Dr Sayyid Amjad H. Shah Naqavi

The Dean


ayyid Amjad H. Shah Naqavi holds a PhD in Islamic Jurisprudence from the University of Edinburgh, which he completed in 1999. In 1433/2012, he founded the Shīʿah Institute to facilitate scholarship on Twelver Shia Islam, its heritage, and its peoples, and to promulgate the timeless and universal teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt. He has taught at the University of Bristol and the University of London and has been invited to present lectures in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. For three successive years (2019, 2020, 2021), he was recognised in The Muslim 500: The World’s Most Influential Muslims, published by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre.

Dr Shah Naqavi’s full-time dedication for more than two decades has been researching and preparing an Arabic critical edition and English literary translation of al-Sharīf al-Raḍī’s (d. 406/1016) celebrated compilation of the orations, sermons, supplications, epistles, and aphorisms of the Commander of the Believers, ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib, entitled Nahj al-Balāghah. His labour of love, into which he has poured his heart, will be published, God willing, in 2025 as Nahj al-Balāghah: The Word of ʿAlī, to be followed by The Way of Eloquence and the Path of Wisdom: A Companion to Nahj al-Balāghah: The Word of ʿAlī (forthcoming). Drawing upon these decades of meticulous scholarship, Dr Shah Naqavi presents an authoritative direct English translation, based on an extensive study of the manuscripts and the commentary tradition, and an authentic engagement with the original texts of the Nahj al-Balāghah. The fruit of a lifetime of immersion in the Nahj al-Balāghah, classical Arabic philology, and the Shia tradition, Dr Shah Naqavi’s translation presents the poetic beauty, profound power, and ineffable mystery of Imām ʿAlī’s magisterial word with exceptional lucidity and lyricism.

As the Dean of The Shīʿah Institute, Dr Shah Naqavi has convened three influential international symposia, introduced the first module in Shīʿī studies at a British university, namely the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), established and led a global fellowship of more than 70 scholars at the world’s most prestigious research institutions, overseen the publication of more than a dozen books, and launched two series, namely the Classical Shīʿah Library and the Modern Shīʿah Library, with the renowned academic publishing house Brill, as well as three in-house series: the Shīʿah Institute Symposia Series, the ʿĀshūrāʾ Literature Series, and the Shīʿah Heritage of South Asia Series.

In his personal time, whilst not focussing on the work of the Nahj al-Balāghah, Dr Shah Naqavi has pursued other research interests, producing many works of outstanding erudition, including: translations of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s The Mystery of Prayer (2015) and al-ʿAllāmah al-Ḥillī’s Foundations of Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Imāmī Shīʿī Legal Theory (2016); an Arabic critical edition of al-Ḥillī’s Mabādiʾ al-wuṣūl ilā ʿilm al-uṣūl (2016); and an English adaptation of Riḍā al-Khafājī’s The Call of the Free (2016). Now that the Nahj al-Balāghah is nearing publication, Dr Shah Naqavi has been able to bring to the fore a number of publications on which he has been working, in his free time, over the last three decades a new English translation of The Exalted Qurʾān (2024); a translation and explication of Hādī Sabzavārī’s The Grand Armour: A Commentary on the Divine Names (2024); The Orison and the Observance: The Spiritual Instruction of the Prophet Muḥammad and his Noble Descendants (2024); Sacred Illuminations: A Garland of Wisdom (2024); The Light of the Way: Attributed to Imām Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq (forthcoming); The Supreme Sacrifice: The Events of the Eve and Day of ʿĀshūrāʾ (forthcoming); Faith and Practice: On Matters of Truth, Guidance, and the Path of Salvation, an explication and translation of Muḥammad Bāqir al-Majlisī’s al-ʿItiqād (forthcoming); Ontology and Theology, an explication and translation of Mullā Ṣadrā’s Kitāb al-Mashāʿir (forthcoming); The Metaphysics of Sabzavārī on Theology (forthcoming); and The Pursuit of Philosophy: A Comprehensive Text on Metaphysics, Ontology, and Theology, an explication and translation of Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s Nihāyat al-Ḥikmah (forthcoming), amongst others.