Course: A History of Shia Islam

ImageIn December 2006 and January 2007, AIM organised a 5-week course that outlined some of the key phases in Islamic History both pre and post occultation. This course examines a critical juncture in the development of Shi’a Islam. The Shi’ite doctrine, accepted as a significant subset of the Islamic civilization, has since its early beginnings been subject to an array of misinterpretations. From being a de facto puritanical movement purely political to a group of enlightened anti-traditionalists, these errors in reading have largely stemmed from a fundamental misunderstanding of the principle of Divine Leadership or Imamah in the Shi’ite doctrine.

This course examines a critical juncture in the development of Shi’a Islam. The Shi’ite doctrine, accepted as a significant subset of the Islamic civilization, has since its early beginnings been subject to an array of misinterpretations. From being a de facto puritanical movement purely political to a group of enlightened anti-traditionalists, these errors in reading have largely stemmed from a fundamental misunderstanding of the principle of Divine Leadership or Imamah in the Shi’ite doctrine.

The immediate post-Occultation period thus presents a definitive moment in the history of the Shi’ite faith and how it is today understood. With the outward absence of a divine guide, this historical point symbolises a relative zenith in the spread of the principles of this doctrine or a revolutionary moment in its very re-definition.

To comprehend some of the important issues that are raised during this course, key elements of pre-Occultation Shi’ite history will be highlighted to serve as a background against which future developments are understood.

Amongst the key subjects of emphasis for this course is the role of Shi’ite scholars during the period of Occultation. With the evident difficulties posed due to the Occultation and the consequent need for the education and training of its followers, this course will also look into the development and spread of the Shi’a Islam.

Audios for this course will follow shortly.

Below are pictures taken from the 5-week course that took place in December 2006 / January 2007:



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