Mawlana Hazar Imam Participated in the IX Olympic Winter Games in Austria

MHI_Skiing
Switzerland, 1962
(Image: 25 Years in Pictures)

An avid athlete and skier at Le Rosey School and Harvard University, Mawlana Hazar Imam represented Iran in the men’s downhill skiing at the IX Olympic Winter Games at Innsbruck, Austria in 1964. Ismaili Imams have deep roots in Iran dating back to Alamut time.

Rowing
Rowing, Le Rosey, Switzerland
(Image: 25 Years in Pictures)

After the fall of the Fatimid Empire, the Nzari Ismailis established a state centred at Alamut in northern Iran (formerly Persia). The fortress of Alamut is said to have been constructed by the rulers of the region in 860. According to legend, the ruler “was on a hunting expedition when he saw a soaring eagle alight on a rock. Noticing how strategically ideal the site was, the ruler decided to build a castle there that was henceforth called Aluh amu [kh]t, which may mean “the eagle’s teaching,” *

Hasan Sabbah acquired the castle in 1090, inaugurating the Alamut period in Nizari Ismaili history, which ended in 1256 when the Mongols destroyed the state. Subsequent to the fall of their state, the Imams went into hiding in order to avoid persecution, and lost direct contact with the community; many of them migrated to Afghanistan, Badakshan, and Sind in the Indian subcontinent. The Imams and the scattered Nizari communities in Persia guised themselves under the mantle of Sufi tarqahs that were spreading widely at the time. The common esoteric doctrines between Ismaili and Sufi tariqahs facilitated the Nizari-Sufi relationship – to outsiders, the Imams appeared as Sufi murshids, and their followers as murids.

By the middle of the fifteenth century, Ismaili-Sufi relations had become well established in Persia. The mutual interchange of ideas and terminologies between the Sufis and the Ismailis resulted in many similarities between their poetry and literature. The strong presence of the mystical tradition in Persia for centuries has had a significant impact on Persian literature and poetry. This explains why the Persian-speaking Nizari Ismailis have regarded several of the greatest mystic poets of Persia, such as Sanai, Farid al-Attar and Jalal al-Din Rumi, as their co-religionists, and have continued to use verses of these poets in their religious ceremonies.

The Nizari Imams emerged in Anjudan in central Persia in the mid-fifteenth century, initiating a revival in religious and literary activities. In 1817, Hasan Ali Shah succeeded to the Imamate. Fath ʿAli Shah (1797–1834), the reigning Qajar monarch of Persia, appointed the Imam to the governorship of the region of Qum and gave him one of his daughters, Sarv-i Jahan Khanum, in marriage. In addition, in 1818, the monarch bestowed upon the Imam the honorific, hereditary title of Agha Khan, later simplified to Aga Khan, which has been used by the Imam’s successors to the Nizari Ismaili Imamate. The next Persian monarch, Muhammad Shah (r.1834–1848), appointed the Imam Hasan Ali Shah to the governorship of the province of Kirman in 1835. This post had been held, for almost half a century, by the Imam’s grandfather, Abu’l-Hasan ʿAli (d. 1792).

Due to the changing political environment, Imam Hasan Ali Shah moved his residence, in 1842, to the Indian subcontinent, thereby ending the Persian period of the Nizar Ismaili Imamat, after seven centuries. The residence of Imams was established in Bombay (now Mumbai) and eventually in Europe. Mawlana Hazar Imam’s epicentre of Imamat and Aga Khan Development Network’s activities is at Aiglemont – French for eagle’s mountain.

In addition to the hereditary title of Ismaili Imamat, the terminologies and the literary traditions, the celebration of Navroz – the beginning of the Persian new year – is a permanent connection to the Persian period of Nizari Ismaili history.

Results of the performances of the downhill skiing at the Winter Olympics at Innsbruck can be found at SR/Olympic Sports
Prominent Harvard Alumni, Mawlana Hazar Imam noted as “Former Harvard soccer player” in the Government category.
Mawlana Hazar Imam skiing – You Tube

References:
*Shafique N. Virani, The Eagle Returns: Evidence of Continued Isma‘ili Activity at Alamut and in the South
Caspian Region following the Mongol Conquests, The Institute of Ismaili Studies

Farhad Daftary, Ismaili History, The Institute of Ismaili Studies

Research by Nimira Dewji


Related:

Mi’raj – A soul’s journey towards true spiritual knowledge - The ascension of Prophet Muhammad into heaven, Mi’raj, is generally celebrated on the 27th day of Rajab, although there is no unanimous opinion on the precise date.
Legacy of Jubilees – Legacy of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee - “The Ismaili tradition looks upon a Jubilee anniversary as a good time to launch new projects...."
Nizari Imams who have reigned for 60 years or more - On July 11, 2017, Mawlana Hazar Imam will commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of his Imamat. Other Nizari Imams who are known to have reigned for 60 years or more include:

More


Nottingham, UK: Generosity of Ismaili community - European Sport Festival food packing for the Nottinghan homeless
Kainat Imtiaz & Diana Baig Selected to Play in England for Women's ICC World Cup 2017 Kainat Imtiaz & Diana Baig Selected to Play in England for Women’s ICC World Cup 2017 - Two Ismaili Female Athletes, Kainat Imtiaz from Karachi, and Diana Baig from Hunza, made it to the 15 member Women's team for International Cricket - ICC World Cup 2017, representing Pakistan. Congratulations! The games begin in England from June 24, 2017 to July 24, 2017.
European Sports Festival 2017 (#ESF2017) - Inspired by the values of the Jubilee Games, this year’s ESF theme is Meet, Compete & Unite bringing together the…
Ismaili communities of East Africa hosting Unity Games Ismaili communities of East Africa hosting Unity Games - Between 13 – 16 April, more than 700 Ismaili athletes will compete in 19 sports, and will be cheered on by hundreds of fans travelling to Mombasa...

More

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s