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.

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.

Murad Abdullah, President of the Ismaili Council for the Southeast, and Gulzar Ajani, Community Building member for the Ismaili Council, pose with panelists and volunteers who organized the Ivy League Connect.

For most, education is still a foundation of future success hence the emphasis on a quality education and excellence by Mawlana Hazar Imam. For those who can gain admission and afford the tuition, the group of eight prestigious institutions comprising the Ivy League represent some of the oldest and highest quality targets for higher education in America. Although many other colleges also offer excellent education and academic rigor at substantially less cost, many families consider an Ivy League education an unparalleled opportunity to be surrounded by some of the most academically gifted students and professors.

All New Yorkers were invited to a community Navroz celebration at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

A Navroz Celebration for New York City, through crafts and music activities that showcase the diversity of expression in the Ismaili community.

A selection of the IIS books donated to the Boston Public Library in January.

As an act of goodwill, community outreach, and to better inform the public about Islam and Shia Islam in particular, the Boston Jamat donated a selection of books published by the Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) to the Boston Public Library (BPL) system in January 2019.

Group picture of the Lock-In participants and staff

Over 80 participants and staff from the Midwest converged in the Chicago Jamatkhana Social Hall for a Lock-In, on February 9, 2019, an all-night event that started after evening Jamatkhana ceremonies and ended in the morning. With a primary goal of community-building, the night comprised of interactive activities, competitions, discussion sessions and much more to keep all participants and staff engaged and energetic.

Faith and Ethics

Shi`i Ismaili Muslims are unique in following a living, hereditary Imam (spiritual leader), whom they believe to be directly descended from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family). The Imam's duty has been to guide his community with Islamic principles that apply to the needs of the time. In this insightful book, M. Ali Lakhani examines how the ideas and actions of the current Ismaili Imam, and fourth Aga Khan, Prince Karim al-Hussaini, provide an Islamic response to the challenges that face Muslims in the modern era. 

Afshi Charania

Four Definitions of Success, One Message from Ismaili Women Leaders: Your Story is Your Own.

Ismaili women in America fit no singular mould. But in interviews with four women leaders, one key aspect shines through: Ismaili women are breaking new grounds and setting bars extremely high, equipped with education, critical thinking, humility, and a thirst for excellence.

Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa share a light moment along with AKU President Firoz Rasul, Ismaili Council for USA President Dr. Barkat Fazal and Dr. Saida Rasul, during a lab tour at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa attended two ceremonies in Seattle this week, during which the Aga Khan University (AKU) signed memorandums of understanding with two American institutions. 

Courtyard of the Ismaili Jamatkhana, Atlanta

With the increased arrival of Ismailis into Atlanta in the 1980s, there was a need for a larger permanent building for the community's spiritual and social needs. The Atlanta Ismaili Jamatkhana, located in Decatur, opened in February 1989 as the first purpose-built Ismaili Jamatkhana in the United States.

Midwest Ismaili Council leadership and Communications & Publications team with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

The Chicago Jamatkhana Social Hall was filled with the songs and scriptures of many faiths that came together on November 13, 2018. The annual Thanksgiving service is a longstanding tradition of the Edgewater Community Religious Association (ECRA), an alliance of about 20 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congregations in the diverse neighborhood in northern Chicago. The celebration is hosted by a different congregation every November, and this year was the first time the local Jamat had hosted since 2012.

The Jamat singing traditional songs at the Roz-e-Nur event in New York.

Jamatkhanas and Ismaili Centres play an important role in the lives of the Ismaili community in the USA but they also play a very important role in promoting diversity and pluralism in the communities where they exist.

State Representative Safiya Wazir with US Senator Maggie Hassan. Photo: Becky Field.

At just six years old, Safiya Wazir fled from Afghanistan as a refugee of the civil war. Wazir lived in Uzbekistan for a decade before arriving in the USA as a high school student. At the age of 16, she had to master a new language, and become familiar with a new culture - and lots of snow.

Over 400 jamati members and friends from the larger community volunteered to pack meals over 4 hours on the Day of Thanksgiving.

Bell jingles, loud cheers, and upbeat music could be heard in Carrollton Headquarters Jamatkhana on November 21, 2018, as numerous volunteers competed to make meals for children and their families in the North Texas area. With turkeys roasting in their own ovens, volunteers chose to wake up and come serve on this Thanksgiving morning.

“Now raise your hand if you like math!” exclaims Neelam Hussian, before leading a discussion about Muslim mathematicians credited for introducing the numeral system.

One hundred seventh-grade students from the Westminster Schools, an independent co-educational Christian day school, took a field trip last November to the Ismaili Jamatkhana in Norcross. As part of their World Religions curriculum, the students explored the Jamatkhana space used for worship and contemplation, and they engaged in group activities to discuss significant aspects of Islam.

Senator Anna M. Kaplan showed her appreciation for the Ismaili youth volunteers of Long Island, NY.

"When volunteers are taken seriously, the quality of their contribution and their own sense of satisfaction literally soar," said Princess Zahra Aga Khan at the International Association for Volunteer Effort World Conference in Edmonton, Canada, on August 25, 1998.

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.

AKU nurses Salima Pirani (Dallas) and Amina Huda (California) review patient records during their volunteer shift.
“Thank you again for all you are doing to help staff the shelter. You and all the Aga Khan Council volunteers have been a tremendous help, and I really can’t thank you enough! Your nurses wanted to be here. They came with such open hearts. It was fabulous.” -Monica Soderstrom, Nursing Director for the Butte County Public Health Department, California.
 
Samir Lakhani assists with painting a mural in the school gymnasium.

It was an uncharacteristically cold and windy Monday morning in Los Angeles on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 21, 2019. Most families were bundled warmly in their homes, but 48 volunteers in I-CERV shirts huddled together at George Washington Carver Middle School to help the community. This event attracted over a thousand volunteers from dozens of corporations and nonprofits, evidenced by the colorful company shirts sported throughout the school campus. The day marked an annual tradition when I-CERV partners with LA Works to participate in a school beautification project in downtown Los Angeles.