H.H. Karim Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. He is a direct descendent of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through Prophet’s daughter Hazrat Fatima (ra) and her husband Hazrat Ali (ra), who was the first cousin of Prophet Muhammad, and the first Imam in Shia tradition.Indeed, Hazrat Ali was the first male to become a Muslim when the prophet shared his message of oneness of God, accountability of one’s actions and creating cohesive societies through justice.
Karim Aga Khan was born on December 13, 1936. At the age of 20, he succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan and became the 49th hereditary Imam of the community. He is the final interpreter of Qur’an and provides authoritative guidance on matters of faith to the Ismaili Muslims. Khushali is a week long birthday celebration of HH Aga Khan. The entire Ismaili Muslim community meets in the Jamaat Khana (community center) for the whole week, extolling his work and his service to their community and humanity.
He is one of the rare gems of Islamic scholarship and a Harvard Graduate. He has understood the essence of Islam and articulates it very well. Islam to him is serving and caring for people around you, regardless of their affiliation. A vision put forth by the Prophet, when he said a good deed is like planting a seed, knowing full well, that you may not be the beneficiary of the fruit and shade of the eventual tree in years to come, the prophet said, that is a good deed, it is leaving a good legacy for the next generation, as we have bequeathed from the previous one.
One of the unique qualities of Aga Khan is his ability to seamlessly blend the spiritual and the material worlds. Prophet Muhammad and Hazrat Ali, both preached moderation, and creating a balance between ascetic living and living for material comforts.
I drop things to read and listen to his speeches, it’s all about pluralism. I urge fellow humans to consider listening to him. His talks encompass the idea embedded in God being the God of the universes, not for the 47% but for the full 100% of his creation. Prophet Muhammad is the mercy to mankind, not just Muslims but the entire 100% of humanity, what he preached was to create cohesive societies, where no human had to live in fear of the other. The only fear he advocated was fear of God for doing wrong to fellow beings.
Aga Khan lives by example to his 15 Million plus followers around the world. The best way to learn about him is his work, the development work to uplift the ones in the ditches, his institution teaches them how to catch the fish and be self supporting. Visit www.akdn.org/ May he live a long life and serve his community, the Muslim community and every one of the 7 billion of humans.I am pleased to include Dr. Peerwani’s comment: Thank you Mike for posting this on His Highness the Aga Khan, a truly remarkable man. The Ismailies, as you are aware, follow the “batini” path and differ in some of the practices. It is truly sad that they are maligned and rejected by the orthodoxy. As the Arab Spring now moves into its second phase, acceptance of diversity will be the litmus test. Without this, there is no democracy.
Let me quote something from the speech of PM Harper of Canada:
“Your Highness, there are no superlatives to adequately describe the admiration Canadians have for the work that you and your organizations do in the service of pluralism, peace and development around the world. You truly inspire our own hopes for a better world. We Canadians are rightly proud of the fact that we have built one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse and harmonious societies on earth. This achievement is rooted in our founding values: freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
But it’s also rooted in our unique history and the heroic agreements our founding peoples made to acknowledge and accommodate their diversity. As you yourself have said, you’re Highness, and I quote, “We cannot make the world safe for democracy unless we also make the world safe for diversity.” If I may say so, sir, you sound like a Canadian. And in fact, you are. On June 19, 2009, our House of Commons voted unanimously to bestow Honorary Canadian Citizenship on His Highness the Aga Khan. This is, if I may say, a richly deserved honor.”
(Abstract from the Speech by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Foundation Ceremony of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto, May 10, 2010)