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al-Nawbakhti, al-Hasan b. Musa. The Shi'ite Sects. Annotated translation from Arabic, Study and Notes by S.M.Prozorov. Moscow, 1973 [ан-Наубахти, ал-Хасан ибн Муса. Шиитские секты. Перевод с арабского, исследование и комментарий С.М.Прозорова. ППВ, XLIII. М., 1973.]


The present work is a study of the earliest known extant monument of the history of Shi'ism, one of the main and most extensive trends in Islam. The Shi’ite Sects/Firaq ash-shi'a by the eminent Shi'i theolog al-Hasan b. Musa an-Nawbakhti were written in the late IXth century; the work includes important material and data to characterize the earlier formative period of the religio-political ideology of the Shi'ites. It is also one of the earliest attempts that has come down to us of a history of numerous Shi 'i sects existant in Islam of the 7-9th centuries. This is also one of the earliest known examples of the Shi'ite religio-political polemical literature.

The published monograph consists of a study of a number of problems of the history of the movement, its ideology, and of a commented translation of the Arabic text by an-Nawbakhti (Chapters I-IV). The translation is based on the text published by Hellmut Ritter in Istanbul in 1931, and it is addressed to Orientalists acquainted with the history of Islam. That is why we thought it possible to limit this commentary on the text paying more attention to the data on religio-political figures of the epoch and their views on sects, parties, and groups which may help to perceive the contents of the work and its significance.

The First Chapter represents a general characterization of consecutive stages in the Shi'i history as a development of religio-political ideology of Islam. The accent is being put on the ideological aspect of the early Shi 'ite movement. This conditioned our attempt to study the two important problems: the reasons of abundance of sects and the transfer to a theoretical substantiation of Shi'ism. A considerable effort has been undertaken to scrutinize the socio-politica' reasons and circumstances of birth of Shi'ism and the role of Alide-Abbaside relations in the formation of a religio-political ideology of Shi'ism. The study contains a new periodization of the Shi'i movement. Specific attention has been paid to the anti-Alide action of the calif al-Mahdi (775-785), which served to fortify the military-political victory of the Abbasides. That was a phase in the ideological struggle between the Alides and Abbasides when the rivals split forever. It is in that period, begun in the reign of al-Mahdi, when principal doctrines were worked out and a Shi'ite religio-political ideology was created.

The Second Chapter deals with the emergence and development of the main genres of the Shi'i historical and religio-political literature. Two stages in the history of Shi'ism: the earlier— the Alide and the Shi'ite proper — both were reflected in two phases differing in contents in the development of the Shi'i literature. If earlier pro-Alide authors were mostly busy collecting and selecting the hadiths, the emergence of a polemical literature coincides with the process of regulating and understanding the accumulated material. Two centuries of the Shi'ite religio-political literature — from collecting the Alide hadiths to historical monographs dedicated to separate events and genealogical and polemical literature — end with a syste-matization and generalization of the accumulated material marked by substitution of summarized descriptions of all known sects, thus or otherwise connected with Alides, for description of separate sects. The Shi 'ite Sects by al-Hasan an-Nawbakhti, who considered Shi'ism as a system of dogmata and the only competent form of interpreting Islam, were a natural result of a long ideological struggle in the Califate. The work also reflects the process of formation of a Shi'ite religio-political ideology.

The Third Chapter presents a biography of al-Hasan an-Nawbakhti and an analysis of his work and ideological position, both characterized by his literary activity as theoretician and apologist of the luke-warm Shi 'ism. The same chapter includes a history of the studies of an-Naubakhti's work, an analytical structure of it, and an attempt to define its sources.

The Fourth Chapter is devoted to an analysis of historical material dealing with the Shi 'ite sects in an-Nawbakhti's work. This analysis places the work among primary sources for the study of the earlier history of Islam and Shi'ism, especially the history of the Shi 'ite religio-political literature of the 9th century.

The process of transformation of uncoordinated and eclectic concepts of early Muslims into a system of religio-political and state- and law-dogmata was taking place in the circumstances of practicing Judaic, Christian, Zoroastrian, and many other beliefs in their milieu. The first theoreticians of Shi'ism were trying their best to adapt themselves to the internal atmosphere of the Califate and they finally found a form in which Shi'ism could create numerous social groupings in the Muslim community and become an ideological banner of a number of important anti-governmental movements.

The analysis of an-Nawbakhti's work exposes the fact that the long polemical struggle in the late IXth century resulted in a system of the Shi'ite religio-political dogmata influenced by certain religio-polemical literature; the system marks the end of the formation of the Shi'ite religio-political ideology, an ardent supporter and apologist of which was al-Hasan an-Nawbakhti.


Аннотация, Оглавление, Предисловие

Глава I.

Глава II.

Глава III.

Глава IV.



Arabic literature
Firaq ash-shi'a
al-Hasan an-Nawbakhti
The Shi’ite Sects

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