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'Ayn al-hayat (book)

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'Ayn al-hayat (book)
Author Al-'Allama al-Majlisi
Original title عَیْنُ الْحَیات
Language Farsi
Subject Ethic
Published 1382 SH/2003
Publisher Anwar al-Huda Publications

'Ayn al-ḥayāt (Arabic: عَیْنُ الْحَیات; literally: spring of life) is a Persian ethical book written by al-'Allama al-Majlisi (d. 1110/1699). The book is a translation and exposition of the Prophet's (s) ethical instructions for Abu Dhar al-Ghifari. The book lacks any organization or order. The author tries to provide an Islamic mystical account of the Prophet's instructions for Abu Dhar. 'Ayn al-hayat was summarized by the author and others, and it has been translated into Arabic and Urdu as well.

About the Author

Muhammad Baqir b. Muhammad Taqi al-Majlisi, known as al-'Allama al-Majlisi and the Second Majlisi (d. 1110/1699), was a well-known scholar, jurist, and muhaddith in the Islamic world. He was an influential Shiite figure in the Safavid period and wrote a monumental collection of hadiths, Bihar al-anwar.

Date and Motivation of Writing

'Ayn al-hayat was written in 1074/1663. The author aimed to introduce Shiite laypeople and believers to the authentic Islamic mysticism, since the Prophet's instructions for Abu Dhar are the most comprehensive accounts of moral virtues. Al-Majlisi has tried to translate the Prophet's (s) words into Persian and then provide an exposition thereof in simple terms.

Author's Method

Al-Majlisi takes primitive ethical instructions from Qur'anic verses and hadiths and then draws on the words of the Infallibles (a) concerning ethical issues to elaborate upon the instructions. He discusses issues such as the heresy of monasticism in Islam, prohibition of singing, supplications and their effects. The book is not organized or structured in terms of subject-matters.

Contents of the Book

After a brief introduction, al-Majlisi writes about Abu Dhar's virtues, how he converted to Islam, injustices he faced, 'Uthman's cruel treatments of him, his exile from Medina, and his death in al-Rabadha. Then the author provides an exposition of a hadith in which the Prophet (s) gives moral instructions to Abu Dhar. The book has no organization. The author explains the early part of the hadith and accounts for vision of God. He then takes the goal of the creation of the sky, the Earth, 'Arsh (Divine Throne), Kursi, and all creatures to be knowledge and worship, which are interdependent. The author takes all actions to be conditioned upon intentions. He also discusses the presence of the heart in worships. He then talks about moral issues in the rest of the book.

Scholarships about the Book

'Ayn al-hayat was published as edited by Sayyid Mahdi Raja'i in Qom, in Anwar al-Huda Publications in 2003. Other publishers in Iran have published the book.

Al-Majlisi summarized his own book under Mishkat al-anwar, which was published in Tabriz in 1890. Another summary of 'Ayn al-hayat by Sayyida Bibi Khatun, the wife of Sayyid Sadr al-Din Dizfuli, was published with the tile, Shifa' al-sudur. It was also summarized by Muhammad Isfandiyari, which was published by a conference for honoring al-'Allama al-Majlisi, in cooperation with the Organization for Prints and Publications of the Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance in 1999.

Selections of 'Ayn al-hayat by Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Najafi Yazdi were published in a quarto format in 556 pages in 1396/1976.

The book was translated into Arabic by Sayyid Mustafa b. Muhammad Hadi b. Sayyid Dildar 'Ali Naqawi Lakahnuwi (d. 1323/1905). It was translated into Urdu by Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Hindi. It was also translated into Arabic by Sayyid Hashim Milani and was published by the Publications of Jami'a Mudarrisin in 1416/1995.

References