News story

IIS Publishes New Critical Edition and Translation of Sirat al-Ustadh Jawdhar

5th June 2014

The IIS is pleased to announce the publication of a new edition and English translation of Abu ‘Ali Mansur al-‘Azizi al-Jawdhari’s biography of al-Ustadh Jawdhar, the Sirat al-Ustadh Jawdhar, under the title Inside the Immaculate Portal: A History from Early Fatimid Archives. This work comprises a new critical edition of the Arabic text of the Sirat al-Ustadh Jawdhar and a fully annotated English translation and introduction by Hamid Haji.

Jawdhar, the subject of this biographical work, was a confidante of the first four Fatimid Imaminfo-icon-Caliphs who ruled in North Africa (910- 973 CE). The work was compiled by his private secretary, Abu ‘Ali Mansur al-‘Azizi al-Jawdhari, who served him for twelve years, from 961 CE until Jawdhar’s death in 973 CE. Jawdhar often confided in him, and would share with his secretary his own correspondence with the imams. As a trusted associate, Mansur had full access to archives held by Jawdhar. After his death, wishing to preserve the memory of the statesman, Mansur compiled the work, occasionally relating accounts of his own personal experiences.

His compilation is a rare glimpse into this period of time, for it gives not only a biographical account of an outstanding statesman from the early Fatimid period but also brings together oral statements and archival material from a period which spans over sixty years of Fatimid rule. The edition is based on three manuscripts: a manuscript previously owned by the Ismaili Society, a photocopy of manuscript 48 of the Fyzee Collection, and a manuscript from the Zahid Ali Collection which is now part of the collection of The Institute of Ismaili Studies.

This publication provides a unique insight into the private world and political ethos of one of the major Muslim dynasties of the medieval era, and will be of interest to academics and students alike.