The IIS is pleased to announce the publication of A Modern History of the Ismailis: Continuity and Change in a Muslim Community, edited by Dr Farhad Daftary, Co-Director of the Institute. This publication is the culmination of the most recent scholarship, in many cases based on field research, as well as oral traditions and community documents not published hitherto. As such, it is the first publication of its kind dealing with the modern history of the Ismailis.
The Ismailis have had a long, eventful and complex history dating back to the 8th century CE, originating in the Imami Shi‘i tradition of Islam. Ismailis of different regions have developed and elaborated their own distinctive literary and intellectual traditions, making outstanding contributions to Islamic thought and culture. In the Middle Ages, the Ismailis split into two main communities that followed different Imams or spiritual leaders. The bulk of the Ismailis, the Nizaris, came to have a line of Imams represented in modern times by the Aga Khans, while the Tayyibi Ismailis – known in South Asia as the Bohras – came to be led by da‘is (vicegerents of their concealed Imams).
This collection of studies is the first scholarly attempt to survey the modern history of both Ismaili branches since the middle of the 19th century CE. For the Nizari Ismailis, it covers a variety of topical issues and themes, including the modern history of their communities in Syria, Central Asia, South Asia and East Africa, as well as their migration to the West. The modernising, education and gender policies of the Nizari Imams since the middle of the 19th century CE are also discussed, as well as the Aga Khan Development Network and approaches to the built environment. A separate section is devoted to the modern history of the Tayyibi Bohras and developments within that community.
The contributors include Sultonbek Aksakalov, Ali S. Asani, Stefano Bianca, Farhad Daftary, Dick Douwes, Hakim Elnazarov, Zulfikar Hirji, Karim H. Karim, Zayn R. Kassam, Saifiyah Qutbuddin, Tahera Qutbuddin, Malise Ruthven, Amier Saidula and Shiraz Thobani.