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In a Pure Muslim LandShi'ism between Pakistan and the Middle East$
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Simon Wolfgang Fuchs

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469649795

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469649795.001.0001

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Longing for the State

Longing for the State

Dialectics of the Local and the Transnational in Sunni-Shiʿi Sectarianism

(p.152) Chapter Five Longing for the State
In a Pure Muslim Land

Simon Wolfgang Fuchs

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter studies the changing discourses of sectarianism since the 1970s. During this decade, anti-Shi‘i rhetoric was the prerogative of Ahl-i Hadis scholars with close ties to Saudi Arabia. The polemics of the famous agitator Ihsan Ilahi Zahir (d. 1987) were centered on doctrinal points. The chapter contends, however, that for the ‘ulama of Pakistan’s most virulent anti-Shi‘i group, the Sipah-i Sahabah-i Pakistan (Army of the Companions of the Prophet; SSP), the Iranian Revolution constituted a threatening attempt at world domination and subversion of the fundamentals of Islamic politics. Even though these Deobandi scholars—in the vein of Zahir—still highlighted doctrinal incompatibilities between “real” and Shi‘i Islam, the Shi‘is were now primarily framed as a political problem: they blocked Pakistan from being molded into its true form: namely, that of a Sunni state with aspirations to global leadership. In formulating their answer to Khomeini, these sectarian Sunni ‘ulama attempted to reclaim the caliphate as a divinely sanctioned office that strikingly resembled and transcended Iran’s model of government.

Keywords:   Ahl-i Hadis, Sipah-i Sahaba, sectarianism, Saudi Arabia, Deobandis, Ihsan Ilahi Zahir, Iranian Revolution, caliphate

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