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.

Imamat Day July 11, 2013 – Mashallah! 56 Years!

Mowlana Hazar Imam’s 56th Anniversary of the Ascent to the Imamat – July 11, 2013

Mowlana Hazar Imam’s GJ 2007 Aga Khan

Spiritual Leader and Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims – His Highness the Aga Khan at the 50th Imamat Day Golden Jubilee Celebrations amongst a gathering of his followers – Imam of the Time, Lamb of the Ages! To the right is the Alaam – the Standard, used in processions and official events of the Imams. This one dates back to the Fatimid period and has the Arabic calligraphy depicting the names of Allah, Muhammad and Ali, a theme running in the Shia Ismaili tradition that God did not leave mankind without a Living Guide! Our Zikr Tasbi (remembrance chant) calls these three names Allah, Muhammad and Ali. Mashallah! These three names can be seen in Aya Sofya, the Hagia Sophia, as individual medallions on the ceiling.

AyaSofya Hagia Sophia Ali Muhammad Allah medallions

Imamat Day – The Shia Imam’s Ascent to the Office of Imamat as a Direct Descendent of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

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Imamat Day – The Shia Imam’s Ascent to the Office of Imamat as a Direct Descendent of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
What The Holy Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan’s Imamat Day Celebrations – Khushiali Mubarak! (Rejoice, Blessings!)
Why Imamat Day is celebrated every year by Ismaili Shia Muslims on the anniversary of the day that the Imamat transfers from the past Imam to the Present Living Imam in a continuous chain since Prophet Muhammad declared him as his successor and that their progeny would succeed until they return to al-hawd, the pool in paradise. (See sayings of Prophet Muhammad below). The current Imam is the direct descendent and the 48th generation grandson of the Prophet. This chain of 49 Imams flows from the day when Imam Hazrat Ali was appointed as Prophet Muhammad’s successor. This anniversary is celebrated with great rejoicing by the followers of the Imam, for it is a unique occasion full of symbolism wherein the continuance of God’s covenant is celebrated. This tradition has continued for over 1400 years since the time of Hazrat Ali (a.s. on whom be peace) the first Imam who was appointed by Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s. – peace be upon him).
When Falls on July 11th every year for the current Imam. Since the time of our holy Prophet Muhammad, this tradition has continued as the Prophet’s grand children pass on the Imamat to their heirs who bear the Noor (Light) of God and the blood of the Prophet as the Intercessor between God and man, to maintain this divinely ordained hereditary office. This year marks the 56th anniversary of when at the age of 20, the Imam inherited the office from the previous Imam, his grand father, Mowlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, Aga Khan III.
Where The first Imam Hazrat Ali was appointed as as his successor by Prophet Muhammad at Ghadir e Khumm when he declared: Ali is the Lord of those whose Lord I am! – Man kunto Mowla, fa Ali yun Mowla! Imam Ali as all Imams in his line, play a pivotal role in the spiritual lives of his followers, as the Qutb, the Pole, around which the faithful gravitate to receive his guidance directly from God, and the Imam looks to God as an Intercessor for his community. Allah says that each nation will come with its Imam on Judgment Day. As the community of faithful, we are blessed to be led by the 49th Imam of the age, our beloved Mowlana Hazar Imam! Celebrations take place in over 50 countries around the world where Ismailis live to remind us of this blessing from God and to aspire to live a godly life as we see the example of the Imam. (See his activity reports below and see if you are amazed).
History This occasion is very solemn as many events point to the importance of the hereditary family tree. For example, Prophet Muhammad’s birthday was also his death anniversary. For Shia Muslims, this was a further endorsement of the divinely ordained appointment of Hazrat Ali at Gadhir-e Khumm where Prophet Muhammad declared him as his successor who was to assume these duties upon the Prophet’s death. Before the Prophet Muhammad, this chain was from his ancestors as Muhammad was descended from Abraham, fulfilling God’s decree to Prophet Abraham – Surely I will make you an Imam of men. – Quran 2:124. Prophet Muhammad is the descendent of Abraham through his elder son Ishmael, Ismail in Arabic. No wonder we are also Ismailis! Prophet Abraham has been called the Father of Nations and is the founder of the three great monotheistic faiths. He has been given high regard in the Genesis 12:2, 3, and 7, also 17:20 and Deuteronomy 18:18. After Prophet Muhammad who received the Quran from God, wherein Allah said that he would be the last prophet and there would be no more revelation in the form of scripture but the faith had to continue. This was implemented by establishing the Office of the Imamat so that the covenant would continue by blood lines. And if we look back in history, 49 direct descendents of the Prophet have continued this chain and as we know from the Prophet that this chain will continue until the end of time on earth, until we meet at the pool in paradise. See Hadiths highlighted below.
More Info Please visit past Imamat Day celebrations pages every year listed on page links below. I have talked about other verses from the Quran and discussed the edicts of our Imams who have been luminaries through the ages, mandated with God’s message as in Shia doctrine of the Imam’s knowledge, the Imam is the Quran Natiq – the Speaking Quran, while the Quran is the Silent Imam – Imam Samit. The Imam is the true interpreter of the Book and guides according to the age and keeps alive the Quran which God says is designed to be interpreted by the Ulul-Amr (Interpreters of the Divine Command) and the Rasikhoon fil-ilm (Those vested in Divine Knowledge), again both pointing to the Rightful Imams.

‘Gazing upon Ali is an act of worship (al-nazar ila Ali ibada).’

“He has ordained for men the faith He has revealed to you and formerly enjoined on Noah and Abraham, on Moses and Jesus, saying: “Observe this Faith and be united in it” Quran 42:13 (The Faith is Islam! – Submission to the Will of God).

“O Messenger (Prophet), deliver to the people what has been revealed to you from your Lord and if you do not do so then you will not have delivered His message and Allah will protect you from the people. For God does not guide those who reject Faith. ” Ya ‘ayyuhar Rasoolu ballig maa unzila ilayka mir-Rabbik. Wa illam taf’al famaa ballagta Risaa latah. Wallaahu ya’simuka minan naas. Innal’laaha laa yahdilqawmal kaafiriin. Quran 5:67

The foregoing verse was revealed to Prophet Muhammad in 632 A.C., before he called a halt at Ghadir Khumm, 3 months before his demise. The Prophet thence declared “‘Man Kuntu Mawlahu fa haza Aliyun Mawlahu (audio)‘  – ‘He of whomever I am the Master-Lord (Mawla), Ali is his Master-Lord (Mawla). Prophet Muhammad had been discoursing all the other revelations among the muslims regarding the tenets and practice of the faith and about material life, and what could this verse of surpassing urgency mean and why was he admonished that if he did not reveal that message then his mission would be unfulfilled! Why had he been warned so strongly by Allah to deliver the message right away.

Prophets Family Tree small

Click on family tree to open full size image detailing the Prophetic chain.

According to Shia Muslim tradition, Prophet Muhammad had been apprehensive about declaring his own son-in-law and cousin Ali ibn Abu Talib, as his spiritual (Amirul Momineen, Commander of the believers) and secular (Caliph, King) heir, for fear that it would divide the nascent muslim community and in the above revelation God reassures him. Prophet Muhammad felt great relief upon accomplishment of his mission and thereupon received the final revelation: “This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion” Quran 5:3. Several verses in the Quran speak about the Light of God and Rope of Imamat which is a continuous chain (Hablillah) since Hazrat Adam, through all the Prophets including, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and after him through the hereditary Imams. For further knowledge, refer to The Religion of My Ancestors by Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan III

“Man kunto Mowlahu fa-Ali yun Mowla” meaning, “Ali is the Lord of those whose Lord I am”. He then added, “Ali is to me as Harun (Aaron) was to Musa (Moses)”, and he prayed, “O Allah! Be a friend of Ali’s friends and a foe to his foes. Help those who help Ali and frustrate the hopes of those who betray Ali.”

As Prophet Muhammad completed this message, Umar bin Khattab, (later the second Caliph of Islam) came before Hazrat Ali and said, “Congratulations to you, O the son of Abu Talib! You have become the Master of every male and female Momin.” Saying this, he took the Baiyah, (Baiyat in Persian, Urdu and Gujarati) oath of allegiance, at Hazrat Ali’s hand. Following Caliph Umar’s example, all the Muslims, both men and women, made the Baiyah at Hazrat Ali’s hand accompanied by great rejoicing.

This weighty declaration led to the revelation of the following verse that was recited by Prophet Muhammad in his last sermon: “This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed my favors upon you and chosen Islam as your religion.” – [5:3] This event took place over 1400 years ago and Momins have great joy in their hearts as this unbroken chain of Imamat continues, Noor-an Ala Noor (Light Upon Light), through prosperous and perilous periods in history.

Not only that, the Living Imam is considered the Hand of Allah – Yadullah, and that is why the Baiyah – oath of allegiance, taken at the hand of Ali is equated to the oath taken of God’s Hand.

“(O Prophet) Those who give baiyah to you, they give baiyah to God, God’s hand is above their hands.” Quran 48:10

Our esteemed Dai, Nasir Khusraw, inspired by the above verse, took to the journey to search for the Yadullah of his time as he argued that it was not his fault that he was not born in the time of the Holy Prophet and knowing God to be just and equitable, he yearned to be guided. That is when he had a vision in his dream to head to Egypt where the Fatimid Caliph Imams were ruling and indeed, under the tutelage of Al Muayyad fi-din Shirazi, he progressed to be one of our exemplary Ismaili greats!

‘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.’

‘Gazing upon Ali is an act of worship (al-nazar ila Ali ibada).’

‘May God have mercy on ‘Ali. O God, make the truth revolve around Ali wherever he turns (adiri‘l-haqq ma‘ahu haythu dara).’

I am the city of knowledge and ‘Ali is its gate; so whoever desires knowledge, let him enter the gate.’ (Ana Madinatul ilm wa Ali Babuha)

‘Truly, I am leaving behind amongst you the two weighty things (al-thaqalayn): the Book of God and my Ahl al-Bayt, they will not be parted from each other until they return to me at the [paradisal pool] al-hawd’.

Mashallah! How lucky are we to be able to gaze upon him! To be in his community and to be able to contemplate him and have his Didaar! Alhamdulillah!

“They rejoice on account of favor from Allah and (His) grace, and that Allah will not waste the reward of the believers.” Quran 3.171

Imamat day hunza

Just as a normal man can climb
A high mountain
And on a clear day
See for many miles all around,

Hafiz can stand on a blessed peak
Inside his heart
And see for hundreds of years
In all directions.

And I tell you, dear ones,
That the Saheb-e Zamaan (Lord of the Age)
The Christ
The Prophet
The Ancient One
Has made a date to Whirl,
To Whirl
With this Earth again!


“O Prophet! Truly have we sent thee as a witness, a bearer of glad tidings and a warner and as one who invites to Allah’s grace by His leave and as a lamp spreading light. Quran 33:45, 46 

He it is Who sent His Apostle with the guidance and the true religion that He may make it prevail over all the religions; and Allah is enough for a witness.” Quran 48.28

The above verses from the Quran are mirrored by Prophet Muhammad who said to Imam Hazrat Ali (source at Prophet Muhammad Hadith page):

‘Verily thou art a warner, and for every people there is a guide.’ The Prophet said, ‘I am the warner …you are the guide, O ‘Ali. After me, the rightly-guided shall be guided by you.’

Not only has Prophet Muhammad endorsed Hazrat Ali to be his successor by his many Hadith, showing that he left the succession to his grandsons via his beloved daughter Fatima (the Fatimid Imam Caliphs who ruled in Egypt were called so due to this hereditary link to Fatima) who married Hazrat Ali and their sons Hassan and Husayn, through whom the chain of Imams continued, but God also says that this Divine Chain – the Rope of Imamat (Hablillah) had been ordained as a binding promise in all the holy scriptures:

“Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden; they fight in Allah’s way, so they slay and are slain; a promise which is binding on Him in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) and the Quran; and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Rejoice therefore in the pledge which you have made; and that is the mighty achievement.” Quran 9.111

Mowlana Hazar Imam mirrored these words from the Quran:

Our spiritual understandings, like those of your Academy, are rooted, of course, in ancient teachings. In the case of Islam, there are two touchstones which I have long treasured and sought to apply. The first affirms the unity of the human race, as expressed in the Holy Qur’an where God, as revealed through the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him, says the following:

O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord, Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from the twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. (Quran 4:1)

This remarkable verse speaks both of the inherent diversity of mankind — the “multitude” — and of the unity of mankind — the “single soul created by a single Creator” — a spiritual legacy which distinguishes the human race from all other forms of life.

— His Highness the Aga Khan’s Acceptance Speech – Tutzing Evangelical Academy’s ‘Tolerance’ Award – Tutzing, Germany May 20, 2006 – this is an amazing speech, read full version here.

In the Holy Quran, God outlines that everyone who strives for virtue and right action will be led back to Him through their faith as our primordial nature, the Fitra, is to seek out a way back to our origin, to merge into God, we have been hard-wired to know God, a veritable theme in the Quran.

“Truly those who believe, and those who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabeans (the Persians), whoever believes in God and the Last Day and is virtuous, surely their reward is with their Lord, and no fear shall come upon them, neither shall they grieve.” Quran 2:62

Even though Islam is being maligned post-9/11, it is very clear from the verse above that the same God, the Almighty, is the originator of Islam, as of the all the great religions. In the Quran we are exhorted to follow our faith and way, as the right path to Him. As Ismailis, we follow the Holy Prophet Muhammad and his progeny. See what God says in the Quran:

For each (religion), We have appointed from you a Law and a Way shiraatan wa minhajan. Had God willed, He could have made you one community. But that He might try you by that which He hath given you [you are born into a faith]. So vie with one another in good works. Unto God you will all return, and He will inform you of that wherein you differed.” Quran 5:48

Unto each community We have given sacred rites mansakan which they are to perform; so let them not dispute with thee about the matter, but summon them unto thy Lord.” Quran 22:67

The Ismailis do not proselytize as every religion has its own rites and rituals to be pursued by the adherents, seeking their way back to God. The pluralism and multiple cultures were ordained by Providence, so we would know one another as the Holy Quran says:

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most pious.” Quran 49:13

The Ismailis follow the esoteric practice of Islam, of piety and virtuous action, that has survived from the time of Prophet Muhammad, which was perfected by Imam Ali; all Sufi orders descend from him and strive to please God. After him, the succession of Imams led the faithful in their duty to man and God. Our present living Imam, Mowlana Hazar Imam, has been a champion of “vying with one another in good works” as is evident in all his works for his community and for the wider population. Always promoting pluralism, recently opening the Global Centre for Pluralism, and leaders the world over are realizing and praising his active humanitarian endeavors.

 “He not only celebrates diversity, he also honours the differences between people that can paradoxically give them their greatest bond. He has two roles in this world; one which he has inherited as an extraordinary charge, and the other that he has built upon and recreated, that now involves all of us. He manifests the creative relationship of spiritual values and material concern, which is unique in the world today, and is a model for all of us…In his own being, he encompasses the world.” Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson

According to Sura Fatiha, the first chapter of the Quran, we are to follow the straight path and ask to be guided to the straight path!

“And strive hard in (the way of) Allah, (such) a striving as is due to Him; He has chosen you and has not laid upon you any hardship in religion; the faith of your father Ibrahim; He named you Muslims before and in this [the Holy Quran], that the Apostle may be a bearer of witness to you, and you may be bearers of witness to the people; therefore keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and hold fast by Allah; He is your Guardian; how excellent the Guardian and how excellent the Helper!” Quran 22:78

With such a wonderful Guide, what are we to do and how are we to respond? The Imam tells us religion means not only faith but also good works! So for this Imamat Day, can we reflect and put our life in the right order, to follow his guidance and with faith commit to virtuous action? Then we can truly celebrate as you can see the special verse in the Quran referring to us: Mubarak!

“They are not all alike. Of the People of the Book, there is a staunch community who recite the revelations of God in the watches of the night, falling prostrate.” Quran 3:113

“In Islam, the Holy Quran says that man is God’s noblest creation to whom He has entrusted the stewardship of all that is on earth. Each generation must leave for its successors an enhanced and sustainable social and physical environment. I am sure every responsible citizen in every part of the world would share this aspiration.” – from Speech by His Highness the Aga Khan at the Ninth Award Cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture

How can we as his Murids, do more for our world and for our spiritual uplift?

“With respect to relations between the Western and Islamic worlds, are we not seeing a conflict of stereotypes and prejudices, exacerbated by a good measure of ignorance about Islam? There are, of course, some differences, but if superficiality and trivialisation can be set aside, and be replaced by the will to go deeper to seek a solid foundation for mutual understanding and respect, it can be found in the common heritage of the Abrahamic faiths and the ethical principles that they share.”– His Highness the Aga Khan, speaking at the presentation ceremony for The Aga Khan Award for Architecture on 6 November 2001.

“As we work towards that vision of the future we will remember the Surah of Light from the Quran. It tells us that the oil of the blessed olive tree lights the lamp of understanding, a light that belongs neither to the East nor West. We are to give this light to all. In that spirit, all that we learn will belong to the world and that too is part of the vision I share with you.”Speech by His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan to the Asia Society, New York, September 25, 1979

Islam has the answer to the world’s problems by following the true teachings of Islam, i.e. equality of all humans (isn’t this why the Christian and Jewish faiths flourished when Islam was ruling the world?), by bringing the quest for material goods in real perspective i.e. not giving up our spiritual practices in the pursuit of material happiness. All of us should be the ambassadors of Islam and show the world that the “terrorist” label is not one that belongs to Islam. Let us do our part in educating everyone about what it means to be a Muslim, its generosity, its piety and ethical values, wishing upon their neighbors what they wish upon themselves, the principle of unity, Tauhid, where the all the peoples of the world are created by the one God and we are to all spread the message of peace and tolerance to all, this year and every year. Let this month of Ramadan when we remind ourselves of our duty to God and to humanity, be a catalyst for right action as we also celebrate the Imamat Day anniversary of our Holy Imam who reminds us of our duty to mankind and Allah!

Mashallah! He has given to his community and to humanity so much. Isn’t it time we become his helpers? Then the Help of God will be even nearer! Mubarak!

“And those who are keepers of their trusts and their covenant,
And those who keep a guard on their prayers;
These are they who are the heirs,
Who shall inherit the Paradise; they shall abide therein.” Quran 23:8-11

Like we are told, the meek will inherit the earth! As an Ismaili, my wish for this Imamat Day is that more individuals of our time should take this pledge to heart and with faith, conviction, and righteous action, bring back to us the glory of our Fatimid times. On my Navroz page, I highlighted some of the vision of our beloved Imam regarding balancing spiritual and material life, and applying the daily principles of Islamic ethics in our life in the busy life in the West.

“They rejoice on account of favor from Allah and (His) grace, and that Allah will not waste the reward of the believers.” Quran 3.171


As explained in my intro pages this Grace, this Lamp spreading Light is none other than the Living and Present Imam of our time, Noor Mowlana Shah Karim Al Hussaini Hazar Imam. And as Ismailis, we are very fortunate indeed, to have been gifted with this unique opportunity to be called his spiritual children.

As Ismailis we are truly fortunate to have received this Grace over the centuries and we have been rejoicing this favor and that is why there is always a lot of Daandia Raas and dancing in our tradition!

Not only do we dance and rejoice at this occasion, we also go into deep meditation and Zikr, Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah for granting us this Grace. Our ultimate aim is to concentrate in Ibaadat (meditation in God’s name), and sit in contemplation of the esoteric meaning of the Didaar, and aspire to become one with the One Who is above all else, Inshallah. We invoke the Salawaat (prayers of peace for the Prophet and his progeny) continuously, listen to the Ginans and Farmans (Orders of the Imam) to seek the path to enlightenment and directions our Spiritual Guide wants us to follow in our physical and spiritual lives. What we do in our material, physical life has to reflect our behavior towards God. As above so below.

It is not possible to cover the holy lineage from Abraham to Aga Khan on this one page. But from the tidbits I have offered here, you can ponder upon these truths as there is no compulsion in religion. Our search is a personal search, one that the Imams call “Monoreality” and that is why the Sufi Tariqahs all descend from Imam Hazrat Ali and Imam Jafar Sadiq both these Imams have a Sunni following too. The Imams have been the Faithful Ambassadors of God – Safirullah al-Sadiq, from the tradition of Prophet Muhammad, whose mission is only to show us the way by guidance and example, and, to do it or not is our free will to choose, as the choice is another universal principal ordained by Allah. One can not force anyone to become as he wishes as that would be an atrocity that would be abhorred.

Quran Sura Maida – The Table 5:1

Ya ayyuhal lazina aamanu – O you who believe.

Inna’llaha yahkumu maa yurid – Verily God ordains what He intends.

Imam Jafar Sadiq gave the following Tafsir – commentary on above: God ordains what He intends (to ordain) and then brings to pass His intention and His will. Then he who is content with His ordinance is at ease and has been guided to the way of his good conduct; while he who resents His ordinance nevertheless must undergo it, but has in it resentment and disgrace.

– Source Spiritual Gems The Mystical Quran Commentary Ascribed to Jafar al-Sadiq as contained in Sulami’s Haqaiq al-Tafsir from the text of Paul Nwiya – by Farhana Mayer (a must read book!)

I hope that the few words I have presented on this page will move you to practice the personal faith that our souls yearn for and change our material and spiritual practices to strive to be more God-worthy in our daily lives and to bring about His peace and unity on earth, so that we may also experience the Unity with the One On High, Inshallah!

His Highness the Aga Khan Activities


Imamat day dushanbe

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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.


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99 Beautiful Names

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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