Aga Khan

Aga Khan

Aga Khan ( _fa. آقا خان ) is the hereditary title of the Imam of the Nizārī Muslims, the largest branch of the Ismā'īlī followers ( _ar. الطائفة الإسماعيلية) of the Shī‘a faith. The Ismaili branch of Shia Islam affirms the Imamat of the descendents of Ismail ibn Jafar, eldest son of Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, while the mainstream Twelver branch of Shi`ism follows Ismail's younger brother and designated Imam, Musa al-Kazim and his descendents.


In the 1830s the honorific title of Aga Khan was bestowed upon Aga Hasan Ali Shah, the 46th Imam of the Ismailis, by Fat′h Ali Shah Qajar, the Shah of Persia. Etymologically the title combines the Turkish military title Agha, meaning a "noble" or "lord", with the Altaic polyvalent title Khan for a local ruler, so the combination means roughly "Commanding Chief". In Persia's Qajar court protocol, Khan (and Amir) was commonly part of commanders of armed forces and provincial tribal leaders which ranked fourth in precedence amongst the eight title classes for non-members of the dynasty. In 1877, the colonial rulers of India, the British Raj, gave the Aga Khan rank and nobility in recognition of the help in suppressing a regional rebellion against the British, thus the Aga Khan became the only religious or community leader in British India granted a personal gun salute; all other salute dynasties were either rulers of Princely States, or Political Pensioners holding ancestral princely titles in states abolished by the Raj.


Prince Karīm al-Hussainī became the present Aga Khan IV upon assuming the Imamat of the Nizari Ismailis on July 11, 1957 at the age of 20, succeeding his grandfather, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan (Aga Khan III). In his will, his grandfather stated the conditions that led him to select his grandson as successor to the Ismaili Imamat:

"In view of the fundamentally altered conditions in the world in very recent years due to the great changes that have taken place, including the discoveries of atomic science, I am convinced that it is in the best interests of the Shia Muslim Ismaili community that I should be succeeded by a young man who has been brought up and developed during recent years and in the midst of the new age, and who brings a new outlook on life to his office." ["Aly Khan's Son, 20, New Aga Khan", "The New York Times", 13 July 1957, p. 1]

Prince Karim Aga Khan IV is the 49th Ismaili Imam, tracing their lineage to Ali, cousin of Muhammad, and his wife Fatima, Muhammad's daughter. [Farhad Daftary. "The Ismāʿīlīs: Their history and doctrines."] The title His Highness was granted by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in 1957, and His Royal Highness by the Shah of Iran in 1959. [See [] ] [cite web |url= |title=Khoja Case before Justice Sir Joseph Arnould, High Court of Bombay, 1886 |accessdate=2006-12-01] [cite web |url= |title=Haji Bibi Case before Mr. Justice Russell, 1905 - Bombay Law Reporter |accessdate=2006-12-01] On July 11, 2007, Aga Khan was the Imam of Ismaili Muslims for 50 years.

The Aga Khan, heir to the family fortune and a society figure, is founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, one of the largest private development networks in the world. AKDN continues to work with a variety of African and Asian countries to improve living conditions and promote education. For instance, in Afghanistan the AKDN has mobilised over $700 million in development projects. [cite web |url= |title=AKDN in Afghanistan |accessdate=2008-08-26]


The annual Aga Khan tournament for field hockey in India began in the late 1800s. ["Aga Khan Hockey Tournament"] , excerpt from "Autobiography of Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand", published by Sport & Pastime, Chennai, 1952; posted February 22, 2007, accessed July 9, 2007] Matches of the Aga Khan tournament are held on the grounds of Bombay Gymkhana. [ [ Aga Khan Tournament] , from the "Autobiography of Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand", published by Sport & Pastime, Chennai, 1952]

In 1926, the Aga Khan III gave a cup (the Aga Khan Trophy) to be awarded to the winner of an international show jumping competition held at the annual horse show of the Royal Dublin Society in Dublin, Ireland every first week in August. [ [ The Aga Khan Trophy] , Dublin Horse Show, accessed July 9, 2007] It attracts competitors from all of the main show jumping nations and is carried live on Irish national television.

List of those who have held the title of Aga Khan

# Aga Khan I = Hasan Ali Shah Mehalatee Aga Khan I (1800–1881), 46th Imam (1817–1881)
# Aga Khan II = Ali Shah Aga Khan II (about 1830–1885), 47th Imam (12 April 1881–1885)
# Aga Khan III = Prince Sultan Mohammed, (1877–1957), 48th Imam (17 August 1885–1957)
# Aga Khan IV = Prince Karim Al Husseini (b. 1936), 49th Imam of the Ismailis (from 11 July 1957)



* [ The Institute of Ismaili Studies]
* [ The Ismaili]
* [ The Aga Khan Development Network]
* [ Aga Khan and the Ismailis - FILM]
* [ The World Bank]
* [ WorldStatesmen- Religious Organisations]
* [ RoyalArk- India] & [ Qajar Persia]
* [ Aga Khan article at SIPA (Columbia University)]
* [ Brown University President Vartan Gregorian's introduction of the Aga Khan (1996 baccalaureate address)]
* [ Interview on NPR, 25 September 2006: "Aga Khan Speaks Out on Understanding of Muslims"]

ee also

*Aga Khan Development Network
*Aga Khan University
*Aga Khan Foundation

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  • Aga Khan IV — S. A. AGA KHAN IV Reinado Imanato (1957 presente) Nombre real Karim al Hussayni Aga Khan Otros títulos Su Alteza concedido por Su Majestad Isabel II del Reino Unid …   Wikipedia Español

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  • Aga Khan II — [[Archivo: |210px]] Reinado Imanato (1881 1885) Nombre real Aqa Ali Shah Nacimiento …   Wikipedia Español

  • Aga Khan — (en persa: Āghā Khān o Āqā Khān) es el título de los imanes de la secta ismaelita nizarí perteneciente al Chiismo. Aga es término general del respeto por el hombre honorado y palabra persa por “Señor”, y Khan es el título Altaico por un soberano …   Wikipedia Español

  • Aga Khan — der; s, e [aus ↑ Aga u. ↑ Khan]: Oberhaupt der islamischen Sekte der Hodschas in Indien u. Ostafrika u. dessen erblicher Titel. * * * Aga Khan   der, s/ e, Aga Chan, Titel, der dem 46. (?) Oberhaupt ( …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Aga Khan I — Reinado Imanato (1917 1881) Nombre real Hasan Ali Shah Nacimiento 1804 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Aga Khan — (Āgā Hān) ► Nombre dado al jefe musulmán de la secta ismaelita. El título, hereditario desde 1817, recayó en Aga Khan I (1880 81). Fue sucedido por su hijo Aga Khan II (m. 1885). Su sucesor, Aga Khan III (1877 1957), apoyó la independencia de la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Aga Khan II — Shah Aly Shah Aga Khan II (شاه علي شاه أغا خان الثاني) (ca 1830 1885) est connu par les ismaéliens comme Imam Shah Aly Shah. Il fut le 47e imam (1881 1885). Son fils de huit ans Aga Khan III lui succéda comme Aga Khan …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Aga Khan I — Aga Khan Ier Le premier titre d agha Khan a été donné en 1818 par le shah de Perse au fils d un imam ismaélien nizarite du nom de shah Khalilullah, qui résidait à Kehk, près de Qom et fut assassiné à Yezd en 1817. Cet imam était vénéré quasiment… …   Wikipédia en Français

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