A Modern History of the Ismailis: Continuity and Change in a by Farhad Daftary

By Farhad Daftary

The Ismailis have loved an extended, eventful and complicated heritage courting again to the 8eigth century CE and originating within the Shi'i culture of Islam. through the medieval interval, Ismailis of alternative regions--especially in important Asia, south Asia, Iran and Syria--developed and elaborated  their very own specified literary and highbrow traditions, that have made an exceptional contribution to the tradition of Islam as an entire. even as, the Ismailis within the heart a long time break up into major teams who various non secular leaders. The Nizari Ismailis got here to have a line of imams now represented through the Agha Khans, whereas the Tayyibi Ismailis – recognized in South Asia because the Bohras – got here to be led by means of da'is (vicegerents of the hid imams).

This assortment is the 1st scholarly try to survey the fashionable background of either Ismaili groupings because the heart of the nineteenth century. It covers numerous topical concerns and topics, corresponding to the modernizing regulations of the Aga Khans, and in addition contains unique experiences of nearby advancements in Ismaili groups around the globe. The members concentration too on how the Ismailis as a non secular neighborhood have replied to the dual demanding situations of modernity and emigration to the West.

A glossy heritage of the Ismailis might be welcomed because the such a lot whole overview but released of the new trajectory of this attention-grabbing and influential Shi'i community.

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Since these events developed in the broader context of the establishment of the French mandate authority and the initial strong local resistance against it, other parties intervened when the crisis in Qadmus deepened and spread to other areas, among them Sharifian officials from the entourage of King Faysal and nationalist activists from the main inland towns such as Damascus and Hama. The situation in the Qadmus area was tense because a rival leadership had developed opposing the traditional authority of the Ismaili amirs.

A number settled in the larger villages in the mountains, others in the nearby towns of Hama, Homs and Tartus, while some emigrated to the Americas. The first satellite villages of Salamiyya, ʿIzz al-Din and Sabbura, were founded in the 1860s, but both failed to prosper mainly owing to pressure from the local Arab tribesmen. In spite of these setbacks, new settlements were soon founded. Akkari families started farming around Kafat in about 1870, representing the first case of a satellite village to succeed.

Local Society in Coastal Syria In the coastal mountains, the Ismailis were outnumbered by the Nusayris, who since the 1920s have been called Alawis. There is very little reliable information available on the historical demography of this area, but what is certain is that the Ismailis were gradually losing territory to their Alawi neighbours, notwithstanding indications that Ottoman authorities were generally favourably disposed towards the Ismailis when it came to local politics. Their long tradition of holding office, in particular as tax collectors, had made the leading Ismaili families relatively close associates of the provincial authorities.

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