The history of what has come to be known as Twelver
Shīʿī Islam is a history of attempts to deal with the abrupt loss of the Imam. In
Encounters with the Hidden Imam in Early and Pre-Modern Twelver Shīʿī Islam, Omid Ghaemmaghami demonstrates that in the early years of the so-called
Shīʿī authorities maintained that all contact with the Imam had been sundered, forcing him to remain incommunicado until his (re)appearance. This position, however, proved untenable to maintain. Almost a century after the start of the
Greater Occultation, prominent scholars began to concede the possibility that some
Shīʿa can meet the Hidden Imam. Accounts of alleged encounters with the Imam soon began to appear, grow in number and become increasingly embellished.