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al-Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir ibn Muḥammad al-Tāqī

al-Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir ibn Muḥammad al-Tāqī (1628–99 (AH 1038–1111)). Leading Shiʿite theologian (ʿalim, see ʿulamā), whose opinions became a formative influence on the development of Twelver Shiʿite (Ithna ʿAshariyya) practice and organization. He was strongly opposed to the rationalizing of religion through philosophy, to the Sūfīs and to the Sunnis, whom he saw as intransigent competitors, and whom he succeeded in persuading the Shah to have banned from Isfahan. His major work was Biḥār al-anwār (The Ocean of Lights), a many-volumed work assembling ḥadīth. His opposition to the Sunnis may have induced the Afghan invasion of 1722, but this in turn opened the way to the reconquest by the Qajars: they established a dynasty in 1794 (AH 1209) which endorsed the programme of al-Majlisī, making Teheran the capital. They in turn were overthrown by Reza Khan, whose short-lived Pahlavi dynasty could not possibly capture the Shiʿite devotion of the old order, still less displace the authority of the Hidden Imām exercised through the mullas as al-Majlisī had established it.

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