• Spiritual Quest: A Reflection on Quranic Prayer According to the Teachings of Imaminfo-icon Ali provides a unique contemporary insight into the spiritual, intellectual and moral dynamics set in motion by the short Qur’anic chapters recited by Muslims of all traditions in their prayers, looking specifically at those recommended amongst Shi‘i communities. Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi engages creatively with these chapters, basing his own philosophical reflections on key interpretive principles expressed by Imam ‘Ali.

    The book comprises an introduction, in which the central role of the Qur’aninfo-icon is defined in terms of key sayings of Prophet Muhammad, Imam Ali and other Shi‘i Imams. He includes a chapter on the cornerstone of prayer in Islam, al-Fatiha (‘The Opening’), which is interpreted in the light of the first part of a famous saying of Imam ‘Ali that the whole of the Qur’an is contained in the Fatiha, and the Fatiha is contained in the phrase Bismillahinfo-icon al-Rahman al-Rahim.

    In a series of brief reflections on the 18 chapters which are most often recited by Shi‘is in the course of their daily prayers, he focuses in particular on the relationship between the moral and the mystical aspects of the texts. Among the themes explored in this book are: the all-embracing nature of divine compassion (rahma); the fundamental nature of the human being (fitra) and the unity of humanity; the conditions for salvation; the metaphysical meaning of the Prophetic soul; the nature of spiritual authority, guidance and realisation (walayainfo-icon); the deeper dimensions of prayer and remembrance of God (dhikru’Llah).

    Considerable attention is also given to the theme of universality; Dr Shah-Kazemi insists that the message of the Qur’an transcends religious boundaries, delivering a global message of wisdom which unites rather than divides: the basic message of tawhidinfo-iconnot just ‘oneness’ but ‘declaring one’, ‘affirming one’, and at the deepest level, ‘realising one’—cannot be restricted to the formal framework of Islam. It is not the preserve of such and such a religion; rather, it pertains to religion as such, and therefore it resonates with all those whose quest for meaning and fulfilment is rooted in faith.

     Download PDF version of Introduction (34 KB)

  • Introduction  
    Universal Significance and Contemporary Relevance
    Reflection and Comprehension
    Sacred Presence
    Revelation as Self-Disclosure
    Al-Fatiha: The Opening
    2. Eschatology
    3. Worship
    4. Guidance
    Recommended Suras:


  • Dr. Reza Shah-Kazemi

    Founding editor of the Islamic World Report, Reza Shah-Kazemi studied International Relations and Politics at Sussex and Exeter Universities before obtaining his PhD in Comparative Religion from the University of Kent in 1994. He has authored and translated several works, including Paths to Transcendence: According to Shankara, Ibn Arabi and Meister Eckhart (World Wisdom, 2006); Justice and Remembrance ?Introducing the Spirituality of Imam ?Ali (I. B. Tauris in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2006); Doctrines of Shi'i Islam (I. B. Tauris in association with The Institute of...Read more