The Ikhwan al-Safa’ (Brethren of Purity), the anonymous adepts of a tenth-century esoteric fraternity based in Basra and Baghdad, hold an eminent position in the history of science and philosophy in Islam due to the wide reception and assimilation of their monumental encyclopaedia, the Rasa‘il Ikhwan al-Safa’ (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity).
For International Women’s Day, we asked IIS staff and students to highlight one woman from Muslim societies and cultures who inspires them—and who they think more people should know about.
Pyarali Jiwa will be remembered by IIS scholars and staff for his deep and proactive interest in the ginans of South Asia, the religious lyrical literature by Satpanth Ismaili Muslims from South Asia.
For World Book Day, librarians Pedro Sánchez Rodriguez and Shah Hussain discuss the Aga Khan Library's recently launched digital Ismaili Printed Materials Collection and its unique resources.
Among the considerable oeuvre of Muhammad al-Shahrastani (1086–1153), the prominent Persian theologian and heresiographer, the Majlis-i maktub ('The Transcribed Sermon') is his only known work in Persian. First delivered as a sermon in Khwarazm in Central Asia, this treatise invokes the theme of creation and command, providing an esoteric cosmological narrative where faith, revelation, prophecy and the spiritual authority of the Household of the Prophet are interwoven.
The two sermons edited and translated here for the first time are primary material from the years before the establishment of the Fatimid caliphate in 297/909. The authors have been identified as Abu 'Abd Allah al-Shi'i and Abu'l-'Abbas Muhammad, two brothers who were central to the success of the Ismaili da'wa in North Africa.
The Druze dogma was developed in Cairo during the reign of the sixth Fatimid caliph al-Ḥākim. The newly established doctrine parted from the mainstream Fatimid doctrine. Find out more about the lecture.