Welcome to F.I.E.L.D.- the First Ismaili Electronic Library and Database.

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"Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah made his debut as an educational reformer, and visited The Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College in Aligarh (high fort), about 79 miles south-east of Delhi, on November 22, 1896 and had a productive meeting with Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (1817-1898), who was a great educationist and socialist. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan had founded the Aligarh College on November 1, 1875, and was the vice-President of the College Fund Committee as well as its Honorary Secretary. Willi Frischauer also writes in The Aga Khans (London, 1970, pp.

Tourism Promotion Services (TPS)

Tourism occupies a strategic position in AKFED's approach to economic development in the third world. It enables developing countries to use their advantages in climate and geography to revitalize local architectural and craft traditions. Tourism Promotion Services (TPS), AKFED's tourism development arm, was established in the early 1970s. Its first ventures were in Kenya, where Serena lodges and hotels are now recognized as leaders for the quality of their services, architecture and ecological sensitivity.


"Title is a name indicative of eminence, affording special distinction to the holder. Every title appears to have meaning or derivation from a word expressive of quality and historical background. Likewise, Imam Hasan Ali Shah, the 46th Imam was the bearer of the title Aga Khan. Fateh Ali Shah, the Qajari emperor invested him in 1818 in Tehran. Henceforward, he and his successors became known by this title. How this title was invested? What is its origin and meaning? We will discuss these points as under.


"The term lakab (pl. alkab) was also termed nabaz (pl. anbaz), and by form labaz, and later on it became lakab. The ancient Arabs excelled in inventing nasty alkab for their enemies, but the Koran (49:11) forbade them not to use pejorative sobriquets: "Do not scoff at each other or give each other derisory nicknames" (wala talmizu anfusakum wala tanabazu bi 'l-alkab).


The word arsh occurred seven times in the Koran (7:54, 10:3, 13:2, 20:5, 25:59, 32:4 and 57:4). It literally means a thing erected for shade or anything roofed. The royal court or the sitting place of the monarch is also called arsh on account of its eminence.

Financial Institutions

AKFED provides an institutional umbrella for a number of leading finance and insurance companies in Africa and Asia. Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah founded most of these as small self-help companies in the first half of this century. During this period, colonial financial institutions had neither the interest nor the ability to provide banking services and insurance to the small traders and farmers of the community. At the outset, most of the self-help companies were financed by contributions from the Ismaili community to mark the successive jubilees i.e.


"Five months after his arrival in Medina, it was the Prophet's next task to find shelter and livelihood for the men who had accompanied him from Mecca. In their own home-town many of them were prosperous, but now they were all equally destitute. As a preliminary step, the Prophet enjoined the Muslims of Medina, now known as Ansar (the helpers) to adopt as brothers their co-religionists from Mecca, now known as Muhajir (the refugees), to share with them like their own kith and kin whatever they possessed, in prosperity and in want.


The word asas literally means base or foundation, referring to the successor of the Prophet. The institution of the Imamate is a cornerstone and paramount position in Ismaili tariqah, and according to their theory, the seven millennial periods (adwar'i azam) form a part of a great cycle of 360,000 years. At its end, during the last period of 7000 years, there were six natiqs (speakers, pronouncers or law-givers), viz. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, the last Prophet. They are the seven lawgivers.


The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) coordinates the Network's cultural activities, which focus upon building and spaces in societies in which Muslims have a significant presence. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, these are the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) and the Historic Cities Support Programme (HCSP). The Trust also supports the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the United States.


"The word ahl al-bayt occurs twice in the Koran: "The mercy of God and His blessing are on you, O people of the house, ..." (11:73). This verse refers to the people of the house of Abraham (Kashf al-Asrar wa Uddat al-Abrar, 4:416), and to the house of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): "God desires only to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying (33:33)".


"The year 1324/1906 marks the cleavage and culmination of Muslim politics in the subcontinent, when Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah led the Muslim delegation and met Lord Minto (1845-1914), the Viceroy of India from 1905, at Simla to demand the political rights of the Muslims of India. The deputation to the Viceroy consisted of the most influential leaders, such as Mohsin al-Mulk, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Sir Ali Imam, Sir Muzammallah Khan, Sir Rafiquddin Ahmad, Sir Muhammad Shafi, Sir Abdul Rahim, Sir Salimullah, Justice Shah Din, etc.


The word sabab (pl. asbab) means reason or cause, and nuzul means revealed. The term marifah asbab al-nuzul is the knowledge about the reason of the revelation, i.e., knowledge about the particular event and circumstances that are related to the revelation of particular passage from the Koran. The Koran revealed piece by piece in the period of 22 years, 5 months and 24 days. The Muslim exegetes maintained that pieces of it were revealed in response to, or as reflections of, certain situations in the life of the Prophet.

Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA)

It was the Imam's own involvement in construction in developing countries during the 1960s and 1970s that evoked his concern with the deteriorating architectural heritage and inappropriate building practices in many Muslim societies. To sensitize those who build in the developing world to the unique heritage of Muslim history and architecture, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) was founded in 1977. The goal of the Award is to recognize outstanding architectural achievements in all the different cultures and communities of the Muslim world.


"According to Islamic law, the non-Muslims inhabited in the Islamic state were called ahlu dh-dhimmati (people of protection) or simply al-dhimma or dhimmis. They included the Christian, Jewish, Magian, Samaritan and Sabian. Ahl al-dhimma were prohibited in the Muslim state from holding public religious ceremonies, from raising their voices loudly when praying and even from ringing their church bells aloud.


Allah is the proper or personal name (ism dhat) of the Divine Being, as distinguished from all other names which are called asma' al-sifat or names denoting attributes. The word Allah occurs 2702 times in the Koran, such as Allahu 980 times, Allaha 592 times, Allahi 1125 times and Allahumma 5 times. It is also known as the greatest name of God (ism a'zam).

Architectural Education Program

In 1979, the Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) established the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) with grants of some $. 12 million from the Imam. It mandate is to educate architects, planners, teachers and researchers who can contribute to building and design, which meet the needs of Muslim societies today. The professorships, scholarships and projects of the Program are supported by its endowment fund and by grants from the Trust.

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