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  • Toby Matthiesen

This article analyzes how Saudi Shiʿi historians have adapted tools associated with nationalism to create distinct historical narratives for the Shiʿa of Eastern Arabia. State-sponsored narratives have either left out Shiʿi Muslims or cast them as unbelievers and alien to the Saudi body politic. In contrast, historical narratives written by Shiʿi authors emphasize the Shiʿa's long history of sedentarization, their cultural heritage, and their struggles against foreign occupation. The article is based on fieldwork in Saudi Arabia and a close reading of hundreds of articles and books on local history published mainly since the 1980s. Through the Saudi Shiʿi case, I show that “identity entrpreneurs,” or activists who create, politicize, and profit from identities to further political aims, understand local historiography to be crucial to their overall projects.

Corresponding author
Toby Matthiesen is a Research Fellow at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK; e-mail:
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Author's note: I thank the many Saudi historians who shared their writings with me and allowed me to interview them, particularly Hamza al-Hasan, Muhammad al-Hirz, Fuʾad Ibrahim, and Habib Al Jumayʿ, as well as members of the al-Khunayzi family.

1 For more on the politicization of the Shiʿa in the Saudi Eastern Province, see al-Hatlani, Ibrahim, al-Shiʿa al-Suʿudiyyun: Qiraʾa Tarikhiyya wa-Siyasiyya li-Namadhij Matlabiyya (The Saudi Shiʿa: A Historical and Political Reading of Sample Claims) (Beirut: Riyad al-Rayyis li-l-Kutub wa-l-Nashr, 2009); al-Ibrahim, Badr and al-Sadiq, Muhammad, al-Hirak al-Shiʿi fi al-Suʿudiya: Tasyis al-Madhhab wa-Madhhabat al-Siyasa (The Shiʿi Movement in Saudi Arabia: The Politicization of Confession and the Confessionalization of Politics) (Beirut: al-Shabaka al-ʿArabiyya li-l-Abhath wa-l-Nashr, 2013); and Matthiesen, Toby, The Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent and Sectarianism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

2 Brass, Paul R., Ethnicity and Nationalism: Theory and Comparison (London: Sage, 1991), 8.

3 Barth, Fredrik, Models of Social Organization (London: Royal Anthropological Institute, 1966).

4 Peterson, Derek R. and Macola, Giacomo, eds., Recasting the Past: History Writing and Political Work in Modern Africa (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2009).

5 Beydoun, Ahmad, Identité confessionnelle et temps social chez les historiens libanais contemporains (Beyrouth: Université Libanaise, 1984).

6 For an overview, see Weiss, Max, “The Historiography of Sectarianism in Lebanon,” History Compass 7 (2009): 141–54.

7 Shaery-Eisenlohr, Roschanack, Shiʿite Lebanon: Transnational Religion and the Making of National Identities (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), 6.

8 See, for example, Davis, Eric, Memories of State: Politics, History and Collective Identity in Modern Iraq (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2005); and Freitag, Ulrike, Geschichtsschreibung in Syrien 1920–1990: Zwischen Wissenschaft und Ideologie (Hamburg: Deutsches Orient-Institut, 1991).

9 al-Rasheed, Madawi, “Political Legitimacy and the Production of History: The Case of Saudi Arabia,” in New Frontiers in Middle East Security, ed. Martin, Lenore G. (London: Macmillan, 1998), 2546.

10 Jones, Toby Craig, The Dogma of Development: Technopolitics and the Making of Saudi Arabia, 1950–1980 (PhD diss., Stanford University, 2006), 169.

11 Doumato, Eleanor Abdella, “Manning the Barricades: Islam according to Saudi Arabia's School Texts,” Middle East Journal 57 (2003): 230–47; Prokop, Michaela, “The War of Ideas: Education in Saudi Arabia,” in Saudi Arabia in the Balance: Political Economy, Society, Foreign Affairs, ed. Aarts, Paul and Nonneman, Gerd (New York: New York University Press, 2005), 5781.

12 Musa al-Qarini, Muhammad, al-Idara al-ʿUthmaniyya fi Mutasarrifiyyat al-Ahsaʾ, 1288–1331 A.H./1871–1913 M (The Ottoman Administration in the al-Ahsa District, 1871–1913) (Riyadh: Darat al-Malik ʿAbd al-ʿAziz, 2005); al-Subayʿi, ʿAbd Allah ibn Nasir, al-Amn al-Dakhili fi al-Ahsaʾ wa-l-Qatif wa-Qatar athnaʾ al-Hukm al-ʿUthmani al-Thani, 1871–1913 (Internal Security in al-Ahsa, Qatif, and Qatar during the Second Ottoman Rule, 1871–1913) (Riyadh: Matabiʿ al-Jumʿa al-Iliktruniyya, 1999); al-Subayʿi, al-Hamla al-ʿAskariyya al-ʿUthmaniyya ʿala al-Ahsaʾ wa-l-Qatif wa-Qatar, 1871–1913 (The Ottoman Military Campaign in al-Ahsa, Qatif, and Qatar, 1871–1913) (Riyadh: Matabiʿ al-Jumʿa al-Iliktruniyya, 1999); al-Subayʿi, al-Qadaʾ wa-l-Awqaf fi al-Ahsaʾ wa-l-Qatif wa-Qatar athnaʾ al-Hukm al-ʿUthmani al-Thani, 1871–1913 (The Judiciary and Religious Endowments in al-Ahsa, Qatif, and Qatar during the Second Ottoman Rule, 1871–1913) (Riyadh: Matabiʿ al-Jumʿa al-Iliktruniyya, 1999); al-Subayʿi, Iqtisad al-Ahsaʾ wa-l-Qatif wa-Qatar athnaʾ al-Hukm al-ʿUthmani al-Thani, 1871–1913 (The Economy of al-Ahsa, Qatif, and Qatar during the Second Ottoman Rule, 1871–1913) (Riyadh: Matabiʿ al-Jumʿa al-Iliktruniyya, 1999).

13 al-Ahmari, ʿAbd al-Rahman, Dawr Sharikat al-Zayt al-ʿArabiyya al-Amrikiyya (Aramku) fi Tanmiyat al-Mintaqa al-Sharqiyya min al-Mamlaka al-ʿArabiyya al-Suʿudiyya: Dirasa fi Tarikh al-Tanmiya, 1363–1384 A.H./1944–1964 M (The Role of the Arabian American Petroleum Company (Aramco) in the Development of the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 1944–1964) (Riyadh: n.p., 2007); al-Subayʿi, ʿAbd Allah ibn Nasir, al-Hayat al-ʿIlmiyya wa-l-Thaqafiyya wa-l-Fikriyya fi al-Mintaqa al-Sharqiyya, 1930–1960 (Scholarly, Cultural, and Intellectual Life in the Eastern Province, 1930–1960) (Riyadh: al-Dar al-Wataniyya al-Jadida, 1987); al-Subayʿi, Iktishaf al-Naft wa-Atharuhu ʿala al-Hayat al-Ijtimaʿiyya fi al-Mintaqa al-Sharqiyya 1933–1960 (The Discovery of Oil and Its Influence on Social Life in the Eastern Province 1933–1960) (Riyadh: Dar al-Wataniyya al-Jadida, 1987).

14 Determann, Jörg Matthias, Historiography in Saudi Arabia: Globalization and the State in the Middle East (London: I. B. Tauris, 2014).

15 al-Rasheed, Madawi, “The Shia of Saudi Arabia: A Minority in Search of Cultural Authenticity,” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 25 (1998): 124; Scott, James C., Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1990).

16 Harneit-Sievers, Axel, “Introduction: New Local Historiographies from Africa and South Asia: Approaches and Issues,” in A Place in the World: New Local Historiographies from Africa and South Asia, ed. Harneit-Sievers, Axel (Leiden: Brill, 2002), 127.

17 Many Sunni and Shiʿi authors deal with similar topics, such as the Qarmatians: Al Mulla, ʿAbd al-Rahman bin ʿUthman, Tarikh al-Harakat al-Fikriyya wa-Ittijahatuha fi Sharq al-Jazira al-ʿArabiyya wa-ʿUman (History of the Intellectual Movements and Their Trends in the East of the Arabian Peninsula and Oman) (Khubar, Saudia Arabia: Dar al-Wataniyya al-Jadida li-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawziʿ, 1994). The publishing house has also long published its own books on local history: Al Mulla, ʿAbd al-Rahman bin ʿUthman, Tarikh Hajar: Dirasa Shamila fi Ahwal al-Juzʾ al-Sharqi min Shibh al-Jazira al-ʿArabiyya: al-Ahsaʾ-al-Bahrayn-al-Kuwayt wa-Qatar (History of Hajar: A Comprehensive Study on the Situation of the Eastern Part of the Arabian Peninsula: al-Ahsaʾ-Bahrain-Kuwait and Qatar), 2 vols. (Hufuf, Saudi Arabia: Maktabat al-Taʿawun al-Thaqafi, 1990).

18 Shryock, Andrew, Nationalism and the Genealogical Imagination: Oral History and Textual Authority in Tribal Jordan (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1997).

19 Determann, Historiography in Saudi Arabia, 11, 162–67.

20 For example, see the following texts taken from the book Tarikh Al Suʿud (History of the Al Saʿud) by the Nasserist opposition activist Nasir al-Saʿid: al-Thawra al-Islamiyya 26 (June 1982): 19; al-Thawra al-Islamiyya 27 (July 1982): 23; al-Thawra al-Islamiyya 28 (August 1982): 15; al-Thawra al-Islamiyya 29 (September 1982): 15.

21 Al-Thawra al-Islamiyya 39 (July 1983), 32–35.

22 In order to relate the Shirazi historiography to earlier local history works, the article is illustrated with a picture of the cleric and local historian Faraj al-ʿUmran (1904–78) and the cover of Muhammad Saʿid al-Muslim's seminal book on the history of Eastern Arabia, Black Gold Coast. Al-Thawra al-Islamiyya 45 (January 1984): 37–39.

23 Al-Thawra al-Islamiyya 100 (July 1988): 15–22.

24 al-Hajiri, Yusuf, al-Baqiʿ: Qissat Tadmir Al Suʿud li-l-Athar al-Islamiyya fi al-Hijaz (The Story of the Destruction of Islamic Archaeological Sites in the Hijaz by the Al Saʿud) (Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Baqiʿ li-Ihyaʾ al-Turath, 1990).

25 al-Labad, ʿAdil, al-Inqilab: Baiʿ al-Wahm ʿala al-Dhat (The Coup: The Selling of the Illusion to the Self) (Beirut: Dar al-Jamal li-l-Tibaʿa wa-l-Nashr, 2009), 350f.

26 Hamza al-Hasan, author’s interview, London, July 2008; “Althulatha Forum Reviews Cultural Journals in the Region,” in al-Thulatha Cultural Forum Newsletter 11, 27 January 2009. For the online edition of al-Waha, see

27 Habib Al Jumayʿ, author’s interview, Damascus, August 2008.

28 Al Jumayʿ, Habib, Muʿjam al-Muʾallafat al-Shiʿiyya fi al-Jazira al-ʿArabiyya (Bibliography of Shiʿi Writings in the Arabian Peninsula), 3 Vols. (Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Baqiʿ li-Ihyaʾ al-Turath, 1997–2013).

29 Anderson, Benedict, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, 2nd ed. (London: Verso, 1991); Harneit-Sievers, “Introduction,” 3.

30 The literature on the relationship between nationalism and historiography is too voluminous to be cited here. For an example, see Breuilly, John, “Nationalism and Historians: Some Reflections. The Formation of Nationalist Historiographical Discourse,” in Nationalism, Historiography, and the (Re)Construction of the Past, ed. Norton, Claire (Washington, D.C.: New Academia Press, 2007), 125, esp. 10–20.

31 Davis, Rochelle A., Palestinian Village Histories: Geographies of the Displaced (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2010).

32 al-Salih, Zaki ʿAli, al-Awwamiyya: Tarikh wa-Turath (Awwamiyya: History and Heritage), 2nd ed. (Beirut: Dar al-Kunuz al-Adabiyya, 1998), 1930. Other authors put forward a similar narrative in a special issue of al-Waha: “Min al-Zara ila al-Awwamiyya . . . Safahat min Tarikh al-Bahrayn” (From Zara to Awwamiyya . . . Pages from the History of Bahrain), al-Waha 4 (1996): 64–139.

33 Al-Thawra al-Islamiyya 102 (September 1988): 43–46.

34 Some Sunni authors also write about the lands of Bahrain without, however, discussing religion and Shiʿism. al-Qadir al-Ansari al-Ahsaʾi, Muhammad Al ʿAbd, Tuhfat al-Mustafid bi-Tarikh al-Ahsaʾ fi al-Qadim wa-l-Jadid (A Beneficial Masterpiece in the History of al-Ahsa in the Old and New), vol. 1 (Riyadh: Matabiʿ al-Riyad, 1960), 445; Khalil, Muhammad Mahmud, Tarikh al-Khalij wa-Sharq al-Jazira al-ʿArabiyya al-Musamma Iqlim Bilad al-Bahrayn fi Zill Hukm al-Duwaylat al-ʿArabiyya 469–963 A.H./1076–1555 (History of the Gulf and the East of the Arabian Peninsula that Is Called “Lands of Bahrain” Region in the Shadow of the Rule of Arab States, 1076–1555) (Cairo: Maktabat Madbuli, 2006).

35 Louër, Laurence, Transnational Shiite Politics: Religious and Political Networks in the Gulf (London: Hurst, 2008), 23.

36 Daftary, Farhad, The Ismailis: Their History and Doctrines, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 110–67; de Goeje, Michael Jan, Memoire sur les Carmathes du Bahrain et les Fatimides, 2nd ed. (Leiden: Brill, 1886).

37 Jawahir bint ʿAbd al-Muhsin bin Jiluwi Al Suʿud, al-Awdaʿ al-Amniyya fi al-Mintaqa al-Sharqiyya, 1891–1964 (The Security Situation in the Eastern Province, 1891–1964) (PhD diss., al-Imam Muhammad ibn Saʿud Islamic University, 1999), 10–12.

38 Al-Ahsaʾi, Tuhfat al-Mustafid, 1:98.

39 Al-Jazira al-Jadida, nos. 5–7, 1973.

40 al-Muslim, Muhammad Saʿid, Sahil al-Dhahab al-Aswad: Dirasa Tarikhiyya Insaniyya li-Mintaqat al-Khalij al-ʿArabi (Coast of Black Gold: A Historical-Humanitarian Study of the Arabian Gulf Region), 2nd ed. (Beirut: Manshurat Dar Maktabat al-Haya, 1962), 136–54.

41 Jones, Dogma, 10.

42 Al-Thawra al-Islamiyya 105 (December 1988): 22. In the late 20th century, however, al-Muslim became the director of the Bank Riyadh branch in Tarut. He also wrote a book on the history of Qatif that was published inside Arabia, Saudi: al-Qatif Waha ʿala Difaf al-Khalij (Qatif: An Oasis on the Shores of the Gulf), 2nd ed. (Riyadh: Matabiʿ al-Farazdaq, 1991).

43 Al Sulham, Husayn Hasan Makki, Sahil al-Qaramita: Dirasa Tarikhiyya li-Qaramitat Hajar 281–378 A.H. (The Oasis of the Qaramita: A Historical Study of the Qaramita of Hajar) (Damascus: Dar Kiwan li-l-Tibaʿa wa-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawziʿ, 2008).

44 Al-Waha 45 (2007): 19–28.

45 Cole, Juan R. I., “Rival Empires of Trade and Imami Shiism in Eastern Arabia, 1300–1800,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 19 (1987): 182–83.

46 Louër, Transnational, 15.

47 Al-Muslim, Sahil al-Dhahab, 174n171.

48 al-Fadli, ʿAbd al-Hadi, “Taqdim,” in ʿAli bin Ibrahim al-Darura, Tarikh al-Ihtilal al-Burtughali li-l-Qatif, 1521–1572 (The History of the Portuguese Occupation of Qatif, 1521–1572) (Abu Dhabi: Majmaʿ al-Thaqafi, 2001), 16. The uprisings are later termed “revolutions.”

49 The text on the back of the first volume reads: “Literature and writers as well as religious learning and clerics were flourishing in Qatif and its sisters al-Ahsa and Bahrain in past centuries.” Al-ʿAwwami presents al-Khatti as just one of a number of writers, clerics, and politicians from Qatif and al-Ahsa, and argues that “we see him at the forefront of the national struggle with the revolutionaries for the liberation of his homeland from Turkish Despotism.” al-Khatti al-Qatifi, Sharaf al-Din al-Shaykh Jaʿfar bin Muhammad, Diwan Abi al-Bahr al-Khatti: Tahqiq ʿAdnan al-ʿAwwami, vol. 1 (Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Intishar al-ʿArabi, 2005), 29133.

50 Interviews and participant observations in Saudi discussion circles, Saudi Arabia, November 2008.

51 al-Ahmad, Fuʾad, al-Shaykh Hasan ʿAli Al Badr al-Qatifi (Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Baqiʿ li-Ihyaʾ al-Turath, 1991), 4453; al-Hasan, Hamza, al-Shiʿa fi al-Mamlaka al-ʿArabiyya al-Suʿudiyya (The Shiʿa in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), vol. 1 (Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Baqiʿ li-Ihyaʾ al-Turath, 1993), 17, 27; al-Muslim, Sahil al-Dhahab, 93–95; al-Shakhs, Hashim Muhammad, Aʿlam Hajar min al-Madiyin wa-l-Muʿasirin (Symbols of al-Ahsa from the Past and the Present), vol. 2 (Beirut: Muʾassasat Umm al-Qura li-l-Tahqiq wa-l-Nashr, 1998), 124–79; Ibrahim, Fouad, The Shiʿis of Saudi Arabia (London: Saqi Books, 2006), 172.

52 Al-Hasan, al-Shiʿa, 1:16.

53 Ibid., 18. See also Nakash, Yitzhak, Reaching for Power: The Shiʿa in the Modern Arab World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), 2122.

54 Cole, “Rival Empires,” 178.

55 al-Bahrani, ʿAli al-Biladi, Anwar al-Badrayn fi Tarajim ʿUlamaʾ al-Qatif wa-l-Ahsaʾ wa-l-Bahrayn (The Lights of the Two Moons in the Biographies of the Scholars of Qatif, al-Ahsa, and Bahrain) (Beirut: Dar al-Murtada, 1991), 227–28, 318–21; Cole, “Rival Empires,” 178–82.

56 Ibid., 181; Schmidtke, Sabine, Theologie, Philosophie und Mystik im zwölferschiitischen Islam des 9./15. Jahrhunderts: Die Gedankenwelten des Ibn Abi Gumhur al-Ahsai (Leiden: Brill, 2000).

57 And yet, as one of the few Saudi mainstream historians, he mentions the Shiʿa, arguing that the presence of Twelver Shiʿi Islam as well as the four Sunni schools of law helped al-Ahsa to become a center of religious learning. al-Salih al-ʿUthaymin, ʿAbd Allah, Tarikh al-Mamlaka al-ʿArabiyya al-Suʿudiyya (The History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), 9th ed., vol. 1 (Riyadh: Obeikan, 1998), 34.

58 Al-Salih, al-ʿAwwamiyya, 44–51.

59 al-Sayf, Fawzi, Shiʿat al-Qatif wa-l-Ahsaʾ: ʿAraqat al-Madi wa-Tatallaʿat al-Mustaqbal (Shiʿa of Qatif and al-Ahsa: Deep-rootedness of the Past and Aspirations for the Future) (Beirut: Dar al-Waha li-l-Tibaʿa wa-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawziʿ, 2005), 5.

60 Al-Hasan, al-Shiʿa, 1:27. Fuʾad Ibrahim, author’s interview, London, January 2009.

61 Nakash, Reaching, 22.

62 Louër, Transnational, 17.

63 al-Wahbi, ʿAbd al-Karim bin ʿAbd Allah al-Munif, Banu Khalid wa-ʿAlaqatuhum bi-Najd, 1669–1794 (Bani Khalid and Their Relationship with Najd, 1669–1794) (n.p.: Dar Thaqif li-l-Nashr wa-l-Taʾlif, 1989); al-Nasiri, al-Shaykh Ahmad al-ʿAmari, Qabilat Bani Khalid fi al-Tarikh (The Bani Khalid Tribe in History) (Beirut: Dar al-Rafidayn li-l-Tibaʿa wa-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawziʿ, 2009).

64 al-Hirz, Muhammad, al-Shaykh Baqir Abu Khamsin: ʿIlm wa-ʿAtaʾ wa-Adab (Shaykh Baqir Abu Khamsin: Knowledge, Offer, and Literature) (Beirut: Dar al-Khalij al-ʿArabi li-l-Tibaʿa wa-l-Nashr, 1999), 22; al-Shakhs, Aʿlam, vol. 4 (Beirut: Muʾassasat Umm al-Qura li-l-Tahqiq wa-l-Nashr, 2006), 40.

65 Shaery-Eisenlohr, Roschanack, “Territorializing Piety: Genealogy, Transnationalism, and Shiʿite Politics in Modern Lebanon,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 51 (July 2009): 533–62.

66 al-Jalil al-Janbi, ʿAbd al-Khaliq bin ʿAbd, Silsilat Usra wa-Nasab: al-Fahs wa-l-Naqd al-Tarikhi al-ʿIlmi: Silsilat Buhuth fi Nasab ʿAʾilat al-Nimr (Family Genealogy: The Scientific and Historical Examination and Critique: Series of Studies about the Origins of the al-Nimr Family), vol. 1 (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-ʿArabi li-l-Tibaʿa wa-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawziʿ, 2010).

67 Muhammad Jawad al-Khars, author's interview, Eastern Province, November 2008, Muhammad Jawad al-Khars, ʿAʾilat al-Khars: Halat Dirasiyya li-Mujtamaʿ al-Ahsaʾ fi al-Mamlaka al-ʿArabiyya al-Suʿudiyya (The al-Khars Family: A Case Study for the Society of al-Ahsa in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) (n.p.: n.p., 2006).

68 al-Bahrani, Yusuf bin Ahmad, Luʾluʾat al-Bahrayn fi al-Ijazat wa-Tarajim Rijal al-Hadith (The Pearl of Bahrain in the Licenses and Biographies of the Men of the Hadith) (Najaf: Matbaʿat Al ʿUthman, 1966).

69 Al-Bahrani, Anwar.

70 al-Saffar, Hasan, al-Shaykh ʿAli al-Biladi al-Qudayhi (Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Baqiʿ li-Ihyaʾ al-Turath, 1990). See also Ibrahim, Shiʿis, 171.

71 The original fifteen-volume edition was printed from 1962/63 to 1975 in Najaf by Matbaʿat al-Najaf. It was reprinted in six volumes in 2008. al-ʿUmran, Faraj, al-Azhar al-Arajiyya fi-l-Athar al-Farajiyya (The Aroma Blossoms of the Faraji Legacy), 2nd ed., 6 vols. (Beirut: Manshurat Dar Hajar, 2008). On al-ʿUmran, see also Ibrahim, Shiʿis, 173; and al-ʿUmran, Faraj, Majmuʿa Muʾallafat al-Shaykh Faraj al-ʿUmran (A Collection of Writings of Shaykh Faraj al-ʿUmran), vol. 1 (Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Khutt li-l-Tahqiq wa-l-Nashr, 2010).

72 Al-Thawra al-Islamiyya 44 (December 1983): 37–39.

73 Hourani, Albert, “Ottoman Reform and the Politics of Notables,” in The Modern Middle East: A Reader, ed. Hourani, Albert, Khoury, Philip S., and Wilson, Mary C. (London: I. B. Tauris, 2004), 83110; Toby Matthiesen, The Shia of Saudi Arabia: Identity Politics, Sectarianism and the Saudi State (PhD diss., School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 2011), 108–56.

74 al-Khunayzi, ʿAbd Allah, Dhikra al-Imam al-Khunayzi (Remembrance of Imam Khunayzi), 2nd ed. (Beirut: al-Muʾassasa al-ʿAlamiyya li-l-Kitab, 1998); al-Khunayzi, ʿAbd Allah, al-Harakat al-Fikriyya fi al-Qatif (The Intellectual Movements in Qatif), 3 vols. (Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Balagh li-l-Tibaʿa wa-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawziʿ, 2002).

75 Al Sunbal, Luʾi Muhammad Shuqi, al-Shaykh al-Khunayzi: ʿAliman wa-Zaʿiman (Shaykh al-Khunayzi: Cleric and Leader) (n.p.: Manshurat Dar Wahi al-Qalam, 2004); Al Sunbal, al-ʿAllama al-Khatti: Tarikh Mushriq (The Most Learned al-Khatti: Shining History) (n.p., 1998); Sunbal, Al, Dhikra al-ʿAllama al-Khatti (Remembrance of the Most Learned al-Khatti) (Beirut: Dar al-Awliyaʾ li-l-Tibaʿa wa-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawziʿ, 2005); al-Khunayzi, Muhammad Saʿid al-Shaykh ʿAli, al-ʿAbqariyyu al-Maghmur (The Unknown Genius) (Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Balagh li-l-Tibaʿa wa-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawziʿ, 2003).

76 An exception is Jihad al-Khunayzi, who became close to the shīrāziyyūn and wrote a book about them. al-Khunayzi, Jihad, Maʿalim Marjiʿiyyat al-Imam al-Shirazi fi al-Qatif wa-Adwaʾ ʿala Tarikh al-ʿUlamaʾ wa-l-Marjiʿiyya fi al-Qatif (Signposts of the Marjiʿiyya of Imam Shirazi in Qatif and Lights on the History of the Clerics and the Marjiʿiyya in Qatif) (Beirut: Dar al-Waha li-l-Tibaʿa wa-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawziʿ/Dar al-ʿUlum li-l-Tahqiq wa-l-Tibaʿa wa-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawziʿ, 2002).

77 See, for example, al-Mushaykhas, ʿAbd al-ʿAzim, al-ʿAwwamiyya: Majdun wa-Aʿlam (Awwamiyya: Honour and Symbols) (Beirut: Dar al-Khalij al-ʿArabi li-l-Tibaʿa wa-l-Nashr, 1999).

78 Matthiesen, Toby, “Hizbullah al-Hijaz: A History of the Most Radical Saudi Shiʿa Opposition Group,” Middle East Journal 64 (2010): 189.

79 Author's interview, Saudi Arabia, November 2008; al-Hijji, Salman bin Husayn, Hakadha Wajadtuhum (This is How I Found Them) (Beirut: Jawatha li-l-Nashr, 2008), 331–35.

80 Al-Shakhs, Aʿlam, vol. 1 (Beirut: Muʾassasat Umm al-Qura li-l-Tahqiq wa-l-Nashr, 1996), 145297.

81 They also focus on other famous clerics of Qatif, such as Ibrahim al-Qatifi (died after 951 A.H./1544), whom they also portray as part of a distinctively Saudi Shiʿi religious heritage. Al-Sahil 3 (Summer 2007): 136–60; al-Waha 1 (June 1995): 161–71. For more on the shaykhiyya, see Matthiesen, Toby, “Mysticism, Migration and Clerical Networks: Ahmad al-Ahsaʾi and the Shaykhis of al-Ahsa, Kuwait and Basra,” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 34 (2014): 386409.

82 Al-ʿUthaymin, Tarikh al-Mamlaka, 1:117–23.

83 Personal Oberservations, Riyadh, 2011; Determann, Historiography in Saudi Arabia, 117–27.

84 Al-Hasan, al-Shiʿa, 2:13; al-Rasheed, “The Shia,” 133.

85 Al-Hasan, al-Shiʿa, 1:108; Ibrahim, Shiʿis, 18–23.

86 Hamza al-Hasan, author's interview, London, 2008; author's interview with Saudi Shiʿa, Eastern Province, November 2008.

87 Al-ʿUthaymin, Tarikh al-Mamlaka, 2:135.

88 India Office Records (hereafter IOR): R/15/5/27: Draft from Captain Shakespear to Political Resident, Bushire, 8 April 1911.

89 IOR: R/15/5/27: From Captain W.H.I. Shakespear Political Agent Kuwait to the Political Resident in the Persian Gulf, Bushire, 15 May 1913.

90 The interview is from the Carmelite journal Lughat al-ʿArab. Quoted in Nakash, Reaching, 20; al-Zirikli, Khayr al-Din, Shibh al-Jazira fi ʿAhd al-Malik ʿAbd al-ʿAziz (The Arabian Peninsula in the Era of King ʿAbd al-ʿAziz), vol. 1 (Beirut: Matabiʿ Dar al-Qalam, 1970), 209–10.

91 IOR: R/15/2/31: From Abdul Aziz bin Abdur Rahman al-Faisal es Saud to H.B.M.'s Consul-General at Bushire, 13 June 1913 (translation).

92 Nakash, Reaching, 21.

93 IOR: R/15/5/27: Extract from Bahrain Diary no. 22 for week ending 7 June 1913.

94 Al-Waha 50 (2008), 62–78; al-Hirz, Muhammad ʿAli, Ahsaʾiyyun Muhajirun (Hasawi Emigrants) (Beirut: Dar al-Mahajja al-Baydaʾ, 2010).

95 Muhammad al-Hirz, author's interview, Eastern Province, November 2008; al-Hirz, al-Shaʿir ʿAli al-Ramadan: Taʾir al-Ahsaʾ al-Muhajir (The Poet ʿAli al-Ramadan: The Migratory Bird of al-Ahsa) (Beirut: Dar al-Bayan al-ʿArabi, 1993), 7576, 84.

96 Muhammad Musa al-Qarini, “Awjah min al-Muqawama fi al-Ahsaʾ li-l-Siyasa al-ʿUthmaniyya fi Dawʾ al-Wathaʾiq” (Facets of the Resistance in al-Ahsa to Ottoman Policy in Light of the Sources), Majallat al-Khalij li-l-Tarikh wa-l-Athar 2 (April 2006): 83–99. See also n. 12.

97 Al-Hasan, al-Shiʿa, 1:227; al-Rasheed, “The Shia,” 132.

98 Muhammad al-ʿAwwami, al-Zaʿim Ahmad bin Mahdi Nasr Allah: Hayatuhu wa-Shiʿruhu (The Leader Ahmad bin Mahdi Nasrallah: His Life and His Poetry) (London: Dar al-Jazira li-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawziʿ, n.d.). Al-ʿUmran calls ʿAbd Allah Nasr Allah the “leader of the homeland” (zaʿīm al-waṭan). Al-ʿUmran, al-Azhar, 2:285–89.

99 Al-Hasan, al-Shiʿa, 1:230.

100 Steinberg, Guido, Religion und Staat in Saudi-Arabien: Die wahhabitischen Gelehrten 1902–1953 (Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 2002), 487.

101 Al-Ahmad, al-Shaykh Hasan, 102.

102 Cetinsaya, Gökhan, “The Ottoman View of the Shiite Community of Iraq in the Late Nineteenth Century,” in The Other Shiites: From the Mediterranean to Central Asia, ed. Monsutti, Alessandro, Naef, Silvia, and Sabahi, Farian (New York: Peter Lang, 2008), 1940.

103 Frederick F. Anscombe, The Ottoman Gulf: The Creation of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), 85–86; Saldanha, Jerome Anthony, The Persian Gulf Précis, vol. 5, Précis of Turkish Expansion on the Arab Littoral of the Persian Gulf and Hasa and Katif Affairs (Simla: 1904; Gerrards Cross: Archive Editions, 1986), 7899.

104 Al Suʿud, al-Awdaʾ al-Amniyya, 92.

105 IOR/L/PS/10/134: From Captain A. P. Trevor, First Assistant Resident, Bushire, to S. H. Butler, Secretary to the Government of India in the Foreign Department, Simla, 9 August 1908.

106 File 395/1908 Pt 2 Persian Gulf: Katif; disturbances in 1908 IOR/L/PS/10/134, Pt 2 1908.

107 Al-Waha 1 (June 1995): 32–54, esp. 32. One Sunni account also discusses the confrontations in Qatif as a badū-ḥaḍar conflict. See al-Qahtani, Hamad Muhammad, al-Awdaʾ al-Siyasiyya wa-l-Iqtisadiyya wa-l-Ijtimaʿiyya fi Iqlim al-Ahsaʾ, 1871–1913 (The Political, Economic, and Social Circumstances in the al-Ahsa Province, 1871–1913) (Kuwait: Dhat al-Salasil li-l-Tibaʿa wa-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawziʿ, 2012), 144–47.

108 Al-Rasheed, “The Shia,” 128.

109 Al-Waha 1 (June 1995): 32–54, esp. 32, 34, 37.

110 Hamza al-Hasan, author's interview, London, November 2009.

111 Dessouki, Assem, “Social and Political Dimensions of the Historiography of the Arab Gulf,” in Statecraft in the Middle East: Oil, Historical Memory, and Popular Culture, ed. Davis, Eric and Gavrielides, Nicolas E. (Miami, Fl.: Florida International University Press, 1991), 104–9.

112 Al-Waha 3 (1995): 28–39.

113 Ibid., esp. 33. Furthermore, he points out that his granduncle Jaʿfar bin Hasan ʿAli al-Khunayzi was also killed, while his other granduncle Ahmad bin Hasan ʿAli al-Khunayzi was injured, in the Sharba Battle. Ibid., 37.

114 Al-Hasan, al-Shiʿa, 1:111. See IOR: R/15/2/31: Report of Yusuf bin Ahmed Kanoo regarding Bin Saud's treatment of Abdul Hussain bin Juma.

115 Hamza al-Hasan, al-ʿAmal al-Matlabi fi Miʾat ʿAm: Tajribat ʿAmal Wujahaʾ al-Shiʿa fi al-Suʿudiyya (Hundred Years of Petitions: The Experience of the Work of the Shiʿi Notables in Saudi Arabia) (n.p.: Dar al-Multaqa, 2010).

116 Again, waṭan is used with reference to Qatif only. See Ahmad al-ʿAli, shaʿb al-Qatif fi al-Qarn al-Hadi wa-l-ʿAshrin: Dirasa Tahliliyya li-Hadir wa-Mustaqbal al-Mujtamaʿ al-Islami al-Shiʿi fi al-Alfiyya al-Thalitha (The People of Qatif in the 21st Century: An Analytical Study of the Present and the Future of the Shiʿi Islamic Society in the Third Millenium) (n.p.: Dar al-ʿArab, 2007), 28–36.

117 Al-Ahmad, al-Shaykh Hasan; al-Thawra al-Islamiyya 84 (March 1987): 46–50.

118 Ibrahim, Shiʿis, 172.

119 Al-Thawra al-Islamiyya 57 (January 1985): 38–39.

120 al-ʿAwwami, Muhammad, Thaʾir min Ajl al-Din: Malamih min Hayat al-ʿAllama al-Mujahid al-Shaykh Muhammad bin Nasir al-Nimr (A Revolutionary for Religion: Features of the Life of the Most Learned Fighting Shaykh Muhammad bin Nasir al-Nimr) (London: Dar al-Jazira li-l-Nashr, 1987), 52.

121 Al Suʿud, Jawahir bint ʿAbd al-Muhsin bin Jiluwi, al-Amir ʿAbd Allah bin Jiluwi Al Suʿud wa-Dawruhu fi Taʾsis al-Dawla al-Suʿudiyya al-Thalitha (Prince ʿAbd Allah bin Jiluwi Al Saʿud and his Role in the Foundation of the Third Saudi State) (Dammam: Matabiʿ al-Nimri, n.d.), 6483.

122 See Determann, Historiography in Saudi Arabia, chap. 2 and 4.

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