A New Case for the Rightfulness of the Claim to Leadership of the Twelve Shī‘a Imams
By Masoud Emami
Masoud Emami’s The Shī‘a Imams in the Words of Preeminent Sunni Scholarship is a meticulously researched thesis that collects testimonials from such sources as the sahihayn of Bokhārī and Moslem, and the tafsīrs and histories of such Sunnī luminaries as Tabarī and Eben Sa‘d and other Sunni scholars (including Ibn Taymīya!), all of whom attest to the lofty character and spiritual station of the twelve Shi‘a Imams.
Emami’s thesis begins by laying the theoretical foundations of the use of such evidence in deriving his proof of the rightfulness of the Imams’ claims to the imamate of the community. Emami has painstakingly combed through and scrupulously examined a vast corpus of Sunni sources, and has provided numerous testimonials from modern as well as ancient Sunni scholars for each of the Imams in turn, including acclaim from the Associates (sahabah) and Followers (tabe’en).
The incredibly high praise lavished by preeminent Sunni scholarship on the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt unearthed by Emami proves that love of and respect for the Imams is indeed the common ground that binds the Sunni and Shi‘a branches of Islam. The prospective Sunni or Shi‘a reader will be left with a more exalted view of the Imams after reading this fascinating collection of authentic and authoritative historical reports.
Translated and Annotated by Blake Archer Williams