The golden pages of history are replete with individuals who have sacrificed their lives for the guidance and leadership of humanity and throughout the ages, we see many scholars who have dedicated their lives to the path of progress and spiritual upliftment of mankind. One such scholar who is also one of the greatest thinkers of the Islamic world is Ayatullah Hajj Shaykh Ja’far Subhani who has spent his entire life in research, writing and teaching and has struggled through these means to lift the culture and level of humanity.
Ayatullah Subhani was born on the 28th of Shawwal in the year 1347 AH (1926 CE) in the city of Tabriz (in Iran) into a scholarly and well-respected family. His father was the late Ayatullah Shaykh Muhammad Husain Subhani Khayabani who spent more than fifty years teaching, writing and guiding the people and was also responsible for the training and educating of the future teachers and leaders of the society.
After completing his primary school and the introductory studies, Ayatullah Subhani then went on to study the books of Farsi literature and grammar. Following this, at the age of 14 (1361 AH/1940 CE) he proceeded to enter into the Theological Seminary of Tabriz named Talibiyah and was busy in the preliminary and second level of studies in the Theological Seminary.
He studied the ‘Arabic language under the guidance of the following deceased scholars: Hajj Shaykh Hasan Nahwi and Shaykh ‘Ali Akbar Mudarris Khayabani (author of the book Rayhanatul Adab). These studies took him five years – until the year 1365 AH (1944 CE) after with Ayatullah Subhani was able to complete the second level of theological studies and began the highest level of Islamic studies (Kharij) in Fiqh, Usulul Fiqh and Philosophy. During this period of his studies, he benefited from the knowledge of teachers such as:
1. The Late Ayatullah al-’Uzma al-Hajj as-Sayyid Muhammad Husain Burujerdi (d. 1380 AH/1959 CE)
2. The Late Ayatullah al-’Uzma al-Hajj as-Sayyid Muhammad Hujjat Kuhkamari (d. 1372 AH/1951 CE)
3. The Late Ayatullah al-’Uzma al-Hajj as-Sayyid Ruhullah al-Musawi Khumayni (d. 1409 AH/1988 CE)
In the field of Philosophy, he studied the commentary of the book Manzumah and al-Asfar of Mullah Sadra (may Allah be pleased with him) and also benefited from private lessons in the subject of realism under the tutelage of the late ‘Allamah as-Sayyid Muhammad Husain Taba’taba’i (may Allah be pleased with him).
In addition, he studied ‘Ilmul Kalam under the late Sayyid Muhammad Badkubae (d. 1390 AH/1969 CE).
Ayatullah Subhani is one of those scholars who took up the pen and writing from a very young age and since then, his entire life has been spent in the fields of teaching and writing. Because of this, we see that the first book he ever wrote which was named The Criterion of Thinking (in the field of Logic) was written when he was a mere 17 years old!
At the age of 18, he began teaching the secondary level of Islamic studies (Sutuh) and was imparting knowledge in the fields of Fiqh, Usul, Philosophy, Hadith and other subjects.
In addition, he has written notes on the lectures of Usulul Fiqh of the late Ayatullah Khumayni which have been recently printed.
Through all of this work, he has transformed himself into a teacher who goes deep into a subject and an effective thinker such that many important tasks have been imparted onto him, such as:
1) Establishing a centre for the teaching of ‘Ilmul Kalam and a research library and facility for those who are conducting research in the Islamic sciences.
2) Written one complete topic-wise commentary of the Qur’an in ten volumes.
3) Prepared and taught one complete course – consisting of 16 printed volumes of books – in the fields of the History of Fiqh and the Fuqaha.
4) Prepared and wrote manuals for the teaching of Usulul Fiqh, ‘Ilmul Kalam, Hadith, ‘Ilmul Rijal and the history and information on the various religions of the world and their sects and divisions.
We pray to Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) to grant the author of this work the blessings to be able to continue on this path.