Lifelong Learning Articles

The selection of articles presented in this section is aimed to facilitate access to secondary literature on Islam, and the related fields, by a general non-academic readership, with particular focus on students and individuals who may have personal or professional interest in studying aspects of Muslim cultures and societies.

These articles reflect the views of individual authors on the basis of their research, reflection, and experience and should not be seen as necessarily reflecting the Institute's thinking or perspectives.

The Water is One, but the Flowers are Coloured (Al-Ma’ Wahid, Zahru Alwan)
This first-person article adds additional context to the journey Rizwan Mawani, author of Beyond the Mosque, undertook to better understand the diversity of traditions and practices across 16 different countries.  
Between Love and Social Aspiration: The Influence of Sufi and Greek Concepts of Love on the Sociopolitical Thought of the Ikhwan al-Safa, Miskawayh and al-Tawhidi
This article explores the concepts of love, friendship and refinement of character presented by the Ikhwan in the context of wider discourses of the time.   
Muslim Spaces of Worship and Gathering
Explore a photo album featuring diverse historical and contemporary Muslim Spaces of Worship and Gathering that reflect the rich intellectual, cultural, spiritual and institutional pluralism of the worldwide Muslim community, Umma. Let us know what you think here.
IIS’ Philosophy
The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) was established in 1977 with the objective of promoting scholarship and learning on Muslim cultures and societies, historical as well as contemporary, and encouraging a better understanding of their relationship with other societies and faiths.
Pluralism: Beyond Ethnic and Sectarian Identities
Many societies of the Muslim world, for all their rich traditions of diversity and generosity, have lately fallen prey to ugly sectarian division. Communities that have long been part of the larger Islamic world and its heritage — Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and various minority Muslim...
Social Legislation in Surat al-Ahzab
In this article Prof. Madelung examines Surat 33 of the Qur’an, al-Ahzab, in the context of circumstances in Prophet Muhammad’s life at the time of its revelation. Pivotal issues such as the roots of the Muslim perspective on adoption, succession of women, and who was referred to by the term ...
Governing Diverse Communities: A Medieval Muslim Illustration
The unfolding of the recent, people-led demonstrations across the Middle East brings to the fore the perennial question of what constitutes good governance and how the quest for good order is to be fulfilled. One way to respond to this question is to examine models of authority and leadership...
Whose Memory? Re-thinking Orientalist and Occidental Conceptualisations of ‘Islamic Art’.
In this reflective piece the author utilises a quote by cultural historian James Clifford to deconstruct the orientalist bias in museums when curating exhibitions of ‘Islamic Art’. He asks important questions about the generic term ‘Islamic art,’ and how narrow or broad this is in scope....