Disconnected Ismaili History: Imam Ismail Died Years Before His Father Died

Can a son succeed his father and become the next “Living Imam” (or Hazar Imam) if the son predeceases the father? If not, then those who call themselves as Shia Ismailis have to think harder before calling themselves the followers of Imam Ismail who did not live long enough to become the next Hazar Imam.

hitti-cover-featuredHere is proof from History of the Arabs from the Earliest Times to the Present by Philip K. Hitti who was Professor Emeritus of Semitic Literature at Princeton University. Professor Hitti spent 10 years researching and writing this book. John R. Starkey writes in his article A Talk with Philip Hitti:

History of the Arabs, first published in 1937 and now going into its tenth edition, is probably the single most important book ever published in America on the subject of Arabs. “There is no comparable book on the subject,” an Arab historian in Beirut said recently. “On the Arabs alone, nothing in the West since 1937 has matched Hitti’s contribution.”


The author has quoted below the works of three well-known historians as the source.



The Ismailis: Their History and Doctrines by Farhad Daftary

The Ismailis: Their History and Doctrines, published by Cambridge University Press, 1990 is an acclaimed book by Dr. Farhad Daftary. Dr. Daftary is a world-renowned authority on Ismaili Studies, and is the Head of the Department of Academic Research & Publications at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, England and spent several years for completing this classical work of Ismaili history. The Persian translation of this book has been awarded the “Best Book of the Year Award” in Iran in 1996. This publication is also available in most of the major public libraries of the world and is sold in the major Ismaili Jamaat Khanas, around the world.  has read the typescript of this book. In the foreword of this book, Professor Wilferd Madelung of the University of Oxford writes: “Dr. Daftary offers a first comprehensive and detailed synthesis of the complex history of Ismailism.”

In the genealogical flow chart which is illustrated in this book on page 551, it is noticeable that the fifth Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq died in 148 Hijri/765 AD. His son Ismail al-Mubarak had died in around 136 Hijri/754 AD., that is to say nearly 11 years before the death of his father. To assert, after having known these dates, that Ismail who had died earlier than his father succeeded Ja’far al-Sadiq would be a folly of the highest degree. I have received mails from the Agakhani Ismailis informing me that the year shown for the death of Imam Ismail, by Dr. Daftary in his genealogical chart, is the year in which a mock funeral procession of Ismail was taken out in Medina by his father. That was a mere rush.




A Short History of the Ismailis by Farhad Daftary

In reality, Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq had sent his son Ismail away to an unknown location because there was a threat to his life from enemies. It is noteworthy that the flow chart published in a later date publication of Dr. Daftary entitled; ‘A Short History Of The Ismailis’ (1998), the dates have not been amended and the fact that Ismail died eleven years before his father is repeated. Furthermore, so as to reconfirm the fact that it was a legitimate funeral of his dead son, on page 34 of this book it is mentioned that during Ismail’s funeral procession in Medina the face of Ismail was shown to the witnesses by his father al-Sadiq. Little later, it is mentioned that an Indian Ismaili author Al-Bharuchi relates visiting Ismail’s tomb in the Baqi cemetery in Medina in 1498 and his grave still existed there in 1885, but it was later destroyed by the Wahhabis along with the graves of his father and other imams located in that cemetery. The bibliographical notes to the above reads: Hasan b. Nuh al-Bharuchi, Kitab al-azhar, in ‘Adil al-’Awwa (ed.), Muntakhabat Isma’iliyya (Damascus, 1958), pp. 234-5.

Until and unless Dr. Farhad Daftary admits there are errors in his chart and circulates the revised dates, the possibilities for which are highly unlikely, Musa al-Kazim’s legitimate claim to the Imamat, who died in 183 Hijri/799 AD, appears to be well-founded and genuinely compelling.

This is the very reason that more than 98% of Shia Muslims do not recognize Ismail as their Imam, but recognize Musa al-Kazim. Only less than 2% call themselves Ismaili and claim to follow ‘Imam’ Ismail who never lived long enough to become an Imam himself.

Originally published on http://www.mostmerciful.com

5 thoughts on “Disconnected Ismaili History: Imam Ismail Died Years Before His Father Died

  1. To get the full picture you could show the dates of birth and death on a chart that you feel is the correct expression of the history from your point of view, I think. There is not enough information here to take a critical view. What do you feel about the achievements of the Aga Khan in terms of the comments he made at the Seerat Conference?

    There are several opinions about the life and death of Ismail. You espouse one. Why not tell the others and, if you can, discredit them instead of slanting the point of view? That is not reliable, (academically speaking).

    Liked by 2 people

      If he spoke the TRUTH, why followers refuse to abide by it?

      Addressing 172 Eminent Muslim Scholars from 48 countries
      made an important speech of his life…
      ~ the entire speech can be downloaded from the following Hot Link ~


      Mowlana Kauser Niazi, Your Excellencies, Eminent Scholars.

      When Mowlana Kauser Niazi invited Me to preside at today’s gathering of the Seerat Conference, I felt both trepidation and joy, trepidation because few subjects could be more awe inspiring for any Muslim to speak on, joy as few subjects could give greater happiness to be involved with. Let Me add that I am also deeply appreciative of the occasion offered to Me by Mowlana Kauser Niazi to meet and greet you all. Few Conferences can, have gathered so many men of outstanding intellect, who have devoted so much time and wisdom to the study of Islam and the life of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).

      In addressing you shortly today, I will begin by making a request: One hundred and seventy two eminent scholars from 48 countries have gathered in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi to present the results of their research and reflection on various aspects of the life of the Holy Prophet. From all these exchanges, from all the private debates which have preceded and succeeded the presentation of each paper, will have come an immense range of new thoughts, new ideas and new understanding of the Prophet’s life.

      I have observed in the Western world a deeply changing pattern of human relations. The anchors of moral behaviour appear to have dragged to such depths that they no longer hold firm the ship of life. What was once wrong is now simply unconventional, and for the sake of individual freedom must be tolerated. What is tolerated soon becomes accepted. Contrarily, what was once right is now viewed as outdated, old-fashioned and is often the target of ridicule.

      In the face of this changing world, which was once a universe to us and is now no more than an overcrowded island, confronted with a fundamental challenge to our understanding of time, surrounded by a foreign fleet of cultural and ideological ships which have broken loose, I ask, “Do we have a clear, firm and precise understanding of what Muslim Society is to be in times to come?” And if, as I believe, the answer is uncertain, where else can we search than in the Holy Quran, and in the example of Allah’s last and final Prophet?

      There is no justification for delaying the search for the answer to this question by the Muslims of the world, because we have the knowledge that Islam is Allah’s final message, the Quran His final book and Mohammed His last Prophet. We are blessed that the answers drawn from these sources guarantee that neither now, nor at any time in the future will we be going astray. To read the rest of this speech visit the Hot Link above…

      Below is an Important Message for Islam in the Qur’an that Allah’s Messenger Prophet Muhammad (S) had received…

      Thus have We made of you an Ummah justly balanced that ye might be witnesses over the nations and the Apostle a witness over yourselves; and We appointed the Qiblah to which thou wast used only to test those who followed the Apostle from those who would turn on their heels (from the faith). Indeed it was (a change) momentous except to those guided by Allah. And never would Allah make your faith of no effect. For Allah is to all people most surely full of kindness Most Merciful.
      Qur’an Chapter 2, Verse 144

      A Question that needs to be addressed by Karim Aga Khan and his followers…

      Since the time this Command of Allah was revealed some 1400 years ago, there is no Sect of Islam that has refused to observe this Momentous Command of facing the direction of Qiblah while praying except by the followers of Karim Aga Khan, known as ISMAILIS…
      Nearly 32 years have passed since the above Speech was made by Karim Aga Khan. Yet his followers refuse to ABIDE BY THE ABOVE COMMAND OF ALLAH.
      Everyday in the Ismaili Jamatkhanas (PRAYER HALLS), all over the world the agents of Karim Aga Khan, their wives and the title holders sit in the front row facing the congregation. With the result that the Members of the Ismaili Community face and prostrate to those sitting in the first row, instead of the direction of the Sacred Mosque in Mekkah. At times with their BACKS in the Direction of the Sacred Mosque. This is one of the main reasons for non-Ismailis being NOT permitted to visit their Prayer Halls during the ritual prayers.
      As a former practicing Ismaili, I can vouch for this ANTI QURANIC Practise…

      Here is another Verse of the Qur’an Commanding Believers to face the Direction of Qiblah – towards the Sacred Mosque in Mekkah, while praying: Unless one is bent upon wickedness…

      From whencesoever thou startest forth turn thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque; that is indeed the truth from thy Lord. And Allah is not unmindful of what ye do. So from whencesoever thou startest forth turn thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque; among wheresoever ye are turn your face thither that there be no ground of dispute against you among the people except those of them that are bent on
      wickedness; so fear them not but fear Me; and that I may complete My favors on you and ye may (consent to) be guided. Qur’an 2: 149-150Questions for Karim Aga Khan:
      As a Harvard graduate in Islam you probably know that Allah (s.w.t.) has not given the authority to anyone including His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to CHANGE THE REVEALED EXPLICITE COMMAND OF ALLAH. On the Night of NEW MOON, YOUR AGENTS ALSO DO FORGIVE THE SINS OF ISMAILIS – individually in the Jamatkhanas after the Prayers, by sprinkling the Holy Water on the faces in YOUR NAME. Have you given such authorities to them?
      “…and who can forgive sins except Allah?” Qur’an Verse 3: 135


      Questions for the followers:

      If Karim Aga Khan has uttered a Falsehood, why FOLLOW him?
      If he has indeed spoken the Truth why NOT follow that TRUTH?


  2. Pingback: Who Were the Fatimids? | Inside Ismailism

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