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The School of Hillah and the Formation of Twelver Shi‘i Islamic Tradition

This book is a mammoth undertaking that interrogates the archival record to meticulously trace the relationships that existed between scholars and their texts.

Against the background of long-standing narratives in which Twelver Shi’ism is viewed as fundamentally authoritarian, The School of Hillah and the Formation of Twelver Shi’i Islamic Tradition builds upon recent scholarship in the fields of Religious Studies, Anthropology, and History to argue that Twelver Shi’ism is better understood as a discursive tradition. At a conceptual level, this solves the basic problem of how to integrate the extraordinary diversity of Twelver Shi’ism across time and space into a single historical category without engaging in a normative assessment of its underlying essence. Furthermore, in light of this conception of tradition, the School of Hillah stands out as a seminal period in the archive of Twelver Shi’ism, though it has seldom been recognized as such in European-language scholarship. Insofar as it gave birth to a conversation that would prove capable of encompassing the dynamism of Twelver Shi’ism, the School of Hillah should be considered the formative period of Twelver Shi’i tradition. Moreover, when the tradition is conceptualized in this manner, it is a bulwark against the very authoritarianism by which Twelver Shi’ism has been characterized for so long.

About the Author

Aun Hasan Ali is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. He received his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from McGill University. His research revolves around Shi?i intellectual history, especially law and legal theory.

Table of Contents

A Note on Conventions
Chapter 1: Introduction
Early scholarship on Imami law
The development of Imami legal studies
Recent scholarship on Imami law
General observations about the field
The Islamic tradition
The Imami madhhab
Chapter 2: The School of Hillah in Islamic History
The Seljuks and the late Abbasids
The Ilkhanids
The Jalayirids and the Qara-Qoyunlu
The Mazyadids and Hillah
Chapter 3: The Learned Families of Hillah
The family of Nama
The family of Said al-Hudhali
The family of Tawus
The family of Fikhar
The family of Mutahhar
The family of Bitriq
The family of Mu’ayyah
The family of Rafi
The family of Abd al-Hamid al-Nili
The family of Wishah
The family of al-A’raj
The smaller families of Hillah
Conclusion: the Mazyadids
Chapter 4: The Literary Construction of the Imami Madhhab
Imami authorities
Rational sciences: philosophy, logic, and science
Theology and doctrine
Substantive law and jurisprudence
Imami bio-bibliography
Major compilations of Sunni hadith
Sunni scholars
Supplication and ritual
Quranic sciences and exegesis
Arabic language and literature
Uncategorized material, minor collections of hadith, and historical sources
Chapter 5: Substantive Law and Jurisprudence
The early jurists of hillah
Ibn Idris and al-Sara’ir
The methodology of the later scholars
The greatest battle
Chapter 6: Bio-bibliography
Jamal al-Din Ibn Tawus
Ibn Dawud
Chapter 7: General Works of Hadith, Supplication and Ritual, and History and Genealogy
General works of hadith
Supplication and ritual
History and genealogy
Chapter 8: Exegesis and Fada’il
Chapter 9: A Brief Excursus on Philosophy and Theology
Chapter 10: Conclusion

Bibliographic Information

Title: The School of Hillah and the Formation of Twelver Shi‘i Islamic Tradition

Author (s):  Aun Hasan Al

Editor: Roy Mottahedeh

Publisher: I.B. Tauris

Length: 304 Pages


Pub. Date: July 13, 2023

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