The Ismailis represent the second largest Shi‘i Muslim community after the Ithna‘asharis (Twelvers) and are today resident as religious minorities in more than 25 countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. Despite their long and eventful history dating back to the formative period of Islam, the Ismailis were studied until recently primarily on the basis of the accounts of their opponents and detractors, including Sunni polemicists, European travellers and Crusader chroniclers. As a result a host of legends and misconceptions were disseminated on the teachings and practices of the Ismailis. The character and place of Ismailism in general Islamic history was further obscured by the community’s traditional practice of concealing their own writings as a precautionary measure against religious and political persecution to which they were often subjected. However, from the 1930s the study of Ismailism began to be radically revised with the discovery of a large number of Ismaili texts preserved in private collections. Since then, modern scholarship in the field has made great strides in distinguishing fact from fiction in many aspects of Ismaili history and thought.
A Short History of the Ismailis brings together the results of this scholarship on the highlights of Ismaili history and doctrines within the broader contexts of Ismaili history and Shi‘i thought. –More at Source
Source: IIS London