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, Jews and Christians - Relations and Interactions
Seen from the vantage of the late twentieth century, re­lations between Muslims, Jews, and Christians look both better and worse than at any time in the past. In many parts of the world, Muslims are engaged in dia­logue with Jews and Christians. Islam has become the fastest growing religion in...
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...
The Sacred Music of Islam: Sama‘ in the Persian Sufi tradition
The creation of a specific liturgy, composed of prayer, litanies, singing, music and sometimes dance, known as Sama‘, integrating music into the practice of meditation, is an important aspect of the contemplative life in Muslim Sufism. The essay explores the basic theological and mystical...
Between Metaphor and Context: The Nature of the Fatimid Ismaili Discourse on Justice and Injustice
In this article, the author explores three interrelated topics to elucidate the nature of Fatimid Ismaili discourse on justice and injustice in the larger context of Muslim medieval literature and expressions of law. First, the paradigm of imama is situated within the larger discussion of...
The Eagle Returns: Evidence of Continued Isma‘ili Activity at Alamut and in the South Caspian Region following the Mongol Conquests
Persian historians, following ‘Ata-Malik Juwayni’s eyewitness accounts in The History of the World Conqueror, record the complete annihilation of the Shi‘i Ismaili community, centred at Alamut, in the thirteenth century Mongol invasions that devastated the Muslim world. While modern research...
A Destructive Vacuum: The Marginalisation of Local Knowledge and the Reassertion of Local Identities
In this chapter, the author examines the implications of two contemporary trends: increasing homogenisation of higher education across many parts of the world and the reassertion of affiliations to local identities. It is argued that in some cases such homogenisation has resulted in the...
The Metaphysics of Interfaith Dialogue: A Qur’anic Perspective
This article presents the Qur’an as a source of dialogue amongst different belief systems. Through deft exegesis of various Qur’anic verses, in Sufi tradition, the claim is made that the Qur’an not only supports, but also wholeheartedly encourages the pluralism of faiths in today’s world while...
‘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...