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NAJAF. A religious center of the Shi`is since the eighth century, Najaf is located in Iraq, south of Baghdad and 6 miles west of Kufa. It is the site of the mash-had of the first Shi'i imam, `Ali ibn Abli Talib, whose gravesite was revealed to the public in the early 'Abbasid period by Ja'far al-Sadiq (d. 765) during one of his visits to Kufa. Under al-Sadiq and his disciples, Najaf also became heir to the Shi'i learning that had flourished in Kufa, where in the grand mosque, al-Sadiq's hadiths ...more


LEBANON. In Lebanon's remarkably diverse society eighteen separate sects or confessional groups are recognized within the political system. In addition to a variety of Christian sects, which account for about 40 percent of the country's population, five Muslim sects are found in the country: Sunnis, Shfis, Druze, `Alawis, and Isma'ilis. As of 1992 the first four enjoyed political representation in parliament; the Isma'ilis, commonly referred to as "Seveners," number only a few hundred and play n ...more


JUMBLATT, KAMAL (Kamal Joumblatt, 191'7-1977), Lebanese politician, traditional Druze chieftain, leader and ideologue of the Left. Born in the mountain village of al-Mukhtarah, Jumblatt attended the Lazarist school of `Ayntirah and received his university education at the Sorbonne. He later studied law at the Jesuit Saint Joseph University in Beirut. ...more

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