The mausoleum of the Aga Khan, forty-eighth Imam (or leader) of the Ismaili sect of Islam, is another landmark of Aswan. It is not an historical monument, but it has gained considerable popular cultural appeal. The late Aga Khan (who claimed direct descent from Fatima, the daughter of the prophet Muhammad), used to visit Aswanevery winter and take up residence in his white villa, Nur al-Salaam, situated just above the west bank. He reputedly buried himself in the hot desert sands as a palliative for his rheuma-tism. He was so enchanted with the beauty of Aswan that toward the end of his life he expressed the desire to be buried in a spot overlooking his favorite part of the river. He died in 1957.