Proofs of Prophecy and the Refutation of the Ismā‘īliyya : The Kitāb Ithbāt Nubuwwat al-Nabī by the Zaydī al-Mu’ayyad bi-llāh al-Hārūnī

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 Proofs Of Prophecy And The Refutation Of The Ismailiyya
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Eva-Maria Lika
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A Brief Biography of Imām al-Muʾayyad bi-llāh (333/944–411/1020)

The most comprehensive source of information about the life of al-Muʾayyad bi-llāh al-Hārūnī is a biography written by Abū l-Ḥusayn Yaḥyā b. Ismāʿīl al-Jur-jānī al-Shajarī (d. 497/1086–7 or 499/1105–6), the later Imām al-Murshad bi-llāh.²⁶ Born in 412/1021, one year after al-Muʾayyad bi-llāh’s death, al-Murshad was still acquainted with some of al-Muʾayyad’s contemporaries.

Al-Murshad’s father, Abū ʿAbd Allāh al-Ḥusayn b. Ismāʿīl al-Ḥasanī al-Jurjānī (d.  after 420/1029), known as Imām al-Muwaffaq bi-llāh, had been one of al-Muʾayyad bi-llāh’s students in Rayy.²⁷

The Sīra of al-Murshad served as a major reference for later biographers. One of these biographers was Ḥusām al-Dīn Abū ʿAbd Allāh Ḥumayd b. Aḥmad al-Muḥallī (b. 582/1186, d. 652/1254), a Zaydī from Yemen who wrote in the first half of the 7th/13th century. His biographical work on Zaydī imams, al-Ḥadāʾiq al-wardiyya fī manāqib aʾimmat al-Zaydiyya²⁸, contains a passage about the life of Imām al-Muʾayyad bi-llāh, which is largely based on al-Murshad’s Sīra. Madelung already summarized much of the relevant biographical information on al-Muʾayyad bi-llāh in his study on al-Qāsim b. Ibrāhīm primarily on the basis of these sources.²⁹ Additional information are indicated where they appear.

Provenance and Family

Al-Muʾayyad bi-llāh was born in 333/944 near Āmul in a village called al-Kulā-dhija. At the time, Āmul was the capital of the Zaydī empire in Tabaristan. His full lineage is recorded as Abū l-Ḥusayn Aḥmad b. al-Ḥusayn b. Hārūn b. al-Ḥusayn b. Muḥammad b. Hārūn b. Muḥammad b. al-Qāsim b. al-Ḥusayn b. Zayd b. al-Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib.³⁰ Thus, his genealogical record (nisba) traces back ten generations to Imām ʿAlī (d. 40/661).

When Abū l-Ḥusayn became imam he received the kunya al-Muʾayyad bi-llāh. His mother’s name is indi-cated as Umm al-Ḥasan bint ʿAlī b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Ḥusaynī al-ʿAqīqī.³¹ He had a younger brother named Abū Ṭālib Yaḥyā (d.  424/1033), who was born in Āmul and followed al-Muʾayyad bi-llāh in the imamate under the name al-Nāṭiq bi-l- ḥaqq.³² The two brothers became important Zaydī intellectuals. Al-Muʾayyad was….

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