The history of the Ismaili Muslims is a richly-woven tapestry, reflecting numerous geographies, languages, cultures and centuries. Faith and ideas have found diverse expression in poetry, philosophy and architecture, amongst other disciplines. This pluralistic heritage is continually celebrated even as its spirit is harnessed to the contemporary world.
The Aga Khan Museum Collection, which has been travelling across Europe since 2007, will ultimately find its permanent home in a new museum being established in Toronto. Reflecting the diversity and pluralism that characterises the Muslim world, the artwork and objects that comprise the Collection are helping to foster a greater appreciation of our collective human heritage and shared history.
This year marks the 1 000th anniversary of the completion of Shahnama, The Book of Kings by Abu´l-Qasim Firdawsi. Consisting of some 60 000 verses, it is considered one of the longest and most important epic poems ever written. To commemorate its millenary, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston hosted a lecture that was co-sponsored by the Ismaili Council for the Southwestern USA.
In the 1990s, the Ismaili Centre, London hosted two major theatrical productions, but it wasn’t the first time that the grounds of the Centre had entertained thespian ambitions. TheIsmaili.org traces the history of the present-day site, which was once earmarked for the National Theatre.
A Golden Jubilee International Programme, RAYS OF LIGHT: Glimpses into the Ismaili Imamat is an exhibition that depicts 50 years of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Imamat, against the backdrop of the 1 400 year history of Ismaili Imamat.
When the Daily Nation was established in 1960, the newspaper business in Kenya was dominated by the colonial press, which did not represent the interests and aspirations of the local people. By staying true to its mission of helping the newly independent country discover its civic voice, the Nation emerged as the country’s most popular daily.
Salim and Sulaiman Merchant started their career composing “jingles” – short pieces for television advertisements. But a big break in 1997 led them to build a solid career in Bollywood, where they regularly compose songs and background music for high-profile films.
Following successful showings in Paris and Lisbon, RAYS OF LIGHT: Glimpses into the Ismaili Imamat had its North American debut in August in Atlanta. A Golden Jubilee International Programme, this exhibition depicts 50 years of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Imamat, against the backdrop of the 1 400 year history of Ismaili Imamat.
Alnoor Merchant from the IIS recently conducted a four-city lecture series on Muslim artistic, scientific, and architectural patronage. Captivating the audience with historic artefacts from the Aga Khan Museum collection, Merchant described the important role played by patrons in the history of Islamic art.
Sufi-inspired music is a rich and powerful medium through which Muslims have searched for spiritual inspiration for hundreds of years. Three Ismaili musicians discuss their pursuit of spiritual music and describe the benefits they have derived from it.
Some 200 guests gathered in December for the opening of a new Jamatkhana in Glenview, Illinois. Set on 9.3 acres of land, the 26 000 square foot facility includes a prayer hall, administrative offices, classrooms, and spaces for social gatherings.
In Islam, protection of the physical environment is one of humankind’s responsibilities. The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan organised a nationwide Friends of the Environment art competition to raise awareness about the importance of the natural environment and methods of preserving it.
During the six-month run of the Path of Princes exhibition at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, the Portuguese Jamat had the opportunity to explore our historical traditions and share their insights with the wider Portuguese society.
Construction of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat along Ottawa's historic Sussex Drive is nearing completion. Gary Kamemoto, Director of the architecture firm Maki and Associates, describes the vision and architectural ambition behind the building.
The Maputo Jamatkhana was once described by Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah as the best in Africa. Timeless in its design and beauty, the Jamatkhana testifies to the long history of the Ismaili Muslim community in Mozambique.
Heritage & Expressions
The Ismaili Council for the Southwestern United States in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Asia Society, Texas hosted an educational programme featuring master calligrapher, Mohamed Zakariya.
Sixteen members of the UK Jamat participated in “Excursions across cultures." They experienced the warm hospitality of the Syrian Jamat, as well as the rich and varied history of a land that has weaved together many different cultures over time.