Ginans: A popularisation of the Sanskrit word jnan, which is generally defined as 'contemplative or reflective knowledge.' Among Ismailis originating in the Indian subcontinent, the word refers to the part of their tradition whose authorship is attributed to those who converted and preached beginning in the eleventh century. The languages in which the ginans exist reflect the areas from which they originate, including Sind, Punjab, and Gujarat. Recognized as important in preserving in local languages the devotional spirit of Islam.

This article was originally published in The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, 2004.

Author

Professor Azim Nanji

Professor Azim Nanji serves currently as Special Advisor to the Provost at the Aga Khan University. Most recently he served as Senior Associate Director of the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University 2008-2010 and also lectured on Islam in the Department of Religious Studies. He was previously the of Director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies from 1998 - 2008. 

 

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