Prominent figures mentioned in the book have been listed in alphabetical order, according to the name by which they are best known. Where years are given according to the Islamic lunar calendar, ‘BH’ refers to the number of years before the hijrah. Corresponding years in the Gregorian calendar have been given after the stroke.
ABŪ BAKR IBN ABĪ QUḤĀFAH (c. 50 BH - 13 AH /573-634) The Prophet’s father-in-law, an early convert to Islam, and the first caliph after the Prophet’s death; known as ‘al-Ṣiddīq’ (most truthful). He is buried in Medina.
ABŪ ḤANĪFAH, NU‘MĀN IBN THĀBIT (80- 150/699-767 ) One of the Imams of the four major Sunni schools of law. He was among the Followers (tābi’īn), and attended the lectures of Imam Ṣādiq for two years. His school is considered more radical in legal injunctions than the other three schools.
ABŪ JAHL (d. 2/624) ‘Amr ibn Hishām, known as Abu al-Ḥakam before Islam, but the Muslims titled him Abū Jahl (‘Father of Ignorance’) for his utmost enmity and cruelty against them. He was killed in the Battle of Badr.
‘ALÏ IBN ABĪ ṬĀLIB (c. 23 BH - 40 AH /600-61) The cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet, the first Imam of the Shi’a, and the fourth caliph, who was born in the Ka’bah. The Shi’a use the title Amīr al-Mu’minīn (Commander of the Faithful) exclusively for him. Nahj al-Balāghah is a collection of his sermons, letters, and sayings. He is buried in Najaf.
‘ALÏ IBN AL-ḤUSAYN AL-SAJJĀD (38- 95/659-713) The fourth Imam of the Shi’a; the only adult male survivor of the battle on ‘Ashūrā’; known for the extent of his worship and prayer. Al-Ṣaḥīfah al-Sajjādiyyah is a collection of his supplications, and Risālat al-Ḥuqūq is an epistle of his description of one’s duties in various regards. He is buried in Medina.
‘ALĪ IBN JA‘FAR (130-220/748-835) The youngest son of the sixth Imam, a reliable transmitter of narrations, and a learned and pious saint to the Shi’a. He saw at least four of the Imams, starting from his father. He is buried in ‘Arīḍ near Medina.
‘ALÏ IBN MŪSĀ AL-RIḌĀ (148-203/765-818) The eighth Imam of the Shi’a. He was summoned by al-Ma’mūn (Abbasid caliph) from Medina to Marw by force to be announced as the caliph’s successor, but al-Ma’mūn himself poisoned him. He is buried in Mashhad.
‘ĀMILĪ, BAHĀ‘ AL-DĪN MUḤAMMAD (953-1031/1547-1621) Known as Shaykh Bahā’ī, and a master of a wide range of disciplines, he was an influential scholar in establishing Shī’ism as the official religion under the Safavid rule in Persia. He has poems in both Arabic and Persian, and among his many works are Miftāḥ al-Falāḥ, Kashkūl, and Jāmi’-i ‘Abbāsī. He is buried in Mashhad.
AMĪNĪ, ‘ABD AL-ḤUSAYN (1320- 90/1902- 70) A scholar who bore much hardship in order to compose al-Ghadīr fī al-Kitāb wa al-Sunnah (11 vols.) based on narrations reported by Sunni authorities. The book addresses many points of disagreements between Shi’a and Sunni Muslims. He is buried in Najaf.
ĀMULĪ, MUḤAMMAD TAQĪ (1304 -91/ 1887- 1971) A student of Mr Qāḍī in ethics and of Ayatollah Nā’īnī in law; and a Source of Emulation (marja’) in Tehran. He wrote commentaries on Sabzivārī’s Manẓūmah and Ibn Sīnā’s al-Ishārāt wa al-Tanbīhāt.
ANṢĀRĪ, SHAYKH MURTAḌĀ (1214 - 81/1799-1864) A prominent Shi’a scholar, who was unanimously chosen as the Source of Emulation after the death of Ṣāḥib al-Jawāhir. He was a student of Mullā Aḥmad Narāqī and Sayyid ‘Ālī Shūshtarī in ethics.
ĀQĀ BUZURG ṬIHRĀNĪ, MUḤAMMAD MUḤSIN (1293-1389/1875-1970) The author of two major books of reference: al-Dharī’ah ilā Taṣānīf al-Shī’ah, which is an encyclopedia of Shi’a books (26 vols.), and Ṭabaqāt A’lām al-Shī’ah, which is an encyclopedia of Shi’a scholars (20 vols.). He is buried in Najaf.
ĀSHTIYĀNĪ, MAHDĪ (1306-72/1889-1953) An expert of a variety of traditional and modern sciences, most notably philosophy. He widely travelled abroad, and has glosses on Sabzivārī’s Manẓūmah. He is buried in Qum.
‘ĀṢIM IBN ABĪ AL-NAJŪD (d. 127/745) One of the Followers (tābi’īn) and the narrator of the most authentic recitation of the Qur’an.
BĀDKŪBAH‘Ī, SAYYID ḤUSAYN (1293-1358/ 1876-1939) Prominent philosopher in Najaf and the teacher of MuÎammad Taqī Àmulī, ‘Allāmah, and his brother. He is buried in Najaf.
BAHMANYĀR, ABŪ AL-ḤASAN (d. 458/1067) A convert to Islam, a Peripatetic philosopher, and Ibn Sīnā’s student.
BAḤR AL-’ULŪM, SAYYID MAHDĪ (1155-1212/ 1742-97) The most prominent Shi’a scholar of his time, highly spiritual and extremely learned. He was the head of the ḥawzah of Najaf, where he passed away. He is famous for having met Imam Mahdī several times.
BALĀGHĪ NAJAFĪ, JAWĀD (1282-1352/1865 - 1933) An eloquent scholar who dedicated his life to defending Islam and Shī’ism against the doubts and questions raised by other sects and religions. Among his books are al-Tawḥīd wa al-Tathlīth (Unity and the Trinity), al-Raḥlah al-Madrasiyyah wa al-Madrasah al-Sayyārah fī Nahj al-Hudā on the Old and New Testaments (3 vols.), and al-Radd ‘alā al-Wahhābiyyah (Refuting Wahhābism). He is buried in Najaf.
BĀYAZĪD BASṬĀMĪ (188-261/804-74) A great Sufi master, known as the Sultan of the Mystics, credited with founding the school of intoxication (sukr) in Sufism. He is buried in Basṭām.
BIHĀRĪ, MUḤAMMAD (d. 1325/1907) An intimate student of Mullā Ḥusayn-Qulī Hamadānī in mysticism. He is the author of Tadhkirat al- Muttaqīn (in Persian), a collection of the speeches and letters concerning spiritual wayfaring. He is buried in Bihār near Hamadān.
BURŪJIRDÏ, ‘ALÏ MUḤAMMAD (1312-95/ 1895-1975) A full-fledged jurist who was transformed when he became a student of the late Qāḍī, whereby he adopted silence and refused to become a Source of Emulation. He lived in simplicity and piety, and is buried in Burūjird.
BURŪJIRDÏ, SAYYID ḤUSAYN (1292-1383 /1875-1963) He studied in Iṣfahān and Najaf and was unanimously accepted as the Source of Emulation by the Shi’a. He was a significant figure in expanding the ḥawzah of Qum. A collection of Shi’a narrations was composed under his supervision, titled Jāmi’ Aḥādīth al-Shī’ah (26 vols.). He is buried in Qum.
CORBIN, HENRY (1903-78) A French thinker who introduced Shī’ism and later Islamic philosophy to the West. He had many interviews with ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī over several years.
DHI‘LAB AL-YAMĀNĪ (c. 1st/7th century) One of Imam ‘Alī’s companions; known for his courage and eloquence.
DHŪ AL-QARNAYN A righteous king of yore, whose story has been mentioned in the Quran (18:83-98).
FĀRĀBĪ, ABŪ NAṢR (257-339/871-950) Muslim Peripatetic philosopher and logician, known as the Second Teacher (second to Aristotle). He was also a political philosopher, following Plato’s Republic. He is buried in Damascus.
FĀṬIMAH BINT ASAD Imam ‘Alī’s mother and the Prophet’s guardian for several years. She was an early Muslim, migrated to Medina, and died there before the Prophet.
FĀṬIMAH AL-MA’ṢŪMAH (173-201/ 790-816) The daughter of the seventh Imam of the Shi’a, Mūsā Kāẓim. The city and the ḥawzah of Qum are centred around her mausoleum.
FĀṬIMAH AL-ZAHRĀ‘ (c. 8 BH-11 AH /615-32) The Prophet’s daughter, Imam ‘Alī’s wife, and one of the fourteen Infallibles (ma’ṣūmīn) in Shī’ism. She is buried in Medina.
FAYḌ AL-KĀSHĀNĪ, MUḤAMMAD IBN MURTAḌĀ (1007- 91/1598-1680) Known as Mullā Muḥsin; a Shi’a scholar who had mastered law, philosophy, and mysticism. He was Mullā Ṣadrā’s son-in-law and his student in philosophy. He has many works in various fields like tafsīr, ḥadīth, and ethics; his works include Ṣāfī, Aṣfī, Wāfī, and Maḥajjat al- Bayḍā’, not to mention his Persian poetry. He is buried in Kashan.
GHARAWĪ IṢFAHĀNĪ, MUḤAMMAD ḤUSAYN (1296-1361/1878-1942) Also known as Kumpānī; Shi’a scholar and philosopher. He was ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī’s teacher of philosophy in Najaf, where he is buried.
GULPĀYIGĀNĪ, SAYYID MUḤAMMAD RIḌĀ (1316-1414 /1898-1993) Shi’a scholar and Source of Emulation, who sponsored the building of many schools, mosques, and hospitals. He perfomed the funeral prayer of ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī. He is buried in Qum.
ḤABBŪBĪ, SAYYID MUḤAMMAD SA‘ĪD (1266-1333/1850-1915) One of the top students of Mullā Ḥusayn-Qulī Hamadānī in mysticism; also an adept poet and scholar. He called for holy war against the British army as it invaded Iraq. He is buried in Najaf.
ḤĀFIẒ SHĪRĀZĪ, KHWĀJAH SHAMS AL-DĪN MUḤAMMAD (726-92/1317- 92) A first-class Persian poet and Sufi critic. His Dīvān is also used in performing divinations and fortune-telling. He is buried in Shīrāz.
HAMADĀNĪ DARJAZĪNĪ, ĀKHŪND MULLĀ ḤUSAYN-QULĪ (1239-1311/1824-94) Shi’a scholar and a matchless spiritual master, who trained many individuals such as Mīrzā Jawād Āqā Malikī Tabrīzī, Sayyid Aḥmad Karbalā’ī and Shaykh Muḥammad Bihārī. He studied philosophy under Ḥājj Mullā Hādī Sabzivārī, and was a student of Sayyid ‘Alī Shushtarī in ethics. He is buried in Karbalā’.
ḤASAN IBN ‘ALĪ (3-50/625-70) The Prophet’s grandson and the second Imam of the Shi’a, known as Mujtabā. He was forced into accepting Mu’āwiyah’s caliphate after the assassination of his father, Imām ‘Alī. He is buried in Medina.
HISHĀM IBN AL-ḤAKAM (d. c. 179/795 or 199/814) An intimate companion of the Sixth and Seventh Imams. He is known for his mastery in polemics and debates in defending Shī’ism.
ḤUJJAT KŪH-KAMARĪ, SAYYID MUḤAMMAD (1310-72/1893-1953) Shi’a scholar and ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī’s teacher of rijāl (science of narrators) in Najaf. He founded the famous Ḥujjatiyyah School in Qum, and was an influential figure in establishing and supporting the ḥawzah there, where he is buried.
ḤURR AL-‘ĀMILĪ (1033-1104/1624-93) Shi’a jurist and traditionalist. Among his notable works are Wasā’il al-Shī’ah, Ithbāt al-Hudāh, and Jawāhir al-Saniyyah fī Aḥādīth al-Qudsiyyah. He is buried in Mashhad.
ḤUSAYN IBN ‘ALĪ (4-61/626-80) The grandson of the Prophet and third Imam of the Shi’a. He rose against the Umayyad rule and was killed in Karbalā’, where he is buried. The day of his death is known as ‘Āshūrā’ (the tenth of Muḥarram), and the Shi’a mourn and lament its anniversary every year.
BN ‘ABBĀS, ‘ABDULLĀH (c.3 BH - 68 AH/618-87) The cousin and companion of the Prophet and Imam ‘Alī. He is known as the ‘exegete’ (mufassir) of the Qur’an. He died and is buried in Ṭā’if.
IBN AL-‘ARABĪ, MUḤYI AL-DĪN (560-638/1165-1240) The most prominent Sufi thinker, known as the Greatest Master (Shaykh al-Akbar). He opened up new frontiers to ‘irfān and Sufism by elaborating on topics such as unity of being, the perfect man, and the imaginal world. He has often been charged with heresy by various groups. Among his many works are Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam and Futūḥāt al-Makkiyyah. He is buried in Damascus.
IBN AL-FĀRIḌ, ‘UMAR (576- 632/1181-1235) Born, lived, and buried in Egypt; one of the most eminent Arab poet-mystics. His elegant poems are often used in teaching Sufism.
IBN MAS‘ŪD, ‘ABDULLĀH (d. c. 32/653) The sixth person who embraced Islam and a recorder and reciter of the Qur’an. His objections to the third caliph lead to his death. He is buried in Medina.
IBN MISKAWAYH, AḤMAD IBN MUḤAMMAD (320- 421/932-1030) Prominent Muslim philosopher and physician; esteemed by the Buyid rulers; and author of many works in mathematics, natural sciences and metaphysics. He is famous for his work on ethics, Ṭahārat al-A’rāq. He is buried in Iṣfahān.
IBN RUSHD (AVERROES), MUḤAMMAD IBN AḤMAD (520-95/1126-98) Muslim Peripatetic philosopher, who had the biggest impact in medieval Europe as the commentator and transmitter of Aristotle’s thoughts. He is buried in Cordoba.
IBN SĪNĀ (AVICENNA), ABŪ ‘AL ḤUSAYN (363-428/974-1037) Prominent Muslim philosopher; known as Shaykh al-Ra’īs; mastered all sciences of his time by the age of eighteen; lived a turbulent life as a vizier and physician of the court; most notable for his Shifā’ and Ishārat wa al-Tanbīhāt in philosophy, and Qānūn in medicine. He is buried in Hamadān.
IBN ṬĀWŪS, SAYYID ‘ALĪ (589-664/ 1193-1266) Shi’a scholar and mystic, famous for having met with Imam Mahdī several times. He has many works such as Iqbāl al-A’māl, al-Malhūf, Falāḥ al-Sā’il and al-Yaqīn. He is buried in Ḥillah.
IBN TURKAH, ṢĀ‘IN AL-DĪN (771-835 /1368-1432 ) Muslim philosopher, who blended Peripatetic philosophy with the teachings of the schools of illumination and Ibn al-’Arabī in Shi’a esotericism. He is most famous for his Tamhīd al-Qawā’id, a commentary on his grandfather’s Qawā’id al-Tawḥīd. He is buried in Herat.
IBN UMM MAKTŪM, ‘ABDULLĀH (c. 1st/7th century) A blind, poor, but sincere companion of the Prophet, and a caller of prayer (mu’adhdhin). The Prophet left him in charge in Medina on several battles.
IBRĀHĪM IBN MUḤAMMAD (8-10/630-631) The Prophet’s son from Māriyah Qibṭiyyah (Mary the Copt). His early death was a great sorrow for the Prophet. He is buried in Medina.
IṢFAHĀNĪ, SAYYID ABŪ AL-ḤASAN (1284-1365/1867-1946) Shi’a scholar, the only major Source of Emulation (marja’) after Ayatollah N’āīnī’s death, and ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī’s teacher in fiqh and uṣūl in Najaf. He is buried in Najaf.
IZUTSU, TOSHIHIKO (1914-93) Japanese scholar of Islamic studies and the first translator of the Holy Qur’an from Arabic to Japanese. He met ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī during his career at the Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy in Tehran. He has many publications such as Sufism and Taoism: A Comparative Study of Key Philosophical Concepts, Toward a Philosophy of Zen Buddhism, and the English translation of The Metaphysics of Sabzavari (in collaboration with Mehdi Mohaghegh).
JĀBIR IBN ‘ABDULLĀH AL-ANṢĀRĪ (c. 16 BH - 78 AH/607-97) A companion of the Prophet, who lived long enough to see up to the fifth Imam. He was an intimate follower of the Household of the Prophet.
JA‘FAR IBN MUḤAMMAD AL-ṢĀDIQ (80-148 / 699-765) The sixth Imam of the Shi’a, and a descendant of Abū Bakr from the mother’s side. He witnessed the fall of the Umayyad rule and the rise of the Abbasids to power. The socio-political conditions of his time gave him the opportunity to educate many students in a range of Islamic sciences. He is buried in Medina.
JAHĀNGĪR KHĀN QASHQĀ’Ī (1243-1328/1827-1910) An expert of philosophy and theology in Iṣfahān, and a teacher of Ayatollahs Burūjirdī, Nā’īnī, and Gulpāyigānī.
JĀMĪ, NŪR AL-DĪN ‘ABD AL-RAḤMĀN (817-98/1414-92) A prominent Sufi of the Naqshbandi order, an excellent Persian poet, and a commentator of Ibn al-’Arabī. Among his many works are Nafaḥāt al-Uns, Lawā’iḥ, and Asha’at al-Lama’āt (a commentary on ‘Irāqī’s Lama’āt). He is buried in Herat.
JĀMĪ (AL-NĀMAQĪ), ABŪ NAṢR AḤMAD (440-536/1048-1141) Known as Shaykh al-Islam and Zhandah Pīl; a great Sufi master and Persian poet. He has many books, mainly in Persian, such as Uns al-Tā’ibīn, Sirāj al-Sā’irīn, and Miftāḥ al-Najāh. He is buried in Turbat-i Jām.
JAMĪL IBN DARRĀJ (2nd/8th century) A close companion of the Sixth and Seventh Imams, who has been highly praised by both Imams. The Shi’a view him among the most reliable transmitter of narrations.
JĪLĪ, ‘ABD AL-KARĪM (767-826/1365-1423 ) A Sufi master and an exponent of Ibn al-’Arabī. Among his works are al-Insān al-Kāmil and al-Kahf wa al-Raqīm.
KARBALĀ‘Ī ṬIHRĀNĪ, SAYYID AḤMAD (d. 1332/1914) A student of Mullā Ḥusayn-Qulī Hamadānī and the spiritual guide and master of Sayyid ‘Alī Qāḍī. He is buried in Najaf.
KASHMĪRĪ, AḤMAD A close student of the late Qāḍī. He became infected with tuberculosis, and thus Mr Qāḍī ordered him to return to Kashmīr, where he died.
KASHMĪRĪ, SAYYID ḤASAN A student of the late Qāḍī who resumed Sayyid Aḥmad Karbalā’ī’s discourses with Muḥammad Ḥusayn Gharawī Iṣfahānī and finally convinced him that the philosophers’ gradation of being should be forsaken for the gnostics’ unity of being.
KASHMĪRĪ, SAYYID MURTAḌĀ (1268-1323/1852-1905) Shi’a scholar in a variety of fields, highly spiritual, and the teacher of Āqā Buzurg Ṭihrānī. He is buried in Karbalā’.
KISĀ‘Ī, ‘ALĪ IBN ḤAMZAH (d. 189/805) Arabic linguist and one of the seven authorities in recitation of the Qur’ān. He is the founder of the Kūfī School of naḥw, and author of many works on the Qur’ān and naḥw (Arabic syntax). He is buried in Rayy.
KHIḌR An ancient prophet who is believed to be living until the end of the world. He has particularly become a symbol of esoteric knowledge and guidance in Sufism.
KHŪNSĀRĪ, SAYYID ABŪ AL-QĀSIM (d. 1380/1960) ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī’s teacher of mathematics in Najaf.
KHŪNSĀRĪ, SAYYID MUḤAMMAD TAQĪ (1305-71/1888-1952) Shi’a scholar and Source of Emulation. He was an influential figure in establishing and supporting the ḥawzah of Qum, where he taught.
MA‘ARRĪ, ABŪ AL-‘ALĀ’ AḤMAD IBN ‘ABDULLĀH (363-449/973-1057) An expert of the Arabic literature and highly intellectual. He taught many students, and was a prolific writer despite being blind since childhood. He was opposed to slaughtering animals and thus did not eat meat for forty-five years. He was also against marriage and composed a line to be written on his gravestone: ‘This is my father’s crime against me, but I committed not this crime against anyone.’
MAHDĪ, AL-ḤUJJAT IBN AL-ḤASAN (b. 255 / 869) The twelfth and last Imam of the Shi’a; named after the Prophet; his sobriquets include Ḥujjat, Mahdī and Imam al-Zamān (Leader of the Time). He became Imam at age five when his father passed away, and was accessible through four regents until 329/941. Since then he has been in the Greater Occultation (al-ghaybat al-kubrā). According to Shī’ism, he will appear some day and establish justice all over the world.
MAJLISĪ, MUḤAMMAD BĀQIR (1037-1111/ 1628-1700) Shi’a scholar and the head of all religious affairs in Persia at his time. Best known for Biḥār al-Anwār (110 vols.); but he has many other works, such as Ḥilyat al-Muttaqīn and Ḥaqq al-Yaqīn in Persian. He was born and buried in Iṣfahān.
MALIKĪ TABRĪZĪ, MĪRZĀ JAWĀD ĀQĀ (d. 1343/1925) A student of Mullā Ḥusayn-Qulī Hamadānī, teacher of Ayatollah Khomeini in ethics, and the author of several books including al-Murāqibāt, Risālah-yi Liqā’ Allāh, and Asrār al-Ṣalāh. He is buried in Qum.
MĀMAQĀNĪ, ‘ABDULLĀH (1290-1351/1873-1932) A great Shi’a scholar of knowledge and piety. He is author of many works, most notably Tanqīḥ al-Maqāl fī Aḥwāl al-Rijāl, which is the most comprehensive work on Shi’a rijāl (science of narrators).
MA‘MŪN, ‘ABDULLĀH IBN HĀRŪN (170-218/786-833) The seventh Abbasid caliph who inherited the vast empire of his father after killing his older brother, Amīn. He was a highly intellectual and learned caliph, and endorsed scientific discussions and activities.
MARANDĪ, ‘ALĪ AKBAR (1314-1414/1897-94) A student of the late Qāḍī and Ayatollahs Nā’īnī, Gharawī Iṣfahānī, and Bādkūbah’ī. He was an active supporter of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
MASQAṬĪ (RAḌAWĪ IṢFAHĀNĪ), SAYYID ḤASAN (1297-1350/1880-1931) A student of the late Qāḍī. He used to be dressed in iḥrām (two pieces of unstitched cloth) toward the end of his life, and died while in prostration. He is buried in Hyderabad.
MA‘ṢŪM ‘ALĪ SHĀH, MUḤAMMAD (1270-1344/ 1853-1926) A Shi’a Ni’matullāhī Sufi and the author of Ṭarā’iq al-Ḥaqā’iq (3 vols.), which is an encyclopaedia of Sufi figures.
MĪLĀNĪ, SAYYID MUḤAMMAD HĀDĪ (1313- 95/1895-1975) Shi’a scholar and Source of Emulation, for whom ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī had a special regard. After studying and teaching in Najaf and Karbalā’, he settled in Mashhad, where he used to meet with ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī during the summer. He is buried in Mashhad.
MUFÏD, MUḤAMMAD IBN MUḤAMMAD (336-413/ 948-1022) Prominent Shi’a jurist and theologian; an expert in debates, and the teacher of Sayyid Murtaḍā and Shaykh Ṭūsī. Among his many works are al-Irshād (2 vols.), al-Amālī, and al-Jamal. He is buried in Kāẓimayn.
MUGHNIYYAH, MUḤAMMAD JAWĀD (1322-1400/1904-79) A pious scholar and defender of Islam, and the Shi’a judge of Beirut for a while. Among his many works are Fī Ẓilāl Nahj al-Balāghah (4 vols.) and Tafsīr al-Kāshif (7 vols.). He is buried in Najaf.
MUḤAMMAD IBN ‘ALĪ AL-BĀQIR (57-114/676-733) The fifth Imam of the Shi’a, and the son of Imam Ḥasan’s daughter. The declining Umayyad rule gave him the opportunity to revive and spread the Islamic sciences and set the grounds for his son, Ja’far. He is buried in Medina.
MUḤAMMAD IBN ‘ALÏ AL-TAQĪ AL-JAWĀD (195-220/811-835) The ninth Imam of the Shi’a, who became Imam at age seven, yet he was the leading figure of his time in Islamic sciences. Ma’mūn (Abbasid caliph) gave him his daughter in marriage, through whom the Imam was later poisoned by the instigation of a later Abbasid caliph, Mu’taṣim. He is buried in Kāẓimayn.
MURTAḌĀ MŪSAWĪ, SAYYID (SHARĪF) ‘ALĪ IBN AL-ḤUSAYN (355-436/966 -1044) Prominent Shi’a scholar in intellectual and transmitted sciences; also known as ‘Alam al-Hudā (‘Emblem of Guidance’); and the younger brother of Sayyid (Sharīf) al-Raḍī, the compiler of Nahj al-Balāghah. He has many works, including Amālī, al-Intiṣār, and Tanzīh al-Anbiyā’. He is buried in Karbalā’.
MŪSĀ IBN JA‘FAR AL-KĀẒIM (128-183/745-99) The seventh Imam of the Shi’a. He was imprisoned by the Abbasid ruler, Hārūn, for several years until his death. He is buried in Kāẓimayn.
MUṬAHHARĪ, MURTAḌĀ (1338-99/1920-1979) A student of ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī and Ayatollah Khomeini; teacher of Islamic philosophy and theology at the ḥawzah of Qum and the University of Tehran; and a prolific writer on a variety of issues. He was assassinated shortly after the Islamic Revolution, in which he was an active figure. He is buried in Qum.
NĀ‘ĪNĪ, MUḤAMMAD ḤUSAYN (1276-1355/1860-1936) Shi’a scholar and Source of Emulation (marja’), and ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī’s teacher in fiqh and uṣūl in Najaf, where he is buried.
NAKHJAWĀNĪ, IMĀM-QULĪ Shi’a mystic, and the teacher of Mīrzā Muḥammad Ḥasan Shīrāzī and Mr Qāḍī’s father in ethics.
NARĀQĪ, MULLĀ MAHDĪ (1128-1209/1716-95) Shi’a scholar and prolific writer in law, mathematics, philosophy, theology, and ethics. He is a grandfather of the author, and his Jāmi’ al-Sa’ādāt (3 vols.) in ethics is particularly notable. He is buried in Najaf.
QĀḌĪ, SAYYID ‘ALĪ (1282-1366/1866-1947) Shi’a scholar in many fields, but especially notable as a Shi’a mystical (Sufi) master. He trained many students including ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī and his brother, and Sayyid Hāshim Ḥaddād. He resided in Najaf, where he is buried now.
QĀḌĪ, SAYYID ḤUSAYN Shi’a scholar, a student of Mīrzā Muḥammad Ḥasan Shīrāzī, and the father of Sayyid ‘Alī Qāḍī.
QASSĀM, ‘ALĪ A student of the late Qāḍī, with whom ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī studied Arabic literature.
QAZWĪNĪ, SAYYID QURAYSH Shi’a mystic, and the teacher of Imam Qulī Nakhjawānī in ethics.
QŪCHĀNĪ (HĀTIF), ‘ABBĀS (d. 1411/1991) A student and appointed successor of the late Qāḍī in Najaf, with whom the author studied ethics during his years of study there.
RAḌĪ, SAYYID (SHARĪF) MUḤAMMAD IBN AL-ḤUSAYN (359-406/970-1015) Shi’a scholar, the compiler of Nahj al-Balāghah, and himself a master of Arabic literature. He was the older brother of Sayyid al-Murtaḍā. He is buried in Karbalā’.
RŪMĪ , MAWLĀNĀ JALĀL AL-DĪN MUḤAMMAD BALKHĪ (604 -72/1205-73) A first-class Sufi and a productive Persian poet. He is best known for his Mathnawī and Divān-i Kabīr (Shams), which have been translated into many languages and are widely known in the West. He is buried in Konya (Qūniyah).
SABZIVĀRĪ, (ḤĀJĪ) MULLĀ HĀDĪ (1212-89 /1797-1872) The most prominent philosopher after Mullā Ṣadrā and a follower of his school. He is also notable for his asceticism and also for his elegant poetry. He has glosses on many works of Mullā Ṣadrā and on Rūmī’s Mathnawī, though he is most famous for his Ghurar al-Farā’id, known as the Manẓūmah. He is buried in Sabzivār.
SA‘D IBN ‘UBĀDAH (d. 11/632 or 15/636 ) The head of Khazraj (one of the two major tribes in Medina), and an active supporter of Islam after the Prophet’s migration. He was known for his generosity, for feeding others, and for sheltering the refugees. He refused to pay allegiance to the first two caliphs after the Prophet’s death. Thus, he was obliged to leave Medina for Syria, where he was mysteriously killed.
SA‘DĪ SHĪRĀZĪ, MUṢLIḤ AL-DĪN (c. 606-90/1209-91) The fluent master of Persian poetry who widely travelled and is best known for his Gulistān and Būstān. He is buried in Shīrāz.
ṢADR, SAYYID MŪSĀ (1347-/1929- ) Shi’a scholar, a student of ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī in Qum, fellow student of the author, and an active Muslim leader in Lebanon. He has been missing since he was taken captive in his trip to Libya in 1398/1978.
SALMĀN AL FĀRSĪ (d. 35/656) A Persian sage who left his homeland in search of the Noble Prophet. He was captured and sold as a slave, but after much hardship met the Prophet, and became a close companion of the Prophet and later Imam ‘Alī. He was honoured by the ḥadīth, ‘Salmān is one of us Members of the Household [Ahl al-Bayt].’ He is buried in Madā’in.
SHARABYĀNĪ, MUḤAMMAD (1248-1322/1832-1904) Shi’a scholar and Source of Emulation, and a student of Shaykh Anṣārī. Died 17 Ramadan 1322 AH. He is buried in Najaf.
SHĪRĀZĪ, MĪRZĀ SAYYID MUḤAMMAD ḤASAN (1230-1312/1815-95) Shi’a scholar and Source of Emulation; teacher of Sayyid Ḥusayn Qāḍī; famous for ruling the trade and usage of tobacco unlawful for the Iranians, as a move against the government’s handing over the entire industry to a foreign company.
SHĪRĀZĪ, ṢADR AL-DĪN MUḤAMMAD (979-1050/ 571-1641) Known as Ṣadr al-Muta’allihīn and Mullā Ṣadrā; a reviver of Islamic philosophy and the founder of transcendent theosophy (al-ḥikmat al-muta’āliyah). He is known for doctrines such as the principality, gradation and unity of being, transubstantial motion, and the unity of the knower and the known. Among his works are al-Asfār al-Arba’ah (4 vols.), al-Ḥikmat al- ‘Arshiyyah, al-Mabda’ wa al-Ma’ād, Kitāb al-Mashā’ir, as well as many glosses and Qur’anic commentaries. He is buried in Basra.
SHŪSHTARĪ, SAYYID ‘ALĪ (1222-81/1807-65) Shi’a scholar and the spiritual master of Mullā Ḥusayn-Qulī Hamadānī. He was also teacher of ethics for his fiqh teacher, Shaykh Murtaḍā Anṣārī, and continued the Shaykh’s fiqh course after his death. He is buried in Najaf.
SĪBAWAYH, ‘AMR IBN ‘UTHMĀN (d. 180/796) Known as the Leader of the Grammarians, he founded the Baṣrī School of naḥw, and is the author of the well-known al-Kitāb in naḥw (Arabic syntax). He is buried in Shīrāz.
SUHRAWARDĪ, ABŪ AL-FUTŪḤ SHIHĀB AL-DĪN YAḤYĀ (549-87 /1154- 91) Known as Shaykh al-Ishrāq and Maqtūl. He founded the School of Illumination in philosophy and systematically introduced the concept of the imaginal world. He was executed at the order of Saladin in Aleppo.
SUYŪṬĪ, JALĀL AL-DĪN (849-911/1445-1505) Shāfi’ī scholar, linguist and exegete of the Qur’an, who knew over a hundred thousand traditions by heart, with their lines of transmission. Among his many works are al-Durr al-Manthūr (6 vols.), al-Jāmi’ al-Ṣaghīr (2 vols.) and al-Itqān fī ‘Ulūm al-Qur’ān (2 vols.). He is buried in Cairo.
ṬABĀṬABĀ‘Ī ILĀHĪ, SAYYID MUḤAMMAD ḤASAN (1325- 88/1907-68) The younger brother of ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī, who received his education in Najaf, and taught at the ḥawzah of Tabrīz until his death. He is buried in Qum.
ṬŪSĪ, KHWĀJAH NAṢĪR AL-DÏN MUḤAMMAD (597-672/ 1201-74) Prominent Muslim philosopher, theologian, astronomer and mathematician; the vizier of Ïlkhānid ruler Hulāgū, and the founder of the Marāghah Observatory. He played an important role in the fall of the Abbasid dynasty, preventing the loss of the libraries and scholars in the Mongol attack, and the spread of Shī’ism in Iran. He composed many works, notably Tajrīd al-’Aqā’id, Akhlāq-i Nāṣirī and Awṣāf al-Ashrāf. He is buried in Kāẓimayn.
UBAYY IBN KA‘B (d. 22/643) A Jewish convert to Islam and one of the most learned Companions of the Prophet. He was one of the scribes and reciters of the Qur’an. He is buried in Medina.
‘UMAR IBN AL-KHAṬṬĀB (c. 40 BH - 23 AH /581-644) The second caliph, and the first person to become known as Amīr al-Mu’minīn. The Islamic territory greatly expanded during his caliphate as a result of several Muslim conquests. He is buried in Medina.
USĀMAH IBN ZAYD (c. 7 BH - 54 AH/615-74) The son of the Prophet’s adoptee. The Prophet appointed him as the head of an army to fight the Romans right before his death in 11 AH. However many individuals refused to follow him on the account of the Prophet’s severe illness.
‘UTHMĀN IBN ‘AFFĀN (c . 47 BH - 35 AH /574 -656) The third caliph, whose caliphate set the grounds for the Umayyad dynasty. He was married to two of the Prophet’s daughters (one at a time). He was buried in Medina.
WALĪD IBN MUGHĪRAH (d. 1 AH/623) A man of high social status and a wealthy merchant in Mecca at the advent of Islam. He was Abū Jahl’s uncle, and a great enemy of the Prophet until his death.
ZAYD IBN THĀBIT (c. 11 BH-45 AH/610-65) An early Muslim, a knowledgeable companion of the Prophet, and one of the scribes of revelation. The Qur’an was compiled under his direction during the caliphates of Abū Bakr and ‘Uthmān.