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A Short History of the Ismailis

Traditions of a Muslim Community

Farhad Daftary

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Despite being one of the key Shi'i Muslim communities, the Ismailis were until recently studied primarily on the basis of the accounts of their enemies. This new introduction is the first to be based on modern scholarship, taking account of recently recovered Ismaili texts. It covers all the main developments in the major phases of Ismaili history, from the early formative period, through the Fatamid golden age and the Alamut and post-Alamut periods, to more recent history. Dealing only with the most important historical developments, this is a comprehensive and accessible survey for all newcomers to the subject.


The author is to be congratulated on a text that compresses a great deal of authoritative information and yet remains very readable.
The author focuses on major themes and developments, as well as the historical background from which they arose. His writing is succinct and lucid, making use of primary and secondary sources, in which he shows a remarkable range of scholarship...Daftary's book provides an excellent overview of the history of the Ismailiyya from its inception to the present. Its particular focus is the sect's history, but its doctrines also receive ample treatment. The reader is introduced both to the primary sources and to the scholarly literature- eloquent proof of the author's great erudition. The chapters of the book complement one another to form a fascinating tale that is readable and fluent; at the same time they stand as independent units, any of which can be read on its own. Daftary deserves high prase for this exemplary project, which will be eminently useful for both scholars and students

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