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.
Anticipation has been growing in the United Arab Emirates since the announcement in October that the country will host the presentation ceremony of the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Over the past few weeks, members of the Jamat have been learning about the Award, discussing the winning projects and visiting an exhibition at the site of the forthcoming award ceremony.
As the winners of the 13th cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture were announced, TheIsmaili.org’s Elisha Nathoo sat down with Professor Hanif Kara, a member of the Steering Committee to talk about what the Award has achieved in the nearly four decades since it was established.
At the end of February, a group of Ismailis toured the National Assembly complex in Dhaka. They discovered that the Louis Kahn-designed winner of the 1989 Aga Khan Award for Architecture remains a formidable presence in the architectural consciousness of Bangladesh.
For the next 15 years, objects from one of the world’s largest private collections of Islamic art are on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art. An event introducing the first exhibition from the collection opened in September 2015 with a special performance by the Ismaili Muslim Youth Choir of Dallas.
The halls of the Académie Diplomatique Internationale in Paris were filled with the mystical music of the Pamir mountains during a concert given by the Badakhshan Ensemble last month. Organised by the Ismaili Council for France in conjunction with the Aga Khan Music Initiative, the performance captivated members of the Jamat.
The Co-Director of the IIS, Dr Farhad Daftary was recently in Mumbai to launch two new publications that trace the progress of modern Ismaili studies from the contributions of Wladimir Ivanow to contemporary times. The event was an opportunity for bridge-building among communities that share a common history.
When Vladimir Djurovic received the commission to design the Aga Khan Park in Toronto, he travelled to gardens in different parts of the Muslim world. In an interview he gave to TheIsmaili.org, the landscape architect describes the essence of this new greenspace, which will be formally inaugurated on Monday.
Over the past decades, Mawlana Hazar Imam has visited India to meet with the country’s leaders, review the progress of Aga Khan Development Network initiatives, and launch new projects. This photo gallery showcases some of his visits over the years.
Cairo has been the talk of Toronto — at least in the halls of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Ismaili Centre. Through a series of lectures, leading scholars have been journeying into the thousand-year-old city, describing how it has been reshaped over the centuries, and sharing the historic impressions recorded by medieval visitors in their writings.
The opening ceremony of the Aga Khan Museum took place on 12 September 2014, following the opening of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto earlier in the afternoon by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mawlana Hazar Imam. They also marked the opening of the museum, together with Prince Amyn and the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. Among the distinguished guests at the ceremony were Prince Rahim, Princess Salwa, and Prince Hussain, former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, government leaders, diplomats, and leaders of Jamati and Imamat institutions.
Toronto, 12 September 2014 — The Aga Khan Museum shall be “a gateway into the history and artistic traditions of the Muslim world,” announced Prince Amyn, Vice-Chair of the museum’s Board of Directors. He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Toronto museum in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Despite its exquisite collection of Islamic art, objects are not the sole focus of the Aga Khan Museum. When it opens its doors on 18 September, the museum will showcase the diversity of performance and visual arts that are celebrated in the cultures of Muslim civilisations.
Born in 965 CE, Ibn al-Haytham is considered by many to be the world’s first scientist. He also invented the camera obscura, the earliest avatar of the modern digital camera that you carry around in your pocket.
Nasir Khusraw was a major Muslim intellectual, philosopher and traveller of the 11th century, and a prominent Shia Ismaili Da‘i. A new digital resource from The Institute of Ismaili Studies makes his famous Safar-nama accessible in a way that it never has been before.
Three decades is a relatively short period in the history of a university, but the impact that the Aga Khan University has had in its formative years is not to be underestimated. And while the institution may be young, its spirit is far older.
As the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada honours Mawlana Hazar Imam with their Gold Medal, Mehnaz Thawer explores how the Imam has demonstrated that architecture can extend beyond the structural, the functional and the aesthetic. It can give shape to cultural values, traditions, aspirations, and be a bedrock for sustainable development.
The Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre, Kinshasa is a contemporary complex that blends timeless traditional design principles. It provides an environment for spiritual contemplation and reflection, and represents a new milestone in the long history of the Congolese Jamat, which continues to build on its pioneering spirit in a country of growing opportunity.
Scheduled to open in Toronto in the summer of 2014, the Aga Khan Museum has embarked on a tour to introduce itself in major American centres. As the first museum in North America dedicated to the Islamic Arts, it is using the opportunity to demonstrate that despite being separated by centuries of history, ancient works and the knowledge they carry within them, remain relevant to us today.
In 1970s, a group of intellectuals came together at Aiglemont, France, to bend their minds towards a pressing problem: how to arrest the decline of architectural traditions across the Muslim world and help these societies rediscover the confidence to shape their built environments in the image of their own values and identities? Journalist Ayesha Daya describes how the questions they raised, their deliberations and debates gave way to the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
In the 36 years since the Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established, it has recognised a broad array of projects, from office towers to affordable housing developments; the restoration of heritage to radical innovations in the built environment. But what the winning projects have in common is that each is an example of how architecture can make society a better place to live, says journalist Ayesha Daya.