The Most Learned of the Shi a: The Institution of the Marja by Linda S. Walbridge

By Linda S. Walbridge

This selection of essays explores the character of political and spiritual management in Shi'ism. individuals examine various severe ancient periods--from medieval to modern--to demonstrate the social, political, and theological components that experience encouraged the advance of Shi'ite management.

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That the faqih (jurisprudent) is the na'ib (deputy) of the Imam during the latter's occultation. The state's support for these clerics so enhanced their position as the Imam's deputies as to lay die juridical and institutional bases for the later emergence of the position of marja' taqlid. It should not be presumed, however, that this confluence, the articulation of a vision of an expanded clerical authority, and efforts at its implementation went unchallenged. The legitimacy of the Friday prayer service during the Imam's absence was a particular touchstone in the debates over clerical authority and the clergy's association with the state.

He now began to extend the range of his studies beyond Arabic grammar, and to frequent the lectures of more eminent teachers from Baghdad, al-Ahsa and Bahrayn, amongst them Shaykh Ja c far al-Bahrani. One day he did not attend this Shaykh's lecture because of the news which had reached him of the death of certain relatives. When he reappeared on the following day the Shaykh was very angry and refused to give him any further instruction, saying, "May God curse my father and mother if I teach you any more!

Moreover, in Nurbakhsh's understanding, several souls can pour into a single living receptacle, thereby relaying their cumulative authority to that person. The composite picture of the Mahdi that emerges from Nurbakhsh's work includes segments, first, chosen from various fields, and then modified due to the exigencies of his situation. Nurbakhsh's strategic borrowing from various strands of thought to construct his idea of the Mahdi links his own sense of mission with the historical circumstances in which he lived.

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