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.

Kinship, Camaraderie and Contestation Fatimid Relations with the Ashraf in the Fourth AH /Tenth CE century
The founding of the Fatimid caliphate across the southern Mediterranean, and then in Egypt, Syria and the Hijaz at the turn of the fourth AH / tenth CE century, necessitated its negotiation with the ashraf, those who claimed lineal descent from the Prophet Muhammad, and who by this time had...
The Angels in Surat al-Mala’ika Exegeses of Q. 35:1
The opening of Q. 35:1 (Surat al-Mala’ika or Surat al-Faṭir) attests to the creative power of God and describes the angels as winged messengers. 
From Slaves to Supporters The role of the Slavs in the Fatimid Mediterranean Empire in the Fourth AH /Tenth CE century
Among the distinctive features of their initial sixty-year phase of the North African era was the growing prominence of the Saqaliba – slaves of Slavic origin – across major areas of Fatimid administration, and in the affairs of the Fatimid household. 
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...
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...
The Mediaeval Ismailis of the Iranian Lands
This is an edited version of an article that appeared in Studies in Honour of Clifford Edmund Bosworth Vol.II The Sultan's Turret: Studies in Persian and Turkish Culture pp. 43-81 published by Brill: Leiden, Boston, Koln in 2000. This article chronicles the main events and personalities...
Eternal Cosmos and the Womb of History: Time in Early Ismaili Thought
In this article the author grapples with theories of Time in Classical Theology. From this wide lens, he narrows the study down to how Time is presented generally in Muslim thought, and specifically in early Ismaili thought, drawing comparisons between Abu Bakr al-Razi, Abu Hatim al-Razi,...
Muslim Literatures in South Asia
The largest concentration of Muslims in the world to­day is in the South Asian nations of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. For over twelve centuries the region has been home to a magnificent Islamic civilisation that has profoundly affected all aspects of South Asian culture and life. The...