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Nizaris

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Nizaris

    One of two branches of Ismaili Shiis (the other is the Mustalis). The Ismailis split in 1094 over the succesion to the Fatimid caliphate. The Nizaris, led by Hasan-i Sabbah , recognized Nizar as imam, although he was an infant, instead of his brother, al-Mustali bi Allah , and have maintained a lineage of “living imams” through the Aga Khans (a title introduced in 1843 ). Talim (divinely inspired teaching) through the imam offsets the insufficiency of human reason for understanding God. The Crusaders mistook the Nizaris' association with political murder with hashish addiction and spawned the Assassins legend. The third Aga Khan (d. 1957 ) began a move toward the Islamic mainstream that was continued by the fourth, Prince Karim Khan al-Husayni (b. 1936 ). Originally in Iran and Syria, Nizaris are found currently in Africa, the West, and South, Central, and West Asia.

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