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Atlas-i Shi'a (book)

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Atlas-i Shi'a is a book in Persian written by Rasul Ja'fariyan. It is a research primarily aiming to provide a geographical and historical picture of Shiism throughout the history of Islam until today. The book tries to present the Shiite history in terms of geographical maps, portraying developments of Shiism in each historical period and each geographical point. Atlas-i Shi'a won the Yearbook Prize of the Islamic Republic of Iran and was also translated into Arabic.

Author

Main article: Rasul Ja'fariyan

Rasul Ja'fariyan was born in 1964 in Khvorasgan in Isfahan Province. He finished his primary school in Khvorasgan, and his junior high school in Isfahan. He was then interested in religious sciences, and entered the Islamic seminary. In 1979, he went to Qom to continue his seminary studies. In Qom, he attended the lectures of scholars such as 'Abd Allah Jawadi Amuli, Muhammad Taqi Misbah Yazdi, Hasan Mamduhi, Muhammad 'Ali Girami, and Ja'far Murtada Jabal 'Amili.

In 1981, he began to teach Islamic teachings and the history of Islam in Isfahan and Tehran universities. His first book was published in 1986 under Pishdaramadi bar shinakht-i tarikh-i Islam (an introduction to the Islamic history). Since then, he continued to cooperate with research institutes, founded the Library of Islam and Iran in Qom, wrote other books, edited and translated books, and made research concerning the history of Islam, Iran, and Shiism. He was the head of the Library, Museum, and the Documents Center of the Iranian Majlis for a while. He is now the head of the Library of the History of Islam and Iran.

Goals

The author takes the main goal of writing the book to consist in a presentation of a historical and geographical portrait of Shiism, encompassing its developments until today. He says, "although the work is concerned with Shiism in its broad meaning, and thus it encompass the events of Zaydiyya, Isma'iliyya, and Alawites, the mainstream Shiism is the moderate current of Shiism, that is, the Imamiyya, which tried to coexist with other Muslims despite being under attacks throughout the history."

How the Book Originated

According to Ja'fariyan, the writing of Atlas-i Shi'a was first proposed by Ayatollah Khamenei, and its executive plan was made in the Geographical Organization of Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The book begins with a definition of Shiism, a history of Shiism in the first century, and from the next century forward, it presents the Shiite history based on geographical divisions of the Islamic world. The book tries to accomplish the following goals in each section:

1. Presentation of historical cases, and explanations of the Shiite presence in each region.

2. Drawing geographical maps to show the location and approximate population of each region.

3. Tables for some parameters, such as emirs of households.

Designing the Maps

Crude maps of the book were provided by the author and his colleagues by drawing on about 3000 old and new maps, and then were submitted to the Geographical Organization of Armed Forces so that their experts could design the maps based on historical and religious information. The maps register Shiite signs including possible presences of the Imams, Imamzadas, Sadat, and well-known scholars, and well-known households in the region, seminary schools, mosques, and neighborhoods known as associated with the Shi'as.

Chapters of the Book

1. Beginning of Shiism: a definition of Shiism and Shiite sects.

2. Shiite Imams, including a biography of each Imam and maps for each Imam’s life.

3. Shiism in cities of Iran: in this chapter, a map and a text are provided for each main Shiite city, and well-known Shiite families in each region, including Qom, Kashan, Aveh, Nishapur, Sabzevar, Hyrcania (Gorgan), Astarabad, Ahwaz, Isfahan, Karaj, Qazvin, Rey, and Varamin.

4. Shiite governments in Iran, which constitutes the largest chapter of the book. The first government discussed is the Alawite government in Tabaristan, and the last government is the period of Imam Khomeini. Other governments discussed include the Buyid dynasty, Isma'ilis, Ilkhanates, Sarbadars, Mar'ashis, Safavids, Qajar, and the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

5. Shiism in Iraq: it discusses Shiism in cities such as Kufa, Wasit, Basra, Mosul, Diyala, and Baghdad. After a survey of the most important historical events of Shiism, it discusses today’s events, today’s Baghdad, and the present Shiite government of Iraq.

6. Shiism in the Arabian Peninsula, Shi'as in Medina, as well as Shi'as in the eastern region, that is, al-Hasa and Qatif. It then discusses Shiism in Bahrain and other Persian Gulf countries, such as Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Oman. It devotes a remarkable part of the chapter to Yemen and Zaydiyya.

7. Shiism in Levant: it discusses the introduction of Shiism in al-Sham, particularly Aleppo, and then other cities of Syria, including Damascus, Alawites, and then Lebanese Shi'as until the present time.

8. Shiism in Africa: this chapter is mainly devoted to Idrisid Alawites and the Fatimid government. It then discusses the infiltration of Shiism in African countries mainly in the last one hundred years, particularly after the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

9. Shiism in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The chapter discusses Shiite governments in Hyderabad and other areas of India as well as Shiite Nawabs governing some regions, as well as Shi'as in Kashmir and then Pakistan. A number of historical maps are provided for each historical text. At the end of this chapter, the author discusses the infiltration of Shiism in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.

10. Shiism in Caucasia and Turkey: it discusses Shi'as in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Daghestan, Istanbul and other cities in Turkey. It also discusses Alawites.

11. Shiism in Europe: it is mainly concerned with the present century. It briefly discusses Shi'as in Britain, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Belgium.

12. Shiism in USA and Canada: it discusses how Shiism entered these countries, number of Shi'as there, and some Shiite institutes and organizations there.

Print and Translation

The book is printed and published by the Geographical Organization of Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 724 pages in octavo size.

At the request of Ayatollah Sistani and with the support of the academic center of Lilabhath, Atlas-i Shi'a was translated into Arabic, and was published in cooperation with the international cultural, art, and publication institute of al-Huda.

The software version of Atlas-i Shi'a is also published.

Yearbook

Atlas-i Shi'a was selected as the 27th Yearbook of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the field of history.

References