Shi'ite Islam: Polity, Ideology and Creed by Yann Richard, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Shi'ite Islam: Polity, Ideology and Creed

Shi'ite Islam: Polity, Ideology and Creed

by Yann Richard
     
 

The return of Ayatollah Khomeyni to power and the installation of a Shi'i theocracy in Iran in 1979 brought the revolutionary aspects of Shi'ite Islam to the Western centre stage. Fuelled by pictures of bloodshed and atrocities, images of violence linked to Shia states have left their mark on Western perceptions. Shi'ism has today become synonymous with militancy

Overview

The return of Ayatollah Khomeyni to power and the installation of a Shi'i theocracy in Iran in 1979 brought the revolutionary aspects of Shi'ite Islam to the Western centre stage. Fuelled by pictures of bloodshed and atrocities, images of violence linked to Shia states have left their mark on Western perceptions. Shi'ism has today become synonymous with militancy and violence - Hezbollah, Islamic Jehad, hostage taking...
Yet, the media has taken merely one aspect of this important phenomenon: namely a contempory Shi'ism firmly anchored in militancy. Yann Richard's careful narrative counters naive explanation, offering both a portrait of the spiritual and mystical faith which explains the deep history and mythology of Shi'ism up to the present. Islam is no more an Arab religion than Chritianity is a uniquely Western religion - not confined to the Arab world, the largest number of Muslims today are found in Asia, Indonesia, and the Indo-Pakistan peninsula, whilst the Iranian nation today represents the great centre of Shi'ite Islam.
Not only does the narrative chart the spread of Shi'ite influence over the Imanite communities, it uncovers the fundamental beliefs of Shi'ite identity on which a polity has been built. Richard examines both the development of Shi'i as theology and as a cultural history.
This book will stand the test of time to become a seminal text in Middle Eastern history and the study of world religions.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I can't think of any book in English that serves so well as a primer and introduction to Shi'ism and as a brilliant account of revolutionary theory in Iran... An original book, in various aspects, and unique for the range of coverage." Ira M Lapidus, University of California at Berkeley.

"Written in the best tradition of French participatory observation of Islam by one of the world's leading scholars of Shi'ism and Iran, this is unquestionably the most comprehensive account of the historical, religious, and sociological factors that have contributed to the emergence of the 'islamic revolution' in Iran, as well as a most insightful analysis of the dynamics of contemporary ideological and political trends in the islamic world at large. Obviously a very important book." Professor Hermann Landolt, McGill University.

"Yann Richard's Shi'ite Islam is an illuminating study of some of the most significant Muslim communities. Based on a clear exposition of the history of Shi'ism from the earliest days of Islam, it sheds a remarkable and penetrating light on the Shi'ites in the contemporary world... Richard's knowledge derives from both scholarship and his long personal experience, and the book is as near as any Western and non-Muslim author is likely to get to a view of Shi'ism from the inside. For anyone who wants to understand what Shi'ite Islam is about, there is no better introduction than Yann Richard's lucid, deeply knowledgeable and sympathetic, though by no means uncritical book." Dr David Morgan, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

"The author provides a lively kaleidoscopic picture of modern Shi'ite Islam, focussed on the Islamic Republic of Iran, with a distinct personal touch." Professor Wilfred Madelung, The Oriental Institute, University of Oxford.

"Well-written, highly readable, and scholarly, Shi'ite Islam: Polity, Ideology, and Creed is valuable and informative for students, scholars and general readers." Nikki Keddi, Contention.

"A much-needed introduction to Shi'ism by a leading scholar. This book offers a warm and most comprehensive account of a rich and variegated tradition by a distinguished Orientalist attuned to Iran and Shi'ism as the best of insiders." Dr Chibli Mallat, School of Oriental and African Studies, The University of London.

"Shi'ism has become a subject of particular interest in the West in the last fifteen years, since its prominent role in the overthrow of the Shah and the formation of the Islamic Republic in Iran. The resulting negative image of Shi'ite Islam and scepticism about the place of religion in political life still persist, and the need for explanation remains. Yann Richard, unusually well equipped to pierce the veil of ignorance, raises and discusses many crucial questions in this personal, elegant and judicious account of Shi'ite Islam. In doing so, he reveals not only the evolution of the modern face of Shi'ism but also the cross-currents and tensions below the surface... Yann Richard's stimulating book provides many insights for both students of the Middle East and the general reader." Dr Charles Melville, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Cambridge.

"Free from jargon, this is a well-written, readable, informative, and accessible book that can benefit both the general reader and the expert ... an erudite presentation of Shi'ite social and political life." Middle East Journal.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781557864703
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
02/27/1995
Series:
Studies in Social Discontinuity Series
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.02(w) x 8.99(h) x 0.76(d)

Meet the Author

Professor of Iranian Studies, Institut des Etudes Iraniennes, University of Paris, (Sorbonne) and Director of Abstracta Iranica, the Institut Francais de Recherche en Iran.

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