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An Apocalyptic History of the Early Fatimid Empire$
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Jamel A. Velji

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780748690886

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748690886.001.0001

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From Movement to Text: The Haft-bāb

From Movement to Text: The Haft-bāb

(p.123) 8 From Movement to Text: The Haft-bāb
An Apocalyptic History of the Early Fatimid Empire

Jamel A. Velji

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the Haft-Bāb, a document recounting the theology behind the Nizari Ismaili declaration of the Resurrection (qiyāma) written approximately 40 years after the event. It illustrates how the Haft-Bāb disclosed a new universe in which humanity was classified into three categories, categories based upon one’s spiritual relationship with the imam. This chapter also illustrates how temporality was envisioned in this new realm, as well as how one could obtain salvation. It then illustrates how some of the ideas of the resurrection were deployed by another exegete, Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī, in eschatological ways and non-eschatological ways to construct a paradigm of ethical behaviour. This examination, in turn, illustrates how apocalyptic and eschatological symbols can be reinvested with new meanings after they become decoupled from an immediate eschatology.

Keywords:   Haft-Bāb, Salvation, Qiyāma, Nizari, Ḥasan Ṣabbaḥ, Ḥasan ʿalā dhikrihi al-salām, Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī

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