What is Shi'a Islam?
The historical formation of the worldwide Muslim community or Umma, as it is known in Arabic, has resulted in a great deal of diversity that reflects a rich intellectual, spiritual, and institutional pluralism. In seeking to express a response to the primal message of Islam, Muslims have...
The Mediaeval Ismailis of the Iranian Lands
This is an edited version of an article that appeared in Studies in Honour of Clifford Edmund Bosworth Vol.II The Sultan's Turret: Studies in Persian and Turkish Culture pp. 43-81 published by Brill: Leiden, Boston, Koln in 2000. This article chronicles the main events and personalities...
Eternal Cosmos and the Womb of History: Time in Early Ismaili Thought
In this article the author grapples with theories of Time in Classical Theology. From this wide lens, he narrows the study down to how Time is presented generally in Muslim thought, and specifically in early Ismaili thought, drawing comparisons between Abu Bakr al-Razi, Abu Hatim al-Razi,...
The Ismailis in History
The history of Ismailism is best understood as the embodiment of one response, among others, to the message contained in the Islamic revelation. Over the passage of time, the Islamic ummah or community in the broadest sense of the term, came to be constituted by a variety of groupings within...
Historical representations of a Fatimid Imam-caliph: Exploring al-Maqrizi’s and Idris’ writings on al-Mu‘izz Li Din Allah
It is a happenstance of history that the two most comprehensive extant sources on the Fatimid era (909-1171 CE) were composed by two 15th Century scholars: Taqi al-Din Ahmad b. Ali al-Maqrizi (d.1449 CE) and ‘Imad al-Din ldris (d.1468 CE). Although they composed their works almost three...
Muslim Philosophy and the Sciences
Like the intellectual traditions of other civilizations, the intellectual traditions of Islam examined the entirety of questions which fall under the purview of the intellect. The present study focuses on the questions which are today categorized as belonging to the disciplines of the many...
Sectarian and National Movements in Iran, Khurasan and Transoxania During Umayyad and Early Abbasid Times
This article discusses the history of opposition to existing rulers by various ethnic and religious groups throughout the Umayyad and Abbasid empires. Various Shia communities also offered a substantial amount of opposition to the Sunni establishment. Toward the end of the Abbasid reign,...
Fatimid Art, Precursor or Culmination
There were several occasions over the past decade for scholars with different specialities to interpret rather than describe the historical and cultural phenomenon of the Fatimids. At the time of the great colloquium celebrating Cairo’s first millennium, the late Gustav von Grunebaum,...
Toward A Post-Secular Modernity
  Modernity is best understood in the context of everyday pluralism. Here, cultural and political realities do not dwell in compartments labelled ‘east’ and ‘west’, but instead overlap and intertwine. In the convergence of what is ‘Muslim’, ‘secular’ or ‘traditional’ and what is not, everyday...
‘Ali ibn Abi Talib
‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (599-661 CE) was the first cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad; the fourth of the four Rightly Guided Caliphs (al-khulafa’ al-rashidun); and the first of the Imams deemed by all Shi‘i Muslims to be appointed by divine mandate. The word Shi‘i itself is derived from...