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The Ismailis in the Middle AgesA History of Survival, a Search for Salvation$
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Shafique N. Virani

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195311730

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195311730.001.0001

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 Salvation and Imamate

 Salvation and Imamate

(p.165) EIGHT Salvation and Imamate
The Ismailis in the Middle Ages

Shafique N. Virani (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In the period following the Mongol invasion, we witness the primacy of the belief in the soteriological necessity of the imamate and, in particular, of the current Imam. While this conviction was basic to Shi'ism, previous elaborations of the imamate had generally given a place to the Imam's political role and his right to rule the Muslim polity. In documents spanning the entire period, 250 years after Alamut's fall to the Mongols, we find an emphasis on the absolute and uncompromising necessity for a present (hadir) and living (mawjud) Imam, the manifest guide who could lead believers to a recognition of God. The Imam is the speaking Quran, the talisman by which the treasury of creation's spiritual meaning can be opened. In Ismaili thought, to come in contact with the Imam of one's time is the aim of every seeker of truth.

Keywords:   Ghadir Khumm, caliphate, Quran, al-Mu'ayyad fi al-Din Shirazi, Nasir al-Din Tusi, didar, ta'wil, gnosis

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