• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This timely and stimulating Handbook, edited by world-class experts in the field, provides a comprehensive guide to Islamic Studies today. It examines the main issues in the field and explores the key debates. It provides readers with an indispensable, balanced guide to the roots of Islam and the challenges it faces in the twenty-first century.

Shi'a Islam
Shi'a Islam
The Shi'a

In the terminology of the elder Arabic philologists, Shi'a denominates a group of some person's adherents,1 while occasionally the affection and friendship they bring up for this person is considered to be a necessary aspect of the term as well.2 In later sources, however, this word stands rather for a person helping or assisting somebody.3 In any case, Shi'a is a Qur'anic expression, too, where it is taken in its literal sense of a group of people that is either praised or despised.4 The Shi'ite tradition sees the beginning of its own evolvement still within the lifetime of the prophet himself, as is reflected in some of the hadiths from the prophet. Among these, one contains the prophet's saying to ‘Ali: ...

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