[Adapted from the Preface]
This work is the culmination of more than three decades of research and compilation undertaken by Dr Farhad Daftary, ever since he started his research on the history of the Ismailis. By then, publications in this field of Islamic studies had already grown significantly since the 1920s and 1930s when Louis Massignon (1883-1962) and Asaf A.A. Fyzee (1899-1981) made the earliest attempts to take stock of modern scholarship on the Ismailis. The rapid increase in the number of Ismaili-related publications since the middle of the twentieth century is, indeed, a reflection of the impressive progress of modern Ismaili studies during that period. Aspects of the progress made in the field have been recorded, partially but on a regular basis, in the Index Islamicus, conceived by James D. Pearson (1911-1997), and its continuation in the Quarterly Index Islamicus, while Nagib Tajdin attempted a sketchy and uncritical compilation in his A Bibliography of Ismailism (1985).
As is now well-known, modern scholarship in Ismaili studies has been almost exclusively due to the recovery and study of an increasing number of Ismaili manuscript sources preserved privately in India, Central Asia, Syria and Yaman, amongst other regions. The improvement in our knowledge of Ismaili texts and in their recovery may be readily traced by a comparative analysis of A Guide to Ismaili Literature (1933), compiled by W. Ivanow (1886-1970) partially on the basis of the medieval Fihrist al-Majdu‘, and its second revised edition, Ismaili Literature: A Bibliographical Survey (1963) with I.K. Poonawala’s monumental Biobibliography of Isma‘ili Literature (1977), which identifies some 1,300 titles attributed to more than 200 authors. It may be noted here that this new bibliography by Dr Daftary relates only to ‘published’ primary sources, by or about the Ismailis (Chapter 3), as well as secondary studies (Chapter 4) and, as such, it complements the works of Ivanow and Poonawala which refer mostly to unpublished Ismaili texts. A most valuable undertaking accomplished by Professor Poonawala is the identification of the locations of the various manuscripts of each text.
The coverage of secondary studies in the present bibliography is not limited to Ismaili history and thought, although these areas do represent its focus. Ismailism is defined rather broadly here to cover what some scholars designate more specifically as Fatimid studies, including Fatimid political history, institutions, art and archaeology. In addition, certain peripheral yet highly relevant subjects and areas of study have been covered to various extents, notably the Ikhwan al-Safa’ and their Rasa’il as well as the Cairo Geniza documents and the Druzes who originally split away from the Ismailis in the time of the Fatimid Ismaili caliph-imam al-Hakim (d. 411/1021).
In the case of the Druzes, particular emphasis has been placed on major monographs and publications related to the earlier history of this community in Fatimid times (but without covering the Druze writings which are not always readily accessible) together with the earliest studies of the orientalists who sometimes also covered the Ismailis in their investigations of the Druzes. Druze studies are currently experiencing a breakthrough as attested by two recent bibliographies compiled by Samy S. Swayd (1998) and Talal Fandi and Ziyad Abi-Shakra (2001). A selection of recent publications on Imami Shi‘ism, covering the early history and teachings of the Shi‘i imams recognized by the Ismailis, as well as some major genealogical works and biographical dictionaries, are also included.
An attempt at comprehensive coverage of Arabic, Persian and Tajik (Cyrillic) publications has been made in the present bibliography. Similarly, all major publications in the main European languages, especially English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian, have been included, in addition to a selection in other languages such as Dutch and Polish. The coverage of publications in Urdu and Turkish is less certain. With few exceptions, publications in Gujarati and other Indian languages have been excluded, although a selection of the religious literature of the Khojas, the ginans, in English translation has been included. Ismaili publications in South Asian languages would indeed require a separate annotated bibliography. Also excluded is most of the literature of a popular or polemical kind produced by different Ismaili groups as well as numerous ‘open letters’ and legal proceedings of court cases. Chapter 4: Studies, with few exceptions, deals exclusively, or at least primarily, with books, contributions to collective volumes, articles, encyclopaedia articles, etc., on the Ismailis. Consequently, chapters or sections on Ismailis appearing in single-authored books devoted to other Islamic subjects have not been covered. A selection of Ismaili-related theses is covered in Chapter 5.
The system of transliteration used in this book for the Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Urdu scripts, as well as the Cyrillic characters, is essentially the same as that adopted in the second edition of The Encyclopaedia of Islam, with the usual modifications.
This comprehensive bibliography will be a particularly useful work of reference and essential tool of research for scholars and students of general Islamic and Ismaili studies.