Akhbaar - Seminars
 
 
  Islamic History and Thought Lecture Series: IIS
A Neo-Fatimid Treasury of Books: Arabic Manuscripts among the Alavi Bohras of Baroda
30th September 2021
Webinar by Dr Olly Akkerman  (Freie Universität, Berlin)
Discussants: Dr Samira Sheikh  (Vanderbilt University, USA), Dr Fârès Gillon (The Institute of Ismaili Studies, UK)
   
  Report: This webinar was beautifully conducted as many of the interested scholars and researchers participated those who were aware of the basics of Bohras.  Before becoming a participant is such exclusive webinar one has to be well-versed with Taiyebi Alavi Bohras' traditions, doctrines, practices, customs, history, culture, language, social set-up etc.  Preserving, reading, copying, translating, teaching, propagating of the manuscripts is an age-old tradition of Alavi Du'aat and this tradition is alive in all its spirit till date.  Da'i uz Zamaan TUS is unceasingly striving to adhere to the Alavi tradition of propagating and explaining the gist and subject-matter of these manuscripts in a simple way to common adherents or scholars.  "This priceless heritage is not only to be preserved in cupboards but it should remain alive in the hearts of my believers", says Da'i uz Zamaan TUS.
   
 
   
 

This paper (webinar) focuses on the Alavi Bohra community in Vadodara, Gujarat, and their khizānat al-kutub, or treasury of books. As Shi’i Isma’ilis, the Alavi Bohras consider themselves heirs of the Fāṭimid Imamate (909–1171). Whereas other Isma’ili communities, such as the Nizārīs, claim a genealogical link to the Fāṭimids through the presence of a living Imam, the Bohras legitimize their “Neo-Fāṭimid” identity through a living Arabic manuscript culture and documentary practices enshrined in khizānat in Gujarat. These treasuries, which are governed by the sacerdotal families of the Bohra communities, contain vast collections of rare Isma’ili Arabic manuscript titles, ranging from legal works to philosophical treatises, to esoteric texts.

Yet these khizānat are more than repositories of books from the past: they are living manuscript scriptoria at work, where Fāṭimid and post-Fāṭimid texts have been manually copied for centuries under strict conditions of secrecy. While a philological link between the Bohras and the Fāṭimids has hitherto been acknowledged through the study of individual manuscript copies held in academic institutions, the social and historic importance of Bohra khizānāt in this chain of transmission remains uncharted territory.

Based on ethnographic observations and archival research among the Alavi Bohras, Dr Akkerman argues that these manuscripts, and their presence in Gujarat, are foundational for Bohra Isma’ilism as it is practiced today in South Asia and for the transmission of its knowledge system. Their material survival ultimately defines the Alavi Bohras’ identity and legitimizes their position and authority in the larger Shi’i context and in the Muslim umma at large as heirs of the Fāṭimids.

   
 

Dr Olly Akkerman (Institute of Islamic Studies, Freie Universität Berlin) is a specialist on Arabic manuscripts and Shi'i Islam. Her research examines the social life of manuscript repositories, and other forms of material culture among the Bohras in South Asia and the larger Western Indian Ocean. Her publications include The Bohra Manuscript Treasury as a Sacred Site of Philology: a Study in Social Codicology and a monograph: A Neo-Fatimid Treasury of Books. Arabic Manuscripts among the Alawi Bohras of South Asia (EUP, forthcoming 2022)

 

 
  Husain Day Webinar - Message of Humanity
23-09-2021
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 

Islaam is the deen selected for the well-being of entire humanity with peace and love.  Harmony is the essence of peace and prosperity that fosters the high morals of a person irrespective of caste, creed and religion.  Islaam is the final and pure religion on this earth and it encompasses all the good qualities and pureness from every religious establishments.  ‘as-Salaam’ is one of the Allaah’s 99 attributes and it means peace and tranquility that is reflected in every aamaal of Islaam.  Recently on 10th April 2010, an international conference was held on World Peace by Indo-Iran Peace Forum and Iran Culture House in New Delhi where Mazoon ud-Da’wat Saiyedi Haatim Zakiyuddin saheb (dm) was invited by Cultural Counsellor Dr. K Najafi.  Here Saiyedi saheb met with renowned Shia-Sunni scholars and activists who notably contributed in establishing peace nationally as well as internationally between different nations and faiths.  Importantly, Saiyedi saheb met personally a topmost scholar of Iran Peace process fraternity ash-Shaikh Ali Mohammad at-Taskhiri and exchanged tabarrukaat and acknowledged his achievements with great respect.