Muḥammad Ḥasan al-Ḥusaynī (1804–1881), also known as Ḥasan ʿAlī Shāh, was the 46th Imam of the Nizārī Ismailis and the first Ismaili Imam to bear the title of Aga Khan, bestowed on him by the contemporary Qājār monarch of Persia. This book is the first English translation of his memoirs, the ʿIbrat-afzā, ‘A Book of Exhortation, or Example’, and includes a new edition of the Persian text and a detailed introduction to the work and its context.

The ʿIbrat-afzā was composed in the year 1850, following the Ismaili Imam’s departure from Persia and his permanent settlement in India. Here, the Aga Khan recounts his early life and political career as the governor of the province of Kirmān in Persia, and the dramatic events of his conflict with the Qājār establishment, followed by his subsequent travels and exploits in Afghanistan and British India. The ʿIbrat-afzā provides a rare instance of an autobiographical account from an Ismaili Imam and a first-hand perspective on the regional politics of the age. It also offers a window onto the history of the Ismailis of Persia, India and Central Asia at the dawn of the modern era of their history. Consequently, the book will be of great value to both researchers and general readers interested in Ismaili history and in the history of Persia and British India in the 19th century.