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Intercessory Claims of Ṣūfī Communities during the 14th and 15th Centuries: ‘Messianic’ Legitimizing Strategies on the Spectrum of Normativity

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Chapter Summary

The apparent proliferation of quasi-messianic movements in the Muslim world beginning in the 14th and 15th centuries has been attributed to a variety of factors, including the political, social, religious, and economic dislocations accompanying the Mongol conquest and its aftermath. The specific connections between several aspects of the quasi-messianic movements and the social and religious milieu of sufism, are of obvious importance. This chapter focuses on just one among the diverse modes of legitimation proposed, implicitly and explicitly, by sufi communities of the eastern Islamic world during the 14th and 15th centuries: claims of special intercessory power accessible to devotees of a particular saint and, by extension, to members of the sufi community linked with him, as well as claims of direct sanction by the Prophet, who thereby in effect extends his own intercessory power to the sanctioned saint.

Keywords: Ṣūfī communities; eastern Islamic world; Mongol conquest; Muslim world; quasi-messianic movements



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