Zaydiyya is a branch of the Shi‘a arising out of the abortive revolt of Zayd b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn in Kufa in 122 AH / 740 CE. During the preparations for the revolt, a part of the Kufan Shi‘a withdrew their support from Zayd in protest against his refusal to condemn unconditionally the early caliphs preceding ‘Ali and backed Zayd’s nephew Ja‘far al-Sadiq as their imam. This schism led to a lasting division of the Shi‘a into a radical and a moderate wing in terms of their religious break with the Sunni Muslim community. The Zaydiyya, as the moderates, did not classify the Sunni Muslims generally as infidels. In political terms, however, they were, in contrast to the radical but quietist Imamiyya, militant, espousing revolt against the illegitimate Sunni rule as a religious duty.

Author

Professor Wilferd Madelung

A leading contemporary Islamicist, Wilferd Madelung has made significant contributions to modern scholarship on mediaeval Islamic communities and movements, including Twelver Shi'ism, Zaydism and Ismailism.

 

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