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One of many richest and so much lucrative, but whilst least usual, traditions of Muslim literature is that of the Shi'i Imami Ismailis. even if many nice literary treasures of the Islamic global are already on hand in English translation, these of the Ismailis are just slowly being made obtainable to students and readers at huge. This immense anthology makes an essential and welcome contribution to that means of wider dissemination. It brings jointly for the 1st time extracts from quite a number major Ismaili texts in either poetry and prose, right here translated into English via the various prime students within the box. The texts integrated belong to an extended span of Ismaili background, which extends from the Fatimid period to the start of the 20th century. The translations in query were rendered from their originals in Arabic, Persian and the various languages of Badakhshan and South Asia. With giant sections dedicated to such huge themes as religion and idea, historical past and biography, ethics, the Imamate, Ta'wil (or esoteric exegesis and textual interpretation), the anthology deals constantly enriching glimpses into the depths, range and specialty of 1 of the nice traditions of Islamic proposal and creativity, which nonetheless is still quite undiscovered by way of the West.
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Extra resources for An Anthology of Ismaili Literature: A Shi'i Vision of Islam
Many Sunni scholars, led by Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī (d. 505/1111), wrote refutations of the Ismaili doctrine of taʿlīm. It is to be noted that the Nizārīs do not seem to have responded to these polemics. By 489/1096, when the fortress of Lamasar was seized, Ḥasan had acquired or built numerous mountain strongholds in Daylamān, the centre of Nizārī power in northern Persia. Meanwhile, the Ismailis had come to possess a network of fortresses and several towns in Quhistān, in south-eastern Khurāsān, which remained the second most important territory of the Nizārī state in Persia.
Aiming to safeguard his community, Sinān entered into intricate and shifting alliances with the major neighbouring powers and rulers, notably the Crusaders, the Zangids and Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn. The Syrian Nizārīs had intermittent conflicts with the Templars and the Hospitallers, Frankish military orders which often acted independently in the Latin East. The only one of the Syrian dāʿīs to act somewhat independently of Alamūt, Sinān evidently taught his own version of the doctrine of qiyāma. He led the Syrian Nizārīs for almost three decades to the peak of their power and fame until his death in 589/1193.
The bulk of the Ismailis of Syria, too, joined the Mustaʿlīan camp. On the other hand, the Ismailis of Persia who were then already under the leadership of Ḥasan-i Ṣabbāḥ supported the succession rights of Nizār. The Central Asian Ismailis seem to have remained uninvolved in the Nizārī-Mustaʿlī schism for quite some time. The Fatimid state survived for another 77 years after the Nizārī-Mustaʿlī schism of 487/1094. These decades witnessed the rapid decline of the Fatimid caliphate which was beset by continuing crises.