An Overview of the Deep Schisms in Ismā’īlism

The schisms and splits amongst the Shia are puzzling as much as they are dubitable. Moreover, they are clouded in distortion and misrepresentation.

The eighteenth ‘Imām’ of the Fātimid Ismā’īlīs, Al-Mustansir, had died in 1094. Like with other schisms and splits amongst the Shia, the followers of this ruler divided themselves into two branches.

At this point, remember and recall the split that occurred earlier on in their history that led to the formation of the Ismā’īlī branch itself. (The schism where some took Ismā’īl to be the Imām and others took Mūsā Al-Kādhim to be the Imām). The entire line of Imāmāt, whether it be the Fiver, the Sevener or the Twelver, they are all founded upon deceit. The followers were deceiving the public and using the names of the Imāms for their own ends and superfluous gains.

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Coming back to the death of Al-Mustansir and the branches that formed after his demise:

One branch of Ismā’īlīs accepted the Imāmate of the elder son of Al-Mustansir, Abū Mansūr Nizār. They became known as the Nizārī Ismā’īlīs or the Nizāriyyah.

The second branch became known as the Musta’lian Ismā’īlīs or the Musta’liyya. They took after Al-Musta’lī, who took to the Fatimid throne after Al-Mustansir. Al-Musta’lī was the younger son of Al-Mustansir.

The Musta’lī reign did not last for long. Egypt was restored to Sunnī Islām by the great warrior, Salāh Ad-Dīn Al-Ayyūbī rahimahullāh in 1171.

The Musta’liyya are known by the name Bohra in India and they do not recognize the Aga Khan as their leader. The leader of the Bohra community is called Dā’ī Mutlaq, i.e., the general or absolute preacher.

Another important schism that must be understood well is the Qaramita. They were an offshoot of the Seveners and had a large following. The Qaramita did not recognize the Ismā’īlī Imāms that succeeded ‘Ubaydullāh Mahdī.

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The Qaramita were responsible for killing thousands of Hujjāj, stealing the Hajar Aswad from the Ka’bah Musharrafah in 930, only to return it many years later (952) – broken into small pieces.

The schisms and splits in Ismā’īlism reveal the great deal of disunity, mistrust and deceit of the Ismā’īlīs – amongst themselves. This is a sign of the feeble and false nature of the false religion of Ismā’īlism.

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The Ahl-us-Sunnah wal Jamā’ah Muslims do differ with each other on subsidiary and juristic issues, but not on fundamentals and principal matters. These are handled with courtesy, love, honour and respect. At the same time, Ismā’īlī ideology or any other ism that has no basis in the Noble Qur’ān, the Blessed Sunnah, the consensus of the Ummah or the analogy of the pious predecessors cannot be discussed amongst Muslim scholars under the umbrella of accommodation of subsidiary and juristic differences because of the simple fact that such ideas and isms are not Islāmic to begin with.

May Allāh Ta’ālā bless us with proper understanding and keep us firm upon the straight path until our final moments and thereafter into the afterlife. Āmīn

Follow Mufti Abdullah on Twitter: @MuftiAMoolla


Source: A History of the Agakhani Ismailis, pp.107-109, Akbarally Meherally, Canada, 1991

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