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A Concise History of Sunnis and Shi`is
The 1400-year-old schism between Sunnis and Shi'is is currently reflected in the destructive struggle for hegemony between Saudi Arabia and Iran - with no apparent end in sight. But how did this conflict begin, and why is it now the focus of so much attention?
In this definitive account, John McHugo charts the history of Islam from the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad to the present day. He describes the conflicts that raged over the succession to the Prophet, how Sunnism and Shi'ism evolved as different sects during the Abbasid caliphate, and how the rivalry between the empires of the Sunni Ottomans and Shi'i Safavids ensured that the split would continue into the modern age. In recent decades, this centuries-old divide has acquired a new toxicity resulting in violence across the Arab and Muslim world.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
`A Concise History of Sunnis and Shi'is is an important corrective ... provides the reader not just with all the historical background he or she could want, in an accessible and comprehensible fashion, but also employs this sound knowledge to a clear-headed appraisal of the modern Middle East.' Times Literary Supplement; 'In lucid and accessible prose, John McHugo shows that there is nothing inevitable about the so-called Sunni-Shi'i divide.' Madawi Al-Rasheed, author of A History of Saudi Arabia; `This book will be widely read.' InterLib; `John McHugo takes us through the Sunni-Shi`i divide over 1400 years of Islamic history with good judgement in balancing the various accounts, and a great clarity of expression.' Moojan Momen, author of Shi`i Islam: A Beginner's Guide; `It is no mean feat to cover over 1400 years of history ... Masterful and fascinating' The Jordan Times; `Excellent ... McHugo is a lucid interpreter of complex events.' Law Society Gazette; `A timely book ...It is to be hoped that a reading of John McHugo's densely informative narrative will encourage Western leaders to hesitate, before taking sides in a struggle that is not their own.' Irish Catholic