Shi'i Islam: Origins, Faith & Practices

Shi'i Islam: Origins, Faith & Practices

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In six concise, clearly written chapters, Mohammad Shomali provides a scholarly and well-documented introduction to the principal features of Shi'i Islam, an important school of Islamic thought which has gained increasing prominence in recent years. Beginning with an examination of the term "Shi'i" - stressing its occurrence in numerous traditions of the Prophet, so that the origins of Shi'ism can be regarded as coterminous with those of Islam itself - the author then moves to a discussion of the textual and other sources of Shi'i thought: The Qur'an, the Sunnah of the Prophet, the teachings of the Infallible Imams from the Household of the Prophet, and the principles of reason and consensus as distinctively understood in Shi'ism. He follows with a review of the leading doctrines of Shi'i Islam, both those it holds in common with other Muslims and those that set it apart - divine justice, the Imamate, and the infallibility of the Imams. The devotional practices of Shi'i Islam are then presented in turn, followed by a review of its general characteristics, with stress on both spirituality and rationality. Concluding with a demographic survey of Shi'i populations and brief notes on cities with sacred associations, the book is carefully argued, and can be recommended as a useful source of reference for all those interested in Islamic studies.