Islamic schools and branches: Sects within Shia Islam. Ismailis and Seveners.
Recitation of the Holy Scripture.
Follow what has been revealed to you from your Lord, and do not follow besides Him any allies. Little is what you remember.
And indeed this, your religion, is one religion, and I Am your Lord, so fear Me.
But they cut off their affair (of unity) between them into sects, each faction rejoices in what it has.
So leave them in their confusion for a time.
Then when Our punishment comes to them, their plea is not except that they say, “Indeed, we are wrongdoers.
End of Recitation of the Holy Scripture.
In part 34, I was discussing sects within Shia Muslims. And that they are broadly divided into three categories Twelvers, Fivers and Ismailis. I already talked about first two let’s discuss Ismaili Shias.
Ismailis separated from the Main Shia group as they accepted Ismail ibn Jafar as their Imam instead of Musa Kazim younger brother of Ismail. History reveals that Ismail actually died before his father Jafar Sadiq. Some Ismaili denies the death of Ismail in the life of his father. The split among them came with the death of Muhammad bin Ismail. The majority denied his death; they recognized him as the Mahdi. They are known as Seveners. The minority believed in his death and would eventually emerge in later times as the Ismaili Fatimid Caliphate, which is also the precursors to all modern Ismaili groups. The secret wisdom of the Ismaili’s was accessible only through a hierarchical organization headed by the imam and was disseminated by Dais missionaries, who introduced believers into the elite through carefully graded levels.
I already told you that Seveners are mostly Qarmatians which are now almost extinct. In the second half of the Ninth century in southern Iraq Ismailis Seveners became active under the leadership of Hamdan Qarmat. This branch of the sect is known as the Qaramitah or Qarmatians, established itself in Iraq, Yemen, and especially Bahrain, in the 9th to 11th century.
Fatimid Caliphate: The precursors to all modern Ismaili groups.
All other Ismaili subgroups emerged from the Imams and Rulers of Fatimid Caliphate. First split occur after 6th Caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah when in 1021 AD he did not return form a journey and his mule returned soaked in blood. Then his followers did not recognize his successor and they believed al-Hakim to be alive, the incarnation of God and the prophesied Mahdi. Those followers are known as Druze which further split from both Ismailia and Islam. The second split occurred in 1094AD after the death of 8th Fatimid Caliph Maad al-Mustansir Billah. His sons Nizar the older, and Al-Mustali billah the younger, fought for political and spiritual control of the dynasty. Nizar got defeated and Jailed. Then the Egyptians recognized Mustali as Imam and are called Mustali Ismaili and Syrian and Iranian recognize Nizar as Imam and thus called Nizari Ismaili.