An Introduction to Shi'i Islam: The History and Doctrines of Twelver Shi'ism 9780300162622

This book is a general introduction to Shi’i Islam—specifically to Twelver Shi’ism, to which the majority of Shi’is belo

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An Introduction to Shi'i Islam: The History and Doctrines of Twelver Shi'ism

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AN INTRODUCTION TO SHI'I ISLAM The History and Doctrines of Twelver Shi'ism

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An Introduction to Shi'i Islam The History and Doctrines of Twelver Shi'ism


Moojan Momen


First published in the United Kingdom by George Ronald Publisher Published in the United States by Yale University Press Copyright © 1985 by Moojan Momen All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form (beyond that copying permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law and except by reviewers for the public press), without written permission from the publishers. Typeset by Sunrise Setting, Torquay, Devon Printed in the United States of America by Vail-Ballou Press, Binghamton, New York Library of Congress catalogue card number: 85-40438 International standard book number: 0-300-03499-7 978-0-300-03531-5 (pbk.) 10 9

This book is dedicated to all those who have died for the cause of Truth in Iran

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Foreword by Prof. Alessandro Bausani Preface Glossary An Outline of the Life of Muhammad and the Early History oflslam The Question of the Succession to Muhammad The Lives of the Imams and Early Divisions among the Shi'is Early History of Shi'i Islam, AD 632-1000 Shi'i Islam in the Medieval Period, AD 1000-1500 Shi'i Islam in Modern Times, AD 1500-1900 Thelmamate The Twelfth Imam, His Occultation and Return Doctrines, Ritual Practices and Social Transactions Shi'i Jurisprudence and the Religious Hierarchy Sufism, 'Irian and Hikma Schools within Twelver Shi'ism The Popular Religion Contemporary Shi'ism Appendix I A Chronology of Political and Religious Events in Shi'i History Appendix II Shi'i Dynasties Appendix III Biographies of Prominent Ulama Notes Select Bibliography Index

xi xiii xix i 11 23 61 86 105 147 161 172 184 208 220 233 246 300 304 310 324 345 363

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List of Illustrations 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Muhammad and 'Ali destroying idols in the Ka'ba Muhammad appoints *Ali as his successor at Ghadir Khumm Najaf: Shrine of the First Imam, 'Ali Karbala: panoramic view Karbala: Sarcophagus of Imam Husayn Panorama of Qumm Mashhad: Shrine of the Eighth Imam, 'All ar-Rida Samarra: an aerial view Karbala: Shrine of the Third Imam, Husayn Kazimayn: Shrine of the Seventh and Ninth Imams Qumm: Shrine of Fatima, the sister of the Eighth Imam

12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Sultaniyya: Tomb of Oljeitu (Khudabanda) Aleppo: capital of the Hamdanid and Mirdasid dynasties Hilla: an aerial view Ardibil: Shrine of Shaykh Safl Isfahan: Madrasa Chahar Bagh Isfahan: Maydan-i Shah, 1704 Isfahan: Maydan-i Shah, 1881 Shah'Abbas I Mulla Muhammad Baqir Majlisi Tehran, 1809 Nadir Shah Path 'All Shah Lucknow, India Juba': an important Shi'i village of the Jabal *Amil

26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

Isfahan: Masjid-i Shah Isfahan: Madrasa Chahar Bagh The Bastinado Shaykh Murtada Ansari A mujtahid and several mullas Mulla preaching to a crowd in a mosque during Muharram Qumm: interior of the Shrine of Fatima Shaykh Ahmad Ahsa'i Sayyid Kazim Rashti



35 36 37 38

'Allama Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'I Mahan, near Kirman: Shrine of Shah Ni'matu'llah Wall Kazimayn: Shrine Isfahan: interior of Shaykh Lutfu'llah Mosque

39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53

Banner depicting scenes from the life of the Imam Husayn Ta'ziya: dramatic representation of the martyrdom of Husayn Rawda-KhanT: recital of the sufferings of the Imams Painting over entrance to a Husayniyya Muharram processions, traditional accoutrements Muharram processions in Tehran in early 19005 Muharram processions: a model of the Shrine of Husayn Muharram processions with flagellants Muharram processions, self-mutilation Muharram processions with flagellants Muharram processions Muharram processions: beating of the chest The Imamzada Husayn in Qazvm Mashhad: Sarcophagus of Imam 'All ar-Rida Carriage of corpses to Karbala

54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68

Imam Ruhu'llah Khumaym Three mujtahids of Najaf Cartoon: finding reasons for the Constitution in the Qur'an Shaykh Fadlu'llah Nurl Shaykh Hasan Mudarris Isfahan: Shaykh Lutfu'llah Mosque Baha'i national headquarters in Tehran being demolished in 1955 Isfahan: Maydan-i Shah Sayyid Abu'l-Qasim Kashani Ayatu'llah Sayyid Kazim SharT'atmadarT Ayatu'llah Muhammad Rida GulpayganI Ayatu'llah Shihabu'd-DIn Mar'ashl-Najafl Ayatu'llah Hasan 'AH Muntaziri Ayatu'llah Muhammad Husaynl Bihishti Mashhad: Gawhar-Shad Mosque

Maps The Shi'i world during the lifetimes of the Imams and the Lesser Occultation, AD 632-950 The Shi'i world in the medieval period, AD 950-1500 South Lebanon The Shi'i world in modern times, AD 1500-1980

Foreword To introduce such a book is not an easy task. Like most Western Islamologists, my training and research have been concentrated on Sunni Islam and so Shi'ism is not my main field. However, this book has been researched and presented in such a truly scientific manner that it does not suffer from the biases apparent in many such works. There is now much interest in the question of the differences between Sunni and Shi'i Islam. I used to discuss this matter often with my students in the Islamic Studies department of the Faculty of Literature of Rome University. But nowadays the question is also frequently raised on television and in the newspapers. Indeed, many are now beginning to be more familiar with the differences between Shi'i and Sunni Islam. If this is the result of the 'Islamic Revolution' in Iran, then we have Khomeini to thank for it. However, unfortunately the presentations of this subject are often ill-informed and misleading. One frequently finds journalists referring to Shi'i Islam as the most 'revolutionary' form of Islam. Dr Momen has, in this book, brought out well the evidence for the fact that the development of Shi'ism has been evolutionary and he has put into perspective its so-called 'revolutionary' aspects. This book clarifies the reality of Shi'i Islam, and can now be considered the best available description of the aforementioned differences between it and Sunni Islam. In spite of the fact that the author has concentrated on the Ithna-'Ashari (Twelver) Shi'is who form the majority of the population of Iran today, he also describes other forms of Shi'ism such as the Isma'ilis and the Ghuldt. There is even a chapter on Sufism and 'Irfan (Gnosis). Some Iranian writers of recent years have leaned too far towards the notion that, of the two forms of Islam, Shi'ism is the more favourable environment for Sufism; whereas the fact is that Sufism, in its earliest years, was more accepted by the Sunnis and continues to the present to be more widespread among them. To sum up, this book is a major contribution towards a clearer and more comprehensive definition of Shi'i Islam and its differences from Sunnism and may be recommended to everyone who wishes to understand these matters better. Prof. Alessandro Bausani Director, Department of Islamic Studies of the University of Rome March 1985

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Preface. The majority of books written in the West on Islam are concerned with Sunni Islam and have tended to ignore or minimise the importance of Shi'i Islam. This is not surprising in view of the fact that Sunni Islam represents the belief of the majority of Muslims and is the state religion of most of the countries of the Middle East and North Africa. However, the Shi'is are the next largest group after the Sunnis in the Muslim world and are the largest religious community in several countries: Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon. In Iran Twelver Shi'i Islam is the state religion. There are important Shi'i communities in several other countries also: India, Pakistan, the Gulf states and the USSR, while Shi'ism of the Zaydi sect is prominent in North Yemen and that of the Isma'ili sect in India, Pakistan and East Africa. The rise to economic importance of the Persian Gulf region (where most of the important oil deposits are in areas with Shi'i populations) has led in the West to a renewed interest in this area, while the recent revolution in Iran has caused many to realise the importance of trying to obtain a deeper understanding of the religious undercurrents in the area. This book is an attempt to present to a Western audience a general outline of Shi'i Islam. While I have not assumed that the reader already has a knowledge of Sunni Islam, I have tended to concentrate on explaining those areas in which Shi'i Islam differs most greatly from Sunni Islam: such matters as the question of the succession to Muhammad, the nature of the Imamate, the Twelfth Imam, etc. Because of this, the reader may form the impression that these two communities are a long way apart in their view of Islam and this would be an unfortunate conclusion since in fact the two are much closer to each other than many Christian sects are. There is no disagreement between the two in the matter of the station and centrality of the Prophet Muhammad in the religion, nor on most of the historical details of his life. There are no major differences in the ritual observances of daily life, and on many doctrinal and theological matters there is also a broad consensus. It is in order to outline and confirm this large area of agreement between Sunni and Shi'i Islam that the first chapter is included in this



book. Any readers who are already well versed in the basic facts of Islam may wish to omit this chapter, while readers who wish to have detailed information about those areas covered in the first chapter will need to refer to other books on Islam. The main intention of this book is to present both modern critical research on Shi'ism and also the traditional way that Shi'is see themselves. Critical scholarship has produced some interesting research on Shi'i Islam, particularly concerning its early history, and this has tended to throw considerable doubt on the traditional Shi'i accounts. However, this research, interesting as it may be for the intellectual, has had no impact at all on Shi'i Islam itself, neither on the Shi'i religious leaders nor on the Shi'i masses. They care little for what Western scholars may be writing about their religion and indeed many are deeply suspicious of the motives behind such research. Therefore, in this book, I have given the outlines of the results of modern research but also I have tried to present the orthodox traditional accounts of Shi'i history, since it is this that is the reality of the religion for the Shi'is themselves and it is this that raises the passions of the crowds during the great Shi'i commemorations. Thus for anyone trying to achieve an understanding of the world of Shi'i Islam, it is these traditional accounts that are more relevant and important. And so, for example, the reader will find in Chapter 4 an account of the history of early Shi'ism as it has emerged from modern critical scholarship. But in Chapter 3, the same period has already been examined giving the traditional account of the lives of the Shi'i Imams and, in particular, the Karbala episode that looms so large in Shi'i history and in the minds of the Shi'is that its importance can hardly be overestimated. Research is, of course, continually throwing up new facts or new ways of looking at the material presented in this book. The reader will appreciate that, in order to keep this a readable introductory book, I have, at times, needed to examine several controversial viewpoints and present one of them as though this was established fact. Some readers will also notice that I have tended to present the evolution of Shi'ism as a history of ideas and I have not gone into the social and economic factors that may have shaped these developments. This is partly because to have gone into such matters would have expanded the book greatly and partly because, for many periods of Shi'i history, a great deal more work needs to be done in this field before any reliable statements can be made. One of the problems in writing this book has been to decide what to call the sect of Islam that is being described, since it is known by a variety of names. It is often referred to by Sunnis by the derogatory title of Rafidi (the Repudiators, see p. 73). The name Ja'fari is strictly a designation of the Shi'i school of jurisprudence (see p. 125), but this



name has also been used for the whole sect, especially by the ulama and by Sunnis. In Lebanon the Shi'is have traditionally been called Mutawali (plural: Mutawila), while in Afghanistan and India the name Qizilbash is used. A name that has found favour among Western scholars is Imami. Although it is used among Arab Shi'is, it has little currency among Iranians or Indians and has the further disadvantage of being often used loosely to include Isma'ilis. Probably the most accurate and most widely-accepted, although less elegant, designation is Ithna'Ashari (Twelver) and this is the usage that has been preferred in this book. The Shi'a often refer to themselves as al-Khassa (the Select, as against the Sunnis who are referred to as al-'Amma, the generality of the people). When Shi'i Islam is being referred to in this book, it is the Usuli school of Ithna-'Ashari (Twelver) Shi'i Islam (i.e. the mainstream of Twelver Shi'i Islam to which the majority of Shi'is belong today) that is meant unless specifically noted otherwise. The reader will find notes on some of the other sects of Shi'i Islam in the second half of Chapter 3, while in Chapter 12 may be found a description of the other schools within Twelver Shi'ism. It will be apparent to the reader that use has been made of a number of Islamic terms in the text of this book. Among these the reader will note the use of the phrase 'the Prophet' to refer to Muhammad, while other frequently-used words such as ulama, mujtahid, etc. are defined in the Glossary.

A Note on Transliteration, Pronunciation and Technical Terms Those with sufficient knowledge to care about transliteration will be able to work out for themselves the system used in this book. The following are a few notes to assist others with pronunciation and with technical terms. On the question of pronunciation, the following table is intended to assist the reader to work out how words are pronounced in Arabic and Persian: Letter



a end -a a b ch d d dh

bat Coca-Cok bar bat not used dog stressed, explosive d this

bat let bar bat c/zat dog zebra zebra



f g gh

/at not used gargling sound similar to French r

/at girl k sound at back of throat




h i I j k kh 1 m n p q r s s sh t t th u u v w

y z z zh ' '

stressed, guttural h feat hit bet heel heel Jump (girl in Egypt) jump king king as in Scottish loch or German as in Scottish loch or German macfeen macfeen let let man man maw marc not used jmt k sound at back of throat k sound at back of throat rat rat sad sad stressed explosive 5 sad shine shine tell tell stressed, explosive t tell think sad bwll short boot boot not used i>ery wall; also in diphthong 'aw' not used except in diphthong as in growl 'aw' as in growl yet; also in diphthong 'ay' yet; also in diphthong 'ay' as in asinmtfm main zebra zebra stressed, explosives zebra not used treasure or as in French; glottal stop glottal stop (an apostrophe is also used as in English to indicate a dropped letter as in Sayfu'd-Dm for Sayf ad-Din elided together) strong, guttural sound with glottal stop in mid-word or compressed throat end-word; not sounded at beginning of word

I have allowed myself a certain amount of freedom in that, for most names and titles, where the second word is a noun (i.e. the construct or



genitive form), I have elided together component parts of the Arabic such as: ' Abdu'llah instead of 'Abd Allah; and Sayfu'd-DIn instead of Sayf ad-Din. But for the sake of clarity I have not done this for technical terms and names of books, thus: marja' at-taqtid not marja'u't-taqlid\ and Jawdhiral-Kalam notJawdhiru'l-Kaldm, nor in names and titles where the second word is an adjective, e.g. Shaykh al-Mufld. As for the technical terms themselves, it has been difficult to decide whether to give them in their Persian or Arabic form since most of the important books are written in Arabic, but Persian is the language of the largest and most influential group in the Shi'i world. To have given both would have cluttered up the text unduly. I have mostly used the Arabic forms, the only exceptions being those terms that have predominantly been used in their Persian form, e.g. Vildyat-i FaqTh. However, Arabic terms or names consisting of two words can usually be converted to their Persian form by use of the following manoeuvres: 1. Remove the article al-, at-, as-, ash2. Insert -i after the first term (or -yi if last letter of first term is a vowel) 3. Change letter w, if it occurs, to v 4. A terminal -a should usually be changed to -ih (although the final h is not pronounced) Thus, for example: marja' at-taqlid becomes marja '-i taqlid vvilayat-ifaqih wildyatal-faqihh becomes al-Futuhdtal-Makkiyyaa becomes f Futuhat-iMakkiyyih Certain words and names commonly occurring in the book carry no transliteration marks. These words, with their fully transliterated form in parentheses, are: Shi'i(Shi'I) ulama('ulama) Shi'a (Shi'a) Imam (Imam) Sunni (Sunni) Mulla (Mulla) Sufi (Sufi) The names in the following list are treated as being anglicised and therefore carry no transliteration marks (original transliterated form in parentheses): 4 Abbasid (' Abbasi) Mirdasid (Mirdasi) Buyid (Buya) Safavid (Safavi) Hamdanid (Hamdam) Sarbadarid (Sarbadarl) Ilkhanid (Ilkhani) Timurid (Timuri) Mazyadid (Mazyadi) 'Uqaylid ('Uqayli) The names: Muhammad, 'Ali, Hasan and Husayn have not been transliterated (Muhammad, 'All, Hasan, Husayn) where they refer to the Prophet himself and the First, Second and Third Imams respectively but do carry transliteration marks when they occur as part of another



name, e.g. Muhammad Baqir MajlisT. The names of the more wellknown cities such as Tehran, Isfahan and Baghdad have also not been transliterated. Since any single Islamic (Hijri) year overlaps with two Christian years, where only the Hijri year of an event is known, the equivalent Christian (Georgian) date is given as the first of the two years partially covered by that Hijri year. Acknowledgements In preparing a book of this nature one must rely upon the assistance of many people. In particular, I must thank Prof. Alessandro Bausani for agreeing to write a Foreword for this book, and Prof. Wilferd Madelung who kindly agreed to look through the whole manuscript and gave his valuable suggestions. Others who helped over particular aspects of the subject (and I must apologize to many whom I have omitted) are: Prof. Nikki Keddie, University of California, Los Angeles; Prof. Emrys L. Peters, Manchester University; Todd Lawson, McGill University Montreal; Dr Juan R. Cole, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Stephen Lambden, Newcastle University; and Dr Peter Smith, University of Lancaster. It is only the generous lending policy of a number of libraries that has enabled the research necessary for this book to be done. In particular, I would like to thank the staff of the following libraries for their helpfulness: Library of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London; Cambridge University Library; Oriental Faculty Library, University of Cambridge; and Sandy Public Library. I am grateful to Dr Gustav Thaiss for permission to publish the quotation from his Ph.D. thesis on p. 237 and to Longman for permission to publish the quotation from Jafri, Origins and Early Development ofShi'a Islam, on pp. 31-2. I am also grateful to the following for permission to use various photographs: Peter Carapetian, fig, 61; The MacQuitty International Photographic Collection, figs, n, 27, 32, 38, 52, 68; the Middle East Centre, St. Antony's College, Oxford, figs. 3, 9, 10, 14; Dr Javad Nurbakhsh, fig. 36. Photographs were also kindly supplied by the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, London; Islamic Republic News Agency, London; the Iraqi Cultural Centre, London; N. Askew and several other individuals. I must also thank May Ballerio, Mark Hofman and Russ Busey for their careful work and useful suggestions, and Dr Wendi Momen for the Index.

Glossary 'Abbasid ('AbbdsT) - descendant of al-'Abbas, uncle of the Prophet Muhammad. This family seized the Caliphate in 132/750 akhbdr(sing. khabar)- Traditions, sayings attributed to Muhammad and to the Imams. They are composed of two parts: the names of the transmitters of the Tradition (isnad) and the text of the Tradition (main). In this book where the word 'Tradition' with a capital 'T' occurs, a khabar or hadith is meant akhund—appears to have been originally used to designate high-ranking members of the ulama but is now used as an equivalent to mulla to denote any member of the ulama and is often used slightly pejoratively Al -family of. Not to be confused with the Arabic definite article al 'Alid ('AlawT)- a descendant of 'Aliibn AbiTalib, the cousin and son-inlaw of the Prophet and the First Imam of the Shi'is 'Allama - very learned member of the ulama; learned in every branch of the Islamic sciences Amir- commander, chief, leader Ansdr (lit. the helpers) - the Medinan followers of Muhammad Aqd (lit. lord or master) - used to designate persons in positions of power and authority. In modern Persian when prefixed to a name is the equivalent of'Mr' Aydtu 'lldh (lit. sign of God) - modern description ofmujtahid (see below) Bab (pi. abwdb, lit. gate) - one of the designations of the four representatives of the Hidden Imam Caliph (Khalifa, pi. khulafd, lit. successor) - title given to those who held power over the Islamic Empire after Muhammad faqih (fuqahd) - an expert inftqh(see below); used in the Shi'i world as equivalent ofmujtahid fiqh - religious jurisprudence, elucidation and application of the SharT'a furii' (lit. branches) - subsidiary principles (applied to religious law, as opposed to usul], see pp. 175-6 ghayba - occultation or concealment ghuldt (sing, ghdlin) - foliowers ofghuluww, see below ghuluww, ghdliyya — extremism, holding doctrines that are so heretical as



to put those holding them outside the pale of Islam, see pp. 45,65-7 hadith - as for akhbdr Hd'irT- related to the hd'ir, the sacred enclosure around the Shrine of Husayn at Karbala; designation of ulama from Karbala hajj - the pilgrimage to Mecca undertaken according to the prescribed ritual during the month of Dhu'l-Hijja. HdjjTor al-Hdjj-one who has performed the Hajj Hasanid (Hasani) - descendant of the Imam Hasan hdshiyya - gloss or marginal notes on a book. e. g. Hdshiyya al-Kifdya is a gloss on Akhund Khurasam's Kifayat a\- Usul Hikma (Hikmat-i Ildhi) - Divine Wisdom or Philosophy, Theosophy, see pp. 216-19 Husaynid (HusaynT) - descendant of the Imam Husayn ibn - son of ijdza (lit. permission) - certificate permitting a pupil to transmit his master's teaching or testifying to his ability to exercise ijtihdd ijtihdd (lit. exertion) - the process of arriving at judgements on points of religious law using reason and the principles of jurisprudence (usul al-fiqh) Imam (Imam) (lit. the one who stands in front) - principal meaning for Twelver Shi'is is as designation of one of the twelve legitimate successors of the Prophet Muhammad. Also used to designate a religious leader of the community Imdm-Jum 'a - leader at the Friday communal prayer (usually, in Iran, the government appoints one main Imam-Jum'a in each city, often a hereditary position) 'nr/ 95» 99^ 1 02, i n , 127, 130, 131, 140, 247-8 change of, from Arab to Iranian predominance 122, 123 chronology of events in, 300-303 communities of, emerge as Isma'TlTs ebb, 909i developments in, under Buyids, 76-82 developments in, under Ilkhanids, 94-6 developments in, under Timurids, 99-100 developments in, under Safavids, 123 developments in, during eighteenth century, 130 developments in, during nineteenth century, »37


developments in, under PahlavTs, 255, 260 developments in, since Iranian Revolution, 297-9 effects of Husayn's martyrdom on, 3 1-2 evolution of, 220, 221 fundamental elements of, 176—8 geographical spread of, 83-4, 90-91, 122-3, 282 Holy Days of, 82, 143, 239 institutionalisation of, 298-9 KhumaynT's definition of, 294, 299 mixture with ghuluww ideas, 71, 74, 93, 104 modern critical research on, xiv, 23, 6 1 and Mu'tazilis, 77-8, 79, 176, 185 Nadir Shah attempts to reverse Iran's Shi'ism, 125, 126 names referring to, xiv-xv, 60, 73 need for a scapegoat, 237 pattern of religious life, 237-8 and political realm, 191-6 popular religion, 82-3, 89—90, 99-104, 11819, 143, 166, 184,233-45, 342-3 recognised in Iranian Constitution as official religion, 250 reinterpretation of concepts of, 258 relationship between God and believer in, 235,243 (Chart 6) a religion of rituals, obligations and prohibitions, 233 religious gatherings in, 238-43 religious hierarchy in, 203-6, 340 society, transactions of, see Society, transactions of, source of revolutionary fervour in, 236 spread by traders, 146, 279, 281 and Sufi sin see Sufism and Sunnism see Sunnism Sunni— Shi'i conflict, 8211, 92, 93-4, 106, 122, 123, 276-7 themes of martyrdom and patient suffering in, 236 women in, 183, 243 world population of, 28 1-2 see also Schools of Twelver Shi'ism Shimr (Shamir) ibn Dliu'l-Jawshan, 30 Shiraz, (figs. 39, 42), 58, 83, 124, 126, 231. 343 ulama of, 91, 97, 123 Sufis in, 212, 213 mentioned, 305, 309, 319, 321 ShTrazi, Ayatu'llah, 263 ShlrazI, Ayatu'llah 'Abdu'1-Hadi, 248 ShirazT, Ayatu'llah 'Abdu'llah, 249, 295 biography of, 321 ShTrazi, Sayyid 'All M u h a m m a d , see Bab, the Shlraz!, MTrza-yi, (Hajj! MTrza Sayyid Muhammad Hasan, Hujjatifl-Islam). 140. 193, 194, 246, 247



biography of, 321 students of, 312-13, 316, 318, 321, 323 teachers of, 3 1 1 and Tobacco Regie, 142, 193 ShlrazI, Aqa Muhammad Hashim, 212 Shlrazi(Qummi), Muhammad Tahir, 1 15, 331 ShlrazI, MIrza Muhammad Taqi, 247, 261, 303, 318, 321 biography of, 321-2 ShTrvan, 105 ShirvanT, Muhaqqiq, Shaykh Muhammad, (Mulla MIrza) 133 Shirvanid dynasty, 101 Shoghi Effendi, 232 Shrines, Holy, embellishment and gilding of, 112, 130, 139 of 'Abbas at Karbala, (fig. 4), 33, 144 of Husayn at Karbala, (figs. 4, 5, 9), 33, 86, 144 at Kazimayn, (figs. 10, 37), 40-41, 43 at Mashhad, (figs. 7, 52), 42, 98 atNajaf, (fig. 3), 26 at Qumm, (figs. 6, 1 1, 37), 41 at Samarra, (fig. 8), 44, 140 of Shah 'Abdu'l-'Azim, near Tehran, 139 of Shah Chiragh, Shiraz, 58, 212 Wahhabis antagonistic to, 143 see also Pilgrimage (ziyarat, visitation) to Shi'i shrines Shuja' u'd-Dawla, 129, 309 Shumaytiyya, Shi'i sect, 55 Shushtar, 122, 123, 322 Shushtari, Mulla 'Abdu'llah, i n , 311, 317 biography of, 322 Shushtari, QadT Nuru'llah Mar'ashi, 121, 213 Sidon, 88, 120, 268 Sierra Leone, 281 Siffin, Battle of, 25 Sijistan, 84 as-Simnani, 'Ala'u'd-Din, 96, 210 Sipahsalar, Husayn Khan, 138, 139 Sipahsalar, Madrasa, 256, 257 Si yam see Fasting Skardo, 121, 278 Slavery, 7 Slaves, 1 10, i n see also Ghitlatns Socialists, 262, 313 Society ideal, for Muslims, 61, 90 transactions of, 172-83, 337-8 Socrates, 32 Somalia, 279 Soul, 219 Spain, 10, 57, 281 Srinagar, 121, 308

State, the ulama and, under Safavids, 108, 190-91 political authority, the ulama and, 191-6 see also Government, Islamic Students, religious (tullab), xxii, 190, 344 examinations for, 250 and Khumayni, 260, 298 social role of, 199, 255 studies of, 200-203 Subh-i Azal (Mirza Yahya Nun), 232 Succession to Muhammad see Muhammad, succession to Suez Crisis, 265, 272, 303 Sufism, 25-6, 47, 90, 96-7, 99-103, 128, 131, 137, 139, 157, 178, 192 concept of the perfect man (al-Insan alKamil), 208, 217, 228 conflict with Shi'i concepts, 208—9 and Hikmat-i Ilahi, 217 integration of, into Shi'i thought, 94, 95-6, 99-104, 113 Shi'i states based on Sufi orders, 93, 102 Shi'i Sufi orders, 101-3, 209-16 separation from Shi'ism, 115—16 suppressed by Safavid shahs, 109, 110-11 suppressed by ulama, 115-16, 123, 128, 135, 137, 145,209, 331, 341 vehicle for pro-Shi'i sentiment among Sunnis, 103-4, !O9, 115 see also Mysticism Sufra, 243 as-Sufyani, 164, 166, 168 Suhrawardi, Shihabu'd-Din Yahya, 113, 217, 218, 219 Sukut-i Shirazi, MIrza Abu'l-Qasim, 213 Sulayman, Shah, Safavid, 42, 113, 114, 309 Sulayman ibn Jarir, 51 Sulayman Pasha, 315 Sulayman ibn Surad, Shaykhit'sh-ShT'a, 35 SulaymanI, Isma'ili faction, 56 Siflaymaniyya, Shi'i sect, 51 Sultan-Husayn Shah, 113, 114, 115, 124, 126, 309, 317 Sultan-Muhammad Shah (Khudabanda), no. 308 Sultan u'l-'Ulama, Sayyid Husayn, 113 Sultanabad (Arak), 247, 313, 316 Sultaniyya, (fig. 12), 138 Sumaytiyya, Shi'i sect, 55 Sunna, 64n, 173, 223, 233 Sunnism, 11,81,91-2, 147, 176, 183, 184, 191, 208,235,237 contrasted to Shi'ism. xiii-xiv, 181. 184 evolution of, 69, 73 fada'il-khaiis, 89 futuwwa. 90, 96, 100, 104, 109, 200 hatred of preserved in ta'ziyas, 241

INDEX and theMahdi, 168 Nadir Shah attempts to return Iran to, 125, 126, 127 and Pan-Islamism see Pan-Islamic movement Sunni—Shi'i conflict, 82n, 92, 93—4, 106, 116, 122, 123, 276-7

Sunni-Shi'i conflict eased, 95, 115 theology of, 92, 178 view of 'AH, 20, 25-6 view of events at Saqlfa, 18-19 view of temporary marriage, 182 mentioned, i, 61, 100, 107, 173, 222, 260, 261, 264, 268, 278 Suq ash-Shuyukh, 225 as-Sutuh, 200, 201 as-Suyutl, Jalalu'd-DIn 'Abdu'r-Rahman, 17, 201

Syria, i, 2, 24, 70, 100, 120, 169, 220, 303 'Alawls in, 58 antagonism towards Iraq, 66 Druse in, 55 French control of, 264-5 number of Shi'is in, 269, 282 Safavid Sufis in, 101, 105, 106 Shi'i dynasties in, 76, 81, 82, 87, 93 Shi'is persecuted in, 93-4, 95 Shi'ism in, 88, 269, 329 ulama of, 84, 91, 97, 120, 123 mentioned, 56, 98, 106, 107 Tabaristan (Mazandaran), 50, 74, 83, 89 ulama of, 84, 91 at-Tabari, Abu Ja'far Muhammad, 12, 89 at-Tabarsi, Fadl ibn Hasan, 89, 160, 173, 314 at-Tabarsi, Husayn an-Nurl, 174 Tabataba'I, Sayyid 'All, 134, 135, 138, 318 biography of, 322 at-Tabataba'I, Ibrahim, xxii Tabataba'I, Aqa Sayyid Muhammad, (Mujtahid), 134, 138, 311 Tabataba'I, 'Allama Muhammad Husayn, (fig. 35), 173, 218 Tabriz, (fig. 30), 105, 108, 109, 138, 250, 284, 343 the Bab put to death in, 23 1 Shaykhls in, 141, 222-3 ulama of, 123 mentioned, (fig. 30), 139, 212, 249, 306, 307, 308, 310, 320 Tabrlzl, MIrza Ahmad (Nayibu'l-Wilaya, Wahldu'l-Awliya), 212 Tabrlzl, Ayatu'llah Sayyid 'AH 'Aynaki Tabataba'I, 343 Tabrlzl, Ayatu'llah Sayyid Muhammad Javad 'Aynaki Tabataba'I, 343 Tabrlzl, Mulla Rajab 'All, 1 13


Tabuk, 13 Tafrish, 91, 123 Tafsir (commentary on the Qur'an), xxii, 89, 173, 201, 216, 223 Taftazani, Sa'du'4-Dm, 217 Tafwid, 57, 66, 77, 227 Tahdhib al-Ahkam (Shaykhu't-Ta'ifa), 174 Tahir ibn Husayn, 41 Tahir, Shah, of Qazvln, 121 Tahmasp I, Shah, Safavid, 109-10, 122, 308, 3ii, 315 Tahmasp II, Shah, Safavid, 124, 125 Ta'if, 4, 8 Tajik tribe, 278 Takftr, 127—8, 331 Talaq see Divorce Talha, 12, 21, 24 Ta'llmls, 56 Talaqan, 50 TalaqanI, Ayatu'llah Sayyid Mahmud, 254, 255, 259, 290, 291 Tamerlane see Tlmur Tanasukh (transmigration of souls), 45 Tancoigne, J. M., 241 Tanzania, 279 at-Taql see Muhammad at-Taql, Ninth Imam Taqi Khan, MIrza, 138-9, 141 Taqiyya, see Dissimulation, religious Taqlid, xxii, 88, 89, 224, 343 and independent investigation, 175-6 and mujtahids, 175, 204, 340 Tarablus see Tripoli Tashayyu' hasan, 96 TashbTh (Anthropomorphism regarding God), 45, 66, 71, 74, 77, 78 Tashih al-I'tiqad (Shaykh al-Mufld), 79 Tasu'a, 239 Tawhid, see God, unity of Ta'wil, 216, 217, 223 Tawus u'l-'Urafa, Hajj Muhammad Kazim Isfahanl, (Sa'adat 'All Shah), 211, 215 Tawwabun, 35, 63, 300 Taxes, religious, 6, 8 see also Khums; Zakat Tavy tribe, 31 Ta'ziya, (fig. 40), 143, 240-42, 251, 343 account of, 241-2 different meanings of, 242-3 Tehran, (figs, 21, 44, 47), 182, 231, 246, 248, 249, 256 demonstrations in, 285, 286 persecution of Baha'Is in, (fig. 60), 141 Qajars make capital, 130-31 University of, 250 mentioned, 140, 212, 214, 241, 252, 296, 309, 310, 316, 317 Tckkc, 1 06



Telegraph, 142, 144 Thailand, 146 Thaiss, Gustav, 237 ath-Thaqalayn see Two Weighty Matters, Hadith of Thawabs, 234 ath-Thawri, Sufyan, 69 Theology, 79, 92 changes in Twelver, 77-8, 79, 80 and ghulmvw doctrines, 68, 77 see also Kalam; Doctrines, Shi'i; Ustil ad-Din Thiqat u'1-Islam, Mirza 'AIT, 230, 250 Thiqat u'1-Islam, Hajji MTrza Shaft', 229—30 Thiqat u'1-Islam, Shaykh Musa, 230 Thiqat u'1-Islam family, Shaykhi leaders, 22930 Three Muhammads', 118, 174 Tiberius, 88, 329 Tibet, 146, 310 at-Tibyan (Shaykhu't-Ta'ifa), 173 Tigris, 83, 102 Tihrani, Agha Buzurg, 83, 175, 317, 321 TihranI, Shaykh 'All, 295 Tihrani, MTrza Husayn, see KhalilT Tihrani, MTrza Husayn TTmur (Tamerlane), 93, 98, 99, 100, 102, 163, 307, 330 Timurid dynasty, 98-104, 188, 192 Sufism under, 99—104 ulama under, 99 at-Tirmidhl, Abu 'Isa Muhammad, 17 Tobacco Regie, 138, 139, 142, 193, 321 Trade, I, 2, 146, 279 Traditions (khabar, hadith}, xix, xx, 70, 80, 81, 173-5, 208-9 Akhbari view of, 1 17, 223-5 collections of, 174 critical study of (Diraya), 95, 174, 184,201 and concept ofNa'ib al-'Amm, 197-9 as source of law and ritual practice, 172, 185 Traditionist school of Qumm, 78, 82 transmission of, 185 Twelver theology moves from a traditionist basis to a rationalist, 79-80 mentioned, 14—17, 148—59, 166—70, 197-9, 333 Transoxania, 48, 98 Tribes, 1—2, 9, 10, 1 1 Tripoli (Tarablus), 87, 88, 120, 306, 329 ulama of, 84, 91 Tsitianov, Gen., 135 Tudih Party, 252, 297 at-Tughra'T, 86-7 Tnllab (sing, talib), see Students, religious f unl, Mulla 'Abdu'llah, 1 18 Turn, Mulla Sadru'd-DTn, 312 Tunis, 88

Tunisia, 9 Turani faction at Mogul court, 122, 129 Turbans, xxii Turbat-i-Haydari, 215 Turk, Sayyid Husayn (Kuhkamari), 311, 332 Turkey, 47, 58, 124, 125 Khumayniin, 255, 316 Shi'ism in, 269-70, 282 mentioned, 250, 310, 315 see also Anatolia; Ottomans Turkomanchay, Treaty of, 138 Turkomans, 47, 96, 98, 269, 307, 308, 309 and Safavid order, 106, 125 in Iran remain Sunni, 260 Tus, 42, 321, 3?2 ulama of, 91, 108 at-Tusi, Shaykh Hasan, son of Shaykhu't' Ta'ifa, 321 at-Tusi, Muhammad ibn Hasan ibn 'All see Shaykhu't-Ta'ifa at-Tusi, Shaykh Muhammad, grandson of Shaykhu't-Ta'ifa, 88 Tusi, Khwaja Nasiru'd-DIn, (Abu Ja'far Muhammad), 89, 92, 112, 301, 313 biography of, 322 and Shi'i theology, 94, 217 Twelvers, see Shi'ism, Twelver Two Weighty Matters, Hadith of, (athThaqalayn), 16-17 Tyre (Sur), 88, 129, 265, 266, 268, 270-71, 329 'Ubayd u'llah ibn Ziyad, (fig. 39), 29-3 1 Uganda, 279 Uhud, Battle of, 6 'Ukaz, 2 Ulama, Shi'i, (fig. 30) act as representatives of Hidden Imam, 17071, 189-90 and Akhbaris, 117-18, 225 basis of authority of, 197-200 biographical works on, 175 differences of opinion among, 186, 187-8 education of, i n , 200-203 evolution of role of, 189-91 finances of, 206—7 geographical origins of, 83-4, 91, 97, 122, 123 as heads of the community, 1 84 hierarchy of, 203-6 independence of, 123 involvement in everyday life of the people, H3 Khumayni's view of leadership of, 195-6, 197-9 migrations of, i n , 120, 121 miracles attributed to, 199 period when most important were Arabs, 89


INDEX period when most important were Iranians, 89 persecution of Babls and Baha'is, 135, 14041,253 in political sphere, 137—8, 139, 142, 249—50 relation to the Hidden Imam, 199 relations with state, 137, 192-6 relationship to Bazaar, 200, 207, 252, 254, 339-40 role in Iranian Revolution, 260, 283-9 role of, in Khumayni's view, 114, 195-6 and Shaykhis, 226, 227, 228-9 and Sufism, 115-16, 209, 216 as transmitters of Traditions, 175 'Ulama of the Court', 196 women as, 243, 343 view of women, 243—5 Ulual-'azm, 177 'Ulyan (* Alya) ibn Dhira' as-Sadusi (ad-Dawsi, al-Asdi), 46 'Ulyaniyya, Shi'i sect, 46 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, Caliph, 10, 12, 15, 16, 37, 71, 89, 239 and 'Ali, 20-21, 26, 326 Caliphate of, 20-21, 49, 51, 173 cursing of, no and events at the Saqifa, 18-19 Shi'is reject changes made by, 178, 182 'Umar ibn Sa'd see Ibn Sa'd, 'Umar 'Umar II, Umayyad Caliph, 10 'Umayr ibn Bayan al-'Ijli, 53 'Umayriyya, Shi'i sect, 53 Umayyad dynasty, (fig. 42), 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 19, 21, 24, 29-31, 32, 34, 35, 38, 62-71, 240 suffering of the Imams at the hands of, 236 public cursing of 'Ali, 28 see also Quraysh tribe Umm al-Fadl, 43 Umm al-Hadith see al-Bahram al-Qadami, Shaykh 'All United Arab Emirates, 276 United Nations Sub-Commission on Human Rights, 297 United States of America, 214, 252, 253, 287, 294 Shi'is in, 281 take-over of Embassy of, 292 Universal House of Justice, 232 Universities, 259, 293, 294 'Uqaylid dynasty, 87, 93, 301, 305 al-'Urwa al-Wuthqa, 1 5 1 al- ' Urwa al- Wuthqa (Sayyid Muhammad Kazim Yazdi), 189, 201, 312, 323 Usku'i, Mulla Muhammad Baqir, 229 Usku'i, Mirza Musa, 229 Usku'T branch of Shaykhism, 229 USSR see Russia

Ustad-i Akbar see Bihbahani, Vahid Ustad-iKull, 128 Usul ad-Din (fundamentals of the religion), xxii, 175—8 see also Theology Usul al-Fiqh (fundamentals of jurisprudence), xxii, 225, 315, 316, 317, 319 evolution of, 185-9 taught at religious colleges, 200, 201, 202 Usulis, xv, 128, 130, 145, 184-207, 221 controversy with Akhbari School, 117—18, 127, 135, 186, 190, 197, 204, 298, 312, 330, 331 difference between Akhbans and, 222-5 and Shaykhis, 227, 228, 229 see also Shi'ism, Twelver 'Uthmanibn'Affan, Caliph, 12, 34, 51,66, 173 Caliphate of, 10, 20, 21-2, 24, 46 murder of, 22 Qur'anic recension of, 81, 172 Uzbegs, 109, no, 114 Uzun Hasan, 98 Vahldl, 'Allama Muhammad 'AH, 195, 256 Vajih u'd-DTn Mas'ud, Amir, 93, 307 Van, Lake, 98 Varamin, 91 Veil, 251, 288, 294, 318 Vilayat-i Faqih, 196, 286 becomes established doctrine, 298 Khumayni's concept of, 197, 260, 290, 298, 316 not indisputably established, 291 opposition to concept of, 296 see also FaqTh

Wafa 'All Shah, Hajj 'AlTDhu'r-Riyasatayn, 214 d/-Wd/r(Muhsin-iFayd), 113, 174 Wahhabls, 33, 129, 143-4, 274, 302, 303 Wahtn (erroneous conjecture), 187 Wahy (revelation), 149-50 Wa'td, 78 Wa'iz, (preacher), 203 Wajid 'AIT Shah, 145,309 Walaya, xxii, 151, 157, 208, 227 Wall, xxii, 17, 157 Walid, Umayyad Caliph, 37 Waqf (pious endowment), 126,207 Waqifa (Waqifiyya), 45, 46, 53-4, 57, 58, 59 Wars between Meccans and Medinans, 6-7 civil war between Amln and Ma'mun, 41 Irano-Iraqi war, 263—4, 267, 274, 294, 297 Russo-Iranian Wars, 138, 191, 194 World War One, 10, 58, 250, 261 World War Two, 218, 262 see also Revolts, Shi'i; Jihad



Wasd'il ash-ShT'a (Shaykh Muhammad al-Hurr al-'Amili), 174 Wasil ibn 'Ata, 49 Wasit, 84, 97 West, the, xiii criticism of, 259 encroachment of, 142, 254, 255, 283 interest in Persian Gulf, xiii Westernisation, 258, 274 women in, 245 see also Europe; Gharbzadigi West Indies, 281 White Revolution, 254, 257, 260, 283 Wikala, 73, 162, 164 Wilaya (Persian vildyat), see Waldya Wisdom, see Hikma Wives of Muhammad, 2—3, 9—10, 16 wife of 'AH, 13 Women enfranchisement of, 254 hay 'ats of, 240 and law of inheritance, 183 Ministry of Women's Affairs, 285 models of womanhood, 235 as mujtahids, 245, 343 at rawdas, 243 role and position of, 245 sufras for, 243 unveiled, attacked, 294 urban, support Bani-Sadr, 293 use of veil by, prohibited, 251 wudu, see Ablutions Ya Sin, Shaykh Muhammad Hasan, 332 Yafith, 154 Yahya, son of Zayd, 50 Yahya ibn Abi Shumayt (Sumayt), 55 Yahya ibn Khalid, 40 Yahya al-Mahd, 71 Yahya ibn 'Umar, 50 Yahya al-Mutawakkil, 50 Ya'qub, Sultan, 101 al-Ya'qubi, Ahmad ibn Abi Ya'qub, 18 Yathrib, 4, 5 see also Medina Yazd, 97, 123, 141, 284, 312, 323 Yazdi, Ibrahim, 290 Yazdi, Sayyid Muhammad Kazim, 189, 201, 247, 265, 303, 321 biography of, 323 teacher of, 312, 313, 316, 318 Yazdigird, Sassanian king , 3 5 Yazid, Umayyad Caliph death of, 3 5 and Husayn, (fig. 39), 29, 32, 241, 242, 327 life-style of, 28, 32

releases captives at Damascus, 3 1 Shah cast in role of, 288 succession of, 28 Sunnis condemn, 96 'Year of Delegations', 8 Yemen, xiii, 8, 13, 66n, 275 Musta'lian leadership in, 56 under Shi'i control, 71, 83 trade with, 2 Zaydi state established in, 50, 74, 76 Zaire, 279 Zakdt, xxii, 140, 179, 209, 257, 296 distribution of, 207 early Shi'a pay to different agents, 77 Imams to receive, 189 Pakistan uses, as basis of state taxation, 277 recipients of, 179, 190, 206 right of ulama to collect, 207, 298 Wikdla and, 73-4, 163 az-Zaki see Zaynu'l-' Abidm, Fourth Imam Zand, Karim Khan, 126, 127, 213, 309, 319 Zand dynasty, 126, 130, 302, 309 Zanjan, 141 Zanjani, Ayatu'llah Sayyid Abu'1-Fadl Musavi, 295 Zanjani, Ayatu'llah 'Abdu'l-Karim, 343 az-Zanjani, Ibrahim al-Musawi, 166 Zann, 187, 223-4 Zayd, half-brother of Muhammad al-Baqir, 34, 69, 73 claimant for allegiance of Shi'a, 37, 49, 64 death of, 50 revolt of, 38, 50, 51, 300 Zayd, adopted son of Muhammad, 3, 5, n Zaydis (Zaydiyya), xiii, 34, 41, 47, 49-51, 58 and 'Abbasid revolt, 68-9 accept Hasan, 328 and Buyids, 75 established in northern Iran and Yemen, 74, 75 formation of, 220, 221 Hasanid-Zaydl rebellions, 71 and Imamate, 69 political involvement of, 70 many, rejoin mainstream Islam, 69 in Saudi Arabia, 275 mentioned, 108 Zayn u'l-'Abidin, Fourth Imam, xx, 39, 180, 239, 300 allegiance withdrawn from, 328 followers of, 64 life of, 30, 31, 35-7 piety of, 36 sects arising after, 49—5 1 and Zaydis, 328


INDEX Zaynab, sister of Husayn, (fig. 42), 31, 235, 239 see also Holy Family Zionism, 237, 294 Zirid state, 88 Ziyad ibn Abi Ziyad, Abu'l-Jarud, 50 Ziydrat, see Shrines, Holy Zoroaster, 48

Zoroastrianism, 48, 65, 66, 217, 232, Zubayr, 12, 21, 24, 289 al-Zuhri, 86 Zw/iwr, 1 66 Zunuz, 23 1 Zur-khanas, 200 Zurara, Abu'l-Hasan ibn A'yan, 77