The Institute of Ismaili Studies has embarked on an ambitious project to publish a complete critical edition and annotated English translation of the Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safa’ (The Epistles of the Brethren of Purity). Scheduled to begin publishing in 2006, the series will provide the first comprehensive study in English of the 9th/10th century corpus and its authors.
Speaking at the recent ‘Diversity in Islam: Bridging the Gaps’ Conference held at Parliament Hill in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, Professor Azim Nanji, Director of The Institute of Ismaili Studies, presented his thoughts on ‘Muslim Civilisations: The Challenges and Opportunities in the Postmodern Era.’ The one-day conference, sponsored by Women Engaging in Bridge Building (WEBB), aimed to build an understanding of the legitimacy and value of diversity and human pluralism in Muslim societies.
Exploring an Islamic Empire: Fatimid History and its Sources is the latest publication in the Institute's Ismaili Heritage Series. In the work, Paul E. Walker surveys the shape and content of the dynasty's history and examines the sources used to reconstruct and analyse that history.
The IIS is pleased to announce its most recent publication: The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought by Professor Mohammed Arkoun. Formally launched on March 25th at the Ismaili Centre, London, and published in association with Saqi Books, the book makes available for the first time in English, the breadth and depth of the author’s work, updated to reflect the changing Muslim landscape over the past decade
Nineteen students from seven countries, including one Fulbright scholar, were accepted into the Institute’s Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities (GPISH). The students selected from almost 300 applicants will embark on an intensive two-year course in the faith, culture and thought of Muslim societies, leading to a Masters degree from a British university.
The first book published by The Institute of Ismaili Studies in Russian, Kratkaya istoriya isma‘ilizma, a translation of Farhad Daftary’s A Short History of the Ismailis, has been translated by Leila Dodikhudoevai and Lola Dodkhudoevai and edited by Oleg F. Akimushkin of the Institute of Oriental Studies in St Petersburg. Since the mid-1990s, more than 20 translations in six languages of ten Institute publications have been released.
Memoirs of a Mission: The Ismaili Scholar, Statesman and Poet, al-Mu’ayyad fi’l-Din al-Shirazi by Verena Klemm is the ninth publication in the Institute’s Ismaili Heritage Series. Based on his memoirs, Sirat al-Mu’ayyad fi’l-Din, the work provides an insight into the remarkable life and achievements of this prominent Fatimid da‘i in the political context of the Muslim world of the 5th/11th century.
The graduating Class of 2003 and over 120 guests commemorated the Class’ achievements at a ceremony held at London’s Royal Geographic Society on October 19, 2002. The students who began the Institute’s Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities in September 2000 will now go on to pursue their Masters at universities of their choice.
“Muslim Pluralism: Historical and Contemporary Encounters with the Internal Others” is the title of the Institute’s 2002 Seminar Series, which will explore the diverse ways in which Muslims have addressed issues of authority, governance, knowledge, gender, material culture, social relations, space, language, ethics and the sacred. The series’ first seminar,“The Contemporary Challenge of Pluralism in the Management of Competing American Islamic Identities” was conducted by Professor Patrice Brodeur on March 5, 2002.
Translated and edited by Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi from the Persian original by Ayatollah Ja‘far Sobhani, The Institute of Ismaili Studies’ newest publication, Doctrines of Shi‘i Islam: A Compendium of Imami Beliefs and Practices is a joint endeavour between the IIS and the Imam Sadiq Institute (ISI) in Qom, Iran.
The third seminar in the Institute’s new series exploring Muslim Pluralism , entitled Muslim Identity and Mosque Architecture,” was conducted by Professor Hasan-Uddin Khan on May 15, 2002. Professor Khan demonstrated the diversity of expressions used by Muslims in expressing their religious identities through their built environment.
The Institute of Ismaili Studies, in collaboration with The Center for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia (Markaz Da’irat al-Ma‘arif-e Buzurg-e Islami) in Tehran, is developing one of the most ambitious and comprehensive resources in English on the Muslim world. In addition to contributing a significant number of articles on Ismaili-related topics to the original Farsi version of the encyclopaedia, the Institute is scheduled to translate the anticipated 40-volume reference work into English.
Early Shi‘i Thought: The Teachings of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (I. B. Tauris in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies) by Dr Arzina R. Lalani , was awarded one of Iran’s most prestigious literary awards, the Kitab Sal-e Vilayat, by the country’s Ministry of Culture. The prize, which is in its fourth year, is offered to the best publication, in any language, on the topic of love and devotion to the Shi‘i imams.
Beginning in 1997, The Institute of Ismaili Studies has awarded Doctoral Scholarships to outstanding students whose research and work complements the larger research goals, activities and mandate of the IIS. This year’s three recipients, all alumni of the Institute’s Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities, are Arif Jamal (Canada; Class of 1997), Nacim Pak (Iran; Class of 2002) and Marodsilton Mubarokshoeva (Tajikistan; Class of 2003).
Attended by more that 250 scholars, students, and artists, ‘Word of God, Art of Man: The Qur’an and its Creative Expressions’, concluded its proceedings on October 21, 2003. As one of the events marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of The Institute of Ismaili Studies, the international three-day colloquium focused on the Sacred Word of Muslims as a source for creative and artistic inspiration.
Professor Roy Mottahedeh concluded the Institute’s latest seminar series, “Muslim Pluralism: Historical and Contemporary Encounters with the Internal Others” on January 27, 2003 with his talk, “Pluralism: Reflections From the Work of Rumi.” Beginning in March 2002, 11 speakers have examined the diverse ways in which Muslims have addressed issues of authority, governance, knowledge, gender, material culture, social relations, space, language ethics and the sacred.
A giant in the field of Islamic Studies and specifically Sufism, her publications included hundreds of articles and books on Islamic art, theology, poetry, calligraphy and mysticism, as well as translations of Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu and Sindhi poetry into German and English.
Surviving the Mongols: Nizari Quhistani and the Continuity of Ismaili Tradition in Persia , by Nadia Eboo Jamal is the eighth monograph in the Institute’s Ismaili Heritage Series . In this work, the author examines, through the writings of the Ismaili poet and da‘i Nizari Quhistani, how the Nizari Ismaili community of Persia succeeded in retaining its religious identity and communal structures after the Mongol invasions.
Addressing an audience of international educators, Professor Azim Nanji, Director of The Institute of Ismaili Studies, delivered the 2003 Peterson Lecture at the Palais des Nations in Geneva Switzerland on May 5, 2003 as part of a meeting of The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). The wide-ranging talk entitled ‘Rethinking Our World: The Search For a Pluralist Vision,’ tackled the complexities of understanding the world we inhabit and the challenge of curriculum designers and implementers.
The Institute hosted the second lecture of the Seminar Series entitled “Civil Society in Muslim Contexts” on 26th January, 2001. “Tajikistan: From Civil War to Civil Society?” presented by Dr Shirin Akiner, a Central Asian specialist, explored the forces affecting notions of Tajik identity and contemporary prospects for civil society in the context of the country's recent history.