Today in history: Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah’s Platinum Jubilee Address in Cairo

Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah with Mata Salamat and Prince Aly Khan at the Platinum Jubilee commemoration in Cairo (Photo: Ilm, Centenary Issue, November 1977)
Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah with Mata Salamat and Prince Aly Khan at the Platinum Jubilee commemoration in Cairo (Photo: Ilm, Centenary Issue, November 1977)

“On this unique occasion when you make this wonderful offering of platinum and its equivalent as an unconditional gift, I must immediately tell you that I give it to the Diamond Jubilee Investment Trust as further addition to its capital. You have referred to my seventy years Imamat which, indeed, is unique in the history of the 48 Ismaili Imams by its long duration, but also it began in another world, the world of horse carriages and candle lights, and today we are in the world of nuclear power, physics, jet air-travel and serious discussion amongst the most learned as to how and when we can visit the stars and the moon.

But, as I have explained in my Memoirs for the whole world to understand there are two worlds – the world of material intelligence and the world of spiritual enlightenment. The world of spiritual enlightenment is fundamentally different from the world of material intellectualism and it is the pride of the Ismailis that we firmly believe that the world of spiritual enlightenment has come as a truth from the inception of Islam to this day with the Imamat and carries with it as one of its necessary consequences love, tenderness, kindliness and gentleness towards first, our brother and sister Muslims of all sects and, secondly, to those who live in righteousness, conscience and justice towards their fellow men. These religious principles of Ismailism are well known to you for you have heard them from me and through your fathers and grandfathers and from my father and grandfather until I fear that by long familiarity with these teachings some of you forget the necessity of re-examination of your heart and religious experience.

But, as I started by telling you, there is also the world of matter and intellect which go side by side with reason and deductive and inductive powers. I have never, as you say in your own address, neglected to encourage schools and universities, and by welfare societies for the health of children, maternity, and more and more up to date needs that you may have, as far as it is possible in the areas in which you live, to get both mental and physical training that will make you capable of meeting the more and more difficult conditions of life and competition.”

Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan III
Address at the Platinum Jubilee Ceremony, Cairo, Egypt

February 20, 1955 

The Institute of Ismaili Studies

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