The Ismaili Centre in Lisbon recently hosted the launch of three new publications from the Institute of Ismaili Studies. The event featured special keynote addresses by Professor Azim Nanji and Dr. Omar Ali-de-Unzaga.

On 11 May 2008, the Portuguese Jamat celebrated the launch of three new publications by the Institute of Ismaili Studies. Over 120 Jamati members attended the event at the Ismaili Centre in Lisbon, which featured special keynote addresses by Professor Azim Nanji, Director of the IIS, and Dr. Omar Ali-de-Unzaga, Academic Co-ordinator of the IIS Qur'anic Studies Unit.

The speakers offered insight into the three publications and their relevance in today's society. Dr. Ali-de-Unzaga spoke about the research that is being conducted at the IIS with regard to the Qur'an and its creative expressions, while Professor Nanji went on to speak about the various projects and initiatives being undertaken by the IIS.

The three publications were published as part of a special series commemorating the Golden Jubilee of Mawlana Hazar Imam. The first publication, Master of Age: An Islamic Treatise on the Necessity of the Imamate by Dr. Paul E. Walker, is a complete English translation, together with an introduction and notes, of the 11th century Ismaili da‘i Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani's al-Masabih fi ithbat al-imama (Lights to Illuminate the Proof of the Imamate).

The second publication, Professor Jonathan Bloom's Arts of the City Victorious: Islamic Art and Architecture in Fatimid North Africa and Egypt, is a lushly illustrated tome that studies the art and architecture produced under the Fatimids.

Word of God, Art of Man: The Qur'an and its Creative Expressions, is an edited volume by Dr. Fahmida Suleman that presents selected papers from the international colloquium of the same name that was held at the Ismaili Centre in London from 18 – 21 October 2003 as part of the twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations of the IIS.

The audience listens to Professor Azim Nanji at the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon. Photo: Courtesy ITREB Portugal The audience listens to Professor Azim Nanji at the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon. Courtesy ITREB Portugal

Following the presentations by Professor Nanji and Dr. Ali-de-Unzaga, the Jamat asked questions about the books and the work currently being done at the IIS. They also learned more about research into Ismaili history and culture that is taking place at other institutions around the world.

In addition to departing with new reading material, the audience left the book launch with a wealth of ideas and questions to explore.