I.B. Tauris in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies
This volume includes a fully annotated English translation and critical edition of the Arabic text of the Kitāb al-ʿAlīm wa’l-ghulām (The Book of the Master and the Disciple), one of the earliest Ismaili Shiʿi writings, by the famous fourth/tenth century Yemeni author Jaʿfar b. Manṣūr al-Yaman.
In addition to being a key source for pre-Fatimid Ismaili thought and history, this work is uniquely important as the most elaborate example of the narrated dialogue form in Arabic literature. The work also vividly illustrates the processes by which early esoteric Shiʿi ideas and institutions eventually contributed to the evolution of more familiar forms of Sufism in the Muslim world.
Finally, the author’s reputation as a master of taʾwīl (esoteric interpretation of the Qurʾan) is reflected in the complex integration and existential elaboration of Qurʾanic themes illustrated throughout this dialogue – a distinctive feature which makes this book of wider interest to students of Islamic studies and comparative religions.
I. General Presentation
II. The Historical Significance of the Kitāb al-ʿAlīm wa’l-ghulām A. The Literary Form of the Text
B. Sufism and Esoteric Shiʿism
C. Early Ismailism and the pre-Fatimid Daʿwa
D. Later Mustaʿli Ismailism
III. Jaʿfar b. Manṣūr al-Yaman and His Writings
IV. Reading a Qur’anic Dialogue
V. Manuscripts and Edition
Notes to the Introduction
The Book of the Master and the Disciple (English Translation)
Notes to the Translation
Index to English Parts
Kitāb al-ʿAlīm wa’l-ghulām (Arabic Text and Indices)
‘...a unique source for pre-Fatimid thought and history...’
– V.L., Middle East Journal
James W. Morris is currently Professor and Chair of Islamic Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and has published widely on many areas of Islamic religious thought and practice. His books include The Wisdom of the Throne: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mulla Sadra (1981), Ibn ʿArabī: The Meccan Illuminations (co-author, I989), Orientations: Islamic Thought in a World Civilisation (2001) and Spiritual Practice and Discernment: Ibn ʿArabi on Spirituality in Everyday Ljfe (2001).