A History of the Shi’a People

//A History of the Shi’a People

A History of the Shi’a People


Rated 4.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating
(1 customer review)

Shia history, from the 7th Century to Today, Covering all Corners of the Globe. By Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi.

By Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi

Foreword by Professor Noel Q. King

SKU: 978-0-920675-19-9 Category:


Click here to download a sample excerpt of the book! (PDF format)

This book deals with the history of the Shi‘a Ithna-‘Ashari Muslim community from the early days of Islam up to present day. Starting with a brief note on the origin of the Shia faith, the book describes the early days of its followers’ history from the 7th-11th century. From there, it focuses on regions; beginning with the history of the Shi‘as of Iran, Iraq & Afghanistan, reviewed together due to the multiple layers of mutual influences among them on socio-religious and political levels. Then it moves on to the Arab Middle-East & Turkey; followed by the east, to the Indian Sub-Continent; and then to Sub-Saharan Africa; followed by a review of Shi‘a communities in South-East Asia, Australia, and the Commonwealth of Independent States of the former USSR. The book ends with a brief look at the emerging Shia communities in Europe and the Western Hemisphere.

It is worth mentioning that the section on Shī‘a communities in Africa, particularly East Africa, is a seminal work in which the author was not only a spectator observing the events and reporting them; rather he played a pivotal role in furthering the cause of the Shī‘ī faith in that region, especially among the indigenous African people.

Book Unveiling Program:

Documentary about Allamah Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi – English Subtitles – Produced by Hawza Ilmiyyah Qum

Documentary about Allamah Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi – Produced by Ahlul Bayt TV

About the Author:

Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi (1927-2002) was born and raised in India where he completed his Islamic studies at the Jawadia Arabic College, a prominent Shi‘a seminary of that era. He then migrated in 1959 to East Africa where he was instrumental in planning and establishing Bilal Muslim Mission, the first organization in Africa to promote the Shi‘a faith among the indigenous people.

He was a prolific writer who had written and translated many books and articles on Shi‘a Islam in English, Urdu and Arabic. His publications were distributed worldwide since the 70’s, and translated into 22 languages including Japanese, Indonesian, Thai, Hindi, Farsi, Italian, French and Hollandaise.

He has been recognized for his lifelong work on Shi‘a faith by seminaries in India, Qum and Najaf. Jami‘at al-Mustafa al-‘Alamiyya (Al-Mustafa International University), Qum, had organized a seminar in 2011 to honour his life and achievements, in which a national postage stamp, a documentary, and a book containing his biography, various articles, listings and reviews of his written works, were all unveiled.

ISBN 9780920675199. Copyright 2017, Al-Ma’arif Publications, All rights reserved.

Additional information

Weight 1.59 kg
Dimensions 30.48 x 24.13 x 8.89 cm


1 review for A History of the Shi’a People

  1. Rated 4 out of 5

    Dr. Muhammad-Reza Fakhr-Rohani, University of Qom, Iran

    While the period of the early days of Shi’i Islam is divided into three phases, the rest of the book follows post-major-occultation of Imam al-Mahdi, mainly based on the leading Shi’i scholars and ulema. Unlike many history books that divide events mainly based on the kings and monarchs who were in power, Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi, was perceptive enough to draw another line, that is, the religio-academic trend of developments and changes. By doing so, the book implies to give priority to knowledge and erudtion rather than highlighting kings and local rulers. This is his preferred scheme for the events that took place in the “heartlands” of the Muslim territories.

    Apart from the Muslim “heartlands”, as for other geographical areas, Rizvi relied on his own vast knowledge and far and wide travels. Originally from India, Rizvi renders a crystal clear sketch and timeline of the historical influence of Shi’a Islam and its associated rich cultural background in the Indian Subcontinent. As for other territories, he relied on authentic and reliable data and mainly his direct experience. This is evident in his account of Shi’i communities in Africa where he played a pivotal role. It is precisely here that this book stands higher by far than than other publications that try to deal with Shi’a Islam. Typical books on Shi’a Islam usually focus on the Muslim heartlands in the Middle Eastern region; else, they may attempt to approach Shi’a Islam from mainly a political perspective for justification of certain events and upheavals. In contrast to such probable and serious shortcomings, the present volume is credited with introducing Shi’a Islam from a religio-scholarly and sociocultural perspective.

    The present book is really a magnum opus in its own right; it must take decades for another rival book to surpass it. So far unprecedented, this volume deserves a certain place on the desk and/or bookshelf of any serious scholar.

    This book mirrors the factual and academically sound approach of its author. It shows that typical Shi’i ulema, who were mainly graduates of Najaf, relied on prominent Sunni works in their historigraphical approaches for developing a sound history of Shi’a Islam. The late Rizvi was a typical scholar whose enthusiasm and ardent devotion to the Shi’a dignitaries enouraged him to delve with and dive deeper and deeper in Sunni history and sound hadith literature. Such an fair-minded and well-balanced approah and attitude adds to the academic value and status of the book. It is here that, upon turning the pages of the book, the reader finds himself in front of a sea of valuable preals pieced together over several decades. It is a good read for anybody who aspires to obtain sound information about Shi’a Islam in English.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *