Ismaili Muslims Celebrate The Birthday of Aga Khan On December 13th

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On December 13th Ismaili Muslims all over the world celebrate the birthday of His Highness the Aga Khan.  We join in their rejoicing and wish His Highness and his followers “Salgirah Mubarak”.

His Highness the Aga Khan became Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims on July 11, 1957 at the age of 20, succeeding his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan. He is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims and a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) through his cousin and son-in-law, Ali, the first Imam, and his wife Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter.

The Aga Khan spent his early childhood in Nairobi, Kenya, and then attended Le Rosey School in Switzerland for nine years. He graduated from Harvard University in 1959 with a BA Honors Degree in Islamic history.

Like his grandfather Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan before him, the Aga Khan has, since assuming the office of Imamat in 1957, been concerned about the well-being of all Muslims, particularly in the face of the challenges of rapid historical changes. Today, the Ismailis live in some 25 countries, mainly in West and Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as in North America and Western Europe.

The Aga Khan has always emphasised that diversity and pluralism are strengths rather than weaknesses. In keeping with his confidence in the pluralistic history, traditions and policiesof Canada, he has set up in Canada, the Global Centre for Pluralism, a research and education institute to be owned and operated by the Aga Khan Development Network in Canada as a non-denominational, non-profit, Canadian organization dedicated to fostering pluralism in developing countries.

Reflecting his commitment to Canada, the Aga Khan has also setupa number of other projects in Canada. These include the Ismaili Centre Toronto, the Aga Khan Museum, and their park. The Aga Khan Museum, devoted to Islamic art, is an educational institution showcasing the intellectual, cultural, artistic and religious heritage of Muslim civilizations with their historic, cultural and geographic diversity. The Aga Khan Museum has been designed by the award-winning Japanese architect, Fumihiko Maki, who also designed the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa.

The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat on Sussex Drive in Ottawa serves as a representational role for the Imamat and the AKDN’s nine non-denominational, philanthropic, development agencies.

We rejoice in celebrating the happy occasion of  His Highness’ birthday alongside his followers in Canada and all over the world and wish them all “Salgirah Mubarak”.

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