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Hussain Aga Khan, His Highness the Aga Khan and President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Living Sea, Barakah

A unique moment: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, tours his son’s photo exhibition in Lisbon

Prince Hussain, His Highness the Aga Khan and Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at The Living Sea exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History and Science in Lisbon.
Prince Hussain with his father, His Highness the Aga Khan, and Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on November 5, 2019 at The Living Sea photo exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History and Science in Lisbon. Photo: The Ismaili / Jorge Simão.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan on November 5, 2019, attended Prince Hussain’s photographic exhibition entitled The Living Sea at Lisbon’s National Museum of Natural History and Science. The exhibition which continues until December 29, 2019, was inaugurated by Prince Hussain on September 27, 2019. Prince Hussain is Mawlana Hazar Imam’s third child, after Princess Zahra and Prince Rahim, and has a younger brother Prince Aly Muhammad.

Mawlana Hazar Imam was accompanied to The Living Sea by Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

Prince Hussain, His Highness the Aga Khan and Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa pictured on November 6, 2019 at The Living Sea photo exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History and Science in Lisbon.
Prince Hussain presents a photograph to His Highness the Aga Khan and President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on November 5, 2019 at The Living Sea photo exhibition in Lisbon. Photo: The Ismaili / Jorge Simão.

Earlier in the day, Prince Hussain conducted a tour of the exhibition for secondary students from the Lisbon Ismaili community’s Talim (religious education) classes.

Prince Hussain poses for a group photograph with secondary students from the Lisbon Jamat’s Talim (religious education) classes, at the National Museum of Natural History and Science in Lisbon. 
José Fernandes
Prince Hussain poses for a group photograph on November 5, 2019 with secondary students from the Lisbon Jamat’s Talim (religious education) classes, at the National Museum of Natural History and Science in Lisbon. Photo: The Ismaili / José Fernandes.

When the exhibition opened in September, Cristina Brazio, of the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “The pictures are magnificent and they speak to our concerns these days about the ocean, about the environment. Prince Hussain Aga Khan does a good job of raising awareness of these issues, and we all have a small part to play.”

Prince Hussain addresses guests at the inauguration of his The Living Sea photo exhibition in Lisbon.
Prince Hussain addresses guests on September 27, 2019 at the inauguration of his The Living Sea photo exhibition in Lisbon. Photo: AKDN / Luis Filipe Catarino.

Prince Hussain brought attention to the necessity and urgency to protect, conserve, and manage our oceanic heritage and resources. He also spoke of the subject matter of the exhibition, saying, “What you see in the show represents nothing but frozen time. Incredible, fantastically joyous moments and encounters with miraculous creatures; some horrifically rare, and some more mischievous, playful, and intelligent than you could imagine.”

Prince Hussain, Marta Lorenço, Director of Portugal’s National Museum of Natural History and Science, Prince Amyn Aga Khan, Living Sea, Barakah
Prince Hussain Aga Khan presents a photo of dolphins to Marta Lorenço, Director of Portugal’s National Museum of Natural History and Science, at the inauguration of The Living Sea on September 27, 2019, as Prince Amyn Aga Khan and guests look on. Photo: AKDN / Luis Filipe Catarino.

The Living Sea with more than 100 photos is a collaborative effort between the Museum and Prince Hussain’s organization Focused on Nature, which he founded in 2014 to share his passion and personal mission of conservation, and to raise awareness and encourage actionable initiatives on global issues negatively impacting the environment.

Hussain Aga Khan Madagascar
Prince Hussain Aga Khan in Madagascar, 1997. Photo © Julian Cook.

Prince Hussain has been an avid tropical fish hobbyist since the age of 5 and a reptile and amphibian enthusiast since he was about 14. At 14, he started scuba diving, which further developed his keen interest in nature conservation. He started travelling to the tropics frequently after secondary school and began taking photographs of fauna and flora on a trip to the Brazilian Amazon in 1996. Since then, his photographs have been featured in multiple exhibitions in the USA, France, Switzerland, and Kenya. They have also been published in two books, Animal Voyage in 2004 (a new edition was printed in 2007) and Diving into Wildlife in 2015.

Hussain Aga Khan Diving into Wildlife Barakah simerg
Cover page of the ‘Highlights Special Edition’ of Prince Hussain Aga Khan’s photo book Diving Into Wildlife. Featured photo at top of post shows Prince Hussain showing the same photo as on cover page to His Highness the Aga Khan at The Living Sea exhibition in Lisbon. Signed and unsigned copies of this beautiful book may be purchased in North America through Barakah’s sister blog, Simerg. See link below.

Barakah’s sister website, Simerg, is delighted to offer for sale in North America both signed and unsigned copies of Diving into Wildlife.

Date posted: November 7, 2019.

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Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 180 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

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.

Please join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and also follow us at 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.

Text and Audio: The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) by His Highness the Aga Khan

INTRODUCTION: On February 18, 1976, His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Hazar Imam, accompanied by Begum Salimah Aga Khan arrived in Pakistan for a month long visit that included several mulaqats with Ismailis around the country. During the visit they both attended numerous public and private events and engagements and Mawlana Hazar Imam announced the creation of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. The first cycle of the award ceremony was held at the beautiful Shalimar Gardens in Lahore in 1980.

Aga Khan with Kausar Niazi Seerat confrence, Karachi 1976, Barakah
The Aga Khan (right) with Kausar Niazi at a Culture and Arts function held on February 24, 1976, prior to the Seerat Conference. Photo: Ilm Supplement, U.K.

The extended 1976 visit also co-incided with Pakistan hosting the Seerat Conference over a 10 day period at which eminent scholars from around the world spoke in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi on various aspects of the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him). When the Aga Khan was invited by Mowlana Kausar Niazi, then Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, to preside over the Seerat gathering that took place in Karachi on March 12, 1976, he noted at the beginning of his presidential that he felt both trepidation and joy at the opportunity, “trepidation because few subjects could be more awe inspiring for any Muslim to speak on, joy as few subjects could give greater happiness to be involved with.”  

As hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world prepare to celebrate the life of the Prophet on the occasion of his birth anniversary that falls on the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal – in 2019, on November 9 – no piece would be more befitting for the auspicious anniversary than the inspiring and insightful words spoken at the Seerat Conference by the direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad himself. We are pleased to present the following excerpts from 49th Ismaili Imam’s Seerat speech.

Allah’s Last Messenger

Aga Khan Ismaili Constitution Barakah, Barakah.com
His Highness the Aga Khan is seen ordaining a new constitution for the worldwide Ismaili community on the auspicious occasion of his 50th birthday on December 13, 1986.

By HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN

A request to the conference

“Few conferences can have gathered so many men of outstanding intellect, who have devoted so much time and wisdom to the study of Islam and the life of the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him….I will begin by making a request: One hundred and seventy two eminent scholars from forty-eight countries have gathered in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi to present the results of their research and reflection on various aspects of the life of the Holy Prophet. From all these exchanges, from all the private debates which have preceded and succeeded the presentation of each paper, will have come an immense range of new thoughts, new ideas and new understanding of the Prophet’s life. I sincerely request that you have available to all Muslims a complete printed record of these papers and the subsequent debates.”

Responsibilities of rich Muslim countries

“The poorer countries of Islam have ahead of them years of increasingly hard work if they wish to progress materially to acceptable standards of every day life. The richer countries, especially those that have new means, will rapidly find that this wealth, blessing that it is, will impose upon them heavy new responsibilities. They will have to administrate this wealth wisely, in the best interest of their citizens, but also keeping in mind that they have a heavy responsibility to their less well endowed brother Muslim countries, and indeed to the human race at large. Thus it is my profound conviction that Islamic Society in the years ahead will find that our traditional concept of time, a limitless mirror in which to reflect on the eternal, will become a shrinking cage, an invisible trap from which fewer and fewer will escape.”

Holding firm the ship of life: Answers in the Qur’an and the Prophet

“I have observed in the Western world a deeply changing pattern of human relations. The anchors of moral behaviour appear to have dragged to such depths that they no longer hold firm the ship of life: what was once wrong is now simply unconventional, and for the sake of individual freedom must be tolerated. What is tolerated soon becomes accepted. Contrarily, what was once right is now viewed as outdated, old fashioned and is often the target of ridicule.

“In the face of this changing world, which was once a universe to us and is now no more than an overcrowded island, confronted with a fundamental challenge to our understanding of time, surrounded by a foreign fleet of cultural and ideological ships which have broken loose, I ask, “Do we have a clear, firm and precise understanding of what Muslim Society is to be in times to come?” And if as I believe, the answer is uncertain, where else can we search then in the Holy Qur’an, and in the example of Allah’s last and final Prophet?

“There is no justification for delaying the search for the answer to this question by the Muslims of the world, because we have the knowledge that Islam is Allah’s final message, the Qur’an His final book and Muhammed His last Prophet. We are blessed that the answers drawn from these sources guarantee that neither now, nor at any time in the future will we be going astray. As the demands on his time increase, every Muslim will find it more and more difficult to seek for himself the answer to the fundamental question of how he should live his life for it to be truly Muslim. It is men such as you who will have to bring forth the answers, answers which will have to be practical and realistic in the world of today and tomorrow. Rather than let force of circumstance impose upon us through our default in not having suitably prepared ourselves for the future, ways of life which are not or should not be ours, we must ourselves design the path we should tread.”

Bearing fruits in the diverse Muslim world

“In seeking to define what our Islamic Society should be in times ahead, 50 and 100 and 200 years hence we should, I believe, be aware that the Muslims of this world cover such an amazing range of historical, ethnic and cultural backgrounds that a completely monolithic answer may not be found. I am convinced on the other hand, that we do want to avoid so much diversity that our Muslim countries are in conflict amongst themselves or that they are so divided that they are incapable successfully of facing common enemies, be they cultural, religious, national or otherwise. This is why I so applaud Pakistan for having organized the first Muslim Summit Conference, and now this Seerat Conference, for it is only through dialogue, personal contacts and continuous exchanges that the great diversity of cultures, knowledge, outlook and resources can be co-ordinated and brought to bear fruit for the Muslim world.”

Greatest opportunity for Muslim unity is now

“Let me return, now, to the question of what Muslim Society should seek to be in the years ahead. Islam, as even non-Muslims have observed, is a way of life. This means that every aspect of the individual’s daily existence is guided by Islam: his family relations, his business relations, his education, his health, the means and manner by which he gains his livelihood, his philanthropy, what he sees and hears around him, what he reads, the way he regulates his time, the buildings in which he lives, learns and earns.

“I cannot think of any time in Islamic history when Muslims have had a greater opportunity to unite, and to ensure that the society in which they live is that which they have defined and chosen for themselves.

“Not only are all forms of human communication easier than ever before in history, but rarely, if ever has the Muslim world had such means to ensure its future. Conferences such as this seeking inspiration from the life of the Holy Prophet could render no greater service to Islam than to assist in defining what steps can be taken, where, and how, to ensure that our people can live in the years ahead in greater peace, greater prosperity and in an Islamic Society which will not be overrun or simply taken by surprise, by forces, pressures or concepts which are totally alien and may damage us irretrievably.”

Searching for a solution through eminent men and women

“In our search for a solution, I am convinced that we must call upon our own men and women, who have achieved positions of eminence anywhere in the world, and persuade them to return, for us to benefit from their knowledge, their learning and their work. All too often in my journeys I have met or learnt of outstanding Muslim scholars, doctors, scientists, and architects who have remained abroad, or who, when they do come home, have failed to receive the support and encouragement necessary for them to bring to their nations’ benefit their Muslim outlook on key areas of modern progress.

“Any meaningful human endeavour, any original thinking, any authentic research, will require moral encouragement and material support. This we must provide, not only during the individual’s initial years of learning, but equally when he leaves the restricted life of his academic centre to enter into the wider world of national or international activity.”

The inspiring life of the Holy Prophet 

“The Holy Prophet’s life gives us every fundamental guideline that we require to resolve the problem as successfully as our human minds and intellects can visualise. His example of integrity, loyalty, honesty, generosity both of means and of time, his solicitude for the poor, the weak and the sick, his steadfastness in friendship, his humility in success, his magnanimity in victory, his simplicity, his wisdom in conceiving new solutions for problems which could not be solved by traditional methods, without affecting the fundamental concepts of Islam, surely all these are foundations which, correctly understood and sincerely interpreted, must enable us to conceive what should be a truly modern and dynamic Islamic Society in the years ahead.”

Audio of His Highness the Aga Khan’s speech at Seerat Conference 

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 180 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

Date re-posted: November 5, 2019.

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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.

Please join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and also follow us at 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.

Aga Khan III, Calcutta arrival photo

His Highness the Aga Khan III: A brilliant account of a reporter’s face to face meeting with the 48th Ismaili Imam at the London Ritz

“The drawing room in which His Highness received me looked more like the work-room of a busy philosopher….On a table were piled documents and books, and at the moment of my hesitating entrance, I noticed His Highness busy with his correspondence….Not more than a minute had elapsed before I was at my ease and talking to him with a freedom of thought and expression I had not imagined possible….The thing about the Aga Khan is that though he is a Prince, he is not capricious; though he is wealthy, he is not arrogant or extravagant; though he is a religious head, he is not fanatic; though he has power, he meets a humble man on equal terms.”

The Ritz in London
1906 photo of The Ritz, London. Prince Sadruddin writting in the London Times in a birth centenary tribute to his father noted: “The older staff at the Ritz in London…might recall the Aga Khan facing Mecca at prayer time on one of the balconies, completely oblivious to the stares of surprised bystanders.” Photo: © Archives of The Ritz, London.

Editor’s note: Saturday, November 2, 2019, marks the 142nd birth anniversary of Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III, the 48th Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. Further to an earlier piece on His Highness the Aga Khan and Aligarh we bring you this superb account of a meeting between His Highness and the London correspondent of Star of India, an evening paper which began publication in Calcutta on January 19, 1933. Produced by the Muslim Press and Publications, the paper played a crucial role in moulding the Muslim mind because of its high editorial and production standards.

By a CORRESPONDENT
Published in STAR OF INDIA, Calcutta, June 12, 1933

It is an unpardonable sin to fall back upon proverbs….as the one about some people are born great, some become great and some have greatness thrust upon them.

And yet I cannot find anything better to describe His Highness the Aga Khan than to say that in his case His Highness has been born great and that he has become great and that greatness has been thrust upon him. It is a unique position that His Highness occupies in the world. His name is a household word in the three continents…the bright star of Aga Khan’s popularity is seen ever shining.

And this adulation is not confined to the followers of the Aga Khan to whom, of course, he appears in a far more divine light. Many must have pondered over the sway that His Highness has exercised over men of various religious, political and social classes. Many have envied him his wealth, his intelligence, and his learning, but few can wholly account for his eminence through any of these qualities.

“When the Muslims are properly equipped with education there will be no power that can impede them in their march to their rightful place” – His Highness the Aga Khan III

It was not, therefore, in a confident mood that I presented myself to His Highness at the Ritz Hotel. The tempers of smaller men than the Aga Khan are known to be erratic. It was [the Persian poet] Sadi who said that the princes exalt the humble one day only to abase him the next. Caprice dictates their every act. The thing about the Aga Khan is that though he is a Prince, he is not capricious; though he is wealthy, he is not arrogant or extravagant; though he is a religious head, he is not fanatic; though he has power, he meets a humble man on equal terms.

His Highness the Aga Khan was popular with the Ritz hotel staff. The porters looked upon him as their special charge. Here he is seen pictured with the Greek head porter Georges Faroutakis (left) at the Ritz Hotel, London, in 1950. Photo: © Popperfoto/Getty Images.

The Ritz Hotel to the Indians is known as the place where the Aga Khan stays. His Highness has a suite which is permanently associated with his name.

As I sat waiting the call to his suite, I could see why it was that His Highness was so popular with the hotel staff. The porters looked upon him as their special charge; I was almost going to say as a member of their own family. Every mention of his name, and mostly it was in French, was allied with something affectionate, something human.

The Aga Khan was not just a client staying at the hotel, like so many hundreds of others. He was one who was interested in them and who was as solicitous of their welfare as they were in duty bound to be of his. “The Aga Khan has sent my boy to a college,” confides one to me. “The Aga Khan always asks about my wife who has been ill so long,” says the other. And how many men in much humbler walks of life can find time for such things, or have the inclination to bother about them?

Treading on silken Persian carpets, my feet sinking into their softness and my heart sinking into my shoes, I left the gorgeous vestibule of the hotel in company with a perky young man, smartly dressed, who called himself a page. The lift went up gracefully. There was no vulgar hurry in that palatial building.

Still following the gentle hints as to the direction from my confident guide, I found myself lost in the maze of corridors, where hung crystal chandeliers and soft lights peeped in from the concealed lighting system.

His Highness’s suite was ultimately reached and my reverie ended. The charm seemed, however, to grow more potent, and the nearness of His Highness seemed to exude from the place. Unostentatious and simple was the furniture of the place. It was decorated with that care which, by its very simplicity, is all the more impressive. The Islamic severity and austerity were imprinted on the spareness of the rich colours.

The drawing room in which His Highness received me looked more like the work-room of a busy philosopher than the room of the Prince whose name is to be conjured with in the racing and sporting world. On a table were piled documents and books, and at the moment of my hesitating entrance, I noticed His Highness busy with his correspondence. But that engrossment did not prevent him from rising from his seat and greeting me, true Muslim-wise, with As-Salaam-u-Alaikum, and from his offering me most courteously a seat near him. I was lucky in finding His Highness alone. Not more than a minute had elapsed before I was at my ease and talking to him with a freedom of thought and expression I had not imagined possible.

As His Highness sat there, I cast a glance at him. Here was a massive head, broad shoulders and a strong frame. He was if anything more serious than at the other occasions I had caught a glimpse of him. And yet in his eyes was a glow of satisfaction as if he had, though after a great deal of effort, at last achieved results that satisfied him. I asked His Highness to give me a message to the Muslims of Bengal.

[The following are excerpts from the Aga Khan’s message to Muslims of Bengal]:

“The importance of Bengal Muslims has only recently come to be fully appreciated. I have always held that the Muslims there are equal in importance for the cause of the Faith that they profess to the Muslims of all the Provinces put together. Bengal Muslims have now a very great opportunity to prove to the world that the efforts that we, as their spokesmen, have made in this country have not been in vain and that they are alive to the needs of modern times.

“The Bengal Muslims have been maligned as backward in education. Now is the time for them to use the power in the government that the reforms are bound to give them to remove the stigma of being backward in education. Private efforts can never combat illiteracy. In this country the right of every man for a free and useful education is recognized and respected. And in Bengal, too, there must be education by the State for all, and not restricted to those who can afford to pay.

“Bengal is the brightest Islamic jewel and it is up to the Bengali Muslim to prove that it is so still, and will continue to be.

“When the Muslims are properly equipped with education there will be no power that can impede them in their march to their rightful place. The Bengal Muslims hold the key to the entire Islamic problem. If they can come out successful and strong, the difficulties of the whole of Muslim India will be solved. They are at the far-end of India and theirs is a great responsibility.”

[The correspondent continues]:

Let no one run away with the idea that His Highness spoke continually. There were pauses; there was emphasis laid; there were my questions and there was, above all, the calm mind of a clear-thinking and wise man behind these words. It shows how much His Highness moves with the times for him to exhibit the true value of journals in modern life [sic]. Here in this country one sees so many examples of the might and the power of the press that one wonders how it was ever possible in days gone by to do without newspapers.

A man who can personally see to his enormous racing studs, write articles and books, deliver speeches, and conduct the affairs of one of the most wealthy communities…and his own enormous personal estates, and all of them with great success must be possessed of an exceptionally active brain and a great fund of human sympathy and understanding.

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 180 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

Date posted: October 31, 2019.

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Notes:

  • Notations within square brackets [ ] are Barakah’s.
  • This piece has been excerpted from Aga Khan III Selected Speeches and Writings of Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Ed. K.K. Aziz, Volume II, pages 927-930, pub.Kegan and Paul, 1997.

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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.

Please join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and also follow us at 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.

His Highness the Aga Khan painting in Rahe Rast

His Highness the Aga Khan III: Heart-touching anecdotes from his triumphal tour of India that gave birth to the Muslim University of Aligarh

Compiled and prepared by MALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher-Editor, BarakahSimerg and Simergphotos)

Aga Khan speech International Baccalaureate 40th annniversary meeting 2008
“It was from him, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan, that I inherited my present role in 1957. I also inherited from him a deep concern for the advancement of education.” – His Highness the Aga Khan speaking on April 18, 2008 at the annual meeting of the International Baccalaureate. Photo: Gary Otte / AKDN.

Editor’s note: Saturday, November 2, 2019, marks the 142nd birth anniversary of Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III, the 48th Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. We present to our readers this article to illustrate the Imam’s effort that led to the founding of the Muslim University of Aligarh, from which the sovereign nation of Pakistan was born.

His Highness the Aga Khan and Aligarh University

“As a mendicant, I am now going out to beg from house to house and from street to street for the children of Indian Muslims” – His Highness the Aga Khan

Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III, photographed in 1911
Aga Khan III, 48th Ismaili Imam. Photo: © National Portrait Gallery, London. The significant aspect of the Aga Khan’s fund collection drive was not the enthusiastic welcome accorded to him, but the house to house collection drive he did.

In December 1910, the session of the All India Muslim Educational Conference at Nagpur gave the signal for a concrete, nation-wide effort to raise the necessary funds for the projected University. A Central Foundation Committee with Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III as Chairman and Maulana Shaukat Ali (1873-1938) as his secretary was formed at Aligarh on January 10, 1911. The committee included many other high profile representatives from the Muslim community. The Aga Khan accompanied by Maulana Shaukat Ali toured throughout the country to raise funds, visiting Calcutta, Allahabad, Lucknow, Cawnpore, Lahore, Bombay and other places.

“As a mendicant”, the Aga Khan announced, “I am now going out to beg from house to house and from street to street for the children of Indian Muslims.”

It was a triumphal tour. Wherever he went, people unharnessed the horses of his carriage and pulled it themselves for miles.

The response to the touching appeal of the Aga Khan was spontaneous. On his arrival at Lahore, the daily Peace of Punjab editorially commented and called upon the Muslims “to wake up, as the greatest personality and benefactor of Islam was in their city.”

The paper recalled a remark of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan prophesying the rise of a hand from the unseen world to accomplish his mission. “That personality” the paper added, “was of the Aga Khan III.”

“The farsighted among the Muslims of India desire a University, where the standard of learning should be the highest and where with the scientific training, there shall be that moral education, that indirect but constant reminder of the eternal difference between right and wrong, which is the soul of education….I earnestly beg of you that the cause of such a University should not be forgotten in the shouts of the market place that daily rise amongst us.” – His Highness the Aga Khan

The significant aspect of the Imam’s fund collection drive was not the enthusiastic welcome accorded to him, but the house to house collection drive.

Qayyum A. Malick wrote in Prince Aga Khan (Karachi, 1954, p. 64) that once while on his way to Bombay to collect funds for the university, the Aga Khan stopped his car at the office of a person who was known to be his bitterest critic.

The man stood up astonished and bewildered and asked, “Whom do you want Sir?”

“I have come for your contribution to the Muslim university fund,” replied the Aga Khan.

The man drew up a cheque for Rs. 5000.

Then the Aga Khan took off his hat and said:

“Now as a beggar, I beg from you something for the children of Islam. Put something in the bowl of this mendicant.”

The man wrote another cheque for Rs. 15000, and with moist eyes said:

“Your Highness, now it is my turn to beg. I beg of you in the name of the most merciful God to forgive me for anything that I may have said against you. I never knew you were so great.”

The Aga Khan said:

“Don’t worry! It is my nature to forgive and forget in the cause of Islam and the Muslims.”

The drive received further great fillip from the announcement of a big donation by Her Highness Nawab Sultan Jahan Begum of Bhopal. The Aga Khan was so moved by her munificence that in thanking her, he spoke the following words:

Dil’e banda ra zinda kardi, dil’e Islam ra zinda kardi, dil’e qaum ra zinda kardi, Khuda’i ta’ala ba tufail’e Rasul ajarash be dahadmeans.”

Translation:

“You put life in the heart of this servant; you put life in the heart of Islam; you put life in the heart of the nation. May God reward you for the sake of the Prophet!”

In sum, the Imam collected 26 million rupees by July, 1912 in the drive and his personal contribution amounted to 1,00,000 rupees.

On October 20, 1920, the Aligarh University was granted its official Charter. In spite of several obstacles, the Aga Khan continued his ceaseless efforts for the Muslim University, and further announced his annual grant of Rs. 10,000 for Aligarh University, which was subsequently raised. Various Ismaili individuals also made their generous contributions to Aligarh University. For instance, Mr. Kassim Ali Jairajbhoy gave Rs. 1,25,000 to found chairs of Philosophy and Science in the Aligarh in memory of his father.

“The Movement of establishing a Muslim University,” wrote Mumtaz Moin in his The Aligarh Movement (Karachi, 1976, p. 184), “is an important chapter of our history. Initiated by Waqar al-Mulk it soon became a live issue under the patronage of the Aga Khan.”

Islamuddin wrote in Aga Khan III (Islamabad, 1978, p. 27), “it would not be an exaggeration to say that without Aga Khan, there would have been no Aligarh University, and without Aligarh, Pakistan would have been a near impossibility.”

The Aga Khan himself wrote in his Memoirs (London, 1954, p. 36) :

“We may claim with pride that Aligarh was the product of our own efforts and of no outside benevolence and surely it may also be claimed that the independent sovereign nation of Pakistan was born in the Muslim University of Aligarh.”

Date posted: October 30, 2019.

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 180 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

_____________________

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.

Please join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and also follow us at 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.

Photos and Report: Asia Society Texas Center Honors Princess Zahra Aga Khan with annual Huffington Award

Acknowledgement: Event pictures and report distributed by Asia Society Texas Center.

Award to Princess Zahra Highlights Her Commitment to Pluralism, Education, and Medical Access Around the World

Asia Society Texas Center Huffington Award  to Princess Zahra Aga Khan, October 10, 2019.
Asia Society Texas Center’s Huffington Award Dinner honoring Princess Zahra Aga Khan at The Houstonian on October 10, 2019. Princess Zahra received the Roy M. Huffington Award in recognition of her work, through the Aga Khan Development Network, advancing healthcare and education around the world. Photo: © Morris Malakoff / Asia Society Texas Center.

PRESS RELEASE: THE ASIA SOCIETY TEXAS CENTER
(Houston, October 16, 2019)

Asia Society Texas Center (ASTC) presented its annual Roy M. Huffington Award to Princess Zahra Aga Khan at The Houstonian on October 10. Nancy C. Allen and the Honorable James A. Baker, III and Susan Baker served as honorary co-chairs for the event.

Princess Zahra Aga Khan, through her work with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), was honored for her outstanding commitment to advancing healthcare and education around the world. The eldest child of His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th and current hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, Princess Zahra serves in various leadership roles within the Network, which comprises numerous private, international, non-denominational development organizations working to improve the welfare and prospects of people in the developing world, particularly in Asia and Africa. Some programs span both the developed and developing worlds.

Princess Zahra Aga Khan pictured with her father, His Highness the Aga Khan, on June 30, 2008, at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, where the 49th Ismaili Imam and the Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network was honoured for his work against poverty and in promoting religious understanding. Photo: © Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images.

The work of the AKDN is underpinned by the ethical principles of Islam – particularly consultation, solidarity with those less fortunate, self-reliance, and human dignity – but the AKDN does not restrict its work to a particular community, country, or region.

A member of the Board of Directors for the AKDN, Princess Zahra is also a Trustee of the Aga Khan University and the University of Central Asia and a member of the Board of Directors of the Aga Khan Foundation, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the Global Centre for Pluralism, and the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat.

President Bonna Kol  at Asia Society Texas Center’s Huffington Award Dinner honoring Princess Zahra Aga Khan at The Houstonian on October 10, 2019.
President Bonna Kol at Asia Society Texas Center’s Huffington Award Dinner honoring Princess Zahra Aga Khan at The Houstonian on October 10, 2019. Princess Zahra received the Roy M. Huffington Award in recognition of her work, through the Aga Khan Development Network, advancing healthcare and education around the world. Photo: © Morris Malakoff / Asia Society Texas Center.

“We were so humbled to honor Princess Zahra, and it was an inspiration to hear about the many projects in healthcare and education that she and the Aga Khan Development Network have spearheaded globally,” said Bonna Kol, president of Asia Society Texas Center. “Through her work, Princess Zahra is building hope and trust in a world where both are greatly needed.”

Asia Society Texas Center Honours Princess Zahra Aga Khan with Huffington Award, October 10 2019
President Bonna Kol and honorary co-chair & board member Nancy C. Allen presenting the Huffington Award to Princess Zahra Aga Khan at Asia Society Texas Center’s Huffington Award Dinner honoring Princess Zahra Aga Khan at The Houstonian on October 10, 2019. Princess Zahra received the Roy M. Huffington Award in recognition of her work, through the Aga Khan Development Network, advancing healthcare and education around the world.
Asia Society Texas Center Huffington Award  to Princess Zahra Aga Khan, October 10, 2019.
Guests look on as Honorary director, program moderator, and Rice University president David W. Leebron has a conversation with honoree Princess Aga Khan at Asia Society Texas Center’s Huffington Award Dinner honoring Princess Zahra Aga Khan at The Houstonian on October 10, 2019. Princess Zahra received the Roy M. Huffington Award in recognition of her work, through the Aga Khan Development Network, advancing healthcare and education around the world. Photo: © Morris Malakoff / Asia Society Texas Center.

During the program, moderated by Rice University president David W. Leebron, Princess Zahra spoke about her work, including how focusing on girls’ education worldwide has yielded significant results in economic opportunity. She also discussed her view that a liberal arts education can help encourage the development of values, including an ethic of volunteerism. She explained, “It is not learning what to think, but learning how to think, and I think that’s what our education activities seek to instill […] a spirit of inquiry and those values which are the basic human values of pluralism and understanding that makes the quality of life of one’s neighbor better than it is today. Pluralism is not just tolerance—tolerating the other—it’s not just accepting that one lives in a diverse society, but it’s having an active and profound understanding of the nature and culture of one’s neighbors, so much so that one can then learn to appreciate the value that they bring to society.”

Asia Society Texas Center Huffington Award  to Princess Zahra Aga Khan, October 10, 2019. Master Musicians.
Honorary director, program moderator, and Rice University president David W. Leebron in conversation with honoree Princess Aga Khan at Asia Society Texas Center’s Huffington Award Dinner honoring Princess Zahra Aga Khan at The Houstonian on October 10, 2019. Princess Zahra received the Roy M. Huffington Award in recognition of her work, through the Aga Khan Development Network, advancing healthcare and education around the world. Photo: © Morris Malakoff / Asia Society Texas Center.

When asked about the future of our society, Princess Zahra spoke of her own children and indicated she believes there is much to learn from younger generations. “I think we are living at a time when there is optimism,” she said. “There are things that are happening in our world in medicine, communications, and technology, which are going to have such profound impacts on not only the way we live as human beings but on the way that we interact and we learn.”

Asia Society Texas Center Huffington Award  to Princess Zahrra Aga Khan, October 10, 2019.
Aga Khan Master Musicians Nitin Mitta, Homayoun Sakhi, and Abbos Kosimov performing at Asia Society Texas Center’s Huffington Award Dinner honoring Princess Zahra Aga Khan at The Houstonian on October 10, 2019. Princess Zahra received the Roy M. Huffington Award in recognition of her work, through the Aga Khan Development Network, advancing healthcare and education around the world. Photo: © Morris Malakoff / Asia Society Texas Center.

The evening also featured a special musical performance by the Master Musicians of the Aga Khan Music Initiative, Homayoun Sakhi on the Afghan rubab and Abbos Kosimov on the Uzbek doira, who were joined by Nitin Mitta on the North Indian tabla. The Aga Khan Music Initiative is an interregional music and arts education program launched to support talented musicians and music educators worldwide working to preserve, transmit, and further develop their musical heritage in contemporary forms.

Asia Society Texas Center Huffington Award  to Princess Zahrra Aga Khan, October 10, 2019.
L-R: President Bonna Kol, honorary co-chair & board member Nancy C. Allen, honoree Princess Zahra Aga Khan, program moderator & honorary director David W. Leebron, and board vice chair Y. Ping Sun at Asia Society Texas Center’s Huffington Award Dinner honoring Princess Zahra Aga Khan at The Houstonian on October 10, 2019. Princess Zahra received the Roy M. Huffington Award in recognition of her work, through the Aga Khan Development Network, advancing healthcare and education around the world. Photo: © Morris Malakoff / Asia Society Texas Center.
Asia Society Texas Center Huffington Award  to Princess Zahrra Aga Khan, October 10, 2019.
Bob Murray & Muffet Blake, honoree Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Lynn Wyatt at Asia Society Texas Center’s Huffington Award Dinner honoring Princess Zahra Aga Khan at The Houstonian on October 10, 2019. Princess Zahra received the Roy M. Huffington Award in recognition of her work, through the Aga Khan Development Network, advancing healthcare and education around the world. Photo: © Morris Malakoff / Asia Society Texas Center.

Following a congratulatory video message from the Bakers, board vice chair Y. Ping Sun, president Bonna Kol, and honorary co-chair Nancy C. Allen presented the Huffington Award to Princess Zahra to a standing ovation. Luminaries in the audience included Muffet Blake and Bob Murray, Leslie and Brad Bucher, Tripp Carter, Anne and Albert* Chao, Molly and Jim Crownover, Lily and Charles* Foster, Glen Gondo, Marty Goossen, past Huffington honoree Marie Goradia, Michelle* and Hector Herrera, Secretary of State Ruth Hughs, Susan and Ted* Louie, Sultana and Moez* Mangalji, Rosine* and David Matthews, Sylvia and Gordon* Quan, Nathalie and Charles* Roff, Starlee Sykes and Al Vickers*, Lynn Wyatt, as well as representatives from the consular corps.

Asia Society Texas Center Huffington Award  to Princess Zahrra Aga Khan, October 10, 2019.
Guests at Asia Society Texas Center’s Huffington Award Dinner honoring Princess Zahra Aga Khan at The Houstonian on October 10, 2019. Princess Zahra received the Roy M. Huffington Award in recognition of her work, through the Aga Khan Development Network, advancing healthcare and education around the world. Photo: © Morris Malakoff / Asia Society Texas Center.

The 370 guests enjoyed floral arrangements by Lanson B. Jones & Co. and an elegant dinner including a burrata and heirloom tomato salad, filet mignon with truffle potato and wild mushroom sauce, and delectable chocolate desserts.

About the Huffington Award

The Huffington Award recognizes leaders who have been a major force on the international stage. Named after Asia Society Texas Center co-founder Roy M. Huffington, the award distinguishes outstanding contributions that have furthered international understanding, welfare, and diplomacy on a global scale. It is the highest honor granted by Asia Society Texas Center. Past award recipients include President George H.W. Bush and former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III.

About Asia Society Texas Center

With 14 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of
Asia and the rest of the world. Asia Society Texas Center executes the global mission with a local focus, enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach.

Date posted: October 17, 2019.

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 180 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

View more photos on Flickr.

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* denotes an Asia Society Texas Center board member.

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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.

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