An Apocalyptic History of the Early Fatimid Empire [Hardback]

Jamel Velji (Author)

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ISBN: 9780748690886 | Published by: Edinburgh University Press | Year of Publication: 2016 | Language: English 182p,

An Apocalyptic History of the Early Fatimid Empire


How can religion transform a society? This book investigates the ways in which a medieval Islamic movement harnessed Quranic visions of utopia to construct one of the most brilliant and lasting empires in Islamic history (979-1171). The Fatimids' apocalyptic vision of their central place in an imminent utopia played a critical role in transfiguring the intellectual and political terrains of North Africa in the early tenth century. Yet the realities that they faced on the ground often challenged their status as the custodians of a pristine Islam at the end of time. Through a detailed examination of some of the structural features of the Fatimid revolution, as well as early works of ta'wil, or symbolic interpretation, Jamel Velji illustrates how the Fatimids conceived of their mission as one that would bring about an imminent utopia. He then examines how the Fatimids reinterpreted their place in history when the expected end never materialised. The book ends with an extensive discussion of another apocalyptic event linked to a Fatimid lineage: the Nizari Ismaili declaration of the end of time on August 8, 1164.

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