you're reading...
2. Ismaili Beliefs, Prayers and Practices

Das Avatar: The blasphemous Ismaili claim that Ali was the Tenth Incarnation of the Hindu Lord Vishnu

Before any Ismāʿīlī starts dismissing Daś āvatār (daśāvatāra) or دس اوتار , and saying that it is not approved by the Ismāʿīlī Imām, it should be known that Daś āvatār was presented by the first Aga Khan, Ḥasan ‘Alī Shāh himself in the Bombay High Court as evidence of his authority over the Khojas and the Khoja community property. These court papers are preserved at the official website of the Bombay High Court and can be retrieved for any Ismāʿīlī brother or sister to see, read and decide for themselves. All links are provided below.

1. Aga Khan approved Das Avatar and presented it in Bombay High Court

It was in 1866, that a group of Khojas filed a suit against Aga Khan, claiming that the Khojas had been Sunni Muslims from the very beginning and the Aga Khan had no authority over them or over the Khoja community property.  The case, commonly referred to as the Aga Khan Case, was heard by Sir Joseph Arnould. The hearing lasted several weeks, and included testimony from Aga Khan I himself. He set forth the argument that Dasavatār was an Ismāʿīlī text that facilitated the conversion of the Khojas, and in doing so, confirmed a theological link between the Khojas and the Aga Khan.

After reviewing the history of the community, Justice Arnould gave a definitive and detailed judgement against the plaintiffs and in favor of Aga Khan.

Official court record from Bombay High Court website:

Read online:

Purchase link for “The Aga Khan Case”:

2. Das Avatar in the old Ismaili Dua (prayer)

Khoja Ismāʿīlīs living in India and Africa recited in their du’ā the names of all the major and minor incarnations of Vishnu, the names of characters from the Hindu scriptures and epic tales. Here is a link for to that du’ā used in the 1950s:


3. The Das Avatar Ginan

The recitation of a ginān called Daś āvatār (daśāvatāra) by an upstanding congregation, once a month on chāndrāt, used to be a ritual strictly observed in all the Ismāʿīlī Jam’ātkhānas of the world. The book of “Das Avatar” in Gujrati and English, published by the religious institutions of the Aga Khan, was sold throughout the world. Here are the links to both the gināns:

a. Dasavatār of Sayed Imām Shāh http://ismaili.net/heritage/node/30598

b. Dasavatār of Pīr Sadardin http://ismaili.net/heritage/node/30588

4. Recitation of Das Avatar over Deceased Ismailis

Until the 1960s, the verses from “Das Avatar” were invariably recited during the final moments of a dying Ismaili and thereafter at funeral ceremonies. The verses of “Das Avatar” communicate that listening to this ginān rewards the listener with eternal salvation. This fact is also proven from the Bombay High Court documents when Justice Arnould noted that both parties agreed that Dasavatar was “invariably read over khojas who are at the point of death” and therefore concluded it was the text of “religious observance” among Khojas. He then states the following:

“When the book is read in the jamatkhana of the khojas, it is the tenth chapter (as appears in the evidence) which is along now-a-
days seriously attended to. When that chapter is commenced, the congregation of the people rises and remains standing till it is concluded, making profound reverences whenever the reader pronounces the name of the ‘Most Holy Ali’ (Mowla Motizir Ali).”

Justice Arnould, Bombay High Court Reports, 358—360

Also, in Enthoven’s entry on “Kojah” in 1921 he explains that:

“A curious custom followed on the approach of death is that of samarchanta or the sprinkling of holy water to the reading of Das-Avatar.”

“Koja” in The Tribes and Castes of Bombay Vol. 2, ed. Reginald E. Enthoven (Bombay: Government Central Press, 1921),

5. Ismaili preachers teaching Das Avatar

5. Ismāʿīlī missionaries have taught Daś āvatār (daśāvatāra) through many sermons in Jam’ātkhānas across the world. One such speech by Al-Waez Rai Abū Aly in Toronto Jam’ātkhāna on Das Avatar is below:


6. The Das Avatar Thesis by Dr. Gulshan Khakee

Dr. Gulshan Khakee – one of the Ismāʿīlī pioneers of Ginanic research, who graduated in teacher training in Nairobi where she taught at the Aga Khan Girls School and at the Kenya High School . She did her M.A. at Trinity College in Dublin – Ireland and her PhD at Harvard in 1972.wrote her PhD thesis  “The `Das Avatara’ of Satpanthi Ismailis and Imam Shahis of Indo-Pakistan” which was submitted in 1972 to Harvard University.  She writes in the introduction to her thesis that:

“The Nizārī Ismāʿīlī satpanthis of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent are the followers of the Aga Khan, whom they consider to be the Imam, because of his direct lineal descent from Ali (the son-in-law and cousin of the prophet Muḥammad whom they regard as the tenth incarnatlon of the Hindu God Vishnu. The doctrine that Ali is the tenth incarnation of Vishnu, and. therefore the Imām (thus superimosing a Shīʿa Ismāʿīlī form of ’Islām on a Vaishnava Hindu substructure), seems to have been taught to the Satpanthis in the work entitled Dasavatara, literarly meaning the Ten Incarnations. It is this work, Dasavatara, or rather, the last portion of it, the Dasamo Avatar (or the Tenth Incarnation) that I have chosen as the text of my study.”

Her thesis can be downloaded from:


The overwhelming evidence above establishes the blasphemous Ismāʿīlī belief that ʿAlī Radeyallāhu ′Anhu was the tenth incarnation of the Hindu Lord Vishu. This belief has not only been preached by the Ismāʿīlī missionaries, but has been presented by Aga Khan himself in the Bombay High Court. This not only puts Ismāʿīlīsm at a distance from mainstream ’Islām, but establishes a close link between Ismāʿīlīsm and Hinduism – of which Ismāʿīlīsm is a more closely a sect of.


About Akbar Khoja

Giving out free #LessonsInIsmailism.


3 thoughts on “Das Avatar: The blasphemous Ismaili claim that Ali was the Tenth Incarnation of the Hindu Lord Vishnu



    Bi Idhnil LLAAHI TA’ALA,

    This is one more apostasy to add, to the other apostasies commited by the majority of the Nizari Ismailis.

    Ismailis, though a small sect, have contradictory beliefs regarding the Essence of their Faith, going much further than the contradictions between Catholic Christians and Orthodox Christians!!

    Some say, as you just mentioned my dear brother, that Imam Ali (as) is the tenth incarnation of Vishnu.

    Others say that the first creation of ALLAH TA’ALA was The First Intellect.
    The supporters of this doctrine say that The First Intellect, and not ALLAH TA’ALA, is named with the Most Beautiful Names of GOD ALMIGHTY.
    So, in their view, every prophet and every imam is a manifestation (mazhar) of the First Intellect, though not the First Intellect Itself. They use the example of the Sun for the First Intellect, and the example os the Sun’s reflection on a mirror for those they consider mazhar.
    Nizari Ismailis draw this doctrine from a misinterpretation made by themselves of Neoplatonic Philosophy of Plotinus. But even here, they failed to grasp Plotinus system of Thought.

    Others say that Imam Ali (as) is the Sole God.

    Others say that the Ismaili Imam is part of a Trinity. I forgot the other two members, but they base this argument on a sayings ascribed to Hammeduddin Kirmani.

    Their Imam “sits quietly at home” enjoying the millions of euros his congregation gives him!!
    He has no interest whatsoever on bringing his followers back to Islam and the Holy Quran.

    It is my opinion that while he was living in France, away from the eyes of the World, he had not the need to account for his actions.

    But now that the seat of his Imamah was moved to Portugal, he is exposed to the eyes of the World and he will have to account for the behaviour of his jammah, both before other muslims and the portuguese society in general!!

    Ismaili Websites, with the exception of “Ismaili Gnosis” which keeps some Ismaili trash, are all starting to modify their contents, in order to show the World that they are to be counted among Prophet Muhammad’s Ummah!!


    Posted by Allama Riaz Carmali | October 4, 2020, 11:52 pm
  2. Dear brother, why haven’t you published my commentary?

    Bi idhnil LLAAH (SWT),

    I, as a Sufi Muslim, have no need whatsoever of getting any worldly status.

    But the comment was solely done to benefit many people, Bi Idhnil LLAAHI TA’ALA, because it shows that Agha Khani Ismailis have many different views concerning their own core beliefs, thus, resembling Catholic Christians and Orthodox Christians.
    This resemblance does not mean that Agha Khani Ismailis have Christian Beliefs (although their asking forgiveness to their mukis and kamadias resembles the confession done to Catholic priests) . What I meant is that, just like Catholics and Orthodox differ regarding the trinity, so do Agha Khani Ismailis differ among themselves regarding their own core beliefs!!

    May ALLAH TABÁRAK WA TA’ALA bless you and all Muslim brothers and sisters, in this Dunya and in The Akhirah.

    Wassalamu Aleikum wa Rahmatul LLAAHI TA’ALA wa Barakatuhu.


    Posted by Allama Riaz Carmali | October 6, 2020, 12:23 am


  1. Pingback: The Rise of the Aga Khan Dynasty – Part 1 | Inside Ismailism - October 20, 2020

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Interview: Ismailism to Islam

Follow Us

Follow me on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: