Shahrastānī and the Ismailis A Critical Reappraisal of the Evidence

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Paul E. Walker



The exact sectarian affiliation of Shahrastānī has long been a matter of serious debate. Was he possibly an adherent of the Ismaili cause? Considerable recent scholarship purports to establish a connection. The evidence consists of some off-handed remarks by his own contemporaries; what he himself has to say about the Ismailis in his Kitāb al-Milal wa-l-niḥal; and finally, a set of doctrines or analytical categories he uses in his later writings that were later adopted by Nizari Ismailis. However, an impartial look at the evidence does not support the claim that Shahrastānī was himself in any significant way an Ismaili.

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