Aun Ali

Thesis Title:  "Pro-Shiism"
Advisor: James D. Pavlin
Shiite theologians have long held that the essential dogma of Shiism existed during the Prophet Muhammad’s lifetime.  This view is rejected by Sunnite Muslims and, until recently, by most Western scholars as well.  Inspired by the groundbreaking book The Succession to Muhammad by Wilfred Madelung, Laudian Professor of  Arabic at the University of Oxford, my thesis, “Pro-Shiism,” takes a fresh look at the question of the origin of Shiism.  After examining the socio-political roots of ‘Ali b. Abi Talib’s first partisans, I attempted to show that the Qur’an and Muhammad’s public life confirmed their inclination towards ‘Ali.  My research combined the perspective of a believer with modern Western scholarship on the subject.  I am deeply indebted to my advisors Dr. James Pavlin and Dr. Paul Sprachman for their constant supervision.  This project has helped me to re­define my personal and academic goals.  At the graduate level I hope to pursue my interest in Shiism, specifically Shiite elegiac poetry.