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date: 13 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines Shīʿi religion and theology in the early period of Islam. There were dozens of Shīʿī branches during the first/seventh to fourth/tenth centuries, a few of which continued into present times: the Zaydīs, the Ismāʿīlīs, and the Twelver Shīʿīs. This chapter deals primarily with the (proto-)Imami Shīʿīs during the pre-Būyid period. The end of this period coincides with the beginning of the so-called ‘Major Occultation’ and was characterized by the triumph of rationalism. This chapter also considers the five concepts on which Shīʿī theology is based, the first three of which are labelled ‘principles of religion’ and the remaining two are known as ‘principles that are specific to Imamism’. Finally, it discusses two types of Shīʿī theology, rational theology and esoteric theology, and the two worldviews that characterized the ‘imam’s religion’, ‘dual vision’ and the ‘dualistic view’.

Keywords: Shīʿi theology, Islam, pre-Būyid period, Shīʿism, Major Occultation, rationalism, Imāmism, rational theology, esoteric theology, dualistic view

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