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Title: Imam Ali in Twelver-Shi'ite and Barelwi (Ahl i Sunnat wa jama'at) traditions of Islam : an investigation into perceptions of sainthood, martyrdom and prophethood within Shi'ite and Barelwi Islam, and the way in which these concepts are used and understood by religious leaders of these traditions resident in the UK
Author: Williams, Ian G.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3569 0839
Awarding Body: University of Derby
Current Institution: University of Derby
Date of Award: 2000
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In Sunni estimation, `Ali ibn Abu Talib is one of the four Rashidun Khilafat 'Rightly Guided Caliphs' who succeeded the Prophet. In Shia understanding `Ali was duly designated as his immediate successor by Muhammad. The varying understandings of `Ali are examined in four roles: as Wali [friend of God], as Imam [Leader], as Shadid [Martyr for God], and as Bab [Gateway to Spiritual Knowledge]. In the thesis `Ali ibn Abu Talib is examined as the bearer of many attributes some descriptive with others of a more esoteric nature. A significant term ascribed to `Ali is wali [friend/saint] of God. This is included in the distinctive three tenet Shi'a shahadah. The term and title Imam is used both for the Prayer Leader of a Muslim community and within the Shi'a tradition for the legitimate ruler of the wider ummäh. The concept of the Imam is examined for Shi'a understandings and the comparable idea of qutb pole, within Sufi influenced Sunnism such as the AN i- Sunnat wa jama'at. Within the Shi'a tradition there is a profound awareness of shahid martyrdom for Imam `Ali, and the majority of the succeeding Imams. This consciousness centres in particular on the death of his youngest son, Imam Husayn as commemorated in the month of Muharram and the 121hd ay - AshuraAli is acknowledged by both Shi'a and Sunni Sufi traditions as a key figure in the transmission of esoteric knowledge. A majority of Sufi streams trace their sources of spiritual knowledge to `Ali. A comparison is made between the respective understandings of `Ali's role in the Twelver Shi'a and Sufi expressions. With the development of British colonial rule in nineteenth century India, Muslim traditions found themselves in a new political and religious context as a minority. Movements emerged to create fresh Muslim identities by which to address this situation. Drawing upon a scholarly past tradition, Ahmad Raza Khan led the AN 1-Sunnat movement alongside other Sunni groups and the Shi'a tradition. Within British India, Muslim groups found themselves in rivalry and competition with each other for adherents and to some extent in rivalry with Christian missionaries and Hindu revivalists. Amongst the symbols used in the intra-faith conflict were the Prophet, `Ali and their family. An examination is made of the process by which religious ideas concerning `Ali have been transferred by the migration of Muslim groups from South Asia into the British context. Rivalry between Ah! i-Sunnat wa jama'at and Shi'a groups has continued in their use of `Ali as a symbol of their respective theological emphases. Critical reading of texts in English and English translation relating to the evolution of understandings of devotion to `Ali ibn Abu Talib amongst Twelver Shi'a and Ahl i-Sunnat traditions in the UK is addressedExamination follows of essential elements of devotion accorded to Imam `Ali and to the Prophet Muhammad, and the extent to which each mode of devotion has influenced the other. Parallels are examined between the two traditions regarding the sources of their respective understandings of `Ali ibn Abu Talib. Conclusions are offered from fieldwork and textual study in discussing possible common derivations of these models of devotion and understandings
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy