December 13, 2014 – Ismailis around the world are celebrating the 78th birthday of their present Imam, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan.
Born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1936, he succeeded his grandfather to become the 49th Ismaili Imam, at the age of 20 in 1957.
The occasion is an opportunity for the Ismaili Community to express its love, loyalty and devotion to the Imam-of-the-Time.
Throughout history, Ismaili Muslims have been led by a living, hereditary Imam-of-the-Time descended from the progeny of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through his cousin and son-in-law, Hazrat Ali, and his daughter, Hazrat Bibi Fatima.
During more than five decades of his Imamat, The Aga Khan has devoted himself to the spiritual and worldly progress of Ismailis and others everywhere.
The breadth and scope of his work around the world through the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is immeasurable and worldwide admiration, respect and warmth is shown to him by leaders at all levels around the world.
The Aga Khan has over the past 57 years, guided the spiritual growth of his followers as well as helped them achieve a better material life through economic, social, and cultural progress. The Aga Khan has articulated that education, self-help, unity, character and generosity as well as the ethic of keeping a balance between the Spiritual (Deen) and Temporal (dunya) are the elements which keep a community vibrant and healthy and lead to enlightenment and dignity.