Chapter 2: School for Generations
The human character rests upon three pivots.
First: The ethical pivot, whereat the individual’s behaviorism inside the society and method of living can be incarnated through the ethical capabilities he has.
Second: The rational pivot, through which man deals with nature and thought, out of the rational faculties he possesses.
Third: The spiritual pivot, which organizes the association between man and his Lord, that identifies, in turn, the nature of connection according to the spiritual powers man owns.
Al-Shahid’s character was prominent in all these pivots, being established on balanced pillars, rendering him a centre of attraction, respect and veneration of people everywhere. This was due to the fact that al-Shahid attained a high degree of zuhd (asceticism), knowledge and credibility, that made some magnates believe in his reaching the level of infallibility.
Al-Shahd al-Thani used to take the holy Messenger (S) as his pattern, in his morals and conduct, the fact making his love to grow inside the pure hearts.
During his meeting (majlis), he behaved among his companions and disciples as if being one of them, seeing no superiority for himself over them; doing everything himself without asking anyone to perform any of the house services for him. He used to go shopping himself, purchasing all the family necessities, setting out to the desert or forest for cutting and gathering firewood, carrying it on his back. He was doing all these practices while being at the climax of his scholastic and social glory, disdaining from all forms of haughtiness, and kinds of hypocrisy.
This is true, as al-Shahid (may Allah be pleased with him) got his education at the school of Ahl al-Bayt (A) far from whom Allah removed uncleanness and cleansed with a thorough cleansing.
Al-Shahid al-Thani’s character drew the attention of many great dignitaries throughout history, deserving veneration of the ‘ulama’ of all eras. In his regard, al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-’Amili, the author of Wasa’il al-Shi’ah, has said:
“His attainment of fiqh, knowledge, honour, asceticism (zuhd), worship, righteousness, scrutiny, holiness, sublime position, and all other virtues and perfect attributes is so famous that needs no mention ... and his excellences and meritorious traits exceed numeration and limitation beside leaving behind well-known compilations. He was a faqih (jurisprudent), a mujtahid, a grammarian, a philosopher, a mutakallim, having full command over all fields of knowledge. He was the first among the Imamiyyah to compile a book on dirayat al-hadith (acquaintance of traditions).”1
In his book Rawdat al-jannat, al-Sayyid al-Khunsari says in his regard:
“Till the present time “1260 H. “I have never met, among the renowned ‘ulama’, anyone reaching his sublime status, great position, high rank, efficient comprehension, firm resolute, elegant instinct, straightforward method, discipline in acquiring knowledge, multiplicity of professors, delicate disposition, tender making, and objectivity and perfection of his compilations and works. Rather he was characterized with the morals prescribed by Allah “the Exalted “to the extent making him occupy the second rank after the infallible (ma’lum).”2
He also was referred to by al-’Allamah al-’Amin, the author of al-Ghadir, when he said:
“He was the greatest of time graces, the most profound in knowledge, the best of religion and sect, and shaykh of the reputable fuqaha’. Further, he contributed to significant sciences including philosophy, kalam, fiqh, u’Iul (principles), poetry, literature, natural philosophy, and mathematics. His large-scale fame and reputation can introduce him much better than all that we said, leaving no room for uttering more words in his regard, as what can be said by that who drawls with his rhetoric. Whatever is said fails short of realizing his far-reaching privileges and wide-spread renown. Peace be upon him for the services he contributed to his ummah (nation) by his generous hands, and his propagation of beneficial sciences.”3
The Martyr Murtaza Mutahhari,4 in his book al-`Ulum al-’Islamiyyah, extolled him by saying:
“Al-Shaykh Zayn al-Din, known as al-Shahid al-Thani, is counted among the greatest Shi’ah ‘ulama’, comprehending all fields of knowledge, belonging to Jabal ‘Amil. His sixth grandfather (Salih), was a disciple under al- `Allamah al-Hilli. He was born in 911 H., and was martyred in 966 H. He made so many trips and travels, meeting a large number of professors in Egypt, Damascus, Yijaz, Quds, Iraq, Istanbul, picking from every farm a fruit. The number of his teachers among Ahl al-Sunnah reached twelve, the fact making him an all-inclusive character, as besides fiqh and usul, he had a good command over philosophy, gnosticism, medicine and astronomy, enjoying the merits of zuhd (asceticism) and taqwa (piety).
Recording his biography, some of his disciples state that he used to cut firewood at night, to provide for his family, while practising the profession of teaching in the morning. He spent a long time at Ba’labakk, teaching the rules of the five schools of thought (Ja’fari, Yanafi, Shafi`i, Maliki, and Hanbali). Al-Shahid has left numerous works, the foremost of which being Sharh al-Lum`ah of al-Shahid al-’Awwal, beside Masalik al-’ifham which was an exposition (sharh) for al-Muhaqqiq al-Hilli’s al-Shara’i’i. He learnt under al-Muhaqqiq al-Karaki (before the latter’s coming to Iran), never visiting Iran. His son was called Sahib al-Ma’alim, who was among the most renowned Shiah ‘ulama’.5
His disciple and faithful follower, who accompanied him a long time, Ibn al-Awdi, says about him:
“Of the perfection merits he attained the best and most excellent, being clothed in the best of their sorts. He had a lofty self-brightened with flanks and ribs, and splendid temper of which honour diffuses and emanates. He was the Ummah’s shaykh and youth, the origin of virtues and their end ... no moment of his life was spent but in acquiring virtues, beside occupying himself all the time with that benefitting people day and night.6
Ibn al-`Awdi, who was admiring his teacher to a great extent, never forgot to demonstrate some of his features and complexion, saying:
“He was a square-built man, of straight stature, and at the last days of his life he inclined toward fatness ... of a circular radiant face, a lank hair nearer to fairness. He was of black eyes and brows, white-faced, of huge arms and legs, with fingers like silver bars, whoever looking at his face, hearing his sweet utterance would never allow himself to depart him, seeing comfort in talking to him with neglecting everything, ... all eyes be filled of his solemnity, with hearts rejoicing at his splendour. By Allah, he is higher than all that description, having praiseworthy attributes many more than those I cited.”
He goes on to say that once upon an eve, he saw him leading his donkey, that was burdened with firewood, toward his house, while getting up early in the morning, betaking himself to teach at the mosque. His daytime was spent in investigation, researching and reading, setting out, after performing maghrib (evening) prayers in congregation, to inspecting his vintage orchard on the outskirts of the town.
Ibn al-`Awdi was so infatuated with al-Shahid’s character, that he was used to keep his company wherever he travelled or resided, till the last days of his life.
Al-Shahid’s character was distinguished with versatility and manifold talents, with making various travels and establishing links with many professors that played an effective role in the formation of his all-inclusiveness and profundity of his scholarly personality.
His keenness to seek and learn different sciences was like the curiosity of a thirsty man desiring to drink water from serene fountains, the fact providing him a good opportunity to be acquainted with his time culture, going deeply into it within a very short period.
Making a thorough review over his works, that constituted an encyclopedia, one comes to realize the extent of comprehensiveness and profundity al-Shahid attained in most of the branches of knowledge known during the era he lived.
Below are some of his teachers:
1. ‘Ali ibn Ahmad al-’Amili, known with the nickname `Ibn al-Hajjah’, who was his father and first teacher. Under him al-Shahid learnt Arabic grammar (nahw) and a part of principles of literature, beside the book al-Nafi` fi Mukhtaar al-Sharayi` and al-Lum`ah al-Dimashqiyyah.
2. Al-Shaykh ‘Ali ibn `Abd al-’Ali al-Maysi, under whom al-Shahid learnt for eight years, reading to him alShara’i` of al-Muhaqqiq al-Hilli, al-’Irshad of al-`Allamah al-Hilli and al-Qawa’id of al-Shahid al-’Awwal, all being on fiqh. We have previously stated that this man is the husband of al-Shahid’s aunt, who has married his daughter to al-Shahid later on.
3. Al-Sayyid Yasan al-’A`raji, under whom he studied al-Qawa`id of Ibn Maytham al-Bahrani on kalam, alTahdhib and al-`Umdah al-jaliyyah on u’sul, beside alKafiyah on nahw (grammar).
4. Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn Makki al-Dimashqi, under whom al-Shahid learnt Sharh al-Mujaz al-Nafisi and Ghayat al-qa’Id fi ma`rifat al-fa’Id, both being on medicine. Further he studied under him Fu’sul al Farghani on cosmography and astronomy, beside some parts of Hikmat al-’Ishraq of al-Suhrawardi, Sahih alBukhari and Sahih Muslim, all being on hadith.
Beside the above-mentioned books, al-Shahid learnt other ones under Egyptian professors, being the following:
5. Shahab al-Din Ahmad al-Ramli, under whom he learnt al-Minhaj al-Nawawi on fiqh, Mukhtaar al-’u’Iul of Ibn Yajib, Sharh `Aqa’id al-`A’Iudi and Sharh alTalkhi’I on rhetoric, beside Sharh al-Ta’Irif al-`Arabi and Sharh Jam` al-jawami’ on u’Iul al-fiqh, with Taw’ih Ibn Hisham on grammar (nahw) and other books.
6. Mulla Husayn al-Jurjani, under whom al-Shahid learnt the books Sharh al-Tajrid of Mulla ‘Ali al Qushachi, Sharh al-’Ashkal on geometry and Sharh al Jughmini of Qa’Ii Zadah al-Rumi.
7. Shahab al-Din ibn al-Najjar al-Yanbali, under whom al-Shahid learnt Sharh al-Shafiyah of al-Jarburdi, and Sharh al-Khazrajiyyah on prosody.
8. Na’sir al-Din al-Malaqani, under whom he learnt Tafsir al-Baydawi.
9. Na’sir al-Din al-Hablawi,under whom he studied science of reciting the Qur’an, reading to him a treatise authored by him.
10. Muhammad ibn Abi al-Nahhas, under whom he studied al-ShaÏibiyyah on Qur’an recitation too.
11. `Abd al-Yamid al-Sanhuri.
12. Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Qadir al-Shafi`i, under whom al-Shahid learnt books on mathematics, and the book al-Yasaminah on algebra and comparison.
A large number of knowledge-seekers have learnt under al-Shahid, some of whom turning to be reputable ‘ulama’. Al-Shahid was so concerned to convey and communicate all the sciences he learnt, to the largest possible number of knowledgeand thought-seekers, deeply believing in the fact that zakat (purity) of knowledge (`ilm) lies in propagating and disseminating it.
The most notable of his disciples are the following:
1. Al-Sayyid Nur al-Din ‘Ali al-’Amili al-Jub`i, the author of Madarik al-’ahkam, which was widely known. He was the most intimate of his disciples, being his son-inlaw later on.
2. The investigating scholar al-Sayyid ‘Ali al-Husayni al-’Amili al-Jizzini, known as al-Sa’igh, who is the author of the books Sharh al-Sharayi` and Sharh al-’Irshad of al-`Allamah al-Hilli (i.e. al-’Irshad).
3. Al-Shaykh Husayn ibn Abd al-Samad al-Harithi al‘Amili, who was among the eminent fuqaha’, being the father of the well-known al-Shaykh al-Baha’i. He was the first among al-Shahid’s disciples to accompany him in his travel to Egypt, Istanbul and then in his pilgrimage to the holy shrines in Iraq. After staying there for a long time, he visited Iran, where he got a license from al-Shahid al-Thani.7 His son was considered the most sagacious star in the sphere of the Islamic thought during the eleventh Hijrah century.8
4. Muhammad ibn Husayn, known with the nickname al-Hurr al-’Amili al-Mashghari, who was the great grandfather of the author of Wasa’il al-Shi`ah.
5. Finally, not the last, Baha’ al-Din Muhammad ibn `Ali al-’Awdi, known as Ibn al-`Awdi, who was the most outstanding of his disciples and followers. He enjoyed al-Shahid’s company for about seventeen years, from 945 up to 962 H., when he travelled toward Khurasan, never meeting his teacher afterwards.
Those to whom we referred were only the most eminent of his genius disciples, but has al-Shahid’s school come to an end with his passing away from the world?
Never, as his books and works are still extant to the present day, with knowledge-seekers keeping on studying his valuable works, and his books being printed and published throughout days and with passage of years and differing of ages.
His books, like Sharh al-Lum`ah, al-Masalik, Irshad al-’adhhan, Raw’ al-jinan and munyat al-Murid are still constituting fountains gushing science, knowledge and thought. Besides, Sharh al-Lum`ah is still an essential curriculum in the theological schools, though it was compiled four centuries ago.
Hence, isn’t it possible to claim that al-Shahid is still giving his lectures and lessons, with his school keeping on producing generations after others of fuqaha’ and ‘ulama’?
Verily, al-Shahid’s character makes men stand in awe while studying it, as he managed to leave behind a huge heritage in thought and sciences, despite his relatively short age and hard bitter circumstance he experienced.
He used to labour to provide for his family, receiving people warmly, endeavouring to meet their needs and demands, travelling from a country to another, spending a part of his life under persecution and surveillance. Despite all that, he has compiled about seventy books on different fields of knowledge.
This phenomenon has excited the astonishment of his disciple Ibn al-`Awdi, striking him with wonder, while witnessing the bulkiness of problems inflicting al-Shahid, and people’s frequenting to him and welcoming him with that extreme veneration. He would ask himself: how could al-Shahid leave for us all these great works, while he was supposed to be completely occupied by all these matters.
In front of this manifestation, it is inevitable for everyone but to admit and recognize al-Shahid’s genius, rendering him to be among the everlasting history ingenious men.
Following is a survey for his works and treatises:
1. The licenses he granted to his disciples: The licenses were regarded at that time as graduate certificates. Al-Shahid has granted his disciples different licenses, some being epitomized, and others being protracted like the one he granted to al-Shaykh Husayn `Abd al-Samad, the father of al-Shaykh al-Baha’i, whose date goes back to the year 941 H9.
2. Asrar al-Alat.10
3. Al-Bidayah fi al-dirayah: Which deals with `ilm alhadith. He finished its compilation on the night of Tuesday the fifth of Dhu al-Yijjah 959 H. It was published, with its exposition (sharh), at Tehran in 1310 H.
4. Al-Bidayah fi sabil al-hidayah: It deals with the Islamic doctrines.
5. Tamhid al-qawa`id al-’u’Iuliyyah wa al-`arabiyyah:11 It contains a hundred rules about u’Iul alfiqh. It was printed in Tehran in 1272 H.
6. Al-Tanbihat al-`alaniyyah fi wa”a’if al-Alat alqalbiyyah: It deals with obligatory and supererogatory prayers and secrets of prayer. Al-Shaykh Aqa Buzurg alTehrani reports that al-Shahid completed authoring the book on Saturday the ninth of Dhu al-Yijjah (Day of `Arafat) 951 H. It was published several times, one of which being in 1305 H.12
7. Tahqiq al-’iman wa al-’Islam.
8. Jawab al-masa’il al-Khurasaniyyah.
9. Jawab al-masa’il al-Shamiyyah.
10. Jawab al-masa’il al-Najafiyyah.
11. Jawab al-masa’il al-Hindiyyah.
Hence we come to know that al-Shahid used to give replies to the letters, reaching him from all over the Islamic world, giving, solutions to the different questions they put forth, about many subjects, like fiqh, kalam, literature and philosophy and other fields. His answers were printed in leaflets meeting the aspired purpose. Seemingly many of them have been lost.
12. Jawahir al-kalimat fi ‘iyagh al-`uqud wa al’qa`at.
Al-Shaykh Aqa Buzurg al-Tehrani reports that he found a copy of the book in the library of al-Sayyid Muhammad ‘Ali Hibat al-Din. It was in the form of a manuscript, dated 996 H., that was inscribed by Maq’Iud `Ali, the son of Shah Muhammad al-Damghani, but without holding the book’s title13 (Jawahir al-kalimat).
13. Aashiyat al-’Irshad.
14. Aashiyat Tamhid al-qawa`id.
15. Aashiyat Fatwa Khilafiyyat al-Sharayi`.
16. Aashiyat al-Qawa`id.
17. Aashiyat Mukhtaar al-Nafi`.
18. Aashiyah `ala `Uqud al-’Irshad.
19. Risalat adab al-Jumu`ah: A treatise dealing with the recommendable deeds on Fridays.
20. Risalah fi tahrim Talaq al-ha’i’dh (A Treatise on forbiddance of divorcing the menstruant).
21. Risalah fi tayaqqun al-Taharah wa al-hadath (being sure of purity and any act invalidating the ablution).
22. Risalah fi Alat al-Jumu`ah. A booklet dealing with the Friday prayer. Al-Shahid was believing in the obligation of performing Friday prayer in person.
23. Risalah fi al-bahth `an Alat al-Jumu`ah.
24. Risalah fi Talaq al-gha’ib (about divorce of the absentee).
25. Risalah fi man ahdatha fi athna’ ghusl al-janabah.
26. Risalah fi hukm al-muqimin fi al-’asfar.
27. Risalah fi niyyat al-hajj wa al-`umrah (pilgrimage).
28. Risalah fi da`wa al-’ijma` (unanimity).
29. Risalah fi al-wilayah and that prayer is never accepted without it. Al-Shahid finished its compilation on the fifth of Safar 950 H.14
30. Risalah fi najasat al-bi’r bi al-mulaqat wa `adamiha (about impurity of the well).
31. Risalah fi ahkam al-hibwah (rulings of gift).
32. Risalah fi mirath al-Jumu`ah (Friday inheritance).
33. Risalah fi jawab thalath masa’il (replies for three questions).
34. Risalah fi `adam jawaz taqlid al-mayyit (impermissibility of imitating the dead [mujtahid]).
35. Risalah fi al-’ijtihad.
36. Risalah fi `ashrat mabahith (ten issues) formed within ten sciences.
37. Risalah fi hadith “the world is the farm for the Hereafter”.
38. Risalah fi tahqiq al-niyyah (making the intention).
39. Risalat fatwa al-khilaf min al-Lum’ah (verdict of dispute from al-Lum`ah).
40. Risalah fi tahqiq al-’ijtima`.
41. Risalah fi tafsir Allah’s saying: “And the foremost in the face, the foremost in the face.”
42. Risalat masa’il IsÏanbuliyyah fi al-`wajibat al-‘ayniyyah (about obligatory acts).
43. Risalah fi sharh al-Basmalah.
44. Risalah fi dhikr ahwalih: It was a booklet in the form of memoir, covering a part of his life since he was a boy learning under his father, till his travel to Sham and Egypt, beside his pilgrimage to the Holy Sanctuary of Allah (Mecca). It also covered his visit to the holy shrines in Iraq, with his journey to Turkey, and lastly his settlement in Ba`labakk, with shouldering the religious leadership.
45. Risalah fi tahqiq al-`adalah (justice).
46. Su’alat al-Shaykh Ahmad wa ajwibatuha.
47. Su’alat al-Shaykh Zayn al-Din wa ajwibatuha.
48. Al-Rawah al-bahiyyah fi sharh al-Lum`ah al Dimashqiyyah, which is considered his most ever well-known work, that will be exposed later on.
49. Raw’I al-jinan fi sharh Irshad al-’adhhan: May be it was the first book of al-Shahid about the inferential fiqh, that he compiled in 948 H. when being in the age of
37 years. Ibn Al-’Awdi reports that al-Shahid has never let anyone be acquainted with it. It is reported that al-Shahid has not managed to complete it, and only one volume of it was published, dealing with taharah (purity) and prayer. It was published in Tehran, in 1307 H. with the book Munyat al-murid.15
50. Sharh Irshad al-’adhhan.
51. Sharh al-’Alfiyyah of al-Shahid al-’Awwal, which is an abridged exposition.
52. Sharh al-’Alfiyyah, a medium exposition.
53. Sharh al-’Alfiyyah, a detailed one.
Al-’Alfiyyah included one thousand issues about the obligations of prayer. The author of al-Dhari`ah has enumerated 31 commentaries on al-’Alfiyyah, the foremost of which being the one written by the author of al-Ma`alim, who was the son of al-Shahid al-Thani, and was dead in 1011 H. After it in importance comes the commentary of Husayn ibn `Abd al-Samad, the father of al-Shaykh alBaha’i, who passed away in 984 H.16
54. Sharh al-Nafliyyah of al-Shahid al-’Awwal, dealing with recommendable acts of prayer.
55. Sharh al-Dirayah, which was completed by al Shahid on the fifth of Dhu al-Yijjah 959 H.
56. Sharh al-Man”umah, that was authored by al Shahid himself (al-Man”umah), and was on `ilm al-nahw (grammar).
57. Ghunyat al-qa’Iidin fi i’ilahat al-muhaddithin.
58. Fatawa al-Sharayi`.
59. Fatawa al-’Irshad.
60. Fatawa al-Mukhtaar.
61. Fawa’d KhulaAt al-rijal.
62. Kashf al-ribah min ahkam al-ghibah: It deals with the issue of backbiting, the narrations about its forbiddance, and how to avoid it. Its compilation was finished on the thirteenth of Safar 949 H., was published several times in Najaf and Iran, and was translated then into Persian.
63. Kitab al-rijal wa al-nasab.
64. Kitab tahqiq al-’iman wa al-’Islam.
65. Kitab al-’ijazat.
66. Mansak al-hajj al-Aghir.
67. Mansak al-hajj al-kabir.
68. Manar al-qa’Iidin fi asrar ma`alim ahkam al-Din: It is an ethical book, to which al-Shahid has referred in his book Munyat al-murid.17
69. Musakkin al-fu’ad `inda faqd al-’ahibbah wa al-‘awlad: Which we shall discuss later on.
70. Mubarrid al-’akbad fi mukhtaar Musakkin al fu’ad: Which is an abridgement for the previous book.
72. Man”umah fi al-nahw.
73. Al-Maqa’id al-`illiyyah fi Sharh al-’Alfiyyah: it is the big commentary on al-Shahid al-’Awwal’s al‘Alfiyyah. He completed its compilation on the nineteenth of Rabi` al-’Awwal 950 H.
74. Al-Masalik fi sharh Shara’i` al-’Islam: It is counted among the valuable works on the inferential fiqh. In it al Shahid has exposed and commented on the book Shara’i’ al-’Islam of al-Muhaqqiq al-Hilli (d. 676 H.). The book has drawn the attention of Shi’ah fuqaha’, throughout all ages, with al-Shahid’s fiqhi opinions being an authority (hujjah) in the Imami fiqh.
It is noteworthy that there were other commentaries on the book al-Sharayi`, the most important of which are: Jawahir al-kalam by the great Shi’ah faqih al-Shaykh Muhammad Husayn al-Najafi, who was known later with the name Sahib al-Jawahir (d. 1266 H). The book consists of 43 volumes, and was published several times.
The reason behind al-Shahid’s compilation of this book lies in the fact that al-Shahid was bereaved with the death of his young children, that no one was left except alShaykh Yasan the author of al-Ma`alim. So he compiled an abridged treatise under the above title, stating in it how man should face life hardships and tribulations with forbearance and consolation, particularly during bereavement of the dearest relations and children. Then he abbreviated all this in a book under the title Mubarrid al-’akbad fi mukhtaar Musakkin al-fu’ad, which was published several times in Iran.
Its compilation was finished by al-Shahid on the first of Rajab 954 H., and it was translated into Persian many times, the foremost of which being the one done by alSayyid Muhammad Baqir Hujjati.
The book al-Rawah al-bahiyyah fi sharh al-Lum`ah al-Dimashqiyyah, actually occupies the foremost position among the fiqhi books till the present time. It is still regarded the basic curriculum in the theological schools, in the field of the inferential fiqh, of which every knowledge-seeker can never do without.
As explicitly indicated from the title, the book is a commentary written by al-Shahid al-Thani on al-Lum`ah al-Dimashqiyyah of al-Shahid al-’Awwal Muhammad ibn Makki18 (may Allah be pleased with him). This book is considered the most outstanding work ever compiled by al-Shahid al-Thani, distinguished with accuracy, scrutiny and comprehensiveness.
It has procured the attention of the Imami fuqaha’, throughout different eras and times. Contrary to the common belief, the book was not al-Shahid’s last work. The origin of this belief may be sought in the fact reported by al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-`Amili In his book Amal al-’amil, when citing the event of al-Shahid’s arrest, that was executed “according to him “in a vine orchard in one of Damascus suburbs, while al-Shahid was busy compiling his book al-RawAh al-bahiyyah.
But in fact, the book was authored nine years before his martyrdom, as indicated by al-Shahid himself when stating that the date of finishing its compilation was the night of Saturday 21st of Jumada al-’ la 957 H.
The fuqaha’ were interested in the book al-Rawah albahiyyah to a great extent that many expositions and commentaries were written on it, numbering about a hundred, the fact indicating its extreme importance and scientific value.19
The full title of the book is Munyat al-murid fi adab al-mufid wa al-mustafid. It is regarded an ethical treatise containing precepts recommending the meritorious morals to be assiduously maintained by the scholar and knowledge-seeker, beside the rules to be followed by the judge and mufti when issuing a judgement and giving a verdict (fatwa). The book is considered a good turning point on the part of al-Shahid, in respect of the importance of the ethical aspect in the life of the ‘ulama’ and fuqaha’, and its constructive social role.
About it a scholar said:
“... Al-Shahid al-Thani has derived his ethical precepts from the holy Qur’an, Prophetic Sunnah and traditions of Ahl al-Bayt Imams (peace be upon them), to establish sound and proper links between the scholar and his disciple and with common people, beside the relation between the disciple and his teacher, and even the duties and conduct of each of them in the class during learning.”20
Hence Munyat al-murid is truly considered a pioneer book in this respect.
The book consists of an introduction, four chapters and a conclusion. The introduction deals with the importance of knowledge and knowledge-seeking, in the light of the Qur’an and traditions of the Mu`umun (Infallibles). The first chapter elucides the functions of both the disciple and teacher, while the second chapter deals with the good manners of the mufti (one giving fatwa), and mustafti (one seeking fatwa or ruling) and the conditions of issuing a fatwa (futya). The third chapter refers to the etiquette of debate and methods of dialogue and conversation, whereas the fourth chapter is designated to exposing the style of writing and compilation. At last comes the conclusion that elucidates the degrees of the legal sciences, and their preliminaries, supported by counsels and aphorisms that are of use for the seekers of religious sciences.
The book’s significance lies in its determining the earmarks of the path ... the path of theological learning, and its role in fixing the objectives, being in itself an extremely vital matter.
Therefore the theological institute appeals to the knowledge-seekers and professors, asking them to study this book and benefit from the knowledge contained in it.21
The book was translated into Persian, for the first time in 1369 H., by al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sa`idi al-Khurasani, and was published in Tehran in 1372 H.
Again it was translated in 1376 H. by al-Sayyid Mahmud al-Dehsurkhi al-’IsIfahani, under the title Siraj al-mubtadi’in.
Recently it was translated into Persian in 1400 H., by Dr. Muhammad Baqir Yujjati, which is the best translation. It was reprinted sixteen times, with the translator’s annexing a detailed survey for the biography of the book’s author: al-Shahid al-Thani.
Following are some excerpts from the book that shed light upon the way of thinking of the most eminent man of knowledge and human thought.
“That he never disdains from learning and benefitting from that who is lower, in position or age or fame or religion or any other knowledge. But he all the time benefits from whoever be of benefit, never being kept by any feeling of superiority due to high post or fame, to get benefit from that unknown to him so as to lose his commerce and his knowledge be decreased, the fact entailing Allah’s abhorrence. It is according to the tradition reported from the Prophet (Allah’s peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny): Wisdom is the believer’s sought request, wherever finding it being its deservant better than any other one.”
“That the knowledge-seeker should never attend the class but only when being ritually pure from any hadath (anything invalidating ablution), and khabath (scum or major mischief), cleansed and scented in respect of body and clothes, wearing the best of his garments, intending thus to glorify knowledge...”
In another chapter al-Shahid recommends every knowledge-seeker by saying:
“He has to evade the company of that who keeps his attention away from his request, as leaving it being the most necessary act the knowledge-seeker should do ... and the worst blight of company being loss of life in vain...”
“That he has to treat his shaykh (teacher) as being his real father and spiritual guardian, who is greater than the corporeal father, exaggerating in venerating him in view of observing the right of his parents, and to fulfil and pay the right of bringing him up. Alexander has once asked a boy: What is the matter with you that you dignify your teacher in a way more highly than your father? He replied:
Because the teacher is verily the means for my next life, while my father being the means for my mortal life.”
“It is incumbent upon anyone of them attaining any field of knowledge and sort of perfection, to guide his companions and encourage them to hold meetings, be engaged in learning and seeking knowledge, making his sustenance easy for them, telling them about all the benefits he got, rules and novelties in respect of advice and study. Through guiding and leading them to the right path, Allah will verily bless and make his knowledge abundant, illuminating his heart, with being assured of all issues of having plentiful reward of the Almighty Allah, and His kind patronage and grace.
But whenever being miser and depriving them from anything aforementioned, the opposite shall be true, with his knowledge being not confirmed ... and if confirmed it will be barren, unproductive, and with no blessing showered from Allah. This case occurred for a number of the predecessors and those who succeeded them.
He also never be jealous of any of them, or despises him or prides himself on him, never boasting in his ability of comprehension and excelling the others, since he used to be like any other one but then was graced by the Al-mighty Allah. So he has to thank Allah for this favour, begging Him to shower upon him much more, through persisting on being grateful. Being so submissive, attaining full eligibility, with his virtue being so widely known, he would verily rise to a higher rank, and Allah is the warrantor of success.”
The book proceeds in this manner in laying down a noble ethical course, indicating a pure spirit and a sublime self-towering up in the spheres of noble-heartedness, till joining the caravan of immortal martyrs.
- 1. Amal al-’amil, Vol. I, p. 85.
- 2. Rawdat al-jannat, pp. 287-288.
- 3. Shuhada’ al-fadhilah, p. 132.
- 4. He is one of the personalities of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and was assassinated after its victory. (Translator)
- 5. Al-`Ulum al-’Islamiyyah, p. 302.
- 6. Risalat Ibn al-`Awdi (a manuscript).
- 7. ‘Ali al-Dawwani: Mafakhir al-’Islam, Vol. IV, p. 475.
- 8. Kashkul al-Shaykh al-Baha’i (the introduction).
- 9. Al-Dhari`ah, Vol. 1, p. 193.
- 10. Ibid., Vol. III, p. 58.
- 11. Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 433.
- 12. Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 452.
- 13. Ibid., Vol. V, p. 278.
- 14. Ibid., Vol. V, p. 278.
- 15. Ibid., Vol. SI, p. 275.
- 16. Ibid., Vol. II, p. 296.
- 17. Muqaddimat Munyat al-murid, by Ridal-Mukhtari.
- 18. He was martyred in Damascus in 786 H.
- 19. Al-Dharish, Vol. VI, pp. 90, 98, Vol. SIII, pp. 292, 296.
- 20. Muhammad Baqir Hujjati: Adab al-ta’ilim wa al-ta’aum fi al-’Islam.
- 21. Al-Aawzah journal, issue No. 29 “1408 H.