Aquila Style | Global Snapshots: Who is the Aga Khan – A historical perspective of Aga Khan I to Aga Khan IV

Many of us have heard of the man, but remain in the dark over who he is and what role he plays. Theresa Corbin shares a simplistic view on the history of this title.

In all the years since the Shah of Persia named the first Aga Khan, only four people have held this title – all descendants of the first Aga Khan.

To many Shi’as, specifically Nizari Ismailis, the answer is obvious: the Aga Khan is a person whose title means “chief commander”. But the Aga Khan does not head any state, nor does he rule over any land. He is the imam or spiritual leader of over 15 million Nizari Ismailis across 25 countries. Shi’as believe he is a descendant of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

In 1967 Al Husseini established the Aga Khan Development Network, a private, non-profit international development agency that seeks solutions to poverty, illiteracy and poor health in the developing world without regard to religion, race or gender.

Like those who held the title before him, Al Husseini concerns himself with the wellbeing of his people. As he said in an interview about the nature of his position, his foundation has shown that as an imam he has the capacity to achieve results.

A young Aga Khan IV at Orly airport in Paris ahead of a visit to London, February 1958. (Photo: AFP via Aquila Style)
A young Aga Khan IV at Orly airport in Paris ahead of a visit to London, February 1958. (Photo: AFP via Aquila Style)

Global Snapshots: Who is the Aga Khan

By Teresa Corbin for Aquila Style   Published on: April 28, 2015 4:00 AM EST

Discover, Explore and Learn more via Aquila Style | Global Snapshots: Who is the Aga Khan (More photos in the image gallery at the source)


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