Shi'i Islam: Origins, Faith and Practices

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ICAS Press, 2003 - Religion - 176 pages
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In six concise clearly written chapters, the author provides a scholarly and well-documented introduction to the principle features of Shi'i Islam, an important school of Islamic thought which has gained increasing prominence in Western media in recent years. Beginning with an examination of the term Sh'i Islam -- 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 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 and sacred associations, the book is carefully argued, and can be recommended as a useful source of reference for all those interested in Islamic studies.
  

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Contents

Introduction
7
Origins of Shiism
13
Sources of Shii Thought
29
Doctrines
71
Practices
111
General Characteristics of Islam and Shlism
123
The Shla in the World
151
Bibliography
166
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About the author (2003)

Mohammad Ali Shomali teaches ethics and philosophy at the Islamic College for Advanced Studies, London.

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