Academic Articles

The selection of articles presented in this section covers a wide range of topics related to the historical, cultural and intellectual traditions and developments within the Muslim contexts, both historical and contemporary.

As in all academic publications, the articles reflect the interests, research, and conclusions of individual authors on a subject matter and must not be seen as necessarily reflecting the Institute's thinking or perspectives.

From Slaves to Supporters: The role of the 'Slavs' in the Fatimid Mediterranean Empire in the Fourth/Tenth Century CE
The growing prominence of the Saqaliba, slaves of Slavic origin, across major areas of Fatimid administration and household affairs was among the distinctive features of the initial sixty-year phase of the Fatimid rule in North Africa. The military and administrative involvement of the Slavs...
Governance and Pluralism under the Fatimids (909-996 CE)
The medieval Mediterranean littoral was a region inhabited by people of diverse ethnic backgrounds and religious persuasions. This was evident in 10th century Egypt, the mainstay of Fatimid domains, a land in which lived Arabs, Turks, Greeks, Armenians, Berbers and Sudanese - among whom were...
The Conversation between Moses and God (Munajat Musa) in the Epistles of the Pure Brethren (Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safa’)
This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared in Al-Kitab: La Sacralité du Texte Dans Le Monde de l‘Islam. Actes du Symposium International Tenu à Leuven et Louvain-la-Neuve du 29 Mai au 1 Juin 2002, ed. Daniel De Smet, Godefroyde Callataÿ, and JanVan Reeth, published by...
حديث موسى مع الله (مناجاة موسى) في رسائل إخوان الصفاء
هذه نسخة محررة من مقالة نشرت بالأصل في ’الكتاب: قدسية النص في العالم الإسلامي. وقائع الندوة الدولية التي عقدت في لوفين ولوفان-لا-نوف بين 29 أيار و1 حزيران 2002‘، حررها دانييل دو سميت، غودفرويدا كالاتايا، و جان فان ريث، ونشرت من قبل أكتا أوريانتاليا بيلجيكا (Acta Orientalia Belgica)، الإصدار...
Divine Law / Divine Command: The Ground of Ethics in the Western Tradition-Muslim Perspectives
The article posits that the ethical roots of the pre-modern Western tradition are not just based in biblical norms. The author delves into the origins and roots of Muslim ethics from revelation to the shaping of Muslim law, suggesting a strong connection between western and Muslim values based...
What is Shi'a Islam?
The historical formation of the worldwide Muslim community or Umma, as it is known in Arabic, has resulted in a great deal of diversity that reflects a rich intellectual, spiritual, and institutional pluralism. In seeking to express a response to the primal message of Islam, Muslims have...
Transcendence and Distinction: Metaphoric Process in Isma‘ili Muslim Thought
This essay explores how writers of the Fatimid period of Isma‘ili history, during the tenth and eleventh centuries1, developed an approach that sought to reconcile an understanding of the transcendent and unique nature of God - embodied in the Qur’anic concept of tawhid - with a view of...
‘Ali ibn Abi Talib
‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (599-661 CE) was the first cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad; the fourth of the four Rightly Guided Caliphs (al-khulafa’ al-rashidun); and the first of the Imams deemed by all Shi‘i Muslims to be appointed by divine mandate. The word Shi‘i itself is derived from...
Muslim Saints and Hindu Rulers: The Development of Sufi and Ismaili Mysticism in the Non-Muslim States of India
This article focuses on the phenomenon of religious acceptance, integration and pluralism in South India by various Hindu and Muslim leaders in the sixteenth century. It looks at examples of rulers of both religions protecting, maintaining and restoring temples, mosques and shrines which were...
Loving Compassion in Islam and Buddhism: Rahma and Karuna
In this article the author intends to show ways in which the Islamic conception of Rahma can be seen to serve a function similar to compassion in Mahayana Buddhism, which comes to play a determinative role, elevated as the very principle, cosmological and not simply ethical, which motivates...

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