The peculiarity of Kitāb al-Aškāl wa-l-qarāin, the opening section in the printed editions of Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Barqī's (d. 274/888 or 280/894) Kitāb al-Mahāsin, is easily discernable: it is sub-divided into chapters bearing numeric titles, from "The Chapter on Three" to "The Chapter on Ten". Each of these chapters contains various Imamite or prophetic traditions whose message is related in one way or another to the number mentioned in its title. Attempting to shed additional light on the Shiite hadith literature prior to its canonization during the Buwayhid era (334/945-447/1055), this article examines the relationship between style and content within this numerical framework. Being the earliest extant Shiite example of a numerical treatise, the present paper sets out to trace the author's possible sources of inspiration as well as the work's impact on later generations of Shiite scholars.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.
- Kitāb al-Mahāsin
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Language and Linguistics
- Religious studies
- Literature and Literary Theory