This weekend marked the official opening of the newly established Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat building in Ottawa. While many of us have heard about this project throughout the year, it is important for us to understand its inner symbolic significance.
One of the mediums by which the Imam communicates esoteric knowledge to both the Jamat and the world at large is Islamic architecture. As Mawlana Hazar Imam remarked in his speech at the Inaugural Ceremony of the Delegation:
“This new Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, like the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum to be built in Toronto, reflects our conviction that buildings can do more than simply house people and programmes. They can also reflect our deepest values, as great architecture captures esoteric thought in physical form.”
- His Highness The Aga Khan IV,
(Address at the Inaugural Ceremony of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, Ottawa, Canada, 06 December 2008)
The following article is a humble attempt to discuss some of the ‘esoteric thought’ behind the symbolism of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat and seeks to offers esoteric interpretations (tawil) which are rooted in Ismaili tradition, history and intellectual thought.
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Khalil Andani is a practicing Chartered Accountant (CA) in Toronto and holds Bachelors of Math (BMath) and Masters of Accounting (MAcc) degrees from the University of Waterloo. He is a contemporary Isma’ili thinker whose areas of focus include theology, philosophy, metaphysics, hermeuetics (ta’wil) and the Perennial Philosopy (sophia perennis). Khalil also writes and lectures on Isma’ili intellectual thought and practice and their relevance in the modern age. Some of his feature articles published on IsmailiMail include The Delegation Decoded and The Concept of Succession in the Shi’a Isma’ili Imamat. He can be contacted at email@example.com