A da'i (Arabic: داعي‎, romanizeddāʿī, lit. 'inviter, caller', [ˈdæːʕi(ː)]) is generally someone who engages in da'wah, the act of inviting people to Islam.[1] But is more specifically an important religious office amongst the Isma'ili Shi'i Muslims, which has been held by important scholars through history.

In the Fatimid Caliphate era, the term dāʿī was used to refer to important religious leaders other than the hereditary Imams, and the Da'wah or "Mission" is a clerical-style organisation. From at least the time of the Fatimid Empire with its capital in Cairo, the Ismaili Imams sent da’is to the Indian subcontinent to spread the faith, and particularly the recognition of the spiritual supremacy and eternal gnosis of the Prophet’s family. Some of the later da’is, were known as pirs. They were the chief representatives of the Ismaili Imam, and were second only to the Imam in Ismaili hierarchy.[2]

Literally meaning "absolute missionary" or "unrestricted missionary", Da'i al-Mutlaq is nowadays the title of the head of the Dawoodi Bohra community.[3]

Some of the greatest Ismaili da'is are:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Oxford Islamic Studies Online". Oxfordislamicstudies.com. 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2012-09-19.
  2. ^ Virani, Shafique N. “Symphony of Gnosis: A Self-Definition of the Ismaili Ginān Literature.” Chap. 55. In Reason and Inspiration in Islam: Theology, Philosophy and Mysticism in Muslim Thought. Edited by Todd Lawson, 503-521. London: I.B. Tauris in association with Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2005. https://www.academia.edu/36984287/Symphony_of_Gnosis_A_Self_Definition_of_the_Ismaili_Ginan_Literature
  3. ^ List of Dawoodi Bohra Da'is Archived July 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine