Shi‘ism in South East Asia: Alid Piety and Sectarian Constructions
Chiara Formichi and Michael Feener (eds.)
This is the first work available in any language to extensively document and critically discuss traditions of ‘Alid piety and their modern contestations in the region. The concept of ‘Alid piety allows for a reframing of our views on the widespread reverence for ‘Ali, Fatima and their progeny that emphasises how such sentiments and associated practices are seen as part of broad traditions shared by many Muslims, which might or might not have their origins in a specifically Shi’a identity. In doing so, it facilitates the movement of academic discussions out from under the shadow of polemical sectarian discourses on ‘Shi’ism’ in Southeast Asia. The chapters include presentations of new material from previously unpublished early manuscript sources from Muslim vernacular literatures in the Malay, Javanese, Sundanese, Acehnese and Bugis languages, as well as rich new ethnography from across the region. These studies engage with cultural, intellectual, and performative traditions, as well as the ways in which ‘Alid piety has been transformed in relation to more strictly sectarian identifications since the Iranian revolution in 1979.