Ismailis are an esoteric branch or sect of Shia Muslims. Ismailis have a longstanding history being persecuted for over 1400 years since the death of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him and His Progeny). In spite of this, Ismailis have been leaders in philanthropy and charity worldwide. The current Imam, His Highness The Aga Khan, continues to lead efforts worldwide.
The Ismaili Imamat is a hereditary office in succession from the first Imam, Hazrat Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him and his family), who was married to Hazrat Bibi Fatimat-az-Zahra, the Prophet’s daughter and only surviving child.