List of Ismaili imams

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This is a list of the Imams recognized by the Ismaili Shia and their sub-branches. Imams are considered members of the Ahl al-Bayt, the family of Muhammad.

Early Imams[edit]

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.[citation needed] The Zaydi Shia branch broke from this chain after Ali ibn Husayn, following Zayd ibn Ali rather than Muhammad al-Baqir.

Split with Twelvers[edit]

The Ismaili split with the Twelvers over the succession to Imām Jaʿfar as they considered his eldest son Ismāʿīl as his heir. Whereas the Twelvers believe in the succession of Ismāʿīl's brother Imam Musa al-Kazim, the Seveners and the Ismāʿīlīs believe in the succession of Ismāʿīl and after him, his son Muhammad ibn Ismāʿīl.

  1. Ismāʿīl (إسماعيل إبن جعفر), Jaʿfar's son and designated heir, predeceased his father in 755 but accepted as Imām by the Seveners and the Ismāʿīlīs (but opposed by the Twelvers).
  2. Muhammad (محمد إبن إسماعيل), Ismāʿīl's son, died under the reign of Harun al-Rashid (786–809)

The group that believed Muhammad ibn Ismail to be the Mahdi who had withdrawn into occultation and would return again to earth some day, came to be known as the Seveners. This term is often incorrectly applied to the "Ismailis" who had separated from the Seveners and gone further on with the succession to the Imamat.

One group of the Seveners 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 of the Time" being also the fourth direct descendant of Muhammad ibn Ismail in the very same dynasty. This caused a split between his Sevener followers accepting his claim and those Seveners disputing his claim and clinging to Muhammad ibn Ismail as the Imam in occultation. This Imam and Fourth Da'i, Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah, eventually became the First Fatimid Caliph. This separated group from the Seveners now became known as the Fatimids of the Maghreb and Egypt. This was the reason why the Qarmatians, the original Seveners, were the Fatimid's most irreconcilable opponents.

Fatimid[edit]

In the Fatimid (and subsequently Ismaili) tradition, the Imamate was held by:

  1. Aḥmad al-Wafī (born ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad ibn Ismāʿīl (al-Wafī)), died 829, 1st Da'i of the Ismāʿīlī mission, according to Ismāʿīlī tradition, son of Muḥammad ibn Ismāʿīl
  2. Muḥammad at-Tāqī (born Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad (at-Tāqī)), died 840, son of ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad, 2nd Da'i of the Ismāʿīlī mission, according to Ismāʿīlī tradition
  3. ʿAbd Allāh ar-Raḍī/al-Zakī (born al-Ḥusayn ibn Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd Allāh (ar-Raḍī)), died 909, son of Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd Allāh, 3rd Da'i of the Ismāʿīlī mission, according to Ismāʿīlī tradition
  4. Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah, son of al-Ḥusayn ibn Aḥmad, 4th Da'i of the Ismāʿīlī mission, openly announced himself as Imām, 1st Fatimid Caliph, died 934
  5. Muhammad al-Qaim Bi-Amrillah, leader of the Ismailis, openly announced himself as Imam, 2nd Fatimid Caliph, died 946
  6. Ismail al-Mansur, 3rd Fatimid Caliph, died 953
  7. Maʿād al-Muʿizz li-Dīnillāh, 4th Fatimid Caliph, died 975
  8. Abū Manṣūr Nizār al-ʿAzīz billāh, 5th Fatimid Caliph, died 996
  9. Al-Ḥākim 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.
  10. ʿAlī az-Zāhir li-Iʿzāz Dīnillāh, son of al-Hakim, 7th Fatimid Caliph, died 1036.
  11. 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 was defeated and died in prison. This dispute resulted in the split into two branches, lasting to this day, the Nizari and the Mustaʿlī.

Musta'li[edit]

The Musta'li recognized Imams:

  1. Aḥmad al-Mustaʿlī, (son of Abū Tamīm Ma'add al-Mustanṣir bi-llāh), 9th Fatimid Caliph, died 1101.
  2. 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 an imam, and the Tayyibi, who believed that Amir's purported son At-Tayyib was the rightful imam and had gone into occultation.

Tayyibi[edit]

The Tayyibi recognized Imam:

  1. Aṭ-Ṭayyib Abī-l-Qāsim

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.

Hafizi[edit]

The Hafizi recognized Imams:

  1. Abu-l-Maymun Abd-al-Majid Al-Hāfiz li-din-Al·lāh, son of Muhammad ibn Al-Mustansir Billah, 11th Fatimid Caliph, died 1149.
  2. Abu-Muhammad (or Abu-Mansur) Ismaʿīl Az-Ẓāfir bi-Ada Allāh/li-din-Al·lāh, son of Al-Hafiz, 12th Fatimid Caliph, died 1154.
  3. Abu-l-Qassim Issa Al-Fā'iz bi-Nasr Al·lāh, son of Al-Zafir, 13th Fatimid Caliph, died 1160.
  4. Abu-Muhammad Abd-Al·lah Al-ʿĀḍid li-Dīn Al·lāh, son of Yussuf ibn Al-Hafiz, 14th Fatimid Caliph, died 1171. The Fatimid dynasty ended with Al-'Āḍid's death.
  5. Abu Sulayman Daud Al-Hamid-lil-lah, son of Al-ʿĀḍid li-Dīn Allāh, 25th Hafizi Ismaili Imam, d. 1207 AD. Died in Prison under the Ayyubid dynasty.
  6. Sulayman Badruddin, son of Abu Sulayman Daud Al-Hamid-lillah, 26th Hafizi Ismaili Imam, d. 1248 AD without issue. Died in Prison under the Ayyubid dynasty. The Hafizi Ismaili Imamat ended with him. The Hafizi sect lived on into the 14th century AD with adherents in Northern Egypt and Syria but had died out by the 15th century AD.

Nizari[edit]

The common Nizari recognized Imams:

  1. Nizār b. al-Mustanṣir billāh, son of Ma'ad al-Mustansir Billah, died 1095.
  2. ‘Alī Al-Hādī ibn Nizār (hidden)
  3. Muḥammad Al-Mutadī (hidden)
  4. Hassan I Al-Qāhir (hidden)
  5. Ḥassan II ʻAlā Dhikrihi-s-Salām, fourth Lord of Alamut, self-revealed as imam in 1164, died 1166
  6. Nūr-al-Dīn Muḥammad II or A‘lā Muḥammad, in Alamut, died 1210.
  7. Jalālu-d-Dīn Ḥassan III, in Alamut, died 1221.
  8. ‘Alā’ ad-Dīn Muḥammad III, in Alamut, died 1255.
  9. Ruknu-d-Dīn Khurshāh, last Lord of Alamut, died 1257, killed by the Mongols.
  10. Shamsu-d-Dīn Muḥammad (hidden), died 1310.
  11. Qāsim Shāh (hidden), Younger son of Shamsu-d-Dīn Muḥammad.

Offshoot of the Muhammad-Shahi Nizari Ismailis who follow the elder son of Shamsu-d-Dīn Muḥammad named ‘Alā’ ad-Dīn Mumin Shāh, follow this line of Imams until the disappearance of 40th Imam Amir Muhammad al-Baqir in 1796.

Muhammad-Shāhi (Mu'mini) Nizari[edit]

  1. Nizār b. al-Mustanṣir billāh, son of Ma'ad al-Mustansir Billah, died 1095.
  2. Hasan bin Nizār died 1139.
  3. Muhammad bin Hasan died 1194.
  4. Jalālu-d-Dīn Ḥassan III, in Alamut, died 1221.
  5. ʻAlāʼ ad-Dīn Muḥammad III, in Alamut, died 1255.
  6. Ruknu-d-Dīn Mahmud bin Muhammad, last Lord of Alamut, died 1257, killed by the Mongols.
  7. Shamsu-d-Dīn Muḥammad, hidden, died 1310.
  8. ‘Alā’ ad-Dīn Mumin Shāh bin Muhammad, died 1310. Elder son of Shamsu-d-Dīn Muḥammad.
  9. Muhammad Shāh bin Mu'min Shāh, died 14th century.
  10. Radi al-Din bin Muhammad Shāh, died 15th century.
  11. Tahir bin Radi al-Din, died 15th century.
  12. Radi al-Din II bin Tahir, died 1509.
  13. Shah Tahir bin Radi al-Din II al-Husayni ad-Dakkani, died 1549.
  14. Haydar bin Shah Tahir, died 1586.
  15. Sadr al-Din Muhammad bin Haydar, died 1622.
  16. Mu'in al-Din bin Sadr al-Din, died 1644.
  17. Atiyyat Allah bin Muin al-Din (Khudaybaksh), died 1663.
  18. Aziz Shah bin Atiyyat Allah, died 1691.
  19. Mu'in al-Din II bin 'Aziz Shah, died 1715.
  20. Amir Muhammad bin Mu'in al-Din II al-Musharraf, died 1764.
  21. Haydar bin Muhammad al-Mutahhar, died 1786
  22. Amir Muhammad bin Haydar al-Baqir, the final imam of this line, disappeared in 1796.

Qasim-Shahi Nizari[edit]

Follow the younger son of Shamsu-d-Dīn Muḥammad called Qāsim Shāh.

  1. Nizār b. al-Mustanṣir billāh, son of Abū Tamīm Ma'add al-Mustanṣir bi-llāh, died 1095.
  2. ʻAlī Al-Hādī ibn Nizār (hidden)
  3. Muḥammad Al-Mutadī (hidden)
  4. Hassan I Al-Qāhir (hidden)
  5. Ḥassan II ʻAlā Dhikrihi-s-Salām, fourth Lord of Alamut, self-revealed as Imam in 1164, died 1166.
  6. Nūr-al-Dīn Muḥammad II or Aʻlā Muḥammad, in Alamut, died 1210.
  7. Jalālu-d-Dīn Ḥassan III, in Alamut, died 1221.
  8. ʻAlāʼ ad-Dīn Muḥammad III, in Alamut, died 1255.
  9. Ruknu-d-Dīn Khurshāh, last Lord of Alamut, died 1257, killed by the Mongols.
  10. Shamsu-d-Dīn Muḥammad, hidden, died 1310.
  11. Qāsim Shāh (hidden), younger son of Shamsu-d-Dīn Muḥammad.
  12. Islām Shāh (hidden) established himself in Anjudan.
  13. Muḥammad b. Islām Shāh (hidden) died c. 1463.
  14. Al-Mustanṣir billāh II (Shāh Qalandar), established public imamate -under practice of taqiyya- in Anjudan, died 1498.
  15. ʻAbdu-s-Salām Shāh, in Anjudan, died in early 16th century.
  16. Gharīb Mīrzā, in Anjudan, died in mid 16th century.
  17. Abū Dharr ʻAlī or Nūru-d-Dīn, in Anjudan, died in mid 16th century.
  18. Murād Mīrzā, executed in 1574 by Shah Tahmasp I of Iran.
  19. Dhū-l-Fiqār ʻAlī, or Khalīlullāh I, in Anjudan, died 1634.
  20. Nūru-d-Dīn ʻAlī, in Anjudan, died 1671.
  21. Khalīlullāh II ʻAlī, last imam of Anjudan, died 1680.
  22. Nizār II, established imamate in Kahak, died 1722.
  23. As-Sayyid ʻAlī, in Kahak, died in mid 18th century.
  24. Ḥasan ʻAlī, established imamate in Shahr-e Babak, Kerman, first imam who abandoned the practice of taqiyya, died in mid-18th century.
  25. Qāsim ʻAlī, in Kerman, died in late 18th century.
  26. Abū-l-Ḥasan ʻAlī ibn Qāsim ʻAlī, appointed provincial governor of Kerman, died in 1792.
  27. Shāh Khalīlullāh III, in Kahak, then since 1815 in Yazd, murdered in 1817.
  28. Ḥassan ʻAlī Shāh Āgā Khān I or Shāh Ḥassan ʻAlī (lived 1804–1881; reigned 1817–1881)
  29. Āqā ʻAlī Shāh Āgā Khān II or Shāh ʻAlī Shāh (lived 1830–1885; reigned 1881–1885)
  30. Sulṭān Muḥammad Shāh Āgā Khān III (lived 1877–1957; reigned 1885–1957)
  31. Shāh Karīmu-l-Ḥussaynī Āgā Khān IV (born 1936; reigned since 1957)

Timeline[edit]

Time line indicating Imam and generations:

Abdul-Muttalib
Abi Talib Abdullah
Muhammad
Ali al Murtaza Fatimah
Hasan
Husayn
Ali zayn ul Abedin
Muhammad al-Baqir Zaydi
Ja'far al-Sadiq
Ismaili Twelver.
Isma'il ibn Jafar Musa al-Kadhim.
Muhammad ibn Isma'il Sevener. Ali al-Rida
Ahmad al-Wafi (Abadullah) Muhammad
Ahmad (al-Taqī Muhammad) Ali al Hadi
Ḥusayn (ar-Raḍī ʿAbdillāh) hasan al Askari
Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah Muhammad al-Mahdi
al-Qāʾim
al-Manṣūr
al-Muʿizz
al-ʿAzīz
al-Ḥākim
al-Ẓāhir Druze
al-Mustanṣir bi l-Lāh
Mustali Nizari
Amir Hafizi
al-Tayyib
Dawoodi Bohra other Bohra Agha khani Druze Sevener. Twelver . Zaydi

References[edit]

  • Daftary, Farhad (1990). The Ismāʿīlīs: Their history and doctrines. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. pp. 551–553. ISBN 0-521-42974-9. 
  • Halm, Heinz (1988). Die Schia. Darmstadt, Germany: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. pp. 193–243. ISBN 3-534-03136-9.