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Zaydiyah: An Introduction to Islamic Jurisprudential Sects

2- The Features of Zaydīyah School

–         Zaydīyah beliefs are identical to other Shi’a sects, except in some cases such as: refusing to say حي علي خير العمل in adhān (the call to prayer), allowing masḥ ‘alá al-khaffayn (wiping of shoes in ritual ablution), allowing to pray after any prayer leader even righteous or sinner, permitting to eating the meat of animals that are slaughtered by People of the Book (Christians and Jews), and prohibiting temporary marriage. Muhammad b. Isḥāq al-Nadīm writes in his book al-Fihrist: most authorities in ḥadīth, including Sufyān b. ‘Uyaynah, Sufyān Thūrī, Ṣāliḥ b. Ḥayy and his son, were Zaydīs,

–         Zaydīyah reject the notion of Occultation, and are not waiting for the Hidden Imam,

–         Zaydīyah believe that Muslims who commit major sins will not stay in Hill forever, but rather will be punished as they have committed sins. Zaydīyah believe in the principle of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, and do not believe in taqīyah (precautionary concealment).

–         Zaydīyah, just like Abū Ḥanīfah, maintain qiyās, and allow practicing istiṣḥāb. They, like Mu‘tazilah, believe in rational good and badness. They do not allow a mufti to issue fatwa without ijtihād. In contrast to Imāmīyah and Kīsānīyah, they reject badā’ (alternation in divine ruling) and rij‘at (return of the messianic Imam before the final Resurrection). Zaydīyah believe that God’s attributes are of His Essence. They exaggeratedly believe that consensus of Islamic scholars is the base of religious precepts, so, some scholars imagined Zaydīyah prefer ijmā‘ to the Qur’an and Sunnah.

3- Important Jurists and Books

–         Zayd b. Ali, the martyr Imam Zayd b. Ali b. Ḥusein b. Ali b. Abī Ṭālib, leader of the school. He was living in Medina, and then he went to Kūfah and in 120 A.H. made a revolution against Hishām b. ‘Abd al-Malik in revolt over Umawīyah’s oppression, on the ground of enforcing the sentence of the Qur’an and Sunnah. He was martyred and crucified in Ṣafar (second Arabic lunar month) of that very year.

Majmū‘ al-Ḥadīth and Majmū‘ al-Fiqh are the earlier books of Zaydīyah in jurisprudence that both are called as al-Majmū‘ al-Kabīr. The book contains the traditions and fatwas of Zayd. It is compiled by Abū Khālid ‘Umar b. Khālid Wāsiṭī, who was a companion of Zayd b. Ali and died in second half of the second century. Some years ago, the Milano Scientific Association published this book. If the book was truly ascribed to Wāsiṭī, it would be the first surviving Islamic jurisprudential book.

–         Nafs Zakīyah, Imam Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah Maḥḍ b. Ḥasan Muthanná b. Ḥasan b. Ali b. Abī Ṭālib. He revolted over Manṣūr in 144 A.H., and dominated over Medina for a while, but was defeated by Manṣūr’s great army in Ramadan of the same year, and was killed.

–         Ahmad b. ‘īsá, Abū ‘Abd Allah Ahmad b. ‘īsá b. Zayd b. Ali b. Ḥusein b. Ali b. Abī Ṭālib. He thirty times went on pilgrimage to Mecca on foot. Muhammad b. Manṣūr has narrated the book al-Amālī fī al-Fiqh al-Murtabiṭ bi al-Dalīl from him. He revolted over Ḥārūn al-Rashīd and was captured. He fled to Baṣrah and hid after releasing from the jail. He was died in 247 A.H. when he was an 80 years old blind man.

–         Imām Qāsim b. Ibrāhīm Rassī Ḥasanī (177-244 A.H.), he wrote some jurisprudential books and treatises.

–         Al-Imām al-Hādī Yaḥyá b. al-Ḥusein (245-298 A.H.),

–         Al-Imām al-Nāṣir al-Kabīr al-Aṭrūsh, Abū Muhammad al-Ḥasan b. Ali b. al-Ḥasan b. Ali b. ‘Umar b. Ali b. al-Ḥusein b. Ali b. Abī Ṭālib (230-304 A.H.): al-Rasā’il al-Fiqhīyah,

–         Ahmad b. Yaḥyá al-Hādī b. al-Ḥusein al-Ḥasanī, al-Imām al-Nāṣir (d. 325 A.H.),

–         Imām al-Hādī ilá al-Ḥaqq Yaḥyá b. Ḥusein (245-298 A.H.): al-Muntakhab, al-Aḥkām fī al-Ḥalāl wa al-Ḥarām,

–         Imām Abū Ṭālib Yaḥyá b. Ḥusein b. Hārūn (d. 424 A.H.): al-Taḥrīr fī al-Fiqh,

–         Al-Imām al-Mu’yyad billāh Ahmad b. al-Ḥusein b. Hārūn Ḥasanī Āmulī (333-411 A.H.) he was expertise in grammar, lexicology, and ḥdīth: al-Tajrīd Fīqh al-Imāmayn al-A‘ẓamayn al-Qāsim b. Ibrāhīm wa al-Hādī Yaḥyá b. al-Ḥusein,

–         Abū ‘Abd Allah ‘Alawī (d. 445 A.H.): al-Jāmi‘ al-Kāfī. It contains the jurisprudential views of Zaydī laeders from Kūfah (Qāsim b. Ibrāhīm, Ahmad b. ‘īsá b. Zayd, Ḥasan b. Yaḥyá b. Ḥusein b. Zayd, ‘Abd allah b. Mūsá jūn, Sheikh al-‘Itrah Muhammad b. Manṣūr Murādī),

–         Al-Imām ‘Abd allah b. Ḥamzah b. Sulaymān b. Ali b. Ḥamzah b. Abī Hāshim al-Ḥasanī al-Qāsimī, Manṣūr billāh (561-614 A.H.),

–         Al-Imām al-Murtaḍá li Dīn Allah Muhammad b. Imām al-Hādī Yaḥyá b. al-Ḥusein (d. 310 A.H.): Kitāb al-Manāhī,

–         Yaḥyá b. Ḥamzah b. Ibrāhīm b. Ali al-Ḥuseinī (d. 749 A.H.): al-Intiṣār ‘alá ‘Ulamā’ al-Amṣār,

–         Imām al-Mahdi Ahmad b. Yaḥyá b. al-Murtaḍá (d. 840 A.H.): al-Baḥr al-Zikhār al-Jāmi‘ li Madhāhib ‘Ulamā’ al-Amṣār, it is a comprehensive jurisprudential compilation that is elicited from the book of al-Amṣār, by Imām Yaḥyá b. Ḥamzah. However, only three volumes of the total 18 volumes are printed.

–         ‘Allāmah Ḥusein b. Imām Qāsim (d. 1050 A.H.): Kitāb al-Ghāyah, regarding uṣūl al-fiqh,

–         Qāḍī ‘Allāmah Ḥusein b. Ahmad b. Siyāghī (d. 1221 A.H.): al-Rawḍ al-Naḍīr Sharḥ al-Majmū‘ al-Kabīr, it is regarded as a contemporary compilation of demonstrative jurisprudence.


1- Masā’il Jafar b. Muhammad al-Nīrūsī wa ‘Abd Allah b. al-Ḥasan al-Kallārī, Kitāb al-ṭahārah, Kitāb ṣalāt al-Yawm wa al-laylah, Masā’il Ali b. Jahshiyār=Jāmi al-Ajzā’ al-Majmū‘ah fī Tafsīr Qwāri‘ al-Qur’an, al-Farā’iḍ wa al-Sunan, ‘Uqūd al-Masā’il, Kitāb al-Manāsik.

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