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Biblical Predictions of the Prophet Muĥammad among the Zaydīs of Iran*

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Abstract Biblical predictions of the advent of the Prophet Muĥammad are rarely adduced in the theological writings of Muʿtazilite authors and those who referred to them clearly considered this to be a secondary strategy at best. Zaydī Muʿtazilites were less hesitant than their Sunnī counterparts to employ scriptural materials. This was possibly due to the influence of the Imām al-Qāsim b. Ibrāhīm al-Rassī (d. 246/860) who was intimately familiar with Christian theological notions and with the Bible, from which he quoted freely in some of his writings. Among the Zaydīs of Iran, scriptural passages allegedly foretelling the advent of Muĥammad have been adduced by the Imām al-Muʾayyad bi-Llāh (d. 411/1020), by his companion, the later Imām al-Muwaffaq bi-Llāh (d. after 420/1029), and by Aĥmad b. Muĥammad al-Sammān (fl. early 5th/11th century). An analysis of the texts suggests that the three authors were drawing on source(s)/translation traditions preceding or parallel to that of ʿAlī b. Rabban al-Ṭabarī’s (d. 251/865) al-Dīn wa-l-dawla and Ibn Qutayba’s (d. 276/889) Aʿlām al-nubuwwa.

Affiliations: 1: Research Unit Intellectual History of the Islamicate World, Freie Universität Berlin


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