The Institute of Ismaili Studies is pleased to announce the publication of an Arabic edition and English translation of the Tathbit al-imama, attributed to the Fatimid Caliph-Imam al-Mansur. This book, edited and translated by Professor Sami Makarem  has been published under the title, The Shi‘i Imamate: A Fatimid Interpretation.


The Tathbit al-imama is an early Ismaili treatise on the legitimacy of the imamate of Imam ‘Ali b. Abi Talib and that of the Ismaili imams from among his progeny. As such, this work holds particular importance for Shi‘a Muslims. As one of the earliest Ismaili works on this crucial and fundamental Shi‘i subject, it can be seen as a major exposition on the doctrine of imamate more generally.


The Tathbit al-imama focuses on the legal and historical aspects of the doctrine of imamate. In the way it draws on the Qur’an, hadith and logical arguments, it is clear that it is directed at the Muslim community in all its different religious affiliations.


The Shi‘i Imamate marks the twentieth publication in the Institute’s Ismaili Texts and Translations Series. It has been compiled from two manuscripts of the Tathbit, both of which are now in the collection of the Institute’s library. In this edition, the Arabic text has been carefully translated into idiomatic English to retain the character and flavour of the original text as much as possible.


Professor Sami Makarem obtained a BA in Literature and Philosophy in 1954 which was followed by an MA in Arabic Literature in 1957, both from the American University in Beirut. Professor Makarem obtained his PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan in 1963. A prolific author, Professor Makarem wrote over twenty books including The Doctrine of the Ismailis (1972) and The Druze Faith (1974). He passed away in August 2012.


Related Pages on the IIS Website:


Academic Article: What is Shi‘a Islam