Introduction to Shia Traditions, Beliefs, and Practices (DI-513)
This course surveys the development of Shiʿi Islam against the backdrop of major events and developments, views on succession after the Prophet, the formation of the caliphate, and the key Shiꜥī notion of Imamate. Various forms of early Shias will be introduced, including the Imāmīs, Zaydīs, and Ismailis. Consequential developments in Iran and Iraq as well as the Fatimid Shia caliphate, which extended from Egypt and North Africa to Yemen and reached as far as India, will be studied through the prism of doctrine as well as art. The rift caused by the launch of the Crusades from the west and then by the coming of Mongol armies from the east will be addressed. The peak of Shia revival during the early modern period will be discussed in terms of religious and non-religious learning, especially related to architecture and trade. In addition, this course also discusses the importance of the Shia in the world today. At the end of the course, students will have acquired a broad understanding of Shia beliefs, practices, and traditions–as manifested geographically from medieval Spain to contemporary Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and North America.