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Sir Aga Khan III (1877-1957)

Sir Sultan Muhammad shah, Aga Khan the Third was the spiritual leader of Shia Islamic Muslims. He was born in Karachi 1877. Under the supervision of his mother he got his religious and oriental education which was necessary for him to become a spiritual leader. He also attended Eton and Cambridge University. In 1885 at the age of eight he succeeded his father as Imam of Shia Ismaili Muslim. He travelled to different areas of the world to receive homage of his followers. He was recognized for his public services from the German Emperor. He was member of Indian Legislative Council from 1902-1904. In 1904, he became the president of All Indian Muslim League. He suggested a separate electorate for Muslim in a meeting with Viceroy Lord Rippon. From 1906-1912 he became the President of Muslim League. He tried to create fair relations between Hindus and Muslims.

In 1911 he raised 3 million rupees for the Aligarh Muslim University. In 1921 he was appointed as a Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University. From 1928-29 he was president of All Parties of Muslim Conference. From 1930-33 he was chairman of the British Indian delegation to the Round Table Conference. In 1934 he was a member of the Privy Council. He was the first Asian who was elected as the president of League Nation in 1937. Queen Victoria made him a “Knight of the Indian Empire.” During his Imamat he did significant development for the Ismaili community. He helped greatly in economic and social development in South Asia and in East Africa. In Ismaili community they mark their Imams Jubilees for symbolic declaration of ties that link the Ismaili Imam and his followers. The Jubliee does not have any religious importance.

When Aga Khan the Third was 72 years of age his community celebrated his Golden, Platinum, and Diamond Jubilee to show their affection. They weighed their Imam in gold and diamond than use it for the development of the institutions in Asia and Africa. Many institutions were developed in India and later in Pakistan. Diamond Jubilee schools were established for girls in Northern Areas of what is now Pakistan. Scholarship programme were established during the time of Golden Jubilee. Different social and economic welfare institutions were developed in East Africa. Aga Khan the Third also introduced the organizations which regulate their own Ismaili affairs. In 1905, he regulated the first Ismaili constitutions for the social governance of community in East Africa. Different rules were set out in constitution such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and mutual cooperation with other communities.

A number of books were written by him. Two of these were very important namely “India in Transition” and “World enough and Time”. He had 4 wives. First he married on 2nd November 1896 in Poona, in India with his cousin Shahzadi Begum. His second marriage was held on 1898, with Cleope Teresa Magliano who was a dancer. He third time married on 7th December 1924 in France. His third wife did not accept Islam and he divorced her in 1943. His last marriage was held on 9th October 1944 in Switzerland, with Yvomme. She accepted Islam and her name changed and she was called Umm Habiba.

Aga Khan III died on 11th July 1957 and is buried in at the Mausoleum of Aga Khan on the Nile in Aswan, Egypt.

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