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Batiniyya (Arabic: باطنية‎, translit. Bāṭiniyyah‎) 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 its Druze offshoots.[2] The Alawites practice a similar system of interpretation.[2] Sunni writers have subsequently used the term polemically in reference to rejection of the evident meaning of scripture in favor of its bāṭin meaning.[3] Al-Ghazali, a medieval Sunni theologian, used the term batiniyya pejoratively for the adherents of Isma'ilism.[4][5] Some Shia writers have also used the term polemically.[1]

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  1. ^ a b Halm, H. "BĀṬENĪYA". Encyclopedia Iranica. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c M.G.S. Hodgson. Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd ed, Brill. "Bāṭiniyya", vol. 1, p. 1098.
  3. ^ M.G.S. Hodgson. Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd ed, Brill. "Bāṭiniyya", vol. 1, p. 1099.
  4. ^ Hodgson, M.G.S. "Bāṭiniyya". Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.). Brill. 
  5. ^ 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.