Encyclopaedia Islamica Volume 4

Bābā Afḍal - Bīrjandī


This volume of Encyclopaedia Islamica is the fourth of a projected 16-volume publication, consisting of an abridged and edited translation of the Persian Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif-i Buzurg-i Islāmī, one of the most comprehensive sources on Islam and the Muslim world. One unique feature of this work of reference lies in the attention it gives to Shiʿi Islam and its rich and diverse heritage, which makes it complementary to other encyclopaedias. In addition to providing entries on important themes, subjects and personages in Islam generally, it offers the western reader an opportunity to appreciate the various dimensions of Shiʿi Islam, the Persian contribution to Islamic civilisation, and the spiritual dimensions of the Islamic tradition.

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Wilferd Madelung has made significant contributions to scholarship on mediaeval Islamic movements, including Twelver Shi‘ism, Zaydism and Ismailism. He is a former Laudian Professor of Arabic at the University of Oxford and Senior Research Fellow with The Institute of Ismaili Studies.

Farhad Daftary is Associate Director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies. He is an authority on Mediaeval Islam and Ismaili studies, consulting Editor of Encyclopaedia Iranica, and sits on the Advisory Board of the Encyclopaedia of Islam (3rd edition).
“Clearly the editors of ISLA have selected articles they consider will augment the existing reference sources – and they have completed this selection task with acumen and skill. The work as a whole remains, however, a “specialist encyclopaedia” […] – or perhaps more accurately, it is an encyclopaedia for specialists […]. In that sense, it is a valuable addition […] to the reference work available at present. Perhaps its greatest merit is that it brings to an international audience a key example of and an excellent advertisement for high-quality Iranian scholarship which has hitherto been available but known only to a few.”
Robert Gleave in Journal of the American Oriental Society, 130. 1 (Jan-Mar 2010), P. 111-113.

".. the publication of Encyclopaedia Islamica is a notable step forward in including the Shi‘a viewpoint in scholarship on Islam."
Mousa al‑Reza Wahdati in Journal of Shi‘a Islamic Studies, Winter 2015, Vol. VIII, No. 1.

"Printed on coated paper, the five volumes so far published are an impressive achievement both in production as well as in scholarship related to Persian themes."
Yashab Tur in Islamic Sciences, Vol. 14 (Summer 2016) No. 1.
All those interested in Islamic studies, particularly Shi'i Islam, and all those interested in the history of Iran / Persia
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