[We are pleased to present excerpts from a tribute to Mawlana Hazar Imam penned 50 years ago by renowned Pakistani scholar, A. K. Brohi, that appeared in the July 11, 1972 issue of Ismaili Mirror of Pakistan. Hazar Imam was then 35 years old, and had been married to Begum Salimah for close to 3 years. Mawlana Hazar Imam had two children; Princess Zahra (b. September 18, 1970) was just under 2 years old, and Prince Rahim (b. October 12, 1971) about 8 months old. Barakah is dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, and we will continue to present pieces from the past, such as the one below, that are now rare and difficult to access — Ed.]
The Aga Khan is an indefatigable worker and has a tremendous power of uptake. He has a way of bearing the burdens of the leadership he is called upon to provide, cheerfully. He is calmest in storms, and most fearless under menace and his reliance on truth, on virtue and on God who, after all is their source and sanction, is ever so unfaltering — Brohi
By A. K. BROHI
(1915 – 1987)
It gives me great deal of personal happiness to associate myself with the sentiments of reverence that are being exhibited by the numerous followers of His Royal Highness The Aga Khan on the eve of the Fifteenth Anniversary of Imamat Day celebrations which are scheduled to take place on the 11th day of July this year .
Fourteen years ago, on this day, the young Prince Karim who was barely 21 years of age then, was duly installed as the Aga Khan the (IV) here in Karachi. I was present when the grand ceremony was performed. I had prayed to God then that the young Aga Khan succeeds in fulfilling his role as a spiritual head of his community and justifies the faith that his Grandfather had reposed in his moral and mental resources to be able to provide the spiritual leadership when he had nominated him as his spiritual successor.
For me, therefore, even though I am an outsider to the fold of that well-knit and compact Ismailia community, the feelings of personal happiness on the Imamat Day that they are celebrating can be no less intense than the ones that are being experienced by the followers of Aga Khan.
Anyone who is aware of the amount of love that the members of the community of Ismailis have for the Aga Khan knows only too well that the annual return of this day for them is not an occasion for a mechanical ritual; it is suffused with the spirit of religious adoration and holy fervour.
The years that have intervened between the day when the installation ceremony took place and now have been crowded with many glorious events. The young Aga Khan has put forward a great deal of effort to be able to acquire grip over the highly complex and intricate organizational affairs of the vast and ever-growing community which is spread out in thirty-two countries of the world. All this has already brought to him the appreciation and approbation of all those who are interested in the well being of the Ismailia Community.
The young Aga Khan, employs his wealth, his thought, his speech, his moral and spiritual influence to advance the good of others. To that extent he symbolises in his person the grand type of leadership that is sorely needed in our times. Did not the Prophet of God say, “He is best among you who desires the best for all”? (Khairunnas man yanfa’un nas) — Brohi
There are many achievements to his credit but then in a short tribute like this it is hardly necessary to advert to them. Suffice it to say that for any one who, like myself, has been a close witness of the way which he has tackled the difficult problems that have confronted him and beset his way, his has been an impressive performance. Such as one is bound to say that all things considered the Aga Khan has played his part in a dignified, heroic and salutary manner. For some of us who closely watching the career of young Aga Khan with affectionate attention, the historical role that destiny seems to have assigned to him to play, the most outstanding achievement to his credit seems to be the remarkable way in which he has attempted to consolidate the moral and spiritual resources of the world of Islam.
If it be true that a true test of really great man, as Brougham teaches us, is that he be endowed with three remarkable attributes, namely, (a) generosity in design; (b) humanity in execution; and (c) moderation in success, then I have not the slightest hesitation in saying, that the Aga Khan answers that test adequately. He is an indefatigable worker and has a tremendous power of uptake. He has a way of bearing the burdens of the leadership he is called upon to provide, cheerfully. He is calmest in storms, and most fearless under menace and his reliance on truth, on virtue and on God who, after all is their source and sanction, is ever so unfaltering.
He feels at home in the world of modern technological and industrial developments and is endowed with an uncanny instinct for perceiving, the political implications of the accelerated pace at which socio-economic changes are taking place all over in Asia and Africa. It is these qualities that have enabled him to be the never-failing philosopher, friend and guide of his community in this critical juncture of world history.
The young Aga Khan, as is so well known, employs his wealth, his thought, his speech, his moral and spiritual influence to advance the good of others. To that extent he symbolises in his person the grand type of leadership that is sorely needed in our times. Indeed, there cannot be a more glorious object in creation than a human being replete with benevolence, meditating in what manner he may render himself most acceptable to his Creator by doing good to his fellowmen! It is a glory of the religion of Islam that it inculcates and inspires such a spirit of disinterested benevolence. Did not the Prophet of God say, “He is best among you who desires the best for all”? (Khairunnas man yanfa’un nas)
No man has ever reached the high water-mark of true greatness who has not felt in some degree that his life belongs to those who depend for their moral and spiritual nourishment upon the inspiration and guidance they derive from him — Brohi
When I was last in Paris with him which was, to be precise, on the 4th of June this year , he sat and talked to me in meticulous detail about the [future] Aga Khan Hospital in Karachi. At the end of nearly one hour’s discourse that he gave to me about the various features of this remarkable project, I saw for myself with the aid of the blue-prints he had showed me, how grand was his conception of the Hospital that he was seeking to realise in practice.
A great deal of thought has been personally bestowed by the Aga Khan upon the planning of this Hospital. He has a sure instinct for minding the minutest of details of any project that he means to implement. He has taken all the necessary precautions in advance to see that with the progress of medical science the clinical equipment and other paraphernalia of the proposed Hospital are not rendered out-of-date. The Aga Khan also told me that before finalising his plans he has consulted men who are regarded as experts in the field of modern medicine and who have also had the practical experience of advising modern Governments on the way in which Hospitals could be established on progressive lines. The young Aga Khan has also taken care to see that the building of the Hospital reflects the genius of Islamic architecture and would, in that respect, be in every way a befitting tribute to a country that has been founded to articulate the spirit of Islamic culture.
The Ismailia community has reason to feel proud of the creative and constructive leadership that the young Aga Khan is providing to them particularly at this critical hour when due to the revolutionary upheavals that are taking place in several fledgeling States of Asia and Africa the conditions of orderly life have become well nigh difficult. But he is there to use his influence with various Governments to the end that legitimate interests of his followers are not sacrificed at the alter of militant and aggressive forces of false nationalism which everywhere seem to be in the saddle and at war with the harmony of human life. The hither to respected property and personal rights of those who have been living in those countries for several generations are now being threatened by a sort of aggressive and militant nationalism that is on ascendency everywhere.
Anyone who is aware of the amount of love that the members of the community of lsmailis have for the Aga Khan knows only too well that the annual return of this day for them is not an occasion for a mechanical ritual; it is suffused with the spirit of religious adoration and holy fervour — Brohi
No man has ever reached the high water-mark of true greatness who has not felt in some degree that his life belongs to those who depend for their moral and spiritual nourishment upon the inspiration and guidance they derive from him.
On this Imamat day we, as the friends of Aga Khan, wish him God-speed and pray that in the days that lie ahead he may succeed in an ever increasing measure and tempo to radiate like the sun of solar system, light and warmth to all those who are privileged to come within the range of his personal charm and magnetism.
May the young Aga Khan become the personification of that type of a morally uplifting influence which, in an epoch such as the one we are living through, may enable him to be a true friend and benefactor of humanity. All great men are in this sense, but marking stones on the road of humanity; they are the high priests of its true religion and on that account can truly show a solemn and serious attachment to spiritual and eternal things.
May the young Aga Khan conformably to this conception of true human greatness, succeed even in excelling the remarkable record of that dedicated service to the cause of Islam which the students of modern History have rightly attributed to his Grandfather.
Date posted: July 17, 2022.
Please also read A. K. Brohi’s piece on the Aga Khan published in Simerg under the title, “Thoughtful Discourse and Sincere Utterances”
Allah Bukhsh Karim Bukhsh Brohi (1915-1987), popularly known as A K Brohi, was a prominent politician, lawyer as well as a man of letters from Sindh, Pakistan. He was considered to be among the brightest persons in Pakistan of his time. A founding members of Pakistan Academy of Letters, he was nominated in recognition of his services to Pakistani languages and literature (especially philosophy). His greatest contributions were through a series of keynote addresses, many of which were later published as books and booklets including The Qurʼan and its impact on human history, The poetry of Shah Abdul Latif and Islam in the Modern World.
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