Al-Ǧuwaynī’s theory of the imamate in his treatise Ġiyāṯ al-umam
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By the eleventh century the community founded in the seventh century by the Prophet Muḥammad had split into several religious groups. The umma as a single, unified community, had become a political fiction. The Abbasid caliphate had lost its power, and the caliphs became mere puppets in the hands of the Saljuq sultans and were not in control of their dominions any more. Political theory, in Islam being part of theological works, made an effort to preserve an image of a single polity in the face of a double danger: a growing power of the Isma‘ili Fatimids in Egypt and internal disturbances. One of the most distinguished jurists and ʿulamāʾ of that era, and probably one of the most important figures in the development of political and juristic theory, was Al-Māwardī (d. 1058 in Baghdad). His most important work, and perhaps one of the most influential in mediaeval Islamic political theory, was Al-Aḥkām al-sulṭāniyya.