Ismailis

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Ismailis

(ĭsmäēl`ēz), Muslim Shiite sect that holds Ismail, the son of Jafar as-Sadiq, as its imamimam
[Arab.,=leader], in Islam, a recognized leader or a religious teacher. Among the Sunni the term refers to the leader in the Friday prayer at the mosque; any pious Muslim may function as imam.
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. On the death of the sixth imam of the Shiites, Jafar as-Sadiq (d. 765), the majority of ShiitesShiites
[Arab., shiat Ali,=the party of Ali], the second largest branch of Islam, Shiites currently account for 10%–15% of all Muslims. Shiite Islam originated as a political movement supporting Ali (cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam) as the
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 accepted Musa al-Kazim, the younger son of Jafar, as seventh imam. Those who remained faithful to Ismail, the eldest son, soon evolved the belief that Ismail was endowed with an infallible gift for interpreting the inner meaning of the revelation.

Ismailism developed an understanding of Islam and promoted it through an active missionary system. Although the early history remains obscure, Ismailism incorporated elements of GnosticismGnosticism
, dualistic religious and philosophical movement of the late Hellenistic and early Christian eras. The term designates a wide assortment of sects, numerous by the 2d cent. A.D.
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, NeoplatonismNeoplatonism
, ancient mystical philosophy based on the doctrines of Plato. Plotinus and the Nature of Neoplatonism

Considered the last of the great pagan philosophies, it was developed by Plotinus (3d cent. A.D.).
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, and Hindu thought to explain its concept of the imam. Over time it came to stress the importance of the esoteric aspects of the faith over the exoteric. The first success of the Ismaili movement was the establishment of the Qarmat state (see KarmathiansKarmathians
or Carmathians
, a Muslim sect of the 9th and 10th cent., similar to the Assassin sect. They were part of a movement for social reform that spread widely through Islam from the 9th to the 12th cent.
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) in E Arabia. Ismaili missionaries and its political organization also mobilized a network of N African tribes to support the Fatimid claim to the caliphate in Egypt and several regions of the Mediterranean. An offshoot, the AssassinsAssassin
, European name for the member of a secret order of the Ismaili sect of Islam. They are known as Nizaris after Nizar ibn al-Mustansir, whom they supported as caliph; the European term Assassin is derived from the Arabic for "users of hashish.
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, established a state in NE Iran, which survived until the 13th cent. In 1094 the Ismailis split into Nizaris and Mustalis. Today, though a minority community that is not politically active, the Ismailis are spread in small pockets in parts of the Middle East, central and S Asia, and increasingly North America and Europe. The family of the Aga KhanAga Khan
, the title of the religious leader and imam of the Ismaili Nizari sect of Islam, originally bestowed by the Persian shah Fath Ali on Hasan Ali Shah, 1800–1881, the 46th Ismaili imam, in 1818.
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, the Nizari imam, traces its descent from Ismail.

Bibliography

See S. M. Stern, Studies in Early Ismailism (1983); F. Daftary, The Ismailis (1990).

References in periodicals archive ?
He was speaking at a suhour at the Ismaili Centre Dubai on Tuesday, held in partnership with the Agha Khan Trust for Culture and the Canadian Embassy.
In addition to a number of events scheduled in the Park itself, both the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre regularly host exhibitions, lectures and other events.
Pistol-wielding gunmen in Karachi stormed a bus carrying members of the Ismaili community Wednesday, killing at least 44 and injuring more than ten.
He extended his personal condolences to the families of the victims, and to Aga Khan who, he said has led the Ismaili community in investing in so many important development and education projects not only in Pakistan, but around the world.
Ismaili was found guilty of false imprisonment, sex trafficking, causing prostitution and blackmail.
Chairman Khan also pointed out that the Ismaili community made an important contribution to the development of Pakistan since its creation and has continued to play a vital role in its progress since then.
Pro-opposition activists blamed Alawite shabbiha, or paramilitaries, for the murders, which they called an act of revenge on members of the Ismaili sect for not supporting the regime.
Ismaili added that "Sayad-2" missiles were tested in S-200 missile complex.
According to Ismaili Shi'a traditions, the Imam must care about the welfare of the Muslim members of his society.
After taking into account the points gained from the clashes with Al Dhafra and Ismaili, and following Al Dhafra's draw against Ismaili in the final match, the organisers procalimed the Libyans winners of the event.
Al Ismaili says: When the inspectors go to the company or the store, they first confirm the presence of approvals for the existing products from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry .
We now have an agreement with Ismaili over Al-Saied's deal.