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Random House Webster's College Dictionary

Aga Khan IV(n.)

  1. (Shah Karim al-Husainy), born 1936, leader of the Isma‘ili sect of Muslims in India since 1957.

    Category: Biography

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  1. Aga Khan IV

    Karim Aga Khan, NPk, NI, KBE, CC, GCC, GCIH, GCM; born December 13, 1936; is an international business magnate, racehorse owner and breeder, as well as the 49th and current Imam of Nizari Ismailism – a denomination of Ismailism within Shia Islam consisting of approximately 5-15 million adherents. He has held this position of Imam, under the title of Aga Khan IV, since July 11, 1957, when, at the age of 20, he succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III. The Aga Khan claims to be a direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad through the Prophet's cousin and son-in-law, Ali, considered the first Imam in Shia Islam, and Ali's wife Fatima az-Zahra, the Prophet’s daughter from his first marriage. As the Imam of Nizari Ismailism, the Aga Khan IV is considered by his followers to be the proof or hujjah of God on earth as well as infallible and immune from sin. He is further considered by his followers to be the carrier of the eternal Noor of Allah. In 1986, the Aga Khan ordained the current version of the Ismailia Constitution – an ecclesiastical decree affirming to Nizari Ismailis his "sole right to interpret the Qur'an and provide authoritative guidance on [all] matters of faith" and formalizing his sole discretion, power and authority for the governance of Nizari Ismaili jamats and institutions.

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