I.B. Tauris in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies
Al-Muʾayyad fi’l-Dīn al-Shīrāzī (d. 470/1087) was an outstanding Ismaili scholar of Persian origin. He excelled as a missionary-agent (dāʿī), statesman and poet. Towards the end of his long and active life, al-Muʾayyad became the head of the Ismaili mission (daʿwa) – the chief dāʿī – in the time of the Fatimid Caliph-Imam al-Mustansir in Cairo.
Based on his memoirs, Sīrat al-Muʾayyad fi'l Dīn, this work provides an insight into the remarkable life and achievements of al-Muʾayyad through important stages of his career. Written in a masterful Arabic literary style and rhetoric, the Sīra describes in detail his daring attempt to win over the Būyid rulers of western Iran to the Fatimid cause; his flight to Cairo where his ambitions to be near the Imam are initially frustrated by powerful court officials; and finally, his expedition to Syria and Iraq as a Fatimid plenipotentiary to forge an alliance of local rulers against the Saljūk Turks invading the central Islamic lands from the East.
Through a close analysis of the Sīra, the author of the book demonstrates that, in addition to being a personal account of a highly dedicated Fatimid dāʿī, this is a rich historical source on the organisation and function of the Ismaili mission. It is also an extensive and valuable source for Islamic history in the 5th/11th century, dealing with crucial events in the struggle between the Fatimids, Abbasids, Būyids and Saljūqs for political and military supremacy in the Muslim world. Thus, al-Muʾayyad’s memoirs serve as a unique magnifying glass concentrating the international political dynamics of the age in the narrative of one life and destiny.
Part I: Al-Muʾayyad’s Mission in Fārs
2. The Rise and Fall of a dāʿī
3. Al-Muʾayyad’s Memoirs as a Source for History
4. The Self-portrayal of a dāʿī
Part II: Al-Muʾayyad in Egypt and Syria
5. Al-Muʾayyad at the Fatimid Court in Cairo
6. Al-Muʾayyad’s Political Mission in Northern Syria
Part III: Al-Muʾayyad at the Pinnacle of his Career
7. Al-Muʾayyad as Chief dāʿī in Cairo
Appendix 1: The Works of al-Muʾayyad fi’l-Dīn al-Shīrāzī
Appendix 2: The Hierarchy and Pedagogy of the Fatimid daʿwa
Verena Klemm is professor at the Institute of Arabic Studies at the University of Leipzig. A specialist in Islamic history and Arabic Literature, she obtained her doctorate in Islamic studies from the University of Tübingen in 1988. Dr Klemm is the author of Die Mission des faṭimidschen Agenten al-Muʾayyad fī’d-din in Sīrāz (Frankfurt, 1989) and other studies on Islamic subjects in German and English.