SPEECHES, STATEMENTS AND WRITINGS OF THE 48TH AND 49TH ISMAILI IMAMS
A. Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan, 48th Imam
(1877 – 1957)
I. HAZRAT ALI AND THE RASHIDUN CALIPHS
It is more than ever necessary that the foundation of Imami-Ismailism should be understood by the new generation of Ismailis throughout the world. If those who believe that Hazrat Ali was the rightful successor of the Prophet to be the ‘Ulu’l-amr Menkom must accept the principle of that succession for the same reasons they accept in the case of Hazrat Ali his rightful Imam descendants.
The Imami Ismailis maintain that the position of the ‘Ulu’l-amr Menkom never dies out and this succession goes on till the Day of Judgement on Earth. For this reason Ismailis celebrate the exceptionally long Imamat as they would celebrate every ascension to the spiritual throne of the Imamat in each century. In the present Imamat, the final reconciliation between the Shia and Sunni doctrines has been publicly proclaimed by myself on exactly the same lines as Hazrat Ali did at the death of the Prophet and during the first thirty years after that. The political and worldly Khalifat was accepted by Hazrat Ali in favour of the three first Khalifs voluntarily and with goodwill for the protection of the interests of the Muslims throughout the world.
We Ismailis now in the same spirit [as Hazrat Ali had done] accept the Khalifat of the first Khalifs and such other Khalifs as during the last thirteen centuries helped the cause of Islam, politically, socially and from a worldly point of view.
On the other hand, the Spiritual Imamat remained with Hazrat Ali, and remains with his direct descendants always alive till the Day of Judgement. That a spiritual succession to the Imamat makes the Imam the ‘Ulu’l-amr Menkom always according to the Qur’an and though he has his moral claim to the Khalifat as well, always he can, like Hazrat Ali himself owing to the conditions of the world, accept and support such worldly authorities as the Imam believes help the cause of Islam. Thus a final reconciliation without upsetting either Sunni or Shia doctrine has been proclaimed always by me as the faith of all the Ismailis.
B. His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan (b.1936), 49th Imam
V. A COMMON FUNDAMENTAL BELIEF AND A COMMON HERITAGE OF HUMAN DIGNITY
In my presidential address [Seerat Conference, Pakistan 1976], I appealed to our ulama not to delay the search for the answers to the issues of a rapidly evolving modernity which Muslims of the world face because we have the knowledge that Islam is Allah’s final message to mankind, the Holy Quran His final Book, and Muhammad, may peace be upon him, His last and final Prophet. (…)
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