Life – An Exalted Destiny – Aga Khan III

Life - An Exalted Destiny - Aga Khan III Life is a great and noble calling; not a mean and grovelling thing to be shuffled through as best as we can, but a lofty and exalted destiny.

Aga Khan’s Decorations and Degrees – Honored in 50 Countries!

Aga Khan’s Constellation of Accolades – Over 200 honors from 50 countries

Editor’s Note: This wonderful synopsis of His Highness the Aga Khan’s honors has been compiled by Azeem Maherali.

 Dr. Friedemann Greiner, Director and Chairman of the Jury, His Highness the Aga Khan, Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's Minister of Foreign Affairs

“We are honouring an exceptional man. We are honouring a great friend of humanity, a courageous visionary, a builder of bridges between religions and society.

His Excellency Dr. Frank Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister, on presenting the 2006 Tolerance Award of the Evangelical Academy of Tutzing, Germany – May 20, 2006


The Constellation of Accolades represents the various appointments, awards, honours, and tributes His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan has been endowed with over the course of his 56 years Imamat. Spanning various constellations of human endeavor, addressing multiple and complex issues, these accolades are a testimony of the admiration, influence, respect and support the Aga Khan commands the world over.

We have introduced this post with a quote from Germany’s Foreign Minister to capture the sentiment echoed the world over.

Additional quotes from the Aga Khan reflect the mandate of his responsibilities.

The Constellation of Accolades Matrix is a work in progress and by no means captures the total extent of the Aga Khan’s work. We encourage further investigation by our patrons to uncover the scope of the Aga Khan’s contribution to humanity.

The matrix in summary, reiterates the accolades via breakdown by country.

  • 28 Title & State Decorations;
  • 21 Honorary Degrees (from universities representing the US Ivy League, Canadian Group of 13, UK’s Russell Group, and others);
  • 16 Civic Honours (including Honorary Citizenship of Canada and several “Key to the City” & “Freedom of the City”);
  • 12 Fellowships and Executive Appointments representing 9 investures as Foreign Member to several state academies (for the creation of new knowledge – promoting research and stimulating the enhancement of thought, literature, language and other forms of national culture) and 3 Leadership posts at influential European Institutions to promote diplomacy, culture and development;
  • 30 Awards spanning domains such as architecture & the built environment, restoration & revival of culture, education, health, peace & diplomacy, philanthropy, sports, corporate enterprise;
  • 73 Keynote/Presidential Addresses to various UN organizations, several government organizations including parliaments, and other international organizations
  • 54 Commemorative Stamps issued by 11 different National Philatelic Societies to mark the Aga Khan’s significant events and milestone.
Aga Khan IV – Constellation of Accolades Matrix

Aga Khan's Constellation of Accolades - Over 200 honors from 50 countries and counting …

“When I assumed the responsibilities of the Imamat in 1957, I was eager — as I still am — to see that the countries where my followers live are sound and stable, that they are countries with clear development horizons, countries where, following my grandfather’s example, I could help to underwrite the integrity of the state and to contribute to improving the quality of life for all communities, not just my own. I hoped to help bridge the gulf between the developed and the developing worlds. This aspiration, I felt, was particularly appropriate to the Imamat because of its commitment to broad social objectives without political connotations, save in its concern for the fundamental freedom of its followers to practice the faith of their choice.

— His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan at the dinner hosted by the Council for Malaysia and Singapore, Singapore – January 9, 1983

“The ethics of Islam enjoin all believers, individually or through institutions such as the Ismaili Imamat, to assist the poor, the isolated, and the marginalised to improve their current circumstances and future prospects.

Through the Imamat, I have tried to respond to this responsibility by creating a group of private, non-denominational agencies the Aga Khan Development Network – to respond to the needs and potential of people living in some of the poorest parts of the world, irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, or religion.”

— His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, World Mountain Forum UNESCO, Paris, France – June 5, 2000

Inviting curiosity, additional research reveals that the Aga Khan has also had notable engagements at the International Global Zero Summit against Nuclear Weapons, in addition to expanding regional framework of drug-control cooperation against illicit drug trafficking in Central Asia with the Russian Federation. These are but two examples of activities that are not captured with the matrix. We shall endeavor to bring these and many other findings to light in our future series.

As a point of departure, we conclude with a glowing citation to His Highness Prince Aga Khan:

“By your peerless example of tolerance and compassion, we are proud to have you count as a member of the University of Toronto family … it is deeply moving and appropriate for us to welcome as an honorary graduate a man who is perhaps the only person in the world to whom everyone listens.”

the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Canada’s 26th Governor General

His Highness Prince Aga Khan was bestowed with the degree of Doctor of Sacred Letters, honoris causa, by University of Toronto’s Trinity College [on 25th November 2013] exactly three months to this date.

Download the Ismailimail Special Supplement – AKIV Constellation of Accolades


The context by which the Constellation of Accolades Matrix has been conceived is to inform and inspire the audience of the works of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him.


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Quran, 13:28

ألا بِذِكْرِ اللهِ تَطمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

“Verily! In the remembrance of Allah do hearts find contentment.” - Quran, 13:28

Prophet Muhammad

Prophet Muhammad:

‘Ali is ‘as my own soul’ (ka-nafsi).

He said to ‘Ali, ‘You are from me and I am from you (anta minni wa ana minka).’

‘Truly, ‘Ali is from me and I am from him (inna ‘Ali minni wa ana minhu), and he is the wali (patron/spiritual master) of every believer after me.’

Hazrat Ali

12. When some blessings come to you, do not drive them away through thanklessness.

13. He who is deserted by friends and relatives will often find help and sympathy from strangers.

Imam Ali Sayings

Imam Jaffer Sadiq

لاَ يَكُونُ شَيْءٌ فِي اْلاَرْضِ وَلا فِي السَّمَاءِ إِلاَّ بِهذِهِ الْخِصَالِ السَّبْعِ: بِمَشيئَةٍ وَ إِرادَةٍ وَقَدَرٍ وَقَضَاءٍ وَ إِذْنٍ وَكِتابٍ وَأَجَلٍ. فَمَنْ زَعَمَ أَنَّهُ يَقْدِرُ عَلى نَقْضٍ وَاحِدَةٍ، فَقَدْ كَفَرَ.

“Nothing occurs in this earth and in the heaven except with the following seven stages: Will, intention, destiny, decree, permission, book and implementation. Then whoever thinks that he can reduce any of these stages, then indeed he has disbelieved.”

- Imam Jaffer Sadiq, Usul al Kafi, vol. 1, p. 149

Rumi on Ramadan

The month of fasting has come, the emperor’s banner has arrived; withhold your hand from food, the spirit’s table has arrived. The soul has escaped from separation and bound nature’s hands; the heart of error is defeated, the army of faith has arrived. Fasting is our sacrifice, it is the life of our soul; let us sacrifice all our body, since the soul has arrived as guest. Fortitude is as a sweet cloud, wisdom rains from it, because it was in such a month of fortitude that the Koran arrived. …Wash your hands and your mouth, neither eat nor speak; seek that speech and that morsel which has come to the silent ones.


Hijri Calendar Converter

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Asma-ul Husna


Aga Khan jokes

Aga Khan Speech Brown University May 1996:

"Looking around this colorful gathering, I recall helping in the choice of the Aga Khan University's regalia. Our research into Islamic traditions of academic dress revealed that an academic's rank determined the height of his hat. The higher the rank, the taller the hat. The senior most professors therefore appeared taller than their students even when sitting down. I have just learnt that my friend Neil Rudenstein, the President of Harvard has given instructions that all Harvard hats are to be heightened by at least a foot. This has caused havoc in the Ivy League which is now debating resolution MAHH96, standing for Maximum Allowable Hat Height. My academic standing and that of President Gregorian, should be evident from the hats that we are presently wearing!"

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