University of Cambridge > > Centre of South Asian Studies Seminars > Khomeini's perplexed Pakistani men: importing and debating the Iranian Revolution

Khomeini's perplexed Pakistani men: importing and debating the Iranian Revolution

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Existing scholarship has labeled 1979, the year of the Iranian Revolution, as a watershed for Pakistan’s Shiʿis. In the wake of Khomeini’s rise to power, the community not only adopted Iranian customs in commemorating their founding religious figures, most notably during ʿāshūrā, but also submitted to the religious authority of the religious scholars (ʿulamā) in an unprecedented manner. Yet, no attempts have been made so far to map the intellectual environment of Pakistan’s leading Shiʿi scholars at the time. This paper, drawing on hitherto unused Urdu sources, shows how these ʿulamā related to the events next door. Contrasting their responses in the early 1980s, later in the decade, and today, I show how they adopted and modified the concept of “guardianship of the jurisprudent” (vilāyat-i faqīh) to fit their country’s specific political and religious needs.

This talk is part of the Centre of South Asian Studies Seminars series.

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