The Ismailis Religion is a Shia offshoot not always considered Islamic by the mainstream. Unlike most Muslims Ismailis have a global leader, the Aga Khan, who recently built a 50 million building on Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He described it as a link between the spiritual dimensions of Islam and the cultures of the west.
It is the second largest part of the Shia community, after the mainstream Twelvers.
The Ismailis Religion get their name from their acceptance of Ismāʿīl ibn Jaʿfar as the divinely appointed spiritual successor to Jaʿfar aṣ-Ṣādiq. They differ from the Twelvers, who accept Mūsà al-Kāżim, younger brother of Ismāʿīl, as the true Imām.
Though there are several beliefs within the Ismailis the term in today's vernacular generally refers to the Nizari path, which recognizes the Aga Khan as the 49th hereditary Imam and is the largest group among the Ismailis.
While some of the branches have extremely differing exterior practices, much of the spiritual theology has remained the same since the days of the faith's early Imāms.
In recent centuries Ismailis have largely been an Indo-Iranian community, but are found in India, Pakistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, China, Jordan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, East Africa, Syria, and South Africa. Also in recent years emigrated to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and North America.
In common with other Muslims, Ismailis believe in the oneness of God, as well as the closing of divine revelation with Muḥammad, whom they see as the final prophet and messenger of God to all humanity.
The Ismailis and the Twelvers both accept the same initial A'immah from the descendants of Muḥammad through his daughter Fāṭimah az-Zahra and therefore share much of their early history. Both groups see the family of Muḥammad as divinely chosen, infallible , and guided by God to lead the Islamic community.
The faith developed into two separate directions: the metaphorical Ismaili group focusing on the mystical path and nature of Allah, with the "Imām of the Time" representing the manifestation of truth and reality.
The more literalistic Twelver group focusing on divine law (sharia) and the deeds and sayings (sunnah) of Muhammad and the Twelve Imams who were guides and a light to God.
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