Shi‘ite Authorities in the Age of the Major Occultation Part 2: Sayyid Radhi

Ali Naghi ZabihzadehResearcher of the Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute, Qum. Translated by Seyyedeh Zahra Mirfenderski


Abu al-Hasan Muhammad ibn al-Husayn, known as Sayyid Radhi, was a highly distinguished Muslim scholar and poet. His brilliance blossomed under the celebrated Shaykh Mufid as well as other prominent scholars. Sayyid Radhi demonstrated proficiency in various Islamic sciences and had mastered the Arabic language as well. He was also the founder of Dar al-‘Ilm, a large school held for various lectures, meetings, and academic debates. Due to his pure faith and intellectual capability, Sayyid Radhi was appointed as the Chief of the Shi‘ites during his era, the head of the High Court, and the supervisor of the Hajj pilgrimage. This article presents a brief account of his life, his teachers, and students, as well as his services and achievements that attested to his great influence during his era as well as years to come.


Abu al-Hasan Muhammad ibn Husayn al-Musawi, also entitled ‘Radhi’, was a descendant of the Prophet (s) and a Shi‘a Muslim scholar and poet who lived in Baghdad. His brief life (359 AH/970 CE – 406/1015) coincided with the era of the Buyid Dynasty,334-447/946-1056. the golden age of Arabic literature. Sayyid Radhi was born in a renowned household directly descended from the Prophet Muhammad (s). His father, Abu Ahmad, was a well- respected man, renowned for his purity, honesty, sincerity, and faithfulness. Baha’ al-Dawla, son of ‘Adud al-Dawla, titled him ‘the good-natured’ (al-Tahir al-Awjad) and ‘the possessor of all honorable attributes’ (Dhu al-Manaqib). He was given political responsibilities such as chieftainship of the Shi‘ites, organizing manager of the Hajj pilgrimage, and supervisor of the Courts of Justice, the highest rank in the High Court of Appeal. Because the great authorities of religion trusted him, he often exchanged confidential letters between the ‘Abbasid Caliphs, the Buyid kings, and the Syrian rulers (Ale Hamdan). His mother, Fatima, also a descendant of the Prophet (s), was the daughter of Nasir Saghir and granddaughter of Nasir Kabir, the conqueror of Mazandaran and Gilan. She was known for her chastity, virtuousness, and knowledge. Sources report that Shaykh Mufid wrote the book Ahkam al-Nisa’ for her, mentioning her name in the introduction and describing her as a knowledgeable and respectable woman.Cf. Sayyid Mul;sin Am1n, A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 9, pp. 216, 220 & 221; ‘Abd al-Malik Tha’alib1, Yatimat al-Dahr, vol. 3, p. 131, quoted from Ali Davan1, Mafakhir-e Islam, p. 3, pp. 266 – 270; Muhammad Ibrah1m Nijad, Sayyid Radhi bar Sahil-e Nahj al-Balaghah, pp. 15, 16. From his childhood, when his father lived in exile, Sayyid Rad1 and his elder brother, Sayyid Murtadha, began learning the arts and sciences, two common subjects at that period, which consisted of Arabic syntax, grammar, recitation, jurisprudence, hadith, theology, poetry, and literature. He was educated by his mother and other prominent scholars, such as Shaykh Mufid, Abu ‘Abdullah Marzbani, Qadhi ‘Abdul Jabbar, Abu Sa’id Sirafi, Harun ibn Musa Tal’ukbura, Abu Bakr Kharazmi, Abu ‘Ali Farsi, and Abul Fath; ibn Janbi.A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 9, p. 221; cf. Sayyid Ibrahim, Sayyid ‘Alawi, Yadnameh-ye ‘Allameh Shar1f Radhi, speech of ‘Al1 Davan1, p. 23. From the accounts of Yafi’i and Ibn Khallakan, Sayyid Radhi was highly intelligent from the time he was a child.Yafi’1, Mir’at al-Jinan, vol. 3, p. 19.

His father’s imprisonment

In 367 AH, ‘Adud al-Dawla Daylami, the strongest king of the Buyid dynasty, attacked Baghdad. He disposed Bakhtiyar, son of Mu’izz al- Dawla, and took his place. Since ‘Adud al-Dawla thought that Abu Ahmad, Sayyid Radhi’s father, might cause him trouble, Abu Ahmad was arrested and exiled when Sayyid Radhi was only ten years old. Since then, Sayyid Radhi was deprived of his father’s care and affection for many years. From then on, life was a struggle for him and his brother, Sayyid Murtadha. Abu Ahmad’s imprisonment lasted throughout the rest of the governance of ‘Adud al-Dawla and the reign of his son Samsam al- Dawla over Baghdad. His imprisonment ended when Sharaf al-Dawla, another son of ‘Adud al-Dawla who ruled over Ahwaz, traveled to Baghdad through Kerman with the intention of overthrowing his brother’s government. Sharaf al-Dawla released all the prisoners who had been imprisoned by his father, and took them to Baghdad.Cf. Ibid. p. 217. Sayyid Radhi composed an ode to Sharaf al-Dawla and sent it to the court to thank him. His show of appreciation established good relations with the Buyid dynasty, which resulted in the return of all the previously confiscated property of his father.Cf. Sayyid Radhi’ bar Sahil …, pp. 22-23.

Sayyid Radhi’s roles

1. Chieftainship

Chieftainship can be defined as the guardianship of Abu Talib’s descendants (the chieftainship of Talibites). Regarding chieftainship, the late ‘Allamah Amini writes in Al-Ghadir: Chieftainship was a position established to protect the dignity of families so that they would not engage in disputes with immoral people. Chieftainship was a responsibility assigned by the people who spontaneously surrounded a prominent, amiable, and virtuous scholar and acknowledged his guardianship and authority. After some time, in an effort to gain popularity, caliphs and kings began to order people to do so. According to Al-Ghadir, this position existed since the time of Imam al-Ridha (a) and the chief guardian was called ‘Chieftain of all Chieftains.’ Ma’mun gave this position to Imam Ridha (a), which seems to be the origin of the Shi‘a (‘Alawi) chieftainships. Because the people passionately loved Imam Ali and his family, Ma’mun feared an Alawite rebellion. In order to gain popularity in his political plots, Ma’mun called the Imam (a) ‘Chieftain of all Chieftains’ simultaneous with or after nominating the Imam (a) as his successor. Gradually, this position was established within the society, and during the reign of Mu’tadid ‘Abbasi (279 A.H), it was generally accepted in the public sphere. People began to consider it a socio-political principle to show respect to the Alawi community and to appoint a guardian for them, as they believed this position worthy for a renowned and honorable person.Cf. Commemoration of ‘Allamah Sharif Radhi, speech of Sayyid Jamal al-Din Parvar, a brief look at positions of ‘Allamah Sharif Radhi, p. 36. Since the Alawites rebelled many times in the past, they were escaping in some areas. The greatest among them would become their guardian, organizing and gathering them under an independent power rather than under the Caliph’s government, even though the government issued decrees for guardianship, possibly similar to a party which is opposed to the government but gains license for its activities from that same government. Caliphs were never satisfied with these circumstances although they were aware of the power of Alawite rebellions and their overthrow of the government in Mazandaran and Egypt in the 4th century. Since ignoring them could lead to destruction of the ‘Abbasids, the ‘Abbasid Caliphs inevitably accepted the chieftainship and appointed Sharif Radhi. After his father, Abu Ahmad, Sayyid Radhi accepted the chieftainship of Alawites in order to return their rights.Cf. Commemoration of ‘Allamah Sharif Radhi, speech of Sayyid Jamal al-Ddin Din Parvar, pp. 35 – 37. During his father’s life, Sayyid Radhi’s father held the position of vicegerent. However, towards the end of his father’s life and after he died, Sayyid Radhi held this position himself. Yafi’i wrote: His father was the guardian of the scholars (of religious sciences) and was an authority among them. He was the authority of the High Court and the supervisor of the Hajj pilgrimage. In 380 A.H, when Sayyid Radhi was at the age of 21 and his father was still alive, he took over these responsibilities under the approval of Ta’i ‘Abbasi.Ibn ‘Atabah, ‘Imad al-Talib fi Ansab Al-e Abi Talib, p. 193; cf. A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 9, p. 216; Majalis al-Mu’minin, vol. 1, p. 504; cf. Ibn Halkan, Wafayat al-A’yan, vol. 4, p. 414; Tha’alibi, Yatimat al-Dahr, vol.3, p. 132; cf. ‘Abdulhussein Amini, Al-Ghadir, vol. 4, p. 209. Quoted from Ibrahim Sayyid “Alawi, Ibid, pp. 118 – 120.

2. Head of the High Court of Justice

Head of the High Court of JusticeSince this position was the supreme position of the court, it demanded a person in charge who was not only a jurisprudent with authority, but was also the most knowledgeable jurisprudent who knew the different jurisprudential and legal rulings so he would be able to answer questions of the followers of different Islamic schools. ‘Abd al-Hussein Hilli, in his introduction to Haqa’iq al-Ta’wil, where he describes different dimensions of Sharif Radhi’s personality, wrote: “Caliphs and kings held levee two or three days a year in which they investigated complaints and directly listened to the words of (religious) authorities. After a while, due to social changes, a special court was established that continuously worked and was presided over by religious leaders, conscientious people, and those who have no grounds for slander.” This position was similar to the head of Supreme Court or High Court of cassation in today’s judicial system since those complaints that were investigated and whose sentences were passed by judges were to be resolved. Accordingly, the head of Supreme Court must be the most virtuous and learned judge and must be competent in the jurisprudences of all Islamic schools. (Haqa’iq al-Ta’wil, introduction 85, quoted from Sayyid Ibrahim, Sayyid ‘Alawi, Ibid, p. 118) The head of the High Court of Justice is a position comparable to that of a public prosecutor in today’s judicial system. Establishing such a position was necessary because each town in the ‘Abbasid territory had a judicial system that worked to resolve the complaints of its people. A judge held the foremost position of this system to pass verdicts, although several towns together also had a magistrate. If a case was beyond the capacity of all of them, then it was referred to the Central Court. The caliph himself made the final decision or would assign it to a religious jurist, the head of the High Court. Therefore, to achieve position of the head of the High Court, besides having interpretive reasoning (ijtihad) and expertise, one must have been a social figure, pious, and devout, all qualities of which Sayyid Radhi possessed.Cf. Sayyid Muhsin Amin, Ibid, p. 216; Ibrah1m Nijad, Ibid, pp. 34-35

3. Supervisor of the Hajj Pilgrimage

In addition to the above-mentioned positions, because of his superior status in scientific and spiritual matters, Shar1f Radhi took charge of looking into the problems of the Hajj pilgrims and supervising their affairs.After quoting from Mawardi (the author of al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyyah) about the position of authority of the High Court and the Supervisor of the Hajj pilgrimage, ‘Allamah Amini quotes from Iihaf al-Wara bi Akhbar al-Qura that Sharif Murtadha and Sharif Radhi made a pilgrimage to Mecca in 389 A.H. and Ibn al-Jirah Ta’i blocked their way. They paid nine thousands Dinars from their own possessions and unblocked the way for pilgrims (cf. al-Ghadir, vol. 4, p. 209, quoted from Sayyid ‘Alawi, Ibid, p. 119). Since hajj is a religious duty of all Muslims, it could not be exclusive to the ‘Abbas1d government. Because of the great number of pilgrims who lived in the Fatimid territories and other Shi‘ite governments, in addition to Muslims of the ‘Abbasid territory, gathered at the great congress of Hajj, it was necessary for the ‘Abbasid Caliph to appoint someone who was known throughout the Islamic world. Sayyid Radhi was a good choice, even though he lived in Baghdad and his political views radically differed with that of the ‘Abbasid’s. Another reason for this selection, as has been mentioned, was the existence of the Buyid’s Shi‘ite government in the capital city of the ‘Abbasids.

Sayyid Radhi’s Political Position and His Goals

Sayyid Radhi had an intimate relationship with Ta’i ‘Abbasi. Sayyid Radhi also had gained a pre-eminent position during the time of Qadir ‘Abbasi, though he never considered their caliphate legitimate. He considered the ‘Abbasid Caliphs as usurpers and expressed his disgust with the oppressive government of Qadir ‘Abbasi in his poems. Sayyid Radhi entered into politics with the purpose of administering justice and protecting the oppressed. He used these positions as a bridge to reach his ideals as defined in the following verses: Surely my hope is that you be a way for my will and guide me to my wishes. I only intend to do what I suppose you are its entry for I know that some suppositions are not wrong. His high positions never caused him to act arrogantly. When necessary, he would oppose the ‘Abbasid Caliphs openly, as evident in one of his famous poems that he addressed to Qadir ‘Abbasi: Why should I endure humiliation while I have a sharp sword and a high rank? Just like a wild bird, my dignity flees from lowliness and oppression. Should I endure humiliation in territory of my enemies while the caliph of Egypt is of the Alawites?Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin, A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 9, pp. 217-218. To fulfill his religious duties, Sayyid Radhi accepted these positions during the lives of his well-known father, Tahir dhul-Manaqib, his honorable brother, and his distinguished teachers, such as Shaykh Mufid - the most knowledgeable religious authority of his time - and other great leaders. In addition to holding these influential positions, he would teach, write, and compose fine books and poetry. In spite of his many occupations, Sayyid Radhi founded Dar ul-‘Ilm (House of Knowledge). He did so eighty years before the Ni'.am1yyah School of Baghdad, which was established by Nizam al-Mulk Tusi on a large sum of government money. It is likely that Nizam al-Mulk imitated the Dar al-‘Ilm founded by Sayyid Radhi and Sayyid Murtadha. Sayyid Radhi also made time to run Dar al-‘Ilm. He also wrote many great works, the most famous of which is Nahj al-Balaghah which he compiled six years before his death in 400 (A.H). He also wrote some other books, such as Khilaf al-Fuqaha’, on the judges of Baghdad, Haqa’iq al-Ta’wil fi Masabih al-Tanzil, Ma’ani al-Qur’an, Majazat al-Athar al-Nabawiyyah, a commentary on a book of his teacher, Abu Ali Farsi, and Khasa’is al-A’immah. He also made time for teaching. Sharif Radhi took up these positions to serve people and religion. Therefore, when the ‘Abbasid Caliph dismissed him from all three of his jobs because of the poem he composed praising the Fatimid Caliph, he proudly wrote the following ode: I was dismissed from these jobs, but I did not lose my dignity Nor my great status. And if I remain alive, you will see that it is if I am Several thousand people confronting you. His odes to the Caliphs were generally in response to their kindness. He never wrote poetry to flatter the Caliphs or for the purpose of using them to serve him. He addressed Muhallabi, the minister, in an ode saying: This is my praise through which I do not want to pile up wealth for my pride and dignity restrain me from praising another to achieve my goals. In another ode he wrote: I have been offered worldly goods many times but I declined each time.C.f. Sayyid ‘Alawi, Ibid, speech of Ali Davani, pp. 25 – 26. As mentioned before, when Sayyid Radhi took an extreme political position, referring to the caliphate of Egyptian ‘Alawites in his poem, he mentioned the difficult conditions of life under the power of the ‘Abbasid Caliph. When Qadir ‘Abbasi learned of it, he was extremely angry and called a meeting, to which he invited Sharif Radhi’s father and brother, Shaykh Mufid, and other Shi‘ites and Sunnis. He wanted Shariif Radhi to explain the cause of his hatred towards ‘Abbasid government, but Sayyid Radhi courageously declined the Caliph’s invitation and did not attend the meeting. In that meeting, Sayyid Radhi’s father tried to make it appear as though the poem did not belong to him, but the Caliph did not accept his excuses or explanations. The Caliph ordered someone to take notes of their meeting and in them the rulers of Egypt were cursed. The minutes were brought to Sayyid Radhi to sign, but he refused.Da’iratul Ma’arif al-Qarn al-‘Ishrin [Encyclopedia of the Twentieth Century], vol. 4, p. 253; c.f. A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 9, pp. 217 – 218. According to the author of Riyadh al-‘Ulama, Sayyid Radhi attended the meeting but refused to sign the minutes. Abu al-Hassan al-Sahabi and his son, Gharas al-Ni’mah Muhammad, wrote in their book of history that one day Qadir ‘Abbasi invited Abu Ahmad Tahir Musawi, and his son, Abu al-Qasim Murtadha, and a number of judges, witnesses, and jurisprudents, and held a meeting in which he read poems composed by Sayyid Radhi. Then he told Abu Ahmad, the chieftain: What offence has our government committed against your son, and what has the ruler of Egypt done to him that, despite appointing him as the chieftain, head of the High Court, and supervisor of the Hajj pilgrimage, he has composed such a poem? Qadir wanted him to compose a poem and deny his relationships with the Egyptians, but Sayyid Radhi refused. Qadir dismissed him from his chieftainship and appointed Muhammad ibn ‘Umar instead.Afandi, Riyadh; al-‘Ulama, vol. 5, p. 81. Sharif Radhi waited for an opportunity to eliminate despotic and tyrannical rulers with the aim of forming an Islamic government that would administer Imam Ali’s (a) justice. He expressed his revolutionary thoughts to his close friends, including Abu Ishaq Sabi, in private meetings through epical poems. Abu Ishaq admired them and advised him to take care of his family when he attained power. Through an ode, Sayyid assured him that he would fulfill this promise when he was successful.Sayyid Ali Khan Madan1 Sh1raz1, al-Darajat al-Rafi”ah, p. 471. Sayyid Radhi did not see any superiority of the Caliph over himself. In an ode he said to the arrogant and conceited Qadir: Beware the commander of the faithful! We both are descended from one holy family and we are both proud of them, so your dignity is not more than mine. Certainly there is no difference between us (since we both have great roots) except the Caliphate that you hold. You have worn the necklace of the Caliphate, while I have been deprived of it. This ode made the Caliph furious. However, because of the Sayyid’s popularity, the Caliph could not punish him.C.f. Ibid, p. 470; Tarikh Adab al-Lughah al-Arabiyyah, vol. 1, p. 567. Sayyid Radhi displayed hatred only towards the ‘Abbasid government and so asserted his superiority over the kings when able. In the meantime, he continuously reminded them of their usurpation of the Caliphate. One day, he was sitting by al-Ta’i Billah, ignoring the Caliph, and was drawing his beard up towards his nose. To boast about his great power, the Caliph said, “I think that you smell the Caliphate!” With utmost dignity and bravery, Sayyid Radhi replied, “Maybe I smell prophethood!”Ibid, p. 470. With this witty remark, not only did he question the political legitimacy of the ‘Abbasid caliphate, but he also reminded the Caliph that the Shi‘ites are those who hold the right to rule owing to prophecy and guardianship (wilayah), not him. In an inauguration of the Millenium conference held in 1986 to commemorate the 1000th demise of Sayyid Radhi, Hujjat al-Islam Hashimi Rafsanjani brought up a historical question: “How could someone who considered the caliphate of the ‘Abbasids as illegal be given the authority over three important governmental positions (chieftainship, supervision of the Hajj pilgrimage, and direction of the High Court)?” In response, disproving of any kind of compromise, Hujjat al-Islam Hashimi Rafsanjani described the special political conditions of the Islamic world and Shi‘ites’ rule. He clarified that the ‘Abbasid Caliphs were afraid of the Fatimid government in Egypt and the powerful Shi‘ite government of the Buyids, and the Abbasid Caliphs’ fear led to the support of intense political activities of Sayyid Radhi, his father, and his brother. He insisted that although Sayyid Radhi never accepted political compromise, the weak ‘Abbasid Caliphs had to offer these positions to him and his family. Twelver Shi‘ites, under the guidance of the Imams (a) and the struggles of their followers as well as the determination of Imam Hasan’s (a) children, the children of Zayd ibn Ali ibn al-Husayn and the Isma’ilites formed a very strong elite community. In scattered regions, particularly in north of Iran and Khorasan, they disseminated Islamic culture and gradually made their way into politics as well. Because Shi‘ite culture and politics dominated other cultures and politics at that time, Shi‘ism in Baghdad was under the protection of the Shi‘ite powers around the world. Thus, the Caliphs were obliged to protect them. At that time, the reign of the Fatimids in Egypt spread from the Atlantic Ocean in western Africa to the Red Sea in the East, including a part of the Arabian Peninsula. The entire southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea was controlled by the Fatimids, who rejected the ‘Abbasid Caliphs. The Twelver Shi‘ite Buyids had gathered in various regions of Iran, such as Fars and Isfahan. Their main settlement was in Baghdad, which was occupied by Mu’izz al-Dawlah 334 – 336 AH, and the ‘Abbasid Caliphs were their pawns. Sayyid Murtadha and Sayyid Radhi’s births in 355 AH and in 359 AH were many years after the Buyid entered Baghdad. Even at that time, their father, Abu Ahmad, was a highly respected chieftain. The Caliph had a formal position and collaborated with the Buyids. He played the role of a ruler, but had no power. Even Sayyid Radhi, as previously mentioned, got away with treating the Caliph harshly. The Sayyid would not accept the gifts sent by Fakhr al-Muluk, the minister of Baha’ al-Dawlah, even though he was a fellow Shi‘a.C.f. Yadname-ye ‘Allamah Sharif Radhi, pp. 10 – 13; Ibn Abi al-I:Iad1d Mu’tazil1 Mada’in1 in the preface of Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 1, writes about the great personality of Radhi, saying that: “He never accepted gifts or rewards from anyone, even from his father. This suffices to show us his dignity. Buyid kings made every effort to convince him to accept their gifts, but he always refused.” (C.f. Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 1, p. 31, quoted from Tustar1; Qamus al-Rijal, vol. 9, p. 228) At the birth of Sayyid Radhi’s child, minister Abu Muhammad Mahlabi sent him one thousand Dinars. The Sayyid rejected the gift, claiming that the minister knew he would not accept it from anyone.A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 9, p. 217; c.f. Sayyid Ali Khan, Ibid, p. 473. He was constantly stimulated by great ideas and although he would compose his thoughts into poetry, he never had the opportunity to make them a reality.

His Accomplishments

Sayyid Radhi and his brother, Sayyid Murtadha, were pupils of the great jurisprudent, Shaykh Muf1d, and reached a high level of religious authority. Although Sayyid Radhi’s fame from his poetry and literature have overshadowed his other scientific dimensions, as historians often introduce him as a master in poetry, his scientific position is comparable with it. He was a man of literature, a great exegete, and a prominent religious authority. According to some scholars: During the absence of Sayyid Radhi, Sayyid Murtadha would be the master of poets; and in absence of Sayyid Murtadha, Sayyid Radhi was the most knowledgeable and the best of jurists.A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 9, p. 218. Sayyid Radhi wrote a book on jurisprudence called Ta’liq ‘ala Khilaf al- Fuqaha’. His jurisprudential debates with scholars and jurisprudents of his time are also recorded in his works. Additionally, he was a judge and the head of the High Court. These jobs certainly require one to have ijtihad (interpretive reasoning) and proficiency in jurisprudence, indicating that Sayyid Radhi was a prominent jurist. Sayyid Radhi wrote three great commentaries of the Holy Qur’an: 1. Talkhis al-Bayan ‘an Majazat al-Qur’an: In this book he presented his studies of those Qur’anic verses whose understanding depended upon other Qur’anic and non-Qur’anic sciences. The subject of this commentary is figurative language in the Qur’an, i.e. those verses whose actual meaning is different from their literal meaning. 2. Haqa’iq al-Ta’wil fi Mutashabih al-Tanzil: Scholars believe it was very unique at its time. Unfortunately, only the fifth chapter of this commentary is available today.The author of A’yan al-Shi’ah wrote that in a book about his teacher, Ibn Junay once said: Radhi wrote a commentary on the Qur’an that was incomparable. 3. Tafsir al-Qur’an. Some of his other books are Khasa’is al-A’immah, Majazat Athar al- Nabawiyyah, and Ta’liqahComments. on Idab Abi Ali, which is a compilation of his complete poetical works. His most influential book that has been popular since it was published is Nahj al-Balaghah.C.f. A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 9, p. 218; c.f. al-Darajat al-Rafi’ah, p. 467. In the History of Baghdad, Khatib Baghdadi wrote: He was the brother of Abu al-Qasim, known as Murtadha. He was a man of literature and knowledge. Ahmad ibn Rub reported that when Radhi entered old age he decided to memorize the Qur’an and he did so within a short time. He also mentioned that Radhi wrote some commentaries on the Qur’an that are unmatched in its expertise.History of Baghdad, vol. 2, p. 246, quoted from Tustar1, Ibid.

His Teachers

1. Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Ahmad Tabari (d. 393 AH): A great jurisprudent and a distinguished writer who taught Sayyid Radhi the Qur’an at an early age. 2. Abu Ali Farsi (d. 377 AH): He was famous in science and literature, and the leading expert in Arabic syntax during his time. 3. Abu Sa’id Sirafi (d. 368 AH): A great scientist, famous grammarian, and a judge in Baghdad. 4. Judge ‘Abd al-Jabbar Baghdadi: A specialist in Hadith sciences and literature. 5. ‘Abd al-Rahim Nabatah (d. 374 AH): A famous Shi‘ite propagator known as Khatib Mizri [Egyptian preacher]. Sayyid learned some poetic structures from him. 6. Abu Muhammad ‘Abdullah ibn Muhammad Asadi (d. 405 AH): An educated and virtuous judge. 7. Abu al-Fati; ‘Uthman ibn Junay (d. 392 AH): An expert in grammar and syntax. 8. Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn ‘Isa (d. 402 AH): Specialized in semantics, literature, and poetry. 9. Abu Hafs ‘Umar ibn Ibrah1m ibn Ahmad Alkanani: A transmitter of hadith. 10. Abu al-Qasim ‘Isa ibn Ali ibn ‘Isa ibn Dawud ibn Jarral; (d. 350): A lexicographer, a prominent and authentic transmitter of hadith. 11. Abu ‘Abdullah Marzbani (d. 384 AH): A famous transmitter of hadith whom Shaykh Saduq trusted. 12. Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Musa Kharazmi (d. 403 AH): A great jurisprudent and hadith scholar. 13. Abu Muhammad Harun Tal’ukbura (d. 385 AH): An outstanding and brilliant jurisprudent. 14. Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Nu’man, known as Shaykh Mufid (d. 413 AH).

His Students

Among Sayyid Radhi’s students were great scholars, such as: Sayyid Abu ‘Abdullah Jurjani, Shaykh Muhammad Halawati, Shaykh Ja’far Duriyasti (d. 473 AH), Ahmad ibn Ali ibn Qudamah known as ibn Qudamah (d. 486 AH), Abu al-Hasan Hashimi, Mufid Niyshaburi (d. 445 AH), Abu Bakr Niyshaburi, Judge Abu Bakr ‘Ukbura, et al.C.f. A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 9, p. 217; Mafakhir-e Islam, vol. 3, pp. 297 – 298; Yadname-ye “Allamah Sharif Radhi, article of Ali Davani, p. 31; and Ibrahim Nijad, Ibid, pp. 50 – 55.


Although Sayyid Radhi had a short life, his services were numerous. He passed away in 406 AH when his brother Sayyid Murtadha was still alive. His death left the Muslim community in grief, as seven years earlier his teacher, Shaykh Mufid, had also passed away. Two years after his demise, Shaykh at-Ta’ifah from Khurasan went to Baghdad.


The accomplishments of the brilliant and highly distinguished scholar and activist continue to flourish years after his death. Sayyid Radhi took on the roles of being a magistrate, establishing educational institutes, leading the Shi‘ites, supervising the Hajj pilgrimage, composing persuasive poems, compiling Nahj ul-Balaghah, and writing commentaries of the Holy Qur’an. He took up these positions to serve the people and protect the oppressed with the aim of forming an Islamic government that would administer Imam Ali’s justice. These positions, which were a bridge to reach his divine goals, rendered Sayyid Radhi a distinguished Shi‘a scholar.