A Modern History of the Ismailis: Continuity and Change in a by Farhad Daftary

By Farhad Daftary

The Ismailis have loved a protracted, eventful and complicated heritage relationship again to the 8eigth century CE and originating within the Shi'i culture of Islam. in the course of the medieval interval, Ismailis of alternative regions--especially in valuable Asia, south Asia, Iran and Syria--developed and elaborated  their very own unique literary and highbrow traditions, that have made a good contribution to the tradition of Islam as an entire. whilst, the Ismailis within the center a while cut up into major teams who various non secular leaders. The Nizari Ismailis got here to have a line of imams now represented via the Agha Khans, whereas the Tayyibi Ismailis – identified in South Asia because the Bohras – got here to be led by means of da'is (vicegerents of the hid imams).

This assortment is the 1st scholarly try to survey the fashionable historical past of either Ismaili groupings because the center of the nineteenth century. It covers a number of topical concerns and issues, similar to the modernizing rules of the Aga Khans, and in addition comprises unique reviews of neighborhood advancements in Ismaili groups around the world. The individuals 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 glossy historical past of the Ismailis could be welcomed because the such a lot entire review but released of the new trajectory of this interesting and influential Shi'i community.

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Until his death in 1868, Amir Ismaʿil, who was allowed to keep a militia of 40 armed horsemen, successfully managed to re-cultivate the ancient farmlands around Salamiyya. 22 The first families to settle were the Hajjawis, including the Ismaʿil, al-Jundi and Mirza families of amirs who had recently lost many of their old privileges, in particular the collection of taxes in the Khawabi (al-Jundi), Kahf (Ismaʿil) and Marqab (Mirza) areas. 23 From the beginning, the leading migrant amirs had actively sought to encourage Ismailis in the coastal mountains to settle in Salamiyya, not only from Khawabi but also the Qadmus and Masyaf areas.

Most texts are attributed to Ismaili authors, including the famous Ikhwan al-Safaʾ, or Brethren of Purity, and the Fatimid jurist al-Qadi al-Nuʿman (d. 974), but some religious handbooks also included mystical texts that are not specifically Ismaili. The mystic Ibn Arabi (al-Shaykh al-Akbar) and his teachings on the wahdat al-wujud (oneness of being) also figured prominently in the Syrian Ismaili tradition with its strong mystical undercurrents. The activist mystic al-Hallaj (d. 11 The more specifically Syrian Ismaili sources in the religious repertoire of the shaykhs comprised roughly two types of texts: works attributed to Ismaili daʿi-authors who shaped the local Syrian tradition such as Rashid al-Din Sinan, Shams al-Din al-Tayyibi and Hasan al-Muʿaddil, and religious poetry composed by the Ismaili shaykhs of the Ottoman period.

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.

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