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Gender, Sainthood, & Everyday Practice in South Asian Shiʿism$
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Karen G. Ruffle

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834756

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877975_ruffle

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The Saddest Story Ever Told

The Saddest Story Ever Told

Translating Karbala Through Feminine Voices & Emotions into a Deccani ShiʿI Idiom

(p.85) Chapter Three The Saddest Story Ever Told
Gender, Sainthood, & Everyday Practice in South Asian Shiʿism

Karen G. Ruffle

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses Sayyid 'Abbas Sahib's move from Madras to the princely state of Hyderabad, the capital of the Sunni Asaf Jahi dynasty. 'Abbas Sahib was a renowned writer of marsiya poems commemorating the Battle of Karbala. He came to Hyderabad seeking the patronage of the fifth Asaf Jahi Nizam, Afzal al-Dawlah Bahadur. The observance of Muharram has flourished in Hyderabad since the establishment of the Shi'i Qutb Shahi dynasty in 1512 ce. The mehndi mourning assembly has been celebrated with much enthusiasm in Hyderabad since the reign of 'Abdullah Qutb Shah, who commissioned the construction of the Alava-ye Qasem shrine in Yaqutpura, a neighborhood in the Shi'i section of the Old City. As he did in his former home city of Madras, 'Abbas Sahib discovered a reverence for Qasem and the mehndi ritual among the Shi'a of Hyderabad.

Keywords:   Sayyid 'Abbas Sahib, Madras, Hyderabad, Sunni Asaf Jahi, marsiya poems, Battle of Karbala

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