Biography

Dr. Shainool Jiwa
Head of Constituency Studies Research Unit and Senior Research Fellow
Area of focus:
  1. Ismaili History and Thought
  2. Fatimids

Introduction

Dr Shainool Jiwa is the Head of Constituency Studies and a Senior Research Fellow at The Institute of Ismaili Studies. Prior to this, she was the Head of the Department of Community Relations from 2005 to 2012. She was also the founding coordinator of the Qur’anic Studies Project at the IIS (2002-2005). Dr Jiwa is a specialist in Fatimid history, having completed her Master’s degree from McGill University and her doctorate from the University of Edinburgh. As a senior faculty member, Dr Jiwa teaches on the IIS graduate programmes (GPISH & STEP) and contributes to the development of the IIS Secondary Curriculum.

Dr Jiwa is a member of the Board of Governors for Edinburgh Napier University. She has been involved with the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) since 1998 and has been their Chief Examiner for Islamic History since 2001. Prior to joining the IIS, she worked as a counsellor and manager for Saheliya, a mental health project for Edinburgh’s ethnic minority women. She was appointed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1998 as a part-time Commissioner for the Mental Welfare Commission in Scotland, leading to a listing in Who’s Who in Scotland, where she continues to be noted since its 2000 publication.

Dr Jiwa has written several journal articles, chapters and books. Her latest publication, The Fatimids: The Rise of a Muslim Empire, is a World of Islam series title, for which she also serves as the series General Editor. She is also the co-editor of The Shi‘i World: Pathways in Tradition and Modernity (2015), and The Fatimid Caliphate: Diversity of Traditions (2017). She has also edited and translated key medieval Arabic texts relating to Fatimid history, including Towards a Shi‘i Mediterranean Empire (2009) and The Founder of Cairo (2013).

 

The Fatimids: The Rise of a Muslim Empire

In this lively and comprehensive introduction, readers will discover various milestones in Fatimid history and the political and cultural achievements that continue to resonate today.

Further details are available here.

The Fatimid Caliphate: Diversity of Traditions

The book presents little explored aspects of state-society relations such as the Fatimid model of the vizierate, Sunni legal responses to Fatimid observance, and the role of women in prayer. 

Further details are available here.

The Shi'i World

The Shi'i World is a comprehensive work authored by leading scholars from assorted disciplines, to provide a better understanding of how Shi'i communities view themselves and articulate their teachings. The topics range from Shi'i Islam's historical and conceptual foundations, formative figures and intellectual, legal and moral traditions, to its devotional practices, art and architecture, literature, music and cinema, as well as expressions and experiences of modernity. 

Further details are available here.

The Founder of Cairo: The Fatimid Imam-Caliph Al Muizz and his Era

The Founder of Cairo provides the first annotated English translation of the extensive chapter on al- Mu‘izz in the ‘Uyun, which remains a vital yet relatively unknown Ismaili source. The introduction to this work not only outlines the salient features of al-Mu‘izz’s reign but also examines Idris’ purpose and approach to historical writing.

Further details are available here. 

Towards a Shi‘i Mediterranean Empire: Fatimid Egypt and the Founding of Cairo

Towards a Shi‘i Mediterranean Empire centres on the reign of Imam-caliph al-Mu‘izz li-Din Allah as relayed in the Itti‘azIt provides an extensive introduction to the rise of the Fatimids, their establishment in North Africa prior to their peaceful conquest of Egypt and the significant milestones of Imam-caliph al-Mu‘izz  and his rule. 

Further details are available here. 

The Baghdad Manifesto: A Re-examination of Fatimid-Abbasid Rivalry

Article published in Daftary & Jiwa, (Ed.) The Fatimid Caliphateinfo-icon, IB Tauris, London, (2017).

 

Kinship, Camaraderie, and Contestation: Fatimid Relations with the Ashraf in the Fourth AH/Tenth CE century

This is an edited version of the article published in Al-Masaq, volume 28, issue 3 (2016).

 

 

Governance and Pluralism under the Fatimids (909-996), The Shi'i World

This is an edited version of an article originally published in The Shi‘i World: Pathways in Tradition and Modernity. I.B. Tauris in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies (2015).

 

 

From Slaves to Supporters: The Role of the Slavs in the Fatimid Mediterranean Empire in the Fourth AH/Tenth CE century

This is an edited version of an article originally published in Mediaeval Studies 77 (2015). © Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.

 

 

Introduction to People of the Prophet’s House: Artistic and Ritual Expressions of Shi‘i Islam, with F Suleman, Azimuth Editions Publishers, (2015)

 

 

Al-‘Aziz bi’llah

Originally featured in Encyclopaedia Islamica, Vol 3 (2011).

 

 

Governing Diverse Communities: A Medieval Muslim Illustration

This is an edited version of an article which first appeared in The Perspective, an article-based website providing a forum for the discussion of critical issues in the world of politics, culture and the arts (2011).

 

 

Inclusive Governance: A Fatimid Illustration

Originally featured in A Companion to the Muslim World, ed. Dr Amyn Sajoo. I.B. Tauris in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies (2009).

 

 

Historical representations of a Fatimid Imam-caliph: Exploring al- Maqrizi’s and Idris’ writings on al-Mu‘izz Li Din Allah

This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared in Alifba: Studi Arabo-Islamici e Mediterranei, Vol XXII - the published proceedings of the International Conference on the Fatimidsinfo-icon and the Mediterranean held at the University of Palermo, Italy (2009).

 

 

Approaches to the Qur’an

This is an edited version of an article that appeared in The Ismaili UK (2003).

 

 

Religious Pluralism in Egypt: The Ahl al-kitab in Early Fatimid Times

This article is based on a paper delivered at the annual meeting of the Middle Eastern Studies Association of North America (MESA) in San Francisco (2001).

 

 

Historical representations of a Fatimid Imaminfo-icon-caliphinfo-icon: Exploring al-Maqrizis’ and Idris’ writings on al-Muizz li Dininfo-icon Allah”

Published proceedings of the International Conference on the Fatimids and the Mediterranean, Palermo, Italy (1999)

 

 

Fatimid-Buyid Diplomacy During the Reign of Al-‘Aziz billah (365/975-386/996)

This is an article featured in the Journal of Islamic Studies, Oxford University, vol 3, no 1, pp.55-71. (1992).

 

The genesis of Ismaili da‘wainfo-icon activities in the Yemen

This article was published in the Bulletin of the British Society of Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES), vol.15, no.1, pp. 50-63. (1988).

 

 

The Initial Destination of the Fatimid caliphate: The Yemen or The Maghrib?

Originally published in “The Initial Destination of the Fatimid Caliphate: The Yemen of The Maghribinfo-icon?” British Society of Middle Eastern Studies Bulletin 1, 13 (1986).