Aga Khan's 77th birthday Celebrations – Khushali Greetings to the Pluralist Icon of the world

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 Khushali Greetings to Ismaili Muslims and HH Aga Khan

child, teen and an adult has someone or the other that he or she looks up
to, and wants to-be-like that person and eventually becomes one. A good
role model is a key to the success of a civil society. Indeed we have a
few good men and women who are great role models for Muslims to look up

His Highness Aga Khan is one Muslim figure that is
respected around the world for his work in uplifting fellow beings; the
very foundational duty of a Muslim. Quran is inundated with verses that
always end emphasizing on taking care of fellow beings over everything
else. In simple words, a mother or a father would be happier if their
kids get along, and they would be even happier if the one doing well were to
lift up the other siblings who were not doing well. Similarly God will be most
pleased if we take care our fellow beings;his creation.

Indeed, His
Highness Aga Khan has pleased God of the Aalameen (of all people) with his work. His
work is not limited to one community, but the whole humanity as God wanted and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had reiterated.


is an inspiration to me, and among the living pluralists today he is
one of the few who has actually taken the steps to build an educational
system, the Global Center for Pluralism  in Canada to bring about a positive change
in the world. Harvard University is
another institution that has done extensive research on Pluralism with
Diana Eck. And now, God willing, I am looking forward to
setting up an Institution to conduct workshops and teach pluralism based
on my twenty years of studies of societies,  and I
welcome all the help I can.

It is our duty to honor and cherish
individuals who have dedicated their lives in building bridges between
communities. Their pioneering spirit in facilitating communities to know
and to respect each other must be appreciated (Quran 49:13).

Through their
speeches, actions and writings, I have identified a few men and women
who are inherent pluralists such as HH Aga Khan, Pope Francis, Karen
Armstrong, Barack Obama, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Dalai Lama, Bishop Tutu,
Eboo Patel, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Pope Francis and a few others.
Thank God, Pluralism runs in my veins, and I hope to work with these great men and
women in the coming years to foster Pluralism; i.e., respecting the
otherness of others.

 On his 77th Birthday, I urge fellow
Muslims to work on writing about these men and women, and how their work
can last for centuries to come. Aga Khan’s speeches and writings must become a
part of social studies in school text books, Islamic social education
at Mosques and private schools.  He is our role model!

The role of Muslims is to contribute towards the well being of humanity,
to be  conflict mitigaters and goodwill nurturers. To aim for a
secure world for every human. God wants us to live in peace and harmony
with his creation; life and matter.

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 Hazrat Ali (ra),
who was the first cousin of Prophet Muhammad, and the first Imam in Shia

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

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 living interpreter of Qur’an and provides authoritative guidance on
matters of faith to the Ismaili Muslims.

Khushali is a weeklong
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. 

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 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.

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:
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.

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)

Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on Pluralism, Interfaith,
Islam and building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions
on issues of the day. His work is all linked up at
and published in major news papers and magazine including his blog –


A few of the
many articles published at,
a site committed to nurturing pluralist
values of Islam.
  1. Aga Khan and Malala, the Muslim role Models
  2. The book, where hope takes root by
    Aga Khan
  3. Aga Khan – Indeed building bridges is part of the Muslim
    heritage, as Muslims, our role is to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill.
    The Aga Khan is doing just that
  4. Aga Khan, fifty years of Imamat
  5. Aga Khan Speech about balance
  6. Khushali Mubarak and Happy Imamat Day
  7. Global Religious leaders
  8. Architect of universal good

  9. Shia Imami Muslims

  10. Criticism of Islam, Prophet and Quran

  11. Respecting Muslim Caliphs (Khalifa), Imams
    and decidersThe most persecuted communities among Muslims
    today are the Ahmadiyya Muslims followed by Shia Muslims by Sunni
    Muslims.  We know it is not Islamic to be unjust, oppressive and harassive
    towards others, Muslims or otherwise, but yet it is going on in Pakistan,
    Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and even in India.  As a
    Muslim, it is my duty to speak up, and if all of us do our share of speaking
    up, at least we have fulfilled the responsibility to enjoin what is good and
    forbid what is evil. 

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