Salvation and Destiny in Islam: Sketching Ḥamīd al-Dīn al-Kirmānī’s Views on the qaḍāʾ wa’l-qadar Debate

13th May 2019
The Institute of Ismaili Studies
Aga Khan Centre
King's Cross
United Kingdom

17:00 – 18:30 BST

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It is well-known that as one of the most renowned Ismaili dāʿīs of the Fatimid age, Ḥamīd al-Dīn al-Kirmānī (d. after 411/1020), attempted to create a complex system of thought blending together inherited Ismaili traditions - including gnostic cosmological elements - and philosophical strands, mainly drawn from Fārābian Neoplatonism. Achieving prominence during the reign of the Imaminfo-icon-caliphinfo-icon al-Ḥākim bi-Amr Allāh (r. 386-411/996-1021), al-Kirmānī set for himself, among other things, also the task of harmonising the views of the earlier celebrated Ismaili missionaries Abū Ḥātim al-Rāzī (d. 322/934), Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Nasafī (d. 332/943) and Abū Yaʿqūb al-Sijistānī (d. c. 361/971). The Kitāb al-Riyāḍ (Book of Meadows) is probably the best example of such endeavour.

In this talk, Dr Maria De Cillis - through references to her translation and analytical commentary of the eighth chapter of the Kitāb al-Riyāḍ, which is dedicated to the issue of divine preordination and human redemption -will highlight al-Kirmānī’s theologically distinctive interpretation of the question of qaḍāʾ wa’l-qadarinfo-icon (divine decree and destiny) question. In particular, drawing from the major theoretical findings of her latest book, Salvation and Destiny in Islam: The Shiʿi Ismaili Perspective of Ḥamīd al-Dīn al-Kirmānī, Maria De Cillis will attempt to guide the audience through the metaphysical and esoteric correspondences which al-Kirmānī used in order to provide a very Fatimid answer to many doctrinal controversies.

This lecture marks the book launch of De Cillis, M. (2018) Salvation and Destiny in Islam: The Shiʿi Ismaili Perspective of Ḥamīd al-Dīn al-Kirmānī. Published by I.B. Tauris in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. 


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Dr Maria De Cillis

Maria De Cillis is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, where she is also the Managing Editor of the Shiʿi Heritage Series. She has authored Free Will and Predestination in Islamic Thought: Theoretical Compromises in the Works of Avicenna, al-Ghazālī and Ibn ʿArabī (2014) and Salvation and Destiny in Islam: The Shiʿi Ismaili Perspective of Ḥamīd al-Dīn al-Kirmānī (2018). Maria De Cillis has also co-edited L’ésotérisme shiʿite, ses racines et ses prolongements / Shiʿi Esotericism: Its Roots and Developments (2016) beside writing a number of journal articles and encyclopaedia entries. She has taught on the Qurʾan at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and on medieval Islamic philosophy and speculative theology at Birkbeck College, University of London. Dr De Cillis continues to teach on Shiʿi Islam and the Islamic intellectual traditions at the Institute of Ismaili Studies. Her research interests include Islamic metaphysics, Sufisminfo-icon, Shiʿi esotericism and Ismaili philosophy.