstan fly at Kazan airport as Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, arrives in the capital city on September 11, 2019 for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture prize ceremony. Photo: President of Tatarstan/Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
Flag of the Ismaili Imamat Aga Khan Bangladesh visit Barakah
2008: Bangladesh’s Chief Advisor Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed receives Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, at Dhaka Airport during a state visit on May 19-20, 2008 when the foundation stone for the first Aga Khan Academy in the country was laid. The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam is seen alongside the flag of Bangladesh, which is also exclusively red and green in colour. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte
The Flag of the Ismaili Imamat, Aga Khan, Diamond Jubilee Visit USA, Barakah
2018: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, receives a red-carpet welcome as he arrives at Houston airport for his Diamond Jubilee visit to the USA in March 2018. The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam is in full view on the tail of his plane. Photo: The Ismaili/Farid Mithani
Ismaili Imamat flag at airport in London
2018: The Royal Imperial Military Band plays the Nashid al-Imamah and the British National Anthem upon Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan’s arrival in London for his Diamond Jubilee visit to the United Kingdom in June 2018. The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam is seen flying majestically in the background. Photo: The Ismaili.
Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Lisbon Ismaili and Portuguese flgs Barakah
2018: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, waves to a crowd welcoming him with Ismaili and Portuguese flags as his motorcade passes Jardim Amalia Rodrigues Park after his arrival in Lisbon on July 6, 2018 for the celebration of his Diamond Jubilee. The editor of this website, Malik Merchant, is seen on the other side of the street capturing the moment with his iPad. Photo: The Ismaili.
Flag of the Ismaili Imamat, Syria Golden Jubilee Aga Khan Barakah
2008: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, is seen at Damascus airport on August 24, 2008, after his six-day Golden Jubilee visit to Syria, with the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam, and the flag of Syria mounted on either side of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s car. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte.
2014: Students of University of Central Asia’s (UCA) School of Professional and Continuing Education ((SPCE) wave the Ismaili and Kyrgyz Republic flags as Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, arrives at the SPCE building in Naryn on November 3, 2014. The 3,000 m2 building was officially opened in 2011 and at the time was equipped with state-of-the-art learning technologies, two computer laboratories, four classrooms and over 7,500-volume library. Of course the composition of these facilities may have expanded over time. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte.

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18 second VIDEO: An emotional moment as MAWLANA HAZAR IMAM’S PLANE departs showing the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam

Note the Standard of the Ismaili Imamat with the golden crest of the Imam on the tail of the plane as Mawlana Hazar Imam departs Pakistan after the Diamond Jubilee visit in December 2017.

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How prominent are the colours red and green, combined with other colours, on flags of the world? My research revealed that the following  44 countries meet this criteria: Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Burkina Fasso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithunia, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Tajikistan, Togo, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe.

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The Permanent Presence of the Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam in Two Imamat Buildings: The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa and the Diwan of the Ismaili Imamat in Lisbon

2021: The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam, and the flag of Canada fly outside the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building on Sussex Drive, Ottawa’s iconic ceremonial street. The photo was taken on August 5, 2021. The flags are flying at half-mast until further notice to honour the missing native Indian children whose remains have been discovered in recent weeks at Residential Schools. The third flag pole is reserved for occasions when a dignitary such as the Governor General of Canada visits the Delegation Building for a specific event. The flag of the Governor General would then be hoisted. Photo: © Altaf Bhulji, Ottawa.
2021: The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, bearing the crest of the Imam, flies on top of the Diwan of the Ismaili Imamat in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: © Simerg.

I then looked into the significance of the colours green and red in Islam and Christianity. Green is the colour that has been most strongly associated with Islam, and is representative of Islam, which means submission on the one hand and peace on the other. Green is always connected with Paradise. Green is also the colour of the Prophet, and this was stated in a letter by Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah to a prominent Ismaili leader [3]. A passage from the Qur’an describes paradise as a place where people “will wear green garments of fine silk.” [4] [5] A tradition related to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) says that when he died, he was covered with a Hibra Burd, which is a green square garment. [6]

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Historical Photos of The Ismaili Flag, and Memorabilia Containing the Flag’s Red and Green Colours

ismaili flag raising ceremony india
1928: The President of the Vapi Ismaili Council in India, Mohamedbhai Fazal, is seen performing the Ismaili Flag ceremony amidst a large and enthusiastic gathering. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.
Ismaili flag raising ceremony india
1923-1929 (exact date not known): Photograph taken on the occasion of the Ismaili Flag Ceremony performed at Mumbai’s Central Jamatkhana by Kamadia Kassamali Hassanali. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.
Ismaili flag raising ceremony andheri
1923-1929 (exact date not known): Alijah Ismailibhai V. Madhani is seen performing the Ismail Flag raising ceremony before a large gathering at Andheri, which is located in the outskirts of Mumbai. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.
Ismaili Flag Raising Ceremony Bandra
1923-1929 (exact date not known): Scene outside Bandra Jamatkhana, located in the outskirts of Mumbai, when the Ismaili Flag raising ceremony was performed by Mukhi Laljibhai Deoraj amid great enthusiasm. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.
Fidai magazine Ismaili flag and Aga Khan crest Barakah simerg
1936: The cover page of the Golden Jubilee edition of the Fidai magazine (21 January 1936) containing a portrait of Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III, his crest, the Ismaili flag and images depicting historical acts of valour and heroism in Ismaili history. Photo: Collection of (Late) Alwaez Karim M. Pirani (known as Karim Master), via son (Late) Sadru Pirani of Ottawa, Canada.
Ismaili flag colours memorabilia
1936: Golden Jubilee memorabilia containing a golden portrait of Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III, with red and green colours on the ribbon, the crest and the circular ring. Photo: Collection of (Late) Alwaez Karim M. Pirani (known as Karim Master), via son (Late) Sadru Pirani of Ottawa, Canada.
Aga Khan in Africa souvenir 1945 Mozambique and South Africa
1945: The Ismaili Flag on the front cover of a special souvenir edition commemorating Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah His Highness the Aga Khan III’s visit to South Africa and Mozambique in August 1945. Photo: (Late) Zul Khoja Collection.
Gold Coin Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee 1946 Dar es Salaam Barakah
1946: The obverse of the commemorative gold coin, complete with a ribbon in the colours of the Ismaili Flag, that was presented to Colonial Officer Derek William Hodgson for his involvement in the security arrangements during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III, held in Dar es Salaam during August 1946. Photo: © Patrick Hodgson.
Fezzed Tanganyika Police Keep Order and Guard a fabulous Diamond treasure at the Jubilee celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan in Dar-es-Salaam on August 10, 1946. National Geographic Magazine, March 1947.
1946: The Ismaili Flag flies at the Diamond Jubilee celebration of Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III, as Tanganyika Police Keep Order and Guard a fabulous Diamond treasure in Dar es Salaam on August 10, 1946. Photo: National Geographic Magazine, March 1947.
The Ismaili Flag
1957: The Ismaili Flag flies with other banners at the grounds of the Takhtnashni (ceremonial installation) ceremony of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, in Dar es Salaam in October 1957. Photo: The Ismaili.

The Fatimids, ancestors of Mawlana Hazar Imam, used a green standard, as well as white with gold, and green was actually a Fatimid dynasty colour that was used on its banners until 1171. [7] Green is also a symbol of nature and life — especially potent in the dry desert. The folkloric figure al-Khidr or “The Green One” is also connected with Islam. He symbolizes immortality. [8]

Green is a colour that enables a person to feel happy, joyful and represents new growth. It is the colour of nature and the natural environment. Green is used worldwide to symbolize safety, and is regarded as the most tranquil colour to the human eye. That is the reason why it is used as a symbol to protect the environment and reduce waste or pollution. Furthermore, green is considered as the color of peace and ecology, and also symbolizes wealth and property in many cultures.

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The Aga Khan delivering his remarks at the official opening of the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa, Canada, on May 16, 2017. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisse.
2017: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, making his remarks during the opening of the Global Centre of Pluralism on May 16, 2017, in Ottawa, Canada, with the Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam in the background. Photo: © Jean-Marc Carisse, Ottawa.

In Islam, red is connected with life, health and blood, symbolizing life force. For example the red in the flag of Iran symbolises the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (a.s.) as well as bravery, fire, life, love, warmth, and sophistication. [9] It is also the colour of the bridal veil that seems to guarantee fertility and is used as an apotropaic colour. Fire (in its positive aspects) and the red rose, all point to Divine Glory, as it is said that the cloak  of Divine Glory is radiant red. [10]

In Christianity, red is the more prominent colour. It represents sacrifice, valour and courage. As in Islam, Christianity red evokes the color of blood, and therefore is the color of martyrs and of Christ’s death on the Cross. For example in the flag of Portugal that also includes green, yellow, white and blue, red symbolizes the blood of the Portuguese nation while green symbolizes hope for the future. Red is translated in the Old Testament as oudem, which means “red clay.” It is the root word for mankind. The name Adam (Genesis 2:7) for example is derived from the word oudem. [11] 

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The standard of the Ismaili Imamat at Signing of historic agreements, INAUGURATIONS, OFFICIAL VISITS AND HONOURS PRESENTED TO MAWLANA HAZAR IMAM

Note: The photos are not in any particular chronological order.

Flag of Ismaili Imamat and Union Jack Prince Charles Aga Khan
2018: His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, unveil a plaque to officially inaugurate the Aga Khan Centre in King’s Cross, London on June 26, 2018, with the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam, and the Union Jack, the national flag of the United Kingdom, in view. Photo: The Ismaili/Shyrose Bhanji.
His Highness the Aga Khan (left) signing an Agreement of Co-operation for Development with Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa
2001: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan signing an Agreement of Co-operation for Development with Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa on August 16, 2001 flanked by the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam, and the flag of Tanzania. New endeavours envisaged under the Agreement included major tertiary education initiatives such as the Aga Khan University’s Advanced Nursing Studies Programme as well as a plan by the Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development to establish a Professional Development Centre for teachers and managers of educational institutions.
The Flag of the Ismaili Imamat
2002: With the flags of the USA, the State of Texas and the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam as a backdrop, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, addresses dignitaries and guests at the inauguration of the Houston Ismaili Jamatkhana in June 2002.
Aga Khan Ismaili Imamat Flag in Timbuktu Mali
2008: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, is made an Honorary Citizen of the Region of Timbuktu on April 24, 2008 during his visit to Mali, when he was also decorated with the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Sankoré. The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam is seen attached to the wall at the event. Photo: AKDN/Arnhel De Serra.

“Today, I feel honoured and proud to belong to this town [Mopti] which has made a lasting contribution to the enrichment of Islam and world civilisation, not only through its scholarship but also in its role as a crossroads where rich cultural and commercial exchanges between Africa, Europe and Asia which have taken place. I am also very happy to accept the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from the prestigious University of Sankoré, the African continent’s most ancient higher education institution…this university has been the alma mater of the town’s 180 Qu’ranic schools and the birthplace of the many scholarly works which became uniquely influential in Africa during the Middle Ages. The sum of all that knowledge has been preserved in the richly-stocked libraries of Timbuktu which house thousands of manuscripts, most of them written by scholars born in the town. This tradition of learning and the transmission of knowledge is at the heart of Islam and the practice of the faith.” — His Highness the Aga Khan, Mopti, Mali, April 24, 2008.

Mali Aga Khan Honours the standard of the Ismaili Imamat
2008: With the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam in the background, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan speaks outside the Djingarey Ber Mosque in Timbuktu during the presentation to him of the title of Honorary Citizen of the Islamic Community of Timbuktu as well as an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Sankoré. Photo: AKDN/Arnhel de Serra
aga khan gujarat ismaili flag standard of imamat
2018: A centre table decorated with beautiful flowers along with the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam and the flag of India in the background make their presence felt as Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, meets the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Vijay Rupani at the Chief Minister’s residence after his arrival in Gujarat during his Diamond Jubilee visit to India in February 2018. Photo: AKDN/ Nazim Lokhandwala.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan AKDN agreement
2009: With the USA flag, California’s Bear Flag and the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam (crest not in view) in background, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, exchange signed copies of the agreements of cooperation reaffirming their shared commitment to dedicate human and material resources to confront poverty. The agreement of November 2, 2009 was to build on past collaboration between California and the agencies of the AKDN, and to facilitate further collaboration in areas of mutual interest. Photo: AKDN/Zahur Ramji.
The Flag of the Ismaili Imamat, Aga Khan, Illinois agreement
2011: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, listens as Illinois Governor Pat Quinn speaks at the signing of the Agreement of Cooperation between the State of Illinois and the Ismaili Imamat on November 4, 2011. Seen behind them are flags of the USA and the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam. The flags of Illinois and the Standard of the Ismaili Imamat are also displayed on the desk where the signing was performed. Photo: AKDN/Farhez Rayani.
The Ismaili Imamat Flag agreement Asian Development Bank, Aga Khan Develpment Network
2008: Prince Amyn Aga Khan (left) and Mr Haruhiko Kuroda, President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), sign an agreement to strengthen the partnership between ADB and the Aga Khan Development Network, in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan in Gouvieux, France, on January 30, 2008. The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam, and the flag of ADB are seen in the backdrop as well as on the desk.
Flags of the Ismaili Imamat and Portugal, Protocol, Aga Khan
2005: The Government of Portugal and Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, on December 19, 2005 sign a Protocol of Cooperation signalling their common intent to work toward the improvement of the quality of life of vulnerable populations in Portugal and Portuguese-speaking countries of Asia and Africa. The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam, and the flag of Portugal are seen mounted on the desk.
The Ismaili Flag and the Flag of the Ismaili Imamat at France agreement with Aga Khan, Barakah article
2008: With the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam, as well as flags of France and the Council of Europe forming as a backdrop, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on December 9, 2008 sign a partnership agreement for development at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris. The agreement was to build on a number of successful AKDN projects to which the French government, French institutions and French companies had contributed in the past. Collaborations included Roshan telecommunications and the French Medical Institute in Afghanistan and the Bujagali hydroelectric plant which was then under construction in Uganda. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte
2013: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister, Dr Dipu Moni sign a protocol agreement in the presence of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on September 16, 2013. The protocol established an enhanced framework for collaboration in the areas of social, cultural and economic development. The agreement builds on an earlier accord and protocol signed between the two parties 20 years ago. A lovely bouquet of flowers along with the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam and the flag of Bangladesh make their presence felt during the ceremony. Photo: AKDN/ Rafiq Hakim.
The Flag of the Ismaili Imamat and Tanzania, Kikwete Aga Khan Tanzania Barakah
2007: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, speaks on August 19, 2007 at the State Dinner held in his honour in Dar es Salaam in the presence of His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of Tanzania, with the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam, and the flag of Tanzania in the background. Photo: AKDN / Zahur Ramji.
Where Hope Takes Root Aga Khan
2008: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, seen signing his book “Where Hope Takes Root” (1st edition pub. April 7, 2008) for Premier of British Columbia Gordon Campbell, during his Golden Jubilee visit to Vancouver in 2008. The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam can be seen in the background (crest of the Imam not visible). Photo: © The Vancouver Sun. Copyright.
Aga Khan and Stephen Harper at Foundation of Aga Khan Museum, Ismaili Centre and their Park.
2010: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, receives a certificate of Honorary Canadian Citizenship from Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the foundation laying ceremony of the Ismaili Centre, the Aga Khan Museum and the Aga Khan Park in Toronto on May 28, 2010, with the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam in the background. Photo: AKDN/Moez Visram.
Barakah and Simerg European Commission and Aga Khan
2007: With the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam and the European Union flag in the background, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, meets with Mr Javier Solana, High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and Secretary-General of the European Council during his visit Brussels on January 23, 2007. He signed a joint declaration with President José Manuel that aimed to broaden the scope of collaboration between AKDN and the European Commission on development endeavours, strengthening civil society institutions, promoting governance and social inclusion, in countries of Central, South and West Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte.
Aga Khan Proclamation US Congress House of Represenatives
2018: Peter Graham Olson, member of the US House of Representatives for Congressional District 22 in Texas (2009-2021) presents Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, with a Congressional Proclamation (see image below) during his Diamond Jubilee visit to the USA in March 2018. The flags of the USA and the State of Texas form a backdrop along with the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam. Photo: The Ismaili.
Aga Khan congress proclamation
2018: The Congressional Certificate presented to Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, by Pete Olson, Republican Member of the US Congress who represented the 22nd district of Texas from January 3, 2009 until his retirement on January 3, 2021.
President Karzai and Aga Khan
2012: President Karzai and Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, unveil a plaque commemorating the restoration of the mausoleum of Timur Shah in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 19, 2012, with the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam (crest not visible) and the flag of Afghanistan mounted on either side of the plaque. The historic monument was restored as part of an on-going programme by Aga Khan Trust for Culture to preserve the cultural heritage of Afghanistan. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte
Aga Khan Serena Hotel opening in Dushanbe, Barakah and the Flag of the Ismaili Imamat
2011: His Excellency Emomali Rahmon, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, speaking during the inauguration of the Dushanbe Serena Hotel on on November 1, 2011 in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, his brother Prince Amyn Aga Khan, and his eldest son Prince Rahim Aga Khan. On the stage are the flag of Tajikistan and the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam. Photo: AKDN/Mikhail Romanyuk.
Aga Khan agreement with East African Community, the Ismaili Imamat Flag
2012: The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam and the flag of the East African Community (EAC) rest on the desk as Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and Ambassador Richard Sezibera, Secretary General of the EAC, sign an agreement between the AKDN and the EAC to broaden cooperation in the areas of economic, social and cultural development throughout East Africa in Arusha, Tanzania, July 18, 2012.
Aga Khan receives Order of Danaker Kyrgyz
2016: His Excellency Almazbek Atambayev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic presents Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan with the Order of Danaker, the highest award given to a foreign citizen, during his four day visit from October 17-20, 2016 to the Kyrgyz Republic, when he also presided over the inauguration of the Naryn Campus of the University of Central Asia. The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam and the flag of Kyrgyzstan form a beautiful backdrop in the ceremony, along with art work on the wall. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte.
Seat of the Ismaili Imamat signing Aga Khan The Flag of the Ismaili Imamat Barakah
2015: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, listens at the historic signing in Lisbon on June 3, 2015 as Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho says that Portugal was honoured by Mawlana Hazar Imam’s decision to establish the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in his country. The Portuguese flag and the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam are prominently displayed during the signing ceremony.
2010: Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan addresses the gathering at the Foundation of the Ismaili Centre, the Aga Khan Museum and their Park in Toronto on May 28, 2010, with the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam, and the flag of Canada forming a backdrop on the stage. Photo: AKDN/Zahur Ramji
Standard of the Ismaili Imamat Aga Khan Barakah and Simerg
2007: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, meets with German Foreign Minister, Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier during his visit to Berlin from November 12-13 2007, to deliver a keynote address at a conference entitled, “Central Asia and Europe: A New Economic Partnership for the 21st Century.” The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam and the flag of Germany occupy a prominent place in the meeting room. Photo: AKDN/Arnhel de Serra.
Aga Khan and David Johnson inauguration of Global Centre in Ottawa Barakah
2017: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness Aga Khan, and the Governor General of Canada David Johnston during the singing of Canada’s National Anthem at the inauguration of the Global Centre of Pluralism in Ottawa on May 16, 2017, with the flag of Canada and the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam prominently mounted on the stage. Photo: © Jean-Marc Carisse.
The Flag of the Ismaili Imamat Parliament Hill Prime Minister Trudeau and Aga Khan Barakah
2016: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomes Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan at the Parliament Hill in Ottawa, during his visit to Canada in May 2016. The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam and the flag of Canada occupy a centre spot in the meeting room.
The Flag of the Ismaili Imamat Pakistan Barakah
2017: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Abbasi presents a commemorative First Day Cover to Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, on the occasion of his Diamond Jubilee visit to Pakistan in December 2017. The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam, and the flag of Pakistan are on either side of a portrait (hidden from view) of Pakistan’s founder and statesman Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Photo: The Ismaili/Akbar Hakim.

Aga Khan and Premier Horgan Diamond Jubilee Barakah
2018: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and British Columbia Premier John Horgan speak about the Ismaili community’s spirit of service and pluralism during his Diamond Jubilee visit to Canada in May 2018 with the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam, and flags of Canada and British Columbia forming a beautiful scene in the background. Photo: The Ismaili.
The Flag of the Ismaili Imamat, Aga Khan, India visit, Barakah
2018: With the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam and the flag of India forming significant backdrops in this photo, the Vice President of India Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu receives Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi during his Diamond Jubilee visit to India from February 20 – March 1, 2018.
2021: A close up view of the beautiful Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam. It flew with four other flags (not shown) at the University of Central Asia’s convocation ceremony held in Khorog, Badakhshan, and Naryn, Kyrgyzstan, on Saturday, June 19, 2021. Photo: Retrieved from UCA live telecast.
2013: With a portrait of Pakistan’s founding father, Mohamed Ali Jinnah hanging on the wall and Pthe ersonal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam t with the golden crest of the Imam, and the flag of Pakistan on either side of the portrait, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, is received on December 16, 2013 by President Mamnoon Hussain of Pakistan at Aiwan-e-Sadr, the official residence of the President, during his first official trip to Pakistan in four years. Mawlana Hazar Imam discussed development issues in a series of high-level meetings in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. Photo: The Ismaili.
George Washington Aga Khan Imamt Flag Barakah simerg
2008: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan speaks to the audience at the luncheon hosted in his honour by Governor Perdue and First Lady Mary Perdue, in Georgia, USA, on April 18, 2008. In the backdrop are a portrait of the first US President George Washington, and the flags of the USA and the State of Georgia as well as the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the golden crest of the Imam. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte.
2018: 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.
2018: The President of the Portuguese Republic hosted a dinner in honor of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, at the National Palace of Queluz in the historic city of Sintra during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in July 2018. In attendance with Mawlana Hazar Imam were members of his family. The flags of the Portuguese Republic and the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam are visible in the background. Photo: The Ismaili.
Ismaili Imamat Flag Surgical Robot Aga Khan
2019: Against a backdrop of beautiful flowers and the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam (partially visible) and the flag of Portugal, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, are seen at the Hospital Curry Cabral in Lisbon during a ceremony for the delivery of robotic surgery equipment donated by the Ismaili Imamat to the National Health Service. Both the President of the Republic and Mawlana Hazar Imam later visited the operating room where the surgical robot is located and watched a demonstration of the same. Photo: The website of the President of Portugal.

While neither the Qur’an nor the hadith, sayings or traditions of the Prophet contain specific references to things that should represent Islam, over time certain colors and symbols have come to be associated with Muslims and the Islamic faith. Rather than derived from scripture, symbols like the star and crescent and the colors typically associated with Islam today are simply the products of centuries of cultural tradition.

Flag article concludes below

The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam in his Portrait Photos

His Highness the Aga Khan at the Parliament of Canada
2014: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan walks through his Personal Standard bearing the golden crest of the Imam at left and the flag of Canada when he addressed both the Houses of the Canadian Parliament on Thursday, February 27, 2014. Photo: © Jean-Marc Carisse, Ottawa.
Aga Khan with the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam Photo: © Jean-Marc Carisse, Ottawa
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, poses in front of his Personal Standard bearing the gold crest of the Imam. Photo: © Jean-Marc Carisse, Ottawa.
2016: A portrait photo of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, taken at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, during his visit to Canada in May 2016, with the Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam bearing the gold crest of the Imam in the background. Photo: © Jean-Marc Carisse, Ottawa.

For the Shia Ismaili Muslim community, the messages of peace and valour have been part and parcel of its history, and the Ismaili flag colours of green and red are representative of these ethos of the Ismaili community. It is a peaceful community and a community that always seeks to live in peace through the guidance of its Hereditary Imams who are descended directly from Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) through his son-in-law Hazrat Ali (a.s.), the husband of Bibi Fatimah (a.s.). By the same token, the community has shown, when necessary, that it is willing to protect and defend its members with courage, strength and sacrifice when confronted by its enemies as they have shown throughout their 1400 year history.

_________________________

last word: THE RESILIENT bird AT Aga Khan Park, LIKE THE resilence and courage of the ISMAILI COMMUNITY UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF ITS forty nine HEREDITARY IMAMS

Ismaili Flag Aga Khan Park Barakah
2021: A group of three birds seek to dislodge a lone bird occupying pole position on the Ismaili Flag at Aga Khan Park in Toronto. The pole occupying bird kept its position, until it decided to fly away on its own accord. March 24, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.

Date posted: August 5, 2021.

_______________________

Notes:

[1] Ismaili Constitution 1998, Pg. 27 and Schedule 12
[2] Ismaili Constitution 1998, Pg. 24 and Schedule 11
[3] See Ismaili flag – Its Origin & Importance
[4] See What are the colurs of Islam and Islam and Symbolism 
[5] See Islam and Symbolism
[6] See Wikipedia — Hadith
[7] See Wikipedia — Green in Islam
[8] See Importance of the colour green in Islam
[9] See Wikipedia — The Flag of Iran
[10] See “Deciphering the Signs of God” by Annemarie Schimmel, pg. 16.
[11] See Colour symbolism in Christianity
[12] See Christianity — Is there any significance to Colours in the Bible?

_______________________

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. 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.

2 comments

  1. Your photo essay “Celebrating the Ismaili Flag and the Beautiful Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam…” with dozens of appropriate pictures and elaborate information jointly attempted by Malik Merchant and Iqbal Motani is simply amazing and gives a historical account of the important subject.

    Both of you deserve deep gratitude of all the readers and we sincerely wish and pray that you are in a position to continue providing such postings in the future.

    Kamrudin A. Rashid
    August 5, 2021.

    Like

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