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Faith and the Unseen Between the Imams’ Hadith and the Bible

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Year: 2017
COI code: ICJE01_125
Paper Language: English

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Authors Faith and the Unseen Between the Imams’ Hadith and the Bible

Andrew J Newman - PhD Professor of Islamic Studies and Persian at the University of Edinburgh


This paper will first reprise our views of the question of the authenticity ofthe hadith, as discussed in our The Formative Period of Shi’i Law: Hadith asDiscourse Between Qum and Baghdad (Richmond, 2000). The paper willthen move to discuss the question of faith in the unseen in the Biblicaltradition, taking as the starting point the letter to the Hebrews. The context ofthis letter will be first be discussed. Then we will focus on chapter 11,wherein the author first defines faith as ‘confidence in what we hope for andassurance about what we do not see (New International Version)’ and thennotes that such faith can be seen at work among key, named Old Testamentfigures – ranging from Abel through Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob,Sarah, Joseph and Moses - and that they were commended for such faithalthough ‘none of them received what had been promised’. The second part ofthe paper will then turn to the Imams’ hadith especially as these are found inthe collections thereof assembled by Muhammad b. Ali al-Qummi (d.380/991-2), known as al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Ibn Babuya or Ibn Babawayh.Thecontext in which Ibn Babawayh put together his collections, the onset of al Ghayba , will first be addressed and compared to that in which the author ofthe letter to the Hebrews found himself centuries earlier. In this regard,particular attention will be given to his Kamal al-Din wa Tamam al-Nima fiIthbat al -Ghayba wa Kashf al-Hayra . As discussed in our Twelver Shiism:Unity and Diversity in the Life of Islam, 632to 1722 (Edinburgh, 2013), inthis work Ibn Babawayh both very well describes that context (al -Hayra ) andthen goes on to cite, among many others, traditions from the Imams whichaddress the latter. Among these are traditions that, also, call believers to faithin something that is not immediately tangible


Faith, Bible, Imams’ Hadith, al-Shaykh al-Saduq

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COI code: ICJE01_125

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