The Info List - Mustaali

The Musta‘lī (Arabic: مستعلي‎) are a sect of Isma'ilism named for their acceptance of al- Musta'li
as the legitimate nineteenth Fatimid caliph and legitimate successor to his father, al-Mustansir Billah. In contrast, the Nizari—the other living branch of Ismailism, presently led by Aga Khan
Aga Khan
IV—believe the nineteenth caliph was al-Musta'li's elder brother, Nizar. Isma'ilism
is a branch of Shia
Islam. The Musta'li
originated in Fatimid-ruled Egypt, later moved its religious center to Yemen, and gained a foothold in 11th-century Western India
Western India
through missionaries.


1 The Taiyabi and the Hafizi 2 History

2.1 Branches

3 Musta'li

3.1 Their ancestors and descendants according to Ismā'īlī-Mustā'lī Imāmah
doctrine 3.2 Da'is 3.3 Profession of faith

4 References 5 Further reading 6 External links

The Taiyabi and the Hafizi[edit] Historically, there was a distinction between the Taiyabi and the Hafizi
Musta'lis, the former recognizing at-Tayyib Abu'l-Qasim as the legitimate heir of the Imamate after al-Amir bi-Ahkami'l-Lah and the latter following al-Hafiz, who was enthroned as caliph. The Hafizi view lost all support following the downfall of the Caliphate: current-day Musta'lis are all Taiyabi. Most Musta'li
are Bohras, and the largest Bohra group is the Dawoodi Bohra, who are primarily found in India. The name Bohra is a reinterpretation of the Gujarati word vahaurau "to trade". The Bohra comprise two principal groups: a chiefly merchant class Shi'i majority and a Sunni Bohra
Sunni Bohra
minority who are mainly peasant farmers. Mohammed Burhanuddin
Mohammed Burhanuddin
was the 52nd Da'i al-Mutlaq
Da'i al-Mutlaq
of the Dawoodi Bohra community. After his death, there was a dispute regarding succession with both Mufaddal Saifuddin
Mufaddal Saifuddin
and Khuzaima Qutbuddin
Khuzaima Qutbuddin
claiming to be the 53rd Da'i al-Mutlaq. This dispute is unresolved. History[edit] According to Musta'lī tradition, after the death of al-Amir bi-Ahkami'l-Lah, his infant son, Tayyib, about two years old, was protected by Arwa al-Sulayhi, wife of the chief Fatimid Da'i of Yemen. She had been promoted to the post of Hujjat al-Islam long before by al-Mustansir Billah when her husband died and ran the Fatimid dawah from Yemen
in the name of Imam Tayyib. During her leadership Tayyib went into occultation so she instituted the office of Da'i al-Mutlaq. Zoeb bin Moosa
Zoeb bin Moosa
was first to be instituted to this office and the line of Taiyibi Da'is that began in 1132 has passed from one Da'i to another up to the present day. Arwa al-Sulayhi
Arwa al-Sulayhi
was the Hujjah in Yemen from the time of Imam al Mustansir. She appointed the Dai in Yemen
to run religious affairs. Ismaili missionaries Ahmed and Abadullah (in about 1067 AD (460 AH))[1][2] were also sent to India in that time. They sent Syedi Nuruddin
Syedi Nuruddin
to Dongaon to look after southern part and Syedi Fakhruddin
Syedi Fakhruddin
to East Rajasthan, India.[3][4] Branches[edit]

In 1592, a leadership struggle caused the Ṭayyibi to split. Following the death of the 26th Dai in 1591 CE, Suleman bin Hasan, the grandson of the 24th Dai, was wali in Yemen
and claimed the succession, supported by a few Bohras from Yemen
and India. However, most Bohras denied his claim of nass, declaring that the supporting document evidence was forged. The two factions separated, with the followers of Suleman Bin Hasan becoming the Sulaymanis
named after Sulayman ibn Hassan and mainly located in Yemen
and Saudi Arabia, and the followers of Syedna Dawood Bin Qutubshah becoming the Dawoodi Bohra. Dawoodi Bohra, found mostly in the Indian subcontinent. There is also a community of Sunni Bohra
Sunni Bohra
in India. In the fifteenth century, there was schism in the Bohra community of Patan in Gujarat as a large number converted from Musta'li
Isma'ili Shia Islam
Shia Islam
to mainstream Hanafi Sunni
Islam. The leader of this conversion movement to Sunni
was Syed Jafar Ahmad Shirazi who also had the support of the Mughal governor of Gujarat. A split in 1637 from the Dawoodi resulted in the Alavi Bohra. The Hebtiahs Bohra
Hebtiahs Bohra
are a branch of Musta'li
Isma'ili Shi'a Islam that broke off from the mainstream Dawoodi Bohra
Dawoodi Bohra
after the death of the 39th Da'i al-Mutlaq
Da'i al-Mutlaq
in 1754. The Atba-i-Malak
community are a branch of Musta'ali Isma'ili Shi'a Islam that broke off from the mainstream Dawoodi Bohra
Dawoodi Bohra
after the death of the 46th Da'i al-Mutlaq, under the leadership of Abdul Hussain Jivaji in 1840. They have further split into two more branches:

Atba-e-Malak Badar
Atba-e-Malak Badar
- The current leader is Maulana Muhammad Amiruddin Malak Saheb. Atba-i-Malak
Vakil - Their current leader is Tayyebhai Razzak.

The Progressive Dawoodi Bohra
Dawoodi Bohra
is a reformist sect within Musta'li Ismai'li Shi'a Islam that broke off circa 1977. They disagree with mainstream Dawoodi Bohra, as led by the Da'i al-Mutlaq, on doctrinal, economic and social issues. Taher Fakhruddin
Taher Fakhruddin
is a claimant to the title of Dai al Mutlaq since 2016. In 2014 following the death of Mohammed Burhanuddin, there was a succession dispute over who became the 53rd Da'i al-Mutlaq. This dispute has been resolved and Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin
Mufaddal Saifuddin
has been claimed as the 53rd Da'i al-Mutlaq.

Note: Kaysani's Imam Hanafiyyah is descendant of Ali
from Ali's wife Khawlah

Imams[edit] According to Musta'li
belief, the line of Imams, descendants of Ali and hereditary successors to Muhammad in his role of legitimate leader of the community of Muslim believers, follows:

Hasan ibn Ali
625–670 (imam 660–670) Husayn ibn Ali
626–680 (imam 670–680 ) Ali
ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidinm 659–712 (imam 680–712) Muhammad al-Baqir
Muhammad al-Baqir
676–743 (imam 712–743) Ja'far al-Sadiq
Ja'far al-Sadiq
702–765 (imam 743–765) Isma'il ibn Jafar
Isma'il ibn Jafar
719/722–775 (imam 765–775) Muhammad ibn Isma'il
Muhammad ibn Isma'il
740–813 (imam 775–813) Ahmad al-Wafi (Abadullah)
Ahmad al-Wafi (Abadullah)
766–829 (imam 813–829) Muhammad at-Taqi (Ahmed ibn Abadullah)
Muhammad at-Taqi (Ahmed ibn Abadullah)
790–840 (imam 829–840) Radi Abdullah
Radi Abdullah
(imam 840–909) Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah
Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah
(909–934) al-Qa'im bi-Amr Allah (934–946) al-Mansur Billah (946–953) al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah (953–975) al-Aziz Billah (975–996) al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (996–1021) Ali
az-Zahir (1021–1036) al-Mustansir Billah (1036–1094) al- Musta'li
(1094–1101) al-Amir bi-Ahkami'l-Lah (1101–1130) at-Tayyib Abu'l-Qasim

Imams one through five are well-known historical figures in the early history of Islam who are also revered by Twelvers. The Imams numbered 11–21 are the Imam-Caliphs that ruled the Fatimid Caliphate. The imams from Muhammad ibn Isma'il
Muhammad ibn Isma'il
onward were occulted by the Musta'li; their names as listed by Dawoodi Bohra
Dawoodi Bohra
religious books are listed above.[5] Followers of the Musta'li
Imams also recite the names of these imams in Dua-e Taqarrub[clarification needed] after salah daily. This tradition is reported to have come from the imams of the Ahl al-Bayt The prayer is as follows in English:

O Allah send blessings upon Muhammad and his progeny. O Allah I seek nearness to you not only with your help but also with the good wishes of Prophet Muhammad, the chosen one, Ali
al Murtadha, the source of Imamah and the successor of the prophet, and lady Fatimah az-Zahra, the daughter of the prophet, and Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain, the grandsons the Prophet and the masters of the youth of paradise, and the descendants of Imam Hussain from Imam Ali
Zayn al-Abidin, Muhammad al-Baqir, Ja'far al-Sadiq,..(so on as listed above).., al-Amir and Imam At-Tayyib Abi l-Qasim. O Allah indeed I seek nearness to you by my reference to all of them since I love them and keep away from their enemies. O Allah make me steadfast in following their examples and include me in their company on the day of judgement. Bestown honour upon me and success in this world and the hereafter since I am their follower. I bear witness and sincerely believe that they will undoubtedly lead me unto you. May your blessings be upon them all.[citation needed]

The Musta'li
consider their imam and Dais as infallible and sinless, and divinely chosen perpetuators of the true form of Islam. Their Dais are keeping the tradition which was instituted by Arwa al-Sulayhi, wife of the Fatimid Da'i of Yemen, who was instructed and prepared by al-Mustansir and the subsequent Imams for the second period of Occultation. However, in the Musta'li
branch, the Dai came to have a similar but more important task. The term Da'i al-Mutlaq
Da'i al-Mutlaq
(Arabic: الداعي المطلق‎) literally means "the absolute or unrestricted missionary". This da'i was the only source of the Imām's knowledge after the occultation of al-Qasim in Musta'li thought.[citation needed] Their ancestors and descendants according to Ismā'īlī-Mustā'lī Imāmah
doctrine[edit] See also: Imāmah
and Imamah (Ismaili doctrine)


















Jāʿfar al-Sādiq (Imamāh‘Shi'ā)


Fatima bint al-Hussain'l-Athram bin al-Ḥasan bin Ali








































































Al-Aftāh (Aftāhīyyah)


Ismā‘il (Ismā‘il’īyyah)




















































































































































































































































































































Mahdi Billāh






























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Nizār al-Muṣṭafá (Nizārīyyah)




Al-Mustā‘lī (Mustā‘līyyah)




































































































































Castle (Hassasins)


Al-Hāfeez (Ḥāfīzīyyah)



Aṭ-Ṭāyyīb (Ṭāyyībīyyah)






































































































































Nizārī Imāmah






Taiyabi Dā'ĩs



































































































































Nizārī Ismāilism






Dawoodi Dā'ĩs




























































Da'is[edit] See also: List of Dai of Dawoodi Bohra Arwa al-Sulayhi
Arwa al-Sulayhi
was the Hujjah from the time of Imam Mustansir. She appointed Dai in Yemen
to run religious affair. Ismaili missionaries Ahmed and Abdullah (in about 1067 AD (460 AH))[1][2] were sent to India in that time. According to Fatimid tradition, after the death of Al-Amir bi-Ahkami'l-Lah, Arwa al-Sulayhi
Arwa al-Sulayhi
instituted the Da'i al-Mutlaq in place of Dai to run the independent dawah from Yemen
in the name of Imam Taiyab. The Dais are appointed one after other in the same philosophy of nass (nomination by predecessor) as done by earlier imams. It is believed that God's representative cannot die before appointing his true successor. This is being followed from the time of 3rd Imam Ali
ibn Husain, the strong army of Yezid also could not think of killing him, although they did not spare even a child of six months, Ali
al-Asghar ibn Husayn. On the similar belief, the Musta'li
think and their Dai claim, that one day their Imam Tayyab's heir will again reappear as Imam (as happened with the eleventh Imam, Abdallah al-Mahdi Billah, who appeared after period of 150 years since the sixth Imam). Under the fifteenth Imam, Al-Aziz Billah, the fifth Fatimid caliph, religious tolerance was given great importance. As a small Shi'i group ruling over a majority Sunni
population with a Christian minority also, the Fatimid caliphs were careful to respect the sentiments of people. One of the viziers of Imam Aziz was Christian, and high offices were held by both Shia
and Sunnis. Fatimid advancement in state offices was based more on merit than on heredity.[6] Al-Aziz Billah
Al-Aziz Billah
rebuilt the Saint Mercurius Church in Coptic Cairo
Saint Mercurius Church in Coptic Cairo
near Fustat
and encouraged public theological debate between the chief Fatimid qadi and the bishops of Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
in the interest of ecumenism.[6] Profession of faith[edit]

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As is the case with the majority of the Shia, Ismailis conclude the Shahada
with ʿAliyun waliyu l-Lah (" Ali
is the friend of God"). Musta'lis recite the following shahada:

ʾašhadu ʾan lā ʾilāha ʾillā l-Lāh, waʾašhadu ʾan Muḥammadun ʿabduhun warasūlu l-Lāh; ʾanna mawlāna ʿAliyun waṣiyuhu wawazīruhu; I bear witness that there is no god but God, and I bear witness that Mohammad is God's servant and His Messenger and Ali
is his successor and minister.[citation needed]

The first part of this shahada is common to all Muslims and is the fundamental declaration of tawhid. The wording of the last phrase is specific to the Musta'li. The second phrase describes the principle of Prophecy in Shia
Islam. The third phrase describes the Musta'li
theological position of the role of Ali.

Photo of the qibla of al-Mustansir Billah in the Mosque of Ibn Tulun in Cairo
showing the Shahada

Photo of the Shahada
at Bab al-Futuh
Bab al-Futuh
Fatimid Cairo


^ a b Enthoven, R. E. (1922). The Tribes and Castes of Bombay. 1. Asian Educational Services. p. 199. ISBN 81-206-0630-2.  ^ a b The Bohras, By: Asgharali Engineer, Vikas Pub. House, p.109,101 ^ [1], Mullahs on the Mainframe.., By Jonah Blank, p.139 ^ The Isma'ilis: Their History and Doctrines By Farhad Daftary; p.299 ^ http://www.ismaili.net/Source/0910.ht[permanent dead link] Quarterly Journal of the AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF BEIRUT Vol. XXI. Nos. 1 2 Edited by MAHMUD GHUL HIDDEN IMAMS OF THE ISMAILIS ^ a b Mullahs on the mainframe: Islam and modernity among the Daudi Bohras, page 29, By Jonah Blank

Further reading[edit]

The Dawoodi Bohras: an anthropological perspective, by Shibani Roy. Published by B. R. Publishing, 1984. Mullahs on the mainframe: Islam and modernity among the Daudi Bohras, by Jonah Blank. University of Chicago Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-226-05676-0.Excerpts A Short History of the Ismailis, by Farhad Daftary The Ismaili, Their History and Doctrine, by Farhad Daftary Medieval Islamic Civilisation, by Joseph W. Meri, Jere l. Bacharach Sayyida Hurra: The Isma‘ili Sulayhid Queen of Yemen, by Dr Farhad Daftary Cosmology and authority in medieval Ismailism, by Simonetta Calderini Religion, learning, and science in the ʻAbbasid period, by M. J. L. Young, John Derek Latham, Robert Bertram Serjeant

External links[edit]

Dawoodi Bohras (operated by Mufaddal Saifuddin
Mufaddal Saifuddin
faction) Official website of Alavi Bohras Dawoodi Bohras (operated by Khuzaima Qutbuddin/Taher Fakhruddin faction)

v t e

Islamic theology

Fields Theologians Books


Aqidah ‘aql Astronomy Cosmology Eschatology Ethics Kalam Fiqh Logic in philosophy Peace in philosophy Philosophy Physics Philosophy of education


Abd al-Jabbar ibn Ahmad Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani Abdul Hosein Amini Abdulhakim Arvasi Abū Ḥanīfa Abu l-A‘la Mawdudi Abu Yusuf Ahmad ibn Hanbal Ahmad Sirhindi Ahmad Yasavi Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi Akhtar Raza Khan al-Ash‘ari al-Ballūṭī al-Baydawi al-Dhahabi al-Ghazali al-Hilli al-Jahiz al-Jubba'i al-Kindi al-Masudi al-Maturidi al-Mufid Al-Qasim al-Qushayri al-Razi Al-Shafi‘i al-Shahrastani al-Shirazi al-Tirmidhi Allameh Majlesi Amr ibn Ubayd Dawud al-Zahiri Fazlur Rahman Malik Hasan of Basra Hacı Bayram-ı Veli Haji Bektash Veli Hüseyin Hilmi Işık ibn ‘Arabī ibn al-Jawzi ibn ‘Aqil ibn Hazm ibn Qudamah Ibn Taymiyyah Ja’far al-Sadiq Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi Malik ibn Anas Mahmud Hudayi Morteza Motahhari Muhammad al-Baqir Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr Muhammed Hamdi Yazır Muhammad Hamidullah Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri Muhammad Taqi Usmani Nasir Khusraw Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi Said Nursî Shaykh Tusi Sheikh Bedreddin Wasil ibn Ata Zayd ibn Ali Zayn al-Abidin

Key books

Crucial Sunni

al-Irshad al- Aqidah

Buyruks Kitab al Majmu Masnavi Nahj al-Balagha Epistles of Wisdom Risale-i Nur



Ash'ari Maturidi Traditionalism




Abu Muslim Sunpadh Ishaq al-Turk



Babak Mazyar Ismail I / Pir Sultan Abdal
Pir Sultan Abdal
– Qizilbash / Safavid conversion of Iran to Shia



Jarudi Batriyya Alid dynasties of northern Iran

Hasan al-Utrush

List of extinct Shia

Dukayniyya Khalafiyya Khashabiyya

Imami Isma'ilism


Sevener Qarmatians Hamza / al-Muqtana Baha'uddin / ad-Darazi – Druzes


Hafizi Taiyabi


Assassins Nizaris

Nasir Khusraw
Nasir Khusraw

Imami Twelver

Theology of Twelvers


Akhbari Shaykhi Usuli


Qutb ad-Dīn Haydar
Qutb ad-Dīn Haydar
– Qalandariyya Baba Ishak
Baba Ishak
– Babai Revolt Galip Hassan Kuscuoglu
Galip Hassan Kuscuoglu
– Rifa'i-Galibi Order


al-Khaṣībī / ibn Nusayr – Alawites Fazlallah Astarabadi (Naimi) / Imadaddin Nasimi
Imadaddin Nasimi
– Hurufism / Bektashism and folk religion



ibn Ibāḍ Jābir ibn Zayd


Ibn Safwan

Murji'ah Karramiyya Qadariyah

Ma'bad al-Juhani Muʿtazila Bahshamiyya


Azariqa Najdat Sufri

Abu Qurra


Abu Yazid


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