The troubled transition to democracy in Iraq has led many to wonder how the country’s Shi’ites and Sunnis will balance their religious beliefs with political pressures. Inthis volume, historian Juan R. I. Cole explores clerical participation within Iraq's emerging democracy, including that of the Da’wa Party, the al-Sadr Movement, and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution. Ideal for students and scholars of foreign affairs, Cole’s thought-provoking analysis will be important reading for anyone concerned about the future of Iraq.
The 1,400-year-old schism between Sunnis and Shi’is is currently reflected in the destructive struggle for hegemony between Saudi Arabia and Iran—with no apparent end in sight. But how did this conflict begin, and why is it now the focus of so much attention?
Charting the history of Islam from the death of the Prophet Muhammad to the present day, John McHugo describes the conflicts that raged over the succession to the Prophet, how Sunnism and Shi’ism evolved as different sects during the Abbasid caliphate, and how the rivalry between the Sunni Ottomans and Shi’i Safavids ensured that the split would continue into the modern age. In recent decades, this centuries-old divide has acquired a new toxicity that has resulted in violence across the Arab world and other Muslim countries.
Definitive, insightful, and accessible, A Concise History of Sunnis and Shi'is is an essential guide to understanding the genesis, development, and manipulation of the schism that for far too many people has come to define Islam and the Muslim world.
Muslim marriages have been the focus of considerable public debate in Europe and beyond, in Muslim-majority countries as well as in settings where Muslims are a minority. Most academic work has focused on how the majority Sunni Muslims conclude marriages. This volume, in contrast, focuses on Twelver Shi'a Muslims in Iran, Pakistan, Oman, Indonesia, Norway, and the Netherlands. The volume makes an original contribution to understanding the global dynamics of Shi'a marriage practices in a wide range of contexts--not only its geographical spread but also by providing a critical analysis of the socio-economic, religious, ethnic, and political discourses of each context. The book sheds light on new marriage forms presented through a bottom up approach focusing on the lived experiences of Shi'a Muslims negotiating a diverse range of relationships and forms of belonging.
Hezbollah’s revolutionary role in global politics has invited lionization and vilification, rather than a clear-eyed view of its place in history. Now that the party is in power, how will Hezbollah reconcile its regional obligations with its religious beliefs? This nonpartisan account offers insights that Western media have missed or misunderstood.
Using Arabic-language sources that have never before been studied or analyzed, Max Weiss paints a nuanced picture of sectarianism in Lebanon under the French Mandate. He demonstrates that sectarianism evolved long before the phenomenon known as “political Shi’ism.” This groundbreaking and deeply researched book is not merely narrative history; it also incorporates some of the latest critical theory about religious modernity and colonialism. Weiss illustrates the power of sectarianism as both a conceptual category and as a set of practices which can be a force for good and positive change as well as for division and destruction. By foregrounding historical forces that shape and direct sectarianism, he also shows how dimensions of sectarianism that no longer serve a society can be overcome with time.
In Jonah Blank's important, myth-shattering book, the West gets its first look at the Daudi Bohras, a unique Muslim denomination who have found the core of their religious beliefs largely compatible with modern ideology. Combining orthodox Muslim prayer, dress, and practice with secular education, relative gender equality, and Internet use, this community serves as a surprising reminder that the central values of "modernity" are hardly limited to the West.
As the recent war in Lebanon demonstrated, an understanding of the Lebanese Shi‘ite militant group Hizbullah remains an important component of any attempt to solve the problems of the Middle East. The Shifts in Hizbullah’s Ideology provides an in-depth analysis of the group’s motivations, tracking the changes it has undergone since Hizbullah’s founding by Lebanese Shi‘ite clergy in 1978. Joseph Alagha demonstrates that Hizbullah, driven at its founding chiefly by religious concerns, in the latter half of the 1980s became a full-fledged social movement, with a structure and ideology aimed at social change. Further changes in the 1990s led to Hizbullah’s becoming a mainstream political party—but without surrendering its militarism or willingness to use violence to advance its ends.
In tracking these changes, The Shifts in Hizbullah’s Ideology covers such disparate topics as Hizbullah’s views of jihad, suicide and martyrdom, integration, pan-Islamism, anti-Zionism, and the relationship with Israel and the United States. It will be necessary reading for both scholars and policymakers.
Hamid Dabashi Harvard University Press, 2010 Library of Congress BP192.D33 2010 | Dewey Decimal 297.8209
For a Western world anxious to understand Islam and, in particular, Shi’ism, this book arrives with urgently needed information and critical analysis. Hamid Dabashi exposes the soul of Shi’ism as a religion of protest—successful only when in a warring position, and losing its legitimacy when in power.
Twelve Infallible Men
Matthew Pierce Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress BP189.43.P54 2016 | Dewey Decimal 297.820922
In the tenth century Shiˀa scholars assembled accounts of twelve imams’ lives, portraying them as miracle workers who were betrayed. These biographies invoked shared cultural memories, shaped communal responses and ritual practices of mourning, and inspired Shiˀa identity and religious imagination for centuries to come, Matthew Pierce shows.