Welcome to F.I.E.L.D.- the First Ismaili Electronic Library and Database.

A Short History of the Ismailis Traditions of a Muslim Community

The Ismailis represent the second largest Shi‘i Muslim community after the Twelvers (Ithna‘ asharis), and are today scattered as religious minorities in more than twenty-five countries of Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. Despite their long history and contributions to Islamic civilisation, however, they were until recently one of the least understood Muslim communities. In fact, a multitude of medieval legends and misconceptions circulated widely about Ismaili teachings and practices, while the rich literary heritage of the Ismailis remained inaccessible to outsiders. The breakthrough in Ismaili studies had to await the recovery and study of a large number of Ismaili sources, a phenomenon that has continued unabated since the 1930s. As a result, modern scholarship in the field has already made great strides in distinguishing fact from fiction in many aspects of Ismaili history and thought.

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