"Heir of the Prophets: Veneration of Ḥusayn b. ‘Alī and the Socio-Religious Positioning of Twelver Shiism." Islamic Studies, 60, no. 3 (Autumn 2021): 267-286. DOI: https://doi.org/10.52541/isiri.v60i3.1797
This article explores veneration of Ḥusayn b. ‘Alī (d. 61/680) and the place of his ritual visitation (ziyārah) and pilgrimage to his tomb in Karbala in the construction of Twelver Shī‘ī socio-religious identity. Following the theoretical approach of social identity theory, I argue that Twelver Shī‘ī veneration of Ḥusayn operates not only vertically, that is, to appeal to the divine, but also horizontally, that is, to secure a prominent socio-religious lineage for Twelver Shī‘īs vis-à-vis the non-Shī‘ī Muslim, Jewish, and Christian traditions. Through close reading and analysis of reports (ḥadīths/akhbār) compiled by Ibn Qūluwayh (d. 368-9/978-9) in his Kāmil al-Ziyārāt (The Complete Visitations), a fourth/tenth- century text devoted entirely to the theme of ritual pilgrimage, I conceptualize three levels of Twelver Shī‘ī socio-religious positioning. First, reports in this text encourage veneration of Ḥusayn and pilgrimage to his tomb as an indispensable feature of individual and communal Twelver Shī‘ī identity. Second, reports express veneration of Ḥusayn and his burial site as a marker of rivalry vis-à-vis the non-Shī‘ī Muslim tradition. Finally, the socio-religious place of Twelver Shī‘īs is further enhanced through reports depicting major figures from the Jewish and Christian traditions as participating in the veneration of Ḥusayn.
"Opposing the Imām: The Legacy of the Nawāṣib in Islamic Literature, written by Nebil Husayn." Shii Studies Review, 6, no.1-2 (July 2022): 464-467. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/24682470-12340078
Nebil Husayn, Opposing the Imām: The Legacy of the Nawāṣib in Islamic Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021. ISBN 9781108832816. 235 pages.
In a statement addressed to ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib, the Prophet is reported to have said, “In this community [of Muslims], you are like Jesus, son of Mary: one group loved him extremely and another group despised him extremely.” ʿAlī himself is reported to have said, “Two [types of] men perish in [relation to] me: the exaggerating lover and the slandering hater.” It is well known that devotion (wilāya, mawadda) to ʿAlī and his descendants, the ʿAlids, is a pillar of Shiʿism. Sunnis also hold ʿAlī and his descendants, especially al-Ḥasan and al-Ḥusayn, in high regard; ʿAlī is recognized as one of the “rightly guided caliphs” and his two sons are considered the “masters of the youth of paradise”. However, unlike the Shiʿa’s devotion to ʿAlī, which is evident in the earliest layer of historical evidence, Sunni attitudes towards ʿAlī evolved significantly over the first few centuries of Islam. While ʿAlids went from being regarded as the embodiment of evil to being venerated as saints, remnants of early anti-ʿAlid sentiment found their way into later Sunni discourse. Nebil Husayn’s Opposing the Imām explores the little-known but enduring legacy of those who despised ʿAlī and his descendants: the nawāṣib...