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ATABAT. The Shi`i shrine cities of Iraq, Najaf, Karbala, Kazimayn, and Samarra-comprising the tombs of six of the imams-are important centers of devotion, pilgrimage, scholarship, and political activism known as `atabat ("thresholds"). Primacy among the `atabat is held by Najaf, 15o kilometers to the south of Baghdad; it is generally held to be the site of burial of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, first of the imams, the origins of whose shrine go back to the late ninth century. Karbala, 90 kilometers so ...more


An emphatically traditionalist tendency in Shi'i jurisprudence, Akhbariyah first crystallized into a distinct school in the twelfth century. Its designation comes from the word akhbar (traditions of the Twelve Imams).Qom was an early stronghold of the traditionalists, but the opposing rationalist tendency (which came to be known as Usuliyah) prevailed for many centuries. The rise of the Akhbariyah came relatively late in Islamic history, its positions being formulated systematically for the firs ...more

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