Encounters with the Hidden Imam in Early and Pre-Modern Twelver Shīʿī Islam


The history of 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 what came to be known as the Greater Occultation, 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 encounters with the Imam from the Greater Occultation soon began to appear, adumbrating their exponential growth in later centuries.

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Omid Ghaemmmaghami is Assistant Professor of Arabic and Near Eastern Studies at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton.
“At a time when Shīʿite Islam is a major religious and ideological force in the Middle East, this book constitutes a very important addition to the scholarly literature on this subject. [It] is outstanding in its presentation and analysis of a wide-ranging array of sources, both primary and secondary. It is especially strong in the number and nature of the Arabic and Persian sources comprising religious treatises, Hadith compilations and biographical dictionaries ( Rijāl books) pre-modern and modern. One of the best books on Shīʿite thought that I have read recently or, for that matter, at any time.”
William F. Tucker, University of Arkansas, author of Mahdis and Millenarians: Shīʿite Extremists in Early Muslim Iraq , Cambridge University Press, 2008.
All interested in early Islamic intellectual history, Shīʿī Islam (especially in its formative period), messianism, authority, and the history of ideas.