Nov 7, 2009

Gallery - Must Visit ---

Delicacy and Harmony in Persian Book Covers
The art of binding and the protection of scripts are as old as writing itself. The contribution made by Muslim craftsmen has been a significant element in the history of this craft and the contribution of Persian craftsmen is particularly important. More

The Sayyidi Muhammad ‘Ali Hamdani Collection
The Sayyidi Muhammad ‘Ali Hamdani Collection came to The Institute of Ismaili Studies in 2006, thanks to the generosity of Professor and Mrs. Abbas Hamdani. The Collection is extremely important, not only because of the rare and precious manuscripts it contains but because it was formed over generations by scholars in a single distinguished family. More

Muslim Spaces of Worship and Gathering
While the mosque is the site most often associated with Muslim expressions of piety, there are a range of spaces used by Muslim communities – Shi‘a and Sunni – for their worship and gathering. These range from the ashurkhana and zawiya to the khanqah and tekke. While some of these spaces are specific to particular Muslim communities, others are clustered geographically or are prominent amongst particular cultural groups. More

The Calligraphic Tradition in Islam
Adapted and edited from a presentation given by the late Dr Duncan Haldane at “The Spirit of Islam: Experiencing Islam through Calligraphy” exhibition in Vancouver, Canada. Calligraphy has developed into a very important artform and devotional activity in Islam since it is regarded as one means by which the divine word of God can be recorded. It has permeated all aspects of creative expression in Muslim culture, including art and architecture. More

Coinage of the Fatimids
The selection of Fatimid coins presented here are important documents providing unique chronological and historical details. Further, the fine, elegant epigraphy, the more open design characterised by its circular emphasis, and the myriad of stylistic and artistic variations makes Fatimid coinage particularly interesting. More

Illuminating Beauty, Illustrating Harmony: A Gallery celebrating the 25th Anniversary of The Institute of Ismaili Studies
Drawing on examples from the collection at The Institute of Ismaili Studies, this gallery invites the viewer to the large and complex subject of the artistic and intellectual heritage of Islam. The artefacts reflect the great diversity and range of a distinctive visual culture with its own unique artistic language. More

From Ibn Sina to Tusi: The Scientific Tradition in Medieval Islam
From the ninth century onwards, scholars in Muslim lands were engaged in all of the disciplines of science. A treasury of Greek, Indian, Persian and Babylonian philosophic and scientific thought became available through translations into Arabic, and philosopher-scientists, physicians, mathematicians and astronomers... More

Al-Azhar: An Ancient Centre of Learning
Al-Azhar (The Luminous) was constructed as the central grand-mosque for Cairo by al-Qaid Jawhar al-Siqillí when he took Egypt for the Fatimid Imam-Caliph al-Mu‘izz li Dín Allah in 969 CE and founded Cairo as its capital city. It was inaugurated on 7 Ramadan 361 AH / 22 June 972 CE. Possibly so-named after Prophet Muhammad’s daughter Fatima al-Zahra, through whom the Fatimids traced their genealogy back to the Prophet. More

Khojki Manuscripts
The Institute of Ismaili Studies has a collection of over 800 volumes of Khojki and Gujarati manuscripts. Khojki, or Khwajah Sindhi, is the term applied to the special script that was used by the followers of the Nizari Ismaili Muslim tradition in the Indian subcontinent to record their religious literature. More

Nizari Ismaili Castles of Iran and Syria
In 483/1090, the Persian Ismailis under the leadership of Hasan Sabbah occupied the castle of Alamut, situated in a remote and mountainous area of the Rudbar district in northern Iran. Over the next 150 years, the Ismailis succeeded in capturing more than 200 large and small fortresses in Iran and Syria with settlements in surrounding towns and villages, thus establishing their own autonomous states in these regions. More

The Amirali Mamdani Collection
A large collection of original slides, photographs and films belonging to and shot exclusively by Mr Amirali G Mamdani was presented to The Institute in autumn, 2001. A small selection of images taken by Mr Mamdani during his visits to Iran, the Indian subcontinent and Syria are available for viewing on the website. More

Music and Poetry from the Pamir Mountains
The Pamiris are divided into different ethnic groups according to their origin and language. The musical traditions of Badakshan have been influenced by the surrounding Muslim cultural context, but the inaccessibility of the Pamir Mountains has been an important factor in the development and preservation of some of the unique musical practices of Badakhshan... More

The Institute of Ismaili Studies: Reflections on the first 25 Years
From its modest beginnings in the late 1970s, The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) has developed into a vibrant centre of learning, addressing not only the needs of the international Ismaili community, but also contributing to and participating in the contemporary debates of the Muslim world at large. More

Wellsprings of Wisdom: Persian Contributions to Ismaili Thought
An exhibition from the Library’s collections - many displayed for the first time - that reflect the textual contributions of Persian scholars to various strands of Ismaili thought from the 8th to the 18th centuries. More

Manuscripts in the Zahid ‘Ali Collection
A prominent Ismaili scholar of the 20th century, Dr Zahid ‘Ali passed away in 1958, leaving a small number of widely acclaimed studies on the history and doctrines of the Ismailis. In 1997, the only surviving son of Dr Zahid ‘Ali, Professor ‘Abid ‘Ali, generously donated to The Institute of Ismaili Studies an exceptional collection of Arabic manuscripts from his father’s collection. More

The Diversity of Mosque Architectures
The mosque, an emblematic building in Islam, while theoretically requiring nothing more than marking the direction of prayer, has developed a number of distinctive architectural forms. Local building traditions and differing social and cultural contexts have influenced the diversity of mosque architectures and variety of methods in which mosques have been built. More

From the Manuscript Tradition to the Printed Text: The Transmission of the Rasa’il of the Ikhwan al-Safa’ in the East and West
The Ikhwan al-Safa’, a group of Muslim thinkers who, in the late ninth and early tenth centuries, produced an encyclopaedic corpus of 52 epistles (rasa’il). The Rasa’il occupies a unique position in the history of Islamic thought and has engaged the attention of scholars in the East and West. An eloquent testimony to their popularity and influence is the existence of numerous manuscript copies of the text scattered throughout the world. More

Rahat al-‘aql of Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani
The Rahat al-‘aql of Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani: An Arabic Manuscript from the Zahid Ali Collection. Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani was a major Muslim scholar and writer who flourished during the time of the Fatimid Imam al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (who reigned from 996 to 1021 CE). More

Ginans: A Tradition of Religious Poetry Amongst the Ismailis
The ginans are a corpus consisting of several hundred (by some estimates over a thousand) hymns or religious lyrics which have long been a central part of the religious life of the Indian Nizari Ismaili Community, and also shared by the Imamshahi community in Gujarat. More


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