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Encounters with the Hidden Imam in Early and Pre-Modern Twelver Shīʿī Islam

In this book, Omid Ghaemmaghami demonstrates that in the early years of what came to be known as the Greater Occultation, Shīʿī authorities maintained that all contact with the Imam had been sundered, forcing him to remain incommunicado ‎until his (re)appearance‎.

The history of Twelver Shīʿī Islam is a history of attempts to ‎deal with the ‎abrupt loss of the Imam. In Encounters with the Hidden Imam in Early and Pre-‎Modern Twelver Shīʿī Islam, ‎Omid Ghaemmaghami demonstrates that in the early years of what came to be known as the Greater Occultation, Shīʿī authorities maintained that all contact with the Imam had been sundered, forcing him to remain incommunicado ‎until his (re)appearance‎. This position, however, proved ‎untenable to maintain. Almost a ‎century after the start of the Greater Occultation, prominent scholars ‎began to concede the ‎possibility that some Shīʿa can meet the Hidden Imam. Accounts of encounters with the Imam from the Greater Occultation soon began to appear, adumbrating their exponential growth in later centuries.

About the Author

Omid Ghaemmmaghami is Assistant Professor of Arabic and Near Eastern Studies at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Approaches to the Question of Encountering the Hidden Imam in Sources in Western languages

Outline of the Book

1. The Unknown, the Unseen, and the unrecognized

The hadith compilations attributed to al-Barqi and al-Saffar al-Qummi

The exegetical corpus: the tafsir of al-Askari, al-Sayyari, al-Furat, al-Qummi, and al-Ayyashi

The hadith compilation of al-Kulayni

The hidden Imam: Unseen and Unrecognized

The Hidden Imam: Seen but not Recognized

2. Hidden from All, yet Seen by Some? The Special Case of Three Hadith

Hadith 1 (and Variants): “the 30 are never lonely”

Hadith 2 (and variants): [and] no one will know his location except the elite of his mawali

Hadith 3 (and variants): “except the mawali who is in charge of his affairs”

The mawla/mawali

3. “ A Lying Impostor”

Ibn Abi Zaynab al-Numani

Al-Shaykh al-Saduq

The Final Missive of the Hidden Imam

A Lying Impostor

Al-Shayk al-Mofid

Al-Sharif al-Murtada and his Students

4. From the Youth and the Stone to the Proliferation of Accounts

The earliest account of encounters with the Imam in a wakeful state

The “invention” of a tradition

The proliferation of account and the consolidation of a tradition

Conclusion

Back Matter

A Descriptive Catalogue of Some Key Sources That Deal with the Subject of Encounters with the Hidden Imam

Al-Majlisī’s Gloss of the “lying impostor” Passage of the Final tawqīʿ of the Hidden Imam

Bibliographic Information

Title: Encounters with the Hidden Imam in Early and Pre-Modern Twelver Shīʿī Islam

Author: Omid Ghaemmmaghami

Publisher: BRILL

 Language: English

Length: 276

ISBN: 978-9004340480

Pub. Date: 2020

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