The world's 200 million Shi'i Muslims express their faith in a multiplicity of ways, united by reverence for the ahl al-bayt, the family of the Prophet. In embracing a pluralistic ethic, fourteen centuries of Shi'i Islam have given rise to diverse traditions and practices across varied geographic and cultural landscapes. 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 IIS is pleased to announce the publication of People of the Prophet’s House: Artistic and Ritual Expressions of Shi‘i Islam, edited by Dr Fahmida Suleman. The book contains twenty-two essays, which are richly illustrated with over 200 colour pictures, maps and charts. The essays were originally read at a conference held at the British Museum in 2009 as part of the Museum’s programme for its major exhibition, Shah ‘Abbas: The Remaking of Iran. These conference papers and newly commissioned essays have been published in a revised, expanded and fully illustrated format by Azimuth Editions in association with the IIS, and in collaboration with the British Museum’s Department of the Middle East.
Despite their distinct theological differences, Shi‘i and Sunni Muslims, followers of the two main divisions of Islam, share a number of core beliefs including an allegiance to and love for the Prophet Muhammad and members of his family. For Shi‘i Muslims, reverence for the Prophet and allegiance to his household (Ahl al-bayt, People of the House), comprising his immediate family and their descendants, constitutes an essential principle of belief that has directly impacted how Shi‘i artists, rulers, patrons and ritual participants have conveyed their love and loyalty through material culture and religious ritual.
The thirteenth Summer Programme on Islam was held at the Ismaili Centre in Toronto, Canada, from 16 - 22 August 2015. Twenty-seven participants from 10 countries, including Afghanistan, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, Portugal, Syria, Tajikistan, United Kingdom and the United States of America, participated in the seven-day programme.
Janis Esots, an IIS scholar, presented a paper on “Henry Corbin and the Shi‘i Legend about the Green Island” at the 8th European Conference of Iranian Studies, which took place at the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (Russia), on 15-19 September. Dr Esots paper dealt with the final period of Henry Corbin’s work (approximately 1970-1978) and his attempts to build new (and rediscover old) bridges between European and Oriental esoteric spiritual traditions.
During the first half of 2015, IIS scholars interacted with audiences across the globe at 37 events held in Canada, Portugal, Tajikistan and the USA. These events introduced a number of IIS publications to the audience and provided opportunities to discuss relevant issues. Over 3,500 individuals attended these events, including leading figures in academia, diplomats, university students, as well as leaders and members of the Ismaili Community.
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’