Having played roles at the highest levels of the Saljuq state, as sometime confidant of the ruler himself, Sultan Sanjar, and head of his chancellery (diwan al-rasa’il),[ Muhammad b. Abd al-Karim al-Shahrastani was to flee the capital, Merv, in due course. Completing, as it were, the fully circular trajectory of his life, by the time of the great scholar’s death in 548 AH / 1153 CE he was residing back in the minor town of his birth. Ten years earlier, in 538 AH / 1143 CE,[ he had set to work on a Qur'an commentary of ambitious dimensions
Dr Toby Mayer is a Research Associate in the Qur’anic Studies Unit at The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. After completing his undergraduate degree in Indian Studies at the University of Cambridge, he went on to study Medieval Arabic thought at the University of Oxford, where he wrote his doctoral thesis on the Book of Allusions (Isharat) by the major Persian philosopher Ibn Sina.