We’re really excited to bring to our listeners a season of programming fresh for 2021. Former guest, Dr. Kevin Blankinship, BYU Utah, will be giving us a tour of classical Arabic poetry starting with ʿImr al-Qays (d.544CE) and his muʿallaqaḧ ode considered a high point of literary achievement. Despite its ancient origins, its themes of love, loss and friendships retains a freshness even for modern ears.
Here is what to expect:
1. ʾImr al-Qays (501-544 CE): an introduction to the Muʿallaqāt and pre-Islamic Jāhilī poetry 
2. al-Farazdaq (c.641-c.730 CE) and his rivals: an introduction to Umayyad poetry 
3. Abū Nuwās (c.756- c.814 CE): Life, works and legacy of a hedonist 
4. Abū al-ʿAtāhiyyaħ (748-828 CE): Life, works and legacy of an ascetic poet 
5. Abū Tammām (c.807-850 CE): Life, works and legacy of an anthologist 
6. al-Ḥallāj (c.858-922 CE): Life, works and poetic legacy of a martyred mystic 
7. al-Mutanabī (c.915-965 CE): ‘the Shakespeare of the Arabs’ 
8. Abū Firās al-Ḥamdānī (932–968 CE): the prison poetry of a prince 
9. Ibn Zaydūnī (1003-1071 CE): an introduction to Andalusian poetry 
10. Ibn ʿArabī (1165-1240 CE): Life, works and poetic legacy of a Sufi 
11. Ṣafī al-Dīn al-Ḥillī (1278-1349 CE): Life, works and legacy 
12. Legacy of classical Arabic poetry: a retrospect of the series with Dr. Kevin Blankinship 
Dr. Christian Sahner gives a fluent and concise introduction to Christian life prior and after the Arab-Islamic conquests of the Levant including the phenomenon of conversion and martyrdom of executed Christian converts from Islam.
We really enjoyed our conversation with Dr. Silver, historian-turned-novelist. Dr. Silvers shows how the move from academic historian to novelist requires the same imagination that the study of history demands.
Dr. Khalil Andani gives perhaps the most succinct introduction to the history of Ismailism. We cover their beginnings, understanding of revelation, the Qaramatians, the Fatimid caliphate and sub-sects.
We’re doing something we haven’t done before. We’re sharing the script for our forthcoming show. We’re doing this because we’re stuck for our fourth question before the final promo question. This month we’re interviewing Dr. Khalil Andani on an introduction to the history of Ismailism.
So here’s our script so far which we will modify with your questions. We want to stay in our golden zone of 30 minutes.
[intro jingle] Hello and welcome to episode 13 of the Abbasid History Podcast: an audio platform to examine premodern Islamic(ate) history and a global medieval past. We are sponsored by IHRC bookshop. Visit IHRC bookshop at shop.ihrc.org. I am your host, Talha Ahsan, a 1st year PhD student at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Now onto the show.
Ismailism, a branch of Shia Islam, attribute themselves to Ismail, who died in 762CE, the eldest son of the 6th Shia Imam Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq. Ismailism rose at one point to become the largest branch of Shīʻism, climaxing as a political power with the Fatimid Caliphate in the tenth through twelfth centuries.
To discuss with me today an introduction to the history of Ismailism is Dr. Khalil Andani. Dr. Andani completed his PhD at Harvard before his current role as Assistant Professor of Religion at Augustana College.
Welcome Dr. Andani.
Let’s start at the beginning to distinguish Ismailism from Twelver Shi’ism and Sunnism. Twelver Shias believe the legitimate successor to Imam Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq is his younger son, Mūsā al-Kāẓim. Sketch for us the reason for this split and the subsequent development in their different understandings of revelation and the Prophet’s spiritual and temporal legacy.
In the year 930, a group known as the Qaramatians, or in Arabic Qarāmiṭah, stole the black stone from the Kaʿbah in Mecca. They are often thought of being a manifestation of Ismailism. To what extent is this true.
The high point for Ismailism comes with the Fatimid empire. Time doesn’t permit the fuller exposition required. Trace for us an outline of the rise and fall of this remarkable dynasty with sources for further reading and research.
As we come to an end, tell us about your current and forthcoming work. You are active on social media and you share your lessons on YouTube.
Dr. Andani, thank you for being our guest.
Send your questions before Wednesday 15th July 1am BST
It was a great pleasure to speak with Dr. Hanne: funny, candid and insightful. He makes an impassioned call to avoid simple Sunni-Shia sectarian and Arab-Persian ethnic identities when looking at 10th century Baghdad.