Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in articles are strictly the author's own, and do not necessarily represent those of Al Nakhlah, its Advisory and Editorial Boards, or the Program for Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization (SWAIC) at The Fletcher School.

Ijlal Naqvi

The Resilience of the Traditional Clergy to the Hardline Challenge in Post-Revolutionary Iran

The post-revolutionary period in Iran has seen new challenges to the institution of the clergy that threaten its continued existence in its traditional form. The challenges come mostly from the clerics in government who enforce the official state ideology (the hardliners), and it remains to be seen how much change will occur in the traditional clergy. This paper will argue that the traditional institution of the clergy is resilient enough to survive largely intact thanks to the nature of the legitimacy wielded by a genuine senior ayatollah and the deeply rooted culture of critical discourse in the madrasa (shi'fi seminary). 

Assaf Moghadam

The Shi'i Perception of Jihad

The concept of jihad has generated a storm of interest in recent years, particularly in the Western world. While the concept of jihad and its meaning in Islam is often misunderstood, an even deeper lack of knowledge is apparent over how Shi?La Muslims relate to the concept of jihad. The purpose of this study is hence to examine the concept of jihad as it is approached by the Shi?La stream within Islam. 

Roham Alvandi

The Precipitants of the Tehran Hostage Crisis

The Tehran hostage crisis lasted for almost 15 months. It began on November 4, 1979, when Iranian revolutionaries captured the U.S. embassy in Tehran and its staff, holding 52 of them hostage. It ended on January 20, 1981, when the captive Americans departed Iran from Tehran's Mehrabad airport. The television images of Iranian revolutionaries leading blindfolded diplomats down the steps of the U.S. embassy chancery are emblazoned on the minds of an entire generation of Americans and therefore, the hostage crisis continues to cast a shadow over Iranian-American relations. 

Maliha Masood

Untangling the Complex Web of Islamic Law: Revolutionizing the Sharia

When scholars, politicians or lay observers speak of "Islamic law" it is presumed that they are referring to "the sharia." However, as demonstrated in this analysis, there is a subtle, but important, distinction between these two terms. The sharia is the totality of divine categorizations of human acts as laid out in the Quran and the Hadith, constituting issues of both legality and morality.