This paper takes as its starting point the formations of the nineteenth century Ismaili community of India, as a way of exploring the heterogeneous character of Islam as a global phenomenon.1 I show how the beliefs and teachings of this group were firmly embedded within the diverse cultural traditions indigenous to South Asia. I focus in particular on the devotional literature of Ismailis to illustrate how notions of temporality reveal what is “global” about global Islam. That is to say, I show how the very indigenousness and locality of Islam can be read through an engagement with the messianic imaginary of Ismaili religiosity-one that was both Muslim and South Asian. In the larger project from which this essay is drawn, I examine how these complex identifications were undermined and reshaped in the nineteenth century, most notably as a result of this community being categorized as Ismaili Muslim by the colonial state, replete with a religious “identity” in the modern sense of the term.2 I contend that this modern identity works against the more capacious identifications of an earlier moment in the life of the community. Instead of understanding Ismailis as Muslim in so far as they fit into an Arabcentered and pre-existing logic of “Muslimness,” I hope to argue for a recapture of an earlier moment in their identification as Muslim that incorporates, rather than abrogates, heterogeneity. To pursue the question of global Islam, then, calls for an engagement with the multiple strands and values of that earlier moment as they are in tension with current conceptions of modern religious identity.3