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Genealogy and Knowledge in Muslim SocietiesUnderstanding the Past$
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Sarah Bowen Savant and Helena de Felipe

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748644971

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748644971.001.0001

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Keeping the Prophet's Family Alive: Profile of a Genealogical Discipline

Keeping the Prophet's Family Alive: Profile of a Genealogical Discipline

(p.11) Chapter 1 Keeping the Prophet's Family Alive: Profile of a Genealogical Discipline
Genealogy and Knowledge in Muslim Societies

Kazuo Morimoto

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter focuses on the discipline specialising in the genealogy of sayyids and sharīfs, developed by the Family of the Prophet Muhammad (Ahl al-Bayt) from the mid- to the latter half of the ninth century CE. It examines different types of writings and the roles that they played in building the discipline's authority as well as in lending that authority to the discipline's most important ‘customers’, sayyids and sharīfs, in society. These texts include the book Muntaqilat al-Talibiyya (Talibid Migrants), glossaries of family names or nisbas, and martyrology. The chapter shows that the ‘sayyid/sharīf genealogies’ represented a development of the older study of Arab genealogies and reflected the growing dispersion of the Prophet's family. It suggests that the very existence of the discipline helped to perpetuate a belief in the authenticity of genealogies; it was also put to good use by individual sayyids and sharīfs.

Keywords:   genealogy, sayyids, sharīfs, Prophet Muhammad, authority, Muntaqilat al-Talibiyya, glossaries, family names, martyrology, sayyid/sharīf genealogies

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