Chapter 18 The New Cambridge History of Islam Summary Paper

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In this assignment, you are asked to produce a summary of an extended chapter on some aspect of Middle Eastern/Islamic civilization, from "THE OXFORD HISTORY OF ISLAM" you can choose any of the following chapters 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. or you can use another book "THE NEW CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF ISLAM" chapter 18 The summary should be 800-1000 words long.

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THE NEW CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF ISLAM * VOLUME 6 Muslims and Modernity Culture and Society since 1800 * Edited by ROBERT W. HEFNER Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2011 18 Culture and politics in Iran since the 1979 revolution nikki r. keddie 1979–20041 Introduction Iranian culture and society were profoundly affected by the mass revolution of 1978 9. The victory of the revolution in February 1979 was possible as the result of an ultimately incompatible coalition of forces, ranging from various leftist and communist parties, through the liberal democrats of the National Front, the Islamic democrats of the Iran Liberation Movement, to the clerical and non clerical followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. In the demon strations of 1978 and to a degree even before, non clerical forces increasingly allied with the charismatic Khomeini, who was the only person with mass popularity. Only the religious forces had had a venue in mosques and religious gatherings to voice anti regime language, often in the coded form of refer ences to the oppressors and killers of the third Shı̄qı̄ imam, H . usayn. The mythical elaboration and re enactment of H usayn’s martyrdom at Karbalāp, Iraq, at the . hands of the Umayyad caliph Yazı̄d, which in peaceful times was used to assure H . usayn’s intercession for believers, became the cultural expression and rallying cry for revolutionary action against the shah’s tyranny.2 1 Recent works on contemporary Iran include Ray Takeyh, Hidden Iran: Paradox and power in the Islamic Republic (New York, 2006); Barbara Slavin, Bitter friends, Bosom enemies: Iran, the U.S., and the twisted path to confrontation (New York, 2007); Trita Parsi, Treacherous alliance: The secret dealings of Israel, Iran, and the U.S. ( New Haven, 2007); Scott Ritter, Target Iran: The truth about the White House’s plans for regime change (New York, 2006); Nikki R. Keddie, Modern Iran: Roots and results of revolution, new edn (New Haven, 2006), and Nikki R. Keddie, Women in the Middle East: Past and present (Princeton, 2007); William O. Beeman, The Great Satan vs. the mad mullahs: How the United States and Iran demonize each other (Chicago, 2008). There are also many other books, articles and websites with information, including the Gulf 2000 site on Iran, http://gulf2000.columbia.edu/iran.shtml. 2 Kamran Scot Aghaie, The martyrs of Karbala: Shi’i symbols and rituals in modern Iran (Seattle, 2004); Mary Hegland, ‘Two images of Husain: Accommodation and revolution in an Iranian village’, in Nikki R. Keddie (ed.), Religion and politics in Iran: Shi’ism from quietism to revolution (New Haven, 1983), pp. 218 35. 438 Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2011 Culture and politics in Iran since the 1979 revolution Secularists’ and democrats’ acceptance of Khomeini’s leadership was facili tated by the young leaders who spoke in his name in 1978 Abupl H . asan Banı̄ S.adr, S.ādiq Qut.bzāda and Ibrāhı̄m Yazdı̄ all of whom presented the cultural political synthesis elaborated in the 1970s of a modernised, anti imperialist version of Islam. Khomeini’s own chief writing on government, published on the basis of his lectures in his Iraq exile H.ukūmat i Islāmı̄, or Wilāyat i Faqı̄h, was not at all circulated during the revolution, but began to be presented as a blueprint soon after. In it Khomeini advocated rule by a leading cleric, but during the revolution he spoke in less absolutist and more constitutional terms. The grounds for accord among the different parties in the revolution were a widespread revulsion against dictatorship and a general belief that the shah was subservient to the United States, and perhaps Great Britain and Israel. All parties could agree on a desire for a less autocratic and far more internationally independent government. This agreement masked basic diffe rences that appeared after the victory of the revolution. Circumstances prior to the revolution favoured the rapid rise of religious politics in the later 1970s. Not only the repression of secular opposition, but also the takeover of nationalist and secular themes and policies by the shah and his entourage encouraged the expression of opposition in Shı̄qı̄ religious terms. Politically oriented Shı̄qı̄s were, however, divided, chiefly into followers of Khomeini’s reinterpretation of Shı̄qism as a doctrine of rule by a faqı̄h (leading Shı̄qı̄ jurist), followers of a more democratic view of Shı̄qism proposed by men like Ayatollah Mah.mūd T.aliqānı̄ and the engineer Mihdi Bāzargān, more leftist followers of the popular ideologue qAlı̄ Sharı̄qatı̄, who died in 1978, and far leftist adherents of the Mujāhidı̄n i Khalq organisation.3 Many women joined the anti shah movement and the demonstrations that culminated in the shah’s overthrow. Some did this as activists in one of the revolutionary or reformist political groups, but during the 1978 9 demonstra tions Khomeini and his lieutenants appealed to women to participate, and unorganised popular class women came out in large numbers. Some secu larised middle class women even adopted chadurs to protest against the shah, and the Mujāhidı̄n i Khalq women wore a smock and distinctive headcove ring. The symbolism of women’s dress continues to be central, especially to the ruling Islamists. 3 H. E. Chehabi, Iranian politics and religious modernism: The liberation movement of Iran under the Shah and Khomeinı̄ (Ithaca, 1990); Hamid Dabashi, Theology of discontent: The ideological foundation of the Islamic revolution in Iran (New York, 1993); Ervand Abrahamian, The Iranian Mojahedin (New Haven, 1989). 439 Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2011 The New Cambridge History of Islam Some see it as paradoxical that Iran, which had no longstanding Islamist organisation like the Muslim Brotherhood, active in several Arab countries, should have been the one country to have a successful ‘Islamic’ revolution. This paradox can largely be explained by the role of the Iranian Shı̄qı̄ clergy, which was not paralleled elsewhere. Over several centuries the Shı̄qı̄ clergy built up a kind of hierarchy independent of government unknown among the Sunnı̄ qulamāp. Twelver Shı̄qı̄s believe in twelve imams, or infallible leaders, the last of whom is hidden and will reappear in the future as the Mahdı̄, or messiah. In his absence, Shı̄qı̄s came to believe that the most educated clerics with the greatest following, called mujtahids or, recently, ayatollahs, are qualified to interpret his will. The followers of a particular mujtahid must follow his rulings. This power of interpretation, or ijtihād, came to be used for political purposes in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Rulings by leading mujtahids were crucial in enlisting support for a successful movement against a British tobacco concession in 1891 2 and in the constitutional revo lution of 1905 11. This independent political power of the Shı̄qı̄ qulamāp meant that they could work without a formal organisation like the laymen led Muslim Brotherhood, and could organise around mosques and their social and charitable programmes as well as other traditional religious organisations. The various groups opposed to the shah agreed on at least two points first, opposition to autocracy, with its concomitant jailing, intimidation and torture of opponents, and second, opposition to the role of Western powers, espe cially the United States, seen as undermining Iran’s independence. During the revolution, secularists convinced themselves that the clerics would not really rule. The profound differences among the revolutionary forces on issues like the proper role for Islamic law and its clerical enforcers, freedom for different views and parties and women’s rights were all pushed into the background. With the victory of the revolution in February 1979, Khomeini became the Guide or Leader, and appointed a provisional government led by the Islamic Liberal Mihdi Bāzargān and including other religious and secular liberals. At first, Khomeini continued to indicate that he and the clerics would not rule directly, and this idea seemed to be supported by the make up of the provi sional government. The circumstances of the US hostage crisis 1979 81 and the Iran Iraq War 1980 8 facilitated the takeover of power by Khomeini’s clerical followers, which they may have expected all along. This takeover was not only political but involved a Cultural Revolution (that term was used) to impose uniformity around the Khomeinist ideology. In the years 1979 83 Khomeini’s forces established a virtual monopoly of ideological and cultural power in place of what had been a multi party and 440 Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2011 Culture and politics in Iran since the 1979 revolution multi ideological revolution. Although Khomeini appointed a largely secular provisional government he simultaneously appointed loyalists as Friday prayer leaders in every city and built a kind of loyalist parallel government in the Council of Islamic Revolution. In early 1979 there were many political groups and parties. One reason the anti Khomeini liberals and left could never unite was that many in the Khomeinist left favoured land reform and other measures to help the poor that were opposed by the liberals and moderates. The Khomeinists also had control of much of the economy, including the huge former Pahlavi Foundation, which became the Foundation for the Dispossessed and continued to be able to hand out loyalty inducing benefits. The populace voted overwhelmingly for an Islamic republic in 1979 and elected an assembly of experts in a campaign in which wilāyat i faqı̄h for the first time was promoted. Before the constitutional assembly met the govern ment passed press laws that forbade collaborators of the old regime from publishing newspapers and set penalties for insulting the qulamāp or principles of the revolution. The newspaper Āyandagān was falsely accused of being funded by SAVAK (the shah’s notorious security police) and Israel, and was ransacked by the Islamist thugs called H.izbullāh, who went on to force leftist parties out of their Tehran offices. Over forty newspapers were then shut, and by September the two largest remaining papers were turned over to the Foundation for the Dispossessed. The new constitution placed extraordinary powers in the hands of the faqı̄h and limited the rights and powers of elective institutions. After President Jimmy Carter (pres. 1977 81) admitted the shah into the US for cancer treatment, on 4 November 1979, ‘students following the line of the Imām [Khomeini]’ seized the US embassy in Tehran, and when they refused Bāzargān’s order to leave, his government resigned. The long crisis, which ended only when Ronald Reagan (pres. 1981 9) became president in January 1981, was used by the clerical conservatives to consolidate their political, social and cultural power. Although the moderate Banı̄ S.adr won election as president in 1980, Khomeini broke with him in the spring of 1981 and he had to flee to France. In 1979 and early 1980 universities were a forum for ideological debates. Khomeini then supported a campaign to purge the universities of opposition ists. The Council of Islamic Revolution in April 1980 ordered leftists to leave the university, and some were forced out, with casualties. Banı̄ S.adr announced a Cultural Revolution and Khomeini set up a Council of the Cultural Revolution. The universities were shut down for three years, and many students and professors could never return. The Cultural Revolution 441 Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2011 The New Cambridge History of Islam was a great blow to cultural and intellectual life, interrupting the education and professional life of many and causing further emigration of students, teachers and professionals. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invaded Iran in September 1980, beginning an eight year war that caused much devastation and loss of life. It also, however, united nearly all Iranians behind the government’s war efforts and lessened the possibility of oppositional activity or culture. The leftist Islamic Mujāhidı̄n i Khalq, whose leader fled to Paris in 1981 with Banı̄ S.adr, backed Iraq in the war and lost much support; the leadership was exiled from France in 1986 and went to Iraq and launched attacks on Iran. The clerical government, using violence, jailings, executions and divide and rule tactics, put down its oppo sition one by one, finally arresting the leaders of the pro Soviet Tudeh party in 1983. The execution of former Khomeinist S.ādiq Qut.bzāda and the house arrest of the prominent and popular Ayatollah Sharı̄qatmadārı̄ in 1982 were also part of the unification of power and of permitted ideology. Most of the senior grand ayatollahs continued to oppose clerical rule, or wilāyat i faqı̄h, but had no organisation or platform. The universities, purged and given partially new curricula, were gradually reopened. As later student demonstrations showed, however, the regime did not succeed in uniting young people behind it. On the other hand, a ‘two cultures’ division between the poor and many in the traditional economy who favoured Islam and tradition and the better educated in the modern economy who were often secularist modernisers meant that the regime had the ideo logical support of many in the ‘traditional’ culture. This they retained in part by subsidies on basic goods, which continue today, and by measures to improve health, education and village and urban services. The most contentious social questions concerned women. Those who had benefited from the Pahlavi reforms, and had often joined the wide revolu tionary mobilisation of women, were alarmed in March 1980 by Khomeini’s ending of the reformist Family Protection Law (FPL) of 1967/75 and requiring ‘Islamic dress’. After mass women’s protests Khomeini retreated on dress, but in July government employees had to wear it and a year later the majlis ordered all women to do so. The return to a codified sharı̄qa meant a revival of polygamy, temporary marriage, child marriage and an end to the FPL’s equalisation of women’s rights in divorce and child custody. Social trends like rapid urbanisation and the rapid rise in female education meant that de facto marriage ages continued to rise, now being near the mid twenties, and, as noted below, women’s protests brought legal reforms that eventually restored some of the FPL’s protections. Women still lost rights and status and, until the 442 Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2011 Culture and politics in Iran since the 1979 revolution war required their work, were largely discouraged from working, especially in government offices. Several fields of university study and positions, including judgeships, were closed to them, though most of these were gradually won back later. The state has made major efforts from the first to regulate behaviour. Liquor, many forms of music and many cultural items from the West were outlawed. Gender segregation and dress codes were enforced both by government autho rities and by young zealots, some of them well organised. Co education was allowed only in universities, where the genders were segregated in class. Teachers had to purvey the state ideology, pro government Islamic student associations were formed, textbooks revised and commitment to the revolution was demanded for university admission. Although in the 1980s there were some culturally moderating and inter nationalist trends, especially with the end of the Iraq War in July 1988, these were overwhelmed in February 1989 when Khomeini made a brief statement, soon referred to as a fatwā (binding religious judgement), that the author of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie, and all involved in the book’s publication were sentenced to death. Subsequently a major Iranian foundation offered a $2.6 million reward to Rushdie’s killer. Khomeini died in June 1989 and was succeeded by Ali Khamenei. The government hierarchy claimed to be power less to withdraw Khomeini’s ruling, but it was gradually, and finally formally, allowed to become a dead letter. The main public cultural manifestations in the 1980s were Shı̄qı̄ ones. There was a revival of the mourning processions and plays commemorating the deaths of Imām H . usayn and other Shı̄qı̄ imams, and an increase in visits to the great shrine in Mashhad, the shrine at Qum, and other shrines to Shı̄qı̄ leaders and martyrs. Iranian shrine going replaced visits to the shrines of qAlı̄ and H . usayn in Najaf and Karbalāp. There were also visits to the graves of martyrs of the Iran Iraq War, and the funeral services of Khomeini brought out great public mourning demonstrations. A great tomb and shrine to Khomeini were subsequently built and attracted many visitors. In private many people continued their contact with modern and Western popular and high culture, often buying off local authorities in order to be free in their own homes. Drinking, partying, listening to and creating both local and Western music and listening to short wave radio continued, especially among the modern middle class and the young. Despite censorship, many books with different views continued to be published and translated. On the other hand, authorities continued sporadically to disrupt and punish private breaking of rules. 443 Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2011 The New Cambridge History of Islam Transnational ties of the Iranian revolution Although the Iranian revolution was unique as a mass revolution with significant clerical leadership, its impact was felt in other countries. The Iranian born cleric Mūsā S.adr was the chief leader who turned many Lebanese Shı̄qı̄s into an active political force from the 1950s until his disappear ance in 1978. Iranian oppositionists and revolutionaries flocked to Lebanon in the 1970s. They included Mus.t.afā Chamrān, who worked with Mūsā S.adr and in revolutionary activities; some leading members of the ‘Islamic Marxist’ Mujāhidı̄n i Khalq; and qAlı̄ Akbar Muh.tashamı̄, a Khomeinist later high in the Islamic Republic.4 Revolutionists were also educated and trained in other foreign countries among them Abupl H . asan Banı̄ S.adr and qAlı̄ Sharı̄qatı̄ in Paris, where they were influenced by anti imperialist intellectuals, Ibrāhı̄m Yazdı̄ in the US, and a number of clerical and secular leaders in Germany. Khomeini’s long stay in Iraqi exile, 1963 78, and his shorter one in France, surrounded by younger, more Westernised intellectuals, had an influence on his statements and perhaps his beliefs, which in the end included commitment to a constitution, parliament, modern education, women’s suffrage (which he had once opposed) and development activities for the poor. When the revolution took power in February, 1979, many in the third world, as it was then called, and especially in the Muslim world saw it as a harbinger of what positive things might be accomplished by a united popular movement against a government seen as autocratic and oppressive and as tied to US and Israeli imperial policies. Iranian stress on the Islamic nature of the revolution reduced some of its impact in the non Muslim world, but its influence in the Muslim world was more enduring. From the first, however, there were contradictions in the revolutionary ideology and practice that ultimately helped to undermine its influence. Among them were the con tradictions, which exist still today, between the theocratic nature of the constitution ...
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The New Cambridge History of Islam – Chapter 18 Summary
The culture and society of Iran was heavily influenced by a mass revolution that took
place in 1978 in which there were oppositions to liberal democrats. During this time, Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini gained a mass amount of popularity and only spoke in terms regarding
constitutionalism rather than absolutism. The different parties that were a part of the revolution
came together and agreed that dictatorship should not be allowed, that the shah was submissive
towards America, and that there was a mutual desire for a more internationally independent
government from the rest of the world (Hefner, 439). Before the revolution, religious politics ran
rampant as secular oppression took place. A new movement known as the anti-shah movement
came about in which many people wanted to overthrow the shah, including women (Hefner,
439). The various groups that disagreed with the customs and beliefs of the shah agreed with
each other in the opposition to autocracy as well as the opposition of Western powers since these
powers tended to undermine or hinder the independence in Iran (Herfner, 440). In 1977,
President Jimmy Carter ...

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