“Modernization” of Shia Islam

Akif Tahiiev

- completed -

This interdisciplinary research project focuses on how Shia Islam is adapting to the changing conditions of contemporary society. It manifested in various aspects and, on the one hand, it can be seen in how the views of Shia religious scholars and Shia Islamic thought in general are being transformed. I argue that Shia Islamic Thought is 'live' and flexible, and adapts to the changing social conditions. Adaptation of Shia jurisprudence to the conditions of the contemporary world is also a guarantee of the preservation and development of this legal school. But we should also not forget that religious scholars meet the needs of society, and the point of view of one of them can be accepted by people, while the point of view of another cannot. Based on it and the fact that society decides what to choose and what to follow, another side of “modernization” appears, and the question arises how ready Muslim societies are for the changes that some religious scholars can offer. Therefore, on the other hand, I explore how Shia communities are transforming and diversifying. Within this part of the project, the main emphasis is on issues of diversity, both ethnic, gender, and others, as well as theological, which intersects with the previous part of the project. It also explores issues of religious conversion; digitalisation of Shia Islam; the characteristics of Shia communities around the world, and the challenges they face; and what religious, philosophical, political trends prevail in different Shia communities.


Tahiiev Akif. The Shi'i Islamic Martyrdom Narratives of Imam al-Ḥusayn (by Muhammad-Reza Fakhr-Rohani). American Journal of Islam and Society, 40 (3-4) 2023 184–190. https://doi.org/10.35632/ajis.v40i3-4.3298.

Tahiiev, Akif. Шиизм на постсоветском пространстве: влияние новых медиа / Shi’ism in the post-Soviet space: the influence of new media. In: Virtual Islam in the post-Soviet space: cyber environment and religious authorities, pp. 80–108 (Eds. E. Muratova & Z. Khabibullina). Idrak, Baku (2023).

Tahiiev Akif. Prospects for higher Shia religious education in post-Soviet countries. Religions 2023, 14(7), 822. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14070822.

Tahiiev Akif. Impact of the Events of Saqifa on the Formation of Differences between the Islamic Sunni and Shia Tradition. Journal of Al-Tamaddun, Vol. 18 (1), 2023. 161–167. https://doi.org/10.22452/JAT.vol18no1.13.

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