hobbes wrote:My wife is an ismaili... visits jamat khana once in a while and so on. Except saying that it is a very liberal religion, she does not know much about ismailism herself although she has very liberal values. Now she wants to raise our toddler as an ismaili. I don't want to object if there is no harm in doing that.
So what is the opinion of ismailism on this forum? Their leader sounds quite progressive minded and ismailis in general appear quite cool (though most of them hardly have any non-ismaili friends). I am not very sure what ismailis believe... is my son going to be taught that all non-ismailis will go to hell?
I can claim that I know lot about Ismaelis as we speak same language and I had few Ismaeli friends in past and worked for Ismaeli /Agakhani employers.
1. Agakhan is very progressive leader. He supports lots of charity work in third world countries.
2. Ismaeli followers of Agakhan are quite liberal in dress, food and getting western education. They are quite tolerant about interreligious marriages and hardly hound anyone for defecting or marrying outside faith. They dont kill apostate .They just shun them and sometime accept even unconverted spouses of Ismaelis.
3. They can be very clanish people and blindly follow Agakhan. Their menifesto says agakhan is their leader/imam etc in spiritual as well as in worldly matter.
They cn be extremely secretive.They send lots of money to Agakhan all in cash so that he does not have to pay tax. They integrate on one hand but in certian matters they dont care about state laws where they live. Many youing Ismaelis do ask critical questions. Again no one got ever killed.
4. majority of Ismaelis know very little about their faith. Agakhan is believed to be direct descendent of Mohemmed and current Imama. Imamat will continue through his legal heirs.
5. The sect has pretty weired history. One Iranian Agakhan( in mid 19th century?? dynasty was on run from Iran to Egypt to India, now in France and Switzerland)) took over or bought lock stock and barrel mosques and sunni followers and next day they all became Shia Agakhani muslims.Ofcourse Brits helped him lot. All converts were sunnis who were converted to islam , in a very deceptive way, by sufi saint. This happned way back in sultanate time. ( 600-700years ago).Some of them are still called khoja but not ismaeli.
6.About 95% of followers have hindu( business castes from Gujarat, kutch, sindh)) convert background. Other followers come from Hindu Kush valley and ME countries, Iran, Egypt, gulf countries. I dont know whether they are new converts or are orginal followers of Iranian Agakhan of Iran way back.
7. Many sunnis and even ruling Iranian Shia clergy consider them apostates not true muslims. Because of Agakhan's prestige, they dont suffer severe persecution anywhere. Though things can change. They are also under pressure to conform themselves as true muslim or be more like main line Shias.Few years ago Agakhan was addressed as Royal now Imam, now they emphasize that they are Muslims , before they were called Agakhani Khojas, now Agakhani Ismaeli muslims.
8.Scratch any Ismaeli, his sympathy is with muslim terrorists , ofcourse in private or when they talk with us subcontinent people. No matter how rich they are their older generation feels that muslims are persecuted. As usua, although they are like jews, they hate jews.