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Moderate branch of Shii Islam that diverged from other Shii denominations in a dispute over succession to the imamate. The Zaydis favored Zayd ibn Ali, grandson of Husayn, as fifth imam due to his activist revolutionary position against the Umayyad dynasty. Its first state was founded in northern Iran in 864 and lasted until 1126. A longer-lasting state was established in northern Yemen in 893, where it endured until 1962. It is the closest of all Shii factions to Sunnis. It has its own law school and differs from other Shii denominations due to its acceptance of the legitimacy of Abu Bakr and Umar, with partial acceptance of Uthman. It does not view the imam as a supernaturally endowed person representing God on earth. The only qualifications for the imamate are descent from Ali and Fatimah, absence of physical imperfections, and personal piety. The imam must be able to take up the sword, either offensively or defensively, ruling out the legitimacy of infants and hidden imams. Members tend to be puritanical in moral teachings and to disapprove of Sufism.

See also Yahya ibn Muhammad; Zayd ibn Ali

Subjects: Islam.

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