The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the by Vali Nasr

By Vali Nasr

"Historically incisive, geographically broad-reaching, and brimming with illuminating anecdotes."—Max Rodenbeck, big apple evaluate of Books

Iranian-born student Vali Nasr has turn into considered one of America's best commentators on present occasions within the heart East, widespread and welcomed by way of either media and govt for his "concise and coherent" research (Wall highway magazine, front-page profile). during this "remarkable work" (Anderson Cooper), Nasr brilliantly dissects the political and theological antagonisms inside Islam, delivering a special and aim knowing of the 1,400-year sour fight among Shias and Sunnis and laying off an important gentle on its modern day results.

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14 The volunteer fighters helped the Iraqi Armed Forces avoid complete collapse as a result of the rapid advancement of ISIS. ”15 However, some Iraqi politicians were prescient in fearing that the existence of these armed groups would exacerbate the sectarian nature of the conflict. Some Shi’a politicians believe that the PMF have transcended the role set by Sistani’s fatwa, especially after their transformation from zealous volunteers to highly organized military structures. As a result, the hasdh, or PMF, has become a leading source for sectarian discontent and conflict—​resented by Sunnis and just as fiercely defended by many Shi’a.

6 Immediately, an estimated 60,000 to 90,000 citizens had enlisted. But, despite Sistani’s assertions that his order was not sectarian, nearly all volunteers were Shi’a, determined to defend the country from the Sunni militants of ISIS. 7 And it was not fear of ISIS alone, but of what had become a widespread fear that Sunnis across Iraq, and throughout the wider region, were intent on conquering the Shi’a communities that dot the Middle East. The Shi’a believed, not without justification, that ISIS would not have succeeded in taking control of Mosul if the militants had not had the support of the local Sunni population.

After all, Najaf is one of the four Shi’a “sublime thresholds,” holy sites that, for the faithful, exist as intermediary spaces between the divine and earthbound worlds. Here, in a practice that is bitterly denounced by many Sunni theologians as polytheism—​and, thus, as heretical—​Shi’a believers gather to pray at the tombs of their earliest leaders, the semidivine and infallible Imams. At the center of Najaf’s religious life sits the burial site of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, revered by Shi’a Muslims as the commander of the faithful.

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