17th February 2016 to 17th February 2016
This lecture will discuss how developing themes found in the Qur’an and culled from Greek and Jewish, Indian and other sources, Muslim thinkers forged a compelling humanism, precious in the classical age and deserving recovery and reconstruction in our own. The literary form of the risāla (or essay), which developed from the letter writing familiar to the secretarial class, significantly contributed to Islamic humanism. For the informality of a letter overcomes the stiffness of a treatise, the intensity of oratory the and sidesteps the agonistic potential of many a dialogical exchange. The intimacy of address to a friend establishes a sense of privacy and confidentiality even as it modestly vouches for the need that publication seeks to serve. So we readily appreciate the use of the risāla form in the philosophical essays of al-Kindī and in those of the Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ, where Indian fables mingle with Greek philosophy and science, Arabic lore and poetry. Ibn ufayl and Maimonides in his wake adopt the risāla form for just these reasons.
10th December 2015 to 10th December 2015
When people come to read the Qur’an, there is an interaction between what the words of the Qur’an say and what the person reading the text already thinks and believes before reading it. This lecture marks the launch of The Meaning of the Word: Lexicology and Qur’anic Exegesis (2015)
10th November 2015 to 10th November 2015
The Qur'an is often viewed as being resolutely Arabic, whereby any translation can only deliver its meaning, not its tone and timbre in Arabic. To broaden an understanding of the Qur’an, many scholars are researching and producing English translations that will invoke a sense of curiosity for further exploration in the beauty and sublimity of the original — a poetic translation with a distinctive yet subtle voice. To this end we will review three Qur’anic suras that embody our approach: Sūrat al-Fātiḥa (Q. 1), Sūrat Yā Sīn (Q. 36) and Sūrat al-Raḥmān (Q. 55).
15th September 2015 to 18th September 2015
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’
4th August 2015 to 7th August 2015
Dr Alessandro Cancian presents his paper entitled ‘Shi'i Sufism and Mystical Exegesis in the Light of Recent Research’ at the International Qur'anic Studies Association.
25th June 2015 to 25th June 2015
This lecture will introduce to a quranic singular literary form: the ‘counter discourse’, i.e. the discourse of the Quran’s opponents mentioned in the Quran itself.
Public Lecture and Book Launch: Words of Power: Hurufi Teachings between Shiʿism and Sufism in Medieval Islam
26th March 2015 to 26th March 2015
The IIS launches Words of Power by Dr. Orkhan Mir-Kasimov who will also give a lecture on the teachings of the Hurufis. He lecture will focus on the mystical and messianic movement that came to be known under the name of Hurufiyya, meaning ‘letterists’, which was founded in Iran in the second half of the 8th AH/14th CE century by Fadl Allah Astarabadi (d. 796 AH/1394 CE).
8th December 2014 to 8th December 2014