The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, a Search for Salvation

Hardcover | May 3, 2007

byShafique N. Virani

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"None of that people should be spared, not even the babe in its cradle." With these chilling words, the Mongol warlord Genghis Khan declared his intention to destroy the Ismailis, one of the most intellectually and politically significant Muslim communities of medieval Islamdom. The massacresthat followed convinced observers that this powerful voice of Shi'i Islam had been forever silenced. Little was heard of these people for centuries, until their recent and dramatic emergence from obscurity. Today they exist as a dynamic and thriving community established in over twenty-fivecountries. Yet the interval between what appeared to have been their total annihilation, and their modern, seemingly phoenix-like renaissance, has remained shrouded in mystery. Drawing on an astonishing array of sources gathered from many countries around the globe, The Ismailis in the Middle Ages:A History of Survival, A Search for Salvation is a richly nuanced and compelling study of the murkiest portion of this era. In probing the period from the dark days when the Ismaili fortresses in Iran fell before the marauding Mongol hordes, to the emergence at Anjudan of the Ismaili Imams whoprovided a spiritual centre to a scattered community, this work explores the motivations, passions and presumptions of historical actors. With penetrating insight, Shafique N. Virani examines the rich esoteric thought that animated the Ismailis and enabled them to persevere. A work of remarkableerudition, this landmark book is essential reading for scholars of Islamic history and spirituality, Shi'ism and Iran. Both specialists and informed lay readers will take pleasure not only in its scholarly perception, but in its lively anecdotes, quotations of delightful poetry, and grippingnarrative style. This is an extraordinary book of historical beauty and spiritual vision.This book has won The Farabi International Award, the Houshang Pourshariati Iranian Studies Book Award of the Middle East Studies Association (runner up), the UNESCO Award, the ISESCO Award, and is co-winner of the Book Award of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies.

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From the Publisher

"None of that people should be spared, not even the babe in its cradle." With these chilling words, the Mongol warlord Genghis Khan declared his intention to destroy the Ismailis, one of the most intellectually and politically significant Muslim communities of medieval Islamdom. The massacresthat followed convinced observers that this ...

Dr. Shafique N. Virani is an Assistant Professor of Historical Studies and the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:322 pages, 6.1 × 9.41 × 1.1 inPublished:May 3, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195311736

ISBN - 13:9780195311730

Customer Reviews of The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, a Search for Salvation

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing! It was an amazing book, many new facts was presented in it. For me a complicated bibliography, but I am sure it would be a valuable resourse for research. I enjoyed reading every chapter and it kept me eager to the last page...
Date published: 2010-01-03

Extra Content

Table of Contents

IntroductionChapter 1:. Recovering a Lost HistoryChapter 2:. The Eagle ReturnsChapter 3:. Veiling the SunChapter 4:. Summoning to the TruthChapter 5:. Possessors of the CommandChapter 6:. Qibla of the WorldChapter 7:. The Way of the SeekerChapter 8:. Gnosis and ImamateAfterwordGlossaryBibliographyNotes

Editorial Reviews

"This is a masterful reconstruction of the history of the Ismailis of Iran, a minority Shi'i community that was forced underground in the thirteenth century by intense persecution. Reliable data on the Ismailis has been hard to come by-their libraries were destroyed and their reputationsbesmirched by hostile propaganda. Through painstaking archival research and careful readings of previously unknown sources, Shafique Virani has significantly revised the traditional accounts of this community's history." --Ali Asani, author of Ecstasy and Enlightenment: The Ismaili DevotionalLiteratures of South Asia