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  • 12-13-2012, 03:01 AM

    Re: Ismailis

    Quote Originally Posted by Pissed Off 2 View Post
    This is all very fascinating stuff. The Aga Khan ruled from the Eagle's Roost, in the mountains of northern Persia (Iran). The fortress was impenetrable for hundreds of years, until the Mongols swept through and killed everybody, ending the Alamut's history of impregnability. The "Hashashine" Assassin cult never held as much power after that.

    somebody posted a question of whether you would like to time travel to the past or future!? without hesitation i chose PAST!? wont even consider FUTURE!? unless maybe i was in poor health/old and dying!? still no guarantees of a cure though!? : :crazy1::spin2::
  • 11-28-2012, 11:06 PM
    Pissed Off 2

    Re: Ismailis

    This is all very fascinating stuff. The Aga Khan ruled from the Eagle's Roost, in the mountains of northern Persia (Iran). The fortress was impenetrable for hundreds of years, until the Mongols swept through and killed everybody, ending the Alamut's history of impregnability. The "Hashashine" Assassin cult never held as much power after that.

  • 04-01-2011, 06:27 AM

    Re: Ismailis

    Quote Originally Posted by maliali View Post
    Has anyone heard of a religion called Shia Imami Ismailis. They believe the Agakhan is the Divine interpretor of the word of the Lord?
    So what?

    There are a lot of crazies out there, and always loads of people who believe them.
  • 03-29-2011, 07:58 PM

    Re: Ismailis

    Ismaili Imamat

    Islam: General Introduction

    The last in the line of the Abrahamic family of revealed traditions, Islam emerged in the early decades of the seventh century. Its message, addressed in perpetuity, calls upon a people that are wise, a people of reason, to seek in their daily life, in the rhythm of nature, in the ordering of the universe, in their own selves, in the very diversity of humankind, signs that point to the Creator and Sustainer of all creation, Who alone is worthy of their submission.* It was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) in Arabia from where its influence spread rapidly and strongly, bringing within its fold, in just over a century after its birth, inhabitants of the lands stretching from the central regions of Asia to the Iberian peninsula in Europe. A major world religion, Islam today counts a quarter of the globe's population among its adherents, bound to their faith by the affirmation of the witness that there is no divinity except God, and Muhammad is His messenger.

    Muslims are those who submit to God. They are a community of the middle path, of balance, which is taught to avoid extremes, to enjoin good and forbid evil, using the best of arguments. Such a community eschews compulsion, leaves each to their own faith and encourages all to vie for goodness: it is the nobility of conduct which endears one in the sight of God. In its pristine sense, Islam refers to the inner struggle of the individual, waged singly and in consonance with fellow believers, to engage in earthly life, and yet, to rise above its trappings in search of the Divine. But that quest is only meaningful in tandem with the effort to do good for the kin, the orphan, the needy, the vulnerable; to be just, honest, humble, tolerant and forgiving.**

    The spiritual dimension of Islam varies from individual to individual according to their inner capacities as conditioned by the external environment. Equally in the collective domain, a divergence of views has persisted, since the demise of the Prophet, among the pious and the learned, on what constitutes the best community. The very comprehensiveness of the vision of Islam, as it has unfolded over time and in a multiplicity of cultures, has rendered a monolithic conception of the ideal society difficult. Nevertheless, whatever the cultural milieu in which Islam takes root, its central impulse of submission to the Divine translates into patterns of lifeways and acts of devotion, which impart a palpable impress of an Islamic piety to whichever spheres Muslims occupy.

    Shia Islam: Historical Origins
    Within its fundamental unity, Islam has elicited, over the ages, varying responses to its primal message calling upon man to surrender himself to God. Historically, these responses have been expressed as two main perspectives within Islam: the Shia and the Sunni. Each encompasses a rich diversity of spiritual temperaments, juridical preferences, social and psychological dispositions, political entities and cultures. Ismailism is one such response integral to the overall Shia perspective which seeks to comprehend the true meaning of the Islamic message, and trace a path to its fulfilment.

    All Muslims affirm the unity of God (tawhid) as the first and foremost article of the faith, followed by that of Divine guidance through God's chosen messengers, of whom Prophet Muhammad was the last. The verbal attestation of the absolute unity and transcendence of God and of His choice of Muhammad as His Messenger constitutes the shahada, the profession of faith, and the basic creed of all Muslims.

    During his lifetime, Prophet Muhammad was both the recipient of Divine revelation and its expounder. His death marked the conclusion of the line of prophecy, and the beginning of the critical debate on the question of the rightful leadership to continue his mission for the future generations. The debate ensued as a result of the absence of consensus, in the nascent Muslim community, on the succession to the Prophet.

    A variety of viewpoints on the nature of the succession continued to be expressed before being consolidated into systematic doctrine, propounded by legal scholars and theologians, towards the end of the ninth century. From the beginning, however, there was a clear distinction of views on this matter between those, known as shi'at Ali or the "party" of Ali, who believed that the Prophet had designated Ali, his cousin, as his successor, and those groups which followed the political leadership of the caliphs. These latter groups eventually coalesced into the majoritarian, Sunni branch, comprising several different juridical schools.

    In essence, the Sunni position was that the Prophet had not nominated a successor, as the revelation, the Quran, was sufficient guidance for the community. Nevertheless, there developed a tacit recognition that the spiritual-moral authority was to be exercised by the ulama, a group of specialists in matters of religious law, the shariah. The task of the ulama came to be understood as that of merely deducing appropriate rules of conduct on the basis of the Quran, the Hadith or the Prophetic tradition and several other subordinate criteria. The role of the caliph, theoretically elected by the community, was to maintain a realm in which the principles and practices of Islam were safeguarded and propagated.

    The Shia or "party" of Ali, already in existence during the lifetime of the Prophet, maintained that while the revelation ceased at the Prophet's death, the need for spiritual and moral guidance of the community, through an ongoing interpretation of the Islamic message, continued. They firmly believed that the legacy of Prophet Muhammad could only be entrusted to a member of his own family, in whom the Prophet had invested his authority through designation. That person was Ali, Prophet Muhammad's cousin, the husband of his daughter and only surviving child, Fatima, and his first supporter who had devoutly championed the cause of Islam and had earned the Prophet's trust and admiration. Their espousal of the right of Ali and that of his descendants, through Fatima, to the leadership of the community was rooted, above all, in their understanding of the Quran and its concept of qualified and rightly guided leadership, as reinforced by Prophetic traditions. The most prominent among the latter were part of the Prophet's sermon at a place called Ghadir Khumm, following his farewell pilgrimage, designating Ali as his successor, and his testament that he was leaving behind him "the two weighty things", namely the Quran and his progeny, for the future guidance of his community.

    Among the early Shia were the pious Quran readers, several close Companions of the Prophet, tribal chiefs of distinction and other pious Muslims who had rendered great services to Islam. Their foremost teacher and guide was Ali himself who, in his sermons and letters, and in his admonition to the leaders of the tribe of Quraysh, reminded Muslims of his family's right, in heredity, to the leadership for all time "as long as there is among us one who adheres to the religion of truth".

    The Shia, therefore, attest that after the Prophet, the authority for the guidance of the community was vested in Ali. The Sunni, on the other hand, revere Ali as the last of the four rightly-guided caliphs, the first three being Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman. Just as it was the prerogative of the Prophet to designate his successor, so it is the absolute prerogative of each Imam of the time to designate his successor from among his male progeny. Hence, according to Shia doctrine, the Imamat continues by heredity in the Prophet's progeny through Ali and Fatima.

    Evolution of Communities of Interpretation
    In time, the Shia were sub-divided. The Ismailis are the second largest Shia Muslim community. The Ismailis and what eventually came to be known as the Ithna ashari or Twelver Shia parted ways over the succession to the great, great grandson of Ali and Fatima, Imam Jafar as-Sadiq, who died in the year 765. The Ithna asharis transferred their allegiance to as-Sadiq's youngest son Musa al-Kazim and after him, in lineal descent, to Muhammad al-Mahdi, their twelfth Imam who, they believe, is in occultation and will reappear to dispense perfect order and justice. Led by mujtahids, the Ithna asharis are the largest Shia Muslim community, and the majority of the population in Iran.

    The Ismailis gave their allegiance to Imam Jafar as-Sadiq's eldest son Ismail, from whom they derive their name. Throughout their history, the Ismailis have been led by a living, hereditary Imam. They trace the line of Imamat in hereditary succession from Ismail to His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, who is their present, 49th Imam in direct lineal descent from Prophet Muhammad through Ali and Fatima.

    There was also divergent growth among the Sunnis. From the early decades, various, embryonic systems of law began to emerge in response to concrete situations of life, reflecting initially the influence of regional custom in the way the Quran was interpreted. Eventually, these were consolidated into four major schools, which came to command the allegiance of the majority of Sunni adherents.

    The history and evolution of Islam, thus, witnessed the growth of different communities of interpretation with their respective schools of jurisprudence. However, whatever the differences between the Shia and the Sunni or among their sub-divisions, they never amounted to such fundamental a divergence over theology or dogma as to result into separate religions. On the other hand, in the absence of an established church in Islam, and an institutionalized method of pronouncing on dogma, a proper reading of history reveals the inappropriateness of referring to the Shia-Sunni divide, or to interpretational differences within each branch, in the frame of an orthodoxy-heterodoxy dichotomy, or of applying the term "sect" to any Shia or Sunni community.

    Principles of Shiism
    The essence of Shiism lies in the desire to search for the true meaning of the revelation in order to understand the purpose of human existence and its destiny. This true, spiritual meaning can never be fettered by the bounds of time, place or the letter of its form. It is to be comprehended through the guidance of the Imam of the time, who is the inheritor of the Prophet's authority, and the trustee of his legacy. A principal function of the Imam is to enable the believers to go beyond the apparent or outward form of the revelation in search of its spirituality and intellect. A believer who sincerely submits to the Imam's guidance may potentially attain the knowledge of self. The tradition attributed to both the Prophet and Imam Ali: "He who knows himself, knows his Lord", conveys the essence of this relationship between the Imam and his follower. The Shia thus place obedience to the Imams after that to God and the Prophet by virtue of the command in the Quran for Muslims to obey those vested with authority.

    The succession of the line of prophecy by that of Imamat ensures the balance between the shariah or the exoteric aspect of the faith, and its esoteric, spiritual essence. Neither the exoteric nor the esoteric obliterates the other. While the Imam is the path to a believer's inward, spiritual elevation, he is also the authority who makes the shariah relevant according to the needs of time and universe. The inner, spiritual life in harmony with the exoteric, is a dimension of the faith that finds acceptance among many communities in both branches of Islam.

    Intellect and Faith
    The intellect plays a central role in Shia tradition. Indeed, the principle of submission to the Imam's guidance, explicitly derived from the revelation, is considered essential for nurturing and developing the gift of intellect whose role in Shiism is elevated as an important facet of the faith. Consonant with the role of the intellect is the responsibility of individual conscience, both of which inform the Ismaili tradition of tolerance embedded in the injunction of the Quran: There is no compulsion in religion.

    In Shia Islam, the role of the intellect has never been perceived within a confrontational mode of revelation versus reason, the context which enlivened the debate, during the classical age of Islam, between the rationalists who gave primacy to reason, and the traditionalists who opposed such primacy without, however, denying a subordinate role for reason in matters of faith.

    The Shia tradition, rooted in the teachings of Imams Ali and Jafar as-Sadiq, emphasizes the complementarity between revelation and intellectual reflection, each substantiating the other. This is the message that the Prophet conveys in a reported tradition: "We (the Prophets) speak to people in the measure of their intelligences". The Imams Ali and Jafar as-Sadiq expounded the doctrine that the Quran addresses different levels of meaning: the literal, the alluded esoteric purport, the limit as to what is permitted and what is forbidden, and the ethical vision which God intends to realise through man, with Divine support, for an integral moral society. The Quran thus offers the believers the possibility, in accordance with their own inner capacities, to derive newer insights to address the needs of time.

    An unwavering belief in God combined with trust in the liberty of human will finds a recurring echo in the sermons and sayings of the Imams. Believers are asked to weigh their actions with their own conscience. None other can direct a person who fails to guide and warn himself, while there is Divine help for those who exert themselves on the right path. In the modern period, this Alid view of Islam as a thinking, spiritual faith continues to find resonance in the guidance of the present Imam and his immediate predecessor. Aga Khan III describes Islam as a natural religion, which values intellect, logic and empirical experience. Religion and science are both endeavours to understand, in their own ways, the mystery of God's creation. A man of faith who strives after truth, without forsaking his worldly obligations, is potentially capable of rising to the level of the company of the Prophet's family.

    The present Imam has often spoken about the role of the intellect in the realm of the faith. Appropriately, he made the theme a centrepiece of his two inaugural addresses at the Aga Khan University (AKU): "In Islamic belief, knowledge is two-fold. There is that revealed through the Holy Prophet and that which man discovers by virtue of his own intellect. Nor do these two involve any contradiction, provided man remembers that his own mind is itself the creation of God. Without this humility, no balance is possible. With it, there are no barriers. Indeed, one strength of Islam has always lain in its belief that creation is not static but continuous, that through scientific and other endeavours, God has opened, and continues to open, new windows for us to see the marvels of His creation".

    Muslims need not be apprehensive, he said, of these continuing journeys of the mind to comprehend the universe of God's creation, including one's own self. The tendency to restrict academic inquiry to the study of past accomplishments was at variance with the belief in the timeless relevance of the Islamic message. "Our faith has never been restricted to one place or one time. Ever since its revelation, the fundamental concept of Islam has been its universality and the fact that this is the last revelation, constantly valid, and not petrified into one period of man's history or confined to one area of the world."

    Crossing the frontiers of knowledge through scientific and other endeavours, and facing up to the challenges of ethics posed by an *****ing world is, thus, seen as a requirement of the faith. The Imam's authoritative guidance provides a liberating, enabling framework for an individual's quest for meaning and for solutions to the problems of life. An honest believer accepts the norms and ethics of the faith which guide his quest, recognises his own inner capacities and knows that when in doubt he should seek the guidance of the one vested with authority who, in Shia tradition, is the Alid imam of the time from the Prophet's progeny.

    Reference URL >
  • 03-29-2011, 07:56 PM

    Re: Ismailis

    The Shia Imami (Nizari) Ismailis are a peaceful Muslim community, who take the Aga Khan IV as their leader (Imam), who follow a progressive form and modern interpretation of Islam in present day.

    The Ismaili Community

    The Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, generally known as the Ismailis, belong to the Shia branch of Islam. The Shia form one of the two major branches of Islam, the Sunni being the other. The Ismailis live in over 25 different countries, mainly in Central and South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as in Europe, North America and Australia.

    As Muslims, the Ismailis affirm the fundamental Islamic testimony of truth, the Shahada, that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) is His Messenger. They believe that Muhammad was the last and final Prophet of Allah, and that the Holy Quran, Allah's final message to mankind, was revealed through him. Muslims hold this revelation to be the culmination of the message that had been revealed through other Prophets of the Abrahamic tradition before Muhammad, including Abraham, Moses and Jesus, all of whom Muslims revere as Prophets of Allah.

    In common with other Shia Muslims, the Ismailis affirm that after the Prophet's death, Hazrat Ali, the Prophet's cousin and son-in-law, became the first Imam – the spiritual leader – of the Muslim community and that this spiritual leadership (known as Imamat) continues thereafter by hereditary succession through Ali and his wife Fatima, the Prophet's daughter. Succession to Imamat, according to Shia doctrine and tradition, is by way of Nass (Designation), it being the absolute prerogative of the Imam of the Time to appoint his successor from amongst any of his male descendants.

    His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. He was born on 13 December 1936 in Geneva, son of Prince Aly Khan and Princess Tajuddawlah Aly Khan and spent his early childhood in Nairobi, Kenya. He attended Le Rosey School in Switzerland for nine years and graduated from Harvard in 1959 with a BA (Honours) in Islamic History. He succeeded his grandfather Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan on 11 July 1957 at the age of 20.

    Spiritual allegiance to the Imam and adherence to the Shia Imami Ismaili tariqah (persuasion) of Islam according to the guidance of the Imam of the Time, have engendered in the Ismaili Community an ethos of self-reliance, unity, and a common identity. In a number of the countries where they live, the Ismailis have *****ed a well-defined institutional framework through which they have, under the leadership and guidance of the Imam, established schools, hospitals, health centres, housing societies and a variety of social and economic development institutions for the common good of all citizens regardless of their race or religion.

    During the course of history, the Ismailis have, under the guidance of their Imams, made significant contributions to Islamic civilisations, the cultural, intellectual and religious life of Muslims. The University of al-Azhar and the Academy of Science, Dar al-Ilm, in Egypt and indeed the city of Cairo itself, are testimony to this contribution. Among the renowned philosophers, jurists, physicians, mathematicians, astronomers and scientists of the past who flourished under the patronage of Ismaili Imams are Qadi al-Numan, al-Kirmani, Ibn al-Haytham (al-Hazen), Nasir e-Khusraw and Nasir al-Din Tusi.

    The Aga Khan, like his grandfather before him, has always been concerned about the wellbeing of all Muslims, particularly the impact on them of the challenges of the rapidly *****ing world. Addressing as Chairman, the International Conference on the Example (Seerat) of the Prophet Muhammad in Karachi in 1976, he noted that the wisdom of Allah's final Prophet in seeking new solutions for problems which could not be solved by traditional methods, provides the inspiration for Muslims to conceive a truly modern and dynamic society, without affecting the fundamental concepts of Islam.

    Since the present Aga Khan assumed the office of Imamat in 1957, there have been major political and economic changes in most of the countries where Ismailis live. He has adapted the complex system of administering the various Ismaili communities, pioneered by his grandfather during the colonial era, to a world of nation states. In the course of that process, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, who was twice President of the League of Nations, had already provided a contemporary articulation of the public international role of the Imamat. The Imamat today, under the present Aga Khan, continues this tradition of strict political neutrality.

    In designating his successor to the Imamat in 1957, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan stated in his will:

    "In view of the fundamentally altered conditions in the world…due to the great changes which have taken place…I am convinced that it is in the best interests of the Shia Muslim Ismailia Community that I should be succeeded by a young man who has been brought up in the midst of the new age and who brings a new outlook on life to his office of Imam".

    Upon succeeding to the leadership of the Ismaili Muslims, the immediate concern of the Aga Khan was therefore to prepare his community, wherever they lived, for the changes that lay ahead. This rapidly *****ing situation called for bolder initiatives and new programmes to reflect developing national aspirations.

    In Africa, Asia and the Middle East, a major objective of the Community's social welfare and economic programmes, until the mid-fifties, had been to create a broad base of businessmen, farmers and professionals. The educational facilities of the Community tended to emphasise secondary-level education. With the coming of independence, each nation's economic aspirations took on new dimensions, focusing on industrialisation and modernisation of agriculture. The Community's educational priorities had to be reassessed in the context of new national goals.

    Throughout much of the developing world, Ismailis were affected by radical changes in their respective countries. On the Indian subcontinent, and in South East Asia, major political changes followed the advent of independence, which gave rise to new nation states often followed by dislocation of populations.

    In certain African countries, the Ismaili community was similarly affected. In 1972, under the regime of the then President Idi Amin, Ismailis and other Asians, despite being citizens of the country and having lived there for generations, were expelled. The Aga Khan had to take urgent steps to facilitate their resettlement elsewhere, and owing to his personal efforts most found homes, not only in Asia, but also in Europe and North America.

    Most of the basic resettlement problems were overcome remarkably rapidly. This was due to the adaptability of the Ismailis themselves and in particular to their educational background and their linguistic abilities, as well as the efforts of the host countries and the moral and material support from Community programmes. Such programmes have continued and have, in fact, been given a new orientation so that the Community continues to play a fuller part in the development and progress of the countries of its adoption.

    Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan established social development institutions in the subcontinent of India and Pakistan, "for the relief of humanity". They include institutions such as the Diamond Jubilee Investment Trust and the Platinum Jubilee Investments Limited which in turn assisted the growth of various types of co-operative societies. Diamond Jubilee Schools for girls were set up throughout the remote Northern Areas of Pakistan. In addition, scholarship programmes established at the time of the Golden Jubilee to give assistance to needy students were progressively expanded. In East Africa, major social welfare institutions were created, including the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi. Economic development institutions were also established in East Africa. Companies such as the Diamond Jubilee Investment Trust (now Diamond Trust Bank of Kenya ) and the Jubilee Insurance company, which are today quoted on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, have become important national economic institutions.

    In the early 1980s many new social and economic development projects were launched. These range from the establishment of the US$ 300 million international Aga Khan University with its Faculty of Health Sciences and teaching hospital based in Karachi, and the creation of a girls school and a medical centre in the Hunza region, in one of the remote parts of Northern Pakistan bordering on China and Afghanistan, to the establishment of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in Gujarat, India, and the extension of existing urban hospitals and primary health care centres in Tanzania and Kenya, in East Africa.

    These initiatives form part of an international network of institutions involved in fields that range from education, health and rural development, to architecture and the promotion of private sector enterprise. Known as the Aga Khan Development Network, its constituent institutions, all founded over the past thirty years, include the Aga Khan Foundation, Aga Khan University, Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, comprising the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the Historic Cities Support Programme. The Network also includes the Aga Khan Health Services and the Aga Khan Education Services, providers of health care, schooling and other educational services in South Asia and East Africa since the beginning of the twentieth century. These institutions which are open to all, regardless of origin or creed, are described in greater detail in the brochure on the Aga Khan Development Network.

    In view of the importance that Islam places on maintaining a balance between the spiritual wellbeing of the individual and the quality of his or her life, the Imam's guidance deals with both aspects of the life of his followers. The Aga Khan has encouraged Ismaili Muslims, settled in the industrialised world, to contribute towards the progress of communities in the developing world through various development programmes. In recent years, Ismaili Muslims, who went to the U.S. and Canada, often as refugees from Asia and Africa, have readily settled into the social, educational and economic fabric of urban and rural centres across the continent. As in the developing world, the Ismaili Muslim Community's settlement and the establishment of community institutions in the developed world have been characterised by an ethos of self-reliance, an emphasis on education and a pervasive spirit of philanthropy.

    It is this commitment to man's dignity and the relief of humanity that inspires the Ismaili Imamat's philanthropic institutions. Giving of one's competence, sharing one's time, material or intellectual wherewithal with those among whom one lives, for the relief of hardship, pain or ignorance is a deeply ingrained tradition which shapes the social conscience of the Ismaili Muslim community.

    Reference URL >
  • 03-19-2011, 02:05 PM


    Has anyone heard of a religion called Shia Imami Ismailis. They believe the Agakhan is the Divine interpretor of the word of the Lord?

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