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The Ismailis in the Middle AgesA History of Survival, a Search for Salvation$
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Shafique N. Virani

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195311730

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195311730.001.0001

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 Veiling the Sun

 Veiling the Sun

(p.47) THREE Veiling the Sun
The Ismailis in the Middle Ages

Shafique N. Virani (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Taqiyya, precautionary dissimulation, is a significant feature of Islam, and particularly of Shi'i Islam. For the Ismaili Shi'a — a minority within a minority whose creed emphasized the paramount importance of the esoteric dimension of the revelation — this need was even more pronounced. The destruction of their network of fortresses ushered in a period in which, more than ever, dissimulation was required for survival. Ismaili tradition maintains that when Alamut was vanquished, the Imam Shams al-Din Muhammad was smuggled away to safety. This chapter is about the life of this Imam and that of one of his disciples, the poet Nizari Quhistani, whose life and writings shed light on the practice of taqiyya.

Keywords:   taqiyya, Shams-i Tabriz, Rumi, Nizari Quhistani, Multan, Salman Farsi, Khurasan, Quhistan, Sufism, Ismailism

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