The Introduction outlines the four-pillar foundation on which the main text of the volume rests. These are Sunni-Shia differences in doctrine, ritual, law, and religious organization; the singular role of Sunni Islam’s Wahhabi doctrine in the rise of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, occupying four-fifths of the Arabian Peninsula, starting with the small First Saudi State (1744-1818), followed by the Second Saudi State (1824-1891); the salience of Saudi Arabia as the birthplace of Islam and the site of the Kaaba, the centerpiece of the Hajj pilgrimage; and the social, economic and demographic differences between Iran and Saudi Arabia; and their reasons for claiming exceptionalism. Overall, the Introduction serves the function of a framing chapter.
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