The Ismailis, the second-largest Shi‘i community in the world today, are settled in over 25 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North America. They are the only Muslims to follow a living spiritual guide of their community, the Nizari Ismaili Imam. For Ismailis, since the Prophet Muhammad first designated Ali as his successor, the hereditary lineage of the present Imam, Prince Karim al-Hussaini (Aga Khan IV), has remained unbroken.

This book is the first collection of pithy biographies of each of the Ismaili Imams, from the seminal Imams of early Shi‘i Islam, through to those of the first ‘period of concealment’ when their public identities remained hidden, to the Imam-caliphs of the illustrious Fatimid dynasty, and those of the Alamut period, popularised in history through the so-called Assassin legends, up to the Aga Khans of the modern period. The Ismaili Imams mines the rich scholarship of the developing field of Ismaili Studies, providing a simple and clear resource for the general reader, as well as a handy reference guide for scholars.

Published on the occasion of the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee, this illustrated book offers a snapshot of the lives, events, and legacies of all 49 Imams, and through them, of the Ismaili community’s storied past.