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The Shi'is of Iraq

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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 between Arab Sunnis and Shi'is there exist two sectarian groups that are quite similar. The tension fueling the sectarian problem between Sunnis ...
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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 Shi'is could play in a future Iraq after Saddam Hussein.
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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: REPRINT
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction to the 2003 Paperback Edition
A Note on Transliteration
Abbreviations
Introduction 3
Ch. 1 The Making of Iraqi Shi'i Society 13
Ch. 2 Years of Upheaval 49
Ch. 3 Exercising Social Control 75
Ch. 4 The Search for Political Representation 109
Ch. 5 The Commemoration of 'Ashura' 141
Ch. 6 Pilgrimage to the Shrine Cities and the Cult of the Saints 163
Ch. 7 The Corpse Traffic 184
Ch. 8 Shi'i Money and the Shrine Cities 205
Ch. 9 The Shi'i Madrasa in Iraq 238
Conclusion 269
Epilogue: The Gulf War and its Aftermath 273
App. 1 The Constitution of the Buraq Quarter of Najaf 283
App. 2 Important Shi'i Shrines, Tombs, and Holy Sites in Iraq 285
App. 3 Shi'i Holy Burial Sites 287
Bibliography 289
Index 303
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