HSD115 – Formative Period of the Shi’a


  • The Demise of the Prophet
  • The Life of Fatima al-Zahra
  • Major Events of Imam Ali’s Caliphate
  • The Life of each Imam after Imam Ali
  • The Minor and the Greater Occultation of Imam Mahdi
  • The Main Branches of the Shia and the History of their Development

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, the successful student will be able to:

  • Differentiate in approach, the process of leadership in early Islam and outline theories behind the fundamental differences that exist between the institutions of Caliphate and Imamate. (A3, B2, B6, C1, D6)
  • Examine and assess the lives of the Fourteen Infallibles and their contribution to Islam and Islamic sciences. (A2, B4, C1, D6)
  • Compare and examine the relationship between Islamic themes and their historical context. (A2, A6)

This module will call for the successful student to:

  • Select, collect and organize historical primary sources and use sources effectively. (B6, C5, D1, D5, D6)
  • Formulate material accurately and present research accurately and concisely, both in written form and verbally. (C1, C2, C4, C5, D1, D2, D3, D6)

Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy

This module is taught through the medium of lectures, discussions, seminars, independent research and presentations. Students will be encouraged to engage in discussions facilitated by the lecturer in order to learn from others, collaborate and share their understanding of the issues covered. Students are expected to discuss material presented in class in their mubāḥathah (study circle) sessions to enhance understanding and retention.

Assessment Modes
Formative assessment is an important part of the learning process and has been shown to help improve both grades and learning style.  As students you receive formative feedback in a variety of ways, orally, in writing, to the whole class or individually. The module leader will regularly give feedback to student regarding the progress of their coursework, a draft copy of the completed coursework need be handed in to the module leader before the 10th learning week as part of the formative learning process. Students may hand in their PowerPoint slides to the lecturer for guidance prior to the 9th learning week. They will also receive formative feedback on their presentations after completing them, and guidance and feedback can be gained from student-led discussion, which will help them improve future performance.
Summative assessment for this module is by presentation and written exam. The 20 minute presentation will require students to convey their research on an agreed area of the course in an effective manner, and should consist of roughly 10 PowerPoint slides (Outcomes 4, 5). The 2-hour written exam will take place at the end of the semester (Outcomes 1, 2, 3).

Assessment Weighting
Written Examination: 60%
Presentation: 40%

Learning materials

Core readings

  • Dabashi, H. (2017). Authority in Islam: From the Rise of Mohammad to the Establishment of the Umayyads. Routledge.
  • Jačfaryān, Rasul (2003), History of the Caliphs from the death of the messenger to the decline of the Umayyad dynasty 11-132 AH, Qum, Ansariyan.
  • Jafri, S. H.M. (1979). The Origins and Early Development of Shi‘a Islam. London: Oxford University Press.
  • Madelung, W. (1997) The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate, Cambridge University Press.
  • Mufid, M.M.N. (2004). Kitab al-Irshad. Qum: Ansariyan Publications.
  • Qarashi, B.S. (2010). The Ahlulbayt Encyclopaedia. Qum: Ansariyan Publications.