Keywords: da‘wa, Fatimid, Qarmati, batin, Haqa'iq, ta'wil, wasi, adwar, samit, asas, mutimm, mahdi, dawr al-kashf, al Nasafi, kitab al-islah, al Sijistani, dawr al-fitra, yawm al-qiyama, cosmology, satr, Nizaris, ta'lim, taqiyya.

Abstract: It was in 148 AH/765 CE that the earliest groups identifiable as Ismailis separated from the rest of the Imami Shiis, centred in Kufa in southern Iraq.[1] By the early 260s AH/870s CE, when numerous da'is appeared in many regions of the Muslim world, the Ismailis had organised a dynamic movement. The Ismailis now referred to their religio-political campaign simply as al-da'wa (the mission) or al-da'wa al-hadiya (the rightly-guiding mission). The central aim of the early Ismaili da'wa was to install the 'Alid imam recognised by the Ismaili Shi'is to the position of leadership over all Muslims, in rivalry with the 'Abbasid caliph in Baghdad.

The rapid success of the early Ismaili da'wa culminated in the foundation of the Fatimid caliphate in 297 AH/909 CE in North Africa. The religio-political da'wa of the Ismailis had finally led to the establishment of a state or da'wa headed by the Ismaili imam. In the Fatimid period (297-567 AH/909-1171 CE), when the Ismailis possessed a flourishing state of their own, they elaborated a diversity of intellectual traditions and institutions of learning, making important contributions to Islamic thought and culture.


Dr Farhad Daftary

Co-Director and Head of the Department of Academic Research and Publications

An authority in Shi'i studies, with special reference to its Ismaili tradition, Dr. Daftary has published and lectured widely in these fields of Islamic studies. In 2011 a Festschrift entitled Fortresses of the Intellect was produced to honour Dr. Daftary by a number of his colleagues and peers.


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