I.B. Tauris in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies
To what extent does the mystical path necessitate a withdrawal from the world' Is there a contradiction between the demands of contemplation and those of an active, responsible life? Does the mystical path have to be antagonistic to the intellect? Can Sufism play a role in the modernisation of Muslim society? These are some of the issues examined in this essay, which uses the case study of a Shi‘i Muslim community – the Ismailis of rural Iran – whose ideas and actions question, at the very least, the notion that Islamic mysticism is necessarily passive and other-worldly.
2. The Ismailis of Iran
3. The Paradox of World-affirming Mysticism
4. Windows to an Understanding
5. The Pilgrimage
6. The World of Debates
7. Formal Pronouncements
8. The Coteries of Interpretation
9. Conclusions: The Plurality of Meaning and the Meaning of Plurality
Rafique Keshavjee obtained a doctorate in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. He worked in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Art and Architecture at Harvard and MlT, and was Associate Dean of The Institute of Ismaili Studies. Currently he is with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, as Director of the Aga Khan Humanities Project for Central Asia.