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The most important Ismaili center in the UK is the Agha Khan center, a place where the Ismailis hold events for their social, cultural, and religious gatherings. It was established in 1951 at Kensington Court, London, United Kingdom but later a new place was acquired for building the new center at King’s Cross. It also houses the Institute for Ismaili Studies where Ismaili students are offered various graduate and preparatory courses.

The Institute of Ismaili Studies

The Institute of Ismaili Studies is a research center located in the most important Ismaili center in London. It was established by Aga Khan IV the 49th Imam of Nizari Ismailis in the year 1977. The library of the institute contains one of the largest chunks of Ismaili codices available for research. The institute’s activities are monitored by the Agha Khan himself apart from the academic assistance from the Agha Khan University.

Courses offered

The Institute offers two main programs at the Masters level:

  1. Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities (GPISH) – A three-year program that aims to provide Ismaili students with a graduate degree, preparing them for research in the field of Islamic teachings focusing primarily on Ismailis and integrating these with a variety of disciplines including history, politics, literature, art, philosophy, etc.
  2. Secondary Teacher Education Programme (STEP) – A two-year post-graduate program to train teachers for teaching the Ismaili Curriculum to the next generation of Ismaili students.

Scholarship and Financial Assistance

Students enrolled at the Institute of Ismaili studies are provided with full scholarships that include tuition, accommodation, and living expenses. Some programs may also offer stipends for travel expenses to their countries. Students that show excellence are provided scholarships for Doctoral Programmes as well.

Religious and Cultural Activities

Apart from educational facilities, the center also provides a place for religious and cultural activities. These activities may include events such as competitions, exhibitions, short courses, workshops, career counseling, religious lectures, musical performances, etc.

The Islamic Gardens

The Islamic Gardens located at the roofs of the building provide a recreational space blended with different flavors of Islamic culture from different parts of the world represented by the diversity of Islamic architecture. Each of these gardens has a unique feature from a certain part of the world, such as:

  • Garden of tranquility – covered by Egyptian loggias
  • Terrace of learning – inspired by cloisters of Andalusia (Spain and Morroco)
  • The Courtyard of Harmony – depicting the iwans of the Middle East and Central Asia
  • Garden of Life – inspired by the elegance of Mughal Gardens of Kashmir
  • Terrace of Discovery – depicting the talar of Persia



The Ismaili

The Agha Khan Center

The Institute of Ismaili Studies 2021, Secondary Teacher Eligibility Programme, accessed 21st August 2021

The Institute of Ismaili Studies 2021, Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities, accessed 21st August 2021

The Institute of Ismaili Studies 2021, About Us, accessed 21st August 2021


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