Scant literature has been written in English on a little-known and often misunderstood Shi‘a belief called the raj‘ah, or the partial resurrection of selected human beings shortly before the final Resurrection. While early Shi‘a sources suggest that the Imams spoke of the raj‘ah, precisely what they taught is less clear since the hadith are often unreliable and contradictory. Contemporary authors have also speculated that the raj‘ah developed as a messianic response to political repression or through synthesis with pre-Islamic Near Eastern beliefs and was not an actual teaching of the Imams.

This dissertation will examine hadith narrated from the Prophet Muhammad and the Shi‘a Imams through the strength or weakness of their chains of narration (and, to a lesser degree, their content) to postulate which ideas about the raj‘ah can reliably be traced back to the Imams as well as to identify which hadith seem to have been counterfeited and possible sources of their corruption.

  • 1. Portions of the abstract, introduction, literature review, statement of the problem, and methodology (including some verbatim sections) were submitted in May, 2009 as part of the proposal for this dissertation.