Impact & Relevance: Legacy of the Fatimids

“In our excavations and our historical investigations, I constantly have been reminded that we were touching the very foundations of my ancestors, the Fatimids, and the pluralistic history and intellectual profile of this city and this country to which they contributed so profoundly.

I am very humbled by the opportunity to return to Cairo, founded over a thousand years ago by the Fatimid Caliph Al-Muiz, to build on that history.

Thirty-five generations later, through the work done here by my institutions, it is my prayer that this park will be a continuing contribution to the people of this great city.”

– His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan
49th Hereditary Imam of the Ismaili Muslims
at the inauguration Cairo’s Al-Azhar Park, Cairo, Egypt – March 25th, 2005

Context: Preamble of the Constitution of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims

(E) From the time of the Imamat of Hazrat Mawlana Ali (a.s), the Imams of the Ismaili Muslims have ruled over territories and peoples in various areas of the world at different periods of history and, in accordance with the needs of the time, have given rules of conduct and constitution in conformity with the Islamic concepts of unity, brotherhood, justice, tolerance and goodwill.

From Ismailimail Archives: <br /> 2006-03-20: His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan welcomes His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall to Al-Azhar Park on the 1st anniversary of the park’s inauguration. (Photo: AKDN/Gary Ott)
From Ismailimail Archives:
2006-03-20: His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan welcomes His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall to Al-Azhar Park on the 1st anniversary of the park’s inauguration. (Photo: AKDN/Gary Ott)

“The Ismailis have had a long and eventful history.

In mediaeval times, they twice established states of their own and played important parts for relatively long periods on the historical stage of the Muslim world.

During the second century of their history, the Ismailis founded the first Shia caliphate under the Fatimid caliph-imams.

They also made important contributions to Islamic thought and culture during the Fatimid period.

Later, after a schism that split Ismailism into two major Nizari and Mustalian branches, the Nizari leaders succeeded in founding a cohesive state, with numerous mountain strongholds and scattered territories stretching from eastern Persia to Syria.”

– From the Preface of Farhad Daftary, The Ismailis: Their history and doctrines (Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp.xv-xvi).
Also by the same author, A Short History of the Ismailis: Traditions of a Muslim Community, (Edinburgh University Press, 1998).

Extent of the Fatimid Caliphate: <br> Egypt became the epicenter of the Fatimid empire that included at its peak North Africa, Sicily, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, the Red Sea coast of Africa, Yemen and the Hejaz. <br>Egypt flourished as the Fatimids developed an extensive trade and diplomatic network and ties which extended all the way to China in the east. <br> Image via Wikipedia - click to enlarge
Extent of the Fatimid Caliphate:
Egypt became the epicenter of the Fatimid empire that included at its peak North Africa, Sicily, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, the Red Sea coast of Africa, Yemen and the Hejaz.
Egypt flourished as the Fatimids developed an extensive trade and diplomatic network and ties which extended all the way to China in the east.
Image via Wikipedia – click to enlarge
Coinage of the Fatimids
Coinage of the Fatimids
Museum With No Frontiers (MWNF) - Discover Islamic Art - The Fatimids
Museum With No Frontiers (MWNF) – Discover Islamic Art – The Fatimids

Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali

Earlier from the Ismailimail Archives:

  1. Imam Al-Mu’izz commissioned the invention of the first Fountain Pen
  2. BBC Radio: The Islamic Golden Age, Fatimid Caliph-Imam Al Hakim
  3. Treasures: Many artefacts from the Fatimid period are housed in museums around the world
  4. One Empire, Many Religions: Religion and Society under Fatimid Rule by Shainool Jiwa & Arzina Lalani at World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies
  5. @ Simerg | Short Video Presentation: Recent Six Kilo Find of Fatimid Gold Coins is “a Scientific, Cultural Treasure”
Click here for more on the Fatimids

All related in this series.

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