The Hereditary Divine Institution of Imamat has spanned 1388 years since the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.S.) passed away in 632 C.E.

By MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher/editor Barakah Simerg and Simergphotos

From the day our beloved Prophet Muhammad (S.A.S.) passed away on June 8, 632, and Hazrat Ali (A.S.) became the first Imam on the Divine Commandment that the Prophet had earlier received at Ghadir Khumm, there have been forty-nine Ismaili Imams, spanning a period of 1388 years in human history.

Top: Imam Shah Hassanali Shah and Imam Shah Ali Shah; Bottom: Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah and Mawlana Sha Karim Hazar Imam ( both Gulgee lapis portraits).

Mawlana Hazar Imam and his immediate 3 predecessors have reigned the Jamat for a total of 202 years — 14.6 % of the 1388 years of Imamat to date — as follows: Mawlana Shah Karim Al Hussaini Hazar Imam (His Highness the Aga Khan IV, Imam from 1957 — 2020 and continuing, 63 years, he became the 49th Imam at the age of 20); Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah (His Highness the Aga Khan III, Imam from 1885 – 1957, 71 years, he became the 48th Imam at age 7 years), Imam Shah Ali Shah (Aga Khan II, 1881 – 1885, 4 years, he became the 47th Imam at the age of 51 years), and Imam Shah Hassanali Shah (Aga Khan I, 1817 – 1881, 64 years, he became the 46th Imam at the age of 13 years).

This 203 year period accounts for more time than does the entire Fatimid period, reigned by 8 Imams from Imam Mehdi (11th Imam, North Africa) to Imam Mustansir bi Allah (18th Imam, Cairo)!

Art work Nurin Merchant, Credit: Infinity design povray.org

Some of the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad on the Imamat are follows: “I leave among you two weighty things: The Book of Allah and my Progeny. If you keep attached to these two never, never will you go astray. Both are tied with a long Rope and cannot be separated until the Day of Judgment.”

I recollect a Farman made by Mawlana Hazar Imam during his Silver Jubilee (1982) in Nairobi, Kenya, where he said that he was the 49th Imam and that there would always be Imams in the future, whether it is the space age or even beyond that! That Allah’s guidance is ever present on this earth through the manifest Imam is reaffirmed in another tradition of the Prophet that says that if the world were to remain without an Imam for one moment, the whole world with everything in it would perish instantaneously.

A Ginanic verse that correlates to the Hadith is:

Purush shan matra pag dharani na dharante,
Sansaar, chandra, suraj na dhrashtante,
Kuchh na dhrashtante,
Bhom kar, megh, dharti na aakaash bhave 

Translation:

If the Imam did not have his feet on this earth for even a moment,
then the world, moon, sun would vanish
and nothing would exist,
neither the heaven nor the earth.

On those affirmations from the Prophet Muhammad, our Ginans and Mawlana Hazar Imam, let us therefore truly rejoice that we have a living Imam and that our future generations will also continue to always live under the loving care guidance and protection of the Imam of the Time.

Date posted: July 12, 2020.

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 200 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

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[The featured image shown at the top of this page can be downloaded as an expandable pdf file by clicking on Ismaili Imamat chart and map with dates. It was prepared by Mr. Pyarali Jiwa of the UK as a tribute to his beloved late wife, Maleksultan. We sincerely thank him for giving us the privilege to include his magnificent work in this post for the benefit of our readers around the world. – Ed.]

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com if you don’t see the comment box. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan and members of his family, as well as the Ismaili Imamat.

4 comments

  1. Thank you for this awe-inspiring historical information on our Imams of the time. We are so Blessed and Fortunate to have Their Guidance and Blessings. Thank you for compiling and presenting this information for us, Barakah. Your work is highly commendable.

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  2. This is excellent and I believe I hadn’t know or read about this anywhere before. So it is really indeed a great pleasure reading and understanding that the period of our our last four ones has extended to over 200 years and still going on. I thank you for providing us this and hope you’ll keep informing us more so we get to understand our faith more. Once again thank you.

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  3. Would you kindly shed the light on the period of Imamat in Alamut and the period of Imamat in the Fatimid era, both eras are the hallmark and watershed in Ismailis history,and their political, differences, and also the causes of the rise and declination of the Fatimid, and Alamut power. Aftermath, of the invasion of Chegez, in 1256, the Ismailis in Alamut were divided, the majority had decided to surrender to the army of Chengaz, but Fidayeen had determined to fight until death, and remained in Alamut until 1268. The Imam Rukun Uddin Khair Shah accompanied those majority Ismailis who had submitted to Heluko’s soldiers and so on.

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