Sayyid Razi - Uddin Ali bin Musa, knows as Ibn Tawus (589-664 A.H., equal to 1150- 1225 A.D.) is one of the greatest Shia scholars in the 13th A.D. century. He was born in Hella city in South of Iraq. He learnt different Islamic science from his father Sadussin Musa, his grand father Warram bin Abi Furas, and some Shia and non- Shia scholars.
The grand family of Ibn Tawus was interested at scholarship and knowledge fields. Some of them have written books, and have their names in the history. For more information about them, you may refer to "Encyclopedia of Tashayyo", P. 339, and Vol: 1, title Ibn al-Tawus.
During his 75 years old life, Ibn Tawus traveled to different cities. He wrote more than 50 books in many fields of Islamic studies, such as commentary of Quran, history, hadith, prays, astronomy, ethics, bibliology, biography, Shia thoughts. Half of them are preserved and available. Even after the long time of about 800 years, most of them are reliable and unique.
In addition to his scientific position, he had the social leadership of Shia community at his chaotic period. And it is interesting that with such occupations, he grew very polite, well educated, and learned children, so that all his sons and daughters were among the scholars of their age.
Sayyid Ibn Tawus had prepared the book "Mesbah-u-Zaer" with the subject of visiting (Ziyarat) the holy shrines of the prophet Muhammad (S), and the infallible Imams (a.s.). Then he thought and found it wise to write a small book about the biography of Imam Husayn (a.s.), the Ashura calamity, and the tragic events thereafter; so that those who go on pilgrimage of that innocent martyred Imam may get the necessary knowledge about the subject, the holy respected Imam, and his brutal enemies.
Sayyid Ibn Tawus has divined the book of Lohoof in to 3 parts.
1- The events and happenings before the day of Ashura (10th of Muharram of 61 A.H.);
2- The events occurred in the evening before Ashura, and during the day of Ashura;
3- The events after the day of Ashura, with regards to Imam Husayn (a.s.), his family, and his enemies;
What we can see in these parts, are very exact and accurate narrations which from one side, show the clear, humanistic, and infallible view from Imam Husayn, and on the other hand, reveals the tyranny, cruelty, and crimes of the enemies of the family of the prophet of Islam (a.s.).
There are thousands of books written about Imam Husayn (a.s.), and the Ashura calamity. However, those words, which have been narrated and transmitted by the wise and learned scholars, through a correct and clear way, are credited and reliable.
At the same time, we should know that the life and history of Imam Husayn (a.s.), just like other infallible Imams (a.s.) is like an open book of guidance that should be studied and considered. It is obvious that when we are going to introduce our noble Imams (that the holy prophet has called them as the "Lights of Guidance", and the "Ships of Rescue"), if we refer to uncredited and unknown references, we will not get a fair result from our efforts.
The importance of the books such as Lohoof lies in its right, just and authentic references and accurate narrations, which reveal the aspects of the 14 centuries old history.
Now, let us read the book of Lohoof, which is the book of life, and guidance, and is like a light that would enlighten the roads of lives of the people.
This book should be read more than once! And we should keep it not only in our memory, but also in our mind, and spirit.
We should read the words and teachings of Imam Husayn and his beloved friends at the pages of this book, and hear them from the stars of the sky of Karbala, that witnessed the nights of Muharram of the year 61 A.H.
We should take in to the "Ship of Rescue" in order to reach the safe shore. And we should walk through the light of this "Light of Guidance" in order to depart from the darkness of the world.
Lohoof is a favorite partner in a spiritual journey for the respected reader, and we invite you to pay due attention to every word of this noble book.
Muhammad Husayn Shahri