Harvard Course on Ismaili Ginans & Muslim Devotional Literature by Dr. Ali Asani

Harvard University is offering a brand new course by Professor Ali Asani on Muslim Devotional Literature in South Asia, featuring the study of the Ismaili Ginans in their historical, cultural, and devotional contexts. The Ginans stem from the Satpanth Ismaili tradition of South Asia and Ismaili tradition attributes the authorship of the Ginans to the Pirs (the babs or supreme hujjats of the Imam) and Sayyids descended from the family of the Ismaili Imams and who were active from the 12th century to the 19th century.

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Judaism, Christianity & Islam: Forgotten Shared Beliefs of the Abrahamic Faiths

I think that monotheistic religions, having a common reference to One God, should and must dialogue. The three religions which Abraham inspired have many more common facets than those which divide them. Religion must be the means by which to affirm the ethical significance of existence, regardless of one’s profession of faith.

Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV,
(Interview with Correre della Sera, Massimo Nava, October 22, 2001)

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Comparing the Imamat and the Papacy: Some Short Notes

The recent visit of Pope Francis to the United States is a suitable occasion to consider the often invoked comparisons between the Ismaili Imam and the Catholic Pope.

  • The institution of the Imamat is the succession to the Prophet Muhammad and recognizes Hazrat ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib as the first Imam. The Imamat is a hereditary office where each Imam is appointed and designated by the sole designation (nass) of the previous Imam;
  • The office of the Papacy claims to represent the succession to Jesus and recognizes Simon Peter as the first Pope and successor. The Pope is elected by a College of Cardinals;
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    Survey: Ismailism Topics of Interest

    Ismaili Gnosis has created a short survey to determine the sort of topics, subjects and issues most relevant to those wishing to learn more about Ismailism. Please take one minute to fill out the survey as this information will allow Ismaili Gnosis to gear its future articles to your needs. The survey is completely anonymous. Please note that this survey is not related to any Ismaili community institutions.

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    Video: Muslim-Christian Dialogue on Jesus featuring Sunni, Ismaili, Catholic and Protestant Interpretations

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    “I think that monotheistic religions, having a common reference to a single God, should and must dialogue. The three religions which Abraham inspired have many more common facets than those which divide them. Religion must be the means by which to affirm the ethical significance of existence, regardless of one’s profession of faith.”
    – Imām Shāh Karīm al-Ḥusaynī Āgā Khān IV, 

    (Interview with Correre della Sera, Massimo Nava, October 22, 2001)

    As the Christmas weekend, it is an appropriate time for Christians and Muslims to read, reflect and understand their beliefs and views on the question of Jesus – his life, spiritual status, mission, and crucifixion – and explore both the difference and the commonality. Most interfaith dialogues between Christians and Muslims feature only the majority perspectives within each faith and neglect the views of Islam’s rich esoteric heritage – as manifest in Shī‘ī Ismā‘īlī Islam and Sufi Islam. In fact, an engagement between Christianity and the esoteric traditions of Islam can lead to a more fruitful and meaningful dialogue:

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    The Crucifixion in Shi‘a Isma‘ili Islam

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    “…the conditions of the dialogue between Christianity and Islam change completely as soon as the interlocutor represents not legalistic Islam but this spiritual Islam, whether it be that of Sufism or of Shi‘ite gnosis.”
    (Henry Corbin, Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth, Prologue)

    Click Here to Read the full article at The Matheson Trust:
    The Crucifixion in Shi‘a Isma‘ili Islam by Khalil Andani (MTS – Islamic Studies – Harvard, 2014)

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    The Eternal Imam: Songs of Krishna – Sermons of ‘Alī

    Imām ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib once proclaimed this soul-quaking utterance in his “Sermon of the Great Explanation”:

    “I am the Sign of the All-Powerful. I am the Gnosis of the Mysteries. I am the Threshold of Thresholds. I am the companion of the radiance of the divine Majesty. I am the First and the Last, the Manifest and the Hidden. I am the Face of God. I am the mirror of God, the supreme Pen, the Tabula secreta.”
    – Imām ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib,
    (Khuṭbah al-Bayān, Shah-Kazemi, Justice and Remembrance, 187)

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    What is Islamic Universality?

    “Islamic Universality” is a new blog which was created at the exact same time as Ismā‘īlī Gnosis. The blog’s first post – also emphasing the universality of the gnosis of tawḥīd – is featured here.

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    To answer this question as far as this blog is concerned, I will firstly try to define what “Islamic” and “Universality” mean to me within a Quranic worldview, and then proceed.

    “Islam” means both ‘peace’ and ‘submission’ in Arabic and and also designates the ‘religion’ of all the Prophets in general and the final religion sent to the Prophet Muhammad (saw) in particular who appears at the historical end of a whole chain (silsila) of plenary Prophecy. The Quran, which is the ‘Word of God’ revealed piece-wise in Scriptural form to the Prophet Muhammad (saw), utilizes all these definitions in appropriating ‘islam’ in various contexts within the Quran. That which is ‘islamic’ then, is anything  or any subject which is related to a state or condition of spiritual peace and submission before its Creator. The term “islam” is therefore appreciated both in an ontological sense as well as an application of any mode of Prophetic…

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    From Ādam to Āga Khān: The Universal Imāmat

    “God created my spirit and the spirit of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib two thousand years before He created humankind.  He sent ‘Alī secretly with every prophet and openly with me.”
    – Prophet Muhammad

    The Imāmat is the office of spiritual and religious leadership recognized in Shī‘ī Islam according to which the Imām is the spiritual and religious successor (waṣī) of the Prophet Muḥammad. While prophetic revelation ended with the Prophet Muḥammad, divine inspiration, spiritual authority, religious guidance, and mystical gnosis continued in the institution of Imāmat.

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