Prince Sinan Aga Khan: The Start of a New Year Also Brings an Abundance of Joy and Happiness to Mawlana Hazar Imam, Members of His Family and Ismailis Around the World as Prince Sinan Celebrates His 6th Birthday on January 2, 2023

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT

Prince Rahim Aga Khan Family
Prince Rahim Aga Khan, Princess Salwa, and young Princes Irfan and Sinan, holding Prince Rahim’s hand, tour the Rays of Light exhibition in Lisbon during the Diamond Jubilee of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, in July 2018. Photograph: The Ismaili/Vazir Karsan.

On October 7, 2016, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th Hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, informed his Ismaili community (Jamat) around the world that his oldest son Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa were expecting their second child. The first son, Prince Irfan, was born on April 15, 2015. His written message that was read out in Ismaili Jamatkhanas (places of worship) said:

“It gives me the greatest happiness to announce that Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa are expecting their second child. 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.” There was unbounded joy in the hearts of the Ismailis with this important announcement.

The Ismailis then celebrated the auspicious 80th birthday of Mawlana Hazar Imam on December 13, 2016, becoming the oldest living Imam in Ismaili history.

A few short weeks later, the news of the birth of the second child to Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa on January 2, 2017, was confirmed with the following message from Mawlana Hazar Imam:

“Prince Sinan’s birth has brought immense joy to our family. We are most touched by your kind thoughts and prayers over the period leading to Sinan’s birth.”

Ismailis gathered in Jamatkhanas around the world to celebrate the birth of Prince Sinan. And then, of course, the Ismailis began preparing for the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of His Highness beginning July 11, 2017.

When the news of the birth of Prince Sinan reached the Jamat, Nairobi’s Shariffa Keshavjee spontaneously penned a beautiful poem under the title A Child in the Prince’s honour. The poem, which first appeared in Simerg, was later incorporated into a post in Simerg’s new sister website Barakah along with the first official photographs of the Prince that were released for publication in The.Ismaili, the website of the Ismaili community.

A Child

Princess Salwa Aga Khan gazes lovingly at her baby boy, Prince Sinan. The Ismaili Barakah
Princess Salwa Aga Khan gazes lovingly at her baby boy, Prince Sinan. Photograph: The Ismaili.


A miracle, a gift today a child that comes to us
Our bending is of gladness in the archers hand to us
He loves the arrow that flies, the bow so stable for us
The archer sees the mark upon the path for us
Bends it with his might, the arrow goes far for us

The name of Sinan brings the memory of
Aleppo and Masyaf to us
His philosophy as dai forever imprinted on us
The balance of the zahir and batin as it come to us
A reciprocal social relationship of balance within us
Weaving a tapestry of din-dunia

In this our Diamond Jubilee year, your birth bring to us
Great tidings of gladness and joy within us
Our many faceted diamond is aglow for us.


With Sinan selected as the name for the new born Prince, readers will realize that Shariffa’s poem is suffused with references to the revered personality of Rashid al-din Sinan, one of the greatest and most valiant of the Syrian Isma’ili leaders of the thirteenth century A.C.

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.

The Ismaili community’s first physical acquaintance with Prince Sinan took place during the Diamond Jubilee of Mawlana Hazar Imam in Lisbon in July 2018, when the Prince was only 18 months old. He and his older brother Prince Irfan, who will turn 8 on April 11, 2023, stole the hearts of everyone during their appearances with Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa at various Jubilee events.

Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa hold their sons Prince Sinan and Prince Irfan. Photo: The Ismaili.

Prince Sinan in the arms of his father Prince Rahim, and Princess Salwa carrying his big brother, Prince Irfan. Photograph: The Ismaili.

On the happy occasion of Prince Sinan’s 6th birthday, we convey our warmest birthday wishes to the Prince, and offer our heartiest congratulation to his parents Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa as well as his older brother Prince Irfan.

On a personal note, I was invigorated to go out today to celebrate the New Year and Prince Sinan’s 6th birthday in Calgary, with the hope that I might be able to capture a delightful photograph or a short video in his honour. What do young children like? An airplane flying below the moon, a young child tobogganing down a hill with his father, or a marvellous sunset? I can’t quite decide but if I have to pick one, and because it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, I will go with tobogganing with both father and child having a great rush of adrenalin as they slide down a small hill in Bow River Pathway near the Calgary Zoo.

Father and son tobogganing on a hill at Bow River Pathway, near the Calgary Zoo, January 1, 2023. Video: Malik Merchant/Barakah in honour of Prince Sinan Aga Khan, who celebrates his 6th birthday, January 2, 2023.

And with this video, I most humbly take the opportunity to respectfully wish a very Happy Birthday to Prince Sinan as he becomes 6 years old today, January 2, 2023.

Date posted: January 2, 2023.




Shariffa Keshavjee is a philanthropist and an entrepreneur with an objective to help women empower themselves. Raised in Kisumu, she considers herself a “pakaa” Kenyan. She is now based in the nation’s capital, Nairobi. Her other interest is in visual arts where she delights in painting on wood, silk  and porcelain using water colours, oils and acrylics. She also likes writing, especially for children, and bird watching.


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Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 300 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, members of his family and the Ismaili Imamat. Also visit our two sister websites, Simerg and Simergphotos. Barakah’s editor may be reached at Please follow Malik @Facebook and @Twitter.


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