NA NA The Shiites

ISBN 13: 9780312079536

The Shiites

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9780312079536: The Shiites
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This book describes what Shiism means to those who actually practice it and serves as both an excellent introduction to the subject and an original work of scholarship.

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Shiite Islam is one of the world's major religions, with millions of adherents throughout the Middle East and South Asia. In the West, however, Shiite Islam has too often been misrepresented as a political movement. David Pinault's The Shiites describes what Shiism means to those who actually practice it and serves as both an excellent introduction to the subject and an original work of scholarship. The author starts by outlining the defining events of early Shiite history--the struggle for the caliphate after the defeat of Muhammad, the battle of Karbala, and the persecution of the Imams--and explores how these events were interpreted by later generations of Muslim religious authorities to form a distinctive Shiite theology. The second half of The Shiites looks at the particular example of the Shiite community in Hyderabad, India. Drawing on personal observations of the most important liturgies and extensive interviews with the participants, Dr. Pinault shows how the great rituals of Muharram--the public processions and self-mortification in honor of the Imam Husain, slain at the battle of Karbala--help define communal identity and illuminate Shiite cosmology and beliefs about the nature of voluntary suffering. Particular attention is given to the important role of the men's guilds that supervise the rituals. All textual sources have been fully translated from Arabic, Persian, and Urdu into English. The Shiites is a uniquely accessible work of enormous value both to the general reader and to the specialist in Islamic studies.

From Library Journal:

In Part 1 of this work, Pinault (Colgate Univ.) targets the general audience with an excellent, compact overview of the history, beliefs, practices, and various sects of Shi'ite Islam. Part 2, written for the more serious researcher, focuses on Pinault's recent work among the Shi'ites in Hyderabad, India. His study emphasizes the Muharram ritual, the local Muslim men's guilds that direct the ritual celebrations, and the role of liturgy in expressing the community's worldviews and self-identity. This is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the dynamics of Shi'ism today, particularly as it is removed from areas such as Iran and southern Lebanon, where recent politically charged discussions have informed our perceptions.
- Paula I. Nielson, Loyola Marymount Univ. Lib., Los Angeles
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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