The Twelver Shi'a as a Muslim Minority in India: Pulpit of Tears, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Twelver Shi'a as a Muslim Minority in India

Pulpit of Tears, 1st Edition

By Toby Howarth


218 pages

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One of the most important current debates within and about Islam concerns its relation with power. Can Muslims be fundamentally content without power or as a minority? This book considers the voice of an important Muslim minority through its sermons. Indian Shi'i Muslims are a minority within a minority, constituting about ten to fifteen percent of the population as a whole, but comprising of about fifteen million people. Ten sermons are presented entirely and many more are quoted in order to analyze the preaching tradition in full. This book is the first survey to present the Indian mourning gathering and explain the history of this extraordinary phenomenon.


'Howarth's lucid and well-researched work makes an important contribution to our understanding of the interplay between religion, rituals, and culture in the commemoration of Shii rituals in India.' - Liyakat Takim, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Volume 70 Number 2, 2007

Table of Contents

An Introduction to the Shîa and the Events Surrounding the Battle of Karbala Part 1: Context 1. From Karbala to India: A History of Shi'i Preaching 2. The Shîa of Hyderabad and their Mourning Gatherings Part 2: Sermons 3. The Description of a Complete Mourning Gathering (Including the Text of Sermon 1) 4. Sermons by Male ‘Lay’ Preachers 6. Sermons by Religious Scholars Part 3: Analysis 7. What the Sermons Do and How They Do It 8. Indian Shi'i Preaching as the Expression of a Minority Islamic Religious Identity

About the Author

Toby Howarth is currently Vice Principal of Crowther hall, at Selly Oak in Birmingham. A graduate of Yale University, Birmingham University and the Free University of Amsterdam, he has studied and worked in Birmingham, Oxford, Uganda, Egypt, Jerusalem, India, and the Netherlands. He speaks and writes widely in the field of Muslim-Christian relations.

About the Series

Routledge Persian and Shi'i Studies

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Middle East / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies