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One of many richest and such a lot worthwhile, but even as least general, traditions of Muslim literature is that of the Shi'i Imami Ismailis. even though many nice literary treasures of the Islamic international are already on hand in English translation, these of the Ismailis are just slowly being made obtainable to students and readers at huge. This great anthology makes an essential and welcome contribution to that means of wider dissemination. It brings jointly for the 1st time extracts from a variety of major Ismaili texts in either poetry and prose, the following translated into English via the various top-rated students within the box. The texts incorporated belong to a protracted span of Ismaili background, which extends from the Fatimid period to the start of the 20 th century. The translations in query were rendered from their originals in Arabic, Persian and the various languages of Badakhshan and South Asia. With monstrous sections dedicated to such large themes as religion and concept, background and biography, ethics, the Imamate, Ta'wil (or esoteric exegesis and textual interpretation), the anthology deals always enriching glimpses into the depths, variety and forte of 1 of the nice traditions of Islamic idea and creativity, which nonetheless is still particularly undiscovered by means of the West.
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Additional info for An Anthology of Ismaili Literature: A Shi'i Vision of Islam
It was during his period of exile in Yumgān that Nāṣir produced most of his poetry and prose, including several theological works such as the Zād al-musāfirīn and the Jāmiʿ al-ḥikmatayn, his last known composition completed in 462/1070 at the request of his Ismaili patron in Badakhshān, the amīr Abu’l-Maʿālī ʿAlī b. Asad. Amongst his other Ismaili works preserved in Central Asia, mention may be made of the Gushāyish wa rahāyish, the Shish faṣl and the Wajh-i dīn, Nāṣir’s major treatise on taʾwīl containing esoteric interpretations of a range of religious commandments such as prayer, fasting and pilgrimage.
The Ismailis had high esteem for learning and elaborated distinctive traditions and institutions of learning under the Fatimids. Foremost among these was alAzhar, initially founded as a mosque under al-Muʿizz, which subsequently became a leading college and centre of learning in the Muslim world. ’ As a result, a variety of lectures or ‘teaching sessions,’ generally designated as majālis (singular, majlis), were organized. The private lectures on Ismaili esoteric doctrine, known as the majālis al-ḥikma or ‘sessions of wisdom,’ were reserved exclusively for Ismaili initiates who had already taken the oath of allegiance and secrecy.
Baybars, the victorious Mamlūk sultan, now resorted to various measures for bringing about the submission of the Nizārī strongholds in Syria. Kahf was the last Nizārī outpost there to fall in 671/1273. However, the Syrian Nizārīs were permitted to remain in their traditional abodes as loyal subjects of the Mamlūks and their Ottoman successors. Having lost their political prominence, the Nizārīs henceforth lived secretly as religious minorities in numerous communities scattered in Syria, Persia, Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent.