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By Daryoush Mohammad Poor

Reading the relationship among the idea that of authority and the transformation of the Ismaili imamate, Authority with no Territory is the 1st research of the imamate in modern instances with a specific specialise in Aga Khan, the forty ninth hereditary chief of Shi?a Imami Ismaili Muslims.

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Extra info for Authority without Territory: The Aga Khan Development Network and the Ismaili Imamate

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Following the departure of Aga Khan I from Persia (AH 1257/AD 1841), almost any claim to a political position of authority involving a national territory disappears from the function of the Ismaili Imam (except only briefly at the time of Aga Khan III that withers away very quickly). Therefore, the idea of an “Islamic state”—or an Ismaili one— does not seem to be the concern of the Ismaili imamate any longer, while we constantly see the issue coming up in various Muslim communities (Eickelman and Piscatori, 1996: 47–79).

The Ismaili imamate, with all its institutions, is an antithesis to the methodological tool of Weber, and it represents a transmutation in authority which cannot be explained by any Weberian model; as such the Weberian ideal types are inapplicable and inadequate, despite its rich insights. The earliest take on the inapplicability of Weber’s ideal types in the case of Shi ism was done in the groundbreaking work of Hamid Dabashi, Authority in Islam (1989), where he argues that we must posit the possibility of the perpetuation of charisma, which he develops in detail in his work.

One of the references of walāya is the love and devotion of the followers of the Shi i Imams for them in the context of Prophetic traditions and the Qur ānic verses, as they are interpreted by Shi i Muslims, in general. The term walāya is also widely used by the Sufis as an important component of the spiritual authority of the pīr or the head of the Sufi order. Here, it is interesting to note that there are overlapping areas between the Ismaili perceptions of walāya and that of the Sufis. This overlap is a result of the close intermingling of the Ismailis with the Sufis in the post-Alamūt period, when they practiced the precautionary dissimulation (taqiyya) to protect themselves against hostilities.

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