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The Origins of Shi’ism between Politics, Creed and Fanaticism

Published: 30/10/2013 09:46:00 PM GMT
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In this study, the origins of Shi’ism from the perspectives of politics, creed and extremism will be discussed. The study shows that Shi’ism originated as a sheer political faction which however almost immediately started to assume an ideological complexion as well, meant for its philosophical and actual buttressing and thus survival. In the process, unavoidably, as different schemes and ideas and their numerous protagonists came to the fore and departed, Shi’ism oscillated, often dramatically and radically, between legitimacy, moderation and outright deviation and extremism. The study is divided into the following sections: Shi’ism in the eyes of Shi’is; Shi’ism in the eyes of Sunnis; and the evolution of Shi’ism from political activism to a complex ideology.

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Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design International Islamic University Malaysia E-mail: