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Who or what are Ismaili Shias & the Aga Khanees?


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Who or what are Ismaili Shias & the Aga Khanees?


O Allah! [1:5] You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help. [1:6] Take us on the straight path.




“Aga Khan” is nothing but an honorific title bestowed upon a person around 1818! This title and thereby the ascription (Aga Khanees) to the followers neither tells the full story nor gives enough of a background for a laymen (Muslim) to make up his (or her) mind about this group.


In order to understand this group we need to understand a brief synopsis of their history throughout the ages, examine their creed, acts (and methods of worship) in order to arrive at a reasonable conclusion about their place in Islam.

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Imamah: A central concept of Shia religion:


The primary and fundamental split between Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaah and Shia is over the concept of Imamah after the passing away of Nabi (Sallalaho Alaihe Wassallam).


Shaykh (Mufti) Taha Karaan (HA) on the concept of Imamah:

 In the English language we have found the most detailed and comprehensive Academic discussion on the subject to be from Shaykh (Mufti) Taha Karaan (HA) and we urge readers to review the material. He (HA) writes about the Shias:


Essentially, Imâmah is about leadership of the Ummah after the demise of Rasûlullâh sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam. The Shî‘ah believe that just as Allâh chose  Muhammad sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam as His Messenger to mankind, he chose  and appointed a line of twelve men to succeed him as the leaders of the Ummah in all matters, spiritual as well as temporal. The first of these leaders, or Imâms as they are called, was ‘Alî ibn Abî Tâlib radiyallâhu ‘anhu. He was succeeded by his eldest son Hasan, and he by his brother Husayn. After Husayn the Imâmah continued in his progeny until the year 260AH, when the twelfth Imâm, a child of five, disappeared upon the death of his father. He is believed to be the Awaited Mahdî who will return from occultation to establish justice upon the earth. To these twelve men from amongst the family of Rasûlullâh sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam alone belongs the right to assume leadership of the Ummah. There are two aspects to Imâmah that need to be looked at with attention. The first is the nature of the appointment of the Imâms, and the second is the nature of their office.


The nature of the appointment of the Twelve Imâms:

As far as the nature of their appointment is concerned, it is a matter of consensus amongst the Shî‘ah that the right of their twelve Imâms to lead the Ummah was bestowed by Allâh Ta‘âlâ Himself. No distinction is made between the appointment of Muhammad sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam as the Messenger of Allâh and the appointment of the twelve Imâms as his successors.


Underscoring this vital aspect of Imâmah, ‘Allâmah Muhammad Husayn Àl Kâshif al-Ghitâ, who was the most prominent Shî‘î ‘âlim of Najaf in Iraq during the seventies, writes in his book Asl ash-Shî‘ah wa-Usûluhâ: "Imâmah is a divine station, just like Nubuwwah. Just as Allâh chooses whomsoever He wants to for Nubuwwah and Risâlah ... similarly, for Imâmah too, He selects whomsoever He wishes."


The nature of the office of the Imâms:

On this point it would be sufficient to say that the Shî‘ah bestow upon their Imâms all the perfections and accomplishments of the Ambiyâ’, and even more. It would be impossible to document here all the narrations that deal with the status of the Imâms, but it might be just as informative to quote the chapters under which they have been documented in a source that is described as a "veritable encyclopaedia of the knowledge of the Imâms": Bihâr al-Anwâr of ‘Allâmah Muhammad Bâqir al-Majlisî (died 1111AH), widely reputed to be the greatest and most influential Shî‘î scholar of the Safawid era. During his lifetime he occupied the office of Shaykh al-Islâm in Isfahan, capital of the Safawids, and even to this day his works are indispensable to the Shî‘î clergy as well as their lay public. We quote here the name of the chapter, as well as the number of narrations he documents in each chapter:



1  The Imâms possess more knowledge than the Ambiyâ’ (13 narrations)


2  The Imâms are superior to the Ambiyâ’ and the entire creation. The Covenant of the Imâms was taken from them (the Ambiyâ’), the Malâ’ikah and the entire creation. The (major prophets called) ulul-‘Azm (Nûh, Ibrâhîm, Mûsâ and ‘Isâ ) attained the status of ulul-‘Azm on account of loving the Imâms. (88 narrations)


3   The du‘âs of the Ambiyâ’ were answered because they invoked the wasîlah of the Imâms. (16 narrations)


4   The Imâms can bring the dead back to life. They can cure blindness and leprosy. They possess all the miracles of the Ambiyâ’ (4 narrations)


5   Nothing of the knowledge of Heaven, Earth, Jannah and Jahannam is hidden from them. The Kingdom of the Heavens and the Earth was shown to them. They know all that happened and that will happen upto the Day of Resurrection. (22 narrations)


6   The Imâms know the truth of a person's faith or hypocrisy. They possess a book that contains the names of the inmates of Jannah, the names of their supporters and their enemies. (40 narrations)

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Ismaili Shia on the concept of Imamah:


The historical underpinning for this vision of Islam is based on the cardinal principle of Shiʿite belief that, after the death of the Prophet Moḥammad, his cousin and son-in-law, ʿAli (q.v.), became Imam following a specific designation (naṣṣ) made by the Prophet, based on divine command, before his death (see ḠADIR ḴOMM). Shiʿite historical understanding thus locates itself within a framework of interpretation supported by Qurʾanic verses and Prophetic Hadith.


The institution of the Imamate is to continue thereafter on a heredity basis through ʿAli and his wife, Fāṭema (q.v.), the Prophet’s daughter, succession being based on designation by the Imam of the time. Adherence to the doctrine of the Imamate as a pillar of faith meant not only acceptance of, but also devotion to, the legitimate successors of the Prophet. The Imamate is therefore linked to the concept of welāya, devotion to the Imams. The two major branches of the Ismaʿilis, the Nezāris and the Mostaʿlis, affirm a shared belief in the Imamate, but give allegiance to different lines of Imams.


The Nezāri Ismaʿilis believe in the physical presence of a living Imam, who for them today is Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, the 49th Imam in direct descent from the Prophet through ʿAli and Fāṭema.


The Mostaʿlis believe that their 21st Hidden Imam went into physical concealment around 524/1130; while the Imamate continues in his line, in his physical absence authority is fulfilled by a vicegerent who acts on his behalf. At present this role is held by the 52nd dāʿi (q.v.), Sayyednā Borhān-al-Din (b. 1333/1915) who leads the Dāʾudi Ṭayyebi Bohras, while a smaller Solay-māni Bohra community found in Yemen is headed by their 51st dāʿi, ʿAbdallāh b. Moḥammad (Daftary, pp. 353-57).

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From Shia to Ismaili Shia:


In order to eventually understand Aga Khanees you need to understand the splits within Shia'ism so here is a concise history:


1 1st Imam: Sayyidina Ali (RA) is considered to be the first Imam by the Shias.


2 2nd Imam: Sayyidina Hasan (RA) is accepted by Twelver Shias as a permanent Imam while Ismaili (Aga Khanees & Bohras) consider him to be "operational Imam" while his brother Sayyidina Hussain (RA) to be the actual Imam. For the sake of brevity we will overlook the (minor)  creedal differences and accept him as the second Imam of the Shia.

3 3rd Imam: Sayyidina Hussain (RA)



First Split in the Shias:


4 Fourth Imam: Sayyidina Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin (RA) who was the son of Sayyidina Hussain (RA) was accepted to be the Imam by a  group


4 Fourth Imam: The Hashmi/Kaysani Shia group split up and declared the son of Sayyidina Ali (RA) from another wife Sayyidina Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah (RA) to be their Imam. The Abbasid Caliphate comes from this blood lineage. However the Shias regard them to be traitors by accepting Sunni Islam and since they were Sunni Muslims the Shias remained bitterly at odds with them throughout their reign.



Second Split in the Shias:


Those who had elected Sayyidina Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin (RA) as the 4th Imam split further after his death.


5 Fifth Imam: A group elected Sayyidina Muhammad al-Baqir (RA) as their Imam.


5 Fifth Imam: A splinter (violent) group elected his Brother Sayyidina Zayd ibn Ali (RA) as the Imam and these became the Zaydee Shias and their history takes a different course (i.e. different sets of Imams).



Third Split in the Shias:


Those who had elected Sayyidina Muhammad al-Baqir (RA) had a elected a sixth Imam:


6 Sixth Imam: Sayyidina Ja`far ibn Muḥammad al-Ṣādiq (RA)  Shias believe that Sayyidina Ja`far ibn Muḥammad al-Ṣādiq (RA) had appointment his son Sayyidina Isma'il ibn Jafar (RA) to be his successor in his lifetime but as fate would have it, he died during the lifetime of Sayyidina Ja`far ibn Muḥammad al-Ṣādiq (RA).



A group of Shias believe that Sayyidina Mûsâ ibn Ja‘far al-Kâdhim (RA) the third son was then appointed by Sayyidina Ja`far ibn Muḥammad al-Ṣādiq (RA) as a successor. However a group of Shias believed that the original succession still held (valid) and therefore decided to accept the son of their Imam so here is the split on the seventh Imam: 


7 Seventh Imam: Sayyidina Mûsâ ibn Ja‘far al-Kâdhim (RA) i.e. the successor after the death of Sayyidina Isma'il ibn Jafar (RA) was accepted as Imam and this group became Twelver Shias


7 Seventh Imam: Sayyidina Muhammad ibn Ismail (RA) the minor (underage) son of  Sayyidina Isma'il ibn Jafar (RA) was then as the successor because this group of Shias believed that the Imams (due to being infallible) cannot make an error and if the father has passed away then the son must succeed him and the original order of succession cannot be rescinded and this group became Ismaili Shias (the sub group Aga Khanees of our time is from this group) since the split is over the 7th Imam this group is also called "Seveners". Politically this line gave rise to Fatimid Shia dynasty



The present day (Aga Khanees) consider Cairo to be settled by their ancstors through this link to Fatimid Shia dynasty.


An Interview with of Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini, Aga Khan IV in which he asserts his (ancestral) connection to Cairo


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Historical names for Ismaili Shia in Islam:

This sect/cult has been referred to with multiple names in classical Islamic literature as follows:



Ismaili: This is due to the 3rd and one of the fundamental splits in Shia'ism over the appointment of Sayyidina Isma'il ibn Jafar (RA) the minor (underage) son of  Sayyidina Isma'il ibn Jafar (RA) as the successor and this group they became Ismaili Shias (Aga Khanees of our time)


2  Batiniyya: They also developed the concept that the Qur'aan has an overt and a covert (Batini) meaning which is only known to the Imam. They also gave Dawah towards their cult (whild hidden) and were also labelled as Batinees due to it


3  Sab'iyya (Seveners): The number 7 occurs over and over in Ismaili and Aga Khanee belief system so they are also called this.


4  Muhmara: When the Persians tried to revolt against Arabs under Babak Khorrami the Ismaili Shias joined him and used to wear RED during the rebellion hence also refereed to as Muhmara


5  Qaramitah: Ismaili Shias had a particular beef with Abbasid Dynasty because they also had family relationship with Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) through Sayyidina Abbas (RA) but had become Sunni so Ismaili Shias continued to rebel against them. Hamdan Qarmat gained some power in parts of Iraq and Yemen and started spreading Ismaili Shia'ism therefore they are also known as Qaramitah.  


6  Maymoniah: The (persian) Iranees referred to  Qaramitah as Maymoniah.

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From Ismaili Shia to (Imam) Prince Karim Aga Khan IV: Benevolence of the British



We have no mention of honorific titles of Aga Khan or Prince or His Highness throughout the Islamic history until the British colonial rule who deemed it prudent and pragmatic to invest in the Ismaili Shia sect to secure British interests in the subcontinent and the in the greater Muslim world. Here is a brief summary of how a little known cult in Islam became a global conglomerate:



1 Aga Khan (I) [1804-1881]: When the Shia Mohammad Shah Qajar (1808-1848) ascended the throne of Iran he appointed him as the Governer of Kerman (Iran) in 1835. They fell out 2 years later and he escaped to (Kandahar) Afghanistan in 1840 where he developed relationship with the British Empire. Due to his Services to the British Empire during the 1st Anglo-Afghan War he was given the title "His Highness" by the British.



2 Aga Khan (II) [1804-1881]: Aqa Ali Shah inherited the Shia Imamat from his father in 1881. By this time while residing in India the relations with British Empire had become stronger. On the recommendations of Sir James Fergusson he was awarded his father's title of "His Highness" by the British.



3 Aga Khan (III) [1877-1957]: Sultan Muhammed Shah succeeded his father at the age of 8 as the 48th Imam in 1885. He married Shahzahdi Begum in 1897 and in the following year set out on his first European tour at the age of 21. During his visit to Britain he was received in audience by Queen Victoria and knighted with the K.C.I.E. At that time he also made the acquaintance of the Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VII) and set the foundations of a lasting friendship. He was created G.C.I.E. on King Edward’s coronation in 1902 and in the following year was nominated a member of the Indian Legislative Council. In 1908 on a visit to France he married his second wife, Mlle. Theresa Magliano, and in the following year his first son, Mehdi Khan, was born. Mehdi Khan died two years later, a few months before Ali Khan was born. The Aga Khan set out upon a career of public service, spreading a message of both modernization and loyalty to the British Empire among his followers as well as to a wider colonial audience. In sociological terms, Aga Khan III was a key connector, a key maven and a key salesman, and was thereby perfectly placed to guide the rapid transformation and modernization of the Ismaili movement. The British authorities carefully nurtured and fostered these characteristics, and equipped him with the necessary status and information. 1914 (at the start of WWI) immediately Immediately the British groomed Shia Imam jumped to defend the British empire and when Turkey opposed Britain he became the official “spokesmen” for Muslims of India in London and articulated (as a Shia Imam) that the position of Turkey was taken as a personal preference and not due to Islam thus confusing the Indian Muslims (who had always supported Ottomans). In 1916 to reward his Services to the British Empire the title of "His Highness" by the British.



4 Aga Khan (IV) [1936-]: The British Government was directly involved with the 49th Imam of the Shias. A letter dated 13 February 1955, from Mr Antrobus at the Foreign Office to K.W. Blaxter at the Colonial Office, we read:


It has been agreed between our two Departments […] that the Colonial Office would be primarily responsible for advising on the affairs of the Aga Khan (III). In view of recent reports on the state of his health –though he made some remarkable recoveries in the past- it seems that one might expect to learn at any moment that he had a fatal seizure. Questions relating to the succession may, therefore, assume some degree of urgency at almost any time […]


To this the following handwritten text was added:


‘We assume that if the Aga Khan should die the Colonial Office would assume responsibility for any messages of condolence from H.M. the Queen and from the U.K. Govt. You would no doubt keep in touch with us on this.’




n a typed note125 marked ‘personal’ from Sir G. Laithwate to Douglas Dodds-Parker, we read: ‘Mr. Mott Radclyffe, M.P., has had a fly dropped over him about the “succession” by the Aly Khan: will H.M.G. “recognise” him as Aga when the present Aga Khan dies, in view of his wild-oat-sowing?



Relevant research on this topic can be read in "Across the Threshold of Modernity : The Shi’a Imami (Nizari) Ismailis and British Foreign- and Colonial Policy In the period 1839 to 1969" with a small quotation from the book as follows:  https://drive.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=http://freepdfhosting.com/a782718c20.pdf



Here we see, gently and carefully phrased, British colonial diplomacy at its very best. High honours were bestowed, on which a reputation and indeed a worldly position rested in no small manner. But they were bestowed conditionally, with the hope held out that they might be renewed at some future date ‘once the (*) attitude of the Khoja’s was known’. Repeated attempts to make the title hereditary, or at least hereditary in a de facto manner by granting fiscal privileges which would put the title on a similar footing to those that were already hereditary, were ever so politely refused. The note also makes some interesting observations regarding the Aga Khan’s position since Indian independence.

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Beliefs & Practises of Ismaili Shias (Aga Khanees) vs Islam:


Unlike the 5 Pillars of Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaah the Ismaili Shias atcually believe in 7 pillars. When asked in public they say that they believe in Shahadah (but due to their) Batini Aqeedah i.e. everything has an overt (obvious) as well as (covert) meaning their Shahadah is no way the same as the Shahadah of Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaah. They admit 7 pillars but actually believe that the root (internal meaning) is more important; the tree is as follows:



7 Pillars of Ismaili Shias (Aga Khanees):


tree 2.jpg


(Click on picture to enlarge)




1 Pillar 1 walāyah: The walāyah (sanctity, closeness, friendship) of the Prophets and Imāms refers to their spiritual status before God.  The souls of the Prophets and Imāms possess sanctity due to their proximity or closeness to the Divine.  In this context, walāyah refers to an exalted spiritual station – due to which the souls of the Prophets, Imāms and saints are pure and in turn reflect the radiance of the Divine Names and Attributes. “Walāya also denotes the essential nature of the figure of the imām, his ontological status.  Now, the imām/walī in the ultimate reality of his being, is the locus for the manifestation of God (mazhar, majla), the vehicle of the divine Names and Attributes. ‘By God’, Imam Ja‘far is said to have declared, ‘we (the imāms) are the Most Beautiful Names (of God).’  The imam reveals God, he provides access to what may be known of Him, the Deus Revelatus, the zahir of God.” - Mohammad Ali Amir Moezzi, (The Spirituality of Shi’i Islam, p. 249)  


2 Pillar 2: Taharah "Purity": The Ismā'īlī lay special emphasis on purity and its related practices, and the Nizari consider this in a more esoteric sense too and apply it to purity of mind, soul and action, the Musta'lis also apply it to ritual practices related to prayer and cleanliness.


3 Pillar 3 Salat "Prayer": Unlike Sunni and Twelver Muslims, Nizari Ismā'īliyya reason that it is up to the current imām to designate the style and form of prayer, and for this reason the current Nizari practices resemble dua and pray them three times a day.


4 Pillar 4 Zakah "Charity": with the exception of the Druze, all Ismā'īlī Madh'hab have practices resembling that of Sunni and Twelver Muslims with the addition of the characteristic Shī'a khums: payment of 1/8th of one's unspent money at the end of the year to the imām. In addition to khums, Ismā'īlīs pay 12.5% of their monthly gross income to the imām, which goes to the central accounts and then spent on welfare of the humankind like education and health projects. One of the major examples of these projects is the Aga Khan Development Network, that is one of the biggest welfare networks of the world.:


5 Pillar 5 Sawm “Fasting”: Nizari and Musta'lī believe in both a metaphorical and literal meaning of fasting. The literal meaning is that one must fast as an obligation, such as during the Ramadan and the metaphorical meaning being that one is in attainment of the Divine Truth and must strive to avoid worldy activities which may detract from this goal. In particular, Ismā'īlīs believe the real and esoteric meaning of fasting is avoiding devilish acts and doing the good deeds. Not eating during the month of Ramadan in conjunction with a metaphorical implementation of fasting.


6 Pillar 6 Hajj “Pilgrimage”: For Ismā'īlīs, visiting the imām or his representative is one of the most aspired pilgrimages. There are two pilgrimages: Hajj-i-Zahiri and Hajj-i-Batini the first is the visit to Mecca, the second, being in the presence of the Imam. The Musta'lī maintain also the practice of going to Mecca. The Druze interpret this completely metaphorically as "fleeing from devils and oppressors" and rarely go to Mecca


7 Pillar 7 Jihad "Struggle": The definition of jihad is controversial as it has two meanings: "the Greater Struggle" and the "The Lesser Struggle", the latter of which means a confrontation with the enemies of the faith. The Nizari are pacifist and interpret "adversaries" of the faith as personal and social vices (i.e. wrath, intolerance, etc.) and those individuals who harm the peace of the faith and avoid provocation and use force only as a final resort only in self-defense. Basically the first pillar (i.e. the Imam) gets to interpret what the rest of the religion is.

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Aqeedah of Ismaili Shias (Aga Khanees) vs Islam:


We (Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaat) believe that the words of Allah (SWT) and his Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) is final. There are others who may be given temporary authority e.g. Ulama, Mashaykh, Ameers (in Jihad or other administrative matters) but they are only obeyed as long as they obey Allah (SWT) and his Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam). Where there is a disagreement then the final call is with Allah (SWT) and his Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam).




يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَطِيعُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ ٱلرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِى ٱلۡأَمۡرِ مِنكُمۡ‌ۖ فَإِن تَنَـٰزَعۡتُمۡ فِى شَىۡءٍ۬ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَٱلرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمۡ تُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ خَيۡرٌ۬ وَأَحۡسَنُ تَأۡوِيلاً


[4:59] O you who believe, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. Then, if you quarrel about something, revert it back to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is good, and the best at the end.



The Ismaili Shias (and the sub cult Aga Khanees) believe the Imam to have the absolute authority to define, abrogate, add, amend and change Shariah as it is clearly stated on their site:


The Imam’s word on the Faith is taken as an absolute rule. Every Ismaili is expected to accept it



Number of Prayers of Ismaili Shias (Aga Khanees) vs Islam:

We (Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaat) pray 5 times a day as per the saying of Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) while Ismaili Shias (and the sub cult Aga Khanees) pray 3 times a day.


Ismaili Shias (and the sub cult Aga Khanees) actually mock the Hadeeth of Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) and the incident of 50 Salah (reduced down to 5 due to Mercy of Allah (SWT))) as a pure fabrication!



Direction of Prayers of Ismaili Shias (Aga Khanees) vs Islam:

We (Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaat) pray facing Makkah. Here is what the Ismaili Shias (and the sub cult Aga Khanees) have to say about direction of prayer and the Kabah:


The following anecdote quoted by Nagib in another discussion, says it all. When I went to Karachi in 1981, I was told the following anecdote. Mowlana Shah Karim visited the Sulan Muhammad Shah Takri in Karachi with some leaders. From the top, he asked them where is the Qaba? The leaders started looking east and west, searching for direction but could not reply. One of the caretaker [he was from Hunza] was summoned and he was asked the same question. I felt at the feet of Hazar Imam and kissed-it. Crying loudly, he said Khudawind, here is the Qaba. Hazar Imam said, you are right.


Yes..but the one thing that is common with all Ismailies regardless of creed, caste or geographical affiliation that you are failing to see...is that we are a BATINI FAITH...ESOTERIC..numerous farmans of the IMAM point to this..Wonder why other brethern from the other tariqahs are failing to see that... this isn't just a Khoja ideology..if it is..than all should adopt it...the idea of praying facing the Kaaba is a very exoteric thing..what is in the Kaaba..a meteorite..agreed the Kaaba was built by Hazrat Ibrahim and then cleansed by the Prophet..but since when did we become so physical.. the kaaba means house of god.i was always taught Jamat Khana is the House of Mowla Bapa..thus that's my Kaaba and unless MHI makes a farman telling me to face kaaba to say my dua...i am going to say it the same way i say it now...to me..Allah..the noor of Allah..is everywhere..so no matter where I face.. He is around me and within me...



Ramadhan Fasting of Ismaili Shias (Aga Khanees) vs Islam:

We (Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaat) regard fasting in Ramadhan to be an obligation while Ismaili Shias (and the sub cult Aga Khanees) regard the word of the Imam to define the Qur'aan. The "Imam" regards their Sharia to be Dhahhir (external) and Baatin (internal) and he thinks that Baatin (internal) is more important so a person DOES NOT have to fast in Ramadhan at all! It is more important for them to do Baatin (internal) fasting i.e. be a person of good moral etc. The following discussion on their forum is relevant to the discussion and should be read for further insight into their fasting.



(Other) Mandatory Fasting of Ismaili Shias (Aga Khanees) vs Islam:

Some Imam (down the line) mandated two additional kinds of fasting of "Beej Shukarwari' and "Satima no Rozo". My understanding is that this has something to do with new moon being on a Friday. Again don't think of their fasting as (our fasting), the timings and the methodology are all different. The following discussion on their forum is relevant to the discussion and should be read for further insight into their fasting.


We (Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaat) have nothing else which is mandatory besides Ramadhan.



Hajj of Ismaili Shias (Aga Khanees) vs Islam:

We (Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaat) know what Hajj is and has to be performed in Makkah.


Ismaili Shias (and the sub cult Aga Khanees) mock the Ka'bah as nothing but a meteorite and believe that the real Hajj is DEEDAR (seeing) of the Imam). They believe that according to Baatin (internal) eyes everybody should be connected to the Imam but in DEEDAR (seeing) the Baatin (internal) attention to the Imam and Dhaahir (external) eyes are combined to create a most complete experience. This is Hajj.


All believers are urged to come into the presence of the Imam and to see him with their own eyes. Thus, the esoteric (batini) vision, realized through pious works and the constant remembrance of God during the nightly vigil , as well as the exoteric (zaheri) vision, achieved by travelling to the Imam’s residence and beholding the gateway of God’s mercy, becomes the ultimate purpose of human life.



Repentance & Forgiveness of Ismaili Shias (Aga Khanees) vs Islam:

We (Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaat) know what Hajj is performed for the pleasure of Allah (SWT) and to seek forgiveness from Allah (SWT). Ismaili Shias (and the sub cult Aga Khanees) peform Hajj to seek forgiveness from the Imam by using many duas with one of them being as follows:


“Greetings! O Emperor of the realm of faith and world; I come from Khurasan to behold your face. No worship accompanies me as a companion that I may be worthy of pardon. All I have is a soul imperfect, sins and transgressions galore. Despite such worthless goods, I long for your grace, hoping that through me you may forgive the trespasses of your servants — one and all. As you are the sovereign and governor of all creation, this being testified to by the Quran itself, your proper name has been made manifest to all the faithful. You are Shah Gharib and Mustansir, the inheritor of Shah Salam!” –  The Ismailis in the Middles Ages, by Shafique Virani, p. 175.


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Fatawa on Ismaili Shias (Aga Khanees):


Darul-uloom Deoband:


Q:) Are Agha Khani Ismaili Muslim?


Agha Khani Ismaelis are out of the fold of Islam due to their kufriyah beliefs. In reply to a question regarding Agha Khani group Hadhrat Maulana Thanvi (رحمة الله عليه) has written a detailed fatwa, which is published in Jawahir al-Fiqh Vol. 1, under the title "Al Hukmul Haqqani Fil Hizbil Agha Khani". [Jawahirul Fiqh 1/64]


Allah (Subhana Wa Ta'ala) knows Best

Darul Ifta,
Darul Uloom Deoband



Shaykh (Mufti) Ebrahim Desai (HA):


Q:) If you could direct me to some literature on the subject. (online or off) it would be greatly appreciated thank you


Respected Brother-in-Islam

Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullaahi Wa Barakaatuhu

Kindly refer attached


The Bohri community is an off-shoot of the Ismaili sect – part of the Shi’a sect. Shi’as are not Muslims.


and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ebrahim Desai



Dear Brothers-Sisters

As-Salaamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu

May I for the sake of Allah (swt), His Deen and the Muslim Ummaah, request you to please consider the following facts very carefully and decide on your responsibility before Allah (swt) in this matter.


I am a revert to Islam. I was an Ismaili before – a follower of the Aga Khan. And I perceive an important Da’wah responsibility which the majority of Muslims are for some reason or other are ignoring. I am not getting you into petty sectarian issues, but a very important matter – please judge for yourself:


1 The Ismailis (followers of the Aga Khan) all professedly believe that the Qur’an was time bound and was not meant to be a Universal message for all times. They believe that their spiritual leader, Karim Aga Khan, is the “walking – talking Qur’an” and his “religious pronouncements”, whatever they may be, are the “guidance” for the present times. The fundamental article of faith that there will not be any NEW revelations or “wahy” after the Qur’an, is being completely violated by the Ismailis.


2 The Aga Khan has officially Declared himself, before his followers, as the “Mazhar of Allah on earth”. The word “mazhar” means “copy” or “manifest”. Consequently, these Ismailis who call themselves Muslims do “sujood” before him. So even the primary axiomatic principle of Tawheed is being fundamentally and formally violated by them.


3 The Ismailis are not instructed to offer the Islamic Salaah, observe Saum or perform Hajj. They have replaced Salaah with certain shirk-infested Dua’as (thrice a day). They are told that their Hajj is a personal “Glimpse” (Deedaar) of Karim Aga Khan.


4 The Aga Khan and his appointees ‘forgive the sins’ of the followers on regular basis. Ismailis are misled into believing that they will not be questioned on the Day of Judgment for the sins that are already forgiven in their Jamatkhanas (community centers). Forgiving of sins is the exclusive prerogative and privilege of Allah (swt) alone. Qur’an 3:135.


5 Against this backdrop, most of the poor (spiritually poor) Ismailis who are not introduced to al-Furqan are confused and misguided. Hence, Ismailis are very easy prey to missionary efforts by various Christian groups and Baha’is. I have known a couple of young ex-Ismailis who are today preaching “Pauline Christianity” to Ismailis as evangelical missionaries.


6 Karim Aga Khan’s own daughter Zahra having married a practising Christian has opened the gates for young Ismailis girls to follow the footsteps of a family member of their beloved Imam-e-Zaman. The parents of the Ismaili girls who wish to marry outside of Islam have no recourse but to let them go.


7 The Aga Khan has made Halaal for the Ismailis that which Allah has made Haraam for the humans. Taking of interest (usury) is not forbidden by the religious instruction classes run by the “Tariqaah” board of the Ismailis. As a matter of fact, the much publicized “Venture Capital” program (details on the website of FORBES Magazine – search under “Aga Khan”), of loaning funds on interest by the AKFED (Aga Khan Fund & Economic Development), has been a great success. Similar entrepreneurial projects are now being actively promoted and introduced to poor Muslims of Tajikistan and neighboring areas.


8 The Muslim Ummaah and the various Muslim leaders are not fully aware of these Un-Islamic acts and beliefs of this community of less than two million members, who claim to be the Ismaili Muslims. Surprisingly, their leader Aga Khan claims himself to be a spiritual leader of 15 million Muslims and a Direct Descendant of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam).


9 Earlier, one did not have authentic books on Ismailism, but it is not so anymore. There are two authentic books as well as one comprehensive web site exposing the inner practices of the Ismailis and the Proclamations (Farmans) of the Aga Khans. Hence, now you have no “hujjah” argument or excuse left before Allah (swt) for not taking up the task of inviting the misguided “Ismaili Muslims” towards the Deen of Allah (swt) and not safeguarding them from committing unpardonable sin of Shirk.


10 The Aga Khan in collaboration with so many Western powers and aid, has set up the world-wide Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) which runs several institutions and service companies both in the profit and not for profit sectors. This network is very actively operating in Pakistan, India, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Bangladesh, and has now started concentrating its efforts in Tajikistan and the neighbouring areas where there is a concentration of Muslims who have not known or openly practised Islam for the decades. By taking up economical, social, educational and rural development efforts through NGOs (Non-Govt. Organizations) within the AKDN, the Ismailis and the Aga Khan have gained wide acceptance amongst these countries and masses. Hence this urgent appeal.


11 Now all these beneficiaries are “obliged and grateful” to the Aga Khan and his followers and his organizations for the much-needed schools, medical centers, hospitals, various projects and programmes. In this manner they are penetrating and infiltrating the support system – and one fine day, the Muslim Ummaah will wake up to the unexpected realization that they have a community of so called Muslims, practicing the Un-Islamic Tariqaah, in charge of all core and support activities. Each of these much-needed projects will have the photos of Aga Khan decorating the walls.


In the name of Allah (swt) and Islam, kindly urge our Brothers and Sisters to do Da’wah to the Ismailis, who otherwise will, on the day of judgement, hold us responsible for not conveying the Revealed Truth to them. Dear Brother/Sister, you know much more on the subject than what little I have learnt since reverting to the Deen of Allah (swt). It hurts to see the misguided simple minded people die on SHIRK because we did not amply warn them before their deaths.


I am aware of your stature as a religious leader of repute, respectability and acceptance among Muslim Masses, and hence have sought to put this appeal to you. I request you to seriously consider this request and initiate all steps that you consider Wajib and appropriate. To spread the “Truth” and eradicate “Tagoot” is a significant, major Sunnah of the prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam).


May I also request you to please forward this e-mail to at least five (if not all) of your Muslim friends and activists so that greater awareness of this issue is created, and this request reaches a wider audience. Please do so. JazakAllah.”


In case you wish to seek any further clarification please feel free to e-mail a message. I will Insh’allah respond. I apologize in advance, if this happens to be a repeat message.


May Allah (swt) shower His Choicest Blessings on the entire Muslim Ummah. May Almighty Allah bless you and keep you in the service of Islam and Muslims. Aameen.


Jazak’Allah and Was Salaam,

Yours in the Service of Islam,

Akbarally Meherally



Shaykh (Mufti) Mohammed Sajjad (HA):


Q:) Are aga khani muslims or not (-) can a sunni muslim marry aga khani girl who is ready to read kalima but not ready to change her beleifs?


It is not sufficient to be considered a Muslim to say the Kalima and at the same time hold the beliefs of the Aga Khani sect. The followers of this sect are undoubtedly disbelievers and it would be a heinous sin to marry from any of them. The following are some of their deviations:



1 They worship the picture of their Imam Aga Khan.


2 Their Bismillah is different to the Bismillah of the Muslims.


3 The method of performing their Salah has no basis in the Qur'an and Hadith but rather is in violation of the sacred sources.


4 Fasting is restricted to fasting of the eyes, mouth and hands.


5 Haj is for them is to visit their Imam.


These and other beliefs and practices are a denial of that which is firmly established in the Religion of Islam, as taught and transmitted by the last Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and consequently leave a person a disbeliever. Fataawa Haqaniyya, vol.1 p.385.

Mufti Mohammed Sajjad

Wallahu Aalam bis-sawab
As-Suffa Institute





I would like to correct you on a Q&A regarding Aga Khani's, aka Ismaili MUSLIMS. Yes, Aga Khani's are pure Shia Muslims and this has been proven in history. I would appreciate if you could please remove your answer regarding Aga Khani's not being Muslims, as they also follow the Shahadah, Allah (SWT), Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)and the Holy Qur'an. We are no one to judge who are and who are not Muslims?


Please note that just because a person says the Shahadah does not gaurantee that he/she is a Muslim, just as, for example, person who upholds justice but practices all forms of injustice, to continue to call him a just person, even if he proclaims to the world that he is just, is making a mockery of language and the intelligence. Shahadah does tell us that a person is a Muslim, but only as long as he/she does not uphold beliefs and ideas that negate it. If one were to uphold the view you seemingly do, then you would not be able declare anyone a disbeliever no matter how anti-Quranic and opposed to the clear teachings of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) they are. You would have to concede that even the Qadianis are Muslim as too are the Kharijis for they both pronounce the Shahadah, yet about the latter the Prophet (SAW) himself said, they would leave the Deen just as an arrow goes through its target (Sahih Muslim).


Furthermore, this is not and never has been the approach of the best of generations and the Muslim scholars for the last 1400 years. Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) with all the companions fought and killed those who denied Zakah, even though they would recite the Shahadah. The companions did this because these people had apostated from Islam, which is why those wars are known in Islamic History as the Riddah Wars (Apostasy wars).Similarly Islamic History testifies that Muslim scholars, in order to protect the pure Deen from corruption and the Ummah from misguidance, often declared as apostates or disbelievers individuals who held views that could not be reconciled in any way with the very teachings of the two entities found in the Shahadah.


It will be clear to see for any objective person that this internal mechanism Islam has had to protect it from corruption is such a distinction that it helps prove its being the true Religion and divinely revealed. All other religions did, as you wish for Muslims to do, namely they let whatever erroneous baseless heresies reared their heads amongst them to take shelter under the name of the religion. Yet do you not see the absurdity of this, that something that is not only not revealed, but is in fact contrary to what is revealed, is somehow to be made equal to real revelation? Would we be so accommodating in worldly matters? If someone wished to buy another’s car and pulled out a pile of monopoly money, according to your principle the seller should happily accept the payment. But obviously you would never allow this, then why is it that when it comes to the most important of things: the Deen, upon which clings our eternal salvation or ruin we are prepared to make anything and everything the Religion of God.


The Deen of Islam is that which the Holy Messenger (SAW) brought. Allah taala said: "Today I have perfected for you your Deen and completed my favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your Religion" (Sura al-Maidah:3). This verse was revealed right at the end of the Messenger of Allah’s (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) mission. Thus when we look to the teachings of the Aga Khanis we find clear violations of this and other sacred texts.


To elaborate, when a person adopts a symbol of disbelief, it is sufficient for his/her leaving Islam. For example were a person to wear a cross around his neck, it would take him out of Islam. For this visual expression of Kufr is equivalent to a verbal or written expression of kufr.


Now, it is from the practices of this sect that they worship the picture of Aga Khan and have it in their places of worship. Just as wearing a cross takes a person out of Islam so too would this act. Similarly the belief that Allah taala is dwelling within their leader, is also sufficient for Takfir. There are many other grave deviances found in this sect that take them out of the fold of Islam such as changes in the way they offer prayer. (See Jawaahir al-Fiqh, Mufti Muhammad Shafi, vol.1 p.70). Thus it is not permitted to marry into them, eat their slaughtered meat and generally mix with them.


Mufti Mohammed Sajjad
Wallahu Aalam bis-sawab


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