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Batiniyya (Arabic: باطنية‎, romanizedBāṭiniyyah) refers to groups that distinguish between an outer, exoteric (zāhir) and an inner, esoteric (bāṭin) meaning in Islamic scriptures.[1] The term has been used in particular for an allegoristic type of scriptural interpretation developed among some Shia groups, stressing the bāṭin meaning of texts.[2] It has been retained by all branches of Isma'ilism and various Druze groups as well. The Alawites practice a similar system of interpretation.[2] Batiniyya is a common epithet used to designate Isma'ili Islam, which has been accepted by Ismai'lis themselves.[3]

Sunni writers have used the term batiniyya polemically in reference to rejection of the evident meaning of scripture in favor of its bāṭin meaning.[2] Al-Ghazali, a medieval Sunni theologian, used the term batiniyya pejoratively for the adherents of Isma'ilism.[2][4] Some Shia writers have also used the term polemically.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Halm, H. "BĀṬENĪYA". Encyclopedia Iranica. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Hodgson, M.G.S. "Bāṭiniyya". Encyclopaedia of Islam. 1 (2nd ed.). Brill. pp. 1098–1099. doi:10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_1284.
  3. ^ Daadbeh, Asghar, Gholami, Rahim (2013). "Bāṭiniyya". In Wilferd Madelung; Farhad Daftary (eds.). Encyclopaedia Islamica.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Mitha, Farouk (2001). Al-Ghazali and the Ismailis: A Debate on Reason and Authority in Medieval Islam. I.B.Tauris. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-86064-792-5.