Imam Hasan Ali Shah, Aga Khan I, transferred the epicentre of Imamat from Persia to the Indian subcontinent

Imam Hasan Ali Shah Image: The Ismailis An Illustrated History
Imam Hasan Ali Shah
Image: The Ismailis An Illustrated History

After the fall of the Fatimid Empire in 1171, the seat of the Nizari Imamat moved to Persia (modern day Iran) where the Ismailis had succeeded in establishing a state with its headquarters at Alamut. The state of Alamut fell to the Mongols in 1256. Many Ismailis found refuge in Afghanistan, the Oxus basin in Central Asia, China, and the Indian subcontinent where Ismaili settlements had existed since the ninth century.

The Ismaili Imams and the community residing in Persian guised themselves under the mantle of Sufism that was spreading at that time. The advent of Shia rule in fifteenth century Persia led to friendly relations with the Ismaili Imams who eventually were able to continue the da’wa activities openly. Imam Abu’l-Hasan Ali Shah, rose to political prominence in Kirman and was appointed to the governship of the province by the Persian ruler Fath ‘Ali Shah, who also granted him the hereditary title of Aga Khan to Imam Hasan ‘Ali Shah (1804 –1881). He was first Imam to bear the title.

Imam Hasan Ali Shah emigrated from Persia to India in the early 1840s, establishing his headquarters in Bombay (now Mumbai), officially transferring the seat of the Imamat, after seven centuries, from Persia. The Nizari Khojas who had made the hazardous journey to Persia to see the Imam were overjoyed by the establishment of his darkhana, or chief residence, in the Indian subcontinent. Imam attended jama’at-khana on special religious occasions and held a durbar every Saturday when in Bombay. Imam Hasan Ali Shah organized the community through a network of functionaries, mukhi  and kamdia, in every Khoja  jama’at, who also possessed a jama’at-khana.

Imam Hasan Ali Shah died in 1881 and was buried in a specially erected shrine in Hasanabad in Bombay. He was succeeded to the Imamat by his eldest son Aqa Ali Shah.

References:
Farhad Daftary, The Ismailis Their history and doctrines, Cambridge University Press, 1990
Farhad Daftary, Zulfikar Hirji, The Ismailis An Illustrated History http://www.iis.ac.uk/view_article.asp?ContentID=109727

Research by Nimira Dewji


subscribe ismailimailBe the First to Know – Join Ismailimail

Get breaking news related to the Ismaili Imamat, the world wide Ismaili Muslim community and all their creativity, endeavors and successes.

Inspired? Share the story

Want to inspire? Send your stories to us at Ismailimail@gmail.com

Subscribe and join 18,000 + other individuals – Subscribe now!


Earlier & Related – Nimira Dewji at Ismailimail Archives:

Imams Series:

Pirs Series:

Music in Islam Series:

Did You Know Series:

One thought

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s