Ismā{ʽ}īlī


Ismā{ʽ}īlī
Member of a sect of the Shīite branch of Islam.

It came into existence after the death of the sixth imam, Jafar ibn Muhammad, in 765. His son Ismāʽīl was accepted as successor only by a minority, who became known as Ismāʽīlītes. Their doctrine, formulated in the late 8th and early 9th century, made a distinction between ordinary Muslim believers and the elect, who shared a secret wisdom. The Qarāmitāh subsect was popular in Iraq, Yemen, and Bahrain in the 9th–11th centuries, and the Fāṭimid subsect conquered Egypt in 969 and established the Fātimid dynasty. A subgroup of the Fāṭimids was the Nizārīs, who gained control of fortresses in Iran and Syria in the late 11th century and were known as Assassins. The major Nizārī line survived into modern times under the leadership of the Aga Khan, moving from Iran to India in 1840. The Druze separated from the Ismāʽīlīs early in the 11th century and formed a closed society of their own.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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