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Title: Early Shi'ite mysticism : Imamology and the "ghulah" tradition
Author: Carney, Seth Lauchlin
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2007
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In this research, we explore the early Imami Shi'i Muslim hadith literature, the mystical teachings related to Imamate and Imamology therein, and their relationship to the religious beliefs held by the Shi'i "extremist sects" (the ghulah). My argument is that the early Imami hadith literature's understanding of Imamate and Imamology bears great resemblance to many (not all) of the doctrines held by these "ghulah". The doctrines of the ghulah developed separately from early Husaynid legitimism; these doctrines did not begin to come together until the time of the Imam Muhammad al-Baqir. The main texts under discussion are al-Kafi of Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulaynl Ar-Razi and the Basa'ir ad-Darajat of as-Saffar al-Qummi, as these texts best represent the early period of Imami Shi'ism, before the Mu'tazilah began to exert a greater influence over Imami doctrine and significantly "rationalize" many aspects of Shi'i doctrine. The first chapter of the thesis deals with the hadith literature itself, listing the texts under discussion and presenting information about their authorship and structure. The second chapter explores the "extremist" sects of early Shi'ism (the ghulah), in order to define the body of beliefs that were and continue to be classified as "extreme". The third chapter deals with the vast body of Imami hadiths concerning the Divinity or semi-Divinity of the Imams. The fourth chapter then discusses the specific doctrine of tafwid, which posits the Imams as a kind of demiurge who rules over creation. The fifth chapter deals with "extremist" antinomianism. In the sixth chapter, another doctrine commonly associated with the "extremists" is discussed: the belief that the 'Uthmanic codex of the Qur'an was tampered with by the Prophet Muhammad's companions. In the conclusion, the violent suppression of many of the ghulab in the period subsequent to the Twelfth Imam's Occultation is discussed, as well as a final survey of the findings made in the research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral