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Darwin Books SLAEI Series


Crisis and Consolidation

in the Formative Period of Shi‘ite Islam


Abū Ja‘far ibn Qiba al-Rāzī and His Contribution to Imāmite Shī‘ite Thought


by Hossein Modarressi


About the Book:

    The years 260-329/874-941, known among the Shī‘ites as the period of Minor Occultation, comprised undoubtedly the most difficult and critical period in the history of Imāmite Shī'ism. The death of the eleventh Imam, with no apparent successor, resulted in internal conflicts, many desertions and conversions, and the emergence of numerous splinter groups and subsects within the Imāmite community.

    Contemporary Imāmite theologians had the difficult task of defending the doctrine against attack while trying to offer new interpretations of fundamental principles to accommodate contemporary developments. Abu Jafar b. Qiba al-Razi, one of the most prominent and active Imāmite theologians, had a major role in all of these reconstructions and developments.

    The present work attempts to shed light on some aspects of the Imāmite doctrine during the Minor Occultation and on the contributions of Abu Jafar b. Qiba to the formation of the developed Imāmite doctrine. The second part of this volume contains the texts of three short works of this scholar, together with their English translation.


About the Author:

    Hossein Modarressi is Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University; Mahdi Senior Scholar of Shiite Studies at the Middle East Institute, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University; and Golestaneh Fellow in Islamic Studies at St. Antony's College, Oxford, England.



Professor Modarressi has produced an important and original study which is based on a remarkably wide range of sources. The author's gifts show themselves not only in his broad grasp of the material, but also--and perhaps especially--in his critical and imaginative handling of detail. This is a book which will be warmly welcomed by all students of Islam.

—Journal of the American Oriental Society


This is an invaluable contribution to the understanding of the formative years of the community's history, and thus also a basic reference for any study of the faith.

—Journal of the Society for Iranian Studies


Published 1993

Bibliography; index

Size: 6 x 9 (15.2 x 22.9 cm); 280 pages

CIP L.C. 92-41266

ISBN 978-0-87850-095-6  $45.00  Buy it at Amazon.com!