Faith and World: Contemporary Ismaili Political and Social Thought

Mohammad N. Miraly. iUniverse, $19.95 trade paper (253p) ISBN 978-1491-78973-5
Miraly’s lucid book surveys the current intellectual landscape of Ismaili Muslims (a branch of Shi’a Islam) and serves as a worthwhile introduction to the faith. Going beyond headlines about the Aga Khan—the leader, or imam, of Ismaili Muslims worldwide—and his reported resplendence, Miraly provides a new reading of Ismaili perspectives on justice, democracy, and pluralism. By looking at Ismaili institutions and intellectuals in various locations—including Central Asia, Europe, Kenya, and Canada—Miraly illustrates how Ismailis are trying to connect their historical approach to mystical and esoteric knowledge with modern commitments to social justice, liberal democracy, and devotion to the imamate (their understanding of Islamic leadership as residing in the line of imams stretching back to the prophet Muhammad). This book serves as a quasi-apologetic for Ismaili Islam and positions Ismailis as Muslims in tune with ideals of democracy and liberal pluralism. Although it could do with a bit more critical nuance, the work still serves as a substantial overview to Ismaili principles, prominent thought leaders, history, and contemporary practice. Miraly’s survey helpfully contributes to an ever more complex picture of the global Muslim community beyond Sunni and Sufi sects that are widely known in the Western world. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2018
Release date: 09/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 264 pages - 978-1-4917-8974-2
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