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Iranian Pupils of Abu ‘Ali al-Tusī

Abu ‘Ali Hasan ibn Muhammad (alive in 511/1117), son of Shaykh Tusī, studied his father’s works under him and after his father assumed the leadership of the Shī‘ī community. He studied under his father along with several other outstanding scholars, Arab and Iranian.

They were ‘Abd al-Jabbar ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Ali Razī, Hasan ibn Husayn Babawayh Qummī, and Muhammad ibn Hibat Allah Warraq Tarabulusī. It has also been said that he stands at the head of the tradition of scholarly ijazahs amongst the Shī‘ah1.

The Shī‘ah would come from various regions to Najaf for acquisition of religious learning and studied under him2. Most of the pupils of Abu ‘Ali mentioned by Muntajab al-Dīn have Iranian names. Among them were:

1. Ardashīr ibn Abu al-Majidayn Abu al-Mafakhir Kabulī.

2. Husayn ibn Fath Wa‘iz Bakrabadī Jurjanī. After his studies he returned to Iran and, according to Abu al-Hasan Bayhaqī, went from Jurjan to Bayhaq. When there arose differences with the grammarians he returned to Jurjan where he died in 536/1141. He was a teacher in fiqh of Sadīd al-Dīn Himsī Razī as well as that of Hasan, son of Abu ‘Ali Tabrisī3.

3. Jafar ibn al-Da‘ī ibn Jafar Hamdanī Qazwīnī.

4. Rukn al-Dīn ‘Ali ibn ‘Ali ibn ‘Abd al-Samad Nayshaburī Sabzawarī.

5. ‘Ali ibn Husayn ibn ‘Ali Jasbī4, pupil of Abu ‘Ali and Hasaka ibn Babawayh.

6. Lutf Allah ibn ‘Ata’ Allah ibn Ahmad Hasanī Nayshaburī.

7. ‘Abd al-Jalil Qazwīnī Razī, author of the book Naqd.

8. Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Hamzah al-Tusī al-Mashhadī. Muntajab al-Dīn mentions him and his works5. Suggestion have been put forward concerning his being a pupil of Shaykh Tusī, which are not acceptable in view of the period of his lifetime in the middle of the sixth/twelfth century6.

9. ‘Imad al-Dīn Muhammad ibn Abu al-Qasim Tabarī Amulī Kajjī. Among his extant books is Basharat al-Mustafa, which reveals certain details from the viewpoint of his studies in Iraq and Iran. In his narrations he mentions the place of his teacher’s narration together with the date. His extant work is in Arabic and his other works mentioned by Muntajab al-Dīn have also Arabic titles. He narrates traditions from some Arab and Iranian teachers in the generation of the pupils of Abu ‘Ali Tusī7. Afandī also gives some information about him and considers the Fawa’id annexed to the book MukhtaSar al-MiSbah of Shaykh Tusī in a version that he had seen as belonging to him8. From the years mentioned in the text of the book Basharat al-Mustafa it becomes clear that the author had been in these cities where he had studied and heard traditions: 508-509 in Amul; from Rabu‘ al-Awwal to Safar 510 in Ray; from Ramadan 510 to Ramadan 511 in Najaf; during Dhu al-Qa‘dah and Shawwal of 512 in Najaf; 512 in Kufah; 514 in Nayshabur; 516 in Kufah; Muharram 516 in Najaf; Dhu al-Qa‘dah of 518 in Ray; RAbu al-Awwal 520 in Amul; 524 in Nayshabur9.

He narrates from Abu ‘Ali Tusī more than from anyone else and his narrations from him are more than fifty-five. Later scholars, even Arab, narrate from him, including Yahya ibn Bitrīq, author of al-‘Umdah10.

10. Abu ‘Ali Fadl ibn Hasan Tabrisī, author of the book Majma‘ al-Bayan. Several sources mention him to have been a pupil of Abu ‘Ali Tusī11.

Other Arab scholars also had a role in the training of Iranian scholars. One of them was Abu al-Fath Muhammad ibn ‘Ali Karajakī, pupil of Sharīf Murtada and Shaykh Tusī, who had several Iranian disciples, including Jafar ibn Da‘ī ibn Mahdī ‘Alawī Istarabadī12, ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Ahmad Nayshaburī, known as Mufīd13, and Hasan ibn Husayn ibn Babawayh known as Hasaka, the grandfather of Muntajab al-Dīn14, as well as his father, ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Hasan15.

Among Arab scholars of this period is ‘Abd al-‘Azīz ibn Nihrīr, known as Ibn Barraj, the judge of Tripoli, who had Iranian pupils, among whom were the father16 and grandfather of Muntajab al-Dīn17. It is clear that these scholars carried out the transfer of the learning of the Shī‘ī centres of Baghdad and Najaf to other Shī‘ī centres, including Halab.

  • 1. Al-Mamaqanī, Tanqīh al-Maqal (lithographed edition, 3 vols.), vol. 1, p. 306, no. 2627
  • 2. Al-Tehranī, in the introduction to Shaykh Tusī’s Kitab al-ghaybah (Tehran: Maktabat al-Naynawa al-Hadīthah 1398), p. 11.
  • 3. Karīman, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 294
  • 4. It should be noted that a generation of scholars belonging to the city of Jasb lived during the sixth/twelfth century. In the published version of Muntajab al-Dīn’s al-Fihrist, they are mentioned as ‘‘Hasitī.’
  • 5. Muntajab al-Dīn, op. cit., p. 107
  • 6. See Ibn Hamzah, Al-Thaqib fī al-Manaqib (Qum: 1411) ed. NAbul ‘Alwan, Introduction, pp. 11-13
  • 7. Muntajab al-Dīn , op. cit., p. 107, no. 388
  • 8. Afandī, op. cit., vol. 5, pp. 17-18
  • 9. ‘Imad al-Dīn Muhammad ibn Abu al-Qasim Tabarī, Basharat al-Mustafa (Najaf: Maktabat al-Haydariyyah, 1383).
  • 10. Yusuf Karkush, Tarīkh al-Hillah (Qum: Manshurat al-Radī, 1413), vol. 2, p. 13.
  • 11. Karīman, op. cit., vol. 1, pp. 290-29
  • 12. Muntajab al- Dīn, op. cit., p. 74, no. 214
  • 13. Ibid., p. 75, no. 219
  • 14. Ibid., p. 46, no. 46
  • 15. Ibid., p. 77, no. 228
  • 16. Ibid
  • 17. Ibid., p. 46, no. 46

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