Message of Thaqalayn

A Quarterly Journal of Islamic Studies

Shaykh Mufid's Account of Imamate in Al-Irshād

The theologian, jurist, traditionalist and logician, Shaykh al-Mufid, is one of the world's great Islamic scholars. Shaykh Mufid was known as “a triumphal sun and morning light” in the shi‘ite history. He addressed many different theological issues. He provides resolutely a theological, logical and historical analysis of the role of Imamate in shaping the Islamic social system. The most important focus of his attention was to illuminate the role and the nature of Imamate (divinely appointed leadership) in the course of Islamic history. Consequently Mufid synthesised some popular themes that have engaged theologians of religious sciences throughout the ages. Specifically, he seeks to show links between the two significant key themes, nass (designation) and ‘ilm (knowledge). According to Shaykh Mufid these two components are considered as the basic principles in Imamate doctrine.  


Imamate in Twelver Shi‘ism rotates around nass and ‘ilm. Because of these two principles, the Imam must be inerrant (ma‘sum). Inerrancy of the Imam guarantees the infallibility of his decisions in religion as well as in the matters of law. This paper provides a study of Shaykh Mufid’s theological account of Imamate in his Al-Irshād.


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