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

This book argues that Imami Shi’ism is better understood as a discursive tradition, and that from the late Abbasid to the post-Ilkhanid period, Hillah, in southern Iraq, was a center of scholarship, debate and exchange, challenging the traditionally authoritarian view of the development of Shi’i Islam’s largest sect.

Twelver or Imami Shi’i Islam has long been understood through the concepts of the authority of jurists and political theology. However, building upon recent scholarship in the fields of religious studies and anthropology, this book argues that Imami Shi’ism is better understood as a discursive tradition, and that from the late Abbasid to the post-Ilkhanid period, Hillah, in southern Iraq, was a center of scholarship, debate and exchange, challenging the traditionally authoritarian view of the development of Shi’i Islam’s largest sect.

Aun Hasan Ali applies the techniques of social network analysis to bio-bibliographical sources to reveal the school of Hillah as a formative period where outstanding and landmark works were written in practically every field of classical Islamic scholarship. He uses state-of-the-art electronic databases to study the transmission of knowledge and networks of kinship, learning, and patronage to show the way that the school was socially, politically and historically embodied, covering over 200 individuals and their writings. In the process, he reveals the way that Imami Shi’ism emerged in a historically specific and interfaith dynamic, becoming a discursive tradition unified and sustained by disagreement and an awareness of its minority status.

About the Author

Aun Hasan Ali is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Ali received his MA and PhD degrees from McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies. His research focuses on the intellectual history of Shi’ism. He has published articles on Shi’i jurisprudence, exegesis, and philosophy.

Table of Contents

Introduction
1. The Historiography of Imami Shi’i Law and the Imami Shi’i Madhhab
2. The School of Hillah in Islamic History
3. The Learned Families of Hillah
4. The Literary Construction of the Imami Shi’i Madhhab
5. The Intellectual Landscape of the School of Hillah
Conclusion

Bibliographic Information

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

Author(s): Aun Hasan Ali

Publisher: ‎Bloomsbury Publishing

Length: 288 pages

ISBN: 978-0755639090

To Be Published: 18 May 2023

About Ali Teymoori

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