Shi‘i Muslims, with their rich intellectual and cultural heritage, have contributed significantly to the richness and diversity of Islamic traditions throughout the centuries. However, Shi‘i Islam has received little scholarly attention in the West, in medieval as well modern times. This twenty-minute interview with Dr Farhad Daftary sheds light on the major gaps in knowledge about Shi‘i Islam and the Institute’s endeavours, building upon its work on Ismaili studies, to address some of these gaps through its research initiatives.

In this interview, Dr Daftary elaborates upon the principal objectives of the Shi‘i Heritage Series, launched by the Institute in 2014, to promote a better understanding of the doctrines and practices of Shi‘i Islam in historical and contemporary manifestations. With reference to methodology, Dr Daftary puts particular emphasis on bringing together some of the most significant themes through an inclusive and interdisciplinary approach to the research and to making the works accessible to a wide readership.

The key introductory publications in the series are A History of Shi‘i Islam and The Study of Shi‘i Islam. Future publications in the series will include monographs, collective volumes, editions and translations of primary texts, and bibliographical projects.

Q1. How did the idea of the Shi‘i Heritage Series come about? 00:00 – 02:27

Q2. How were the key themes chosen for this series? 02:28 – 04:07

Q3. What are some of the common misconceptions about Shi‘i Islam that you envisage this series to address? 4:08 – 09:23

Q4. For the purposes of this series, how are you defining the term Shi'a ? 09:24 – 12:56

Q5. What contribution does your book make to the study of the history of Shi‘i Islam? 12:57 – 15:06

Q6. In your book, you emphasise a close reading of the early history of Shi‘i Islam. Could you please elaborate on this point? 15:07 – 16:58

Q7. In your view, what should be the future lines of research on the history of Shi‘i Islam? 16:59 – 18:59

Q8. What are the key messages you would like your readers to take away from your book? 19:00 – 20:00