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www.ismaili.net :: View topic - Aga Khan - Imam - Life of Selfless service of both Din and D
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Aga Khan - Imam - Life of Selfless service of both Din and D

 
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:59 pm    Post subject: Aga Khan - Imam - Life of Selfless service of both Din and D Reply with quote

"..An Imam is not expected to withdraw from everyday life. On the contrary, he’s expected to protect his community and contribute to their quality of life. Therefore, the notion of the divide between faith and world is foreign to Islam. The Imamat does not divide world and faith. That’s very little understood outside Islam. In the West, your financial systems are all built around that divide. ..."
– Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV,
(Vanity Fair Interview, James Reginato, ‘The Aga Khan’s Earthly Kingdom’, NanoWisdoms
http://www.nanowisdoms.org/nwblog/10388/)
In accordance with his mandate, the Aga Khan performs the functions of Imamat throughout his entire life. The Aga Khan’s Imamat duties are the highest priority in his life and encompass all of his mental and physical energies:
For me, the notion of holidays does not exist. I must fulfill my function of Imam without cessation until my death. A minister can go [on vacation]: someone assures his interim during the months when he goes on leave. This is not the case for me. The function of the Imam is attached to my person: I have to give myself entirely to the activity which it symbolizes; to try apprehending everything which the human intellect can remember.
– Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV
(Elle Magazine Interview [translation from French], August 20, 1969, NanoWisdoms
http://www.nanowisdoms.org/nwblog/1527/)
A Day in the Life of the Aga Khan

Since the 11th of July, 1957 my aims and ambitions have been devoted to help and guide my spiritual children in spiritual and worldly matters.
– Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV,
(Karachi, December 13, 1964; Source: Simerg)

Today the most repeated descriptions used by various news and media outlets term the Aga Khan as a “billionaire playboy”, “billionaire philanthropist”, “son of a playboy”, “lavish”, or “extravagant”.

Meanwhile, the Imam’s daily toil and hard work continues to be ignored for the most part in the Western media as noted by his biographer Willi Frischauer:
Little of all this percolated to Europe, where the Aga Khan continued to be regarded simply as a rich young man, less of a playboy than his father, less of a character than his grandfather but as a handsome, pleasant young aristocrat eminently eligible for a place in the gossip columns.
– Willi Frischauer, (The Aga Khans, 272)
Due to the intrusions and constant interference of the Western press, the Ismaili Imam had to adjust his daily activities and take numerous precautions. Consequently, the Aga Khan no longer lives a normal private and social life that most people are entitled to. In his own words, the Imam describes to Sports Illustrated the measures he has had take in order to avoid the intrusive media:
I take all sorts of precautions when I go out with friends. I have taught myself not to show any emotion in public places. I never sit next to a woman with whom the press is trying to link me. Here in Gstaad I go often to a bistro outside the village for a fondue because the proprietor will not let anyone take pictures in his establishment. I stopped going to certain Paris theatres because I discovered they were tipping off the press to my presence. I realise that I may seem extreme on the subject, but do not forget that my mail has been stolen and my servants bribed. Close personal friends have taken private snapshots of me in my home and then sold them to magazines. I have been blackmailed on the telephone.


All I desire is to have my private life respected. Is that unreasonable?
– Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV,
(Sports Illustrated Interview, August 10, 1964, NanoWisdoms
http://www.nanowisdoms.org/nwblog/10341/)
As for the slanderous reports about him in tabloids, the Ismaili Imam pays no attention to such “smears” and instead focuses on his work and mission:
I have always refused to talk about my private life. Any public man must have the right to have a private life and keep it private. In the West, intrusion into personal and private affairs is widely tolerated; this is not so in the East. Articles such as I have in mind do nothing for a public enlightenment; they are just a way of selling a magazine to a certain type of reader interested in such things.
– Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV,
(Sunday Telegraph Magazine Interview, ‘The Quiet Prince of Islam’, May 27, 1979, NanoWisdoms,br>http://www.nanowisdoms.org/nwblog/1916/)
The Myth of the Aga Khan’s Affluence

I do not seek to do things, in fact I have stayed away from things which did not seem to me to be good sense, where it was affluence for the sake of affluence.
– Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV
As for the Western media’s relentless charge that the Aga Khan lives an ‘lavish’ or ‘affluent life’, the Ismaili Imam has answered and dismissed the veracity of these claims on multiple occasions.
I am not affected by suggestions in print that I live a luxurious Western life, while most Ismailis live in underdeveloped Eastern countries (he went on).

These are just smears by cheap magazines.
Serious publications are aware of the work we do and of our achievements in many countries. Such smear stories never appear in Asian publications.– Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV,
(Sunday Telegraph Magazine Interview, ‘The Quiet Prince of Islam’, May 27, 1979, NanoWisdoms
http://www.nanowisdoms.org/nwblog/1916/)
GB: It is often suggested that your affluent lifestyle is very different from that of most Ismailis who live mostly in the poverty of the Third World. Do you think that is a fair comment?

Aga Khan: I think that affluence is perhaps the wrong terminology. I do not seek to do things, in fact I have stayed away from things which did not seem to me to be good sense, where it was affluence for the sake of affluence. I’ll give you an example. I have a private aircraft, but that aircraft today is flying between 450 and 600 hours a year. You take 600 hours of time — that translates into approximately two months of working days.

I cannot afford, nor can people who work in my organisation, to eliminate two months of working time…if you have to run an organisation in as diverse areas as I do there are certain things you’ve got to do to be efficient.

When you talk about extremely poor people, of course there are poor people throughout the developing world and there will be poor people for years and years.

I think they would ask whether the Imamat as an institution was helping them as best as it could and I think it would be true to say that the Imamat is assisting them.– Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV,
(The Age Interview, ‘Aga Khan: Enigma of East and West’, July 14, 1979, NanoWisdoms
http://www.nanowisdoms.org/nwblog/10329/)
Each decision involved big issues. Symbolising the expansion of his interests, he [the Aga Khan] took delivery of the new Gruman Gulfstream jet, twice the size and cost of the old Mystere: “It will enable me to visit my community more frequently,” he told me.
– Willi Frischauer, (The Aga Khans, 281)
At the personal level, the Aga Khan does not live affluently at all. During his final year at Harvard, when the Imam completed the last 1.5 years of study in just 2 semesters, the Aga Khan owned no car and took public transit despite having access to the funds of the Imamat. Even his Harvard roommate Stevenson noticed how the Imam owned very little in personal assets:
MHI on Boston Subway
“K. Khan,” Stevenson said, “was a charming fellow with a cracking wit.’ According to his roommate, he did not go in much for clothes and became known as “that guy who had only one pair of shoes”. “During the time I knew him,” said Stevenson, “he owned two suits but I never saw either of them pressed. He had about two dozen neckties but they were all the same colour.”
– Willi Frischauer, (The Aga Khans, 191)
Decades later in 1970, the Imam’s mother continues to note how it is impossible to convince the Aga Khan to even buy a new suit and the Imam’s friends have noticed how there are holes in his shoes:
Sacrifices: The Aga Khan’s Personal and Family Life

Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, Aga Khan looks on during the inauguration ceremony of The Aga Khan Academy in Hyderabad on September 20, 2013. The Academy is the second in a global network of day and residential schools being established across South and Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and aims to develop home-grown leaders with a strong sense of ethics and civic responsibility. AFP PHOTO/ Noah SEELAM
Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, Aga Khan looks on during the inauguration ceremony of The Aga Khan Academy in Hyderabad on September 20, 2013. The Academy is the second in a global network of day and residential schools being established across South and Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and aims to develop home-grown leaders with a strong sense of ethics and civic responsibility. AFP PHOTO/ Noah SEELAM
I hope to reorganise my life so as to have a little more time to be with my wife — and my children — though not at the expense of the community.
– Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV
Fulfilling the mandate of the Imamat, being responsible for the spiritual and material well-being of millions of souls, and working tirelessly to raise quality of life is an impossible task for any normal human being.
Nevertheless, the Ismaili Imam has taken on this mission despite the immense sacrifice and toll on his personal and family life:
Anyone facing a difficult situation has a certain solitude. But my days are occupied. I have no time to think about myself. I have moments of fatigue, of worry, but without having the feeling of abandonment. I am engaged. I have to weigh, reflect, seek to make a wise decision. But with my advisors, I escape isolation. Responsibility is a burden which we love. I received from my grandfather heavy responsibilities, but they are not weighty. It is not a burden. It is a pleasure to devote oneself to such a community, to work for people. Responsibilities are a burden we love to bear.
My social life is practically nonexistent. As an owner of racehorses, I can be in the galleries of the day Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, is all. In the summer I can be on the beach in Sardinia but practically all my time is devoted to the Ismailis in Sardinia. In Muslim life, you have to live life everyday. It was therefore impossible to stay cloistered, away from even mundane events.
– Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV,
(Elle Magazine Interview [translation from French], August 20, 1969, NanoWisdoms
http://www.nanowisdoms.org/nwblog/1527/)
The demands of the Imam’s mission and extensive work have also taken a toll on his family life.
The Imam even makes his decisions on whom and when to get married based on the well being of the Ismaili Muslim community.
The Aga Khan even gives the Ismaili community greater priority in his life than his own wife and children.
The Aga Khan’s biographer Willi Frischauer records the Imam saying the following when he married his first wife Begum Salima in 1969:
The Aga Khan and Begum Salima
I would not marry a woman who I did not believe could help me. I hope to reorganise my life so as to have a little more time to be with my wife — and my children — though not at the expense of the community.
– Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV,
(Willi Frischauer, The Aga Khans, 283)
In an interview given ten years after his first marriage, the Imam described how his spiritual and material responsibilities keep him away from seeing his wife and children:
Aga Khan: The burden of work and travel is very severe.
So although I am extremely fortunate to have a wonderful wife and children, I can’t spend as much time with them as I wish.
But I hope to have more time for my family later on. (Interviewer:
He said exactly the same on the eve of his wedding ten years ago).
(Sunday Telegraph Magazine Interview, ‘The Quiet Prince of Islam’, May 27, 1979, NanoWisdoms
http://www.nanowisdoms.org/nwblog/1916/)
The Aga Khan’s Financial Sacrifices:

Hundreds of Millions of Dollars over 50 Years

MHI in India villagers
The Imamat revenue is given by the community to the Imam.
He has a responsibility to manage the Imamat revenue….
I would say easily 98% of those funds, and in fact at times much more than 98%, in fact probably of the order of 150%, goes back to the community…and in fact, as I said, the Imamat is spending on many occasions more than it actually has.
– Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV
(BBC Radio 4 Interview, 6 September 1979, NanoWisdoms
http://www.nanowisdoms.org/nwblog/1988/)
Since he became the Imam of the Ismaili Muslims in 1957, the Aga Khan has received religious dues from his followers called zakat or dasond.
These religious dues are given to the Imam by his murids as a key practice of Shia Islam and the Imam manages and spends the religious dues on the community and institutional development that benefits all people.
However, the religious dues given by the Ismaili Muslims are never sufficient to cover these needs and the Aga Khan has consistently drawn upon his own personal funds to support the institutional needs of the Ismaili Muslims and other communities.
From 1960 to the present day, there are a number of documented examples of the Imam spending his own money to sustain the institutions of the Ismaili Muslim Community and the Aga Khan Development Network. Just a few of these instances are listed below courtesy of The Essential Ismaili:
The Aga Khan (1960-1969): over £10,000,000 in various projects

1960: The Aga Khan personally injects £300,000 into Diamond Jubilee Investment Trust when it suffered a shortage of liquidity. 10
1960: The Aga Khan goes on a “spending spree”, remarking that “I want to use as much as possible of my money for the benefit of the community.”
He provides £200,000 for two textile factories, 50 auto-rickshaws, equipment for a canvas factory whose profit supported the Girls Academy.
He donated funds to create the Prince Aly Khan Library at Karachi University and approved plans for a huge new jamatkhana in Garden district of Karachi. 11
1960: The Aga Khan starts discussions to launch an East African newspaper for which he was prepared to invest £1,000,000. 12
1963: The Aga Khan starts planning to launch I.P.S. “The amount needed to launch three East African I.P.S. companies — in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika — was £1 million but when, even at this late stage, doubts were raised, the Aga Khan simply said:
‘I will finance it!’ and — proof of his confidence in ultimate success — put up nearly the whole amount.” 13 When a project under consideration by I.P.S. was not financially viable and local officials said
“There is no market, Your Highness, it will not pay. You will never get your money back.”
The Aga Khan replied, “Never mind, my spiritual children expect me to help them — whatever the cost, help them I shall!”
Late 1960s: The Aga Khan committed to fund the £4.5 million to £5 million required for the Aga Khan Hospital and Medical College in Karachi, but agreed to let others have the opportunity to participate.
1965: The Aga Khan was considering “investments of two or three million pounds in individual African countries” because, he said,
“I would put money in if I also felt it would help the community that’s living there.
But this would be my own investment, a personal thing.”
1969: The Aga Khan marries, remarking that the community would still come first: “I hope to re-organise my life so as to have a little more time to be with my wife — and my children — though not at the expense of the community.”
The Aga Khan (2007-2012): $140 million of personal funds poured into just the Aga Khan University over just 4 years

2007: The Aga Khan covers $25.8 million of the Aga Khan University’s $26.2 million operating deficit for 2007.
2008: The Aga Khan covers the Aga Khan University’s $27.1 million operating deficit for 2008 plus an extra $5 million.
2008: The Aga Khan covers the $46.2 million cost, entirely, of the Heart & Cancer Centre, Nairobi.
2011: The Aga Khan covers $17.0 million of Aga Khan University’s $20.0 million operating deficit for 2011.
2012: The Aga Khan covers $17.0 million of Aga Khan University’s $19.0 million operating deficit for 2012.
The Secret of the Aga Khan: A Selfless Life of Service

The Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims, is applauded as he arrives to deliver an address in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, February 27, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick ORG XMIT: POS2014022714475975
The Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims, is applauded as he arrives to deliver an address in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, February 27, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick ORG XMIT: POS2014022714475975
We are honouring an exceptional man. We are honouring a great friend of humanity, a courageous visionary, a builder of bridges between religions and society.”
(His Excellency Dr. Frank Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister, on presenting the 2006 Tolerance Award of the Evangelical Academy of Tutzing, Germany – May 20, 2006)
Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV has been widely recognized for his efforts in providing spiritual guidance and material assistance to the Ismaili Muslims, who are today spread over 25 countries, and for his vast contributions to quality of life in various communities worldwide:

https://youtu.be/IQHD7Wsuc1Y
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