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Lecture | LUCIS What's New series

The Agents of the Hidden Imam and the Genesis of Twelver Shi’ism

Thursday 26 September 2019
Free to visit; drinks after
What's New?! Fall Lecture Series
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
By Toushiro (Wikimedia Commons)

In 874 CE, the last in a line of 11 Shi‘i Imams died apparently childless, creating chaos and division among the Imami Shi’i community who had followed them. However, instead of collapsing, the Imami community reconstituted itself over the course of the following century as “Twelvers”: Muslims who accepted 12 Imams, the last of whom would one day come back from his current state of hiding and bring justice and peace to a world in which oppression reigned.  Why did this transformation occur? How did the Imami community accept the transition from a community led by a living, present Imam, to a community in which divine guidance was not embodied by any one individual leader? The answer lies in studying the lives of the agents of the Imams who asserted their authority following the death of the hidden Imam.

About Edmund Hayes

Edmund Hayes gained his doctorate with honors from the department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. He works on early Islamic history, in particular Shiʿi history, focusing on the intersection of intellectual developments and social and political dynamics. He is a founder-member of the Shiʿi Studies Group at the University of Chicago, and a review editor for the Shiʿi Studies Review. At Leiden he works as part of the ERC project “Embedding Conquest: Naturalising Muslim Rule in the Early Islamic Empire (600-1000)”.

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