Shia Lamentation Rituals and Reinterpretations of the Doctrine of Intercession: Two Cases from Modern India

  • David Pinault


Knowing my interest in forms of Shia popular piety, colleagues occasionally send me copies of polemical writings criticizing the more controversial manifestations of Shia devotionalism. One such text sent to me recently was a translation of Muhibbudeen al-Khateeb’s al-Khututal-’aridah (originally published in the 1950s), entitled Broad Aspects of Shi’ite Religion (Exposition and Refutation). One of the author’s harshest comments occurs in his discussion of tawhid (the monotheistic assertion of God’s oneness), belief in which is required of all Muslims: “Sunnis believe that Allah is the One, the Only, God, the Almighty Subduer. He has no partners or rivals … The Shi’ites also believe in Allah the Exalted and His Oneness, except that they adulterate this belief with polytheistic rituals and observances. They implore and make supplication to Allah’s slaves and worshippers rather than to Him alone, saying, ‘O ’Ali!’ and ‘O Husain!’ and “O Zainab!’ … They consider their Imams to be infallible, to have knowledge of the unseen, and to partake in the administration of the universe.”1


Religious Leader Muslim Community Religious Authority Iranian Government Predestinarian Quality 
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  1. 1.
    Muhibbudeen al-Khateeb, Al-khutoot al-’areedah: Broad Aspects of Shi’ite Religion (Exposition and Refutation), trans. Mahmoud Murad (South Burnaby, British Columbia: Majliss of al-Haq Publication Society, 1983), 32. I thank Birch Miles for sending me a copy of this text.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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    Ibid., vol. 44, 221.Google Scholar
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© David Pinault 2001

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  • David Pinault

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