By Vali Nasr
Iranian-born student Vali Nasr has develop into one among America's prime commentators on present occasions within the heart East, well known and welcomed through either media and govt for his "concise and coherent" research (, front-page profile). during this "remarkable paintings" (Anderson Cooper), Nasr brilliantly dissects the political and theological antagonisms inside of Islam, offering a different and goal realizing of the 1,400-year sour fight among Shias and Sunnis and laying off an important gentle on its modern day results.
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Additional info for The Shia Revival - How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future
By the ninth century of the Common Era, Sunni law had defined the proper practice of the faith as the ulama and the caliphs established a balance between religious and political domains. The four Sunni jurisprudential schools—the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali—differed in their methodologies and philosophies of law, but not on the larger issues that defined Sunnism. Sunni theology evolved around debates on the nature of God and the scope of rational explanation of the manifestations of his will.
25 It is for this reason that commemorating Karbala defines the Shias. It is also for this reason that Shias place such a strong emphasis on their imams and the rituals associated with their deaths and are not content to limit themselves to the kind of law-governed and dutiful religious observance that forms the backbone of Sunni religiosity. Shias believe that to take part in Ashoura is to be absolved of sin, and that spirituality is to be found in the urgent drama of Husayn’s martyrdom rather than in strict observance of pious duties or laws.
7 What makes sectarian conflict particularly relevant to the future of the Middle East is that it is surfacing at a time when anti-Americanism, religious conservatism, and extremism are on the rise. Sunni extremism feeds on anti-Shia bias and even violence. The spasms of sectarian rivalries strengthen Sunni extremism and sanction the violence, which—at least in places where the Shia can fight back—leads to a vicious cycle of provocation and revenge followed by more of the same. Sectarian politics is also making its mark at a time of intense and wider-than-ever debates about the future of democracy in the region.