Competing Visions of Community in Mediaeval Zaydī Yemen

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
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The Muṭarrifiyya was a popular religious movement in the northern highlands of Yemen in the years around 1000-1220 ce, perhaps best known for its opposition to two powerful Zaydī imams around the years 1150 and 1200 and the lively intellectual battle that these tensions engendered in the fields of theology and cosmology. This article takes a new and critical look at the formative years of the Muṭarrifiyya, questioning the assumption that it started with a theological dispute and rather arguing that there was already a form of “proto-Muṭarrifiyya” around the year 1000, existing as a loosely organised network of intellectuals engaging in common rituals, study circles, practices of hospitality and the collection and redistribution of zakāt.

Competing Visions of Community in Mediaeval Zaydī Yemen

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

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3

For an overview see S. Schmidtke“The History of Zaydī Studies: An Introduction.” Arabica 59 (2012): 185-99.

4

C. van ArendonkDe Opkomst van het Zaidietische imamaat in Yemen (Leiden: Brill1919); R. Strothmann Das Staatsrecht der Zaiditen (Strassburg: Trübner 1912).

5

W. MadelungDer Imam al-Qāsim ibn Ibrāhīm und die Glaubenslehre der Zaiditen (Berlin: De Gruyter1965).

8

A.M. ZaydTayyārāt muʿtazilat al-Yaman fī l-qarn al-sādis al-hijrī (Sanaa: al-Markaz al-Faransī lil-Dirāsāt al-Yamaniyya1997). Originally this work was his PhD dissertation Les tendences de la pensée muʿtazilite au Yémen auvième siècle (Université de Paris iii 1986).

15

P. DreschTribes Government and History in Yemen (Oxford: Clarendon Press1989): 161.

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