Faith and World explores the way contemporary Ismaili institutions articulate the ethics of the Qur’an using the language of modern liberal discourse. It is the fi rst comprehensive study of contemporary Ismaili social and political thought.
The Ismailis are a transnational Muslim community headed by the 49th Ismaili Imam, Aga Khan IV, who views liberal pluralism as supporting the tenets of ethical Islamic living in the present day.
Contemporary Ismaili thought views the Ismaili tradition as connected to a historical past deriving from Qur’anic principles and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and his heirs, the Shi`a Imams. Thus, contemporary Ismailism’s focus on liberal values like democracy, pluralism, and education are seen as contemporary forms of eternal Qur’anic ethical principles.
The book furthers Western understanding of Islam, a key to overcoming misconceptions about the interconnected relationships between today’s converging civilizations.
Faith and World incorporates the following:
• a review of both popular and academic literature about the Aga Khan and the Ismailis;
• an exploration and explanation of the essentially Ismaili approach to Qur’anic exegesis;
• a survey of the work of the AKDN in Afghanistan, serving as the basis to explore the Aga Khan’s ethical impetus for the existence and work of the network;
• a look at the core liberal commitments that inform contemporary Ismaili thought, such as democracy, pluralism, and civic education; and
• an examination of the emergence of the transnational Ismaili community and the role of the Imamate in fostering a sense of loyalty and unity among the diverse ethnocultural Ismaili communities.