The Shi'is of Iraq

The Shi'is of Iraq

by Yitzhak Nakash
     
 

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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…  See more details below

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 Shi'is could play in a future Iraq after Saddam Hussein.

Editorial Reviews

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

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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691006437
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
10/30/1995
Edition description:
With a New introduction by the author
Pages:
340
Product dimensions:
6.04(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.87(d)

What People are saying about this

A first-rate work of scholarship...Nakash is particularly good on the origins of Iraqi Shi'ism. His treatment of this important issue is a splendid case study of the sociology of religion.
Fouad Ajami
The most authoritative account we have on the Shi'a of Iraq. . . . Nakash's book provides a powerful corrective to earlier books on Iraq which have been battered by recent events. No reader who goes through Nakash's work will fail to be moved by the historical vistas he opens up.
Fouad Ajami, School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University

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