Imām al-Difā‘, Imām al-Ḍa‘īf, and Community

Adam R. Gaiser

in Muslims, Scholars, Soldiers

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199738939
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894598 | DOI:


Imām al-Difā‘, Imām al-Ḍa‘īf, and Community

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This chapter examines the role of the IbādΔī community—meaning primarily the scholars as representatives of the umma—as caretakers of the imāmate. A dynamic existed between Imām and ‘ulamā’, whereby the ‘ulamā’ selected, monitored, and if need be deposed the Imām. Additionally, they sometimes imposed conditions on “defensive” (difā‘ī) or “weak” (dΔa‘īf) Imāms. This balance of responsibilities nevertheless maintained the necessity of the imāmate, even if (as in the case of North African IbādΔism) the imāmate was suspended and control of the community ceded completely to the scholars. Such a balance is shown to be the heritage, in part, from the pre-Islamic and early Islamic periods.

Keywords: Khārijites; IbādΔiyya; imāmate; ‘ulamā’; Imām al-Difā‘, Imām al-DΔa‘īf; North Africa

Chapter.  13488 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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