An initial Shiʿa debate on the Palestinian question

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The following article will shed light on the initial phase of the Shiʿi encounter with the Palestinian question during the British mandate over Iraq. It will focus on the thought of a prominent Shiʿi cleric of the time, Muhammad Husayn Al Kashif al-Ghitaʾ, who published numerous fatwas in support of the Arabs of Palestine. In the context of Iraq's strong identification with Palestine, his strong rhetoric was not exceptionally unique. The novelty in Kashif al-Ghitaʾ's discourse was in mitigating its Shiʿi angle, viewing himself not only as a Shiʿi mujtahid but as an Arab and pan-Islamic leader, disregarding the historical apolitical position of Shiʿa Islam. Kashif al-Ghitaʾ embraced several circles of identifications: the Shiʿi community, the Arab world, and the Islamic nation, even incorporating the broader notion of humanity, reflecting his reformist agenda of activism, renewal, and pan-Islam. He also took an important stand within the Shiʿi community, given the diverse Shiʿi positions on Arabism. Any attempt at mobilizing the Arab and Muslim masses was welcomed by Hajj Amin al-Husayni as Kashif al-Ghitaʾ planted the first seeds in Shiʿi support for the Palestinian question—framed in a non-Shiʿa discourse—during this initial stage of building the Palestinian national movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-314
Number of pages17
JournalMiddle Eastern Studies
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jan 2022
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Arabism
  • General Islamic Congress
  • Iraq
  • Kashif al-Ghitaʾ
  • Palestinians
  • Shiʿi
  • pan-Islam


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