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 ?
Dubai: A special reception at the Ismaili Centre Dubai highlighted educational opportunities in Romania.
The Shia Imami Muslims, generally known as the Ismailis, are a culturally diverse community living in more than 25 countries worldwide.
The spiritual leader of the Ismaili community arrived in Islamabad on Dec 7 on a 13-day official visit to the country on the invitation of President Mamnoon Hussain.
The Diamond Jubilee marks 60 years of his role as the spiritual leader of the Ismaili community.
The Imam even makes his decisions on whom and when to get married based on the well being of the Ismaili Muslim community.
Today, His Highness the Aga Khan leads a global community of some 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims, living predominantly in South Asia, Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, North America, and the Far East.
For the new edition Stewart used two recent manuscripts of Indian provenance preserved in the library of the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London--Zahid Ali MS no.
Together as a coalition, UNITY will win on the upcoming parliamentary elections", added Ismaili.
Ismaili, of Harnell Lane, East-fields, is now beginning his sentence with an extra six months after being extradicted back to the UK on an EU arrest Warrant.
OTTAWA - The hereditary spiritual leader of the world's 15 million Ismaili Muslims Thursday compared a conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims to Ireland, urging the West to engage both branches of Islam.
In a video TTP has announced an armed struggle against the Kalash and Ismaili Muslims.
BEIRUT: Pro-uprising social media networks said over the weekend that the body of an Ismaili man whose wife and two daughters were reportedly slaughtered by pro-regime paramilitaries had been found.