The new sectarianism : the Arab uprisings and the rebirth of by Geneive Abdo

By Geneive Abdo

The Shi'a-Sunni clash is likely one of the most vital results coming up from the Arab rebellions. but, there's little knowing of who's riding this pressure and the underlying explanations. by means of delving deeply into the historic components top as much as the present-day clash, The New Sectarianism sheds new mild on how Shi'a and Sunni understand each other after the Arab uprisings, how those perceptions have affected the Arab international, and why the dream of a pan-Islamic awakening used to be lost.

Geneive Abdo describes a ancient backdrop that serves as a counterpoint to Western media insurance of the so-called Arab Spring. Already via the Nineteen Seventies, she says, Shi'a and Sunni groups had started to affiliate their spiritual ideals and practices with own id, exchanging their fragile loyalty to the kingdom kingdom. by the point the Arab risings erupted into their complete fury in early 2011, there has been fertile flooring for instability. the consequent clash-between Islamism and Nationalism, Shi'a and Sunni, and different factions inside of those communities-has ended in unparalleled violence. So, Abdo asks, what does faith need to do with it? This sectarian clash is frequently offered through the West as contention over land use, political strength, or entry to schooling. in spite of the fact that, Abdo persuasively argues that it needs to be understood as flowing without delay from spiritual distinction and the linked identities that this distinction has conferred on either Shi'a and Sunni.

The New Sectarianism considers the motives for this clash in key international locations comparable to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Bahrain and the advance of local tendencies. Abdo argues that during those areas faith concerns, not just in the way it is used by extremists, average Islamists, and dictators alike for political reasons, yet the way it forever evolves and is perceived and practiced one of the overwhelming majority of Muslims. Shi'a and Sunni this day should not scuffling with over territory by myself; they're battling for his or her declare to a real Islamic identity.

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Extra resources for The new sectarianism : the Arab uprisings and the rebirth of the Shiʼa-Sunni divide

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Such is popular devotion to Ali that Najaf is the third most visited site in Islam, after Mecca and Medina, despite the fact that Shi’a make up only a little more than one tenth of the world’s Muslims. Here, the pilgrims kiss the sacred walls and mourn Ali’s passing almost 1,400 years ago. Just as the tomb of Ali outshines Qom’s shrine to Fatemeh Masoumeh, the sister of the Eighth Imam who fell ill in eastern Iran during the early ninth century and asked to be buried among the local Shi’a, so, too, can Najaf’s supreme religious authorities, represented in the person of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, be seen in something of a superior light.

Among the Sunni, in contrast, the emphasis has been on the reports of the Prophet’s closest aides, Companions, and wives, as well as the comprehensive edifice of Sunni religious law, codified throughout the centuries by several competing legal schools, or madhabs. It is this divergence in interpretation and realization of proper Islamic practice, then, that lies at the center of the religious divide between Sunni and Shi’a. Moreover, the former hold their rivals responsible for splintering the ummah and thus weakening the community from the outset.

The Sixth Imam, Jafar al Sadeq, a scholarly figure who codified Shi’a holy law and traditions known later as the Jafari School, spelled out the unique status of the 37 38 the new sectarianism Holy Family—​composed of the Prophet, his daughter Fatemeh, his son-​ in-​law Ali, and the 11 Imams: “God created the spirits [of men] two thousand years before their bodies. ”35 The men of the Prophet’s House are, collectively, the Twelve Imams of what is today the most numerous branch of the Shi’a, known as Twelver or Imami Shi’a.

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