The Divine Guide in Early Shi'ism: The Sources of Esotericism in Islam

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The Divine Guide in Early Shi'ism- The Sources of Esotericism in Islam
The Divine Guide in Early Shi'ism- The Sources of Esotericism in Islam.jpg
AuthorMohammad Ali Amir Moezzi
PublisherUniversity of New York Press

The book The Divine Guide in Early Shi'ism: The Sources of Esotericism in Islam gives an analytic study of precise and fundamental details of early Imamism.

About the author[edit | edit source]

At the Sorbonne, Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi Professor Amir-Moezzi is professor of Islamology in the religious science section of the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes.

About the book[edit | edit source]

This book published in State University of New York Press (September 27, 1994), has 292 pages and best sellers rank of 559,415 in Books and is translated by David Streight from French to English language.

The author in this book, tries to examine the data available, to outline the essential structures of early Imamism; to spend time with the fundamental, that is, with the unifying threads, with an aim to understanding both the unified and what is accessory to it; and to arrive as clearly as possible at the vision that the imams and, after them, a certain number of faithful Imamites had, and still have, of their own religious universe.

Abstract of chapters[edit | edit source]

Chapter I: Introduction, Return to the Earliest Sources[edit | edit source]

The focus in this study is Imamology and, within this framework, the author defines ''Imam" as well as can be done by using the words of the imams themselves and only the doctrine in its earliest formative phase will be considered (that is, the period covered by the lives of the historical imams). This chapter begins with an examination of the current point of view according to which Imamism is a "rational theology" of the Mu'tazilite type. The author thus first of all attempts to define 'aql in the way that the imams meant it to be understood.

Chapter II: The Pre-Existence of the Imam[edit | edit source]

This section begins with a quick recall of a few basic facts covered in almost all studies of Imamism. The author tries to recognize genealogies for the Prophet and the imams. First of all, he examines Imamite doctrine that is entirely dominated by the holy group assembled by the Prophet Muhammad, his daughter Fâtima and the twelve imams, referred to as the "Fourteen Impeccables" (ma'sum*), or the "Fourteen Proofs" (hujja).

Chapter III: The Existence of the Imam[edit | edit source]

After looking closely at the extremely critical attitude of the imams toward kalâm, which is perceived as being a purely speculative theological dialectic, the author in this chapter attempts to help catch the study of early Imamite doctrine up with its historical evolution, and thus avoids considering the two as separate epiphenomena.

Chapter IV: The Super-Existence of the Imam[edit | edit source]

After the pre-existence and the existence of the imam, it is logical to expect his post-existence; the imam actually continues to live even after he leaves the physical world. The author here examines the belief “The deceased Impeccables are transported to a supersensible world”. He looks at a point of doctrinal history that has not yet garnered the attention it deserves and limits the discussion in this part to the "theosophical" (in the sense of "esoteric" or "occult") aspects of the superexistence of the hidden imam, aspects that up to the present have remained almost unknown.

Source[edit | edit source]