Practicing sectarianism in Mandate Lebanon: Shi[.sup.c]i cemeteries, religious patrimony, and the everyday politics of difference.
Abstract: Shi[.sup.c]i sectarianism in Lebanon first became institutionalized during the period of French Mandate rule, exemplified by the newly created Jacfari sharica court. Initially empowered to adjudicate matters of personal status law, the court also played an influential role beyond its walls. This article examines practical expressions of Shi[.sup.c]i sectarianism that manifested in a number of disputes over the ownership, administration, and protection of Shi[.sup.c]i cemeteries and other kinds of waqf (charitable endowment) property in Beirut and South Lebanon. Even as French Mandate colonialism and local elite interests encouraged the development of certain sectarian norms, the politics of cemetery protection illustrates the extent to which ordinary people, religious authorities, and rural leaderships could appropriate the language of sectarianism as their own. Even as the cemetery became one site where struggles over space, communal autonomy, and sectarian rights were waged, sectarian difference would increasingly come to represent a unique hallmark of national inclusion.
Article Type: Essay
Subject: Shiites (Religious aspects)
Shiites (History)
Author: Weiss, Max
Pub Date: 03/22/2010
Publication: Name: Journal of Social History Publisher: Journal of Social History Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: History; Sociology and social work Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Journal of Social History ISSN: 0022-4529
Issue: Date: Spring, 2010 Source Volume: 43 Source Issue: 3
Topic: Event Code: 290 Public affairs
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Lebanon Geographic Code: 7LEBA Lebanon
Accession Number: 223732167
Full Text: In his concluding remarks on an unresolved dispute over a piece of waqf property in the southern Lebanese village of Mashghara, a French Mandate administrator reported:

Later that year, another Mandate official informed the French High Commissioner of the growing need to confirm that the "highest Shi[.sup.c]i religious judge" would indeed be "invested [with] the functions of supervision vis-a-vis the administrators of Shi[.sup.c]i wakfs." Uncertain about the protocol for resolving such matters in relation to awqaf (s. waqf), or Islamic charitable endowments, the French were not the only ones confused by the new state of organizational affairs. "The President of the Higher Shi[.sup.c]i Court, whom the Lebanese government notified [regarding] the administrative autonomy of Shi[.sup.c]i wakfs, complained that, at the same time, they have not yet notified him of the powers with which he is invested." (1)

Colonial discourse presuming that French virtue in spirit as well as in action was responsible for Shi' [.sup.c] liberation in Greater Syria was certainly an exaggeration. However, because the Shi[.sup.c]i community in Jabal [.sup.c] Amil (present-day South Lebanon) and Beirut had enjoyed no formal recognition in Ottoman times, there was no reason to preserve or centrally store documentation that could verify legal ownership over cemeteries and waqf properties. Discussions among state-level administrators and disputes exercising ordinary people over the management by the Shi[.sup.c]i community of its own "canonical interests and temporal patrimony" were new phenomena. Concepts and practices of "administrative autonomy" and "independence" gradually emerged within the Shi[.sup.c]i milieu under French Mandate rule (1918-1943). Of course, the process of transformation that the Shi[.sup.c]i community in Jahal [.sup.c] Amil and Beirut underwent during this period couldn't he entirely driven or determined by colonial fiat. Rather, the creation of new kinds of sectarian infrastructure--the recently instituted Ja[.sup.c]fari personal status law court, for example--embodied and exemplified new forms of political communication among the state, communal leaderships, and ordinary people. Lebanese Shi[.sup.c]i conceptions of cultural identity may have received the imprimatur of the colonial state but also evolved in the shadow of an increasingly salient dialectic of national unity and sectarian difference. The defense and definition of Shi[.sup.c]i communal cemeteries, waqf properties and other sacred space demonstrated the challenges confronting Shi[.sup.c]i political figures, [.sup.c]ulama and ordinary people in asserting control over religious patrimony and in justifying Shi[.sup.c]i presence. (2)

Debates over the definition and content of Shi[.sup.c]i autonomy, sovereignty, and subjectivity were salient in the realms of law and religious culture. Just as religious culture extended beyond the domain of theology and liturgy, Shi[.sup.c]i legal institutions were not merely sites for the application of sacred law in matters of personal status. As an institution of colonial modernity founded, staffed, and supervised by a cadre of bureaucrats handpicked by the French authorities, an unmistakable ambiguity characterized the Ja[.sup.c]fari court, even as it epitomized how the Shi[.sup.c]i community managed to acquire a certain modicum of sectarian rights under the Mandate. In this sense, new juridical classifications were part and parcel of a lasting transformation in Lebanese Shi[.sup.c]i identities and subjectivities. Rut subsequent claims of the "right to difference" depended heavily upon state institutionalizations of sectarianism. Indeed, the ways in which sectarian difference was made, that is, how Lebanese sects became sectarian in new ways--what I have provisionally called sectarianization--must be understood in terms of both "sectarianization from below"--demands for communal equality that came from ordinary people, local communities, village councils and others--and "sectarianization from above"--French colonial techniques and tactics of divide and rule. Sectarianism in Lebanon is hardly a unitary phenomenon; protean and adaptive, its multiple forms have inflected each community in slightly different ways.

The politics of difference in Lebanon has been constructed in numerous idioms--sectarian, national, cultural and religious--and the historiography of Lebanon has tended to revolve around questions of sect, nation, religion, and state. (3) Despite the historical significance of colonial politics in Mandate Lebanon, though, Shi[.sup.c]i difference--indeed, sectarian difference as such--cannot and should not be attributed exclusively to French actions or agency, although the French often successfully employed tactics of divide and rule that were first applied in other colonial contexts. More and more over the course of the Mandate period, the cultural politics of difference in Lebanon was refracted through the sectarian prism. Paradoxically, differences--religious, cultural, or sectarian--that were supposed to be undermined by Lebanese nationalism were modified into durable national institutions, inextricably bound up with the uneven process of Lebanese state formation. (4)

Although the historiographical literature on sectarianism is vast, a critical body of scholarship only recently emerged to interrogate its logic, to insist that the phenomenon of sectarianism must be understood in relation to discourses of colonial modernity, indeed, to colonial forms of knowledge and power more broadly understood. However, limitations to the historiography of sectarianism remain. Firstly, the notion that "sectarianization" and sectarian-difference making are necessarily violent is deeply problematic. Processes of gradual social or political change have just as often shaped the making of sectarian difference in modern world-historical contexts. In the case of British India, for example, Ayesha Jalal points out:

Jalal opens up an alternative space for thinking through the problem of sectarianism in terms of cultural difference. Second, scholarship on sectarianism remains bogged down in a polarized argument between primordialists and instrumentalists. Whereas the former would argue that sectarianism is an innate, internal sensibility specific to certain societies dating back to age-old primitive loyalties, the latter argue that sectarianism emerged purely in response to external forces such as modernization, social change, colonialism, foreign intervention and the like. (6)

By contrast with both perspectives, this article argues that sacred space, including the communal cemetery (jabbana or maqbara), was one important arena for the defense and definition of "canonical interests and temporal patrimony" within the Shi[.sup.c]i milieu that proved essential in the production of sectarian Shi[.sup.c]i difference in French Mandate Lebanon. While the Shi[.sup.c]i community was by no means monolithic or univocal, sectarian Shi[.sup.c]i modes of identification became increasingly legible and visible following the formal recognition of Shi[.sup.c]i autonomy in the form of the Ja[.sup.c]fari court, which was empowered to adjudicate matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance, property and waqf. Struggles to protect cemeteries and other examples of religious patrimony can help to illustrate some of the contradictory ways in which community recognition--one element of integration into the multisectarian Lebanese nation-state--helped to cement into place sectarian difference. This argument depends on the notion that there is no necessary pre-existing relationship between the boundaries of community or religious affiliation and sectarianism. To set a backdrop for such a discussion of cemetery disputes, this article begins by looking at some of the theoretical and legal justifications structuring the play of new sectarian modes of identification. Subsequent debates over the shape of Shi[.sup.c]i autonomy took place against the backdrop of Shi[.sup.c]i leaders and ordinary people alike struggling both with and against one other to protect "their" waqfs and other "temporal patrimony." Finally, I zero in on the cemetery as a flashpoint for the assertion of Shi[.sup.c]i presence. The trope of sectarian solidarity became a banner under which demands for Shi[.sup.c]i rights were increasingly articulated through a specifically sectarian idiom. Responding to these new circumstances in complicated, often surprising ways, the Shi[.sup.c]i community had begun to practice sectarianism through a host of institutional practices and collective action.

Recognizing Religious Patrimony

Arrete N[degrees] 3503 of January 27, 1926, accomplished the formal recognition of the Ja[.sup.c]fari madhhab as "an independent madhhab" by decree of the French Mandate authorities. Since the exercise of Twelver Shi[.sup.c]i jurisprudence had remained a generally clandestine enterprise throughout the Ottoman period, this was a significant departure for the public definition of Shi[.sup.c]i law, identity and public culture. Delimiting the boundaries of "personal status"--a new category of historical practice for all of Lebanon's emergent sectarian communities under French Mandate--became a central preoccupation in the burgeoning "religious sphere," as formalized albeit still tenuous relationships to the modern state were being created. "The modern state appears [in Mandate Lebanon]," Nadine Meouchy writes, "as a simple excuse legitimizing communitarian coexistence in modern times." (7) Consequently, citizenship and legal participation in Greater Lebanon would be determined by confessional affiliation. The Shi[.sup.c]i community would adjudicate matters of personal status law--limited to matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance, maintenance (nafaqa) as well as waqf (charitable endowments) and other property disputes--in the Ja[.sup.c]fari shari[.sup.c]a court, which, as this article demonstrates, played a signal institutional role in helping to carve out new spaces of Shi[.sup.c]i identity and autonomy. (8) The institutionalization of the Ja[.sup.c]fari madhhab as a legitimate source of legal authority was an important element of the reorganization of law and society in Mandate Lebanon, but the institutional practices and social effects that will be explored below relied upon a more thoroughgoing re-imagination of the place of law in societies under European Mandate. (9)

Many European observers of the Lebanese scene decisively advocated for the right to Shi[.sup.c]i difference. The recent recognition of the Ja[.sup.c]fari madhhab, Murr and Bourbousson argued, could be "justified by the fact that the prescriptions of the djahferite rite are much closer to modern laws than Hanafi jurisprudence." In particular, they cited Shi[.sup.c]i approaches to inheritance law as a bellwether of such sectarian modernity: "according to the djahferite rite (in Lebanon), an only daughter inherits the totality of the goods of her father, to the exclusion of her cousins, who do not have any successional right; whereas according to the Hanafi rite, the same person (the daughter) only inherits half of the succession, leaving the other half to the cousins." The authors also pointed out how the formal recognition of the Ja[.sup.c]fari madhhab in Lebanon had "created a bizarre anomaly": "Whereas in Baalbek (Lebanon) the Shiite daughter excludes (because she is Shiite) her cousins and prevents the latter from inheriting with her from her father, it is necessary to indicate that in Damascus, which is however under French mandate, the girl shares with her cousins the succession in question." (10) Put slightly differently, Shi[.sup.c]i legal autonomy ought to be defended in the name of gender equity, to be standardized across Mandate Syria and Lebanon, and to be expanded so as to afford all Shi[.sup.c]is living under French rule the opportunity to reap the purported benefits.

Two other contemporary French legal scholars took a much broader view of the significance of the Mandate system. In their opinion, the establishment of French rule in Syria and Lebanon had resulted in the establishment of a "special and new juridical regime": "The guiding idea of this regime is that the wellbeing and development of peoples who are unable to govern themselves correspond to a 'sacred trust of civilization'." Beyond rhetorical exhortation, though, successfully putting those ideas into practice required an attention to the future of "the minor peoples. Major peoples have the duty to gradually bring them out of this state of minority." Even if theoreticians and supporters of the Mandate system were inclined to reference loftier goals, their aspirations appeared strikingly similar to colonial efforts elsewhere: "This legal construction of the international mandate is thus inspired by a general conception of colonization, one which has the goal of developing (mettre en valeur) the territories and raising up the individuals who live in them."" The major peoples would agree to provide "international protection to states under Mandate resembling that which is applied to countries under protectorate." At the same time, a sort of "statist autonomy" was envisioned that would purportedly be unique to states under Mandate, in which France, in this instance, would be "responsible to advise and guide administrative action and to institute a judicial system in the States under Mandate." (12) Imbued with the language of moral uplift, developmentalism, and colonial paternalism, this unvarnished conceptualization of the Mandate system reflects the Janus-faced nature of French rule in Lebanon, in which the state would seek to strike a balance between outright control over and collaboration with local communities.

The terms of this relationship between the French colonial state and Lebanese society remained contentious. In his mid-twentieth century analysis of the legal apparatus of Mandatory rule, Pierre Rondot makes the pervasive yet problematic argument about the historical connections between Islam and the state in Lebanon, writing:

If the state is perceived as the ultimate guarantor and arbiter of nationally binding norms of justice, and if the state fulfilled its role by monopolizing the means of violence and lawmaking in Lebanese society, this would be a reasonable assessment. Rondot fails to mention, though, that this relationship between "the Muslims" and the state was variable and contradictory and, moreover, entailed both disadvantages as well as advantages. For one thing, state supervision came at a price, reducing the scope of Muslim legal autonomy for some religious leaders even as both the Sunni and Shi[.sup.c]i Muslim communities struggled to acquire greater representation in politics. Furthermore, "the Muslims" were not treated as a single group and rarely conceived of their interests as being shared vis-a-vis other sectarian groups. Rondot fails to differentiate between Sunni and Shi[.sup.c]i Muslims in Lebanon, perhaps lacking the temporal distance necessary to historicize the institutions and practices he casually viewed as being bound up with the state and, therefore, as somehow consequently imbued with the powers of a state. The intrinsic contradiction at the heart of those Muslim religious institutions touted by Rondot was that, under the Mandate and through early independence, they were only moderately able to exercise any real legal autonomy. Two Lebanese legal scholars made a different argument about the nature of the Lebanese state: "For the Muslim communities, applicable laws and jurisdictions officially seem to be of a Statist character, but, in the reality of facts, are only relevant to the communal authorities." (14)

Despite some differences between direct colonial rule and the system of European Mandates, and however weak the colonial state may have been, the institutionalization of Ja[.sup.c]fari law in Mandate Lebanon was one element in the development of sectarian modernity. Mediating between various sectors and strata of Lebanese society, the Ja[.sup.c]fari court functioned as the official face of the Shi[.sup.c]i community at times and in ways that would have been impossible or unnecessary in earlier periods. In other moments, the court was empowered to take on roles and responsibilities hitherto delegated to the religious classes or else to the state. In a very mundane sense, the establishment of the Ja[.sup.c]fari court created an entirely new class of religious bureaucrats working in the legal institutions of the colonial state. By helping to carve out a new institutional field within which for the reformulation of Shi[.sup.c]i identity and legal culture, the court was able to pose a challenge to other networks and institutions of political and social power within the Shi[.sup.c]i milieu. This bureaucratization of Ja[.sup.c]fari law has had lasting implications for the administration of personal status ("canonical interests") as well as the defense and definition of Shi[.sup.c]i waqf properties ("temporal patrimony"). In fact, it was precisely such new kinds of centralization and bureaucratization that developed into institutional pillars of Shi[.sup.c]i legal autonomy and political presence in Lebanon.

Practicing Sectarianism

The administration of waqf property was one pillar of such burgeoning Shi[.sup.c]i legal autonomy. (15) Islamic waqfs are administered locally even as certain institutions have been empowered with national- or imperial-scale functions of oversight. (16) The politics of waqf, as both historical source and historical practice, proves difficult to trace in the case of the [.sup.c]Amili Shi[.sup.c]i community on account of their relative invisibility under the Ottomans. Arrete N[degrees] 753 of March 31, 1921, enshrined the right of the highest formally recognized Muslim authorities--without specifying sectarian difference--to take over responsibility for the administration of Islamic waqf properties. Following the formal recognition of the Shi[.sup.c]i community in January 1926, the Ja[.sup.c]fari court became the highest Shi[.sup.c]i religious authority in the country, subsequently entrusted to oversee waqf-related matters among Lebanese Shi[.sup.c]is. In the case of Mandate Lebanon, Ja[.sup.c]fari court president Munir [.sup.c]Usayran, his two main legal counselors as well as the employees and users of the Ja[.sup.c]fari court were responsible--under the supervision of the French administration--for managing Shi[.sup.c]i religious properties.

A closer look at subsequent processes of defining, defending, and administering waqf property sheds light on the history of Lebanese Shi[.sup.c]i society even as the Shi[.sup.c]i community was gradually transformed from being a "sect-in-itself" to a "sect-for-itself." Research into the social and religious history of the Shi[.sup.c]i community during this period demonstrates that the verification of Shi[.sup.c]i waqf ownership proved difficult. Strikingly, however, disputes over the protection, preservation and maintenance of Shi[.sup.c]i waqfs increasingly appeared before administrators, judges, and clerics in Ja[.sup.c]fari courts in Beirut and Jabal [.sup.c]Amil (South Lebanon) soon after the authorization of the institution.

In one notable case from the southern Lebanese market town of Nabatiyya, the "heartland" of Jabal [.sup.c]Amil, Dr. Bahjat bin Mirza Ibrahim presented a case with Tawfiq Amin Shaheen asserting that the recently deceased Muhammad Sabah of Nabatiyya had endowed as a waqf a large warehouse (makhzan) in the market on the road leading to Marjayoun. Bahjat Ibrahim, the scion of a well-known Iranian family that had settled in Nabatiyya around the turn-of-the-century, received a medical degree from the American University of Beirut. The earnings from that market were earmarked for uses that would benefit the local "poor and destitute." Notable scholar and political activist Ahmad Rida was appointed as a legal guardian (wasi) for the charitable investment. When the roof of the makhzan collapsed one day, Rida dispatched one of the deceased's children, Said Sabah, to repair it. Although Said was hired for a fixed length of time, he insisted on retaining the makhzan in his possession even after that period had elapsed. Said claimed to have arranged with "Shaykh Ahmad" Rida beforehand to continue renting the makhzan for twenty years at a fixed price--4,000 Turkish ghurush, that is, 200 ghurush per year--under the condition that he would also spend twenty ghurush per year "in the interest of the waqf," paying for any necessary repairs and renovations as well. When that period came to an end on November 16, 1928, Rida asked Said to "take his hand off (raf[.sup.c] yadahu) the property. Said refused to give up possession, making excuses until the end of that year.

When Said tried to continue working on May 29, 1929, Rida took legal action to prevent him from touching the waqf, citing his prior irresponsibility before the shari[.sup.c]a judge. Rida testified in the Nabatiyya court that Said spent earnings from the waqf on his own personal affairs rather than charitable endeavors. Ibrahim pointed out that Said had failed in his duties as legal guardian and was, consequently, "not a [suitable] wasi [at all]." Having "embezzled" from a pious endowment, Said was accused of effectively stealing from the poor. Rida claimed he was only looking out for the "interest" (maslaha) of those whom the waqf was founded to benefit, to protect them from the negative impact of an irresponsible administrator like Said. The court ruled, "the makhzan was a waqf [ever] since the day on which the deceased, his [i.e. Said Sabah's] father, bequeathed it...[and] this makhzan is registered with the awqaf of [the] Hayy al-Saray [neighborhood] in Nabatiyya." After concluding, "the waqf is legitimate," the court ordered Said to "cease and desist so that the guardians of the waqf can execute what is stipulated in the wasiyya." Despite claims made by Said this had been a waqf dhurri--that is a waqf endowed for the benefit of an individual benefactor--the court ensured that it remained a waqf khayri--a charitable endowment. In this case, the perpetuity of the waqf for the common good was deemed more important than the specific claims of a particular family interest. (17)

The protection of religious patrimony became one of the most common cases to be taken up by the court. Consider the following case, for example, from Jezzine, a predominantly Christian village located in the mountains inland from Sidon. In a letter to the French High Commissioner written on July 26, 1930, President Munir [.sup.c]Usayran alerted the Mandate authorities to a "point of great importance," demanding the administration "give us assistance in case of attack or practical embezzlement to the detriment of Ja[.sup.c]fari Wakfs." [.sup.c]Usayran asserted that the Sidon shari[.sup.c]a judge had been "[i]nformed that an attack was [going to be] carried out against the Jezzine mosque." The Sidon judge "asked the Qaimaqam [sub-district governor] to put a halt to [the attack], but the latter had not taken the appropriate action concerning his request." (18) As a result, the local community and colonial administrators began forcing the judge's hand. A large group of concerned citizens from Jezzine wrote the following:

In response, an inquiry was launched under the supervision of the Jezzine vice-mayor. As the case developed, Faris Nimr Bou Sleiman was accused of "encroaching" upon the boundaries of the "mosque property"--the purported attack. When it ultimately came to light that the reported encroachment amounted to a whopping 30 cm, the culpable owners of the building confessed and accepted the appointment of "experts" (ahl al-khibra) and engineers along with a municipally appointed committee who would all be dispatched to rectify the situation. Bou Sleiman destroyed the entire section of the wall that had already been built and started over at the original boundary line. (20) The municipality then assured the Shi[.sup.c]i residents of Jezzine that there would be no lasting physical harm done to their mosque. Four men who had worked with Faris Nimr Bou Sleiman and other residents of the Sahat al-Nuzul square in Joun wrote a letter to the qa[.sup.c]imaqam of Jezzine, claiming that, after they had investigated the building "with all precision and care," they found no unjustified "addition at all" over the mosque property. (21)

"It has reached me," [.sup.c]Usayran wrote to Asadallah Safa, the Ja[.sup.c]fari shari[.sup.c]a judge in Sidon, one month later, "that Faris al-Qatrib [i.e. Faris Nimr] from Jezzine put a metal beam (jassura) across the space of the mosque and opened doors and windows. He must take the necessary precautions and write either to the governor of South Lebanon or to the qa[.sup.c]imaqam of Jezzine about this. We understand that the reparations will amount to something like two or three Ottoman lira." (22) Although this marks the end of the documentary record for this claim, the Shi[.sup.c]i inhabitants of Jezzine clearly found a powerful ally in the Ja[.sup.c]fari court, even over a property violation as small as 5-30 cm. The institutionalization of sectarianism in Lebanon was accomplished, in part, through subtle shifts that also harbored the potential to develop into more significant conflicts.

Summoned to play a similar role in Nabatiyya, the Ja[.sup.c]fari court was exercised by its users to regulate the administration of religious patrimony. In 1931, Dr. Bahjat Mirza Ibrahim--already mentioned above--and a number of other town residents declared that the Great Mosque was in dire need of attention. Ever since the previous caretaker (mutawalli), Haj [.sup.c]Aqil Fahd, had vacated his position, the mosque had been suffering grave "neglect," to the extent that nobody involved knew the precise status of the waqf coffers, "how they go, how they come, or how they are spent." Even more exasperating for the citizens of Nabatiyya, the muezzin was habitually incompetent, frequently failing to standardize the times of the call to prayer. For example, sometimes the morning prayer was skipped; the muezzin only announced the afternoon and evening prayers on certain days; occasionally he simply forgot all of them.

Ibrahim appeared before the court in order to attract the attention of state authorities to this unacceptable situation at the mosque. He and his supporters demanded that the Ja[.sup.c]fari court intervene to ensure the regular maintenance of religious life, for prayer and other daily functions at the mosque to be managed in an orderly fashion, and not to be held hostage to the caprices and fallible memory of a bumbling and irresponsible overseer. (23) Here was a case in which the moral authority of the court could be mobilized and marshaled from below towards the preservation of proper religious practice. This instance of religious law enforcement went beyond the control of local institutions and, through the exercise of the Ja[.sup.c]fari court infrastructure, could be provided by the state. Such local, colorful stories abound in the records of the Ja[.sup.c]fari courts in Mandate Lebanon and attest to the operation of what might be called sectarian legal infrastructure.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Shi[.sup.c]i religious and political leaders continued to demand protection for Shi[.sup.c]i waqfs as distinct from Sunni charitable endowments and property in Lebanon. Elite figures such as Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin and Sayyid [.sup.c]Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din, who had both turned down the opportunity to head the Ja[.sup.c]fari court when it was first instituted on moral or political grounds, quickly came to recognize the unique role this institution could play in defense of specifically Shi[.sup.c]i interests. When al-Amin, perhaps the most important. Shi[.sup.c]i mujtahid from south Lebanon who lived during the Mandate period, sought to register Shi[.sup.c]i waqfs in Damascus in accordance with "the principles of the Ja[.sup.c]fari madhhab," he was instructed by the French to contact the pious endowments representative in Lebanon by way of the Ja[.sup.c]fari court in order to verify that those properties were indeed "philanthropic endowments" registered to the Shi[.sup.c]a because there were no formally recognized Ja[.sup.c]fari courts in Syria at the time, a point already mentioned in connection with European legal discourse on Shi[.sup.c]ism in Mandate Syria and Lebanon. [.sup.c]Usayran had already informed the French authorities of this predicament and endeavored to manage Shi[.sup.c]i religious patrimony himself under the aegis of the Lebanese Ja[.sup.c]fari court. "Given that no Ja[.sup.c]fari courts exist in Damascus to examine affairs relating to said Wakfs," [.sup.c]Usayran wrote to the French agency overseeing waqf-related matters, "I wish to ask you to stipulate to the Direction des Wakfs in Damascus not to occupy itself with Shi[.sup.c]i Wakfs until you have named an overseer for these Wakfs, as you have already done for Lebanon." (24)

As the Shi[.sup.c]i community in Lebanon acquired more voices and more visibility, some of the 10,000 Shi[.sup.c]is in Mandate Syria keenly perceived the benefits that might accrue with formal state recognition. Rida Murtada coordinated with the Lebanese Ja[.sup.c]fari court leadership upon taking over the administration of the Sayyida Sukayna shrine in the Damascus al-Suyufi neighborhood after his father passed away. (25) The new overseer (khadim) of the Sayyida Ruqayya shrine also corresponded with the Ja[.sup.c]fari court in Beirut when the old khadim went insane and had to be replaced. (26) Regardless of political orientation, therefore, there was a growing awareness of the potential legitimating and authorizing power of the Lebanese Ja[.sup.c]fari court.

Muhsin al-Amin clearly recognized the potential of the court as a specifically Shi[.sup.c]i institution with state support. In his plea to the French and to Munir [.sup.c]Usayran regarding waqf supervision, al-Amin wrote that, "since time immemorial, there has been no intervention in these affairs, neither practical nor theoretical." Because the Ja[.sup.c]fari court had become "the highest authority (marja[.sup.c]) over the Shi[.sup.c]i sect (ta[.sup.c]ifa)" and because "the Mandatory state has officially recognised the Ja[.sup.c]fari madhhab," al-Amin wished to be considered an "interlocutor" with the French representative in charge of waqfs as well as to correspond directly with the High Commissioner. Even though al-Amin intended to register Shi[.sup.c]i waqfs with the relevant authorities in Lebanon, he asked that the French "leave the issue of administering the awqaf of our sect to ourselves." (27) Legal autonomy and communal independence for the Shi[.sup.c]i community were apparently important enough goals to justify correspondence and "collaboration" with the Mandate state.

Muhsin al-Amin generally attempted to maintain the separation of the Shi[.sup.c]i community's religious identity from state intervention, by keeping political administration separate from the religious hierarchy. This reflected other publicly committed positions of his, as during the vitriolic debates over the reform of the [.sup.c]Ashura ritual mourning practices in which, under the sign of modernist reformism, al-Amin had argued that the Shi[.sup.c]i community should not engage in religious practices that are physically harmful to individuals, but that could also be negatively perceived by "others" (aghyar) and inflict harm on the image of the community. (28) Such care and courtesy with which al-Amin intervened in political life was part and parcel of his conscious intention to maintain a morally upright image of the Shi[.sup.c]i community in the eyes of the colonial state and among other communities.

Whereas al-Amin is often portrayed as principled and incorruptible, Sayyid [.sup.c]Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din, his main rival during this period, is often held up to criticism for "collaborating" with the French, although he too, like al-Amin, refused the offer to become the first president of the Ja[.sup.c]fari court. Such reductive analytical categorizations--between loyalist and traitor, collaboration and resistance--are not appropriate in this case, however, as Shi[.sup.c]i engagements with French Mandate rule were variable and dynamic. Both al-Amin and Sharaf al-Din participated in guiding the Shi[.sup.c]i community and its nascent institutions. With respect to disputes over the definition and preservation of the community's "canonical interests and temporal patrimony," although they may have differed in style and behavior, both al-Amin and Sharaf al-Din were caught up with the problem of defining and defending Shi[.sup.c]i religious patrimony.

For example, Sharaf al-Din was responsible for overseeing a significant amount of waqf property in and around his hometown of Tyre, which included the main Shi[.sup.c]i cemetery there. After Tawfiq Khalil Halawa, a business associate, formally requested to be named a joint overseer of the city's cemetery in 1932 but was rebuffed, he summoned Sharaf al-Din to appear before the Tyre Ja[.sup.c]fari court. (29) Despite the fact that Halawa claimed the cemetery to have been endowed as a waqf in the name of the "Ja[.sup.c]fari sect"--that is, as a waqf khayri and not a waqf dhurri--Sharaf al-Din disagreed, claiming that he and his family were its sole custodians, having the legal rights to monopolize the custodianship (tawliyya). Halawa made the case, however, that Sharaf al-Din had reneged on an earlier partnership between the two men, arrogating exclusive rights to managing the waqf--essentially making a waqf dhurri out of what should have remained a waqf khayri--but Sharaf al-Din held his ground, and was able to, as he enjoyed far greater power and influence. In fact, most waqf properties in Tyre remained under his control or that of his family throughout the Mandate period; he had appropriated khums (Shi[.sup.c]i tithe) to initiate several of those waqfs, which allowed him to maintain a comfortable life for himself, his family and his political allies. (30) In the end, the Ja[.sup.c]fari shari[.sup.c]a judge in Tyre, Habib Mughniyya, thwarted Sharaf al-Din's efforts, affirming that the cemetery ought to remain endowed in the name of the Shi[.sup.c]i community as a whole, affirming the status of the cemetery as a waqf khayri. As with Said Sabah's claim in Nabatiyya, which was also ultimately rejected, here was a case in which the Ja[.sup.c]fari court judge elevated the interests of the common good above those of an individual family. The Ja[.sup.c]fari court asserted institutional muscle to structure the family politics of waqf administration and refashion power relationships within the Shi[.sup.c]ommunity in various, often surprising ways.

Institutionalizing Shi[.sup.c]ism

As petitions and protest became more common techniques to defend Shi[.sup.c]i religious patrimony in Beirut and the South, other kinds of collective efforts were also underway toward further institutionalizing Shi[.sup.c]i presence in Lebanon. Near the end of 1933, an alliance of doctors, [.sup.c]ulama, teachers, politicians, notables and lawyers, including the lawyer Kazem Khalil, spearheaded one such campaign. Khalil informed the French authorities that he had garnered the unequivocal support of Husayn Mughniyya, "the leader of the Ulemas" for the French project to establish a council that would "study and organize waqf affairs." (31) Two weeks later, the French agency for waqf administration transmitted a copy of Kazem Khalil's correspondence to Munir [.sup.c]Usayran and asked him for his perspective. (32)

[.sup.c]Usayran enumerated reasons why the establishment of such an administrative body made sense, although not exactly in terms the French may have had in mind. A statement of endorsement from more than a dozen notable Shi[.sup.c]i religions figures from all over the country accompanying [.sup.c]Usayran's letter, which concluded, "all of the Shi[.sup.c]i wakfs should be seized, registered and the necessary steps should be taken in order to institute a Council and commissions for wakfs." The argument situated the present moment in Shi[.sup.c]i history as follows: "Under the Turkish regime, these wakfs had a special administration and agents who collected the incomes from the revenues of wakfs that were of great importance ... [and] recorded in the special registers kept in the administrations and inscribed as well with the property services." Because those properties were mostly found "in the big cities," they continued, this made "easier the collection of revenues by the agents as well as the institution of commissions for the administration and organization of wakfs."

[.sup.c]Usayran refers to waqfs whose custodianship and administration are both overseen by the state waqf directorate--madbuta, which, was not the case for Shi[.sup.c]is in pre-Mandate Lebanon--and those that are administered by virtue of a '''waqf document"--mulhaqa, which was also not the case for Shins in Ottoman Lebanon, at least not in any way that was centrally organized and registered. The case [.sup.c]Usayran builds in defense of community departs from the premise that Shi[.sup.c]i waqfs had been

In light of the difficulty for members of the Shi[.sup.c]i community to verifiably prove ownership of their "temporal patrimony" and property, [.sup.c]Usayran poses this provocative question: "What kind of wakfs will those be that have no documents for demonstrating their nature?" (34) Having worked in the bureaucracy of religious administration, [.sup.c]Usayran draws on his experience in such matters: "For some time, I have worked to record waqfs of the community in the registers of the shari[.sup.c]a courts and then in the property registers. Now, I have encountered many difficulties in the course of this work. On the one hand, it was negligence of the judges and, on the other hand, in the villages where there are waqfs, it was the disavowal of the mukhtars." Despite the partial mea culpa here, a dearth of documentation presented a real quandary for defining and defending Shi' religious property and patrimony under the French Mandate, not to mention leaving behind a vexing difficulty for historians of the Lebanese Shi[.sup.c]i community.

Beyond the quest for communal recognition in the eyes of the state, there were broader practical and institutional implications to these attempts made at physically rooting the Shi[.sup.c]i community in Lebanon. [.sup.c]Usayran was ambivalent regarding the creation of a new Shi[.sup.c]i council for waqf administration, perceiving that such a move might "risk creating a fuss and an uproar that would lead to the loss of certain wakfs," citing, for example, one "affair of Tyre, which is still not registered and which is still left to languish in the divers services despite the fact that the wakf documents have a convincing force." [.sup.c]Usayran then turned to discuss the "advice" he received from the French colonial authorities regarding the creation of this new communal Shi' body. Considering there already was "in all the district of the Lebanese Republic a Djafari Cadi entrusted with registering wakfs," [.sup.c]Usayran called for the creation a "Higher Ja[.sup.c]fari Council ... with the seat at Beirut," an institution that apparently wouldn't present a challenge to the authority of the Ja[.sup.c]fari Court.

Indeed, the proposed provisions appear specifically crafted to consolidate the power of the Ja[.sup.c]fari courts. First, such an agency ought to be staffed by "Shici judges currently working in the Lebanese Republic," who should be "chosen from among the notables of the Community or a member of the Conseil administrative of the subdistrict," by the "President or a member of the Municipality. In the case where there are no delegates, the judge or the doctor of the location will be the delegate to the Council." Second, the "monitoring of these waqfs is the jurisdiction of the shari[.sup.c]a courts. It is the responsibility of these courts to name and to re move the Mutewallis of these waqfs." Third, there needed to he an expansion of the machinery of bureaucratic rule: "This Council must examine the means of registering the waqfs, to deliver the justifying documents for the waqfs, to manage the waqfs by the care of the Mutawallis in conformity with the clauses of the law and to work to increase the earnings." Fourth, the council had to he adequately equipped to "intervene with the local administrative authorities, in conformity with the law, with the aims of obliging the mukhtars to not hide what they know about the Shi[.sup.c]i wakf properties as well as about those registered by Cadis in the [other] districts." Finally, the

If [.sup.c]Usayran was prepared to consider hulking up bureaucratic institutions of Shi[.sup.c]i legal autonomy in ways that ensured the continued hegemony of the Ja[.sup.c]fari court, others attempted to harness the regulatory power of the state in order to adjudicate property disputes within the Shi[.sup.c]i community. In 1933, Sami El Khoury, the Lebanese Minister of Justice, was notified that the Ja[.sup.c]fari qadi in Shiyyah, then a village on the outskirts of Beirut and now part of the southern suburbs, was seeking to establish "his right to ownership of a piece of land" that was endangered by the expansion of a Shi[.sup.c]i benevolent association (Societe de bienfaisance Jaffarite). As this charitable association expanded beyond its territorial boundaries, the "development of buildings erected by said Society exceeded the land in question." After he

At this point, the judge "ordered a stay until the execution of the judgment from the Commission of Delimitation while waiting for the unknown information of the suit before the Jaffarite Tribunal." (36) The paper trail for this case was brief, but speaks to the variety and diversity of claims being raised within the Shi[.sup.c]i milieu as it defended and defined the contours of both legal autonomy and "temporal patrimony." By the mid-1930s, the Ja[.sup.c]fari court was playing an important, even inimitable intermediary role vis-a-vis the state and Lebanese society. Meanwhile, the leadership of the Ja[.sup.c]fari court had no intention of abdicating the relative power and authority imbued in the institution. The centralization of authority in the form of the Higher Shi[.sup.c]i court in Beirut posed new problems and reconfigured the landscape of power and influence within Shi[.sup.c]i Lebanon during the Mandate period. A new kind of religious infrastructure underwriting the practice of Shi[.sup.c]i politics and political development was stirring, in Beirut as well as in the South.

Defending Cemeteries, Defining Shi[.sup.c]i Difference

The bureaucratization and centralization of Shi[.sup.c]ism under the French Mandate created new institutional venues for the production of and demands for the protection of sectarian difference. The cemetery quickly became one important site for this gradual crystallization of transformed Shi[.sup.c]i expressions of identity, that is, new manifestations of sectarian difference. In addition to shedding light on the mundane problems of waqf administration, struggles over cemeteries point up the contradictory dimensions of demands for the recognition and protection of Shi[.sup.c]i religious patrimony. Historians of religion and society have recognized the unique role of institutional practices in shaping the religious sphere in multiple colonial and postcolonial contexts. Allen Christelow notes, "Cemetery related issues were a common means of focusing on issues of community autonomy and corporate identity in colonial Algeria." (37) Mushirul Hasan points out,

The contested historical process by which boundaries of Shi[.sup.c]i property and autonomy were shaped gained in importance during the Mandate period. The remainder of this section will look at a number of such examples.

One particular case involved a woman from a Christian family in the village of Habil (Tyre province) accused by the Shi[.sup.c]i community--represented collectively in this case--of infringing upon their cemetery plot and an adjacent piece of agricultural property, known as "al-Habbaq." In this case, the Beirut-based Ja[.sup.c]fari shari[.sup.c]a judge Muhammad Ibrahim al-Husayni visited the southern village on a number of occasions in order to both investigate the site in question and to record testimonies from villagers, Shi[.sup.c]i and Christian alike. The case was first raised in the Beirut court at Burj al-Barajneh in August 1929. In claiming ownership of the property, this family disputed its status as a waqf. And despite their initial appeal for a change of venue, the court affirmed, citing the authority of Gennardi--the French official charged with overseeing waqfs at the time--that it was empowered to hear this case since such waqf disputes fell within the purview of the personal status courts.

The defendant claimed to have purchased the piece of property adjacent to the cemetery from a Shi[.sup.c]i resident of the village. Near the end of August, witnesses were brought to testify before the court or the court was sent to take the villagers testimonials; in all cases, Christians swore on the Bible and Muslims took their oath on the Quran. The forty-eight year old mukhtar of a neighboring village, who declared that he could both read and write, offered testimony that the cemetery had been used by the Shi[.sup.c]i villagers of Habil and its neighbors, even mentioning specific individuals he knew had been buried there; when the judge asked whether they had been bought there after the fact, he replied that they died in the village. Another witness from the same neighboring village, a peasant of just over fifty years old who could neither read nor write, claimed to have never seen graves in that village that were not Shi[.sup.c]i graves. (39)

On September 11, 1929, back in the court at Burj al-Barajneh, another village on the outskirts of Beirut now integrated into the southern suburbs, the defendant appeared in court without supporting witnesses, protesting that they were all at work. In lieu of their testimony, she produced a document ostensibly confirming her legal purchase of the piece of land in question from an absentee of the village on November 3, 1915, which had been verified by the state court in Kisrawan on February 11, 1927. However, the court ruled that the document was ""insufficient" to establish land ownership. Subsequent witnesses for the prosecution appeared and argued that the cemetery had been used by the Shi[.sup.c]i sect (alifa al-shi[.sup.c]iyya) and not by one particular family or another, as the defense tried to establish, thereby validating their claim to ownership. In other words, any ostensible seller should never have been technically allowed to sell the land in the first place. (40) On October 30, the judge handed down a binding ruling confirming the waqf status of the property: "Whereas the waqf status of the specifically Shi[.sup.c]i cemetery (al-maqbara al-mukhtassa al-shi[.sup.c]iyya) present in the village of Habil has been verified to us," and whereas testimonies had been taken in court and in the village, "some of whom are from among trustworthy people (ahl al-wathaqa)," the court determines that the sum total of adduced evidence has '"established the truth" and that this ruling is established upon "certain knowledge." The cemetery was confirmed as a waqf and the opposition of the defense was rejected. (41)

The Ja[.sup.c]fari court was able to control the "rules of the game" inside its walls, even as its power was projected outward. On other occasions, disputes emerged within the Shi[.sup.c]i community itself. For example, the residents of the village of Shiyyah petitioned and pressured Munir [.sup.c]Usayran to protect their historic cemetery from being bulldozed so that the famous Beirut Pine forest could be expanded. From 1931 until 1933, [.sup.c]Usayran sought to work out some sort of compromise between the colonial authorities, the Municipality of Beirut and the Shi[.sup.c]i community that would allow for both the expansion of Beirut's most important park as well as the protection of their sacred land. [.sup.c]Usayran dispatched a petition (mazbata) in the name of the Shi[.sup.c]i community requesting the revision of the current plan in such a way that "the cemetery of Chiah would not be affected by the alignment," or even that they be granted "another piece [of land] to allow us to bury our dead." (42) The French authorities repeatedly responded that "no response" was forthcoming from the High Commission, and no further documentation on the case could be found. (43)

In another case, some villagers from Roum (Sidon province) went over the head of their local court and directly petitioned the top administration of the Ja[.sup.c] fari court in Beirut to intervene on behalf of a historic cemetery. A man called Yusuf [.sup.c]Assaf was planning to raze the village cemetery and build a dwelling on the plot of land. According to Ahmad Said Ahmad, a resident of the village, [.sup.c]Assaf had presented a summons to the mayor requesting permission to tear down the Shi[.sup.c]i cemetery two months earlier. Ahmad reported that a group of concerned citizens intended to bring the Jezzine qa[.sup.c]imaqam and a village doctor to carefully examine whether the cemetery was "harmful to people's health," as [.sup.c]Assaf and others claimed. Ahmad countered that all religious waqfs, cemeteries, and sacred sites had to be fully respected and protected by the honorable French state. No one should be permitted to "violate them," regardless of the purported justification. Cemeteries are always near the villages that use them, Ahmad continued, arguing that the sensitivities of his community ought to be respected. Moreover, he went on, [.sup.c]Assaf didn't even live near the cemetery in question; rather, he was said to live in a far off "Christian area," raising the specter of sectarian violence further with his alarmist tone as he argued that once these usurpers had gained control of their cemetery, they weren't going to stop until the Shi[.sup.c]a gave up their homes as well. (44)

On March 11, 1931, Asadallah Safa reminded [.sup.c]Usayran of the significance of this issue was as well as the importance of lobbying the French in support of the Roum Shi[.sup.c]i community. (45) A number of community members also filed a petition with their local court in Sidon, claiming to speak in the name of the "people of Roum." They insisted to the qadi that this cemetery had been used "continuously from ancient times until today without opposition or conflict." Until, that is, [.sup.c]Assaf and other "Christians" (nasara) from the village began pressuring the town head to convert it into housing. The petitions expressed outrage that those people would dare to overturn the established traditions of their sacred site, that they would contravene the "preservation of tradition." They sought to prevent this "aggression" as well as the subsequent "damage" that would ensue. Munir [.sup.c]Usayran wrote a personalized letter to the French High Commissioner in Lebanon three days later, beseeching him to "prevent" [.sup.c]Assaf from "violating" the cemetery of the "people of Roum." He demanded the colonial state, "take this affair into consideration and intervene in order to prevent any violation against the cemetery in the village of Roum on the part of Youssef Assaf." (46) Although there is no documentary evidence reporting the outcome of this case, it bears reiterating that these archival traces attest to the piecemeal and gradual institutionalization of sectarian loyalties in Mandate Lebanon.

The village of Joun (Sidon province) was also embroiled in a similar cemetery dispute. A letter received by the Sidon Ja[.sup.c]fari court reads:

Ahmed Ibrahim [.sup.c]Issa, mutawalli of those local waqfs, declared that Christian villagers had set fire to the Shi[.sup.c]i cemetery and that criminals had still not been brought to justice. [.sup.c]Issa requested "the high intervention of the appropriate authorities, in order to safeguard the rights of the community." (48) Others sent a telegram to the High Commissioner in solidarity, which read in part: "We are distressed to report that an attack was carried out today in Joune (South Lebanon) upon Muslim cemeteries in this village. We demand the punishment of the aggressors in order to safeguard the respect for the dead and sacred Muslim properties." (49) Here the discourse of Muslim unity was mobilized to fend off this perceived Christian aggression against specifically Shi[.sup.c]i sacred space. While some members of the Shi[.sup.c]i community appealed directly to the colonial authorities in the name of the entire Muslim community in Lebanon in order to defend and define religious patrimony, others took the tack of drawing on the institutional strength of the Ja[.sup.c]fari court to bolster their case. (50)

The coastal city of Sidon witnessed another such dispute, in which the Shi[.sup.c]i community's claim to the al-Ansar cemetery pitted them directly against the Sunni community there. The Sunni mufti of Sidon had made arrangements with the national corps of engineers, in collaboration with the national council for antiquities, to excavate on the site in the Dakerman neighborhood where the cemetery was located. In 1933, the religious leadership of both the Sunni and Shi[.sup.c]i communities had claimed sole ownership of the property. [.sup.c]Ali Fahs wrote to enlist Munir [.sup.c]Usayran's immediate intervention. On December 16, 1932, the Shi[.sup.c]i mukhtar of the Rijal al-Arba[.sup.c]in quarter presented a petition affirming the cemetery in question was a waqf belonging to the Shi[.sup.c]i community. Fahs transmitted the petition to the director of technical works and tried to register the cemetery as a Shi[.sup.c]i waqf, but [.sup.c]Usayran reported that the cemetery had already been registered in the name of the Sunni community. (51)

In July 1933, the High Commissioner concluded that, despite requests from Sidon and Beirut, the Financial Services of the Lebanese Government informed him that, "according to the provisional delimitation," the cemetery was in fact registered by the Sunni mukhtar of the Dakerman quarter. Despite expressing its opposition, he continued, "the Shi[.sup.c]i community has not presented any deed showing their propriety over the cemetery." However, even after Sunni ownership was confirmed, it was pointed out that, "Arrete 186 of the I High Commission stipulates a respite of 2 years for the Shi[.sup.c]i community in order to raise a legal case to try and establish their ownership of the cemetery." (52) Therefore, in November 1933, [.sup.c]Usayran wrote to the Inspector-General for Wakfs and Immatriculation Fonciere to seek clarification on the cemetery in question. In that relatively lengthy letter, [.sup.c]Usayran informed the colonial authorities:

Even though the leadership of the Shi[.sup.c]i community requested their property to be registered in the name of the Shi[.sup.c]i community, [.sup.c]Usayran explained how the Sunni leadership had beaten him to the punch.

Although the engineers in question noted the Shi[.sup.c]i opposition, the recently appointed property judge with jurisdiction over Sidon, Farid Amoune, brought no news to the Shi[.sup.c]i leadership. [.sup.c]Usayran protested that Amoune had carried out the registration in the name of the Sunni community without contacting him or alerting any other Shi[.sup.c]i officials. Furthermore, the Sunni Mufti of Sidon had disregarded the recommendations of the administrative council appointed to oversee the matter and deferred to Arrete N[degrees] 3497 of the High-Commissioner from August 1, 1928, which had declared Shi[.sup.c]i waqfs "independent." As a result, "there are no longer [external] authorities [watching] over the cemeteries of our community, [even as] it intervened to register the cemetery in question in the name of the Sunni community."

Mobilizing a sense of tradition and convention to the defense of Shi[.sup.c]i religious patrimony, [.sup.c]Usayran continued,

Even though [.sup.c]Usayran did not adduce such evidence in defense of the community, here was another indication of some of the difficulties created by the ambiguous place of Shi[.sup.c]i waqf holdings in Mandate Lebanon. [.sup.c]Usayran concluded with a resounding plea for help from the French colonial authorities, raising the specter of sectarian violence and discord, asking,

[.sup.c]Usayran then requested that the French carry out an investigation to certify his claims and, having done so, to register the cemetery in the name of the Shi[.sup.c]i community. (54) By framing his communication with the colonial administration in the language of sectarian rights that might be verified and applied retroactively, [.sup.c]Usayran sought to reinforce communal solidarity. The administrative response from the Inspector-General hardly differed from the prior assessment given by the Mandate government, reiterating the fact that, "the Shi[.sup.c]i community has not presented any deed verifying their ownership of this cemetery." Therefore, the judge "rejected the opposition and officially confirmed the proces-verbal N[degrees]52 in the name of the Sunni community." Again, the Shi[.sup.c]i leadership was informed that they were legally granted a two-year window within which to argue their "rights over the cemetery in question before the courts of common law." (55)

The same case was raised again several years later, although to no avail. In 1938, a group of people from Sidon wrote a petition to judge [.sup.c]Ali Fahs, complaining that the Shi[.sup.c]i community "possesses a cemetery in the city where we have buried our dead for a long time. Ulemas, martyrs and great personalities are buried in this cemetery, the sort [of people] that, in our eyes, this cemetery is sacred." The petition explained, "under the pretext that there are ancient monuments in our cemetery, the archeological service has the intention of acquiring to look into expropriation and to dig up our dead. We disapprove of this fact that is, among other things, contrary to shari[.sup.c]a law and [other] laws in force." The petitioners articulated their belief that the French had a special obligation to respect and protect religious patrimony, by whatever means necessary, explaining that they

They closed their letter with the stern warning that, "if the archeological service excavates, the consequences will be very grave." (56)

[.sup.c]Usayran wrote once again to the French Inspector-General, declaiming that the Shi[.sup.c]i community had never stopped "burying its dead in its cemetery in Sidon. Under these conditions, it is forbidden, according to the law, to expropriate this cemetery and to dig up the bodies." [.sup.c]Usayran indefatigably demanded that the French authorities intervene make "the archeological service give up its project. Also, you will safeguard Muslim religious law and you will have contributed to the respect of the dead buried in this cemetery and avoided offending the feelings of the living." (57) Without any record of the final decision rendered in this case, certain elements in the Shi[.sup.c]i milieu in Sidon attempted to preserve in defining and defending Shi[.sup.c]i religious patrimony. At the same time, by mediating these contentious disputes over the ownership and protection of sacred space in French Mandate Lebanon and Syria, the Ja[.sup.c]fari court effectively tethered segments of the Shi[.sup.c]i body social to the colonial state.


The Lebanese Shi[.sup.c]i community hesitantly confronted the emerging possibilities of sectarian citizenship through newfound legal recognition under the French Mandate. As a constellation of individuals, families and villages appealed to the "humanitarian principles" the French Mandate state was simultaneously perceived to embody and rely upon, they mobilized particular conceptions of morality and justice. Many Lebanese Shi[.sup.c] is articulated a vision of the Ja[.sup.c]fari court--the most substantial and powerful Shi[.sup.c]i body in the country at the time--as a strong institution capable of both protecting sectarian rights and religious patrimony, on the one hand, and projecting Shi[.sup.c]i power outward, on the other. To be sure, the use of petitions as a means for demanding "sectarian rights" and "colonial justice" was an ambivalent enterprise, as petitioners were careful to stress how their demands were in line with "the justice of the honorable French Republic." (58) Claims made in the name of "the Shi[.sup.c]i sect" were framed so as to take advantage of a formal sense of solidarity the French colonial state had been more than willing to bestow upon heterodox and minority communities. This does not mean that the entire Shi[.sup.c]i community adopted sectarian rhetoric or modes of identification wholesale and at all times. Meanwhile, Shi[.sup.c]is who either tactically or sincerely took recourse to the Ja[.sup.c]fari court effectively sanctioned the legal institutions of colonial modernity. Whether such acceptance was earnest or coerced, "justice" could be strategically deployed from both sides of the colonial divide--as one means of cynically positioning principles and practices of French colonialism as benevolent, for example, but also securing gains toward the strategic reconfiguration of the colonial encounter. (59)

Sectarianism is a practice, or a set of social, cultural, legal and political practices, through which group solidarity must be cultivated over time. Sectarianism in Lebanon has proved as dependent on subterranean practices of inclusion and exclusion as it has been on episodic and fragmentary acts of violence. Even as some Shi[.sup.c]is practiced sectarianism in Mandate Lebanon--in order to both defend and define their "canonical interests and temporal patrimony"--"the Lebanese Shi[.sup.c]i community," to the extent that this was a legible social or cultural category, remained diverse and multivocal vis-a-vis overarching questions of community, citizenship and nationalism. I would argue that the bulk of Shi[.sup.c]i Muslims in Lebanon under French Mandate rule still viewed themselves in terms of a "religiously informed cultural identity" rather than engaging in "the politics of cultural nationalism." (60) But as a confluence of social, political and legal forces gradually shaped the Shi[.sup.c]i milieu into an identifiable and visible political community capable of more meaningful integration into the Lebanese sectarian nation, Shi[.sup.c]i individuals, collectivities and institutions had to practice being sectarian in new ways, and to outright practice sectarianism. In this sense, practicing sectarianism in Mandate Lebanon involved the twinned dynamics of relational sectarianism and institutional sectarianism. The former entailed a process of self-definition that unfolded in relation to other sectarian communities, while the latter depended upon reconfigured institutional and political attachments to the modernizing state. If some Shi[.sup.c]is had started to perceive legal action through sectarian institutions as one path towards empowerment or emancipation, the institutionalization of Shi[.sup.c]i law and society moved along the concomitant solidification of the authority, autonomy, and even independence of sectarian modes of identification: the sectarianization of Shi[.sup.c]i Lebanon. Disputes and discussions aimed toward the protection and preservation of religious patrimony can be better understood in this sense as some of the everyday forms of sectarianization.

The multidirectional field of correspondences bringing together the administration of the Ja[.sup.c]fari court, Lebanese Shi[.sup.c]i citizens, elite authorities and the colonial state provides a different perspective on what historians of French Mandate Lebanon have termed the Shi[.sup.c]i "politics of demand" (matlabiyya). (61) In the long run, this resulted in the heightened visibility of the Shi[.sup.c]i community, the reinforcement of claims to sectarian difference as well as an increasing degree of Shi[.sup.c]i participation in public life. Even as Shi[.sup.c]i citizens-in-the-making may have perceived political action to be corrupted by the exercise of colonial power, in addition to the sclerotic "feudal" or clientelist networks of patronage and power endemic to the Lebanese context, new legal and popular political strategies were coming into view as an emergent sectarian infrastructure bolstered the institutionalization of communal difference. At the same time, struggles for power, recognition, and the "right to difference" in the case of personal status law shaped Shi[.sup.c]i politics and modes of identification in Mandate-era Lebanon in multiple ways, creating new hierarchies and networks of power.

"The objective of personal status reform," Nadine Meouchy writes, "was to unify, coordinate and centralize the organs where the action is supervised by the High-Commission." (62) The formal recognition and subsequent institutions of personal status jurisdiction helped to carve out new spaces of autonomy for sectarian communities at the expense of other political forces and other kinds of political organization. Discovering which came first, sectarian institutions and practices or sectarian ideology, therefore, is an exceedingly difficult and perhaps even futile exercise. Indeed, the formal incorporation of legal autonomy and "temporal patrimony" into the apparatus of the French colonial state constrained the exercise of clerical power while simultaneously sanctioning certain religious figures. Put slightly differently, the practice of personal status law in Mandate Lebanon was ambivalent, pulling Shi[.sup.c]is into the purview of the state even as sectarian difference became more firmly rooted.

To the extent that "the Shi[.sup.c]i community" appeared in the eyes of the colonial state under the Mandate, this was partially determined by the piecemeal development of institutional sectarianism. If the Ja[.sup.c]fari court proved moderately effective at making claims on the state in defense of Shi[.sup.c]i political, cultural, and economic rights, and if the Ja[.sup.c]fari court concomitantly enabled certain practices of Shi[.sup.c]i sectarianism--the practice of Shi[.sup.c]i sectarianism as such--by providing an institutional framework through which the community could directly communicate with the state, it also wound up woefully unable to translate that foundation into an effective politics. The charged interactions discussed in this essay demonstrate the halting engagement of broad sectors of Shi[.sup.c]i society with the colonial state and the Lebanese milieu despite circumscribed political and legal horizons: the structural limitations of an institutionalized--and institutionalizing--sectarianism. Even though recourse to a specifically sectarian vernacular was one increasingly common means by which individuals and collectivities within the Shi[.sup.c]i milieu could assert themselves on a local level, institutional expressions of Shi[.sup.c]i sectarianism in Lebanon may also be interpreted as a badge of national affiliation.

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(1.) Centre des Archives Diplomatiques an Nantes, Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres (hereafter MAE-Nantes), Carton N[degrees] 2958, Note pour Monsieur le Secretaire General: Requete des musulmans Djafarites de Macheguera, Le Delegue du Haut-Commissaire pour le Controle General des Wakfs, Beirut, July 24, 1928; and MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees] 2958, Le Haut Commissariat P.I. de la Republique Francaise (Privat Aubouard) a Monsieur le Delegue du Haut Commissaire, N[degrees] 5479, Gestion des Wakfs de la communaute Chiite, Beirut, October 19, 1929.

(2.) On Shi[.sup.c]i Lebanon under the Mandate, see Sabrina Mervin, Un reformisme chiite: Ulemas et lettres du Gabal[.sup.c] Amil, actuel Liban-Sud, de la fin de l'Empire ottoman a l'independence du Liban (Paris, 2000); and Tamara Ahmad Chalabi, The Shi[.sup.c] is of Jabal[.sup.c] Amil and the New Lebanon: Community and Nation-State, 1918-1943 (London, 2006).

(3.) See, for example, Meir Zamir, Lebanon's Quest: The Road to Statehood 1926-1939 (London, 2000); Kais M. Firro, Inventing Lebanon: Nation and State Under the Mandate (London, 2003); and Asher Kaufman, Reviving Phoenicia: The Search for Identity in Lebanon (London, 2004).

(4.) Lauren Benton, "Colonial Law and Cultural Difference: Jurisdictional Politics and the Formation of the Colonial State," Comparative Studies in Society and History Vol. 41, No. 3 (1999): 563-88; and Simon Harrison, "Cultural Difference as Denied Resemblance: Reconsidering Nationalism and Ethnicity," Comparative Studies in Society and History Vol. 45, No. 2 (2003): 343-61.

(5.) Ayesha Jalal, "Negotiating Colonial Modernity And Cultural Difference: Indian Muslim Conceptions Of Community And Nation, 1878-1914," in Leila Tarazi Fawaz and C.A. Bayly, eds., Modernity And Culture: From The Mediterranean To The Indian Ocean, (New York, 2002), 241.

(6.) See Gyanendra Pandey, The Construction of Communalism in Colonial North India (Oxford, 1990); and Ussama Makdisi, The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2000).

(7.) Nadine Meouchy, "L'etat et espaces communautaires dans Le Liban sous Mandat Francais," Maghreb, Machrek 123 (1989), 95. For example, the Sidon-based modernist monthly journal al-[.sup.c]lrfan consistently supported the formal recognition of the Ja[.sup.c]fari madhhab. See, for example, "The Ja[.sup.c]fari madhhab," al-[.sup.c]Irfan 9/4 (January 1924), 363.

(8.) The term for "personal status" in Arabic, al-ahwal al-shakhsiyya, is loaned from the French statut personnel. Jamal J. Nasir argued that it was "non-existent in all classical texts of Islamic jurisprudence" and only emerged in Arabic usage towards the end of the 19th century. Nasir, The Islamic Law of Personal Status (The Hague, 2002), 34.

(9.) Max Weiss, "Institutionalizing Sectarianism: The Lebanese Ja[.sup.c]fari Court and Shi[.sup.c]i Society Under the French Mandate," Islamic Law and Society Vol. 15, No. 3 (2008): 371-407.

(10.) D.I. Murr and Ed. Bourbousson, "Du Statut Personnel en Syrie et au Liban," Bulletin de l'Institut Intermediaire International de la Haye (1932), 264.

(11.) Louis Rolland and Pierre Lampue, Precis de Legislation Coloniale (Paris, 1931), 7.

(12.) Ibid. 100.

(13.) Pierre Rondot, Les Institutions Politiques du Liban: Des Communautes Traditionelles a L'Etat Moderne (Paris, 1947), 69.

(14.) "Preface" in Maher Mahmassani and Ibtissam Messarra, eds., Statut Personnel: Textes en Vigeur au Liban, (Beirut, 1970), v, emphasis added.

(15.) For comparable British waqf policy in East Africa and Southeast Asia, respectively, see Tim Carmichael, "British 'Practice' Towards Islam in the East Africa Protectorate: Muslim Officials, Waqf Administration and Secular Education in Mombasa and Environs, 1895-1920," Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs Vol. 17, No. 2 (Oct. 1997): 293-310; and, Khoo Salma Nasution, "Colonial Intervention and Transformation of Muslim Waqf Settlements in Urban Penang: The Role of the Endowments Board," Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs Vol. 22, No. 2 (Oct. 2002): 299-315.

(16.) See, for example, Beshara Doumani, "Endowing Family: Waqf, Property and Gender in Tripoli and Nablus, 1800-1860," Comparative Studies in Society and History Vol. 40, No. 1 (1998): 3-41; and Randi Deguilhem and Abdelhamid Henia, eds., Les fondations pieuses (waqfs) en Mediterranee: enjeux de societe, enjeux de pouvoir (Kuwait, 2004).

(17.) Al-Mahkama al-shar[.sup.c]iyya al-ja[.sup.c]fariyya fi Nabatiyya (hereafter MJN), Sijill al-watha[.sup.c]iq al-shar-[.sup.c]iyya, (Case 31: dabt 3, safha 2, asas 81 or 86, writing illegible), January 11 1930--September 7, 1936. The case was also sent to the president of the mahkamat al-tamyiz on July 27, from where it was then returned with the summons to Nabatiyya on July 31 requesting that the local court adjudicate the case.

(18.) MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees] 2958, Letter N[degrees] 5 addressed to Monsieur le Delegue du Haut-Commissaire pour le Controle General des Wakfs, July 26, 1930. The same letter can also be found in the folder labeled Correspondences (murasalat), 1929-1932, in the Sidon Ja[.sup.c]fari court.

(19.) MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees]2958, Letter N[degrees] 181 addressed to Monsieur le President de la Cour de Cassation Cherei Jaafari, July 28, 1930. Although the French translation refers to the author as, "Le Cadi de Saida," signature "illegible," the original Arabic letter, which was attached, clearly bears the signature of Asadallah Safa. Neematallah Hamdar was a Shi[.sup.c]i notable from the village of Bashtilida-Jubayl. See [.sup.c]Ali Raghib Haydar Ahmad, al-Muslimun al-Shi[.sup.c]a fi Kisirwan wa Jubayl: Siyasiyyan--Tarikhiyyan--: Ijtima[.sup.c]iyyan bi-watha' iq wa-l-suwwar 1842-2006 (Beirut, 2007), 616.

(20.) Al-Mahkama al-shar[.sup.c]iyya al-ja[.sup.c] fariyya fi Sayda (hereafter MJS), "Correspondences" Folder, Letter from Qa'imaqam of Jezzine to the Saida Judge, August 27, 1930.

(21.) MJS, "Correspondences" Folder, Na'im Nu'man Rizq, Ilyas Musa Kawtharani, Ilyas Tannus Aoun and Khalil al-Nashif to to the Qa[.sup.c]imaqam, August 27, 1930.

(22.) MJS, "Correspondences" Folder, Munir [.sup.c]Usayran to Saida Judge, September 25, 1930.

(23.) MJN, 'adad 17: (dabt 17, safha 119, asas 69), May 12, 1931.

(24.) MAE-Nantes, Syrie-Liban, Mandat, Carton N[degrees] 2958, DROGMANAT: Cour de Cassation Cherei, N[degrees] 8, Monsieur le Delegue du Haut-Commissaire pour le Controle General des Wakfs, November 22, 1930.

(25.) Dafrar al-waridat al-mahfuza 'aynan li-l-awqaf wa tawliyyatiha (hereafter DA), Al-mahkama alshar[.sup.c]iyya al-ja[.sup.c]fariyya fi Bayrut (hereafter MJB), No. 4, no date.

(26.) DA, No. 12, November 12, 1935.

(27.) DA, No. 5, April 4, 1931.

(28.) See Mervin, Un reformisme chiite, 250-274; and Max Weiss, "The Cultural Politics of Shi[.sup.c]i Modernism: Morality and Gender in Early 20th-Century Lebanon," International Journal of Middle East Studies Vol. 39, No. 2 (2007): 249-70," esp. 252-254.

(29.) Al-mahkama al-shar[.sup.c]iyya al-ja[.sup.c]fariyya fi Sur (hereafter MJT), Waqf folder, January 12, 1932.

(30.) When his son Muhammad [.sup.c]Ali returned from completing his religious studies in Najaf with from some kind of "neurological disorder", [.sup.c]Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al- Din lodged him and his family (eight people in all) in various waqf properties around the city. "Al-Madrasa al-Ja[.sup.c]fariyya wa al-awqaf fi Sour," al-[.sup.c]Irfan 30/8-9 (November-December 1940), 383-87.

(31.) MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees] 2958, Letter to Monsieur Conseiller du Haut-Commissariat pour les Wakfs Musulmans, Kazem Khalil, lawyer, August 2, 1933.

(32.) MAE-Nantes, Syrie-Liban, Carton N[degrees]2958, Controle des Wakfs and Immatriculation Fonciere: The Inspecteur-General of the Controle des Wakfs and Immatriculation Fonciere to S.E. the Presidenr of the Court of Cassation, Objet: A.S. Constitution d'un Conseil Superieur des Wakfs Chiites, August 18, 1933.

(33.) MAE-Nantes, Syrie-Liban, Carton N[degrees] 2958, Mounir Osseiran to Monsieur Inspecteur-General of Controle des Wakfs and Immatriculation Fonciere, Beirut, November 28, 1933.

(34.) This categorical dilemma might have been resolved by considering Shi[.sup.c]i waqfs in the pre-Mandate period as "exceptional" (mustathna), that is, those which have no formal registration and, there-tore, are administered under the auspices of the shari a[.sup.c]courts. Salim Hariz, Al-Waqf: Dirasat wa-abhath (Beirut, 1994), 26.

(35.) MAE-Nantes, Syrie-Liban, Carton N[degrees] 2958, Munir Osseiran to Monsieur Inspecteur-General of Controle des Wakfs and Immatriculation Fonciere, Beirut, November 28, 1933.

(36.) MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees] 2957, Director of Justice to the Delegue du Haut-Commissaire aupres de la Republique Libanaise, Beirut, September 23, 1933.

(37.) Allen Christelow, "The Transformation of the Muslim Court System in Colonial Algeria: Reflections on the Concept of Autonomy," in Aziz al-Azmeh, ed., Islamic Law: Social and Historical Contexts (London and New York, 1988), 226.

(38.) Mushirul Hasan, "Traditional Rites and Contested Meanings: Sectarian Strife in Colonial Luc-know," in Mushirul Hasan, ed. Islam, Communities and the Nation: Muslim identities in South Asia and Beyond (New Delhi, 1998), 361.

(39.) MJB, 356/1929, August 22, 1929.

(40.) It came to light during the hearing that this absentee landlord had emigrated to "Amirka." MJB, September 11, 1929.

(41.) MJB, October 30, 1929.

(42.) MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees] 2958, Mounir Osseiran to Monsieur L'Inspecteur-Gcneral du Controle des Wakfs et de l'Immatriculation Fonciere, Beirut, November 19, 1932.

(43.) MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees] 2958, Le Delegue General Du Haut Commissaire a Monsieur Le Delegue du Haut Comissaire aupres du Gouvernement de la Republique Libanaise, Beirut, November 25, 1932; and Comte D. de Martel, Ambassadeur Haut Commissaire de la Republique Francaise en Syrie et au Liban a Monsieur le Conseiller du Haut Commissariat Delegue du Haut Commissaire aupres du Gouvernement de la Republique Libanaise, Beirut, December 26, 1933.

(44.) MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees] 2958, Letter from Ahmad Sa[.sup.c]id Ahmad to Munir 'Usayran, February 28, 1931.

(45.) DA, No. 2, Sidon Ja[.sup.c]fari judge Asadallah Safa to President of Ja[.sup.c]fari court, March 11, 1931; and MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees] 2958, N[degrees] 58, March 11, 1931.

(46.) DA, March 14, 1931.

(47.) MJS, Letter from "abna', al-ta', ifa al-islamiyya in Joun" to the President of the Higher Ja[.sup.c]fari shari a court (w/ 33 signatures), January 10, 1934.

(48.) MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees] 2958, Le President de la Cour de Cassation Cherieh Djafaarite, Djoun, June 25, 1936.

(49.) MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees] 607, Telegram no. 2085 from Nabatiyya to Beirut, June 23-24, 1936.

(50.) MJS, Daftar Sadirat 1929, Copy of a petition from the people of Joun, by way of the governor of the Shuf, to the President of the Ja[.sup.c]fari Court, February 12, 1929.

(51.) MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees] 2958, Le Cadi Djafarite de Saida to Monsieur Le Conservateur Foncier du Liban-Sud, Saida, November 13, 1933.

(52.) MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees] 2958. Delegation du Haut-Commissariat aupres de la Republique Libanaise, N[degrees] 2437, Le Delegue du Haut-Commissaire aupres de la Republique Libanaise a Monsieur le Comte D. de Mattel, Ambassadeur, Haut-Commissaire de la Republique Francaise (Controle des Wakfs et de l'Immatriculation Fonciere), Beyrouth, July 17, 1934.

(53.) MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees] 2958, Mounir Osseiran to Monsieur L'Inspecteur-General du Controle des Wakfs et de L'Immatriculation Fonciere, Beirut, November 22, 1933.

(54.) Ibid. Chauvel transmitted the letter to the French I High Commission in Beirut on December 19.

(55.) MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees] 2958, Controle des Wakfs et de Immatriculation Fonciere, No. 298, L'Inspecteur-General Du Controle des Wakfs et de I'Immatriculation Fonciere a Son Excellence le President de la Cour De Cassation Cherieh Jaafarie. Objet: a.s. du cimetiere "El Ansar" sis a Saida, Beirut, 28 July 1934.

(56.) MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees] 2958, To the Cadi Cheri Djafarite of Saida, Ali Mouhssein El Husseini, Saida, January 18, 1938.

(57.) MAE-Nantes, Carton N[degrees] 2958, The President of the Djaafarite Cherieh Court of Cassation, Mounir Osseiran, to the Inspecteur-General. Beirut, n.d.

(58.) Gregory C. Kozlowski writes, "By nature, petitions were not the tools of revolution. They did not question the basic premises of colonial rule in India. They did not dispute the legitimacy of Britain's authority. They did not even attempt to challenge the government's right to enforce the 'Muhammedan law' in a system of courts which operated without the sanction of the ulama." Kozlowski, Muslim Endowments and Society in British India (Cambridge, 1985), 166.

(59.) For an opposing viewpoint, see, for example, the anonymous article, "Did the Shi a Ask for Protection from the French?" al-[.sup.c]Irfan Vol. 26, No. 6 (October 1935), 465.

(60.) Ayesha Jalal, "Exploding Communalism: The Politics of Muslim Identity in South Asia," in Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, eds., Nationalism, Democracy and Development: State and Politics in India (Delhi, 1997), 79.

(61.) See Chalabi, The Shi[.sup.c]is of Jabal Amil; and [.sup.c]Ali [.sup.c]Abd al-Mun[.sup.c]im Shu[.sup.c]ayb, Matalib Jabal[.sup.c] Amil: Al-wahda, al-musawa fi Lubnan al-kabir, 1900-1936 (Beirut, 1987).

(62.) Nadine Meouchy, "La reforme des juridictions religieuses en Syrie et au Liban (1921-1939): raisons de la puissance mandataire et raisons des communautes," in Pierre-Jean Luizard, ed., Le choc colonial et l'islam: Les politiques religieuses des puissances coloniales en terres d'islam (Paris, 2006), 362.

By Max Weiss

Harvard University
Under the Ottoman regime, the Shi[.sup.c]i Community--like the
  [other]communities attached to Islam: Druze, Alaouite etc.--was not
  recognized and was legally treated as an integral part of the Sunni
  Muslim community. The Muslims of these communities were always
  subjected to the law of the Hanafi rite, the official rite of the
  Ottoman Empire.

  This is no longer the case in Lebanon, where the particular and
  independent existence of the Shi[.sup.c]i and Druze communities was
  consecrated by the creation of Cherieh courts for the Djafarite and
  Druze rite.

  As these communities [were] also separated from Sunni Islam, they
  obviously must exercise, vis-a-vis the latter, full independence in
  the management of their canonical interests and temporal patrimony.

The meshing of religion and culture with politics did not mean that
  all Indians were inherently bigoted in varying measures. Religiously
  informed cultural identities emphasized a sense of difference without
  foreclosing the possibility of Indians sharing common sentiments and
  coming together when circumstances were propitious for united action.

One may find other examples of a similar inequality to the benefit of
  Muslims: Muslim personal status jurisdictions are in the charge of
  the state, as well as in the service of the fetwa (consultation for
  the application of Qur'anic law); cadis and muftis are named by the
  government. One might say, therefore, that in certain regards the
  Muslim religion seems like the only state religion in
  Lebanon. (13)

We addressed a letter to the Qaimaqam of Djezzine on 18 June 1930
  demanding that he inform us about the encroachment upon the
  Ja[.sup.c]fari Mosque by Fares Nemr, a resident of this place, as was
  reported to us. We sent another letter on the 30th of this month.
  Until now, we have not received any response. The aforementioned
  Fares confessed before Neematallah Hamdar to committing this
  aggression against the mosque, as was evident from an inquiry drawn
  up by the Sidon Court, according to which certain individuals
  encroached upon the properties of the Djezzine mosque. The informer
  did not wish, despite our demand, to specify if it concerned the
  mosque and the Wakfs of the Ja[.sup.c]fari Community. (19)

... neither Mazhouta nor Mulhaka, but for a long Lime certain
  philanthropists have established wakf buildings, on behalf of works
  of charity. Although our wakfs are much less numerous by comparison
  with those of the Sunni community, they are located in all of the
  territory of the Lebanese Republic from the border of Lattakia up to
  the Palestinian border. In every village, there is a mosque or a
  Maqam with a piece of land or a building that is set aside for such
  use. Certain ulama or residents on site have their hand on those
  wakfs and manage them in an illegal manner. These wakfs are
  registered neither in the special registers nor with the property
  services. The managers have never declared who will be responsible
  for the administration of these wakfs. If some authority [were] to
  ask them for [proof] of their administration accounting, the wakf
  would have no existence. The mukhtar, the notable or the leader of
  the location helps them and gives seemingly false declarations about
  it. Certain managers of these wakfs tried to register them in their
  names at the property registry. (33)

monitoring of judges is the jurisdiction of the Grand Cadi answerable
  to the High-Commissioner of the French Republic or is special
  delegate. The functions of this Grand Cadi are provided for by the
  dispositions of articles 19 through 31 of Arrete N[degrees] 753 from
  2 March 1921. (15)

denounced the maneuvers of collusion between the President of the
  benevolent association and the petitioner, the judge proceeded to
  nominate an administrator for the Ja[.sup.c]fari wakfs of Chiah. The
  latter referred the matter to the Tribunal Cheri de Jaffarite as a
  protest in the name of the wakf of the named piece [of land].

Sunni and Shi[.sup.c]i Muslims in colonial Lucknow discovered new
  symbols of identification in the form of separate graveyards
  (qabristaan), separate mosques, separate schools, separate religious
  and charitable endowments. These institutions defined the boundaries
  within which Shias and Sunnis were required to stay apart. They were
  to live as separate entities in a world fashioned by the
  religio-political leadership. (38)

The mutawalli of the sect's waqf Haj Husayn Ahmad Shams al-Din
  presented his resignation to your grace. We are without a wali to
  arrange for the affairs of the mosque waqf. So, we got together and
  generally agreed to appoint Sayyid Ahmad Ibrahim [.sup.c]Issa as wali
  of the waqf and mudabbir [administrator] of its properties, with
  overseers Mustafa Husayn Shams al-Din, Muhammad Husayn Bar-bar,
  Majid[.sup.c]Ali Ghosn, Munir Husayn Salih and Tawfiq Isma'il 'Abed
  Mustafa. We still require support for the appointment so that they
  can begin their work. (47)

the Shi[.sup.c]i Muslim community possesses a cemetery in which they
  have buried their dead for a long time. Along the southern edge of
  the cemetery, there are deconsecrated graves called: "El Anssar
  cemetery". A public road separates the two parts. The graves are
  situated in the Rijal El Arbaine quarter where the mukhtar is a
  Shi[.sup.c]i. This quarter includes the El Wastani quarter. The
  mukhtar of this quarter [El Wastani] is a Sunni. (53)

Some time earlier, I learned that the Mufti of Sidon, in his capacity
  as President of the Association of Muslim philanthropy, declared
  before the Cadastral Engineer that the affected cemeteries belong to
  the philanthropic association and that, in conformity with a decision
  taken before the occupation by the administrative council of the
  caza. With his demand, the mukhtar of the Dakermane quarter appeared
  before the Engineer and confirmed the declaration of the Mufti. When
  the [Shi[.sup.c]i] mukhtar of the Rijal el Arbaine quarter learned of
  this, he made his opposition to the registration known and declared
  that the residents and all of the communities know quite well that
  the cemetery in question belongs to the Shi[.sup.c]i community.

before the [French] occupation, our cemeteries were registered in the
  title of cemeteries of the Muslim community, because under the
  Turkish regime, the Ja[.sup.c]fari rite was not officially
  recognized. Still, we have evidence to prove our rights and our
  possession in fact of this cemetery.

Will the Sunni community not be satisfied until they have taken over
  every Muslim waqf and every mosque, without leaving us one in which
  to observe our prayers, and still they come to encroach upon our

believe that the mandatory Authority, in conformity with the Mandate
  Charter, should safeguard religious institutions, including mosques
  and cemeteries. Is it possible, under these conditions, to authorize
  the archaeological service to dig up our dead in hopes of materially
  profiting from ancient monuments that might be found there? We
  publicly declare that we are prepared to place our bodies and our
  souls under the auspices of the Mandatory Power in order to prevent
  the undertaking of excavations in our cemetery.
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