Shi'ite Islam

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By Taba Al, Muhammad H. Al-Tabataba'i
Translated and Edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Pages: 272, Date: 1979-06-30
ISBN-10: 0873953908, PDF 0.714 MB, bookmarked, vector

This book is an excellent complement to Dr. Momen's work An Introduction to Shi`i Islam: The History and Doctrines of Twelver Shi`ism but not a substitute therefor. It is written from a more esoteric, albeit still theological, perspective. In the section "Man and Gnostic Comprehension" Prof. Dr. Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai states:

"The polytheistic religions and Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Islam all have believers who are gnostics." This statement alone is worth at least one star and will be felt quite shocking for some more zahiri (exoteric) Muslims.

The preface and notes by Prof. Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr are extremely worthwhile in themselves and provide considerable additional insight into the subject matter.

The title of the book should have been: "Twelver Shi'ite Islam" as the other 2 significantly extant branches of Shi'ite Islam, Zaydi and Ismaili, are discussed only in a very summary manner. Modesty is a becoming virtue.

In Chapter VI Eschatology the first section is entitled "Man is Composed of spirit and Body". This is rather disappointing especially in view of the Quranic triad of spirit (Ar-Ruh), soul or mind (An-Nafs) and body (Al-Jism).

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