The Fatimid empire flourished from the early 10th into the second half of the 12th century. Under the enlightened rule of this dynasty, Fatimid caliphs governed, first from North Africa and later from Cairo – a city founded by them – a domain extending from Arabia in the east to present-day Morocco in the west. As living imams of the Ismaili branch of Shiʿism, they exercised dual authority over both spiritual and secular realms.

The sermon – in Arabic the khuṭba – was (and continues to be) a standard feature of Islamic congregational observance. Fatimid caliphs took quite seriously and seldom missed the duty to deliver it on the twice-yearly occasion of the festivals of the breaking of the fast and of sacrifice. Eventually they added Friday sermons for the month of Ramaḍān. But, from all such occasions, we have precious few examples. Still those we have allow us to appreciate the event and the words uttered on it. This book provides unique access to them by presenting the Arabic originals with complete English translations. In addition, it includes a history of the Fatimid khuṭba – what was said, by whom and on what occasions – and an analysis of its themes and rhetorical strategies.