Khalil Andani is a Ph.D candidate (ABD) and an SSHRC Doctoral Fellow (2014-2019) at Harvard University studying Muslim intellectual history with a focus on Islamic theology, philosophy, and mysticism. His dissertation in progress focuses on how Muslims understand the nature and revelation of the Qur'an, with special attention to the concepts of scripture (kitab), revelatory inspiration (wahy), and hermeneutics in the Qur’an, classical Sunni exegesis (tafsir), classical Sunni kalam theology, and Shi‘i Ismaili thought. His focus area in Ismaili thought is the theology and philosophy of Nasir-i Khusraw (d. ca. 1088). His personal website is khalilandani.com.
Khalil Andani's publications include articles in the Oxford Journal of Islamic Studies, Religion Compass, The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Philosophy forthcoming chapters in A Guide to Sufi Literature and Global-Critical Philosophy of Religion, and two articles in Sacred Web. He has also taught several courses in Islamic studies and religious studies at Harvard as a Graduate Teaching Fellow. Khalil Andani's published work is on the following academic platforms: Academia.eduGoogle ScholarHarvard ScholarResearchGatePhilPapersMiddle East Studies Assocation
Khalil Andani holds a Master of Theological Studies degree (2014), specializing in Islamic philosophy and Ismaili thought, from Harvard University. He is also a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and articled with KPMG Canada (2005-2011). Khalil Andani completed Bachelor of Mathematics (BMath) and Master of Accounting degrees at the University of Waterloo (2008).
This paper discusses the question of an Ismaʿili influence within the cosmology of al-Ghazālī and argues that al-Ghazālī appropriated certain features of the Ismaʿili cosmology from the Persian Ismaʿili thought of Nāṣir-i Khusraw (d. ca. 481/1088). After introducing Nāṣir-i Khusraw and his Ismaʿili Neoplatonic cosmology, the paper first examines some of the Ismaʿili doctrinal material presented in al-Ghazālī’s anti-Ismaʿili polemical work Faḍāʾiḥ al-bāṭiniyya—concerning cosmology, revelation, and taʾwīl—and traces this content back to Nāṣir-i Khusraw’s works, arguing that Nāṣir-i Khusraw was one of the sources for al-Ghazālī’s knowledge of Ismaʿili doctrines. Secondly, the paper highlights a number of commonalities and shared terminology between the cosmology, epistemology, and doctrine of prophecy in al-Ghazālī’s Mishkāt al-anwār (‘The Niche of Lights’) and the Ismaʿili doctrines of Nāṣir-i Khusraw, revealing how the two thinkers understand the cosmos as containing precisely ‘two worlds’, emphasize the correspondence (muwāzana) between the spiritual and physical realms, and conceive the faculty of prophecy as a higher supra-intellectual spirit (rūḥ) or ‘eye’ of perception. Thirdly, the paper revisits the scholarly debate concerning al-Ghazālī’s higher theology and cosmology in the Veils section of the Mishkāt. It demonstrates that al-Ghazālī’s worldview, which places the transcendent God above the First Mover of the Aristotelians and the Necessary Existent of the falāsifa using the Qurʾānic symbolism of Moon and Sun worship, has been appropriated from Nāṣir-i Khusraw’s Ismaʿili Neoplatonic cosmology.
Nāṣir-i Khusraw (d. 481/1088), the renowned Ismāʿīlī philosopher, poet, travel writer, and missionary (dāʿī), took on the formidable challenge of showing the essential harmony between philosophy and Ismāʿīlī doctrine in his Jāmiʿ al-ḥikmatayn (“The Reconciliation of Philosophy and Religion”). After introducing his life and works, this chapter explores this text’s central themes, and examines the manner in which Nāṣir attempts to achieve this reconciliation. Fundamental to Nāṣir’s method is a form of spiritual hermeneutics or taʾwīl through which he demonstrates that the truths of philosophy serve as iconic representations of the truths of religion, thereby restoring philosophy to its original state of union with revealed, prophetic wisdom.
This article continues to discuss the major scholarly issues and developments in the study of Ismaili Muslim history and thought in the post‐Fatimid and modern periods. In general, scholarly coverage of the Nizari Ismailis greatly outweighs that of the Tayyibis. Following the concealment of the Tayyibi Imams in the 12th century, the Tayyibi da‘wahcontinued in Yemen under the leadership of da‘is representing the Imams and divided into two major groups – the Sulaymanis and Da'udis. The Nizari Imamat continued in Persia until the public emergence of their recent living Imams, the Aga Khans, in modern times. The scholarly issues and themes discussed in this article include the establishment of the Tayyibi da‘wah, later Tayyibi cosmology, the 1164 Nizari declaration of qiyamah, the survival of Nizari communities in Persia and South Asia after the Mongol invasion, and modern Ismaili leadership institutions and communities. The article concludes by briefly summarizing the state of research for different periods of Ismaili history/thought and proposing some future trajectories for the progress of Ismaili studies.