5 Reasons To Leave Ismailism

Besides the social aspect of Ismailism, there is nothing that it seems to offer to its followers – as God, the afterlife, and the religion outside of Imamat are never talked about or mentioned, as in Ismailism spirituality and devotion don’t exist beyond praising and worshipping the Imam. And although social connections help in business, dasond and other practices take a large chunk of that back making it very difficult to live comfortably on a normal salary.

This article seeks to lay out the benefits – both in spiritual and worldly matters – of why leaving Ismailism is not only the best decision but also the correct decision to make for your deen.

The list:

  1. Have A Clear Understanding of Your Beliefs
  2. Only Pay What Allah Has Ordained
  3. Success on The Day of Judgement
  4. A Relationship With Allah
  5. No Longer Be In a Cult

Have a Clear Understanding of Your Beliefs

As can be exhibited quite clearly from our article ‘Questions From The Ismaili Youth,’ Ismailis have been left in the dark when it comes to basic beliefs and tenets of their faith. Anytime religion is mentioned inside Jamatkhana, it has to do with the Imam being the infallible and divine leader that must be followed for proper guidance – but ironically other than this one thing, almost no guidance is given to the Jamat when it comes to religion.

Take a moment to ask yourself if you clearly know the answers to these very basic questions:

  • What happens after death – reincarnation or a day of judgement?
  • Do heaven and hell exist?
  • Is the Imam God or an intercessor?
  • What does Ismailism say on homosexuality?
  • Is drinking alcohol wrong?

These are some fundamental questions that you will find much disagreement upon in the Jamat and that have been left unaddressed. Sadly, the Ismaili Imamat or institutions have no intention of providing answers to these questions clearly, as you will find that the Ismaili interpretations of such beliefs are very contradictory and disordered.

When inquired about what his role in regards to his followers, the previous Ismaili Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah responded as saying,

I am everything to everybody. If you consider me God, I am your God. If you consider me your spiritual father, I am your spiritual father. If you consider me your Imam, I am your Imam. If you consider me only your friend, I am your friend and so on… 1

For someone who takes their religion seriously and wants to understand it rationally, this is not a sufficient answer. Vague answers like these are provided by Ismaili leaders when asked about the fundamental concepts and beliefs of their faith. Is it not the right of someone to know what role the Imam that they dedicate everything to plays in their life? An Ismaili can keep searching for answers to core questions, but due to the lack of clarity or resolution in the Ismaili doctrine the search will provide more complications than clarifications.

In contrast to Ismailis, Muslims are clearly informed about what role the Prophet and Allah play in their lives. No baseless supposition is considered and everything is clearly laid out within the Quran and Hadith. Furthermore, one is encouraged to ask questions and to use their rationale, whereas in Ismailism one is encouraged to do the opposite when it comes to their Imam; for example, in ancient Ismaili practices the act of ‘fasting’ referred to “keeping silent as to what the Imam does, not trying to find his faults, and recognizing all his actions as just even if they are blameable and impious.” 2

Only Pay What Allah Has Ordained

Some Ismailis like to ignore that Dasond is an extremely overbearing practice, and they are content to pay this sum every paycheck as they believe it is what they owe to their Imam. But the truth is that Dasond is an entirely innovated and fake practice that they do not owe to anyone, as Allah has never asked for this in His religion.

When speaking about what the mandatory tithe, Zakah (a 2.5% yearly wealth tax vs. dasond, a 12.5% flat tax on income), the Quran guides the believers:

Indeed, prescribed charitable offerings are only to be given to the poor and the indigent, and to those who work on administering it, and to those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free those in bondage, and to the debt-ridden, and for the cause of God, and to the wayfarer. This is an obligation from God. And God is all-knowing, all-wise. 3

Nowhere in the Quran do we even find the likes of Dasond being prescribed to the believers. If the believers needed to financially provide support to their leader, Allah would have mentioned it in His Divine Instructions.

Dasond is not something that Allah will ask the believers about on the Day of Judgement, as it is an innovated and fake practice created by the Aga Khans – but the believers will be asked about Zakat, which Ismailis do not pay.

There are much better uses for the money that goes into dasond – such as in some of the causes above or in providing for your family. But giving it in a cause that Allah has not instructed, to a man that Allah has given no authority to, is a clear waste and will only act against you in the worldly and spiritual life.

Success on The Day of Judgement

Sticking with the decision to be Ismaili means putting a lot on the line. One must admit that if the Aga Khan doesn’t have any divine designation like he claims, then the practices that Ismailis uphold – such as abandoning the Muslim prayer, not fasting in Ramadan, adding on other divinely sent agents after Muhammad ﷺ – will not only take them outside the fold of Islam, but these practices will make them perhaps one of the worst groups to be a part of on the Day of Judgement.

If someone is a practicing Ismaili then based on the religion’s fundamental beliefs and practices, they are associating others with Allah (which you can read all about here) – and it’s no joke. If someone dies without repenting from shirk, then Allah will never forgive them. We are told in the Quran that they will reside in hellfire forever and that they will not be taken out.

As Allah says in the Quran,

They have certainly disbelieved who say, “Allāh is the Messiah, the son of Mary” while the Messiah has said, “O Children of Israel, worship Allāh, my Lord and your Lord.” Indeed, he who associates others with Allāh – Allāh has forbidden him Paradise, and his refuge is the Fire. And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers. 4

Just as Jesus said “worship Allāh, my Lord and your Lord,” the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said the same. If the Prophets of Allah, who are the greatest of all creation, are clearly saying that they are not God and that their followers should worship Allah alone, then why would one listen to anyone who claims otherwise unless they wanted to purposefully throw themselves into misguidance?

If one decides to turn away from worshipping the Aga Khans with Allah and repent from it while they are alive, then not only will Allah forgive them for their shirk, but Allah will forgive for them all their past bad deeds.

Dying as an Ismaili while believing that Islam is the truth is a fruitless trade, because Islam itself says that one should never follow the shirk that Ismailism is built upon. If one believes Islam to be true, they should follow Islam correctly as Allah has instructed us to, and leave the false teachings of Ismailism.

A Relationship With Allah

One of the best parts of Islam is the personal relationship that Allah has allowed us to have with Him. Ismailis are missing out on this as in times of distress, they call to their Imam

Maulana Hazar Imam Tumhare Kul Mushkilein Aasan Kare
(May the Imam ease all your difficulties)

and in times of happiness, their thanks is devoted to their Imam.

Shukar Maula
(Thank Maula)

This is quite unfortunate, as the Aga Khan is a human being that can neither hear these cries of help and nor can he misdirect harm from people (he cannot even misdirect harm from himself). Neither does he hear their praises and thanks.

Allah hears everything, and He is the only one that can bring good to people. When one becomes a Muslim and calls out to Allah, they realize a deep relationship with Allah, who is the Controller of all of their affairs and the only one who can respond to their calls – but to receive that response, they must call to Him and not the Aga Khan.

If Allah inflicts harm on you, no one can remove it but Him, and if He intends good for you, no one can turn His bounty away; He grants His bounty to any of His servants He will. He is the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful. 5

By leaving Ismailism, you will be calling out to Allah and not one of His creation. This is a very important bond for a human to have, as Allah told us,

… Listen, the hearts find peace only with the remembrance of Allah. 6

No Longer Be In a Cult

Ismailism definitely forces its adherents to live inside its primarily Gujrati community, abiding to their culture and norms. People often don’t realize the racism, elitism, and jealousy that is directed against them due to their membership to this small group, and it all can simply be taken away by refusing to limit yourself by sticking to it.

Malcolm X, who was also part of an ‘Islamic’ cult called ‘The Nation of Islam’ (view our article on the prophesied saved sect here), went to Hajj and realized how different the community of Islam is from the community of the cult he was in. During his Hajj, he decided to leave The Nation of Islam for true Islam, and he said the following about his experience:

During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass, and slept in the same bed (or on the same rug)–while praying to the same God–with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the actions in the deeds of the ‘white’ Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan, and Ghana. We were truly all the same (brothers) – because their belief in one God had removed the white from their minds, the white from their behavior, and the white from their attitude. 7

Being a part of the worldwide Islamic community, two billion strong, is a one of a kind experience that Ismailism can not and does not offer. Not only are the values of the community dictated by religion and not (Gujrati) culture, but the people are all united by the fact that they worship only Allah and follow Islam as it was revealed.

For me personally, leaving Ismailism has almost been therapeutic as I had experienced a lot of racism and judgement when I was with them. Now that I am a Muslim, my race no longer is a factor in what people think of me and I am not judged by what leadership positions my family holds, or what businesses we own, but rather I am only seen as a fellow Muslim that worships the same God as other Muslims. Alhamdulillah!


For the rational person, leaving Ismailism is a no-brainer. Not only do you move away from false, innovated beliefs, but you also have a clear understanding of what it is that you believe.

Furthermore, you form a strong relationship with The Creator, and not someone He created. The Islamic community is also much less dictated by cultural values and elitism, and is not focused on an individual’s status in society but rather an individual’s spirituality and connection with their Lord.

  1. Dr Hassan E. Nathoo, My Glorious Fortnight with Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, 1988
  2. According to Dabistan, Fasting means the “preservation of the mysteries of the Imam.” Vol. II, p. 408. In the Fatwa against the Nosayri lbn Taymiyya also mentions lsma’ilis giving the same interpretation to Fasting. Guyard, lac. cit., p. 186.
  3. Quran Translation, 9:60
  4. Quran Translation, 5:72
  5. Quran Translation, 10:107
  6. Quran Translation, 13:28
  7. From the Autobiography of Malcolm X

3 thoughts on “5 Reasons To Leave Ismailism

  1. In the Name of ALLAH, THE ONE,

    Bi Idhnil LLAAHI TA’ALA,

    Welcome to Islam my brother. May ALLAH TA’ALA grant you a good life here on Earth, and Paradise in the Eternal Life.

    The Nizari Ismailis themselves don’t have one doctrine. One will say Agha Khan is god (Nauzu Bil LLAAH), other will say he has Nur of Hazrat Ali (ra), other like the amaana website (the article was now erased) will say that Agha Khan is the third of a trinity (Nauzu bil LLAAH), and so on…

    All facts you stated are true!!

    And Nizari Ismaili is the only religion in the World without a clergy. Even in Hinduism there is a clergy and one has to study to become a pandit.

    As I told in my previous comments, among the Nizari Ismailis, there is a very small community of True Muslims who only attend the Jamatkhana in order to keep their families together though their families know well that they are true muslims, Ma Shaa ALLAH TA’ALA.
    Surah 40 of the Holy Quran speaks of a relative of Paraoh who was a Muslim but had to hide his faith for a long time due to fear of being killed.
    But when Prophet Moses Life was in danger, he openly declared his Faith.

    As a Muslim Theologian and Researcher, my advice to you my dear brother and to all new Muslims is to strongly abide by the Translation of Holy Quran in your own mother tongue.

    Some Sunnis and some Twelver Shias wrongly say that the Quran is a difficult Book and that It has to be read in Arabic.
    By ALLAH TA’ALA!! They are uttering a tremendos lie.

    The Noble Ayah of the Quran you mentioned (38:29) proves that the Book of ALLAH TABARAK wa TA’ALA has to be read primarily on one’s own language.
    25:1 and many more Ayat prove this.

    The Quran, being the final Message of ALLAH, THE BEYOND-BEING,
    to all Mankind and Jinn, has to be read primarily in one’s own language.

    There is no wrong on reading the Quran in Arabic without understanding Arabic. It is good and it is an Ibadah.
    But reading the Translarion of The Quran in one’s own language is by far, a greater Ibadah.

    Take care of the false Hadeeth as well. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw) said that every saying attributed to him (saw) that does not match with the Quran is false and was not said by him (saw).

    Unfortunately, Hadeeth literature has many false hadeeth.

    I am not at all against Hadeeth. They are the Sayings of our Beloved Prophet but the real ones are few, their number being know only by ALLAH (SWT). If you see a Hadeeth matching with The Holy Quran it is true. If you see a Hadeeth that goes against the Holy Quran it is false and was not uttered by Prophet Muhammad.

    So my advice to you and to all muslims is to read daily, whatever they can read, of the Translation of the Holy Quran.

    And besides reading alone, take some time to read with your spouses and children. Make this a daily habit.
    In Shaa ALLAH TA’ALA your Faith and your Knowlwdge will increase.

    I leave here some excelent Translations of the Holy Quran in English for our readers:
    – Abdullah Yussuf Ali’s Translation;
    – Hilali and Muhsin Khan Translation (this Translation can be obtained freely in the Mosques because It is the Translation made in Saudi Arabia);
    – Abdulmajid Daryabadi’s Translation;
    – “The Study Quran” translation. This translation is recent and was done by a group of Schoolars. It has a huge and a rich commentary of the Suras and Ayat of the Quran;
    –Ali Quli Qara’i Translation;
    – Abdulhaq and Aisha Bewley ‘s Translation;
    – Talal Itani’s Translation.

    These are the ones I know and are very good. There may be others but I have no knowledge of them.

    With the excepcion of Abdullah Yussuf Ali’s Translations, all Translations I mentioned are in an accessible and simple English.

    Wa Akhirud Dawana Anil Hamdu lil LLAAHI RABB il Alameen.

    Wassalamu Aleikum wa Rahmatul LLAAHI wa Barakatuhu.

    Allama Riaz Carmali


    • بسم الله والحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله و أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأن محمدا عبده ورسوله

      السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

      Thank you for your comment brother! Aameen to your dua and may Allah do the same for you. You have brought up a very good point! As Muslims, it is obligatory upon us to seek knowledge.
      I believe every Muslim should go out of their way and learn Arabic, the language of the Quran, as that is the language Allah has revealed it in and it truly is beautiful. But while we learn Arabic we should take full advantage of the resources and translations available to us. Unfortunately, what you have said is true – many Ismailis and Shias are discouraged from reading the translation and they see it as not being worthwhile.
      This is the WRONG mindset as translations are extremely valuable and give you access to the teachings of the Quran, even if it is not in the same language. Reading a translation is better than not doing anything at all, and we should all take advantage of these works we can access in our native language.

      I recommend the Abdul Haleem (Oxford) translation as it is very beautifully written and easy to understand. I warn against the Study Quran though, as it preaches the “universal validity of all religions,” which is an incorrect and dangerous belief as the only true faith is the one with Allah, which is Islam. I would also warn against the Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation as I have heard the footnotes contain some deviant beliefs but I cannot confirm that as I have not read it myself.

      All translations can easily be found for free online along with the Arabic on http://www.Quran.com

      JazaakAllah Khair brother and may Allah bless you, and may Allah unite us in Jannatul Firdaus next to our beloved Prophet صل الله عليه وسلم


  2. In the Name of ALLAH, THE ONE, THE ABSOLUTE.

    Dear brother,

    Bi Idhnil LLAAHI TA’ALA,

    Jazak ALLAHU Khayran for your kind message.

    I forgot to mention Abdul Haleem’s Translation which I have here in my home.
    It is a very good Translation and It uses a very accessible English.
    Talal Itani’s Translation, Aisha Bewley’s Translation and Muhsin Khan/Hilali Translation, also use a very accessible English.

    Regarding “The Study Quran”, The Translation is very good.
    Probably what you’ve mentioned is in the Tafsir, but I will have to verify by myself.
    Every Tafsir contains errors, so one should not pay heed to the errors.

    Regarding Abdullah Yussuf Ali’s Translation, I forgot to say that if one wants to read It, one should buy the “Amana Publications” Version, because they revised the entire Translation and the commentary as well.

    Alhamdu lil LLAAH, if you are reading Abdul Haleem’s Translation, you need not any other Translation because his Translation ranks among the best.

    In Shaa ALLAH TA’ALA, my Dua to
    ALLAH TABARAK WA TA’ALA for you, dear brother, is that, once you dive deeply in the study of the Translation of the Holy Quran, you will feel that there is no need whatsoever to learn Arabic.
    The Book of ALLAH TA’ALA was revealed to all Mankind and Jinn.
    And ALLAH, THE ABSOLUTE, knows that HIS human creatures have many difficulties in Life due to Human Condition.
    So ALLAH TA’ALA HIMSELF gave the example in the Quran regarding the validity of a good Translation.
    HE HIMSELF (SWT), in the Arabic Quran, translated to Arabic the dialoges HE (SWT) had with other Prophets.
    The dialoge ALLAH TA’ALA had with Noah (as) was translated to Arabic by ALLAH TA’ALA.
    The dialoge ALLAH TA’ALA had with Abraham (as) was translated into Arabic by ALLAH TA’ALA, and so on.

    But if you want to learn Arabic, it is very good. But while you learn, continue to read the Translation of The Holy Quran.

    THE BEYOND-BEING, bless you in this Dunya and in the Akhirah.



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