Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai

Translated By: Sayyid Husayn Nasr


Ansarian Publications

Qum - Shohada Str. Avn. No. 22
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PREFACE (Seyyed Hossein Nasr)
The Study of Shi'ism

Fundamental Elements of Shi'ism

Present State of Shi'ite Studies

The Present Book

The Author

INTRODUCTION 'Allamah Tabataba'i


I. The Origin and Growth of Shi'ism

The Cause of the Separation of the Shi'ite Minority from the Sunni Majority

The Two Problems of Succession and Authority in Religious Sciences

The Political Method of the Selection of the Caliph by Vote and Its Disagreement with the Shi'ite View

The Termination of the Caliphate of' Ali Amir al mu'minin and His Method of Rule

The Benefit That the Shi'ah Derived from the Caliphate of' Ali

The Transfer of the Caliphate to Muawiyah and Its Transformation into a Hereditary Monarchy

The Bleakest Days of Shi'ism

The Establishment of Umayyad Rule

Shi'ism During the 2nd/8th Century

Shi'ism in the 3rd/9th Century


Shi'ism in the 4th/10th Century

Shi'ism from the 5th/11th to the 9th/15th Centuries

Shi'ism in the lOth/l6th and 11th/17th Centuries

Shi'ism from the 12th/18th to the l4th/2Oth Centuries

II. Divisions within Shi'ism

Zaydism and Its Branches

Isma'ilism and Its Brunches

The Batinis

The Nizaris, Musta'lis, Druzes and Muqanna'ah

The Nizaris

The Musta'lis

The Druzes

The Muqanna'ah

Differences Between Twelve-Imam Shi'ism and Isma'ilism and Zaydisin

Summary of the History of Twelve-Imam Shi'ism


III. Three Methods of Religious Thought

First Method: The Formal Aspect of Religion

Different Facets of the Formal Aspect

Traditions of the Companions

The Book and Tradition

The Outward and Inward Aspcts of the Quran

The Principles of Interpretatioo of the Quran


The Method of Shi'ism in Authenticating the Hadith

The Method of Shi'ism in Following the Hadith

Learning and Teaching in Islam

Shi'ism and the Transmitted Sciences

Second Method: The Way of Intellection and Intel lectual Reasoning

Philosophical and Theological Thought in Shi 'ism


Shi'ite InitiaUve in Islamic Philosophy and Kalam

Shi'ite Contributions in Philosophy and Intellectual Sciences

Outstanding Intellectual Figures of Shi'ism

Third Method: Intellectual Intuition or Mystical Unveiling

Man and Gnostic Comprehension

Appearance of Gnosis (Sufism) in Islam

Guidance Provided by the Quran and Sunnah for Gnostic Knowledge


IV. On the Knowledge of God

Another Point of View Concerning the Relation Between Man and the Universe

The Divine Essence and Qualities

The Meaning of the Divine Qualities

Further Explanations Concerning the Qualities

Qualities of Action

Destiny and Providence

Man and Free Will

PART V: On the Knowledge of the Prophet

Toward the Goal: General Guidance

Special Guidance

Reason and Law

That Mysterious Wisdom and Consciousness Called Revelation

The Prophets Inerrancy of Prophecy

The Prophets and Revealed Religion

The Prophets and Proof of Revelation and Prophccy

The Number of the Prophets of God

The Prophets Who are Bringers of Divine Law


The Prophecy of Muhammad

The Prophet and the Quran

VI. Esahatology

Man is Composed of Spirit and Body

A Discussion of Spirit from Another Perspective

Death from the Islamic Point of View


The Day of Judgment-Resurrection

Another Explanation

The Continuity and Succession of Creation

VII. On the Knowledge of the Imim (Imamology)

The Meaning of Irnam

The Imamate and Succession

Affirmation of the Previous Section

The Imamate and Its Role in the Exposition of the Divine Sciences

The Difference Between, Prophet and Imam

The Imamate and lts Role in the Esoteric Dimen sionofReligion

The Imams and Leaders of Islam

A Brief History of the Lives of the Twelve Imams

The First Imam-Ali-ibn Abi Talib

The Second Imam-Hasan ibn 'Ali

The Third Imam-Husayn ibn Ali

The Fourth Imam-Ali ibn Husayn

The Fifth Imam-Muhammad ibn 'Ali

The Sixth Imamjafar ibn Muhammad

The Seventh Imam-Musa ibn Jafar

The Eighth Imim-Ali ibn Musa

The Ninth Imam-Muhammad ibn Ali

The Tenth Imam-Ali ibn Muhammad

The Eleventh Imam-Hasan ibn Ali

The Twelfth Imam-Mahdl

On the Appearance of the Mahdl

The Spiritual Message of Shi'ism


I. Taqiyah or Dissimulation

II. Mut'ah or Temporary Marriage

Ill. Ritual Practices in Shi'ism

IV. A Note on the Jinn



The Publishers