Songs of Wisdom and Circles of Dance: Hymns of the Satpanth Isma'ili Muslim Saint, Pir Shams

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SUNY Press, 1995 - Religion - 424 pages
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Coursing though cultures and time, tuneful verse has given moving expression to the human longing for the divine. As poetry strung on sweet melodies, hymns bear testimony to the religious life of the devout, and to the inspiring teachings of minstrels and saints. Such is the ginan tradition of the Satpanth Isma'ilis, Indian successors of the Fatand Nizari Isma'ili sect of the Shi'ah Muslims. Traditionally recited during daily ritual prayers, ginans have been revered for generations among the Satpanth Isma'ilis as sacred compositions.
This work offers for the first time an extensive translation of hymns attributed to the Isma'ili saint-composer, Pir Shams (ca. 13th century), who is at once one of the most pivotal and yet most enigmatic figures of this literary tradition. It also presents a cogent historical reconstruction of the beginnings of Satpanth Isma'ilism--a phase of Isma'ili history that has spanned over eight centuries.
 

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Contents

A Wonderful Tradition
1
Marginal Territory
9
Rethinking the Emergence and Significance of Satpanth Ismāīlism
27
Problems of Historical Identity
75
Recovering History and Tradition
117
Notes
125
PART II
143
Translators Preface
145
Notes
161
Translations of Mahān Ismāīlī Saṅta Pīr Shams Racīt Gīnānono Saṅgraha An Anthology of Gināns composed by the Great Ismāīlī Saint Pīr Shams
163
Appendix A Incipits
371
Appendix B Translation of A Short LifeHistory of Our TwentyThird PīrHadrat Pir Shams alDīn Sabzawārī in the Anthology
375
Appendix C Notes on Names and Epithets in the Anthology
381
Bibliography
407
Index
417
Copyright

Introduction to the Anthology
153

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About the author (1995)

Tazim R. Kassam is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and Religion at Middlebury College.

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