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By Siti Syamsiyatun

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Another of his most important mastea in Islamic t heology was Abü N q r al-~ushayii:~a leamed scholar not only in the field of Islamic theology but also in Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), Qur'i'anic exegesis (fafsrf)and Prophetic tradition (dadith). Abù Nwr al-Qushayii, having studied under his own father and Imam alHaramayn AbÜ Mac= al-Juwa* with great attention, was an erudite ShZci juristconsult. He pronounced his lectures on S h Z 7 fiqh in the Madrasa Nizkiyya founded by Nizam al-Mulk, and in the monastery of the chief of the süfis (shaykh ai- sh*) in Baghdad, in which bis father once acted as the chief master.

The Fatirnid caliph, as I m k of the IsmàT%, was in this respect, the chief of the IsmZTi da 'wa organization, besides being regarded as the true, authontative int erpreter of the Q u r ' i and the spring of al1 esotenc and exoteric Imowledge. li d'7s spread far beyond their main temtories, reinforcing their da'wa activity in the eastern provinces of the 'Abbasid caliphate, such as KhurSsEn, where al- Shahrastki spent most of his life, and Transoxiana. Moreover, al-Hasan al-$abb& just succeeded establishing the Nizàn IsmZCiIi movement, separating himself nom the da'wa headquarters in Cairo and forming his new da'wa (al-da'wa al$a&daa) in these eastern lands.

Ai-ShahrastZ observes that most books on religions and sects that he had read lacked this systematic classification, and therefore, were far fiom having any precision and clarïty. Such books were neither clear in distinguishing between a religion, a sect or a school of philosophy, nor consistent in defming these three categones. Before developing his own classification, al-Shahrastani descnbes several different ways of classirng the peoples of the world used by the scholars of his age. In his first introduction, al-Shahrast-ii observes there are at least four approaches comonly employed by medieval men of letten.

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al-Shahrastānī and the Shīʿī Doctrine of Imāma by Siti Syamsiyatun

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