Shiism: An Overview

  • David Pinault


“Try not to hit the water buffaloes.” I didn’t wish to play back-seat driver, but Hyder had an unsettling habit of looking back over his shoulder at me while chatting as we rode together on his motorcycle. The herd ahead was distracting me from his argument.


Water Buffalo Muslim Community Scriptural Tradition Spiritual Authority Tyrannous Government 
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  1. 2.
    Abu al-Fath Muhammad al-Shahrastani, Kitab al-milal wa-al-nihal (Cairo: Maktabat Mustafa al-Babi, 1976), ed. Muhammad Sayyid Kilani, vol. 1, p. 146.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Relevant to this discussion of the Shiite ulama’s relationship with worldly governments is a discussion of “the ambiguity… at the heart of Iranian culture” in Roy Mottahedeh, The Mantle of the Prophet (New York: Pantheon Books, 1985), 161–165.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    For a discussion of Iranian worldviews and Iranian perceptions of America and the West, see William O. Beeman, “Images of the Great Satan: Representations of the United States in the Iranian Revolution,” in Nikki R. Keddie, ed., Religion and Politics in Iran (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), 191–217.Google Scholar

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© David Pinault 1992

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  • David Pinault

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