The Shi’a of Samarra Book Launch‏ in UK


Salamun Alaykum,

I would like to humbly invite you all to the launch of my edited book ‘The Shi’a of Samarra: The Heritage and Politics of a Community in Iraq’ (I.B Tauris, 2012).

The book launch, to be held in SOAS, London on Wednesday 29th February, is organised by the Centre for Islamic Shi’a Studies (please find details below) and I have attached a flyer which contains a 30% discount.

All Praise is due to God, may He guide us all and may He bless Muhammad and his progeny.


With du’as,

Imranali Panjwani

Tutor & PhD Candidate, King’s College London

Click here to view the flyer




The Shi’a of Samarra: The Heritage & Politics of a Community in Iraq

Edited by Imranali Panjwani (I.B Tauris, 2012)

Discount Flyer:

Venue: Room B202, Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London, WC1H 0XG

Time: Wednesday 29th February 2012, 6:30pm – 7:30pm

With a lecture by Dr Andrew J Newman, University of Edinburgh

To register attendance, e-mail:

Organised by The Centre for Islamic Shi’a Studies, London


On 22 February 2006, the main dome of the al-Askariyya shrine in Samarra was blown up. In the aftermath, sectarian strife between Shi’i and Sunni communities in Iraq and the wider region resonated around the world. The assault on Samarra, which was built in the period of the Abbasid caliphate in the ninth century CE, therefore came to represent for many a symbol of the destructive civil conflict which engulfed Iraq following the 2003 US-led invasion. ‘The Shi’a of Samarra’ explores and analyses the cultural, architectural and political heritage of the Shi’a in both Samarra and the Middle East, thus highlighting how this city functions as a microcosm for the contentious issues and debates which remain at the forefront of efforts to rebuild the modern Iraqi state. Its examination of the socio-political context of the Shi’a/Sunni divide provides important insights for students and researchers working on the history and politics of Iraq and the Middle East, the nature of Shi’i scholarship and religious practices as well as those interested in the art and architecture of the Islamic world.

Relevance for the Shi’i community

For the Shi’i Muslim community, this is an important contribution as it highlights the heritage of the 10th, 11th and 12th Shi’i Imams, the significance of their shrines and the history of Samarra as well as wider Shi’i political issues in Iraq. It is hoped the book will help emphasise the importance of literature in the Shi’i community, particularly the significance of reading academic literature.


Imranali Panjwani is a Tutor and PhD candidate in the Theology and Religious Studies faculty at King’s College London. Educated at the University of Sheffield, the College of Law and Al-Mahdi Institute in Birmingham, he has worked for the Centre for Islamic Shi‘a Studies in London as its Research Co-ordinator.


‘During the rule of Saddam Husayn’s Ba’th Party, studies of Iraq’s Shi’a community, whether historical or contemporary, were few and far between. In The Shi’a of Samarra: The Heritage and Politics of a Community in Iraq, Imranali Panjwani has addressed this problem in compiling an impressive group of essays on the history, religious significance and politics of a city that is central to Shi’ism. Rather than viewing Samarra as a site of sectarian conflict and political decay, the volume’s contributors offer much hope for the future of Iraq. In an exceptionally creative manner, this volume uses the notions of place and geographical space to demonstrate Samarra’s great contributions not only to Shi’i scholarship, but the manner in which its heritage has enriched all Iraqis. This collection is must reading for all scholars of Iraq, whatever their disciplinary specialization.’ Eric Davis, Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University

‘The authors and compiler of this volume are to be thanked for placing Samarra in its true historical focus, bringing an appreciation of the ways in which the city and its monuments resonated through the history of the region.’ Charles R. H. Tripp, Professor of Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London


·         Foreword by Charles R. H. Tripp

·         Introduction: Contextualising the Spiritual and Intellectual Heritage of the Samarran Shi‘i Imams by Imranali Panjwani

Part I: History of the Shrine and City in Samarra

·         Samarra: Shi‘i Heritage and Culture by Sajad Jiyad

·         The Shrine in its Historical Context by Alastair Northedge

·         Rebuilding al-Askariyyain Shrine by Usam Ghaidan

Part II: The Life and Legacy of Religious and Scholarly Figures in Samarra’s History

·         The Political Turmoil Facing Imam Ali al-Hadi and Imam Hasan al-Askari by Sayyid Qamar Abbas

·         The Development of Shi‘i Scholarship Before and After Mirza Shirazi and his Intellectual Legacy in Samarra by Sayyid Fadhil Bahrululoom

·         Amili Perspectives of the Hawzas of Samarra and Najaf: Sharaf al-Din and Muhsin al-Amin by Pascal Missak Abidor

Part III: Samarra in Wider Iraqi Discourse: Sectarianism, Politics and Citizenship

·         Sectarianism in Recent Iraqi History: What It Is and What It Isn’t by Peter Sluglett

·         Sectarian Coexistence in Iraq: The Experiences of the Shi‘a in Areas North of Baghdad by Reidar Visser

·         Citizenship and Identity: A Case Study of Shi‘i Muslims in Samarra and Wider Iraq by Amal Imad


·         Section 1: Excerpts of Written Lessons of Mirza Shirazi by Mawla Ali Ruzodari

·         Section 2: Ziyarah of the 10th, 11th and 12th Shi‘i Imams

·         Section 3: An experience of a pilgrim: visiting the Samarra shrine by Sayyid Qamar Abbas

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