Imam al-Man??r bi-ll?h ?Abdull?h b. ?amza: A Zayd? ruler and author

By Hassan Farhang Ansari
Submitted to Session Individual Submission, 2018 Annual Meeting
7th-13th Centuries;
LCD Projector without Audio;
As a result of the unification of the Caspian Zaydiyya and the Zayd?s in Yemen in the 6th/12th century a massive transfer of knowledge from Iran to Yemen increased. This led on the one hand to a cultural revival as a result of which the cultural center of Zayd? Mu?tazilism gradually shifted from the coastal regions south of the Caspian Sea to Yemen, and on the other to a renewed blossoming of Mu?tazilite theology. The cultural transfer process reached its peak under the reign of Imam al-Man??r bi-ll?h ?Abdull?h b. ?amza (d. 614/1217) who further encouraged the transfer of Caspian Zayd? and Mu?tazilite religious literature to Yemen. At his initiative numerous books, among them many Mu?tazilite texts, were acquired, copied and subsequently incorporated into his library in ?af?r, his residential town. He took on a staff of professional scribes – who were often scholars in their own right – in order to copy a wide range of Mu?tazil? texts written by chief representatives of the Ba?ran Mu?tazila in its scholastic phase. Many of the texts copied for al-Man??r bi-ll?h’s library have survived in Yemeni collections as unique manuscripts. al-Man??r bi-ll?h is also known as a very respected Zayd? scholar whose writings were among the most important sources of Zayd? knowledge for centuries. He wrote on Zayd? kal?m, jurisprudence and Hadith. In my paper I examine his writings in which he benefits from the above-mentioned cultural transfer from Iran to Yemen in his time.