The Vanished Imam

The Vanished Imam : Musa al Sadr and the Shia of Lebanon

4.33 (51 ratings by Goodreads)
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In the summer of 1978, Musa al Sadr, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Shia sect in Lebanon, disappeared mysteriously while on a visit to Libya. As in the Shia myth of the "Hidden Imam," this modern-day Imam left his followers upholding his legacy and awaiting his return. Considered an outsider when he had arrived in Lebanon in 1959 from his native Iran, he gradually assumed the role of charismatic mullah, and was instrumental in transforming the Shia, a quiescent and downtrodden Islamic minority, into committed political activists.

What sort of person was Musa al Sadr? What beliefs in the Shia doctrine did his life embody? Where did he fit into the tangle of Lebanon's warring factions? What was behind his disappearance? In this fascinating and compelling narrative, Fouad Ajami resurrects the Shia's neglected history, both distant and recent, and interweaves the life and work of Musa al Sadr with the larger strands of the Shia past.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 228 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 16.76mm | 369g
  • Ithaca, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0801494168
  • 9780801494161
  • 1,359,903

Review quote

"Fouad Ajami is both a Shiite from South Lebanon and an American political scientist. In this fascinating and illuminating book he combines the understanding and concern that are the birthright of the one with the acumen and integrity that are the aspiration of the other."-Bernard Lewis "The Vanished Imam offers much more than a utilitarian account of recent developments in Lebanon. It takes the raw stuff of daily politics and turns it into a classic account of human achievement and strife. The details are local, but Mr. Ajami endows the story with a universal significance. His tale of the stranger who transforms a people and then, when his work is done, reenacts its most sacred drama, has the literary power of a masterpiece." -Daniel Pipes, Wall Street Journal "The questions Ajami raises are likely to remain central; he is challenging some of the fundamental assumptions with which many Arab and Western students of Arab history and politics have worked in recent decades."-Itamar Rabinovich, New Republic "Important and insightful."-New York Times Book Review
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Rating details

51 ratings
4.33 out of 5 stars
5 49% (25)
4 35% (18)
3 16% (8)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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