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  • Cited by 3
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Hurvitz, Nimrod 2015. State and Religion in the Formative Stage of Islam (7th-11th Centuries C.E.). History Compass, Vol. 13, Issue. 7, p. 311.

    Gleave, Robert 2009. Recent Research into the History of Early Shi'ism. History Compass, Vol. 7, Issue. 6, p. 1593.

    McEoin, Denis 1984. Aspects of militancy and quietism in Imami Shi'ism. British Society for Middle Eastern Studies. Bulletin, Vol. 11, Issue. 1, p. 18.

  • Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Volume 39, Issue 3
  • October 1976, pp. 521-534

From Imāmiyya to Ithnā-'ashariyya


The Imāmī Shī'ī theory of the imāmate evolved gradually during the first Islamic century and was given a definitive shape in the middle of the second/eighth century by Hishām b. al-Ḥakam. For the next 100 years or so, until the death in 260/874 of the eleventh Imām, al-Ḥasan al-'Askarī, no significant changes seem to have been introduced. Only in the mid-fourth/tenth century does a major addition appear in the form of a doctrine: it is the belief that there are 12 Imāms, the last of whom remains in a state of concealment (ghayba) until his ultimate return as Mahdī, or Qā'im. This ghayba is divided into two periods: a shorter, ‘lesser’ ghayba (al-ghayba al-ṣughrā), lasting from 260/874 to 329/941, during which the Imām was represented on earth by four successive safīrs; and a longer, ‘greater’ ghayba (al-ghayba al-kubrā), whose duration is known only to God. It is this doctrine which distinguishes Twelver Shī'ism from the earlier Imāmiyya, and it io worth examining in some detail ite origina and the-main-stages of its development.

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Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • ISSN: 0041-977X
  • EISSN: 1474-0699
  • URL: /core/journals/bulletin-of-the-school-of-oriental-and-african-studies
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