• Imprint: Saqi Books
  • ISBN: 9780863564703
  • Published: March 2012
  • UK Price: £35.00
  • US Price: $60.00
  • Format: 153 x 234 mm (Royal)
  • Binding: Hardback
  • Extent: 220pp
  • Subject: ,

Shi’ism and the Democratisation Process in Iran

With a focus on Wilayat al-Faqih

Ibrahim Moussawi

Since its emergence in 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has remained a conundrum for observers, particularly in the West. This study examines the fundaments of Iran’s Islamic governance and asks the pivotal question: can democracy and Islam cohere?

Addressing Wilayat al-Faqih, or rule by the jurisprudent – the theory upon which the Islamic Republic was constructed – he asserts that the system upholds both individual and communal rights, and provides scope for citizens to express their interests. Moussawi draws on the history and theological underpinnings of Shi‘i Islam to argue that in today’s Iran, politics and religion are neither rigid nor in diametric opposition.

Exhaustively researched, Shi‘ism and the Democratisation Process in Iran marks an invaluable addition to the growing oeuvre of books on Iran.

About the Author

Ibrahim Moussawi was born in Baalbeck, Lebanon. He has an MA in Political Science and a PhD in Philosophy of Islamic Studies, and has worked as a journalist for As- Safir, Al Intiqad, the Daily Star Lebanon and Al-Manar television. Currently, he is the Head of Media Relations for the Lebanese party, Hizbullah, and Associate Professor in Media, Sociology and History at the Lebanese University in Beirut. He regularly lectures at universities around the world, including Cambridge University, the London School of Economics and the School of Oriental and African Studies. He also frequently appears as a political analyst and commentator on international television channels such as CNN, the BBC, Sky News and Al Jazeera.


‘A valuable resource to both critics and supporters of wilayat al-faqih. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in wilayat al-faqih, the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or anyone looking to gain a better understanding of the intersection between religion and politics in Iran.’ Journal of Shi‘a Islamic Studies