Summary of Thesis

Shiite Political Thought After the Emergence of Ghaybah Doctrine 
Until the End of the Middle Age: an Examination from View of Sociology of Knowledge intoConceptualization of Doctrine

Submitted by
Muhammad Rofiq 
NIM: 09/292465/PMU/6182

Accepted by:


Prof. Dr. Syamsul Anwar, MA.

A.    Background of Study and Identification of the Problems

The fundamental doctrine that substantially makes line divergence between Twelver Shiism sect and the other Shiite sect as well as the Sunni sect is the doctrine of the occultation of the twelfth Imam or Ghaybah doctrine. Literally,Ghaybah means not existing, but in theology construct of Twelver Shiism, that words can be defined as occultation of twelfth Imam, Muhammad bin Hasan Al-‘Askari. This figure has been considered as the last proprietor of Imâmah and trusted by Shiite  occulted from public at 260/872 together with his father’s death, Hasan bin Ali al-Hadi.[i] He disappeared in the cave (Arabic: sardab) at Samarra, a while in his father’s funeral (Mojan, 1985: 161, Halm, 1991: 35).

The Ghaybah doctrine emerged at the fourth century has significant position in the construct of Shiite political thought in subsequent days. As stated by Calder (1995: 61): “Imami Shii political theory is conditioned by the doctrine of the Ghaybah”. The political theories that emerged after Ghaybah, whatever the forms, apparently should compromise with the concept of occultation of twelfth Imam. Therefore, how terrible the political situation that faced by Twelver Shiism, the conceptualization of doctrine remains stand on the doctrine of twelfth Imam occultation.

Base on the problems around the Ghaybah doctrin and the importance of Ghaybah doctrine for the articulation of Twelver Shiism political thought, this research is aimed at finding the several forms of transformation of Twelver Shiism political thought and the relevance of social context at the formative period, using the sociology of knowledge theory. The segment of history which is studied in this research is limited at the period after the emergence of Ghaybahdoctrine until the end of medieval period (1500).[ii] The political thought of Twelver Shiism in this research is applying the Karl Mannheim’s concept of existential determination.

B.     Theoritical Framework 
Sociology of knowledge is a branch of sociology which discus the relation between thought and society. Sociology of knowledge pays attention to social and existential condition of knowledge. Sociology of knowledge studies the functional correlation between forms and systems of knowledge at social construct (Polak, 1967: 35). It does not only analyze cognition area sociologically, but also practically to all of intellectual product, such as philosophy and ideology, political doctrine and also theological thought (Fanani, 2010: 3).

The School of sociology of knowledge which is applied as the framework inquiry in this reseach is Karl Mannheim’s concept of existential determination. The basic assumption of the existential determination theory is that there are no mode of thought can be identified before its social genealogy not clarified yet.[iii] The implication is that all of the intellectual product can’t be taken without knowing the sociological and historical situation (Germany: Sitz in Leben) in which the thoughts are conceptualized. The existential determination assumed that the process of knowing are not growing historically only in agreement with internal dialectic.

 C.    Conclusion  
This research formulates some conclusions: first, among the Twever Shiism political thought that emerged afterGhaybah doctrine until the end of the middle age are rational concept of Imâmah doctrine, infallibility of Imam (ishmah al-Imâm), special vicegerency (al-niyâbah al-khâssah), general vicegerency (al-niyâbah al-‘âmah), dissimulation(taqiyyah) and the concept of righteous leader (al-sulthân al-‘âdil) as well as despotic leader (al-sulthân al-jâir).

Second, in conceptualizing of political thought, Twelver Shiism is influenced by an existential basic which is very determining. That basic is the condition of socio-political-intellectual (Sitz in Leben) which is appeared after the occultation of Imam doctrine until the end of the middle age. Among the reality of  middle age which is determining in formulating the concept and the political doctrine of Twelver Shiism are: (a) aristocration of of Nawbakhti’s family at Abbasid palace, (b) the emergence of Buyid dynasty and their patronage to Twelver Shiism, (c) the Mongol devastation to Baghdad and their convertion from Suni to Shii, (d) rivalry between Twelver Shiism and Ismailite sect, (e) contestation of thoughts between Sunni scholars and Shiite scholars.

Third, the  social-political and intellectual reality around the Twelver Shiism at the middle age which infiltrate to process of conceptualization of political thought are not pheriferal or influencing only a little bit, but is very decisive and determining the main and structure of thoughts.



[i] In the Imâmah concept, Twelver Shiisme believes that there are twelve Imams from descendant  and family of prophet who have the right to become the Imam and the leader. They are Ali bin Abi Thalib (al-Murtadhâ), Hasan bin Ali (al-Mujtabâ), Husain bin Ali (al-Syahîd), Ali bi Husain (al-Sajjâd), Muhammad bin Ali (al-Bâqir), Ja’far bin Muhammad (al-Shâdiq), Musa bin Ja’far (al-Kâzhim), Ali bin Musa (al-Ridhâ), Muhammad bin Ridha (al-Jawwâd), Ali bin Muhammad (al-Hâdi), Hasan bin Ali (al-Askariy) dan Muhammad bin Hasan (al-Mahdi al-Muntazhar) (Tabatabai, 2007: 214-241, Labbad, 2007: 76, Rayyan: 2000: 139-141, Halm: 1991: 32, Mojan, 1985: 23-45)

[ii] The classification of Shiite period in this study refers to Momen Moojan’s Introduction to Shi’i Islam (1985).  The early period is the era which extends from 11/632 (the prophet death year) until 1000 (the end  dyansy of Buyid). The medieval period begun from 1000 until 1500 (the beginning of Savafid dyanasty). The modern period begun from 1500 to 1900 (the collapse of Qajar dynasy). The contemporary period extends after constitution of laws in Iran from the beginning of 20 centuy until now (Mojan: 61-146, 246).

[iii] George Braum (1999: 9-10) stated that theory of existential determination is an antithesis of Paul Ricoeur dan Hans Gadamer’s school of contemporary hermeneutica. The inclination both of them tends to see the written text as the objective thought which can’t investigated the nature of thought