Remarks on the Discourse of Delegation in Early Islamic Centuries

Document Type : Original Article


Imam Sadiq University of Tehran


After the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Shiism came under the spotlight of
orientalists who engaged in a historical analysis of Shiite beliefs. Some
followers of the orientalists among Shiite believers have in the last few
decades adopted the same approach and claimed that Shiite thought
has evolved through history even in its basic foundations. An example
of this attitude can be found in the book Crisis and Consolidation in
the formative Period of shı̒ʻite Islamby Seyed Hoseyn Modarresiـ
The writer’s purpose in the present article is to propose a plan for a report
on the development of Imamite thought without engaging in normative
and theologic discussions in order to provide a more transparent history
of early Imamite thought. To this end, the author makes certain remarks
on the thinking of Dr. ModarresiـTabâtabâyi regarding the discussion of
delegation. Therefore, the first remark relates to the impression of early
Imamites concerning the concept of delegation. Then, in the second
remark, the problem is examined more extensively and more deeply. In
the third remark, the author analyzes the historical understanding of the
opinion of Mufaḍḍal ibn Umar Ja’afiregarding the problem of delegation.
The article will finish by providing the constructs of delegation in the
early hegiraic centuries.