The Esoteric Symbolism of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat

Read the updated article from the author: The Delegation Decoded: An Esoteric Exegesis of the Delegation of the Isma‘ili Imamat

The Esoteric Symbolism of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat

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.

Click to download the article:

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

11 thoughts on “The Esoteric Symbolism of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat

  1. Beautifully expressed and presented by Khalil the esoteric symbolism of the of the Ismaili Imamat, and the design of the Dome seems almost symbiotic with Christmas lights and Christmas, “The Apostle John writes in his First Letter: “God is light; in him there is no darkness” (I Jn 1: 5); and further on he adds: “God is love”. These two affirmations, taken together, help us to understand better: the light that shone forth at Christmas, which is manifested to the peoples today, is God’s love revealed in the Person of the Incarnate Word. Attracted by this light, the Magi arrived from the East,” from Revelation of Light and Love: Mystery of Epiphany.. only this Dec 13th, GJ the light shines ever so bright in the hearts of Ismailis and in Uttar Khand.

  2. The delegation of the ismaili imammat is really amazing! I really love the use of different shapes and patterns used throughout the building! Thank you very much for sharing!!

  3. Wonderful article. It has really helped me to have some understanding of the imam’s speech and of the esoteric meaning of this building. Well explained, it really helps students like me to understand the link of this building with Ismaili literature.

  4. thanks a lot ….how happy it makes me when I read our beloved Imam’s speeches ,and I am most happy when I know that beloved Imam is interested in the architecture and connect it with every thing in life and in our spiritual values,,,, it makes me so proud that I am studying architecture and eager to learn more ,and espicially from Hazer Imam

  5. Marvelous articled. Very beautiful woven in nice words. I was much impressed to read it. It is the first article which has really make understood the Concept of Imamat in an ordinary language. Congrats to Khalil. May Mowla bless him and his loved ones with Barkaat, long life with good health, more strength to serve Mowla & Jamat and above all strong on Siratal Mustaqeem.Ameen

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