List of Ismaili imams
Ismailis share the following Imāms with the Twelver Shīʿah. However, there is dispute as to the numbering, as some[vague] branches refer to Ali as "first" while others refer to Hasan as the first. Further, some branches recognise Hasan as the successor to Ali, yet others Hussein and do not number Hasan. The Zaydi Shia branch broke from this chain after Ali ibn Husayn, following Zayd ibn Ali rather than Muhammad al-Baqir.
- Ali (numbered as first by the Nizari, but not numbered by the Mustaali)
- Hasan ibn Ali (numbered by the Mustaali, not by the Nizari)
- Hussein ibn Ali (agreed to be the second Imam by both)
- "Zayn al-Abidin" (Ali ibn Husayn)
- Muhammad al-Baqir
- Ja'far al-Sadiq
Split with Twelvers
The Ismaili split with the Twelvers over the succession to Imām Jaʿfar, as they considered his eldest son Ismāʿīl as his heir. Whereas Twelvers believe in the succession of Ismāʿīl's brother Imam Musa al-Kazim, Ismāʿīlīs insist on the succession of Ismāʿīl and his son Muhammad ibn Ismāʿīl.
6. Ismāʿīl (إسماعيل إبن جعفر), Jaʿfar's son and designated heir, predeceased his father in 755 but accepted as Imām by the Ismāʿīlīs.
Several Ismaili groups (known as Seveners, though this term is often applied to Ismailis at large) believed Muhammad ibn Ismaili to be the Mahdi, who had withdrawn into occultation and would return again.
One group propagated their faith from their bases in Syria through Dāʿiyyūn ("Callers to Islām"). In 899, the fourth Da'i announced that he himself was the Imam, starting another dynasty. This caused a split between his followers and those disputing his claim and clinging to Muhammad. The Fatimid's most notable Sevener opponents were the Qarmatians.
In the Fatimid (and subsequently Ismaili) tradition, the Imamate was held by:
12. Muhammad al-Qaim Bi-Amrillah, leader of the Ismailis, openly announced himself as Imam, 2nd Fatimid Caliph, died 946
13. Ismail al-Mansur, 3rd Fatimid Caliph, died 953
14. Maʿād al-Muʿizz li-Dīnillāh, 4th Fatimid Caliph, died 975
15. Abū Manṣūr Nizār al-ʿAzīz billāh, 5th Fatimid Caliph, died 996
16. Al-Ḥakīm bi-Amrillāh, 6th Fatimid Caliph, disappeared 1021.
- The Druze believe in the divinity of all Imams and split off after Hakim's disappearance, believed by them to be the occultation of the Mahdi.
17. ʿAlī az-Zāhir li-Iʿzāz Dīnillāh, son of al-Hakim, 7th Fatimid Caliph, died 1036.
18. Abū Tamīm Ma'add al-Mustanṣir bi-llāh, son of Ali az-Zahir, 8th Fatimid Caliph, died 1094.
After his death, the succession was disputed. The regent Malik al-Afdal placed Mustansir's younger son Al-Musta'li on the throne. This was contested by the elder son an-Nizar, who however was defeated and died in prison. This dispute resulted in the split into two branches, lasting to this day, the Nizari and the Mustaʿlī.
The Mustaali recognized as the rightful Imams:
20. Al-Āmir bi-Aḥkāmillāh, son of al-Mustaʿlī, 10th Fatimid Caliph, died 1130.
Hafizi Muslims claim that Amir died without an heir and was succeeded as Caliph by his cousin Al-Hafiz. The Mustaʿlī split into the Hafizi, who accepted him and his successors as Imam, and the Tayyibi, who believed that Amir's purported son At-Tayyib was the rightful Imam and had gone into occultation:
21. Al-Hafiz, 11th Fatimid Caliph, died 1149.
22. Al-Zafir, son of Al-Hafiz, 12th Fatimid Caliph, died 1154.
23. Al-Faiz, son of Al-Zafir, 13th Fatimid Caliph, died 1160.
24. Al-'Āḍid, son of Al-Zafir, 14th Fatimid Caliph, died 1171.
The Tayyibi branch continues to this day, headed by a Da'i al-Mutlaq as vice-regent in the imam's occultation. The Tayibbi have broken into several branches over disputes as to which Da'i is the true vice-regent. The largest branch are the Dawoodi Bohra, and there are also the Sulaimani Bohra and Alavi Bohra.
The Nizari recognized as the rightful Imams:
20. Al-Hādī ibn Nizār الهادي (hidden)
21. Al-Mutadī المهتدي (hidden)
22. Al-Qāhir القاهر (hidden)
24. Nūru-d-Dīn Muḥammad II نور الدين محمد or Aʻlā Muḥammad اعلى محمد (in Alamut, died 1210)
25. Jalālu-d-Dīn Ḥassan III جلال الدين حسن (in Alamut, died 1221)
26. ʻAlāʼ ad-Dīn Muḥammad III على الدين محمد (in Alamut, died 1255)
28. Shamsu-d-Dīn Muḥammad شمس الدين محمد (hidden, died 1310)
29. Qāsim Shāh قاسم شاه (hidden)
30. Islām Shāh اسلام شاه (hidden, established himself in Anjudan)
31. Muḥammad b. Islām Shāh محمد ابن اسلام شاه (hidden, died c.1463)
33. ʻAbdu-s-Salām Shāh عبد السلام شاه (in Anjudan)
34. Gharīb Mīrzā غريب ميرزا (in Anjudan)
35. Abū Dharr ʻAlī ابو ذر علي or Nūru-d-Dīn نور الدين (in Anjudan)
37. Dhū-l-Fiqār ʻAlī ذو الفقار علي or Khalīlullāh I خليل الله (in Anjudan, died 1634)
38. Nūru-d-Dīn ʻAlī نور الدين علي (in Anjudan, died 1671)
39. Khalīlullāh II ʻAlī خليل الله علي (last imam of Anjudan, died 1680)
40. Nizār نظار (established imamate in Kahak, died 1722)
41. As-Sayyid ʻAlī السيد علي (in Kahak)
43. Qāsim ʻAlī قاسم علي (in Kerman)
44. Abū-l-Ḥasan ʻAlī ibn Qāsim ʻAlī ابو الحسن علي (appointed provincial governor of Kerman, died 1792)
48. Sulṭān Muḥammad Shāh Āgā Khān III سلطان محمد شاه اغا خان (born 1877, died 1957; reigned 1885 to 1957)
49. The current Imām Shāh Karīmu-l-Ḥussaynī Āgā Khān IV شاه كريم الحسيني اغا خان (born 1936; reigning from 1957)