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The title deeds of the Cromwell Gardens were presented to the National Theatre Committee in 1938 by Bernard Shaw as part of a custom known as “The Ceremony of the Twig and the Sod”.

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. 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.

Stan Denman, Managing Director of Nation Printers and Publishers (now NMG), with Mawlana Hazar Imam and Vin Duncan, Production Manager of Nation Newspapers in 1981.

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.

The Rays of Light photographic exhibition depicts 50 years of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Imamat.

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 addresses the audience at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

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.

Shabnam Merali performs before a live audience.

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.

The ceiling light feature in the Prayer Hall consists of seven heptagonal (seven-sided) figures, visible in this close-up.

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.

Forest cutting leaves animals homeless: A participant from southern Pakistan expressing herself at the regional competition.

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.

The “Path of Princes” exhibition was held at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon.

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.

The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat is being built along Sussex Drive in Ottawa, Canada.

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.

Full front view of the Maputo Jamatkhana in Mozambique. Note the glass-walled minarets.

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

Zakariya demonstrating the art of calligraphy during the workshop session.

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.

The colonnade (1.2 km long) at Palmyra dating back almost 2000 years

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.

Ulzhan Baibussynova and Ardak Issataeva play the dombra and sing traditional Kazakh songs

A profile of the AKMICA sponsored concert tour in the USA which featured three musical traditions from Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Each tradition displayed a common thread that linked the cultures with music that has been used to express social identity and preserve spiritual beliefs.

Spirit & Life: Masterpieces of Islamic Art from the Aga Khan Museum Collection. Cover of exhibition catalogue print version published by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC)

Currently touring Europe, rare masterpieces of Islamic art, from the Aga Khan Museum Collection are contributing to a wider understanding of Islam's rich artistic and cultural history. The Aga Khan Museum Collection has been appreciated by not only the Jamat but also members of the general public.


Whether as ancient artefacts, or contemporary jewellery, the ubiquitous bead continues to have a fascinating appeal around the world. There have always been people who value special bones, stones, shells, seeds and beads for their magical qualities. By incorporating beads into the cultural fabric of their lives, native people worldwide have given us a marvellously textured view of history. Fariyal Jiwa recounts her foray into this world of beads which have been employed by many people for many purposes.