The IIS holds one of the most significant repositories in the world of materials related to Ismaili communities. The beginnings of this collection can be traced back to the 1930s and 1940s when the Russian scholar and pioneer of modern Ismaili studies, Vladimir Ivanow (1886-1970), together with Mr Chotu Lakhani and other Ismaili scholars, gathered a large number of manuscripts for The Ismaili Society in Bombay. These acquisitions have provided the basis for the Institute’s own collection.
The Zahid Ali CollectionA prominent Ismaili scholar of the 20th century, Dr Zahid ‘Ali passed away in 1958, leaving behind a small number of widely acclaimed studies on the history and doctrines of the Ismailis. Nearly forty years later, in the autumn of 1997, the only surviving son of Dr Zahid ‘Ali, Professor ‘Abid ‘Ali, generously donated to the Library of The Institute of Ismaili Studies an exceptional collection of Arabic manuscripts inherited from his father’s collection.