Shi'i Islam, with its rich and extensive history, has played a crucial role in the evolution of Islam as both a major world religion and civilization. The prolific achievements of Shi?i theologians, philosophers and others are testament to the spiritual and intellectual wealth of this community. Yet Shi?i studies has unjustly remained a long-neglected field, despite the important contribution that Shi'ism has made to Islamic traditions. Only in recent decades, partially spurred by global interest in political events of the Middle East, have scholars made some significant contributions in this area. The Study of Shi'i Islam presents papers originally delivered at the first international colloquium dedicated exclusively to Shi'i studies, held in 2010 at The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. Within the book are eight sections, namely, history, the Qur'an and its Shi'i interpretations, hadith, law, authority, theology, rites and rituals, and intellectual traditions and philosophy.
Each section begins with an introduction contextualizing the aspects of studying Shi'i Islam particular to its theme, before going on to address topics such as the state of the field, methodology and tools, and the primary issues with which contemporary scholars of Shi'i studies are dealing. The scope and depth here covered makes this book of especial interest to researchers and students alike within the field of Islamic studies. The volume benefits from the diverse expertise of nearly 30 world-class scholars, including Mohammad-Ali Amir-Moezzi, Meir M. Bar-Asher, Farhad Daftary, Daniel De Smet, Gerald R. Hawting, Nader El-Bizri, Etan Kohlberg, Wilferd Madelung, Andrew Newman, Ismail K. Poonawala, Sabine Schmidtke and Paul E. Walker.