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5 Parallel Worlds

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Chapter Summary

The notion of parallel worlds is a central theme in Ismāʿīlī literature and constitutes an essential element in all the different Ismāʿīlī teachings. The Ismāʿīlī believer is required to interpret and decipher the external-manifest aspect of reality (the ẓāhir), in accordance with this intricate network of parallel worlds. The notion of parallel worlds in general, and the correspondence between man and the universe in particular, occupy a central place in most (if not in all) medieval Ismāʿīlī works. The notion of parallel worlds and the microcosm-macrocosm analogy appear in the early Ismāʿīlī myth of Kūnī-Qadar, in North-African Fāṭimī literature and in the works of the eastern Neoplatonists Abū Ḥātim al-Rāzī and Abū Yaʿqūb al-Sijistānī.

Keywords:Ismāʿīlī; literature; Neoplatonists; parallel worlds; teachings



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