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The Waṣiyya Of Abū Hāshim: The Impact Of Polemic In Premodern Muslim Historiography

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Chapter Summary

This paper bypasses the question of veracity and focuses instead on the polemics embedded within variants of the wasiyya narrative. It examines the earliest layer of historical materials which preserve competing accounts of the episode. Then it turns to the Mamluk historical tradition, highlighting the processes through which later historians crafted a narrative. As a whole, this study models one of a variety of alternative approaches for examining textual sources of disputed historicity. It begins with Abu Hashim arriving in Damascus where he is received warmly by the caliph Sulayman. It examines three such Mamluk accounts, those of Ibn Khallikan, al-Nuwayri, and al-Maqrizi. Modern scholars have referred to this narrative to explain the emergence of the 'Abbasids at the head of a highly-structured Shi'i organization. Although the veracity of the transfer remains in dispute, it was accepted by a majority of premodern Muslim historians. Also includes discussions of other narratives.

Keywords: Abu Hashim; al-Maqrizi; al-Nuwayri; Ibn Khallikan; Mamluk; Muslim historians; Sulayman; Wasiyya



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