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date: 14 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Throughout Islamic history the issue of leadership of the community has been of primary importance. The Sunni majority has identified Muslims who did not give allegiance to the Caliph as shiʿa, or sectarians. Two of the groups discussed in this chapter are part of the historical controversies over community leadership, and for all of them leadership remains a very important concern. Both the Nizari Ismaʿilis, led by Imam Aga Khan, and the Druze are offshoots of the Fatimid countercaliphate, which flourished for two centuries. The other two groups are more modern. The Ahmadiyya developed in the context of European occupation of Islamic lands and the reaction to Christian missionary activity and modernization. The Qur'anists, sometimes referred to as the Ahl al-Qur'an, share the beliefs of the United Submitters International regarding the Qur'an as the sole foundation of Islam. With long-term roots in attempts to understand the “right” way to live Islamically, they are more recent as an identified school of thought. All of these groups maintain a presence in the current configuration of Islam in America.

Keywords: Nizari Ismaʿilis, Ahmadiyya, Druze, Qur'anists, Ahl al-Qur'an, Imam, Aga Khan, United Submitters International

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