The Ismaili Centre, London, in collaboration with the Institute of Ismaili Studies will host a conversation with Dr Shainool Jiwa, the author, with Mahmood Ahmed about her new publication. The event is due to begin at 8:15pm BST on Thursday 26 April and will be webcast live at

How much do you know about the Fatimids?

Join us for an exploration of the Institute’s new “easy to read” book on the Fatimids and travel through an exciting and eye-opening period of Ismaili history.

This publication is the first book in the IIS’ new World of Islam series. Dr Shainool Jiwa, the author, will engage in an on-stage conversation with Mahmood Ahmed about her new publication and respond to questions from the audience.

Emerging from a period of long seclusion, in the year 909 the leader of the burgeoning community of lsmaili Shi’i Muslims was declared the first Fatimid Imam-caliph. Abd Allah al-Mahdi founded the only sustained Shi’i dynasty [909-1171] to rule over substantial parts of the medieval Muslim world, rivalling both the Umayyads of Spain and the Abbasids. At its peak, the Fatimid Empire extended from the Atlantic shores of North Africa, across the southern Mediterranean and down both sides of the Red Sea, covering also Mecca and Medina.

This accessible history, the first of two volumes, tells the story of the birth and expansion of the Fatimid Empire in the 10th century. Drawing upon recently available eyewitness accounts, Shainool Jiwa introduces the first four generations of Fatimid Imam-caliphs -al-Mahdi, al-Qa’im, al-Mansur, and al Mu’izz - as well as the people who served them and those they struggled against. Readers are taken on a journey through the Fatimid capitals of Qayrawan, Mahdiyya, and Mansuriyya and on to the founding of Cairo. In this lively and comprehensive introduction, we discover various milestones in Fatimid history and the political and cultural achievements that continue to resonate today.

Dr Shainool Jiwa is a senior faculty member at The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. As a specialist on the Fatimids, she has written and lectured extensively on medieval Islamic history and has edited and translated key medieval Arabic texts relating to Fatimid history.

Mahmood Ahmed, a practicing lawyer, is currently Chairman of the Aga Khan Foundation UK National Committee. He previously served as President for the Ismaili Council for the UK, and the Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network in Uganda. 

Venue: Social Hall, The Ismaili Centre, London

Thursday 26 April 2018 at 8:15pm BST