|Biographical detail : ||Spiritual leader and the 49th hereditary Imam of the Ismaili Muslims.
Prince Karim, son of Prince Ali Khan, became Aga Khan, when he was 20-year old undergraduate at Harvard, on the death of his grandfather, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan, in 1957. Prince Karim bypassed to the disappointment of his uncle Prince Sadruddin because his grandfather apparently believed that his son lived only for pleasure. Thus the crown and the title Aga Khan IV went to Prince Karim.
Today, around 20 million Ismaili Muslims are scattered throughout the Muslim world – in Asia, particularly Indian subcontinent, North and East Africa and the Middle East as well as in the West. The followers of Aga Khan are expected to contribute 1/8 of their income to the sect.
Since the days of the Fatimids, Ismaili Imams have encouraged intellectual freedom and tolerance. For them the Qura’an and its teachings are open to each individual’s interpretation and could never be dictated. All the Aga Khan asks is that Ismailis believe in Allah and remain good citizens of their countries.
Owner of a chain of luxury hotels, an airline, mobile phone companies, hundreds of thoroughbred race-horses, valuable stud farms, an exclusive yacht club on Sardinia, a grand estate near Paris and more than 90 businesses employing more than 36,000 people, Prince Karim takes his duties as a religious leader seriously.
Prince Karim was the founder president of the Aga Khan Development Foundation (1967) the world’s largest private aid agency which gives away $300m a year for rural development, education and healthcare in the developing world, the Institute of Islmaili Studies (1977), and the founder and Chancellor Aga Khan University in Pakistan in 1983.
Prince Karim was given award by different governments such as Nishan-e-Imitiaz Pakistan 1970, Nishan-i-Pakistan 1983, Commander Legion `D' honneur (France) 1990, Thomas Jefferson award in architecture, University of Virginia 1984 and others.
Prince Karim, although deeply involved with Ismaili communities throughout the world, he makes his home in an eighteenth-century chateau in Chantilly, France. Prince Karim Aga Khan is a man who belongs to both the East and the West.