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Shii Islam


Admission requirements



The events following Prophet Muhammad’s death in 632 CE broached an internal schism in the Muslim Community. The Shīʿa (lit. “Partisans”) are those members of the Muslim Community whose existence and reason-for-being revolve around the rights of the Family of Muhammad. This course explores the origins of the Shiʿi tradition, the central theological doctrines of Shiʿi Islam, modes of religious and intellectual reasoning in Shiʿi Islam, Shiʿism and politics, modern Shiʿism, Shiʿism and women, and Shiʿism in Europe. Throughout the overview, we explore issues such as theological arguments, messianism, political activism, religious discourse, ideology, Shiʿism and gender, and apocalypticism.

Course objectives

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with general contours of medieval and modern Shiʿism.

  • Critically reflect on, distinguish between, and examine key varieties and aspects of Shiʿi religiosity and historical presence.

  • Exhibit the analytic skills necessary to comprehend the relevance of the past to their understanding of the present, while becoming more familiar with their own assumptions and values.

  • Acquire a set of reading and discussion skills that allow them to engage texts and others in an informed and conscientious manner.



Mode of instruction


Attendance is not obligatory for lectures. The conveners do not need to be informed in case of missed classes. Information and knowledge provided in the lectures greatly contribute to the subsequent courses of the programme. In order to pass the course, students are strongly advised to attend all sessions.

Course Load

Total course load: 5 EC x 28 hours = 140 hours

  • Attending lectures: (13 weeks x 2 hours): 26 hours

  • Preparation for classes and exam: 62 hours

  • Paper: 50 hours

  • Examination: 2 hours

Assessment method


  • Mid-term Paper of 2,000 words

  • Final written examination with short open questions


  • Mid-term Paper: 50%

  • Final written examination: 50%

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher.

The course is an integrated whole and must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


There is only a resit opportunity for the final written exam, which will count for 50%.

Exam review

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Announcements

  • Sharing of extra-curricular material

  • Assignments

  • Submission of Essays

Reading list

Note: Students do not need to purchase these books, but if they wish to purchase one of these the first one by Haider is recommended.

  • Haider, N. Shiʿi Islam: An Introduction, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014;

  • Daftary, Farhad. The Study of Shiʿi Islam: History, Theology, and Law, London: I.B. Tauris, 2014;

  • Amir-Moezzi, Mohammad Ali. The Spirituality of Shiʿi Islam: Beliefs and Practices, London: I.B. Tauris, 2011;

  • Turner, C and Luft, P (eds.), Shi‘ism, 4 vols., London: Routledge, 2007;

  • Calder, N, Mojaddedi, J.A., and Rippin, A. Classical Islam: Sources of Religious Literature, London/New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001;

  • Momen, Moojan. An Introduction to Shiʿi Islam, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”.

General information about uSis is available in [English]) and Dutch

Not being registered, means no pReadingermission to attend this course. See also the ‘Registration procedures for classes and examinations’ for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs
Studeren à la carte is not possible for this course.


Dr. A. Bdaiwi


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).