I give da`wah against the Ismailis. Is this fine according to the Qur`ān and Sunnah?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

I was a Ismaili Aga Khani, and used to follow and worship Aga Khan IV, the self-proclaimed descendant from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) from his cousin Ali (ra).

Allah showed me the correct path and I came to Islam a few years back and I am now a practising Muslim.

However, I now realise that there is a lot of unawareness amongst the Muslims in general about the hidden beliefs and practices of Ismaili Aga Khanis. Muslims in general consider them to be just a sect of of Islam, whereas the beliefs and practices of Ismaili Aga Khanis position them nowhere near Islam. Neither they pray, nor do they fast, nor do they perform Hajj, nor to they pay Zakat and they append “Aliyyun Amir ul Momineen Ali u Allah” to the testimony of faith and invoke Aga Khan in their supplications instead of Allah (swt).

Muslims scholars have issued fatwas against Ismaili Aga Khanis decarling them to be Kuffar and equate them to Qadiyanis/ Ahmedis. One book in Urdu called “Aga Khan Foundation and Rulings of Ulema-e-Karaam” compiled by Faiz Ullah Chitrali (Published by Maktaba Ahl-e-Sunnat Dar Ul Uloom Taleem Ul Quran, Peshawar) contains fataawa issued by Maulana Yusuf Ludhyanvi, Grand Mufti of Pakistan Wali Hasan Tonki and by Dar ul Uloom Karachi, Karachi-14.

I believe that now, as a Muslim and as an ex-Ismaili, it is not only my responsibility to give dawah to Ismailis, but also to spread awareness amongst Muslims about Ismailis. I do this to the best of my ability by creating awarness posters, articles, blogs, emails and messages about the beliefs of Aga Khani Ismailis.

While on one hand, I have received positive responses from some Muslim brothers, I have also met with stiff opposition on the other by none other than by fellow Muslim brothers who have advised me that my activities are hurting Ismaili friends, co-workers and colleagues and that I should not hurt their feelings.

My question is, that is the activity of creating awareness amongst Muslims about Ismailis, an action that is supported by the principles of Amr Bil Maroof in the Quran and Sunnah? Please specify so that I can support my cause.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Allāh Ta`ālā says in the Holy Qur’ān:

ادْعُ إِلَى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُمْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنْ ضَلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.[1]

Imām Fakh al-Dīn al-Rāzī states in his Mafātīh al-Ghayb that in this verse, the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ has been commanded to contend with others about matters of relating to our beliefs and our creed, and being his followers, we are also commanded to do the same as mentioned by Allāh Ta`ālā throughout many places in the Qur’ān.[2] `Allāmah Baghawī mentions in his Ma`ālim al-Tanzīl that the words “and argue with them…” mean that one must debate and contend with those who believe in falsehood without showing signs of weakness in calling towards the truth.[3] It should become apparent that it is the job of every believer to challenge false ideologies that do not coincide with mainstream Islamic beliefs, especially when the laymen are unaware of the truths hidden beneath the façade of an Islamic sect claiming to be upholding the banner of Islam while they are hollow from within. In doing so, it is also important to be equipped with proper knowledge and to be under the guidance of knowledgeable `Ulamā’. Of course, this does not mean one should make hate remarks or attack the integrity of another group. In regards to the words “in a way that is best,” `Allāmah Zamakhsharī (rahimahullāh) mentions in his Al-Kash`shāf that in conveying our message to such groups we should refrain from using words that will incite hatred within the other party.[4] Imam al-Qurtubī also mentions in his tafsīr that here (in the verse stated above) Allāh Ta`āla has commanded the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ to give da`wah towards the correct path in a soft and gentle manner.[5]

Debating and contending with a group holding outrageous beliefs is not new to our times. Imām Nasaī (rahimahullāh) relates an incident in his Al-Sunan al-Kubrā about Sayyidunā Ibn `Abbās t where he went to a group of people known as the Harūriyyah or the Khawārij in order to debate with them about their deviant beliefs.[6]

As you can see, using one’s time in order to warn people about the false beliefs of another group is not something new in Sharī`ah; rather, this was the mission of the Anbiyā’ as well. Nevertheless, regardless of how you will conduct yourself with others, there will always be those who dislike your approach and they will use the same excuses as those in the past in order to bring your efforts to a halt. Take the example of Nūh u as he tried to bring his people to the truth for hundreds of years and yet they responded in the following manner:

قالُوا يَا نُوحُ قَدْ جادَلْتَنا فَأَكْثَرْتَ جِدالَنا فَأْتِنا بِما تَعِدُنا إِنْ كُنْتَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ 

They said, “O Nūh, you have disputed us and been frequent in dispute of us. So bring us what you threaten us, if you should be of the truthful.”[7]

To conclude, it is our advice to you that you continue your effort but you also approach your co-workers and colleagues in a kind and gentle manner and engage in religious dialogues with them so they too can learn from your past experiences and understand why you feel the need to challenge their beliefs and practices. Furthermore, in making such an effort, we highly advise you to establish a connection with a local sunnī `Ālim and request him to guide you in your task so that you do not fall prey to erring in your mode of guidance.

In brief, be strong and steadfast in exposing the wrong and corrupt beliefs of the Ismailis. Apart from it being a noble act, it is also an obligation in Sharī`ah to drive people away from hell and take them towards jannah with the correct belief.

May Allāh Ta`ālā keep all the Muslims on the straight path. Ameen.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Bilal Mohammad

Student Darul Iftaa
New Jersey, USA

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

[1] Al-Nahl:125

[2] وَقَوْلُهُ: وَجادِلْهُمْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ لَيْسَ الْمُرَادُ مِنْهُ الْمُجَادَلَةَ فِي فُرُوعِ الشَّرْعِ لِأَنَّ مَنْ أَنْكَرَ نُبُوَّتَهُ فَلَا فَائِدَةَ فِي الْخَوْضِ مَعَهُ فِي تَفَارِيعِ الشَّرْعِ، وَمَنْ أَثْبَتَ نُبُوَّتَهُ فَإِنَّهُ لَا يُخَالِفُهُ، فَعَلِمْنَا أَنَّ هَذَا الْجِدَالَ كَانَ فِي التَّوْحِيدِ وَالنُّبُوَّةِ، فَكَانَ الْجِدَالُ فِيهِ مَأْمُورًا بِهِ ثُمَّ إِنَّا مَأْمُورُونَ بِاتِّبَاعِهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ لِقَوْلِهِ:

فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ [آلِ عِمْرَانَ: 31] وَلِقَوْلِهِ: لَقَدْ كانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ [الْأَحْزَابِ: 21] فَوَجَبَ كَوْنُنَا مَأْمُورِينَ بِذَلِكَ الْجِدَالِ.

(مفاتيح الغيب، سورة النحل، آية ١٢٥)

[3] وَجادِلْهُمْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ، وَخَاصِمْهُمْ وَنَاظِرْهُمْ بِالْخُصُومَةِ الَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ أَيْ أَعْرِضْ عَنْ أَذَاهُمْ وَلَا تُقَصِّرْ فِي تَبْلِيغِ الرِّسَالَةِ وَالدُّعَاءِ إِلَى الْحَقِّ، نَسَخَتْهَا آيَةُ الْقِتَالِ.

(معالم التنزيل، سورة النحل، آية ١٢٥)

[4] وَقُلْ لِعِبادِي يَقُولُوا الَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ الشَّيْطانَ يَنْزَغُ بَيْنَهُمْ إِنَّ الشَّيْطانَ كانَ لِلْإِنْسانِ عَدُوًّا مُبِيناً…

وَقُلْ لِعِبادِي وقل للمؤمنين يَقُولُوا للمشركين الكلمة الَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ وألين ولا يخاشنوهم، كقوله: وجادلهم بالتي هي أحسن. وفسر التي هي أحسن بقوله رَبُّكُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِكُمْ إِنْ يَشَأْ يَرْحَمْكُمْ أَوْ إِنْ يَشَأْ يُعَذِّبْكُمْ يعنى يقولوا لهم هذه الكلمة ونحوها، ولا يقولوا لهم: إنكم من أهل النار وإنكم معذبون وما أشبه ذلك مما يغيظهم ويهيجهم على الشر.

(الكشاف، سورة الإسراء، ٥٣-٥٤)

[5] ادْعُ إِلى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجادِلْهُمْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنْ ضَلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ (125)

فِيهِ مَسْأَلَةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ- هَذِهِ الْآيَةُ نَزَلَتْ بِمَكَّةَ فِي وَقْتِ الْأَمْرِ بِمُهَادَنَةِ قُرَيْشٍ، وَأَمَرَهُ أَنْ يَدْعُوَ إِلَى دِينِ اللَّهِ وَشَرْعِهِ بِتَلَطُّفٍ وَلِينٍ دُونَ مُخَاشَنَةٍ وَتَعْنِيفٍ، وَهَكَذَا يَنْبَغِي أَنْ يُوعَظَ الْمُسْلِمُونَ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ. فَهِيَ مُحْكَمَةٌ فِي جِهَةِ الْعُصَاةِ مِنَ الْمُوَحِّدِينَ، وَمَنْسُوخَةٌ بِالْقِتَالِ فِي حَقِّ الْكَافِرِينَ. وَقَدْ قِيلَ: إِنَّ مَنْ أَمْكَنَتْ مَعَهُ هَذِهِ الْأَحْوَالُ مِنَ الْكُفَّارِ وَرُجِيَ إِيمَانُهُ بِهَا دُونَ قِتَالٍ فَهِيَ فِيهِ مُحْكَمَةٌ. والله أعلم.

(الجامع لأحكام القرآن، سورة النحل، آية ١٢٥)

[6] Al-Sunan al-Kubrā, 8522, The Book of Peculiarities

أَخْبَرَنَا عَمْرُو بْنُ عَلِيٍّ قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ مَهْدِيٍّ قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا عِكْرِمَةُ بْنُ عَمَّارٍ قَالَ: حَدَّثَنِي أَبُو زُمَيْلٍ قَالَ: حَدَّثَنِي عَبْدُ اللهِ بْنُ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ: «لَمَّا خَرَجَتِ الْحَرُورِيَّةُ اعْتَزَلُوا فِي دَارٍ، وَكَانُوا سِتَّةَ آلَافٍ» فَقُلْتُ لِعَلِيٍّ: يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ «أَبْرِدْ بِالصَّلَاةِ، لَعَلِّي أُكَلِّمُ هَؤُلَاءِ الْقَوْمَ» قَالَ: «إِنِّي أَخَافُهُمْ عَلَيْكَ» قُلْتُ: كَلَّا، فَلَبِسْتُ، وَتَرَجَّلْتُ، وَدَخَلْتُ عَلَيْهِمْ فِي دَارِ نِصْفِ النَّهَارِ، وَهُمْ يَأْكُلُونَ فَقَالُوا: «مَرْحَبًا بِكَ يَا ابْنَ عَبَّاسٍ، فَمَا جَاءَ بِكَ؟» قُلْتُ لَهُمْ: أَتَيْتُكُمْ مِنْ عِنْدِ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَالْأَنْصَارِ، وَمِنْ عِنْدِ ابْنِ عَمِّ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَصِهْرِهِ، وَعَلَيْهِمْ نُزِّلَ الْقُرْآنُ، فَهُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِتَأْوِيلِهِ مِنْكُمْ، وَلَيْسَ فِيكُمْ مِنْهُمْ أَحَدٌ، لَأُبَلِّغَكُمْ مَا يَقُولُونَ، وَأُبَلِّغَهُمْ مَا تَقُولُونَ، فَانتَحَى لِي نَفَرٌ مِنْهُمْ قُلْتُ: هَاتُوا مَا نَقِمْتُمْ عَلَى أَصْحَابِ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَابْنِ عَمِّهِ قَالُوا: «ثَلَاثٌ» قُلْتُ: مَا هُنَّ؟…الخ

[7] Al-Hūd:32

This answer was collected from, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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