Ismaili Special Collections Unit (ISCU) research

The IIS holds a repository of nearly three thousand rare, and in some cases unique, manuscripts, relating to a variety of aspects of Ismaili and broader Muslim heritage. Areas covered include history, theology, law, doctrines, and socio-religious practices. Our manuscripts originate from different regions of the Middle East, Iran, and Central and Southern Asia. They are mainly in Arabic, Persian and a variety of Indic languages.

ISCU’s research work relates not only to the literary traditions in these manuscripts but also to the religious heritage of Ismaili communities in particular, and of Muslim and other traditions more broadly. In addition, it seeks to engage with the often neglected manuscript tradition of the texts, including scribal culture, cultural practices embedded in the production of the manuscripts, and the genealogy of the texts as they have come to be transmitted within different circles.