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The Akhbari-Usuli Dispute And The Early "Akhbari" School

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Chapter Summary

For most Muslim writers, both in the contemporary period and in the past, God's revelation to humanity comprises two principal elements: the Qurʾān and the Sunna. Within two centuries of Muḥammad's death, distinct views over the nature of leadership had coalesced into various scholarly (and non-scholarly) opinions. The principal two views encompassed both history and theology. Secondary scholarship on the dispute between Akhbārī and Uṣūlī displays a similar divergence of opinion, though here the division is associated with different conceptions of Akhbarism. In theological texts, precursors to the Akhbārīs are, perhaps, more obvious. The usual account of the development of early Imāmī thought is that it began as traditionalist (and anti-rationalist), and was radically rationalised. Earlier Imāmī devotion to the words of the Imams gave way to rationalising theology from the wider Muslim community, and this in turn began to affect legal theory.

Keywords: Akhbārī school; Akhbārī-Uṣūlī Dispute; Imāmī; Muslim community; Qurʾān; sunna



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