The first IIS publication available in Portuguese, Breve História dos Ismaelitas, is a translation by Paulo Jorge de Sousa Pinto of Farhad Daftary’s A Short History of the Ismailis. Published by the Centre for the Study of Portuguese-speaking Peoples and Cultures at the Catholic University of Portugal, the monograph, which forms the 8th volume in the Centre’s prestigious Studies and Documents series, is a seminal contribution to Islamic Studies in a language spoken by 214 million people worldwide.
Portuguese is the official language of eight countries: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bisseau, Mozambique, Portugal and San Tome and Principe. It is also spoken in the Indian province of Goa and Macao in China. The historical and cultural importance of Islam in the Iberian Peninsula has led to the development of Islamic Studies as an academic discipline in Portugal. Other lusophone countries such as Brazil, however, do not have a single Islamic Studies programme offered in its 73 universities, despite it being home to 1.7 million Muslims.
An important contribution to the field of Religious Studies more generally, Breve História dos Ismaelitas will go a long way to provide a more accurate portrayal of the history and doctrines of the second largest Shi‘i community to Portuguese speakers.
As part of the Institute’s efforts to make its scholarship and perspectives available to a wider audience, translations and transcriptions of its publications are now available in nine languages including Arabic, French, German, Hungarian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Tajik Cyrillic and Urdu. The Gujarati translation of A Short History of the Ismailis is scheduled to be published later this year.