The original name of Aga Khan III was Sultan Muhammad Shah Sultan Muhammad Shah was born in 1877 at Karachi. His father Aly Shah (the Aga Khan II), the 47th Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, died when he was only eight years of old. At that time he was given the title Aga Khan III and he had to serve as the 48th Imam of the Shi`a Isma`ili Muslims.Thus he became hereditary spiritual leader of the Ismaili sect. He studied religious and oriental education from his mother A`lia Shamsul-Muluk. He was also given the European education along with theology, philosophy and Persian and Arabic literature. At the age of 25 Aga Khan became the member of Imperial Legislative Council.
The blending of two types of education helped Aga Khan to realize the main cause of Muslim backwardness was their negligence towards education. He started working for the downtrodden Muslims .He tried a lot to spread proper education for the Muslims. He increased the grant to M. A. O. College and started collecting money to build a Muslim University. By his great endeavor 3 million rupees were accumulated which helped to set up the Aligarh University.
In 1906 he was the leader of the Muslims delegations to the Simla conference where he demanded a separate electorate for the Muslims. He was the first president of All India Muslim League in the same year. He was a social reformer and wrote a book on the urgent requirement of improvement for the Muslims, known as "India in Transition", which was published in 1918.
Aga Khan played a crucial role during the Khalifat Movement. He fought to resist the break-up of Caliphate and uphold the issue to the international forums. He was leader of the Muslim delegation to the British Prime Minister, Lloyd George. Aga Khan continued to serve for the benefits of the Muslim. In 1924 he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Peace for his endeavor to keep up tranquility between Turkey and the western powers.
He was appointed the chairman of the All Parties Muslim Conference in 1928-29.
In 1930-33, he went as a leader of the Muslim delegation to the Round Table Conferences. In 1932, he recommended accord of minorities, for which he was conferred with Communal Award. In 1932 He was sent to represent India at the League of Nations. He was an outstanding statesman for that was elected President of the League of Nations in July 1937. He was the only Asian to hold this post. During the World War II, Aga Khan was exiled in Switzerland and he couldn`t partake in the affairs of the Muslims of India.
He died on July 11, 1957 of a heart attack in Switzerland. He was honoured the title of Knight of the Indian Empire by Queen Victoria, in 1902, and awarded the Knight Grand Commander of the Indian Empire by George V in 1912. He also received several recognition for his public welfare from the German emperor, the sultan of Turkey and the shah of Persia.