Saturday, December 14, 2013

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

 Khushali Greetings to Ismaili Muslims and HH Aga Khan
 URL -

Every 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 to. 

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.

He 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.

HH 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 tradition.

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 justice.

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. 

He 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.

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. Visit

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:
Thank 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.

But 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)

Mike 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.  



  1. Thank you for this excellent tribute to His Highness the Aga Khan.

    I would like to draw your attention to our website, the NanoWisdoms Archive of Imamat Speeches, Interviews and Writings located at:

    Launched in 2011, upon receiving special permission from Aiglemont to publish His Highness the Aga Khan's speeches, the NanoWisdoms Archive is a unique website dedicated solely to the Ismaili Imamat's speeches, interviews and writings.

    With over 500 readings -- from,,,,,, printed materials, media Web sites and other sources -- and 1,000 quotes, the Archive is the most comprehensive, public collection of the Aga Khan's speeches and interviews available today.

    In particular your readers may wish to review the following selections you've highlighted:

    Gulf News Interview, Ashfaq Ahmed, ‘Aga Khan: The architect of universal good’ (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) 18 April 2008

    ‘Where Hope Takes Root – Democracy and Pluralism in an Interdependent World’: Book of His Highness the Aga Khan’s speeches and interviews (Canada) January 2008

  2. Respected Agha Khan is like the Pope to the Muslims. So the fanatic Muslims instead of trying to marginalise him and his followers must merge . That is the only way those fanatics who think , they are only correct, can be corrected themselves.
    Mike you have described very succinctly the relationship of God to Humanity. As a relationship of father to his children. A father will be happy to see his son being kind , merciful, and of service to all his children. A father will not be happy to see a son , flattering or being nice to the father on one hand and then being abusive and mean to other children of his on the other hand.. That is the most simple and meaningful understand of our relationship to God and Fellow Human Being.



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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.