Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions
Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.
Today’s religious topic is as follows:
Ahsa’I, Ahmad Al-, in full Shaykh Ahmad ibn Zayn al-Din Ibrahim al-Ahsa’i (b. 1753, Al-Hasa, Arabia [now in Saudi Arabia]—d. 1826, near Medina), visionary and founder of the SHI’ITE Muslim Shaykhi sect of Iran and Iraq.
After nearly 50 years of study and ravel in eastern Arabia and Iraq, Al-Ahsa’i taught religion in Yazd and Kirmanshah, Persia. His interpretation of Shi’ism attracted many followers, including the Qajar rulers, but also aroused controversy. He claimed knowledge directly from visions of MUHAMMAD and the IMAMS, and he was influenced by the though of MULLA SADRA (d. 1640), the leading Shi’ite gnostic at the school of Isfahan. Al-Ahsa’i argued for the existence of an archetypal level of reality (Hurqalya) in the cosmos between the divine realm and the earth. Some Usuli (rationalist) Shi’ite authorities objected to his opinions on Muhammad’s heavenly ascent (MI’RAJ), the concealment of the Imam MAHDI, and human resurrection; he maintained that each involved individual spirit bodies existing in the intermediate world, rather than physical ones. Al-Ahsa’i challenged scholarly Shi’ite doctrines on God and the imams by contending that the imams were originally beings of divine light who participated in the creation of the world. Moreover, he refuted the authority of Usuli jurists, who regarded themselves as spiritual caretakers of the Shi’ite community during the Imam Mahdi’s absence.
Al-Ahsa’i’s final breach with Shi’ite authorities occurred between 1822 and 1824, when a group of authorities residing in Iran and the holy cities in Iraq formally denounced him as an infidel. Following his excommunication, the shaykh left KARBALA’ an died during a pilgrimage to MECCA. When he died, however, he was still widely regarded as a leading religious authority. His successor as the leader of the Shayk-his was Sayyid Kazim Rashti (d. 1843) .
(Comeback on 7/24/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn about “Ahura Mazda“.