Islam: An Illustrated Journey press pack




New book exploring the diversity of Islam launched at

ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival


Challenging current presentations of Muslim history that ignore its cultural diversity, a new publication, Islam:  An Illustrated Journey, explores Islam’s rich pluralistic heritage in a clear and accessible way, illustrated with more than 250 spectacular images.

The book takes the reader on a visual journey from the advent of Islam up to the present day, and the landscapes of the Middle East, Mediterranean, South and Central Asia, Indian Ocean, Africa, and Europe where Islam took root and thrived. Islam: An Illustrated Journey features the accomplishments of Muslim writers, artists, architects, scientists, philosophers and theologians, and provides an account of Islam’s diverse communities including Sunnisinfo-icon, Shiainfo-icon and Sufis, as well as the lives of many of the men and women who have contributed to Islamic civilisation down the centuries. 

A panel discussion, sponsored by The Institute of Ismaili Studies and Aga Khaninfo-icon Foundation, UK, entitled Islam: Multiple Histories is taking place on Sunday 27 January 2019, at the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival (3:45pm–4:45pm, Samvad). The panel will ask if it is possible to write a single history of Islam given its multiple and often competing narratives. Zulfikar Hirji, co-author with Farhad Daftary of Islam: An Illustrated Journey, discusses the challenges of weaving the stories of the faith’s numerous communities of interpretation into the more prosaic framework of dynastic history. Alongside writer and historian Rana Safvi, and writer, politician and lawyer Salman Khurshid, Professor Hirji will be in conversation with The Economist South Asia bureau chief Max Rodenbeck.




Note to Editors

For more information on the publication or to arrange an interview with the authors, Dr Zulfikar Hirji or Dr Farhad Daftary, please contact The Institute of Ismaili Studies communications team who will be happy to assist you on or +44 (0) 207 746 2700. 

Contact at Jaipur: Patricia Salazar +44 7850 886653 | Christopher Wilton-Steer +44 7850 646618

More information on ZEE Jaipur Literary Festival and panel session go to:

Author quotes:

“Muslims throughout the world have created ways of expressing themselves through the arts and book cultures. We wanted to bring that experience to readers and show the incredible diversity (within Islam). People use local culture to express Islam and you see all these diverse expressions in the book.”

Co-author Zulfikar Hirji, Associate Professor of Anthropology at York University, Canada.

Islam is not only treated as a religion, but as one of the great civilisations, so we cover people, religions and cultures. The book takes the reader through Islam’s evolution through time, in terms of key events, key dynasties, key people and key cultures that contributed to and synthesised Islamic civilisations.”


Co-author Farhad Daftary, Director of The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London.


Publisher: Azimuth Editions in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies

9781898592358 hardback 344 pages 312mm x 256mm highly illustrated.  Orders:


About The Institute of Ismaili Studies

The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) was established in 1977 to promote scholarship and learning about Muslim societies and to encourage a better understanding of their relationships with other cultures and faiths. Its research, publications and educational programmes promote scholarship in previously marginalised areas of the study of Islam. These include the intellectual and literary heritages of Shia Islam, with an emphasis on its Ismaili traditions. The IIS’s programmes focus on multiple approaches, expressions and interpretations, giving it a reputation for openness and tolerance.


About Aga Khan Foundation, UK

The Aga Khan Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life, enhance self-reliance and promote pluralism in poor and marginalised communities of Asia and Africa. Established in 1967, its long-term, community-based approach addresses and benefits people of all faiths and backgrounds, especially women and girls. Its activities enhance agriculture and food security, promote early childhood development and access to quality education, improve health and nutrition, advance economic inclusion, and strengthen civil society. It is one of the world’s leading international development organisations.

AKF has been working in India since 1973 and is currently active in six states. Its community-led programmes have helped 1.2 million children learn to read and improved the livelihoods of 1.6 million disadvantaged people.


Book cover and internal spreads from Islam: An Illustrated Journey can be found below: