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Jafri, S. Husain Mohammad (1966) The early development of legitimist Shi'ism with special reference to the role of the Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This study is an attempt to trace out and reconstruct those earliest tendencies and ideas which resulted in the sectarian consolidation of legitimist Shi'ism in Islam. The thesis is divided into five chapters, dealing in sequence with the events which took place from the death of the Prophet till the time of the Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq. From these events have been elucidated those aspects which link up the Shi'ite ideas to form an unbroken chain. In the first chapter it has been shown that the Shi'ite tendency in its rudimentary form started immediately after the death of the Prophet, mainly on religious grounds, and manifested itself in the Saqifa. During the wide-spread discontent which prevailed in the reign of 'Uthman, religious Shi'ism also embraced a large political following, but the original Shi'a maintained the religious nature of their partisanship for 'Ali in distinction from his political supporters. The second chapter explains the ideas and activities of that small group of the Shi'ite's who, in spite of al-Hasan's abdication in favour of Mu'awiya, remained persistent in their religious feeling regarding the leadership of the community. In part B of this chapter the tragedy of Karbala has been studied at length and the Shi'ite's ideas and viewpoint have been elucidated from the speeches and rajaz material pronounced by the companions of Husayn. After Karbala the Tawwabun movement was another step further in Shi'ite sectarian tendency. Chapter three deals with the split among the Shi'ites after the death of Husayn and the emergence of the legitimist Shi'ite faction who fathered round Zayn al-'Abidin. Muhammad al-Baqir further advanced legitimist claims within the Shi'ite movement. The fourth chapter surveys that religio-political background which provided Ja'far al-Sadiq a propitious time to establish a firmly legitimist branch of the Shi'ites. The last chapter examines the theory of the Imamate expounded by the Imam Ja'far and his circle. In part B of this chapter an attempt has been made to examine the personalities of some of the most important adherents of Ja'far who are frequently cited as the authoritative source of the legitimist Shi 'ite dogmas and legal practices. On the whole the thesis suggests that Shi'ism was originally a religious and not a political movement, and that the legitimist faction never ceased to make its existence felt among the different groups of the early Shi'ites.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:08

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