Director Institute of Ismaili Studies Professor Azim Nanji Speaks on Pluralism and its Contents

The Director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS), Professor Azim Nanji, spoke on ‘Pluralism and its contents’ at a seminar on 23 November 2007 at Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC). The seminar was the last in the series ‘Possibility of Pluralism’, which discussed pluralism and its specific relevance to Muslim societies.

Other speakers in the last seminar included Professor Rajeev Bhargava, Senior Fellow and Director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies; Louis Greenspan, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at McMaster University in Ontario and Professor Abdou Filali-Ansary, Director of AKU-ISMC.

In his talk, Professor Nanji provided an example of a group of scholars in tenth century Basra who, in his view, wrote about issues related to plurality of religious interpretations in their own context. The group, known as Ikhwan al-Safa (Brethren of Purity), had written a series of 52 epistles in which they explored arguments about what ought to be the foundations of a society that took knowledge seriously. He framed the question the Ikwan were engaging with as: “If a society is to start from the premise that knowledge should be a foundation, what should be the form of that knowledge?” Further, he noted that the group was also “interested in the fact that the Muslim world in the 10th century had become very cosmopolitan, after three centuries of expansion and growth and conversion.”

Complete at the source

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

2 thoughts

  1. Thank you! Professor Azim Nanji,

    You make us to realize our historical backround. In addition, you encourage us to stand again on the development of the scientific and technology that we were discovered 1000s years ago during the reign of the Fatimid. Our scholars did discover different aspects of science and technology of the time after graduting from Al-Azhar Univeristy in Cairo, Egypt during the 900s and 1100s in Egypt as well as Iran. I would say they were the poeple who let to encourage the world to move in an enlighted century after the renaissance.


  2. you make us realize that ismailism is not only a Tariqah but behind every Tariqah a Haqiqat is hidden, and the real thing is to approach to that reality ( Haqiqat ).
    The same concept is given to us by our great scholars who past in the ismaili history.


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