Intellectual Life Among The Ismailis: An Overview

987 words - 4 pages

The paper under review is an academic work, written by Farhad Dafatry, Daftary an eminent scholar in Ismaili historiography and their thoughts, has wrote several books on Ismailis, their history and Ideas. Undertaken articles belongs to the book titled ?Intellectual Traditions in Islam?, is also edited by Dafatry himself.This piece of work aimed to synthesize aspects of Ismailis in the realm of intellectual traditions and their contribution in the development of Islamic Rationalism, with respect the history of Shi?ism. The work starts with a brief introduction, of Ismailis and their tenets.Author inform us that basic doctrine of Shi?ism, was developed and espoused by Ja?far al-Sadiq, and or to say in Bulliet?s words Ja?far al-Sadiq should considered as the first Imam, who is been defined by the doctrine of Shi?ism. According to him the Imam as defined by Ja?far al-Sadiq is a paramount and a divinely guided spiritual leader, who has an authority as vested in ?Ali?, to their descendent, and Imam is the only one who has a particular kind of knowledge (Hikmah), not available to ordinary human being. And Imamate was to be transmitted by the rule of nass; hence we can say that there would be an only single Imam in a particular time as designated by the previous Imam. Then the Author ponders on the early sect, developed due to the historical causation, we are informed that early Shi?ite was first divided after the death of the Ja?afar al-Sadiq, those who accepted his eldest son Isma?il, called themselves Isma?iliyya, and which later grown into the Ta?wiliya, who stressed on the esoteric meanings of the Koran rather then focusing on Za?hiri aspects of faith.Ismaili?s intellectual development comes in full moon, after the creation of Fatmid Dynasty, where first time in the history of Islam, Ismaili expressed openly their believes; constructed the cyclical history of time, according to which they had divided the time in seven periods, which they called ?dawar?, each dawar have one big prophet called Natiq, who have an associate Wasi Ali, and other Imam in Ali?s Progeny, whose obedience is required for the salvation on the judgment day. Many of the Fatimid Dai?s tried to harmonize this cyclical view of history with the Judo-Christian Tradition of Kabbalah, and some other like Al-Kirmani, and Al-Sijistani proposed some other systems borrowed from Greek Tradition of Neo-Platonism, and Aristotelian Metaphysics of Being.To look the paper from critical perspective is very difficult because the author has chosen a very wide spectrum of thought from history, author has developed the paper on the approach of discussing history with respect to the development of ideas and their expression in different time, however for some, who has not exposed to the history of Ismailis would be very helpful but to other who are solely interested in the history of ideas may become confused, it seems that author is not clear that whether he should focus on the history of idea or to...

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