Ibn Shahrashub and Shi'a Rhetorical Strategies in the 6th/12th Century

October 2012
Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies;2012, Vol. 5 Issue 4, p441
Academic Journal
Ibn Shahrashub was among the most influential Twelver Shi'a scholars of the 12th century CE. His most famous work, Manaqib Al Abi Talib, has been a mainstay of popular and scholarly Shi'a biographical literature since its writing. Despite the fact that it remains to this day a regularly cited source, critical analysis of this work (and Ibn Shahrashub's perspective in general) has been lacking. Among the unique features of Manaqib Al Abi Talib is the author's extensive use of source material that was by his time considered Sunni. Some modern readers of Ibn Shahrashub have considered his use of Sunni sources to be evidence of a conciliatory form of Shi'ism. A closer look, however, suggests that Ibn Shahrashub was not using Sunni sources to build a common ground but rather as a rhetorical strategy to demonstrate the legitimacy of a distinctly Shi'a memory of the twelve imams. In this regard, Ibn Shahrashub appears to have been one of the first to utilize a discursive tactic which became increasingly important in subsequent centuries.


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