Nūrollāh Šūštarī on Shi’i Notables
AbstractNūrollāh Šūštarī’s (d. 1019/1610) Maǧāles al-moʾmenīn (Assemblies of the Believers) is an extensive work on distinguished Shi’i figures throughout history. The author, trained in Safavid lands, composed this work while residing in the Mughal empire. There, he was associated with the court of Akbar (r. 963–1014/–1605). The present article introduces various aspects of Šūštarī’s project and examines what might have motivated him to undertake such a significant task. It also touches on the internal challenges found in the circles of the Shi’i scholars, with which the author was intellectually engaged, and discusses later critics of the work, who blamed its author for including in it many Sufi figures of the classical and post-classical period. Furthermore, the possibility that the composition of the Maǧāles caused its author’s death will be discussed. With his authorship of this work, Šūštarī was pioneering a trend of writing Shi’i bio-bibliographical works, to which many scholars contributed up until the twentieth century.
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