Justice and Remembrance: Introducing the Spirituality of Imam ‘Ali by Reza Shah- Kazemi is a new publication of the Institute which examines the thoughts and teachings of the first Shi‘a Imam, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, as a spiritual, moral, ethical and political leader. It provides the first serious study on Imam ‘Ali’s teachings in a Western language.
By analysing original sources, the author explores the wisdom of Imam ‘Ali which has been described as an intellectual treasure locked in the Arabic language. “One of the things I tried to do in this book”, said Dr Shah-Kazemi, “is to make some of the jewels of this treasury of spiritual wisdom accessible to those who cannot read Arabic. And to make that timeless spiritual wisdom speak across the ages in a dialect which is intelligible to contemporary readers.”
In Part One, the author describes the spiritual and ethical dimensions of Imam ‘Ali’s teachings. The second chapter sheds light on the ‘Sacred Conception of Justice’ in his teachings while the the third segment focuses on ‘Realisation through Remembrance’. The book also includes two appendices, ‘The First Sermon of Nahj al-balagha’ which contains the Imam’s letters, sermons and sayings, and ‘The Letter of Imam ‘Ali to Malik al-Ashtar’, with a selected bibliography for those who wish to broaden their reading on the subject.
The Institute of Ismaili Studies organised a programme of book launches to the Ismaili Communities and academic audiences in Canada and the United States to generate greater awareness of this new publication. Dr Shah-Kazemi also spoke about his new book to participants from around the world at the Institute’s Summer Programme on Islam in August.
Justice and Remembrance; Introducing the Spirituality of Imam ‘Ali is an important contribution to Shi‘i studies and thought, and is a useful resource for scholars of Islamic studies. It will also be of general interest to all Muslims. The publication is a unique addition to the study of Shi‘ism and reinvigorates the teachings of Imam ‘Ali, particularly as they relate to spirituality in Islam. The author expressed the hope “that this book will illustrate the importance of Imam ‘Ali as he is regarded and remembered by all Muslims, and not just Shi‘as, as the most important spiritual figure in Muslim history after the Prophet Muhammad himself.”