The Aga Khan strongly believes and practices in serving the humanity, as it is a strong component of Islamic tradition called Huqooqul Ibad, the rights of fellow beings. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had said the best among you is the one who sees to it that his neighbor is fed and cared for. Imam Hazrat Ali (ra), the 4th rightly guided Caliph (Leader) who succeeded Prophet Muhammad in providing the leadership to the Muslim community says, "The best man is he who is most serviceable to fellow humans."
55 Years ago today, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan was appointed to become the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims succeeding his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah Aga Khan III.
Since then, every year on that day and the week around it, the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims celebrate the day called the “Imamat Day” and the week of “Khushali” peace and prosperity. The Imam, in their spiritual tradition of 1400 years is called Hazar Imam, the current Imam.
Per the tradition he interprets the Quraan for daily living to his 15 million plus followers spread out across the world. He has fulfilled his role as the spiritual leader in guiding the community to prosperity and living a responsible life in the societies they live.
In gratitude for his continued guidance, the Ismaili Muslims celebrate this week honoring him and reaffirming his leadership with a renewed commitment to serving the humanity.
One of the sayings of Hazrat Ali that resonates with me on a daily basis is, “A wise man needs each day an hour to set apart in which to examine his conscience, and measure what he has gained or lost”. My Maternal Grandfather Shaikh Hussain used to tell us, “If you attend funeral prayers for each wedding you attend, the contrast will straighten you out to become a humble servant of humanity known as Khaksar.”
Both Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Imam Hazrat Ali (ra) had continuously advocated living in moderation; it’s a mid path between the worldly and spiritual needs. The Aga Khan has fine tuned that balance between living for oneself materially and living for the others spiritually and has founded the Aga Khan Development Network that is committed to serving the humanity without regard to faith, origin or gender. I believe AKDN (http://www.akdn.org/) is one of the largest Non Governmental bodies serving humanity to stand on their own feet.