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‘Uncontested’ view of Shi’i networks: A reply to Corboz

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • S. Nasirzadeh
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/11/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Global Discourse
Issue number4
Number of pages4
Pages (from-to)741-744
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


 The starting point for Corboz’s article ‘Shi’i Clerical Networks and the Transnational Contest over Sacred Authority by challenging assumptions that velayat-e faqih is an ‘uncontested’ position: Dynamics in London’s Shi’i Triangle’ is a proposal that gives emphasis to a transnational contest between maraji’ and the Iranian Supreme Leader over sacred authority. Corboz’s core argument seeks to undermine the view of the velayat-e faqih being the only relevant ‘model’ of clerical authority in today and future Shi’i worlds by exploring Shi’a networks in London. In response, I argue that the political and religious authority of velayat-e faqih cannot be contested with the religious functionality of marja’iyya in Shi’ism. Second, the notion of a ‘Shi’a Crescent’ as well as the accusation that Iran is orchestratings the Shi’a groups – via which the authoritarian regimes ensured their survival during the Arab Springs – should be rejected by accepting that even the most pro-Iranian groups do not necessarily tend to repeat the Iranian model of leadership. Finally, I emphasise that challenging the power to rule as a feature of velayat-e faqih by holding Iran’s Supreme Leader in the Islamic Republic of Iran with marja’iyya does not provide an adequate understanding of the multidimensional dynamics of Shi’ism.