The result of more than three decades of research, Dr Daftary's Ismaili Literature: A Bibliography of Sources and Studies is a new IIS publication which takes stock of the progress in Ismaili studies, from pre-modern and early modern times until today. It provides an essential reference tool for students and scholars of Ismaili and Islamic studies.
This monumental work provides a general survey of Ismaili history, the relevant primary sources for its different periods, and an overview of Ismaili studies. It presents an annotated listing of all published sources produced in medieval and early modern times, by Ismaili authors as well as other Muslims, on Ismaili history and doctrines.
Ismaili Literature captures ongoing research in the field of Ismaili studies, containing a comprehensive bibliography of secondary studies, covering all aspects of Ismaili history and thought, Fatimid political history and institutions, as well as art and archaeology. In addition, certain peripheral yet relevant areas of study have been covered to various extents, such as the famous Ikhwan al-Safa’ and the Druzes who originally split away from the Ismailis in the 5th/11th century.
A selection of Ismaili-related theses and lists of Ismaili imams and da‘is have also been included. In terms of different languages, publications in Arabic, Persian, Tajik (Cyrillic) and Urdu are represented in a comprehensive manner; and similarly, all studies in the main European languages have been covered.
This work is a testimony to the changes which have occurred in the field of Ismaili studies in the last century. “Until the 1930s/40s, Ismailis were exclusively and erroneously depicted on the basis of evidence collected or fabricated by their detractors” explains Dr Daftary, Associate Director and Head of Department of Academic Research and Publications. As a result, a variety of myths and legends circulated widely, both in Muslim societies and in the West, regarding the teachings and practices of the Ismailis.
The breakthrough in Ismaili studies came with the recovery and study of numerous genuine Ismaili texts that had been preserved in private collections in India, Central Asia, Syria, Yaman and other regions. Many of these texts have been edited, translated and published since the 1950s, thus contributing to the impressive progress in modern Ismaili scholarship. Dr Daftary elaborates: “Consequently, we began to see the production of critical editions based on these manuscripts and slowly a new picture of Ismaili history emerged.”
One of the foremost authorities on Ismaili Studies, Dr Daftary’s Ismaili Literature is an invaluable reference work and compilation of literary sources, a tremendous tribute to his many years of engagement with the field of Ismaili studies.
Read more about Dr Daftary’s engagement in the field of Ismaili studies and his comments on the challenge of correcting historical misperceptions pertaining to the history and traditions of the Ismailis.