Ismailis, Yesterday and Today
First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #58
Louhelen Bahá'í School: Davison, Michigan, USA
October 8–11, 2004
(see list of papers from #58)
The talk explores the following subjects: the history of the Ismaili Movement/sect, their theology (Alamout-some of the key events, Hasan 'Ala zekrihi salam- and Post Alamout, sufi disguise,) the Fatemis, the role of Nasir Khosrow and Hassan Sabbah, the Ismailies of Pamir, the Mogul conquest, Ismailies during the Qajar period, the significance of the title of The Aga Khan. The sojourn of the Aga Khans from Iran to India and later to Europe, the doctrine of taghia (dissimulation) in Ismailism. Were some of the great literary figures of Persian History Ismailies? Avecina, Attar, Rumi, Shams-i-Tabrizi Shabastari and others? What was the influence of Ismailies on the Safavid dynasty and the Twelver Shi'is? What are the similarities between Bahá'í theology/'irfán and the Ismaili theology/'irfán?
Where are the Ismailies today? Who is Karim Aga Khan? The face of God on earth or a very rich European aristocrat? What are the Ismailies doing today? What does the Aga Khan do for the Ismailies? What does he do for other Muslims? What does he do for others? What are their socio-economic programs? What does Jama'at Khane (Congregation House) mean? What is Deedar (Visit)? Who are the scholars who write about Ismailies? What are the available sources for Ismaili studies? This whole topic is fascinating and is essential for understanding Persian Islamic 'irfán and culture from the beginning of the Ismaili movement through the Safavid era.
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