From infallible Imams to Ayatollahs in Iran, Shi’ism has long been a prominent, if misunderstood, branch of Islam. It regards Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law, as the Prophet’s legitimate successor. But theological differences between the Shi’ah and Sunni Muslims have led to sectarian violence, massacres and the desecration of holy sites.
In this Beginner’s Guide, Dr Moojan Momen offers an accessible and comprehensive overview of Shi’ism, tracing the history of the community, its leadership and doctrines, from its inception to modern times.
Packed with useful tables, family trees and text boxes, this engaging and up-to-date guide is a perfect introduction to the historical and geopolitical causes of religious tensions still troubling the Middle East today.
“The author admirably manages to provide beginners with a succinct account of Shi?i Islam, its people, history, culture, theology, and contemporary manifestations… a welcome addition to the growing field of Shi?i Studies."
– Dr Ahab Bdaiwi, Islamic and Iranian History, University of St Andrews
“An extremely timely, wonderfully succinct and very handy overview of the history, doctrines and practices that distinguish Shi`i Islam. The volume also contains up-to-date information on the many Shi`i communities across the world. This is an indispensable addition to Oneworld’s Beginner’s Guide series.”
– Dr Andrew J Newman, Reader in Islamic Studies and Persian, University of Edinburgh