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The Fatimids:1- The Rise of a Muslim Empire

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Emerging from a period of long seclusion, the leader of the burgeoning community of Ismaili Shi'i Muslims was declared the first Fatimid Imam-caliph in the year 909. Abd Allah al-Mahdi founded the only sustained Shi'i dynasty (909-1171) to rule over substantial parts of the medieval Muslim world, rivalling both the Umayyads of Spain and the Abbasids. At its peak, the Fatimid Empire extended from the Atlantic shores of North Africa, across the southern Mediterranean and down both sides of the Red Sea, covering also Mecca and Medina.

This accessible history, the first of two volumes, tells the story of the birth and expansion of the Fatimid Empire in the 10th century. Drawing upon eyewitness accounts, Shainool Jiwa introduces the first four generations of Fatimid Imam-caliphs -- al-Mahdi, al-Qa'im, al-Mansur, and al-Mu'izz -- as well as the people who served them and those they struggled against. Readers are taken on a journey through the Fatimid capitals of Qayrawan, Mahdiyya, and Mansuriyya and on to the founding of Cairo.

In this lively and comprehensive introduction, readers will discover various milestones in Fatimid history and the political and cultural achievements that continue to resonate today.

Author: Jiwa Shainool
Publisher: TAURIS I.B.
Pages: 160
ISBN: 9781784539351
Cover: Paperback
Edition Number: 1
Release Year: 2018

Farhad Daftary is Co-Director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, and Head of its Department of Academic Research and Publications. An authority on both Shi`i and Ismaili studies, he has lectured and published widely, with more than 200 articles, encyclopaedia entries, edited books and acclaimed monographs. Most recent of these are: Ismaili History and Intellectual Traditions (2017), Fifty Years in the East: The Memoirs of Wladimir Ivanow (2015) and The Study of Shi'i Islam (2014). Dr Daftary's books have been translated into Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Gujarati, Chinese, Indonesian and numerous European languages.

Shainool Jiwa is a senior faculty member at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. As a specialist on the Fatimids, she has written and lectured extensively on medieval Islamic history and has edited and translated key medieval Arabic texts relating to Fatimid history, including The Founder of Cairo (2013) and Towards a Shi`i Mediterranean Empire (2009). Dr Jiwa is also the co-editor of The Shi`i World: Pathways in Tradition and Modernity (2015).

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