5 Zaydī Rulership and Authorship: A Quest for Legitimacy. The Case of al-Muʾayyad bi-llāh Abū l-Ḥusayn al-Hārūnī (333–411/945–1021)

In: Rulers as Authors in the Islamic World
Author:
Maher Jarrar
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Abstract

The present chapter will explore the case of the Zaydīs, who comprise a branch of Shīʿa Islam that flourished in Upper Yemen as of the third/ninth century, where they still make some 35 % to 40 % of the total population of contemporary Yemen. Zaydīs had also spread on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea between the second/eighth and seventh/thirteen centuries and founded many states there. The other two branches of Shīʿa Islam are the Twelvers, who had always made the majority of the Shīʿa, and the Ismāʿīliyya. Zaydīs and Twelvers share many points in common. This chapter will investigate the essential features of Zaydī history and dogma; it will then briefly broach the history of the Zaydīs on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea until the beginning of the fifth/eleventh century. Finally, it will examine a theological treatise by one of the towering figures in that area, the Imam (Supreme spiritual and political leader) and ruler, al-Muʾayyad bi-Llāh Abū l-Ḥusayn al-Hārūnī (333/945–411/1021).

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