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Heinz Halm

Edition: 2


A new edition of Heinz Halm's comprehensive survey of all the Shi'ite groups. It traces the development of all the individual branches from their common origins to their current status in the modern world.

The dogmatic and organisational development of each of the various branches of Shi'ism is discussed and is placed in the context of their particular history.

Special attention is given to the emergence of the Imamite 'clergy' and the social and political role which has enabled them to establish a revolutionary regime in Iran, and each chapter contains an invaluable bibliography giving easy access to other books and original sources in translation.

Key Features

  • each branch of Shi'ism placed in its own historical context
  • bibliographies at the end of each chapter divided into primary and secondary sources
  • includes chapters on all varieties of Shi'ism
  • New edition contains new material on the Shi'a in Iraq and on the Iranian Revolution, and up-dated bibliographies


1. The Beginnings of the Shia
2. The Imamiyya or Twelver Shia
3. The Extreme Shia
4. The Isma'iliyya or Sevener Shia
5. The Zaydiyya.

About the Author

Heinz Halm is Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Tubingen. He is written several books including The Fatimids and their Traditions of Learning (I. B. Tauris, 1997).


A very useful and informative handbook.
- SOAS Bulletin
Reviews of the first edition: A good primer to the complex subject of Shi'ism. It should be on the bookshelves of all good libraries and personal collections.
- The Muslim News
Halm in an admirable way combines an assured judgement as to what information matters, with precision and fluency of style… It will find countless grateful specialist and non-specialist readers.
- Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations

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