It’s soothing to believe that a popular uprising ejected an incompetent Islamist president. It’s not comforting to point out that a popular uprising was on the cusp of doing so, until the generals stepped in, aborted a vital political process, arrested the president, and proclaimed their own ‘roadmap’ for how things will be from now on.
10.1 | Sects
Books have acted as rites of passage throughout my existence. Perhaps they form the backdrop to my life. Memories of my childhood are entwined with reading and literature.
I would argue that London is the greatest place on earth if you are a Muslim. The vast metropolis is an eclectic swathe of cultures, communities, faiths and fashions all living together in various states of harmony. Every tribe, tradition, sect and persuasion of Islam is represented in the British capital.
In my husband’s suitcase there are sixteen different kinds of homemade jams and pickles, mostly made by his five older sisters, some of fruits that do not even grow outside of Iran. One such is the Cedrate citrus: an orange without segments.
Named after the founder of a lineage claiming to inherit Muhammad’s religious authority, the Ismailis comprise three important groups, each with its own structure of leadership.
As a Shi‘a but specifically Twelver Shi‘a myself, writing about the beliefs and religious practices of the faith harkens back to my own childhood. My most vivid memories of childhood are about going to the mosque on Thursdays, where we recited the beautiful supplication of Du’a al-Kumayl as taught by Ali bin Abi Talib.
The Iranian revolution made me giddy. I was a theological student at the Nadwatul Ulama seminary in India at the time, and barely twenty-one. My optimism about the revolution met cold blasts of Sunni pessimism from the teachers and leadership of the madrasa who were deeply hostile to Ayatollah Khomeini’s ‘Shia’ – ‘not Islamic’ – revolution.
‘Taz’, a new channel on the Pakistani Geo TV network, is dedicated to twenty-four-hour news. There is a rapid-fire news bulletin every fifteen minutes: hence the name, Taz, or fast. But even after an endless stream of stories about sectarian violence, terrorist atrocities, suicide bombings, ‘target killings’, ‘load shedding’, political corruption and the defeats of the Pakistani cricket team with mundane regularity, there is still ample time left in the schedule.