The Spiritual Rule of the Fatimids Analytical Essay by Shaad

An analytical history of the Fatimid Caliphate, emphasizing its spirituality, inner contradictions and lasting legacy.
# 145198 | 1,457 words | 6 sources | APA | 2009 | BD

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This essay aims to highlight the unique and defining characteristics of the Fatimid caliphate. The essential characteristic is claimed to be the fusing of the spiritual message of Ismailism with imperial rule, with the ulterior aim of winning allegiance of the majority of Moslems and conversion of the Sunnis. The origin of the schism between Shiite and Sunni is presented. The beginnings of the Fatimid caliphate is then charted, along with the intellectual and artistic flowering which it inspired. The downfall of the Fatimids is then explained in terms of inherent contradictions, where the worldliness of the Sunnis is explained to be more suited to answer the threat posed by the crusading Christians. The lasting legacy of the Fatimids is described, including the intellectual influence on the West, and the spiritual and revolutionary spirit which it endowed on Moslems everywhere.

From the Paper:

"The rise of the Fatimid caliphate in the 10th and 11th centuries is a crucial part of Islamic history. A proper examination of this history throws essential light on the nature of Islam as a cultural phenomenon. At the same time it is able to explain many of the schisms that exist in the Islamic world today. The special character of the Fatimid caliphate was its missionary objective. It embodied the more spiritually based faith of the Shiites, and aimed for supremacy through winning the hearts and minds of the majority Sunnis. In this way it managed to fuse the spiritual and temporal realms to certain degree and for a certain period in history. This is a remarkable achievement not only for Islam but for any faith based rule. In contrast to it the Sunni caliphates, though claiming power on the bass of spiritual leadership, quickly lost the spiritual dimension to their rule, and degenerated into secularism and worldliness. In order to maintain their stance the Fatimid caliphate had to overcome internal contradiction, and the pressures ultimately proved fatal."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Ali, M. A. T. S. (2006) Encyclopaedia of Ismailism, Islamic Book Publisher, New York.
  • Daly, M. W. and Petry, C. F. (1998) The Cambridge history of Egypt, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Fisher, W. B., Boyle, J. A., Gershevitch, I., Shater, E. Y., Frye, R. N., Hambly, G., Melville, C. (1968) The Cambridge History of Iran, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Hodgson, M. (1974) The Venture of Islam, Vol.2, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Lewis, B. (2004) From Babel to dragomans: interpreting the Middle East, Oxford University Press US, New York.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

The Spiritual Rule of the Fatimids (2010, October 28) Retrieved October 17, 2019, from

MLA Format

"The Spiritual Rule of the Fatimids" 28 October 2010. Web. 17 October. 2019. <>