The famous scholar, (late) Shaykh Ja'far Shushtari1 had written a small booklet, Manhaju 'rishad, dealing with some important aspects of the Fundamentals of Religion which every Muslim should know. Later, someone combined it with some other booklets of fiqh, and the collection was known as Majma'u 'r-risa'il, which served as an 'amaliyyah2 for a long time.
When after the death of (late) Sayyid Abul-Hasan Isfihani (d. 1365/1946), the Shias oflndian sub-continent (like their brothers in other countries) did taqleed of (late) Sayyid Hussyn Brojardi (Qum), some 'ulama translated his 'amaliyyah in Urdu; among them was Sayyid Qamaru 'z-Zaman, who translated Majma'u 'r-risa'ilwith foot-notes of Sayyid Brojardi, and named it Jami'u 'l-masa'il.3
When I was writing Day of Judgement in 1974, I wanted to include in it some matters explained by late Shaykh Ja'far Shushtari, because generally those subjects are not found in other 'amaliyyas; but I could find neither book in Dar-es-Salaam.
I left East Africa in August, 1978. But, as Allah willed it, I came back this year in February, for a short visit.
In May, when I was in Mombasa, I found a copy of Jami'u 'l-masa'il in the personal collection of my elder friend and host, Haji Ali Mohammad Jaffer Shariff.6 I showed the abovementioned part to him, where the author has enumerated six important things which a child must know and/or do the moment he/she becomes baligh (attains maturity); also the various categories of people according to their beliefs and deeds. Haji Ali asked me to translate the two items into English in order that our people may know and benefit from it.
In 1974, I went to Iran for about a week. There was not much time; so I decided to go to Mash-had in the morning, returning to Tehran in the evening. Mr. Dhikiri Omari Kiondo (now Editor of Sauti Ya Bilal) was then in Tehran, engaged in higher Islamic studies under the patronage of the World Organization For Islamic Services. On their suggestion, Mr. Dhikiri accompanied me for the said Ziyarat. At Mashad airport, I suggested to him that it would be better to go first to Ayatullah Milani's house to pay our respects to him; because then we could stay, up to the last possible moment, in devotion at the holy shrine of the Imam, without any extraneous thought and then proceed to the airport direct from there.
Soon after our arrival at Ayatullah Milani's place, his grandson, Hujjatul-Islam Fazil Milani brought an American brother to me who wanted to enter the fold of true Islam; and requested me to teach the American youth important matters of Shi'ism, so that when he recited Kalimah, he would understand what was involved in it and what responsibilities he was taking upon himself.
Hard-pressed though I was for time, I spent more than one and half hour with the young man and he became Shi'a. Understandably, I had to select only very essential Matters to teach him in that short time; and that experience again drew my attention to the six important things mentioned by late Shaykh Ja'far Shushtari.
Since then many brothers engaged in tabligh work have asked for a small booklet giving a list of what they should teach a new convert when he decides to become a Muslim.
Hopefully the first three chapters of this booklet will serve as a guide to those parents whose children are reaching the age of majority, as well as to those missionaries who bring someone into the fold of true Islam. It would show them the minimum that their wards should believe in and act upon the moment they become baligh or are converted.
It is not a literal translation. Many fine details have been omitted and the arrangement of subjects has been drastically changed. Also it appeared necessary to elaborate many ideas and add a lot of details here and there to make the topics intelligible to an english reader who is neither well-versed in Islamic theology nor familiar with its terminologies. The list of the major sins and of some Zaruriyat-e deen and Zaruriyat al-madh-hab have been taken from other books.
As mentioned above, late Ayatullah Brojardi had written foot-notes on the original book. While translating, I have followed his foot-notes, and, wherever necessary, have changed them to the ruling of Ayatullah Sayyid Abul-Qasim al-Khoui.
This booklet was started at Mombasa on 22nd Shaban, 1405 (13th May, 1985); but what with one thing or the other, could not be completed till today, when I have been at Nakuru for about a month. As good luck would have it, my host here Haji Husain A. M. Jaffer happened to have a copy of the above-mention Tuhfatu 'I-'ibad, and I have now compared this writing with that booklet too.
Presently at Nakuru (Kenya) 2nd Shawwal, 1405
20th June, 1985.
Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi Director General
World Ahlul-Bayt (A.S.) Islamic League,
- 1. Died in 1303; Author of the well-known book Al-Khasa'isu 'l-Husayniyyah.
- 2. A book containing rules of fiqh (jurisprudence; shari'ah), prepared for the use of muqallidin (followers) of a mujtahid (religious scholar having authority to give rulings on religious problems).The act of following a mujtahid is called taqleed.
- 3. It was published by Kutub Khana Husayniyyah, Lahore.
- 4. Died at Mombasa (Kenya) in 1969.
- 5. It was published as a Book supplement with the al-Jawad (monthly), Varanasi (India) June-July, 1950.
- 6. He is one of the Founders of the Bilal Muslim Mission; even at this age, he spends all his time in the noble work of tabligh