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Shafique Virani

PhD

Academic Profile

Professor Shafique Virani is an award-winning author and internationally recognized public speaker who has addressed people from over 50 countries and audiences of over 15,000. Through his scholarship, teaching and humanitarian work, he champions the cause of pluralism, fostering greater mutual understanding between the West and the Muslim world. Describing him as “a visionary,” the United Nations honored him for dedicating his efforts “to the cause of extending the frontiers of knowledge and the welfare of humankind.” After receiving his PhD from Harvard University, he served on the faculty at Harvard, was the Head of World Humanities at Zayed University in the UAE, and is currently a tenured Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto and the Chair of the Department of Historical Studies. He has received awards from scholarly organizations around the world, including an International Book of the Year prize and recognition from the Middle East Studies Association of North America, the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. In his spare time, Professor Virani loves doing volunteer work, both in Canada and internationally. He sits on the governing committee of the Madrasa Resource Centres of East Africa, which administers over 200 schools and reaches out to disadvantaged communities in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zanzibar. The University of Toronto selected Virani from over 2500 faculty members as one of only 26 to be highlighted as “Professors Who Lead the World.” The citation states: “Shafique Virani’s insights into Islamic history, religious persecution and spiritual survival provide an understanding that could build a road to tolerance. His inspired teaching and writing may be more relevant today than ever.”

Sample Publications

The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, A Search for Salvation, New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. “Taqiyya and Identity in a South Asian Community,” Journal of Asian Studies, 70:1 (February 2011): 99-139. “The Right Path: A Post-Mongol Persian Ismaili Treatise,” Journal of Iranian Studies, 43:2 (April 2010): 197-221. “The Dear One of Nasaf: ‘Aziz Nasafi’s Epistle on Love,” Iran and the Caucasus, 13:2 (2009): 311-318. “Literary and Devotional Traditions,” embedded within several sections of The Ismailis: An Illustrated History, ed. Farhad Daftary and Zulfikar Hirji, London: Azimuth Editions and the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2008, 54-55, 69, 86, 102, 105-107, 155, 160-161, 164-165, 168, 170-171, 174-175, 218, et al. With Nizarali J. Virani, “Episodes from Journey to Central Asia by Pir Sabzali Ramzanali,” in An Anthology of Ismaili Literature: A Shi‘i Vision of Islam, ed. Hermann Landolt, Samira Sheikh, and Kutub Kassam, London: I.B. Tauris, 2008, 77-81. “The Story of Job from Kitab Asas al-Ta’wil (The Foundation of Spiritual Hermeneutics) by al-Qadi al-Nuʿman,” in An Anthology of Ismaili Literature: A Shi‘i Vision of Islam, ed. Hermann Landolt, Samira Sheikh, and Kutub Kassam, London: I.B. Tauris, 2008, 192-194. “The Epistle (Risala) of Khayrkhwah-i Harati,” in An Anthology of Ismaili Literature: A Shi‘i Vision of Islam, ed. Hermann Landolt, Samira Sheikh, and Kutub Kassam, London: I.B. Tauris, 2008, 247-249. With Faquir M. Hunzai, “This Old Hag by Nasir-i Khusraw,” in An Anthology of Ismaili Literature: A Shi‘i Vision of Islam, ed. Hermann Landolt, Samira Sheikh, and Kutub Kassam, London: I.B. Tauris, 2008, 276-278. “Post-Alamut Persian Poetry,” in An Anthology of Ismaili Literature: A Shi‘i Vision of Islam, ed. Hermann Landolt, Samira Sheikh, and Kutub Kassam, London: I.B. Tauris, 2008, 291-296. (Reprint) “The Adornment of Assemblies by Husayn b. Ya’qub Shah b. Sufi,” in An Anthology of Ismaili Literature: A Shi‘i Vision of Islam, ed. Hermann Landolt, Samira Sheikh, and Kutub Kassam, London: I.B. Tauris, 2008, 296-297. “Ginans by Pir Sadr al-Din,” in An Anthology of Ismaili Literature: A Shi‘i Vision of Islam, ed. Hermann Landolt, Samira Sheikh, and Kutub Kassam, London: I.B. Tauris, 2008, 312-314. (Reprint) “Sat Veni Moti by Nur Muhammad Shah,” in An Anthology of Ismaili Literature: A Shi‘i Vision of Islam, ed. Hermann Landolt, Samira Sheikh, and Kutub Kassam, London: I.B. Tauris, 2008, 318-321. “Ahl al-Bayt,” in Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd ed., Lindsay Jones (ed.), New York: Macmillan, 2005, vol. 1, 198-199. “Symphony of Gnosis: A Self-Definition of the Ismaili Ginan Tradition,” in Reason and Inspiration in Islam: Theology, Philosophy and Mysticism in Muslim Thought, ed. Todd Lawson, London: I.B. Tauris, 2005: 503-521. “Qudratullah Shahab’s Maaji,” The Annual of Urdu Studies, volume 19 (2004): 406-415. • Reprinted at: http://www.urdustudies.com/pdf/19/31QShahabMaaji.pdf “The Days of Creation in the Thought of Nasir Khusraw,” in Nasir Khusraw: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, ed. Sarfaroz Niyozov and Ramazon Nazariev, Khujand, Tajikistan: Noshir Publications, 2004, 74-83. • Reprinted with minor revisions at: http://www.iis.ac.uk/view_article.asp?ContentID=106747. “The Eagle Returns: Evidence of Continued Ismaili Activity at Alamut and in the South Caspian Region following the Mongol Conquests,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 123:2 (April-June 2003): 351-370. • Reprinted at: http://www.iis.ac.uk/view_article.asp?ContentID=109002 • Translated into Urdu by Humaira Fatima Khawaja, 2010. “Teflon Tents in the Desert: The Hajj Terminal as a neo-Vernacular Response to Architecture’s International Style,” Jusur: The UCLA Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 15 (1999): 1-13.

Current Position

Chair, Department of Historical Studies, University of Toronto