Welcome to F.I.E.L.D.- the First Ismaili Electronic Library and Database.

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I think that in the Islamic world today, those who live within it and those who care about it, Muslims or otherwise, must be careful not to seek to live within the terminology of the absolute. Muslims do not believe in the absolute other than in God Himself.

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It is true that the power of integration of the classic Islamic culture at one time rested on the recurring spiritual energy which is called faith: faith expressed in ritual behaviour repeated daily but also in ethical rules and laws, the relationship to nature, even with visible and invisible worlds stressed in the Qur'an, thus creating a unity of thought and existence.

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In the field of architecture with which we are concerned, there are two obstacles constantly threatening us: one is modernization imported from abroad and introduced indiscriminately, and, the other is a form of application of tradition consisting of arbitrarily inserting forms, materials, and elements taken from traditional monuments to give a "style" or general tone assumed to be Islamic. One has the illusion of reviving Islamic culture whereas one is displaying a serious ignorance of the spirit of this culture.

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Not everything within traditions is old and outmoded, and not everything within modernity is a vehicle for progress or is highly effective. The difficulty lies in rehabilitating great traditional architectural achievements whilst respecting regional variations and what are particular expressions of Islamic inspiration. But at the same time, it is just as important to take advantage of modern concepts and construction techniques to respond to the new and more diversified needs of our societies.

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The inauguration of a new programme is always exciting, for it brings together feelings of hope, creativity and community; and the inauguration of a building and a programme aimed at improving the health status of mothers and children fills us all with special joy

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In our faith, a religious leader is not separated from the life of the people everyday. The everyday life, the material life, of people is as important as the spiritual life.

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The Network has a long history of working with women to face the challenges of economic and cultural domination. Early this century, my great-grandfather, Aga Khan III, established maternity centres and schools for girls in many areas of India. Investing in women yields high returns, both for themselves and for the generations to come.

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The people worst affected by climate change today are least responsible for its causes and too often left to bear this burden alone, We must give these vulnerable communities a voice and all take responsibility to help them cope with this global crisis.

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Personally, if I had two children, and one was a boy and the other a girl, and if I could afford to educate only one, I would have no hesitation in giving the higher education to the girl

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Canada has shown the world that it is possible for new citizens to become engines of progress, growth, and leadership.

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Thank you Alberta, thank you Canada for creating such fertile ground for improving the quality of life, not just for the Ismaili community, but for all peoples, regardless of their history, origin or story.

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There has been a 71 percent decline of sharks over the past 50 years. Six out of seven sea turtle species are threatened, including the greens I often photograph and critically endangered hawksbills I adore. Manta rays are being slaughtered in their thousands for their gills. Half of all coral reefs have been lost since the 1950s and up to 90 percent of the Great Barrier Reef has been affected by bleaching events

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Somehow we've turned abundance, health and diversity to penury, disease and rarity. Our activities have brought on an unbrave new world. And while individual photographs here don't necessarily demonstrate some of the hardships our oceans and their denizens face, it is their wonder I hope to share with you, and their protection I hope to encourage

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As the leader of a Muslim community, and particularly one that now resides in twenty-five countries on four continents, the physical representation of Islamic values is particularly important to me. It should reflect who we are in terms of our beliefs, our cultural heritage and our relation to the needs and contexts in which we live in today’s world.

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The dialogue between cultures has forever existed. As a result of man’s urge and need to travel, to discover , to meet people, to share experiences, to buy and to sell, cultural dialogue unites by showing, by underling what we share despite our apparent differences.

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But, culture has always been part of my existence. My grandfather was interested in culture. He adored ballet, for instance and had some paintings and had some sculpture. My father had a collection which he sold subsequently. My mother and all of her family were deep into cultural matters as well. And so culture has always been part and parcel of what I did. All culture basically reflects the five senses we have. And all culture basically reflects the dreams and aspirations and fears that we all share.

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Another one of Hazar Imam’s big discoveries, inventions, as far as I am concerned, is Quality of Life. That to improve the quality of life, we are talking not only about living comfortably and having enough to eat. You are talking about also having a good education, having the medical advice you need and back up when you need it, and also having the cultural background so that your spirit and your and your mind and your dreams are also properly affected. And AKFED was just the economic part .

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We put together a loan programme so that the members of the Jamat there would have access to funds. We put together a sort of a bureau for information which could advise members of the Jamat as to what were the areas in the economy which were promising for new ventures and what have you, And literally, I think it took us exactly three days, maybe four, to put together the thing, It was fantastic. It was so quick. Canada already had this very pluralistic image and attitude. So it was a country where they came not as a sort of unwanted foreigners.

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As a group, the Ismailis have always had a strong cultural role. We’ve had very good painters, we have had very good poets, philosophers, you know, you name it. And I am a strong believer in culture as being one of the ways that children learn how to learn. So I thought it was important that we have that. I have pushed to have children do music from a very young age, do painting or drawing from a very young age even if they didn’t become musicians or painters.

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I think assisting the Jamat in every possible, particularly improving the quality of life of those parts of the Jamat which are less fortunate. As I said, I think pluralism has been a message, a big message. I think, quality of life has been a big message too. That life is a complex thing and has to be treated in all its complexities. So, I think, the discovery of the requirements of the members of the Jamat, the grassroots, accuracy of those, of the information on the grassroots has been important.


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