Ismailis – As explained by His Highness The Aga Khan

―The Ismaili community has grown and prospered almost beyond recognition. Thanks to my Grandfather’s guidance and wisdom. Ismaili families are to be found all over the world, living peacefully beneath the flags of many nations, owing allegiance to a wide variety of governments. The Ismailis have always prided themselves on their highly developed social conscience. Our faith teaches us that we have obligations far beyond our own or even our family’s interests.

Takht Nashini
Bombay, India
March 11, 1958

―Ismailis are Shia Muslims who believe that the successor to the leadership of the Muslim community, after the death of Prophet Muhammad, was the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law, Ali, and that leadership, in both spiritual and temporal matters was to continue by heredity through Ali in the Prophet’s family. Today, we are one of the few Shia sects led by a hereditary Imam, my grandfather having been the forty-eighth and I myself being the forty-ninth.

Enabling Environment Conference
Nairobi, Kenya
March 2, 1981

“Historically, Ismailis are united by a common allegiance to the living hereditary Imam of the time in the progeny of Islam’s last and final Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) through his daughter Fatima and her husband, Hazrat Ali, the Prophet’s cousin and the first Shia Imam. In the Muslim ethical tradition, which links spirit and matter, the Imam not only leads in the interpretation of the faith, but also in the effort to improve the quality of life of his community, and of the wider societies within which it lives; for a guiding principle of the Imamat’s institutions is to replace walls which divide with bridges that unite.”

Foundation Ceremony
Delegation of Ismaili Imamat
Ottawa, Canada
June 6, 2005

Inspiration: Footprints by Nimira Dewji

Aga Khan III in full regalia
Aga Khan III in full regalia