The Ismailis are the second-largest Shi'i community in the world today, settled in over 25 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North America. They are the only Muslims to follow a living spiritual guide of their community, the Nizari Ismaili Imam. This book is the first collection of biographies of all the Ismaili Imams, from the seminal Imams of early Shi'i Islam, through to those of the first 'period of concealment' when their public identities remained hidden, to the Imam-caliphs of the illustrious Fatimid dynasty, and those of the Alamut period, up to the Aga Khans of the modern period. The Ismaili Imams mines the rich scholarship of the developing field of Ismaili Studies, providing a simple and clear resource for the general reader, as well as a handy reference guide for scholars. This copiously illustrated book offers a snapshot of the lives, events, and legacies of all 49 Imams, and through them, of the Ismaili community's storied past.
About the Author
Farhad Daftary received his early education in Iran, Italy and England, and then undertook his university studies during 1958-1971 in the United States. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Subsequently, he held various academic and governmental posts in Iran, before in 1988 joining the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, where he is currently Director and Head of the Department of Academic Research and Publications. Dr Daftary is a consulting editor of the Encyclopaedia Iranica, co-editor (with W. Madelung) of the Encyclopaedia Islamica, as well as the general editor of the Ismaili Heritage Series, the Ismaili Texts and Translations Series and the Shi'i Heritage Series. An authority on Ismaili studies, he has written and edited 20 books in this field, including The Isma'ilis: Their History and Doctrines (1990; 2nd ed., 2007); The Assassin Legends (1994); A Short History of the Ismailis (1998); Ismaili Literature: A Bibliography of Sources and Studies (2004); A History of Shi'i Islam (2013); and (with Z. Hirji), Islam: An Illustrated Journey (2018). He has also written more than 50 articles and book chapters and some 150 encyclopaedia entries. Dr Daftary's books have been translated into Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Gujarati and numerous European languages.