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TheSecretLifeoftheAgaKhan

PostedonJuly28,2015byIsmailiGnostic

Ouraffairisonehardshipafteranother,onemysteryafteranother,oneordealafter
another.Noonecanbearitexceptanangelclose(toGod),aProphetsentasa
messenger,orabelieverwhoseheartGodhastestedwithfaith.
ImamAliibnAbiTalib,
(NasiralDinTusi,TheParadiseofSubmission,128)

Overnightmywholelifechangedcompletely.Iwokeupwithseriousresponsibilities
towardmillionsofotherhumanbeings.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV,
(SportsIllustratedInterview,August10,1964,NanoW isdoms)

OnJuly11,1957,ShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhansucceededhisgrandfather,ImamSultanMuhammad
ShahAgaKhanIIIasthehereditaryImamoftheShiaIsmailiMuslimsattheageof20whilestilla
sophomoreatHarvardCollege.TheIsmailisareabranchofShiaMuslimswhorecognizethecontinuationof
thespiritualauthorityoftheProphetMuhammadthroughalineageofImamsdescendedfromthe
Prophetscousinandsoninlaw,HazratAliibnAbiTalib.Today,ImamShahKarimalHusayni,known
publiclyasHisHighnessPrinceAgaKhanIV,isthefortyninthhereditaryImamoftheIsmailiMuslims.
Historically,IsmailisareunitedbyacommonallegiancetothelivinghereditaryImamofthe
timeintheprogenyofIslamslastandfinalProphetMuhammad(maypeacebeuponhim)
throughhisdaughterFatimaandherhusband,HazratAli,theProphetscousinandthe
firstShiaImam.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV,
(TheDelegationoftheIsmailiImamatFoundationStoneCeremony,Ottawa,June6,
2005,NanoW isdoms)

UnliketheAugustinianandProtestanttraditionsofChristianity,theIsmailiImamsroleandmandate
requireshimtoleadtheIsmailiMuslimsinboththespiritualinterpretationofIslamaswellasthe
improvementofthequalityoflifeoftheIsmailisandthoseamongwhomtheylive.TheAgaKhan
describeshismissionasfollows:
I,asImamoftheIsmailis,haveresponsibilityforandsupremeauthorityoverthe
community.Thismeanstakingtheleadinthepracticeofthereligionbutalsoengagingin
ongoingactivitiestoimprovetheIsmailisqualityoflifeandtohelpeveryIsmailiinthe
worldwhoisindifficulties.ItistruethattodaytheroleoftheAgaKhan,49thhereditary

ImamoftheShiaIsmailiMuslims,istointerpretIslam.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV
(ParisMatchInterview,CarolinePigozzi,TheConfessionsoftheAga
Khan,NanoW isdoms)

TheIsmailiImamsmissiontoupliftqualityoflifeforallhumanbeingsrequireshimtobedeeplyinvolvedin
allspheresofhumanactivity.Manypeople,especiallyintheWesternworld,havedifficultyunderstanding
thisbecausetheyexpectreligiousleaderstodevotethemselvesentirelytospiritualmatters.Butthe
divisionbetweenspirituallifeandphysicallifedoesnotexistinIslamandtheAgaKhan,astheIsmailiImam
ofthetime,exemplifiestheunionoffaithandworldinallofhisactivities:
AnImamisnotexpectedtowithdrawfromeverydaylife.Onthecontrary,hesexpected
toprotecthiscommunityandcontributetotheirqualityoflife.Therefore,thenotionof
thedividebetweenfaithandworldisforeigntoIslam.TheImamatdoesnotdivideworld
andfaith.ThatsverylittleunderstoodoutsideIslam.IntheWest,yourfinancialsystems
areallbuiltaroundthatdivide.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV,
(VanityFairInterview,JamesReginato,TheAgaKhansEarthly
Kingdom,NanoW isdoms)

Inaccordancewithhismandate,theAgaKhanperformsthefunctionsofImamatthroughouthisentire
life.TheAgaKhansImamatdutiesarethehighestpriorityinhislifeandencompassallofhismentaland
physicalenergies:

TheAgaKhanworkingatSardinia

Forme,thenotionofholidaysdoesnotexist.ImustfulfillmyfunctionofImamwithout
cessationuntilmydeath.Aministercango[onvacation]:someoneassureshisinterim

duringthemonthswhenhegoesonleave.Thisisnotthecaseforme.Thefunctionof
theImamisattachedtomyperson:Ihavetogivemyselfentirelytotheactivitywhichit
symbolizestotryapprehendingeverythingwhichthehumanintellectcanremember.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV
(ElleMagazineInterview[translationfromFrench],August20,1969,NanoW isdoms)

ADayintheLifeoftheAgaKhan

Sincethe11thofJuly,1957myaimsandambitionshavebeendevotedtohelpand
guidemyspiritualchildreninspiritualandworldlymatters.

ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV,
(Karachi,December13,1964Source:Simerg)

TheIsmailiImamdescribeshisdailyandannualschedulesinseveralinterviewsbetween1965and1994.
TheImamsdailylifeisexhaustingandfilledwithworkandresponsibilitieswhichstemfromhisduties
towardtheIsmailisandfromhispositionastheChairmanoftheAgaKhanDevelopmentNetwork.
Contrarytothelifeofglamourandextravagancefalselyattributedtohimbythepress,theAgaKhanisa
workaholic.Forseveralmonthsoftheyear,theIsmailiImamisvisitingdifferentcountriestocarryouthis
vastdevelopmentworkandpracticallylivesonhisairplane.

TheIsmailiImamatworkonhisairplane

SinceIhaveleftHarvardIvetraveledeverysingleyearamongstthecommunity.One
journeyortwojourneys,threejourneys,fourjourneysayeartothecommunities
dependingonwhattheproblemsareandwhetheritisurgentthatIshouldbethereor
not.Generallyitwouldbevisitstotheschoolsorthehospitalsorthesportscentresora
mosqueinthemorning,appointmentswithleaderspending,planningdevelopmentofthe
communityinthefutureandImustsaythatifIamontoit,itsjustaseriesof
appointments,discussions,visitsanditsvery,veryroughoneveryoneincludingthe
membersofthecommunitywhofollowthesetours.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV,
(Pacemakers:AManoftheW orldTheAgaKhan,1967,NanoW isdoms)

Iallocate90%ofmytimeatGenevaandAiglemonttoinstitutionaltasks.Ourofficesare
opensevendaysoutofseven,becausewithusMuslims,SundaycorrespondswithFriday.
Imustbeavailableontheweekendtoreceiveinstitutionaldirectorswhopassthrough.My
lifeishighlightedbyofficialvisitstothetwentyorsocountrieswheremembersofthe

communitylive,whichkeepmemovingfromoneendoftheyeartothenext.Thistakes
approximatelysixhundredflighthoursperyear!Togaintime,IalwaysmakesureIm
accompaniedinmyprivateplanebysomeassistants.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV,
(ParisMatchInterview,December15,1994,NanoW isdoms)

EvenwhentheImamisnottravellingandresidinginParisorSardinia,mostofhisdayisspentworking.
TheAgaKhanrisesearlyataroundsixinthemorning,hardlygoesout,andworkssteadilyintothenight.
ImusuallyuparoundsixinthemorningandItrytoworkfromaroundsevenonwards
untilaroundtenoclockinthemorning,independentlyofthesecretaries.Thenthe
secretarywillcomeinattenandwewillworkuntilaroundeleventhirty,twelve.ThenIwill
haveappointmentswhichwillcoveranenormousfieldofproblemsandthenlunch,usually
athomeIdontgooutmuch.Idonotlikegoingoutverymuchindeed.Iwouldhave
moreappointmentsintheafternoon,usuallyworkintheevening,withthesecretary
again,andthenintheeveningsitdependsentirelyeitherIstayathomeorIwillgoout
withfriends.Butgenerallyspeaking,inthelasttwoorthreeyearsIvehardlybeenoutat
allbecauseifyoustartearlyinthemorningyoureallycantkeepgoingtillfourthenext
morning.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV,
(Pacemakers:AManoftheW orldTheAgaKhan,1967,NanoW isdoms)

Unlikeotherpublicfigures,theImamdoesmostofhisworkawayfromthepubliceyeandisusuallyonly
seeninpublicsettingswhenheistakingararebreak.Theinterviewer,NicholasTomalinoftheSunday
Times,notesthisinhisbelowconversationwiththeImamabouthisworkschedule:
Interviewer:IthinkanotherreasonwhyyourroleisunderratedintheWestis
thatourimportantpublicfiguresareratherexpectedtobeextremelysombre
anddutifulinpublicandenjoythemselvesinprivate.Whereasyouseemtoenjoy
yourselfinpublicanddoyourseriousworkinprivate.
AgaKhan:ItisfatuoustothinkthatifIamontheracecourseintheafternoonIhaveto
abandoneverythingelsetogetthere.Thatjustisntthecase.
Interviewer:Youhaveexplainedhowitisnotinconsistentforyoutoperform
therolesofPope,HeadofState,racehorseownerandrealestatedeveloperall
atthesametime.Buthowdoyoumanageit,physically?IfIwereinyour
positionIwouldfeelIcouldntdoanysinglejobadequately.
AgaKhan:OfcoursethehorseracingandtheSardiniaventureareincidentalifIfeltfor
onemomenttheyweremakingmyreligiousandcommunityworksufferIwouldabandon
them.ButIhaveaworkingdaythatallowsmetodoallthesethings.Igetupatsixeach
morning.Ihaveaquickbreakfast,thendictatelettersandmemorandaforacoupleof
hours.DuringtherestofthemorningImeetpeoplewhomaybefromanyofmy

activities.
Interviewer:Dontyoufeelbewildered,sometimes,seeingajockey,thena
distinguishedMuslim,thenaSardinianbusinessman,thenapoliticianisntthe
contrastsometimestooabrupt?
AgaKhan:YessometimesIdogetdizzy.Itisdifficulttoswitch.ButthenIhaveanearly
lunchandafterwards,Perhaps,goracingforacoupleofhoursorifIaminSardiniagoon
thebeach.IntheafternoonIworkagain,seeingpeopleordealingwithreportsand
suchlikethatImaynothavetoanswerbutstillmustread.Iworktillnineeachevening
becauseImusthaveaslongaworkingdayaspossible,racingornoracing.Andafterthat
Ihavedinner,aboutninethirty.AfterthatIgotobed.
Interviewer:Doyougooutintheevenings?
AgaKhan:Dontberidiculous.Icant.Iamtootired.Ithinkinthepastyear,for
instance,Iveseennoplaysandonlyonefilm.
(TheSundayTimesInterview,TheRulerW ithoutAKingdom,NanoW isdoms)

OftenSmearedandMisrepresentedbythePress
IamnotaffectedbysuggestionsinprintthatIlivealuxuriousWesternlife,whilemost
IsmailisliveinunderdevelopedEasterncountries.Thesearejustsmearsbycheap
magazines.Seriouspublicationsareawareoftheworkwedoandofourachievements
inmanycountries.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV

DespitethefactthattheIsmailiImamsdailylifemostlyconsistsofworkingforandservinghiscommunity,
theWesternpresscontinuestoprovideunfairandinaccuratecoverageabouttheAgaKhan.Several
examplesofthisinaccuratereportingoftheIsmailiImamarerelatedbyhisbiographerWilliFrischauer:
AsthenewAgaKhan,thetwentyyearoldprinceandreligiousleaderbecamepublic
property,aprimetargetforinsidiouscommentaries.Anearlyreportclaimedtoreveala
secondsecretWilloftheAgaKhanandtalkedoffranticattemptstocomposeaviolent
quarrelbetweenPrinceKarimandtheBeguminvolvingmillions,beforeitcamebeforethe
courts.Therewasnotruthinthestory.WithasmuchgustoPrinceKarimsprivatelifewas
examinedinanArabianNightsaurawhichturnedhimovernightfromaboyish,sports
lovingHarvardmanintoanEasternRomeo.Presentinghimasaworthysonofthe
amorousAlyreportsdescribedaveritableworldwarinwhichyoungladiesofevery
nationalityseemedtofightfortheheartandthehandoftheyoungAgaKhan.The
frivolitieswhichoccupiedthedailyPresscouldnothavebeenmoreremotefromthe

ExamplesofheadlinesfromVanityFair,TheGuardian,andTheNewYorkTimesmisrepresentingtheAgaKhan

youngAgaKhanspreoccupationsontheeveofhistriptoPakistan,thefirstbigtestofhis
careerasImam.
SuchisthepowerofthepopularPress,KarimsaidinanaddresstotheRoyal
CommonwealthSocietyatOxford,alittlelater,thatfewpeopleknowverymuchabout
theIsmailistoday,exceptthattheAgaKhanistheirleader,isweighedindiamondsfrom
timetotime,ownsanumberofracehorses,and(sofarasIamconcernedatanyrate)
appearstobeperpetuallyonthebrinkofmatrimony.
When,ononeofhisrareexcursionstoanightclub,hewasseendancingwithapretty
girl,thepaparazziwereconvincedtheyhaddiscoveredanewgirlfriend.Theyounglady
washishalfsisterYasminwhomhewasgivinganightoutinParis.
W illiFrischauer,(TheAgaKhans,216217239,261)

TodaythemostrepeateddescriptionsusedbyvariousnewsandmediaoutletstermtheAgaKhanasa
billionaireplayboy,billionairephilanthropist,sonofaplayboy,lavish,orextravagant.Meanwhile,
theImamsdailytoilandhardworkcontinuestobeignoredforthemostpartintheWesternmediaas
notedbyhisbiographerWilliFrischauer:
LittleofallthispercolatedtoEurope,wheretheAgaKhancontinuedtoberegarded
simplyasarichyoungman,lessofaplayboythanhisfather,lessofacharacterthanhis
grandfatherbutasahandsome,pleasantyoungaristocrateminentlyeligibleforaplacein

thegossipcolumns.
W illiFrischauer,(TheAgaKhans,272)

DuetotheintrusionsandconstantinterferenceoftheWesternpress,theIsmailiImamhadtoadjusthis
dailyactivitiesandtakenumerousprecautions.Consequently,theAgaKhannolongerlivesanormal
privateandsociallifethatmostpeopleareentitledto.Inhisownwords,theImamdescribestoSports
Illustratedthemeasureshehashadtakeinordertoavoidtheintrusivemedia:
ItakeallsortsofprecautionswhenIgooutwithfriends.Ihavetaughtmyselfnottoshow
anyemotioninpublicplaces.Ineversitnexttoawomanwithwhomthepressistryingto
linkme.HereinGstaadIgooftentoabistrooutsidethevillageforafonduebecausethe
proprietorwillnotletanyonetakepicturesinhisestablishment.Istoppedgoingtocertain
ParistheatresbecauseIdiscoveredtheyweretippingoffthepresstomypresence.I
realisethatImayseemextremeonthesubject,butdonotforgetthatmymailhasbeen
stolenandmyservantsbribed.Closepersonalfriendshavetakenprivatesnapshotsofme
inmyhomeandthensoldthemtomagazines.Ihavebeenblackmailedonthe
telephone.AllIdesireistohavemyprivateliferespected.Isthatunreasonable?
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV,
(SportsIllustratedInterview,August10,1964,NanoW isdoms)

Asfortheslanderousreportsabouthimintabloids,theIsmailiImampaysnoattentiontosuchsmears
andinsteadfocusesonhisworkandmission:
Ihavealwaysrefusedtotalkaboutmyprivatelife.Anypublicmanmusthavetherightto
haveaprivatelifeandkeepitprivate.IntheWest,intrusionintopersonalandprivate
affairsiswidelytoleratedthisisnotsointheEast.ArticlessuchasIhaveinminddo
nothingforapublicenlightenmenttheyarejustawayofsellingamagazinetoacertain
typeofreaderinterestedinsuchthings.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV,
(SundayTelegraphMagazineInterview,TheQuietPrinceofIslam,May27,
1979,NanoW isdoms)

TheMythoftheAgaKhansAffluence
Idonotseektodothings,infactIhavestayedawayfromthingswhichdidnotseem
tometobegoodsense,whereitwasaffluenceforthesakeofaffluence.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV

AsfortheWesternmediasrelentlesschargethattheAgaKhanlivesanlavishoraffluentlife,theIsmaili

Imamhasansweredanddismissedtheveracityoftheseclaimsonmultipleoccasions.
IamnotaffectedbysuggestionsinprintthatIlivealuxuriousWesternlife,whilemost
IsmailisliveinunderdevelopedEasterncountries(hewenton).Thesearejustsmearsby
cheapmagazines.Seriouspublicationsareawareoftheworkwedoandofour
achievementsinmanycountries.SuchsmearstoriesneverappearinAsianpublications.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV,
(SundayTelegraphMagazineInterview,TheQuietPrinceofIslam,May27,
1979,NanoW isdoms)

GB:Itisoftensuggestedthatyouraffluentlifestyleisverydifferentfromthat
ofmostIsmailiswholivemostlyinthepovertyoftheThirdWorld.Doyouthink
thatisafaircomment?
AgaKhan:Ithinkthataffluenceisperhapsthewrongterminology.Idonotseektodo
things,infactIhavestayedawayfromthingswhichdidnotseemtometobegood
sense,whereitwasaffluenceforthesakeofaffluence.Illgiveyouanexample.Ihavea
privateaircraft,butthataircrafttodayisflyingbetween450and600hoursayear.You
take600hoursoftimethattranslatesintoapproximatelytwomonthsofworkingdays.
Icannotafford,norcanpeoplewhoworkinmyorganisation,toeliminatetwomonthsof
workingtimeifyouhavetorunanorganisationinasdiverseareasasIdothereare
certainthingsyouvegottodotobeefficient.Whenyoutalkaboutextremelypoor
people,ofcoursetherearepoorpeoplethroughoutthedevelopingworldandtherewillbe
poorpeopleforyearsandyears.IthinktheywouldaskwhethertheImamatasan
institutionwashelpingthemasbestasitcouldandIthinkitwouldbetruetosaythatthe
Imamatisassistingthem.
(TheAgeInterview,AgaKhan:EnigmaofEastandW est,July14,
1979:NanoW isdoms)

TheAgaKhanonlyhasasecretariatandaprivateplanebecausetheseassetsareessentialtohisabilityto
carryouthisdutiesastheIsmailiImamofacommunityspreadoutover35countries.TheImams
biographer,WilliFrischauer,capturedwhatwentthroughtheImamsmindwhenheundertookthe
purchaseofhisfirstaircraft:
Eachdecisioninvolvedbigissues.Symbolisingtheexpansionofhisinterests,he[theAga
Khan]tookdeliveryofthenewGrumanGulfstreamjet,twicethesizeandcostoftheold
Mystere:Itwillenablemetovisitmycommunitymorefrequently,hetoldme.
W illiFrischauer,(TheAgaKhans,281)

Atthepersonallevel,theAgaKhandoesnotliveaffluentlyatall.DuringhisfinalyearatHarvard,whenthe
Imamcompletedthelast1.5yearsofstudyinjust2semesters,theAgaKhanownednocarandtook
publictransitdespitehavingaccesstothefundsoftheImamat.EvenhisHarvardroommateStevenson
noticedhowtheImamownedverylittleinpersonalassets:

K.Khan,Stevensonsaid,wasacharmingfellowwithacrackingwit.Accordingtohis
roommate,hedidnotgoinmuchforclothesandbecameknownasthatguywhohad
onlyonepairofshoes.DuringthetimeIknewhim,saidStevenson,heownedtwo
suitsbutIneversaweitherofthempressed.Hehadabouttwodozennecktiesbutthey
wereallthesamecolour.
W illiFrischauer,(TheAgaKhans,191)

Decadeslaterin1970,theImamsmothercontinuestonotehowitisimpossibletoconvincetheAga
KhantoevenbuyanewsuitandtheImamsfriendshavenoticedhowthereareholesinhisshoes:
WhentheAgaKhanenters,itiswithaburstofyouthfulbutwellcontrolledenergy.He
wearsasoberdarksuit,whiteshirtandanunobtrusivetie.Helookselegantwhateverhe

wears,ratherlikeanEnglishsquirewhosportshisshabbiestjacketduringweekendsonhis
estate.Hismothersaysthatitisajobtogethimtobuyanewsuit,andfriendshave
noticedholesinthesolesofhisshoes.Oneofthemsays:TheAgaKhanwearsaFrench
smileandEnglishsocksnotabadcombination.
W illiFrischauer,(TheAgaKhans,14)

Sacrifices:TheAgaKhansPersonalandFamilyLife

ChairmanoftheAgaKhanDevelopmentNetwork,AgaKhanlooksonduringtheinaugurationceremonyofTheAgaKhanAcademyin
HyderabadonSeptember20,2013.TheAcademyisthesecondinaglobalnetworkofdayandresidentialschoolsbeingestablished
acrossSouthandCentralAsia,AfricaandtheMiddleEast,andaimstodevelophomegrownleaderswithastrongsenseofethicsand

civicresponsibility.AFPPHOTO/NoahSEELAM

Ihopetoreorganisemylifesoastohavealittlemoretimetobewithmywifeand
mychildrenthoughnotattheexpenseofthecommunity.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV

FulfillingthemandateoftheImamat,beingresponsibleforthespiritualandmaterialwellbeingofmillionsof
souls,andworkingtirelesslytoraisepeoplesqualityoflifeisanimpossibletaskforanynormalhuman
being.Nevertheless,theIsmailiImamhastakenonthismissiondespitetheimmensesacrificeandtollon
hispersonalandfamilylife:
Anyonefacingadifficultsituationhasacertainsolitude.Butmydaysareoccupied.Ihave
notimetothinkaboutmyself.Ihavemomentsoffatigue,ofworry,butwithouthaving
thefeelingofabandonment.Iamengaged.Ihavetoweigh,reflect,seektomakeawise
decision.Butwithmyadvisors,Iescapeisolation.Responsibilityisaburdenwhichwelove.
Ireceivedfrommygrandfatherheavyresponsibilities,buttheyarenotweighty.Itisnota
burden.Itisapleasuretodevoteoneselftosuchacommunity,toworkforpeople.
Responsibilitiesareaburdenwelovetobear.
Mysociallifeispracticallynonexistent.Asanownerofracehorses,Icanbeinthegalleries
ofthedayPrixdelArcdeTriomphe,isall.InthesummerIcanbeonthebeachin
SardiniabutpracticallyallmytimeisdevotedtotheIsmailisinSardinia.InMuslimlife,you
havetolivelifeeveryday.Itwasthereforeimpossibletostaycloistered,awayfromeven
mundaneevents.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV,
(ElleMagazineInterview,TheMysteryoftheAgaKhan[translatedfromFrench],
August20,1969,NanoW isdoms)

ThedemandsoftheImamsmissionandextensiveworkhavealsotakenatollonhisfamilylife.TheImam
evenmakeshisdecisionsonwhomandwhentogetmarriedbasedonthewellbeingoftheIsmailiMuslim
community.TheAgaKhanevengivestheIsmailicommunitygreaterpriorityinhislifethanhisownwife
andchildren.TheAgaKhansbiographerWilliFrischauerrecordstheImamsayingthefollowingwhenhe
marriedhisfirstwifeBegumSalimain1969:

IwouldnotmarryawomanwhoIdidnotbelievecouldhelpme.Ihopetoreorganisemy
lifesoastohavealittlemoretimetobewithmywifeandmychildrenthoughnotat
theexpenseofthecommunity.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV,
(W illiFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,283)

Inaninterviewgiventenyearsafterhisfirstmarriage,theImamdescribedhowhisspiritualandmaterial
responsibilitieskeephimawayfromseeinghiswifeandchildren:

AM:Youhavetoldmeverylittleaboutyourfamily?
AgaKhan:Theburdenofworkandtravelisverysevere.SoalthoughIamextremely
fortunatetohaveawonderfulwifeandchildren,IcantspendasmuchtimewiththemasI
wish.ButIhopetohavemoretimeformyfamilylateron.(Interviewer:Hesaidexactlythesameonthe
eveofhisweddingtenyearsago).
(SundayTelegraphMagazineInterview,TheQuietPrinceofIslam,May27,1979,NanoW isdoms)

TheAgaKhansFinancialSacrifices:Hundredsof
MillionsofDollarsover50Years

TheImamatrevenueisgivenbythecommunitytotheImam.Hehasaresponsibilityto
managetheImamatrevenue.Iwouldsayeasily98%ofthosefunds,andinfactat
timesmuchmorethan98%,infactprobablyoftheorderof150%,goesbacktothe
communityandinfact,asIsaid,theImamatisspendingonmanyoccasionsmore
thanitactuallyhas.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV
(BBCRadio4Interview,6September1979,NanoW isdoms)

SincehebecametheImamoftheIsmailiMuslimsin1957,theAgaKhanhasreceivedreligiousduesfrom
hisfollowerscalledzakatordasond.ThesereligiousduesaregiventotheImambyhismuridsasakey

practiceofShiaIslamandtheImammanagesandspendsthereligiousduesonthecommunityand
institutionaldevelopmentthatbenefitsallpeople.However,thereligiousduesgivenbytheIsmailiMuslims
areneversufficienttocovertheseneedsandtheAgaKhanhasconsistentlydrawnuponhisownpersonal
fundstosupporttheinstitutionalneedsoftheIsmailiMuslimsandothercommunities.
From1960tothepresentday,thereareanumberofdocumentedexamplesoftheImamspendinghis
ownmoneytosustaintheinstitutionsoftheIsmailiMuslimCommunityandtheAgaKhanDevelopment
Network.JustafewoftheseinstancesarelistedbelowcourtesyofTheEssentialIsmaili:
THEAGAKHAN(19601969):OVER10,000,000INVARIOUSPROJECTS

1960:TheAgaKhanpersonallyinjects300,000intoDiamondJubileeInvestmentTrustwhenit
sufferedashortageofliquidity.10
1960:TheAgaKhangoesonaspendingspree,remarkingthatIwanttouseasmuchas
possibleofmymoneyforthebenefitofthecommunity.Heprovides200,000fortwo
textilefactories,50autorickshaws,equipmentforacanvasfactorywhoseprofitsupportedthe
GirlsAcademy.HedonatedfundstocreatethePrinceAlyKhanLibraryatKarachiUniversityand
approvedplansforahugenewjamatkhanainGardendistrictofKarachi.11
1960:TheAgaKhanstartsdiscussionstolaunchanEastAfricannewspaperforwhichhewas
preparedtoinvest1,000,000.12
1963:TheAgaKhanstartsplanningtolaunchI.P.S.TheamountneededtolaunchthreeEast
AfricanI.P.S.companiesinKenya,UgandaandTanganyikawas1millionbutwhen,evenat
thislatestage,doubtswereraised,theAgaKhansimplysaid:Iwillfinanceit!andproofofhis
confidenceinultimatesuccessputupnearlythewholeamount.13Whenaprojectunder
considerationbyI.P.S.wasnotfinanciallyviableandlocalofficialssaidThereisnomarket,Your
Highness,itwillnotpay.Youwillnevergetyourmoneyback.TheAgaKhanreplied,Never
mind,myspiritualchildrenexpectmetohelpthemwhateverthecost,helpthemI
shall!14
Late1960s:TheAgaKhancommittedtofundthe4.5millionto5millionrequiredfortheAga
KhanHospitalandMedicalCollegeinKarachi,butagreedtoletothershavetheopportunityto
participate.15
1965:TheAgaKhanwasconsideringinvestmentsoftwoorthreemillionpoundsinindividual
Africancountriesbecause,hesaid,IwouldputmoneyinifIalsofeltitwouldhelpthecommunity
thatslivingthere.Butthiswouldbemyowninvestment,apersonalthing.16
1969:TheAgaKhanmarries,remarkingthatthecommunitywouldstillcomefirst:Ihopetore
organisemylifesoastohavealittlemoretimetobewithmywifeandmychildrenthough
notattheexpenseofthecommunity.17
THEAGAKHAN(20072012):$140MILLIONOFPERSONALFUNDSPOUREDINTOJUSTTHE
AGAKHANUNIVERSITYOVERJUST4YEARS

2007:TheAgaKhancovers$25.8millionoftheAgaKhanUniversitys$26.2millionoperating
deficitfor2007.18
2008:TheAgaKhancoverstheAgaKhanUniversitys$27.1millionoperatingdeficitfor2008plus
anextra$5million.18
2008:TheAgaKhancoversthe$46.2millioncost,entirely,oftheHeart&CancerCentre,
Nairobi.19
2011:TheAgaKhancovers$17.0millionofAgaKhanUniversitys$20.0millionoperatingdeficitfor
2011.20
2012:TheAgaKhancovers$17.0millionofAgaKhanUniversitys$19.0millionoperatingdeficitfor
2012.20
FOOTNOTES

1. WilliFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,(TheBodleyHead,1970,p58)
2. WilliFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,(TheBodleyHead,1970,p59)
3. WilliFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,(TheBodleyHead,1970,p122)
4. WilliFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,(TheBodleyHead,1970,p130)
5. WilliFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,(TheBodleyHead,1970,p155)
6. WilliFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,(TheBodleyHead,1970,p158)
7. WilliFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,(TheBodleyHead,1970,p180)
8. WilliFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,(TheBodleyHead,1970,p193)
9. WilliFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,(TheBodleyHead,1970,p195)
10. WilliFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,(TheBodleyHead,1970,p236)
11. WilliFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,(TheBodleyHead,1970,p241)
12. WilliFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,(TheBodleyHead,1970,p243)
13. WilliFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,(TheBodleyHead,1970,p253)
14. WilliFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,(TheBodleyHead,1970,p255)
15. WilliFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,(TheBodleyHead,1970,p258)
16. TheSundayTimesInterview,PartII,NicholasTomalin(London,UnitedKingdom),19December
1965
17. WilliFrischauer,TheAgaKhans,(TheBodleyHead,1970,p268)

18. 2008AgaKhanUniversityAnnualReport,p72
19. 2008AgaKhanUniversityAnnualReport,p73
20. 2012AgaKhanUniversityProgressReport,p83

TheSecretoftheAgaKhan:ASelflessLifeof
Service

TheAgaKhan,spiritualleaderoftheIsmailiMuslims,isapplaudedashearrivestodeliveranaddressintheHouseof
CommonsonParliamentHillinOttawaonThursday,February27,2014.THECANADIANPRESS/SeanKilpatrickORGXMIT:
POS2014022714475975

Wearehonouringanexceptionalman.Wearehonouringagreatfriendof
humanity,acourageousvisionary,abuilderofbridgesbetweenreligionsand
society.
(HisExcellencyDr.FrankW alterSteinmeier,GermanForeignMinister,onpresentingthe2006
ToleranceAwardoftheEvangelicalAcademyofTutzing,GermanyMay20,2006)

ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIVhasbeenwidelyrecognizedforhiseffortsinproviding
spiritualguidanceandmaterialassistancetotheIsmailiMuslims,whoaretodayspreadover25
countries,andforhisvastcontributionstoqualityoflifeinvariouscommunitiesworldwide:

28TitleandStateDecorations
21honorarydegrees,fromuniversitiesrepresentingtheUSIvyLeague,CanadianGroupof
13,UKsRussellGroup,andothers
16civichonours,representing9investuresasForeignMembertoseveralstateacademies
(forthecreationofnewknowledgepromotingresearchandstimulatingtheenhancement
ofthought,literature,languageandotherformsofnationalculture)and3Leadershipposts
atinfluentialEuropeanInstitutionstopromotediplomacy,cultureanddevelopment
30awardsspanningdomainssuchasarchitectureandthebuiltenvironment,restoration
andtherevivalofculture,education,health,diplomacyandpeace,philanthropy,sports,
corporateenterprise
deliveredover70highprofilekeynoteaddressesissuedby11differentNationalPhilatelic
SocietiestomarktheAgaKhanssignificanteventsandmilestone.

GraphictimelineofawardsandhonoursaccordedtoImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIV.Clickonimagetodownload
highresolutionPDFfromNanoWisdoms.

Amidsttheworldwiderecognitionofhisservicesanddespitethemediasinaccurateaspersions
abouthisprivatelife,theIsmailiImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhanIVcontinuestomaintain
thatservingtheIsmailiMuslimCommunityremainstheonlythingofrealsignificanceinhisentirelife.
AsyouknowIamambitiousformyJamat,ImambitiousformyJamatworldwide.
Whereveramuridisliving,heorsheisofimmediateconcerntotheImamofthe
time.Andthishasbeenmylifesince1957anditwillcontinuetobemylife.
ImamShahKarimalHusayniAgaKhan,
(InstitutionalDinner,Nairobi,Kenya,July15,2011,NanoWisdoms)

ImamShahKarimalHusaynigivesdidartohismuridsinTajikistan(1998).