Dr Farhad Daftary
Co-Director and Head of the Department of Academic Research and Publications
Area of focus:
  1. Ismaili History
  2. Shi'i Islam
  3. Shi'i intellectual history


Farhad Daftary completed his early and secondary education in Tehran, Rome, and London, before going to Washington, D.C., in 1958. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the American University there, and then continued his graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, leading to a Ph.D. degree in 1971. Subsequently, Dr. Daftary held different teaching posts, and, since 1988, he has been affiliated with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, where he is currently Co-Director and Head (since 1992) of the Department of Academic Research and Publications.

An authority in Shi'i studies, with special reference to its Ismaili tradition, Dr. Daftary has published and lectured widely in these fields of Islamic studies. In 2011 a Festschrift entitled Fortresses of the Intellect was produced to honour Dr. Daftary by a number of his colleagues and peers. As well as serving on various editorial boards, Dr. Daftary is a consulting editor of the Encyclopaedia Iranica (for Ismailism), co-editor (with W. Madelung) of the Encyclopaedia Islamica, and general editor of the “Ismaili Heritage Series”, the “Ismaili Texts and Translations Series” and the “Shi'i Heritage Series”. He has written more than 200 articles and encyclopedia entries and several acclaimed books, including The Isma<ilis: Their History and Doctrines (1990; 2nd ed., 2007), The Assassin Legends (1994), A Short History of the Ismailis (1998), Ismaili Literature (2004), Ismailis in Medieval Muslim Societies (2005), (with Z. Hirji) The Ismailis: An Illustrated History (2008), Historical Dictionary of the Ismailis (2012) and A History of Shii Islam (2013).  His edited volumes include Mediaeval Ismaili History and Thought (1996), Intellectual Traditions in Islam (2000), Living in Historic Cairo (2010), A Modern History of the Ismailis (2011), (with Gurdofarid Miskinzoda) The Study of Shi'i Islam (2014), Fifty Years in the East: The Memoirs of Wladimir Ivanow (2015) and Ismaili History and Intellectual Traditions (2018).  Daftary’s books have been translated into Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Gujarati, Chinese, Indonesian and numerous European languages. 

The Study of Shiʿi Islam
A History of Shi'i Islam
A Modern History of the Ismailis: Continuity and Change in a Muslim Community
Living in Historic Cairo: Past and Present in an Islamic City
The Ismailis: An Illustrated History
Ismailis in Medieval Muslim Societies
Ismaili Literature: A Bibliography of Sources and Studies
Culture and Memory in Medieval Islam: Essays in Honour of Wilferd Madelung
Intellectual Traditions in Islam
A Short History of the Ismailis: Traditions of a Muslim Community
Mediaeval Ismaili History and Thought
The Isma‘ilis: Their History and Doctrines
An Introduction to Shi'i Heritage Series with Dr Farhad Daftary
In this twenty minute interview, Dr Daftary elaborates upon the principal objectives of the Shi‘i Heritage Series, launched by the Institute in 2014, to promote a better understanding of the doctrines and practices of Shi‘i Islam in historical and contemporary manifestations.
Interview with Dr Farhad Daftary on Encyclopedia Islamica