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The Origins and Early Development of Shi‘a Islam
Backed with thorough and original research, this book is a study of Shi‘a Islam based mainly on the oldest historical sources, rather than on heresiographical works, thus filling a serious gap in the field of academic study. Here, the author has reconstructed and presented the development of an Islamic ideal in the form of Shi‘ism: that of a particular vision of religious leadership which derives its authority directly from the person of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and which, therefore, enjoys divine sanction in deciding all cases of conscience. Presented here is a rare confluence of traditional and critical scholarship, leading to the emergence of a most authoritative and comprehensive account of a crucial development in the formative period of Islamic history. This is both a theological and sociological study. The chapters on the abdicationof Imam Hasan and the social structure of the city of Kufa, present new material and interpretation.
In a nutshell, his talent encompass[es] a complete grasp of the subject, a flawless writing style and a method of presentation meeting western standards of dispassionate inquiry…should be considered the best book on the subject…
The Pakistan Times
…[This] is without doubt a very precious and welcome addition to the literature of Sh‘ia Islam…The theme of this book is immense. The secular historian will find here a reservoir of accurate facts which may help to correct the inaccuracies and distortions which mar even learned works of intensive research.
The fact that the study has drawn heavily on historical sources of both Shi‘a and Sunni persuasions, as opposed to merely heresiographical writings, gives credence to the work and brings to light some findings hitherto obscure to scholars…The book is not merely a history of Shi‘a Islam, but also a source of researched and analytical information on a variety of historical topics…
The Muslim World
Born in Lucknow, India, Syed Husain Mohammad Jafri obtained two PhD degrees, one from the University of Lucknow, and the other from the University of London. During his long teaching career, starting from 1962, he has served at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur; the American University of Beirut; and the Australian National University, Canberra. In 1983 he joined the University of Karachi as founding Director of the Pakistan Study Centre, as well as founding Chair and Professor of Islamic/Pakistan Studies at the Aga Khan University, Karachi.
Dr Jafri has travelled extensively to attend international conferences and seminars and also lectured at numerous universities in the USA, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Besides several books and articles published in international journals, he has contributed to the Encyclopedia of Islam, Leiden; Encyclopedia of Modern Islamic World, New York; Encyclopedia of World Religions, USA; Al-Munjid Arabic Dictionary, Beirut. He is founding co-editor of Hamdard Islamicus, Karachi, Pakistan.
Dr Jafri has served in a number of important national and international academic, cultural, and socio-religious organizations. Most notably, he has been Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee of Islam and the West International, Geneva, Switzerland, for two terms of three years each.
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