The Ambivalent Shi‘i Attitude towards Martyrdom: Some Thoughts on a pre-Buwayhid Source

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Roy Vilozny Reading through imamite traditions with the intention of determining what opinion the imams held on doctrinal, theological, or legal issues can be a perplexing task. At times imams contradict each other, while different traditions may ascribe opposing statements to the same imam. Several explanations, both imamite and scholarly, have been offered to resolve these contradictions. That such inconsistencies in the imamite corpus of hadith are the result of practicing taqiyya – i. e. the obligation to conceal one’s true beliefs at times of danger or persecution – is perhaps the best-known explanation, both amongst imamite and Western scholars. The idea that they reflect different opinions, retrospectively attributed to imams in order to promote certain views, is of course not plausible within the imamite community, which does not question the authenticity of this corpus. Another possible explanation is that the imamite view concerning a specific legal question or doctrinal...
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMartyrdom and Sacrifice in Islam
Subtitle of host publicationTheological, Political and Social Contexts
EditorsMeir Hatina, Meir Litvak
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherI.B. Tauris
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)978-1-3509-8711-1
StatePublished - 2017


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