By Farhad Daftary
The Ismailis have loved a protracted, eventful and complicated historical past relationship again to the 8eigth century CE and originating within the Shi'i culture of Islam. throughout the medieval interval, Ismailis of alternative regions--especially in valuable Asia, south Asia, Iran and Syria--developed and elaborated their very own targeted literary and highbrow traditions, that have made an exceptional contribution to the tradition of Islam as a complete. whilst, the Ismailis within the center a while break up into major teams who diverse religious leaders. The Nizari Ismailis got here to have a line of imams now represented through the Agha Khans, whereas the Tayyibi Ismailis – recognized in South Asia because the Bohras – got here to be led by way of da'is (vicegerents of the hid imams).
This assortment is the 1st scholarly try and survey the trendy background of either Ismaili groupings because the center of the nineteenth century. It covers various topical matters and topics, reminiscent of the modernizing guidelines of the Aga Khans, and in addition contains unique reports of neighborhood advancements in Ismaili groups around the globe. The members concentration too on how the Ismailis as a spiritual group have replied to the dual demanding situations of modernity and emigration to the West.
A sleek historical past of the Ismailis might be welcomed because the so much entire evaluate but released of the new trajectory of this interesting and influential Shi'i community.
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Extra info for A Modern History of the Ismailis: Continuity and Change in a Muslim Community
Founding the Fatimid State, tr. H. Haji (London, 2006), and Ibn al-Haytham, Kitab al-munazarat, ed. and tr. W. Madelung and P. E. Walker as The Advent of the Fatimids: A Contemporary Shiʿi Witness (London, 2000). A thorough analysis of the sources on the Fatimids may be found in Paul E. Walker, Exploring an Islamic Empire: Fatimid History and its Sources (London, 2002). On some recent studies of these daʿis and their contributions, see P. E. Walker, Abu Yaʿqub al-Sijistani: Intellectual Missionary (London, 1996); his Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani: Ismaili Thought in the Age of al-Hakim (London, 1999); Verena Klemm, Memoirs of a Mission: The Ismaili Scholar, Statesman and Poet al-Muʾayyad fi’l-Din al-Shirazi (London, 2003); Tahera Qutbuddin, Al-Muʾayyad al-Shirazi and Fatimid Daʿwa Poetry (Leiden, 2005), and Alice C.
The deprived and harsh conditions in the area resulted in the fragmentation of political and religious authority. Internal conflicts and clashes were as common for the Alawi and Ismaili communities as inter-communal conflicts. However, the latter were sometimes larger in scope and therefore better remembered and documented, if only because Ottoman troops intervened with some regularity. Be that as it may, some of these recollections were committed to writing and published by Alawi and Ismaili authors, since the reconstruction of past events was not only shaped by a contemporary understanding of that past, but even more so by an urgent need to explain current conditions, namely the continuing problematic communal relations after the collapse of the Ottoman order in the wake of the First World War.
For an excellent brief overview of the Nizari state and daʿwa during the Alamut period, see Marshall G. S. Hodgson, ‘The Ismaʿili State’, in The Cambridge History of Iran: Volume 5, The Saljuq and Mongol Periods, ed. John A. Boyle (Cambridge, 1968), pp. 422–482, and F. Daftary, A Short History of the Ismailis (Edinburgh, 1998), pp. 120–158, while more detailed surveys are contained in B. Lewis, The Assassins (London, 1967), pp. 38–124, and Daftary, The Ismaʿilis, especially pp. 310–402, 617–642.