• Despite their distinct theological differences, Shi‘i and Sunni Muslims, followers of the two main divisions of Islam, share a number of core beliefs including an allegiance to and love for the Prophet Muhammad and members of his family. For Shi‘i Muslims, reverence for the Prophet and allegiance to his household (Ahl al-baytinfo-icon, People of the House), comprising his immediate family and their descendants, constitutes an essential principle of belief that has directly impacted how Shi‘i artists, rulers, patrons and ritual participants have conveyed their love and loyalty through material culture and religious ritual. The 22 essays in this volume, richly illustrated with over 200 colour images, present a diversity of beliefs and practices expressed through the arts, architecture, material culture and ritual that spans Shi‘i history from the tenth century to the present day. With contributions from experts in the fields of anthropology, religious studies, art and architectural history, numismatics, film studies and contemporary art, the book also calls attention to the global diversity of the artistic and devotional expressions of Shi‘i Muslims from across Trinidad, Senegal, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India and China. Additionally, some essays draw upon important female Shi‘i figures and female ritual practices and many chapters underscore the theme of love for the Ahl al-bayt beyond Sunni and Shi‘i demarcations. This work contributes to a growing body of scholarship dedicated to the religious arts and rituals of Shi‘i Muslims around the world.

  • About the author

    Fahmida Suleman (D.Phil, Oxford) is Phyllis Bishop Curator for the Modern Middle East at the British Museum. Her research interests include the Fatimidsinfo-icon, religious arts and iconography, and Middle Eastern and Central Asian textiles and jewellery. She is the author of ‘The Image of ‘Ali as the Lion of God in Shi‘i Art and Material Culture’, in The Art and Material Culture of Iranian Shiism: Iconography and Religious Devotion in Shi‘i Islam, ed. P. Khosronejad (London, 2012) and editor of Word of God, Art of Man: the Qur’aninfo-icon and its Creative Expressions (Oxford, 2007).

  • Dr. Fahmida Suleman

    Dr Fahmida Suleman is Phyllis Bishop Curator for the Modern Middle East at the British Museum. She was previously a Research Associate in the Department of Academic Research and Publications and Administrative Coordinator of the Qur’anic Studies Unit. Dr Suleman completed her DPhil in Islamic Art and Archaeology at the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford, under the supervision of Dr Jeremy Johns. Her doctoral dissertation, The Lion, the Hare and Lustre Ware: Studies in the Iconography of Lustre Ceramics from Fatimid Egypt (969-1171 CE) demonstrates that lustre-painted ceramics produced...Read more