"Pray with Your Leader" A Proto-Sunni Quietist Tradition

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Stijn Aerts



The Prophetic hadith “pray with your leader,” which G. H. A. Juynboll argued originated with Shuʿba b. al-Ḥajjāj (d. 160/776), urges Muslims to observe the prayer both at its appointed time and with an imam who delays its performance. An isnād analysis that factors in the different readings of the tradition could not reproduce Juynboll’s result and yielded significantly earlier dates of origin for the oldest two variants: the early 60s/680s and the early 80s/700s. It is argued that the tradition was invented and distributed in reaction to activists who disapproved of Umayyad religious practice, especially the postponement of the ṣalāt. Two of the regime’s representatives in Iraq, the governors Ibn Ziyād and al-Ḥajjāj, were publicly accused of delaying the ṣalāt at the time the tradition was circulated. The tradition constituted thus an early articulation of the quietism that would later become a characteristic of Sunnism.

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