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Book: Guardians of Shi’ism: Sacred Authority and Transnational Family Networks

The book “Guardians of Shi’ism: Sacred Authority and Transnational Family Networks” has Written by Elivre Corboz and published on January, 2015.

The book study the transnational Shi’ism that explains the constitution of clerical leadership patterns across borders

What is the significance of transnationalism to Shi`i Islam? And how is clerical authority shaped across borders? Based on a political sociology of two families of religious scholars, al-Hakim and al-Khu’i, Elvire Corboz explains the internal workings of transnational leadership patterns in Shi`ism for the first time.

Corboz compares the multifaceted roles played by Shi`i clerics in contemporary affairs with selective narratives about the traditional system of religious authority (the marja`iyya), political organisations, and international charities. Whether informal or institutionalised, their authority networks are in constant negotiation between communities and states in Iraq, Iran, other Middle Eastern countries, the Indian sub-continent South-East Asia, and the West. This multi-sited approach clarifies the local and transnational dynamics that underpin clerical authority

This is a study of transnational Shi’ism that explains the constitution of clerical leadership patterns across borders. Based on a political sociology of two families of religious scholars, al-Hakim and al-Khu’i, Elvire Corboz explains the internal workings of transnational leadership patterns in Shi’ism for the first time. Corboz compares the roles of Shi’i clerics in contemporary affairs with the traditional system of religious authority (the marja’iyya), political organisations and international charities. Whether informal or institutionalised, their authority networks are in constant negotiation between communities and states in Iraq, Iran, other Middle Eastern countries, the Indian sub-continent, South-East Asia and the West. It enhances our understanding of Muslim authority through a sociological analysis of the networking, philanthropic and political practices of Shi’i clerical actors across borders. It includes case studies of two prominent families of religious scholars (al-Hakim and al-Khu’i) to show the continued relevance of Shi’i clerics to Muslim politics and society. It deconstructs homogenising views of transnational Shi’ism by comprehending and localising cross-border religious networks in and beyond the Middle East.

Table of Contents

  • Part I: Family, Students, and Friends: From Dyadic to Transnational Networks

1. An Iraqi Family of Religious Scholars: Local and Transnational Networking Strategies

2. An Iranian Marja’in Najaf and a Foundation in London: Reproducing Interpersonal Ties across Place and Over Time

  • Part II: Charitable Politics: Benevolent Patrons, Beneficiaries, and the State

3. Leadership in Patronage: The Benefits of Serving and Educating

4. The Priority of Charity: A Global Brand of Philanthropy in Its Local Making

  • Part IV: The Affairs of the State: Clerical Participation in Politics

5. From Najaf to Najaf: A Family at the Forefront of Iraqi Politics

6. Quietist Activism: Calculated Responses to Political Turmoil

About the Author

Elvire Corboz earned a D.Phil from Wadham College, University of Oxford and has held positions at Princeton University and Rutgers University. She is Assistant Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies in the Department of the Study of Religion, Aarhus University.

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