Najaf: Portrait of a Holy City examines the historical and social aspects of one of Iraq’s most important cities, a centre of religious learning and devotion for the Shi‘i community since medieval times.
Through original contributions by leading Iraqi and international scholars, this volume presents several key aspects of the history and development of the city, its global spiritual and educational prominence and its modern role as an economic and political centre.
The thirteen essays in this book cover topics such as Najaf’s architecture and urban design, as well as the preservation of its built environment; the impact of social movements and revolutions on the city; pilgrimage and religious authority in Najaf; and the city’s libraries and intellectual development.
About the Author
Dr Sabrina Mervin is a specialist of contemporary Shi‘ism and a researcher at the CEIFR.
Prof. Robert Gleave is a specialist of Islamic thought and religious authority in Shi‘i Islam, and a professor of Arabic Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter University.
Dr Géraldine Chatelard is a specialist of contemporary Iraq and Jordan and Associate Researcher at Ifpo.
Table of Contents
The foundation of three cities: Hira, Kufa and Najaf
The history and architecture of the Imam Ali Shrine
Geographical and historical perspectives on burial in the Najaf area and Wadi al-Salam cemetery
The noble city: pilgrimage, urban charisma and sacred topography in Najaf
Ashura rituals in Najaf: the renewal of expressive modes in a changing urban and social landscape
Najaf learned authority and scholarly pre-eminence
A millennium in Najaf: the hawza of Shaykh al-Tusi
Writing the history of religious authorities in Najaf: the marja’iyya as apparatus
The libraries of Najaf and their manuscript heritage
The historiography of Najaf: a study of encycolpaedic Works
Najaf: a historical center of power and economy (1500-1920)
The Najaf revolt of 1980: its importance and potential, and the causes of its collapse
Communism in Najaf: the rise and fall of a secular movement between 1980 and 1963
Title: Najaf, Portrait of a Holy City
َAuthors: Sabrina Mervin and Robert Gleave
Publisher: Ithaca Press
Length: 320 pages
Pub. Date: September 5, 2017