Are Ismailis Sunnis or Shiites

Ismaʿilites

(Arabic Ismāʿīlīya), also Siebenerschia. In contrast to the twelve Shiites (Shiites), the I. believe that the one before his father, the sixth, is Shiite. Imam Jaʿfar aṣ-Ṣādiq, late Ismāʿīl or whose son Muḥammad was the seventh imam and not aṣ-Ṣādiq's second son Mūsā al-Kāẓim. In the center of ismaʿilit. Doctrine stands for the clear distinction between the exoteric (arab. Ẓāhir) accessible to all believers on the one hand, i.e. H. the obvious, generally accepted, revealed scriptures and the religious commandments set forth therein, which change with the revelation of each prophet, and the esoteric (arab. bāṭin) on the other hand, d. H. the immutable truths hidden in scriptures and laws. These become Kabbalistic through some interpretation. Nature made accessible. In a cyclical histor. The process of seven epochs is determined by the “heralds” Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muḥammad, each followed by a “silent man” who reveals the hidden elements of Revelation, the first six epochs. Only the Mahdi, the seventh imam living in secrecy, will reveal all hidden truths in the seventh era. The ismaʿilit. The doctrine of duty differs only slightly from the teachings of the other Shiites and the Sunnis. The histor. most significant ismaʿilit. Dynasty were the Fatimids. The line of Nizārīs, which is now led by Karīm Khān, the son of the well-known Agha Khān, is derived from the notorious assassins in Iran between the 11th and 13th centuries. I. live in yemen, syria, iran, india, afghanistan, central asia and muslim. Africa. Their affiliation to Islam, like the Druze and ʿAlawiten v. a. by sunnit. Muslims denied.

Literature:
Halm, H .: The Schia, 1988. - Madelung, W .: Art. "Ismāʿiliyya", The Encyclopaedia of Islam, second edition. - Schmucker, W .: “Sects and special groups”, in Ende, W./Steinbach, U .: Islam in the Present, 1996, 663 - 683.

Author:
Prof. Dr. Anja Pistor-Hatam, University of Kiel, Islamic Studies

Source: Elger, Ralf / Friederike Stolleis (eds.): Kleines Islam-Lexikon. History - everyday life - culture. Munich: 6th, updated and expanded edition 2018.