The Pope Meets the Ayatollah: An Introduction to Shi'a Islam (Paperback)
On March 5, 2021, Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church, enters Iraq for a historic visit. As he embarks on a pilgrimage to the ancient city of Ur in southern Iraq, the birthplace of Abraham, the Pope first stops in the holy city of Najaf to meet with Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani.In this timely and authoritative work, the authors (Hassan al-Hakeem and Jalal Moughania) provide insight into the significance of Shiʿa Islam's Marjiʿiyyah, led today by Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani, as a voice of peace, tolerance, and moderation in today's world. With a foreword by Ayatollah Sayyid Muneer al-Khabbaz, a leading professor in the Islamic Seminary and a student of Grand Ayatollah Sistani, this original work provides a comprehensive background to this historic visit and an insider's introduction to Shiʿa Islam and its worldview.------------"I am delighted to recommend this excellent work by Hasan al-Hakeem and Jalal Moughania, two bright young scholars of Islam. They both have skillfully provided a valuable context of the historic meeting between Pope Francis and Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani in March 2021. Building on this analysis, the book presents a concise and accessible introduction to Shi'a Islam and its primary teachings.""The book not only offers an enriching perspective about the philosophy and ideals of Islam but thoughtfully examines the role of traditions and institutions, especially the seminary in Najaf, that helped Shia Muslims survive through many challenges across the fourteen centuries of Islamic history. A detailed take on importance of religious education and relevance of Muslim identity formation today adds great value to the work.""It is a highly recommended reading for both Muslim and non-Muslim audiences interested in having a deep dive into core Islamic principles as well as theological intricacies that define Islam today. The insights this book offers are so critical for our understanding of Islamic diversity as well as Islam's constructive potential to offer solutions to global challenges today."-Dr. Hassan Abbas, a scholar and professor of international relations teaching in Washington D.C is author of The Prophet's Heir: The Life of Ali ibn Abi Talib (Yale University Press, March 2021).