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Full Access The Mahdī and the Treasures of al-Ṭālaqān

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The Mahdī and the Treasures of al-Ṭālaqān

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Abstract This study highlights a hitherto neglected trope of Muslim apocalyptic literature—namely, that in a region known as al-Ṭālaqān there awaits the future Mahdī a great treasure that will gain him a mighty army to aid him fight the final battle against evil. Tracing the trope’s origin in Zoroastrian apocalypticism and its subsequent dissemination in a wide array of Muslim apocalyptic traditions, this paper argues that this apocalyptic trope ultimately entered into Muslim apocalypticism, in particular Šīʿite apocalypticism, during a Zaydī revolt against the ʿAbbāsids led by the Ḥasanid Yaḥyā b. ʿAbd Allāh in the year 176/792. The paper then explores how the revolt of Yaḥyā b. ʿAbd Allāh shaped the function of the ‘treasures of al-Ṭālaqān’ trope in Muslim apocalypticism and how Yaḥyā’s personality and the revolt he inspired continued to leave an indelible imprint on Imāmī apocalypticism thereafter.

Affiliations: 1: University of Oregon

Abstract This study highlights a hitherto neglected trope of Muslim apocalyptic literature—namely, that in a region known as al-Ṭālaqān there awaits the future Mahdī a great treasure that will gain him a mighty army to aid him fight the final battle against evil. Tracing the trope’s origin in Zoroastrian apocalypticism and its subsequent dissemination in a wide array of Muslim apocalyptic traditions, this paper argues that this apocalyptic trope ultimately entered into Muslim apocalypticism, in particular Šīʿite apocalypticism, during a Zaydī revolt against the ʿAbbāsids led by the Ḥasanid Yaḥyā b. ʿAbd Allāh in the year 176/792. The paper then explores how the revolt of Yaḥyā b. ʿAbd Allāh shaped the function of the ‘treasures of al-Ṭālaqān’ trope in Muslim apocalypticism and how Yaḥyā’s personality and the revolt he inspired continued to leave an indelible imprint on Imāmī apocalypticism thereafter.

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2012-01-01
2016-12-08

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