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By Kutub Kassam, Hermann Landolt, Visit Amazon's Samira Sheikh Page, search results, Learn about Author Central, Samira Sheikh,

ISBN-10: 1845117948

ISBN-13: 9781845117948

One of many richest and so much worthwhile, but while least primary, traditions of Muslim literature is that of the Shi'i Imami Ismailis. even if many nice literary treasures of the Islamic international are already on hand in English translation, these of the Ismailis are just slowly being made available to students and readers at huge. This gigantic anthology makes a necessary and welcome contribution to that means of wider dissemination. It brings jointly for the 1st time extracts from quite a number major Ismaili texts in either poetry and prose, the following translated into English through the various leading students within the box. The texts integrated belong to a protracted span of Ismaili background, which extends from the Fatimid period to the start of the 20 th century. The translations in query were rendered from their originals in Arabic, Persian and the several languages of Badakhshan and South Asia. With sizeable sections dedicated to such extensive issues as religion and idea, heritage and biography, ethics, the Imamate, Ta'wil (or esoteric exegesis and textual interpretation), the anthology bargains always enriching glimpses into the depths, variety and specialty of 1 of the nice traditions of Islamic idea and creativity, which nonetheless is still rather undiscovered via the West.

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An Anthology of Ismaili Literature: A Shi'i Vision of Islam

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One of the most prominent dāʿīs of this period was al-Muʾayyad fi’l-Dīn al-Shīrāzī who after his initial career in Fārs, in southern Persia, settled in Cairo and played an active role in the affairs of the Fatimid dawla and Ismaili daʿwa. In 450/1058, al-Mustanṣir appointed him as dāʿī al-duʿāt, a post he held for twenty years, with the exception of a brief period, until his death in 470/1078. He left an invaluable account of his life and early career in his Sīra, which reveals his central role as an intermediary between the Fatimids and the Turkish military commander al-Basāsīrī who briefly led the Fatimid cause in Iraq against the Saljūqs.

Abd al-Karīm al-Shahrastānī (d. 548/1153), the famous heresiographer and theologian who was influenced by Ismaili ideas if not an Ismaili himself, as well as in some post-Alamūt Nizārī writings. AlShahrastānī himself wrote several works, including a partial Qurʾan commentary called Mafātiḥ al-asrār wa maṣābīḥ al-abrār, and a philosophical treatise in refutation of Ibn Sīnā’s metaphysics, Kitāb al-muṣāraʿa, using Ismaili ideas and the methodology of taʾwīl or esoteric interpretation. The Nizārī Ismailis of the Alamūt period also maintained a historiographical tradition in Persia.

On the collapse of the Fatimid caliphate, Egypt’s new Sunni Ayyūbid masters began to persecute the Ismailis, also suppressing the Ḥāfiẓī Ismaili daʿwa organization there, and all the Fatimid institutions. The immense treasures of the Fatimids and their vast libraries were also pillaged or sold. Nizārī Ismaili Traditions of the Alamūt Period By the time of the Nizārī-Mustaʿlī succession dispute of 487/1094, Ḥasan-i Ṣabbāḥ, who preached the Ismaili daʿwa within the Saljūq dominions in Persia, had emerged as the leader of the Persian Ismailis.

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