By Samira R. Noorali J.D. special to Ismailimail Photo images courtesy of Anvar Nanji & Nims Merali Brothers Salim and Sulaiman Merchant, popularly known as Salim-Sulaiman, are a composer duo best known for their musical work in popular Indian cinema. Although in the midst of a hectic concert tour, the two gentlemen swept into Barker Center on Friday with Harvard’s own Dr. Ali Asani by their … Continue reading Salim & Sulaiman at Harvard: Reflection and Celebration of a Life Inspired by Music
Congratulations on your new book, Daryoush. It has been a profoundly penetrating analysis of the authority of the Ismaili Imam and the scope of the Imam’s engagement with the world through the creation of the Aga Khan Development Network in the context of a cosmopolitan ethic. We are curious to know in the first instance why you chose to publish this book independent of the … Continue reading Ismailimail Interviews: Daryoush Mohammad Poor of ‘Authority without Territory’ fame
“It was a real struggle marred by insults and open discrimination to settle in Canada,” says retired journalist Sultan Jessa. “But, a strong determination to succeed kept us going.” MONTREAL – Quebec. This is a remarkable story of an enterprising young man leaving his ancestral India for a better, more productive and a prosperous life in Africa. “We always considered Africa our new home after … Continue reading Ismailimail Exclusive: Voyage of discovery, struggle and hardship stretched over three continents
Over the last 2 days we have shared with our readers Salim-Sulaiman’s interviews – conversations with an 11 year old and with Ismailimail that touched on some interesting themes. Themes ranging from music to sports to service; Mawlana Hazar Imam to youths to musicians to change makers; sentiments that speak of love, of giving and of wanting to make a difference – all unified by the common element of music.
Here we bring you a couple of interview clips from PBS – Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, an interview that Ismailimail coordinated during the tail end of Salim-Sulaiman’s North American tour. We are grateful to PBS – Religion and Ethics Newsweekly for making this exclusive footage available for our readers.
In this final and last in a series of three interviews, Salim and Sulaiman talk about how faith inspires their music and how they make faith relevant in their music for the younger generation.
PBS: Tell us about the story behind Allahu Akbar?
SALIM: Sitting in the studio one day just a couple of months before Eid, I thought about the prayer which is the Azan, the Muslim prayer, which is Allahu Akbar.
And we thought why don’t we you know, and we’ve always heard Allahu Akbar as a prayer call. We thought why don’t we just convert that into a song and just kind of touch, you know, people in this generation, you know, especially the youth who are sort of disconnected from the tradition and the culture, the Islamic culture and their own traditional culture.
We thought we’d make a song which is the prayer, which is the prayer call, Allahu Akbar but present it in a more contemporary and make it sound now.
Ismailimail is excited to present the second in a series of three interviews, where Salim shared several insights and perspectives as Ismailimail coordinated their interview with PBS in New York.
In these heart to heart conversations with Ismailimail, Salim talked about TKN (Time and Knowledge Nazrana) fulfillment and the spirit of giving, what they wanted to achieve with their North American Tour and their love for music.
The North American tour was our TKN
… we wanted to share our love for music
… conduct workshops with the youth
… we wanted to give.
It was not only about the performances.
– Salim Merchant, talking to Ismailimail
On the Genesis of the North American tour
We have been lucky to have so many fans in Canada and the US that follow our music and since we have had performances in the UK, we decided on the encouragement of our supporters to do some in North America. But we did not want it to be just about performances. We wanted it to be different. We wanted to share the many blessings in our life – we wanted to give back to our fans. We wanted to have fun with our fans, make an impact and inspire others.
On TKN (Time and Knowledge Nazrana) fulfillment and the spirit of giving
Many Ismailis gave TKN during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee to serve the Imam and Jamat. If you ask any Ismaili what is the most prestigious thing for them, they will say meeting Hazar Imam. We have been very fortunate to have performed in the presence of the Imam twice, and nothing in our lives will beat that experience.
So we wanted to do something special – give back to the Imam and Jamat. This tour is our TKN, sharing our music with the jamats and people. We did not want it to be just for the jamat but for everyone . We also did not want it to be just about the performances … we wanted it to be bigger than that … we wanted to really make a difference – make an impact with everyone, kids and adults.
So we conducted workshops with the youths in Toronto, Houston and other places. We also had talented Ismailis from the local jamats perform with us like the Canadian Ismaili Choir in Toronto. We also collaborated with Farhan Aktar to produce the single “Chulein Aasman” for women’s emancipation. We supported many causes such as AKF’s fight for Global Poverty, FOCUS and other charities. We recorded a new song for our next film “Un-Indian” with Ismaili talent in Houston. All this was important for us – giving, sharing and having fun.
On the Power of Music
Well you know though our love of music, we are able to do so many things as I already mentioned. But we also wanted to inspire others on what music can help others achieve. That is why our performances had a strong focus on supporting charitable causes. Music is a powerful force and it a a language that anyone can understand … it touches our hearts – it makes us emotional. So we wanted to use the power of music to have fun, educate and inspire.
On the Inspiration of Faith
Everything we do with our songs, we like to bring out the faith component – that is what inspires us. That is also why our songs are influenced by what some people say sufi. We like to incorporate all forms of music and find a modern way of relating it – especially for the youth and younger people.
Like all Ismaili parents our parents encouraged us to go to Jamat Khana in the morning and evening and to pray … and that stayed with us and we keep that tradition alive everyday. It is very important to us.
Ismailimail concludes this interview with an excerpt from the PBS interview which captures Salim & Sulaiman’s sentiments on how faith inspires them.
SULAIMAN: But more than anything else, I think it was the whole concept of giving. We were always taught to give and we do that through our music as well. When we get the love from all these audiences and all the fans, we like to give that love back.
SALIM: Faith and you know, keeping the prayer tradition was very important. It was important to pray in the mornings and the evenings and keeping that as a strong tradition, you know, every day.
– Salim & Sulaiman Merchant, interview with PBS*
* Interview Excerpt reproduced with permission from PBS – Religion & Ethics Newsweekly
Continue reading “Salim-Sulaiman Interviews (2 of 3): Brothers talk about the genesis of the North American tour, TKN and Giving”
In 2013, Ismailimail blog was viewed about 1,300,000 times, with 2,260 new posts, growing the total archive to 13,456+ posts. Below were the most popular stories at Ismailimail in 2013 – with respective 4-digit hit counts, in reverse order. The Top 10 List has been mentioned below as well. With this end of the year summary, we would like to acknowledge the support of all … Continue reading Ismailimail in 2013 – Thank You to all our Followers – This blog was mentioned in a Published Book out of Canada!
Following are the major events of 2013 in the Ismaili Imamat history. All links will lead to related and categorized stories at Ismailimail, and to related original source(s). The same resource can be accessed at Ismailimail by browsing from the above drop-down Menu -> Useful Links -> Recent Major Events. His Highness the Aga Khan Visits Afghanistan – December 21, 2013. AKDN – TheIsmaili Aga … Continue reading Ismaili Imamat in 2013
Life is unpredictable at every instant. Anything can happen at any time, either good or bad because this is the law of nature. Any natural calamity may disrupt the nature because this is nature. Therefore, we need to ready ourselves all the time in order to handle the situation with care and ease. If things go wrong, we cannot blame our fate or nature, rather we should step back and solve the problem using our senses.
On 4th January 2010, a natural disaster – landslide – struck over and disrupted the entire area of Atta Abad. The victims of landslide were shifted to Altit village, where they are currently living in shelters. The picture on the right is very recent, which I took while crossing the road. I did not want to make any picture but the embraced faces of these children had grabbed my attention from far away because their faces were glowing due to hot weather. Though these people live in shelter, it is extremely hard. The metal roof has made their lives difficult, due to which the small children suffer a lot. Continue reading “Aliya Dad: Life is unpredictable at every instant”
“Education is not a matter of age – it is a continuing process.” Mawlana Hazar Imam. We present herewith, an exclusive interview with Dr. Jalaledin Ebrahim who recently graduated from the Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, California with a Ph.D degree. What inspired you to pursue the doctorate in Depth Psychotherapy? After filing business and personal bankruptcy in 2000, I had to make some serious decisions about … Continue reading 3 Questions with Ismailimail: Jalaledin Ebrahim with a PhD degree at the age of 64
This paper attempts to investigate, outline and discuss the Nizari doctrines from the establishment of the Nizari state in 1090 until its last phase of existence prior to its demise and downfall in 1256, a period referred to as the Alamut era, named after the fortified Nizari seat in Alamut, Persia. In order to provide a cohesive account of Nizari religio-philosophical doctrinal evolution, the paper … Continue reading The Eagles’ Serene Palace of Symmetric Wisdom: Historical and Intellectual Genealogy of the Nizaris of Alamut
TORONTO, September 11, 2012 – Senator Don Meredith awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to 17 outstanding Canadians from Southwestern and Central Ontario. The ceremony was held at the Moss Park Armoury in downtown Toronto. Recipients included some of Ontario’s brightest and most dedicated entrepreneurs, legal professionals, and civic and community leaders. The recipients, which reflected the ethnic diversity of Canada’s most multicultural … Continue reading Karim Premji – Justice of the Peace, receives Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
Sept 10 2012 – Canada’s Governor-General David Johnston today presented the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal to Sultan Jessa, a retired Ismaili journalist, living in Montreal, Quebec. Awards were presented to 35 Canadians at a Special ceremony in Ottawa. This is the third medal for Sultan, who spent more than three decades with various newspapers in East Africa and Canada before retiring. This medal, specially created … Continue reading Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, presented to retired Ismaili journalist Sultan Jessa
Khushiali (Imamat Day) commemorates the anniversary of the accession of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan as Imam of the Shi’a Ismaili Muslims. It offers all Canadians a chance to reflect on the extraordinary achievements of the Aga Khan, and on the contributions of Canadian Ismailis to our society. I am pleased to join the many Ismailis in Canada and around the world in marking this year’s 55th anniversary. Continue reading “Prime Minister of Canada sends Khushiali (Imamat Day) Greetings to Ismaili Muslims”
Ismaili volunteer corp. has a unique history which is both modern and with a past that is tied to the time of the holy Prophet Muhammed and the history of the institution of Imamate from the time of Hazrat Ali. Throughout Ismaili history, Ismaili sevadaris (volunteers) served the military, educational institutions, tariqa institutions and other Imamate governance oriented services on a ‘service without pay basis’ and sometimes risked their lives for Imamate work. This form of personal service also developed within the Ismaili communities where sevadaris helped to support and govern far flung Ismaili communities in particular during the period of Ismaili Dawr-e-satr (when the dawa had to go underground). During such periods Ismailis lived around the homes of the Imam and provided service not only to the family of the Imam, but to the Jamats and the Sufi orders under which the Ismailis performed their regular prayers, Jamati work and other work for the Imam and the secret community. Service, in the Ismaili community has been rendered in the Middle East, later in Central Asia and finally during the transition of dawa from Iran to India during the period of Piratan, where Ismailis offered seva and undertook study under the guidance of Pirs. This is the past under which the modern corp took its foundation of service. Continue reading “Brief meaning and history of Institution of Ismaili Volunteer Corp (IIVC), by Amin Kanji MSW”
Ally Amin Hirji is a recent graduate from Aga Khan Mzizima Secondary School, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Ally pursued the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme and achieved outstanding results. He was the only one who took up a high demanding course combination of higher level Physics, Chemistry and Biology in his school’s IB program. He also earned many leadership positions such as the Chairman of Model … Continue reading Ally Amin Hirji: recent graduate from Aga Khan Mzizima Secondary School, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Salima Somani presented a situational analysis of Nursing Education, Profession and Practice in Bishkek. The presentation was part of Public Lecture Series organized by the University of Central Asia. The presentation was attended by Nurse Educators, Practitioners and Medical Professionals. The lecture was simultaneously translated in Russian/Kyrgyz language as well. The presentation was based on a situational analysis of nursing education, profession and practice undertaken … Continue reading Salima Somani presents a situational analysis of Nursing Education, Profession and Practice in Bishkek
Album and article by Salman Alwani Ormara is an old coastal town. Going towards Gwadar through Makran Coastal Highway, Ormara comes midway between Karachi and Gwadar. Its historical routes are linked with Alexander the Great, who stayed there with his army for a few days on his way back from the Indus region after conquering the lands of Sindh, Punjab and the North-West Frontier province … Continue reading Ormara Jamatkhana, Makran Coastal Area, Balochistan
Royal Galipeau, Member for Ottawa—Orléans (CPC): Royal Galipeau, Mr. Speaker, December 13 is an important day for the Ismaili community around the world. His Highness the Aga Khan, a descendant of the prophet Muhammad, was born in Geneva on this day in 1936. In May 2010, this wise imam was given honorary Canadian citizenship by the Prime Minister of Canada. In 1957, Her Majesty the … Continue reading Announcement from Hon. Jason Kenney – Royal Galipeau Makes a Statement in the House of Commons on the Aga Khan
On August 17th, 2011, 26 brave participants began their journey to Cusco, Peru, to embark on a five day trek to Machu Picchu via the Inca trail. Machu Picchu, “the lost City of the Incas”, was believed to have been built in the mid-15th century. Of these 26 participants, 14 participants had undertaken a further extension of the challenge – to trek an additional six … Continue reading 10 Ismailis trek to Machu Pichu
Ameer Janmohamed is the author of Regal Romance.
Not too long ago I shared this photo and some personal recollections relating to the occasion with a number of friends. Some have written back to ask why the people sitting on the ground at Mowla’s feet have not been identified.
Now, with the help of Noordin Somji from Vancouver, I have the names of most of them. They are members of the Secretarial team. Sitting from left to right: Akberali Kassam H. Jeraj, Leila Ali Hasham Janmohamed, 3rd. lady not identified, then Mary Hussein Kanji Dossa, Malek Nazerali Walji, Fatma Rahemtullah Walji Madha and Ebrahim (surname not known).
This is not the first time that I have turned to Noordin Somji for assistance. He too shares an interest in archive material and preservation of history and has in fact written two interesting books, one an autobiography and the other a history of the pioneering Somji family, from Kutch-Bhuj to Bagamoyo, to Tanga, to the present. We have known each other since the 1960s when we were both Directors of the Diamond Jubilee Investment Trust Ltd. He was on the Tanzanian Board and I was a Kenyan Director. Continue reading “Constitutional Review Committee, Group Photo 1961 – by Ameer Janmohamed”