Prince Rahim attended a special event in London on 18 January to honour the contributions of Dr Farhad Daftary to The Institute of Ismaili Studies, and more broadly to the fields of Ismaili and Islamic studies, as he steps down from his management roles at The Institute.

Prince Rahim announced that Mawlana Hazar Imam has decided to acknowledge Dr Daftary’s contributions to The Institute by attaching his name to forthcoming PhD Scholarships awarded by IIS — they will be known as The Farhad Daftary PhD Scholarships. 

Dr Daftary’s central role not only as a leader, but as the IIS’s most respected and productive scholar and author was also recognised by Prince Rahim. 

“I know I speak on behalf of His Highness and for all of us here, and the generations who will benefit from his scholarship, that we are very grateful that Dr Daftary chose this to be his lifetime’s work and that he has made such a major contribution to the field of Ismaili studies,” he said.

“His seminal works on Ismaili History are universally recognised as the authoritative sources on this subject matter. His books, journal articles and encyclopaedia entries are referred to and cited by people around the world,” added Prince Rahim. 

“This body of work will have a long-lasting legacy, and it has profoundly changed the landscape of Ismaili Studies.”

Dr Daftary has authored or edited 23 books and overseen the publication of 150 books during his time at the IIS. After serving for 34 years in leadership positions, including the last 12 years as co-director, Dr Daftary will not be retiring from IIS, but will continue his scholarly research, writing and teaching activities. He has been conferred the lifetime title Director Emeritus and has been appointed to the IIS Board of Governors. 

Dr Daftary has had a significant impact on the field of Ismaili studies during his career and has led by example with his many groundbreaking publications relating to Ismaili history.

On behalf of the Board of Governors, Naguib Kheraj paid tribute to Dr Daftary’s character and said, “Whilst the quality and quantity of his academic output has been important, his impact has been far greater because he is an extraordinary human being who is admired and liked and respected — someone people want to listen to and follow.” 

“We’re delighted that he’s going to stay active as our most senior scholar,” he added.

Dr Daftary himself said: “I joined The Institute in September of 1988 and since then I have witnessed significant growth and development in many ways from publications, manuscripts, translations, a sizable faculty, educational programmes, and unique educational materials that are appreciated by Ismailis throughout the world. IIS is a serious academic institution and a point of reference in Ismaili and broader Shi’i and Qur’anic studies.” 

“Whatever contribution I have made to the field would not have been possible without the support and guidance of Hazar Imam and I owe him a debt of gratitude for this long journey,” he added.

“I want to thank the board for making this transition in my recent career as smooth as possible, and all heads of department with whom I have worked closely. And finally, I wish my successor, Professor Zayn Kassam the best of success in her new role.”

Dr Daftary is succeeded as the Director of IIS by Professor Zayn Kassam, a highly accomplished scholar of Islamic and Ismaili philosophy and Islamic mysticism. She has joined The Institute from Pomona College, a premier liberal arts college outside Los Angeles, California, where she was Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and served as the John Knox McLean Professor of Religious Studies.