Introduction to Shi'i Islam (SC-533)
This course provides a historical study of the development of Shiʿi Islam against the backdrop of key events such the succession crisis and Occultation (Ghayba), and the formation of Shiʿi states such as the Buwayhids, Safavids, Qajars and Modern Iran. It will introduce students to various theories and debates regarding the origins of Shiʿi Islam through examining primary (in translation) and secondary sources. There will be a specific focus on Shiʿi jurisprudence, theology, hadith and Quranic studies, including the Shiʿi approach to the textual history of the Qur’an and its alleged distortion (tahrif). The course will also examine contemporary Shiʿi communities around the world. By enabling students to develop a systematic understanding of the evolution of Shiʿi Islam, the course will serve as a basis for more advanced courses. No previous knowledge of Islam or Arabic is required.