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The Shi'is of Iraq / Edition 2

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Overview

The Shi'is of Iraq provides a comprehensive history of Iraq's majority group and its turbulent relations with the ruling Sunni minority. Yitzhak Nakash challenges the widely held belief that Shi'i society and politics in Iraq are a reflection of Iranian Shi'ism, pointing to the strong Arab attributes of Iraqi Shi'ism. He contends that behind the power struggle in Iraq between Arab Sunnis and Shi'is there exist two sectarian groups that are quite similar. The tension fueling the sectarian problem between Sunnis and Shi'is is political rather than ethnic or cultural, and it reflects the competition of the two groups over the right to rule and to define the meaning of nationalism in Iraq. A new introduction brings this book into the new century and illuminates the role that Shìis could play in postwar Iraq.

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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
This is a superb study of Iraq's Shia majority. Based on remarkable scholarship, the book brings to life a whole political community that has often been seen as a mere appendage of the larger Shia population in Iran. . . . This study is a potent reminder of the power of the modern state to shape and control even such basic social phenomena as religious identity and its expression.
— William B. Quandt
The Times Literary Supplement
Nakash's account of the process of community formation in Iraq has fascinating implications for modern Middle Eastern history. In that broad historical revolution which is the settlement of the Middle Eastern tribes, we can see that the agents were: Sufism in most of the Sunni countries; fundamentalist Islam in Arabia; and Shi'ism in Iraq and Iran. In each case, the primitive Islam of the tribes takes on a new form as an accompaniment to a fundamental change in economic and social life.
— M. E. Yapp
Foreign Affairs - William B. Quandt
This is a superb study of Iraq's Shia majority. Based on remarkable scholarship, the book brings to life a whole political community that has often been seen as a mere appendage of the larger Shia population in Iran. . . . This study is a potent reminder of the power of the modern state to shape and control even such basic social phenomena as religious identity and its expression.
The Times Literary Supplement - M.E. Yapp
Nakash's account of the process of community formation in Iraq has fascinating implications for modern Middle Eastern history. In that broad historical revolution which is the settlement of the Middle Eastern tribes, we can see that the agents were: Sufism in most of the Sunni countries; fundamentalist Islam in Arabia; and Shi'ism in Iraq and Iran. In each case, the primitive Islam of the tribes takes on a new form as an accompaniment to a fundamental change in economic and social life.
The Times Literary Supplement - M. E. Yapp
Nakash's account of the process of community formation in Iraq has fascinating implications for modern Middle Eastern history. In that broad historical revolution which is the settlement of the Middle Eastern tribes, we can see that the agents were: Sufism in most of the Sunni countries; fundamentalist Islam in Arabia; and Shi'ism in Iraq and Iran. In each case, the primitive Islam of the tribes takes on a new form as an accompaniment to a fundamental change in economic and social life.
From the Publisher
"This is a superb study of Iraq's Shia majority. Based on remarkable scholarship, the book brings to life a whole political community that has often been seen as a mere appendage of the larger Shia population in Iran. . . . This study is a potent reminder of the power of the modern state to shape and control even such basic social phenomena as religious identity and its expression."—William B. Quandt, Foreign Affairs

"Nakash's account of the process of community formation in Iraq has fascinating implications for modern Middle Eastern history. In that broad historical revolution which is the settlement of the Middle Eastern tribes, we can see that the agents were: Sufism in most of the Sunni countries; fundamentalist Islam in Arabia; and Shi'ism in Iraq and Iran. In each case, the primitive Islam of the tribes takes on a new form as an accompaniment to a fundamental change in economic and social life."—M. E. Yapp, The Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691115757
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 1/27/2003
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 340
  • Sales rank: 1,190,716
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
A Note on Transliteration
Abbreviations
Introduction 3
Ch. 1 The Making of Iraqi Shii Society 13
Iraq the Frontier 14
The Shrine Cities 18
The Conversion of the Tribes to Shiism 25
The Nature of the Conversion 43
Ch. 2 Years of Upheaval 49
The Impact of Two Revolutions 50
Muslim Unity and the Jihad Movement 55
The 1919 Plebiscite 61
The 1920 Revolt 66
Ch. 3 Exercising Social Control 75
Containing the Mujtahids 75
Managing the Tribal Shaykhs 88
Baghdad and the Shrine Cities 94
The Blow to the Status of Persians 100
Human Dilemmas 105
Ch. 4 The Search for Political Representation 109
Recognizing the State 109
The 1935 Revolt 120
The Bid for Power 125
The Radical Options 132
Ch. 5 The Commemoration of 'Ashura' 141
The Nature of the Muharram Observances 142
The Mujtahids and the Muharram Observances 154
The State and 'Ashura' 157
Ch. 6 Pilgrimage to the Shrine Cities and the Cult of the Saints 163
Foreign Pilgrimage 164
Internal Visitation 173
Ch. 7 The Corpse Traffic 184
Development and Socioeconomic Functions 185
The Religious Creed versus the Social Order 192
The State and the Corpse Traffic 197
Ch. 8 Shii Money and the Shrine Cities 205
The Building of an Economic Base 206
The Oudh Bequest 211
The Consequences of Dependency on Foreign Funds 229
Ch. 9 The Shii Madrasa in Iraq 238
Features and Functions 241
Signs of Decline 247
A New Iraqi Shii Madrasa 262
Conclusion 269
Epilogue: The Gulf War and its Aftermath 273
Appendix 1 The Constitution of the Buraq Quarter of Najaf 283
Appendix 2 Important Shii Shrines, Tombs, and Holy Sites in Iraq 285
Appendix 3 Shii Holy Burial Sites 287
Bibliography 289
Index 303
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