Synopses & Reviews
Shi 'ism caught the attention of the world as Iran experienced her revolution in 1979 and was subsequently cast in the mold of a monolithic discourse of radical political Islam. The spokespersons of Shi'i Islam, in or out of power, have not been the sole representatives of the faith. Nonconformist and uncompromising, the Shi i jurist and reformist Shari at Sangelaji (1891-1944) challenged certain popular Shi i beliefs and the mainstream clerical establishment, guarding and propagating it. In Shi'i Reformation in Iran, Ali Rahnema offers a fresh understanding of Sangelaji s reformist discourse from a theological standpoint, and takes readers into the heart of the key religious debates in Iran in the 1940s. Exploring Sangelaji s life, theological position and disputations, Rahnema demonstrates that far from being change resistant, debates around why and how to reform the faith have long been at the heart of Shi i Islam. Drawing on the writings and sermons of Sangelaji, as well as interviews with his son, the book provides a detailed and comprehensive introduction to the reformist s ideas. As such it offers scholars of religion and Middle Eastern politics alike a penetrating insight into the impact that these ideas have had on Shi ism - an impact which is still felt today."