SOME EAST AFRICAN ITHNA-ASHERI JAMAATS (1840-1967) BY SEYYID SAEED AKHTAR RIZVI (Dar-es-Salaam) AND NOEL Q. KING (University of California, Santa Cruz, U.S.A.) In Persia and other parts of the Islamic World the Shi?a Ithna- casharïya are the predominant Muslim group. 1) In East Africa they are few in number and largely consist of descendants of the Khoja muslins from India who had travelled down and settled upon this coast for many centuries. The Khoja were originally Hindus mainly of the I.ohanna caste who had been converted by Ismaili Pirs to a form of Islam which "accommodated" certain features of the Hinduism in which they stood. When the Ismaili Imams moved to India from Persia in the last century they exercised much greater control over their Khoja followers and a number of schisms resulted. The strong central- izing policy of His Highness Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III, who visited East Africa in r8c?7 and 1905, especially focused the doctrinal and organizational issues at stake. A number of Khojas shook off the Ismaili connection and aligned themselves with the Ithna-asheri group who had been represented on the coast, again for 13 centuries, by people travelling and trading from the
Journal of Religion in Africa – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1973
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