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Aqa Buzurg Tihrani
Agha Buzurg Tehrani.jpg
Shaykh Agha Buzurg Tihrani
Personal Information
Full Name Muhammad Mohsin Munzawi Tirana
Well-Known As Aqa Buzura Tihrani
Birth 1293/1876
Residence Tehran, Najaf, Kadhimayn, Samarra
Studied in Tehran, Najaf
Death 1389/1970
Burial Place Najaf
Scholarly Information
Works al-Dhari'a ila tasanif al-Shi'a, Tabaghat a'lam al-shi'a, Musaffa al-maghal fi musannifi 'ilm al-rijal, and other book
Building a library

Muḥammad Muḥsin b. ʿAlī al-Munzawī al-Ṭihrānī (Arabic:محمدمحسن بن‌ علي ‌المنزوي الطهراني) known as Āqā Buzurg al-Tihrānī (Arabic:آقا بزرك الطهراني), (b.1293/1876- d.1389/1970) was a twelver Shi'a faqih and bibliographer and the author of al-Dhari'a ila tasanif al-Shi'a, an encyclopedia about Shi'a books ,and Tabaghat a'lam al-shi'a, an encyclopedia about Shi'a scholars from 4/10 to 14/20 century.


al-Dhari'a ila tasanif al-Shi'a compiled by Aqa Buzura Tihrani
The sons of Shaykh Agha Buzurg Tihrani

He was born in Rabi' I 11, 1293/April 6,1876 in Tehran. His father and grandfather were of scholars of the city. His great grandfather Haj Muhsin was a businessman. With the help of Manuchihrkhan I'timad al-Dawla Gorji, he founded the first print shop of Iran. Agha Buzurg married two times and had 5 sons and 4 daughters.


Agha Buzurg started his primary education in Dangi school, continued it in Paminar school, and then in Fakhriyya school (Marvi school).

He learned Arabic literature from Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Khurasani and Shaykh Muhammad Baghir Mu'izz al-Dawla, learned logic from Mirza Muhammad Taqi, learned usul from Sayyid 'Abd al-Karim Mudarrisi, Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Gurgani, and Shaykh 'Ali Noor Ilka'i and learned some mathematics from Mirza Ibrahim Zanjani. Also he studied history of literature and rijal.

On Jumada II 10, 1315/November 6, 1898 he went to Najaf for further studies and from this date until 1329/1911 he educated under scholars like Mirza Husayn Nuri, Shaykh Muhammad Taha Najaf, Sayyid Murtada Kashmiri, Mirza Husayn Mirza Khalil, Mulla Muhammad Kazim Khurasani, Sayyid Ahmad Ha'iri Tihrani, Mirza Muhammad 'Ali Chahardahi, Sayyid Muhammad Kazim Yazdi, and Shaykh al-Shari'a Isfahani.

Compilation of al-Dhari'a

The need for a listing of Shi'a books was being felt for a long time. In similar listings of books of Muslim writers, collected by writers of other Islamic sects, writings of Shi'a scholars was being ignored. Jurji Zaydan, the Christian Arab literary, in his book Tarikh adab al-lugha al-'Arabiyya (The History of Arabic literature), had considered the impact of Shi'a scholars in Islamic culture very little. This was tough for Shi'a faqih's, so three of them decided to introduce Shi'a scholars and their books and confront Jurji Zaydan's claim. Explaining the effect of Shi'a scholars in Islamic sciences was given to al-Sayyid Hasan al-Sadr, so he wrote his book Ta'sis al-Shi'a al-kiram li-funun al-Islam (The foundation of Islamic Sciences by the respectable Shi'as). Al-Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Kashif al-Ghita' describing errors of the Zaydan's book, wrote the book al-Muraji'at al-Rayhaniyya and Aqa Buzurg wrote the al-Dhari'a.

He went to Kadhimiya in 1329/1911 and started the research for compilation of al-Dhari'a ila tasanif al-Shi'a, the greatest encyclopedia of Shi'a bibliography. Later he went to Samara and while continuing his work on his book, attended the class of Mirza Muhammad Taqi Shirazi.

He came back to Kadhimiya in 1335/1917 and stayed there for two years, then went to Samarra again. In 1354/1936 he came back to Najaf and founded a print shop, named "Matba'at al-Sa'ada", for publication of al-Dhari'a, but the imperial government of Iraq prevented his work with various excuses. He printed the first volume of al-Dhari'a in "Matba'at al-Ghura" but again its publication delayed 6 months due to resistance of the Iraqi government.

Agha Buzurg went to long travels in order to research and complete this encyclopedia. He visited most of public and private libraries of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Hijaz and studied their books. He personally searched 62 libraries and studied the listings of many other libraries.


After a long period of illness, he died in Dhu l-Hijja 13, 1389/Feburary 20, 1970 in Najaf and according to his will, buried in the library he devoted for usage of scholars.

Permission for Hadith Transmission

Aqa Buzurg has permission for hadith transmission from narrators of different Islamic sects:

Some of scholars who have permission for narration from Aqa Buzurg are:


Aqa Buzurg Tihrani has authored several works including al-Dhari'a ila tasanif al-Shi'a in 29 volumes, and Tabaghat a'lam al-shi'a.


Aqa Buzurg Tihrani had a comprehensive library which contained more than 5000 volumes of books in history, biography, public indexes, private indexes, encyclopedias, etc. During his life, students and researchers benefitted from this library. Aqa Buzurg himself, even with being old, weak, and very busy helped and guided those who referred to the library. He established his library in 1354/1935. To keep his library from disorder and wastage, Aqa Buzurg gave it as a religious endowment in 1375/1955-56. Later in 1380/1960-61, he revised the bill of endowment and mentioned that if the keeper could not manage to keep it, they should move the library and leave it to the library of Imam Amir al-Mu'minin (a).