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The Shiites pp 169-175 | Cite as

Hyderabad and the World Community of Shiite Islam

  • David Pinault

Abstract

Friends asked, once I was back home after my second trip to India, what had impressed me most in my work with Hyderabad’s Shiites. The hospitality, was my immediate reply; that, and the willingness of most of the men I encountered to talk to me and welcome me to their family chapels. Looking back now over two Muharram seasons, however, and having had more time for reflection, I would add something else: I was impressed by the immediacy of Karbala for Hyderabadi Shiites. Husain’s death is no historical datum from the remote past; it generates a sense of injury, of something gone wrong with the world. This community guards a lively awareness of the violence inflicted on the Imam and the persecution visited on his followers down to the present day. Untiringly my hosts would recount for me each indignity suffered by Husain thirteen centuries ago, each blow that struck him and where it fell; and I sometimes had the feeling that we were talking about something from just yesterday, as if these were things that had befallen an immediate acquaintance or family member. And so in a sense they were. “We want the world to know, we want the world to see our side of things,” as one informant said in describing the wrongful usurpation of the caliphate by the Umayyads; and in fact many of the men I interviewed were eager for me to write down notes and take photographs of the liturgies I witnessed.

Keywords

World Community Persian Gulf Region Sudanese Government Hostage Crisis Sacrificial Victim 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Mary Hegland, “Two Images of Husain: Accommodation and Revolution in an Iranian Village,” in Nikki R. Keddie, ed., Religion and Politics in Iran (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), 218–235.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ali Shariati, Red Shi’ism (Houston: Free Islamic Literatures, 1980), 8. Translated by Habib Shirazi.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ibid., 9–10.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ibid., 10.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Morteza Motahhary, The Martyr (Houston: Free Islamic Literatures, 1980), 17, 23.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ruhollah Khomeini, Islam and Revolution: Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini, translated by Hamid Algar (Berkeley: Mizan Press, 1981), 28; cited by Gregory Rose, “Velayat-e Faqih and the Recovery of Islamic Identity in the Thought of Ayatollah Khomeini,” in Keddie, op. cit., 166.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Emmanuel Sivan, “Sunni Radicalism in the Middle East and the Iranian Revolution,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 21 (1989), 6.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Youssef M. Ibrahim, “Iran Shifting its Attention from Lebanon to Sudan,” The New York Times, Dec. 13, 1991, p. A7.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gershom Scholem, s.v. “Kabbalah,” Encyclopaedia Judaic a (Jerusalem: Macmillan, 1971), vol. 10, 588–601. For a highly readable introduction to the Lurianic Kabbalah and the concept of tikkun olam I recommend Lis Harris, Holy Days: The World of a Hasidic Family (New York: Collier Books, 1985), 40–43.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Elaine Sciolino, “Saudis Gather Ousted Iraqi Groups,” The New York Times, Feb. 22, 1991, p. A8; George Joffe, “Still Divided,” Middle East International, March 8, 1991, p. 5; Safa Haeri, “Close Eye on Iraq,” Middle East International, March 8, 1991, pp. 18–19. For background information on Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim see Christine Moss Helms, Iraq: Eastern Flank of the Arab World (Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1984), 28–29.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Pinault 1992

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  • David Pinault

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