The chapters of this volume contain a series of detailed studies of various aspects of Fatimid rule in the regions of its Mediterranean and Near Eastern empire, 909 to 1171 AD, including separately the role of the imam-caliph, wazīr, chief qāḍī and dāʿī, and other political and public offices of this Shīʿī caliphate. Geographically it covers North Africa, Sicily, the Levant, Hijaz, Cairo and Egypt in the medieval period, with special attention to books, science and libraries, court society, festivals, intellectual traditions and Ismaili doctrines, its religious appeal, military, enemies and rivals, among them the Abbasids, Umayyads, and Ibadis.
Paul E. Walker (Ph.D. University of Chicago, 1974) was director of the American Research Center in Cairo for over ten years (1976-86). He is currently Deputy Director for Academic Programs, Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago.
List of Abbreviations
Part 1: Institutions of Government
1 The Role of the Imam-caliph as Depicted in Official Treatises and Documents
2 Was the Fatimid Amīr al-Juyūsh in fact a Wazīr?
3 The Relationship between Chief Qāḍī and Chief Dāʿī
4 The Responsibilities of Political Office in a Shīʿī Caliphate and the Delineation of Public Duties
5 Kutāma, Kalbids and Other Westerners: The Maghāriba in Cairo
6 Egyptian Popular Festivals
7 Alexandria as an Entrepôt in the East-West Exchange of Islamic Scholarship
8 Royal Libraries and the Production of Texts
Part 2: Society and Culture
9 Social Elites at the Court
10 The Caliph al-ʿAzīz and His Daughter Sitt Al-Mulk: A Case of Delayed but Eventual Succession to Rule by a Woman
11 Intellectual Currents and Traditions
12 Literary Culture
13 The Pitti Palace Rock Crystal Ewer and the Sordid Story of How and Why It Came to Exist
14 Al-Ḥākim and the Dhimmīs
Part 3: Religious Appeal
15 The Doctrine of Taʾwīl in Fatimid Ismaili Texts
16 To What Degree Was Classical Ismaili Esotericism Based on Reason as Opposed to Authority?
17 Techniques for Guarding and Restricting Esoteric Knowledge in the Ismaili daʿwa
18 Science in the Service of the Fatimids and Their Daʿwa
19 An Ismaili Answer to the Problem of Worshiping the Unknowable, Neoplatonic God
Part 4: Rivalries
20 Ismaili Polemics Against their Opponents
21 Islamic Ritual Preaching (Khuṭbas) in a Contested Arena: Shīʿīs and Sunnīs, Fatimids and Abbasids
22 Portrayals of the Umayyads in Official Pronouncements and in Daʿwa Literature
23 Conflict with the Ibāḍīs and the Ibāḍī Version of the Imamate in North Africa and in the East
24 The Abbasid-Fatimid Rivalry for Control of the Holy Cities and the Hijāzī Response Bibliography of Works Cited in the Text or Notes
Anyone interested in the history of the Ismailis and/or Islamic Egypt in the medieval period.