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    In the course of their long history, the Ismailis have, through the diversity of their literary and intellectual traditions, made important contributions to Islamic thought and culture. A distinct Nizari religious tradition, based on the Persian language, developed during the Alamutinfo-icon period (483–654/1090–1256) when the Ismailis of Persia had a state of their own centred on the stronghold of Alamut. The Nizarisinfo-icon lost their state and political prominence as a result of the Mongol invasions of Persia in 654/1256. But, in spite of the claims of the historian ‘Ata’ Malik Juwayni, who was in the service of the Mongol conqueror Hülegü, the Persian Nizari community was not totally extirpated by the Mongols. Countless numbers were massacred and the bulk of the Nizari literature was destroyed. However, the Nizari imamatinfo-icon continued in the progeny of Imaminfo-icon Rukn al–Dininfo-icon Khurshah (d. 655/1257), the last ruler of Alamut and certain aspects of the Nizari da‘wainfo-icon institution also survived.

    With the fall of Alamut, the Persian Nizaris entered an obscure period of their history, which lasted two centuries, until their Imams emerged at the village of Anjudan in central Persia, around the middle of the 9th/15th century, and initiated a revival in Nizari da‘wa and literary activities. Many aspects of Nizari Ismaili history during this period are still shrouded in mystery due to a lack of reliable sources as no written works are known to have been produced in this period. The Ismailis observed taqiyyainfo-icon, guarding their identity and adopting Sufisminfo-icon and other forms of expression, to protect themselves against persecution. As a result, many scattered Nizari groups either disappeared or assimilated themselves into other religious communities. However, progress in Ismaili studies has enabled scholars to acquire a better understanding of at least the main trends in the history of Persian Nizari Ismailism of the early post–Alamut centuries. It is in such a context that the present book should be read and appreciated.

    Hakim Sa‘d al–Din b. Shams al–Din Nizari Quhistani (645–720/1247–1320) is the major Persian Ismaili poet of the early post–Alamut period. He hailed from the region of Quhistan in southeastern Khurasaninfo-icon and as a boy witnessed the Mongol ravages in his native land. He was perhaps also the first author of this period to have adopted poetic forms of expression and Sufi idioms to convey his Ismaili ideas, which are in essence resonant with the teachings of the Alamut period. In fact, Nizari Quhistani’s writings reflect the earliest instance of a literary coalescence between Nizari Ismailism and Sufism in Persia and, as such, they represent the opening phase of the post–Alamut Nizari tradition which was well developed by the time the Safavidsinfo-icon established their rule over Persia in 907/1501.

    By drawing extensively on Nizari Quhistani’s unpublished collected works, the Kulliyyat, particularly his versified Safarnama, and the findings of modern scholarship in the field, Dr Eboo–Jamal has produced here the first thorough study of this poet in English, as well as an important contribution to the history of the Persian Nizari Ismailis in the aftermath of the Mongol debacle. She provides ample documentation of the way the Nizaris of Persia succeeded, against all odds, not only to retain their distinct religious identity but also to adopt their tradition to the changed environment, which brought the community closer to Persian Sufism and enabled it to survive under highly adverse circumstances in post–Mongol Persia.

    Edited and revised from the Foreword by Farhad Daftary.

  • Foreword by Farhad Daftary

    Preface

    1. Introduction
      Part One: The Ismaili Da‘wainfo-icon: Community, History and Destiny
    2. The Early Ismaili and Fatimid Da‘was
    3. The Nizari Ismaili Da‘wa
    4. The Mongol Catastrophe
      Part Two: Nizari Quhistani: The Search for Meaning and Identity
    5. The Poet Nizari Quhistani
    6. Ismailism, Sufisminfo-icon and Nizari Quhistani
    7. Nizari’s Safar–nama: The Journey of a Da‘iinfo-icon

    Notes

    Bibliography

    Index

  • Abbreviations
     
      EI Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1st ed.
      EI2 Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed.
      JA Journal Asiatique
      JOAS Journal of the American Oriental Society
      JBBRAS Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
      JRAS Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
      NS New Series

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  • Dr. Nadia Eboo Jamal

    English
    Nadia Eboo Jamal received her PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Literature from New York University in 1996 and is a specialist in Persian history and culture in the period of Mongol rule, with a particular emphasis on the Ismaili communities of the time. Over the past fifteen years, Dr Eboo Jamal has been actively involved in varying capacities with the Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Boards in the United Kingdom and the United States, providing her expertise and assistance to teaching activities, developing educational materials and human resources, and contributing to the Ismaili...Read more