Scripturalist Islam; the history and doctrines of the Akhbārī Shīʻī School By
 Robert Gleave
Publisher Brill Pub Date 2007 Pub Location None Isbn 9789047421627 Course(s)


Twelve Shi i jurists since the eleventh/seventeenth century have been divided into two major camps known as the Akhb r s and the U l s. The Akhb r legal school, which was founded by Mu ammad Am n al-Astar b d (d. 1036/1626–27), rose to a position of predominance in the twelfth/eighteenth century, but has since declined to insignificance. The older U l school, against which al-Astar b d reacted, is commonly considered to have been founded by al- All m al- ill (d. 726/1325) with his unequivocal endorsement of the practice of ijtih d. The nature and significance of the Akhb r legal school has, on the basis of limited source evidence, repeatedly been discussed in Western scholarship in a summary way. The author of the present book offers a much more comprehensive study based on a decade of broad and thorough research. In particular he investigates the thought and motivation of the founder al-Astar b d fully and in detail. He then pursues the spread and development of the school through the centuries until the present. In general Gleave stresses the scholarly sophistication of the Akhb r s in their legal methodology despite their formal opposition to ijtih d, as against the view that they represented a populist literalist reaction against U l elitist rationalism. The Akhb r s, he demonstrates, did not reject all norms of u l methodology, but only those not sanctioned by statements of the Im ms. He describes the wide diversity of currents and views within the school and notes that there was no agreement on whether it constituted just one legitimate school within the Shi a or the only sound interpretation of the teaching of the Im ms.