In a Pure Muslim Land: Shi’ism between Pakistan and the Middle East

Simon Wolfgang Fuchs. Univ. of North Carolina, $34.95 (376p) ISBN 978-1-4696-4979-5
In this dense but rewarding work, Fuchs (Proper Signposts for the Camp), lecturer in Islamic and Middle East studies at the University of Freiburg, challenges common assumptions about Shi’i Muslims, focusing less on Iran and more on Pakistan to tell a story of conversations and tensions between scholars and practitioners in South Asia and the Middle East. When most people think of Shi’i Muslims, Fuchs writes, they think of Iranian Revolution, but he argues that Pakistan is now home to an equally vibrant Shi’i political and judicial culture. He makes the case that a wider Shi’i religious landscape emerged after the Iranian revolution, arguing that lessons of the revolution—including how Pakistani scholars wrestled with and implemented Ayatollah Khomeini’s concept of vilayat-i faqih (guardianship or rule by a jurist)—were translated into South Asian Shi’i politics and theology through the vociferous, and often sectarian, discussions and debates between popular Islamic scholars in the region. Some individuals stand out from the mass of details, such as Ihsan Ilahi Zahir, a Pakistani theologian and anti-Shi’i sectarian who was killed during a bombing in 1987. Dense in its delivery, this text is not for those without some knowledge of Shiism, South Asia, and the Muslim world. Those who wade into the depth of Fuchs’s impeccable scholarship will find a nuanced picture of the debate in Pakistan about the ideal Muslim state in the modern world. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/24/2019
Release date: 04/01/2019
Genre: Religion
Hardcover - 376 pages - 978-1-4696-4978-8
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