"An Introduction to Shi'i Islam" by Moojan Momen

An Introduction to Shi'i Islam The History and Doctrines of Twelver Shi'ism Moojan Momen

Publication date:
01 Jul 1987
420 pages: 240 x 156 x 32mm
illustrations geneal. table, maps, portraits


"The first comprehensive introduction to the state religion of Iran."ÑPublishers Weekly

"A balanced and comprehensive treatment of a complex religious movement that had flourished since Islam's earliest days. . . . Specialist and nonspecialist alike will benefit from its lucid exposition of both elite and popular Shi'ism.  Especially valuable is the way the work presents modern critical scholarship on Shi'i history alongside the orthodox history, which still has great influence on the religion's self-understanding."ÑMel Piehl, Library Journal


"Momen's study provides a welcome explanation of the ideas and potent historical forces behind the Islamic fundamentalist movement, particularly as expressed in the tenets of the Shiite sect."ÑBooklist

"Momen's book fills an important gap in the general literature in English on Twelver Shiism, and should be carefully studied by anyone who wants to know more about what is happening in the Middle East today. . . . This is a fine work which deserves the widest possible readership." ÑMalise Ruthven, The Middle East

"An unpretentious style, interpretative clarity and basically sound judgment characterize Momen's writing. The various aspects of Twelver Shi'ism are carefully distinguished to satisfy both the general reader and the aspiring student, who is systematically directed to further reading whether of Western scholarship or Shi'ite tradition. As an exercise in writing a general introductionÑand in a field where Western scholarship is patchy or inadequateÑthis book is a marked success. . . . Momen has done his homework well."ÑNorman Calder, Times Literary Supplement

"Momen's book is the first volume devoted to Shi'ism as such. Contrary to its title, the book is much more than an introduction. . . . Impressive."ÑOrbis

"An extremely useful reference source on the establishment and evolution of the Shi'ite branch of the Islamic religion."ÑCecil V. Crabb, Jr., Perspective

"A detailed survey of the history of the majority of Shii community, the Twelver, which is dominant in Iran, particularly important in certain regions of the Indian subcontinent, and evident today in parts of Lebanon. . . . The work is clearly written, carefully organized, and overflowing with detail. . . . Solid and useful throughout." ÑBarbara D. Metcalf, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

"A lucid, objective and timely book. . . . [Momen] dispels many illusions, counters prejudices and sheds light on many obscure or recondite facets of Shi'i Islam. . . . Fascinating."ÑAnthony Hyman, International Affairs

"This is the most detailed account in English of Shi'i Islam; it is important both for the study of Islam and the history of religions and for the study of world affairs today."ÑADRIS Newsletter

"A comprehensive first word on Shi'i Islam."ÑBruce B. Lawrence, Books & Religion

"An excellent survey of how the dominant form of Shi'ism in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon evolved."ÑPatrick J. Ryan, America

"[Momen] is . . . to be applauded for having the courage and industry to attempt a survey of the entire field.  Students and others will find the book lucid and useful, and specialist should be challenged by it to fill in its gaps and to discover the correlations between social and economic forces and the development of Twelver Shi'ism that are not addressed in this book."ÑJuan R.I. Cole, Middle East Journal

"A first-rate study....  Painstakingly researched and tightly reasoned....  It should receive the attention of not only the specialists in modern Arab and Islamic societies but of all interested in the complex mix of religion and politics."ÑL.  Carl Brown, Political Science Quarterly

"Apart from being an elegant exposition of all the significant ideas of Twelver Shi'ism and its relationship with other sects of Islam, the book is a remarkable assembly of factual information, dynasties, dates, sects, biographies, sources primary and secondary, and a superb select bibliography.. . . . Whether one wishes for a quite uncompromising general primer, a quick reference book, or a comprehensive plan for a lifetime study, one could hardly do better than this."ÑH.F. Duckworth, Royal Society of Asian Affairs

"An admirable effort to present 'a general outline of Shi'i Islam' to a Western audience."ÑAndrew Newman, Iranian Studies

"[A] thorough and wide-ranging survey. . . . Momen has certainly contributed towards a clearer and more comprehensive definition of Shi'i Islam and its differences from Sunnism."ÑIan Richard Netton, British Society for Middle Eastern Studies

"A lucid and balanced account of the Shi'i world."ÑEtan Kohlberg, Asian and African Studies

"A comprehensive work. . . . A dispassionate and clear outline of Shi'ism from its inception to the twentieth century and the ways in which it has developed both doctrinally and historically. . . . Momen has succeeded in attracting the attention of the lay reader and the specialist."ÑMESA Bulletin