Despite their distinct theological differences, Shi‘i and Sunni Muslims, followers of the two main divisions of Islam, share a number of core beliefs including an allegiance to and love for the Prophet Muhammad and members of his family. For Shi‘i Muslims, reverence for the Prophet and allegiance to his household (Ahl al-bayt, People of the House), comprising his immediate family and their descendants, constitutes an essential principle of belief that has directly impacted how Shi‘i artists, rulers, patrons and ritual participants have conveyed their love and loyalty through material culture and religious ritual.
The thirteenth Summer Programme on Islam was held at the Ismaili Centre in Toronto, Canada, from 16 - 22 August 2015. Twenty-seven participants from 10 countries, including Afghanistan, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, Portugal, Syria, Tajikistan, United Kingdom and the United States of America, participated in the seven-day programme.
Janis Esots, an IIS scholar, presented a paper on “Henry Corbin and the Shi‘i Legend about the Green Island” at the 8th European Conference of Iranian Studies, which took place at the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (Russia), on 15-19 September. Dr Esots paper dealt with the final period of Henry Corbin’s work (approximately 1970-1978) and his attempts to build new (and rediscover old) bridges between European and Oriental esoteric spiritual traditions.
During the first half of 2015, IIS scholars interacted with audiences across the globe at 37 events held in Canada, Portugal, Tajikistan and the USA. These events introduced a number of IIS publications to the audience and provided opportunities to discuss relevant issues. Over 3,500 individuals attended these events, including leading figures in academia, diplomats, university students, as well as leaders and members of the Ismaili Community.
Two of the Institute of Ismaili Studies research associates will be presenting papers at the eight conference of The Iranian Studies of the Societas Iranologica Europaea.
Dr Alessandro Cancian will be presenting a paper on: ‘Shi'i Sufi Exegesis in 19th Century Iran: a Neglected Intellectual Legacy’ and Dr Janis Esots will be presenting a paper on: ‘Henry Corbin and the Shī‘ī Legend about the Green Island’
The Institute of Ismaili Studies is pleased to announce the publication of The Meaning of the Word: Lexicology and Qur’anic Exegesis, edited by Stephen R. Burge. This volume is the thirteenth in the Qur’anic Studies Series. It arises out of a larger research project that explored the ways in which interpreters of the Qur’an – in exegesis, as well as other fields, such as hadith, law and translation – engaged with the meaning of words (lexicology) in the Qur’an.
“Esoteric Traditions in Islam: Past and Present Manifestations,” was the theme of the Annual General Meeting of the Asian Chapter Group of the IIS Alumni Association. The meeting was held from 28–30 March, 2015, in Konya, Turkey, the city where Mevlana Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, the famous 13th century poet and Sufi mystic, is buried.
The basic intention of Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir) is to understand what the text of the Qur’an means. Before attempting to understand anything of the Qur’anic worldview and its ethical values, there is a need for exegetes to engage with the individual words found in the Qur’an itself. This volume, consisting of chapters by twelve leading, established and young scholars, begins to address this gap in the scholarship. It is divided into four sections that provide different reflections on the relationship between lexicology and Qur’anic interpretation. As a whole, it provides the first in-depth discussion focusing on the relationship between the interpretation of the Qur’an and the meanings of words, from the beginnings of Qur'anic exegesis to the contemporary period.