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The Iranian MetaphysicalsExplorations in Science, Islam, and the Uncanny$
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Alireza Doostdar

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691163772

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691163772.001.0001

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A Scholar-Rammal

A Scholar-Rammal

Chapter:
(p.65) 6 A Scholar-Rammal
Source:
The Iranian Metaphysicals
Author(s):

Alireza Doostdar

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691163772.003.0007

This chapter introduces a Shiʻi scholar-rammal who helps shed light on the ambiguity of the occult sciences and the cautious sensibility that has been adopted by some Shiʻi jurists in relation to them. The rammal, Sayyed Ahmad Yazdi, was very different from other rammal. For example, he was less invested in shamanistic theatrics and more interested in fashioning himself as a Shiʻi scholar. The chapter narrates two of the stories told by Shaykh Yazdi in order to clarify some of the dangers mentioned by the Shiʻi jurists regarding the occult and against which they advised virtuous caution. These anecdotes, it suggests, were indicative of Shaykh Yazdi's contradictory figure as he is portrayed in the popular imagination and official discourse. His eccentricity may have been an asset given that his clients relied on his expertise in manipulating jinn and the powers of sorcery.

Keywords:   rammal, occult, Shiʻi jurists, Sayyed Ahmad Yazdi, virtuous caution, jinn, sorcery, cautious sensibility

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