I.B. Tauris in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies
Forthcoming 19 October 2023
One of the most celebrated religious authorities and a foundational figure of Shiʿi Islam, Muḥammad ibn Yaʿqūb al-Kulaynī (d. ca. 940 CE) set out an extraordinarily wide-ranging and coherent set of doctrinal and legal traditions derived from the Shiʿi Imams, thus playing a leading role in the unification and, consequently, the consolidation of the Imami faith. His Book of the Proof (Kitāb al-Ḥujja), part of the Sufficient Book (Kitāb al-Kāfī), is considered the first among the four most important works on Shiʿi hadith, and its significance for the formation and development of Shiʿi beliefs and doctrines cannot be overestimated.
The present volume is an English translation of the award-winning French translation and commentary by Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi on the Book of the Proof. Amir-Moezzi’s approach to the study of the early Shiʿi traditions in this work is characterised by a keen interest in the esoteric, mystical aspects. By elaborating on the nature of the ‘Proof’, which in Shiʿi terminology identifies the central figure, i.e. the guide (Imam) of mystical spirituality, Amir-Moezzi’s study portrays Shiʿi Islam, not merely as the politico-religious ideology of its ‘clergy’, but above all as a multifaceted and inspirational religion.
Table of Contents
Notes on the English Translation
Preface to the French Edition
Note on Transliteration
Note to the Reader (French Edition)
Introduction to the French Edition
Acknowledgements (French Edition)
Important dates and milestones (1st–4th/7th–10th centuries)
PART ONE: Religion of the Divine Word Made into Man
Chapter 1: At the Beginnings of History
Chapter 2: The Religion of the Imam
Chapter 3: Some Historical Imams
Chapter 4: The Proof Beyond Time
Chapter 5: The Proof’s Dual Nature
Chapter 6: The Continuity of Prophecy
PART TWO: The Mystical Nature of the Imam in The Book of the Proof
Chapter 7: Brief Remarks on Shiʿi Holy Scriptures
Chapter 8: Al-Kulaynī and the Book of the Proof
Chapter 9: Excerpts from the Book of the Proof
Bibliography and Abbreviations
Index of Qur’anic Citations
Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi is a professor at the École Pratique des Hautes Études/PSL (Sorbonne) and member of the Advisory Board of the Societas Iranologica Europaea. He is a Scientific Consultant for the Encyclopaedia Iranica and Encyclopaedia Islamica and Senior Fellow at the Institute of Ismaili Studies. He is also a member of the Ambrosian Academy and the scientific committees of numerous journals and reviews. Among his monographs: The Divine Guide in Early Shiʿism (1994), The Spirituality of Shiʿi Islam (2013), The Silent Qur’an and the Speaking Qur’an (2015), and Ali, The Well-Guarded Secret (2022). Among the collective works directed by him are: Le Dictionnaire du Coran (2007) and Le Coran des historiens (2019).
Maria De Cillis is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, where she is also the Managing Editor of the Shiʿi Heritage Series. She has authored Salvation and Destiny in Islam (2018), Free Will and Predestination in Islamic Thought (2014) and has co-edited L’Ésotérisme shiʿite, ses racines et ses prolongements as well as having written a number of journal articles and encyclopaedia entries.
Orkhan Mir-Kasimov is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and teaches on the IIS graduate programmes. Previously, he lectured at the École Pratique des Hautes Études and the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilisations (INALCO) in Paris, and worked at various research centres in France and Germany, including the Nantes Institute for Advanced Study and the Free University of Berlin. He has edited and co-edited several volumes and authored Words of Power: Ḥurūfī Teachings between Shiʿism and Sufism in Medieval Islam (2015) and Christian Apocalyptic Texts in Islamic Messianic Discourse (2017).