Tamarind dhow, by Rashida Alibhai

Art has been shown to be of therapeutic value, creating a sense of calm, engaging creative areas of the brain and offsetting depression, especially in older adults, offering a valuable pastime for everyone to consider. Here, we feature the works of four artists, all senior members of the Jamat, who arrived in the US from different countries, and who display their cultural sensibilities in their colorful creations. 

Ismaili health professionals from the US trained doctors in Khorog on heart disease. Here, a doctor checks a patient's blood pressure.

Nestled at the base of the Pamir mountain range lies Gorno-Badakhshan (GBAO), a place of immense beauty within a harsh and rugged mountainous region — home of Nasir Khusraw. The population in Badakhshan is predominantly Ismaili and live in small villages along the slopes of the Pamirs or near the tributaries of the Pyanj River that divides Tajikistan from Afghanistan.

Members of the Canadian Jamat participate in a music video for the devotional song "Aaya Mawlana" written and composed by Zaheed Damani and Alya Bejaoui.

In 1978, the Canadian Jamat awaited Hazar Imam’s first visit to Canada with excitement. Shamshu Jamal, a talented Vancouver musician, expressed his joy on this blessed occasion by composing “Maara Mawla Canada Padhaarshe,” the devotional music piece that would go on to become an iconic musical tribute in the Canadian Ismaili community for generations.

Rafiq at the National Sawdust Concert, Brooklyn, New York, April 2018.

What is your first memory of music? Can you remember a time when you were so engrossed in a musical compilation that you forgot where you were physically? Many members of the Jamat use music as a connection to their heritage, their upbringing, and their community. In this article we will explore some of their stories.

Salim-Sulaiman perform at a Jubilee Concert in Houston, Texas.

Renowned artists and composers Salim and Sulaiman Merchant have obtained accolades in the Indian film industry and have performed in a number of prominent spaces including at the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Their memorable songs such as ‘Jubilee Mubarak’, ‘Ali Mawla’, and ‘Shukran Allah’, which were performed on the occasion of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee, still resonate in our minds. To coincide with the upcoming Aga Khan Music Awards, we spoke with the two brothers about their journey.

It is possible to coexist in a healthy way in both actual and virtual communities so long as balance is maintained and lines of communication remain open.

In today’s age, children are born into the world and in many cases the first thing they are exposed to by their parents is a smartphone to capture and share their newborn images. This is often an indication of things to come, where electronic devices become a consistent part of their lives. The presence of such devices mean that children are going online at a younger age, but what implications could this have?

Films from the Jubilee Arts International Film Festival, which took place in July 2018 during the Diamond Jubilee Celebration in Lisbon, are now available to view online at https://the.ismaili/jubilee-arts/IFF2018.

In this age of constant connectivity, there is both an expectation and perhaps a desire to always be contactable, in a plethora of ways.

It is estimated that at the end of 2018, 51.2 per cent of the global population, or 3.9 billion people, were using the Internet. While the Internet has brought about many positive changes, there have also been some undesirable effects of its growth and increased usage.

Late last year, a diverse group of interfaith leaders visited the Aga Khan Museum to explore its exhibitions, architecture, and facilities. As the United Nations has decreed the first week of February World Interfaith Harmony Week, The.Ismaili is pleased to share the experiences of these visitors in an article written by Ruth Broyde Sharone, first published on 15 November 2018 by The Interfaith Observer.

Professor Mona Siddiqui delivers the annual lecture commemorating Milad-un-Nabi on the topic of “Hospitality, Global Conflicts and Migration: From Divine Imperative to Social Conscience.”

On 15 January 2019, world-renowned public intellectual Professor Mona Siddiqui, OBE, delivered the annual lecture commemorating Milad-un-Nabi, to an audience of over 250 government and community leaders, academics, and members of the Jamat on the topic of “Hospitality, Global Conflicts and Migration: From Divine Imperative to Social Conscience.” 

Our days can become inundated by frivolous scrolling through endless social media feeds, and responding to a constant stream of messages.

The digital age has changed our lives in many parts of the world, inextricably tethering them to the Internet for the simplest to the most sophisticated of tasks. In the first of a new series of articles on how to use digital media safely, Altaf Jiwa outlines the role that the Internet and social media have come to play in our daily lives.

International Talent Showcase participants performed the official Jubilee Arts song at the finale of the event.

Performances from the Jubilee Arts International Talent Showcase, which took place in July 2018 during the Diamond Jubilee Celebration in Lisbon, are now available to view online at https://the.ismaili/jubilee-arts/ITS2018.

Dancers perform during the Rihla performance in Vancouver.

Audience members at Calgary’s Jack Singer Concert Hall were taken on an inspiring musical journey as Rihla: from Roots to Dreams completed its cross-Canada performance tour on 22 December 2018.

Jamati members from Uganda showcase their traditional dance at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The Jamat in Uganda consists of a blend of East and West, with Ismailis having settled in Uganda from various parts of the world including Belgium, Canada, India, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom. The various Jamati institutions in Uganda have drawn strength from this diversity and the knowledge and experience it brings, and have organised a number of initiatives to embrace diversity and pluralism within the Jamat and beyond.

While the forces of globalisation may have brought humanity’s inherent differences into sharper focus, the roots of this diversity lie in an ancient and divine imperative.

In our globalised world, people of different national, cultural, religious, and linguistic backgrounds interact with each other more and more every day. In such a world, the need for a generous outlook that allows us to live in mutual respect and harmony becomes more important than ever before. After all, the Holy Qur’an states that all of mankind has been created from a single soul.

Girl Guides and Boy Scouts plant trees together to commemorate Pakistan's 71st Independence Day.

In Islamic tradition, society is encouraged to leave behind a wholesome and sustainable natural environment for those who will inherit the Earth. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) is believed to have said "Even if the end of time is upon you and you have a seedling in your hand, plant it."

Sulaiman Hakimi and Jamil Ahmadi cycled across Canada while raising awareness and funds for the Breakfast Club of Canada.

Cycling across Canada to raise money for charity wasn’t the original plan for Sulaiman Hakimi and Jamil Ahmadi, both from Afghanistan, who came to the country as refugees over a decade ago.

Premier Rachel Notley and Mayor Naheed Nenshi visit residents currently living at Generations campus in Calgary.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Phase II of the Generations: Multi-Generational Housing and Community Centre campus on 3 November 2017.

In 2017, the Canadian Jamat is celebrating both the Diamond Jubilee as well as the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. In honour of these special occasions, the Jamat has pledged one million hours of service to improving quality of life in Canada as part of the Ismaili CIVIC 150 initiative.

Volunteers ventured out into stormy conditions to provide assistance in flood affected areas

Hurricane Harvey has been referred to as a "1,000-year flood," with its 50 inches of rainfall exceeding all records for the continental USA. It is estimated that damage from the storm will surpass that of hurricanes Sandy (New Jersey 2012) and Katrina (Louisiana 2005) combined. Volunteers have worked to reach Jamati members and others affected by the flooding, and to provide assistance with the recovery process.