As nations around the world struggle with the threat of militant Islam, Vali Nasr, one of the leading scholars on the Middle East, provides us with the rare opportunity to understand the political and theological antagonisms within Islam itself. The Shia Revival is a penetrating historical account of sectarian conflicts in the Muslim world, showing that the future rests in finding a peaceful solution to the ancient rivalries between the Shias and the Sunnis.
Nasr provides a unique and objective understanding of this 1,400-year bitter struggle between the two sects—tracing its roots from the succession of the Prophet Mohammad—forcing us to differentiate the religious and theological aspect of Islam from its political and military rivalries. Outlining the rich history of a people and a vibrant culture that has spanned not only the Middle East but also modern-day Pakistan and India, Nasr explains the traditional hostilities and scrutinizes their current embodiment in the power struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia for political and spiritual leadership of the Muslim world.
From the provocative rise of Ayatollah Khomeini to the Saudi pressure on the United States to keep Saddam Hussein in power in 1991; from the critical role of the Ayatollah Sistani and the religious establishment in Najaf (Iraq) to the consequences of the recent shift toward Shia power in Iraq through American intervention, Nasr's poignant and timely analysis of the Shia/Sunni schism brings clarity and insight to the complex, often bloody, events shaping the Muslim world and its relations with the West.