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Al-Dhari'a ila tasanif al-Shi'a (book)

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Al-Dhari'a ila tasanif al-Shi'a
Author Aqa Buzurg Tihrani
Original title الذَّريعَة إلی تَصانيف الشّيعَة
Language Arabic
Series 25 volumes
Subject Shi'a bibliography
Genre encyclopedia
Publisher Tehran,Najaf,Lebanon
Pages 11239

Al-Dharīʿa ilā taṣānīf al-Shīʿa (Arabic: الذَّريعَة إلی تَصانيف الشّيعَة) is an encyclopedia about Shi'a books in 25 volumes. It is written by Muhammad Muhsin b. 'Ali b. Muhammad Rida b. Muhsin b. 'Ali Akbar b. Baqir Tihrani known as Āqā Buzurg Tihrānī, in Arabic. It is considered as the greatest encyclopedia of Shi'a bibliography.[1] Al-Dhari'a was organized in alphabetical order in 25 volumes, in 11239 pages; it includes 53510 written works, collections of poems and also translated books in Farsi, Arabic, Turkish and Urdu. In addition, Shi'a scholars of different areas are introduced in this encyclopedia.

Aqa Buzurg employed the early sources of Shi'a's bibliographies such as Al-Fihrist by al-Shaykh al-Tusi, Al-Fihrist by al-Najashi and Fihrist al-'ulama in compiling this encyclopedia. In addition, he employed indexes of different libraries and studied handwritten and published works. He also listened to reliable sources as part of his references.

It took over forty years for publishing and distribution of Al-Dhari'a in Qom and Najaf, even some volumes were published after the authors' death. Another volume was added to this collection which is considered as the first mustadrak of Al-Dhari'a; in which the names of those books were mentioned that were not stated in Al-Dhari'a.

Al-Dhari'a is not considered only an encyclopedia on Shi'a bibliography, it also includes research articles.

Author

Main article: Aqa Buzurg Tihrani

Muhammad Muhsin b. 'Ali b. Muhammad Rida b. Muhsin b. 'Ali Akbar b. Baqir Tihrani known as Aqa Buzurg Tihrani (b. Rabi I 11, 1293/April 6, 1876 – d. Dhu l-Hijja 13, 1389/February 20, 1970) was a faqih and Shi'a bibliographer who was born in Tehran.

His father and grandfather were notable clergymen of Tehran. His great grand-father, Hajj Muhsin, was a merchant who established the first printing office in Iran with the help of Manuchihr Khan, known as Mu'tamid al-Dawla Gurji.

After struggling with a long-lasting illness, Aqa Buzurg passed away in Najaf. According to his will, he is buried in his library which was dedicated to scholars and clergymen.

Motivation

According to 'Ali Naqi al-Munzawi, Aqa Buzurg's son, when Jurji Zaydan wrote in his book, Tarikh adab al-lugha al-'Arabiyya, he claimed in early years of Islam, Shi'a Muslims lacked a notable faqih. Subsequently, three Shi'a scholars, al-Sayyid al-Hasan al-Sadr, Muhammad Husayn Kashif al-Ghita' and Aqa Buzurg Tihrani, decided to give a proper answer to him. Therefore, Aqa Buzurg Tihrani started writing Al-Dhari'a in order to introduce the extended and diverse achievements of Shi'a Muslims and the efforts have been made by Shi'a scholars.

In addition we can understand the other motivations of Aqa Buzurg Tihrani from the introduction of the first edition of Al-Dhari'a: Because he was engaged with the works of Shi'a scholars he noticed that few numbers of them were famous and recognized among people, besides they were on the verge of being forgotten. He noticed the mistakes and inefficient content of the important bibliographies of Muslims (Kashf al-Zunun by Haji Khalifa) along with the significant works of Shi'a scholars. Also a number of Shi'a notable figures encouraged and requested him to start such work, such as al-Sayyid al-Hasan al-Sadr.[2]

Naming

Al-Dhari'a included 25 volumes which introduced bibliography of Shi'a scholars in the last fourteen centuries of Islam. Aqa Buzurg stated about his book:

After finishing the arrangement of the book I presented it to al-Sayyid al-Hasan al-Sadr (d. 1354/1936), then he praised and appreciated it and named it Al-Dhari'a ila ma'rifa musannafat al-Shi'a.[3]

Also Mirza Muhammad Tihrani Asghari (b.1281/1865 - d.1371/1952) named it Kashf al-hijab 'an tasanif al-ashab. Aqa Buzurg stated:

I found out that the first day of writing this book was coincidentally equal to the Abjad numeral of the name of book; then it became the historic name of the book.[4]

Content

Al-Dhari'a is considered as a great book on bibliography of Shi'a (twelvers and non-twelvers) works and also a few books of Sunni authors who wrote about Shi'a. Al-Dhari'a included fifty five thousand written books, collections of poems and translated books in Farsi, Arabic, Turkish and Urdu about different subjects.[5]

Structure and Writing Style

Al-Dhari'a is an encyclopedia of Shi'a bibliography, in an alphabetical order. It includes all the books and works which were written on Shi'a in fourteen centuries after the migration of the Prophet Muhammad (s).[6]

At first, Al-Dhari'a was a handwritten encyclopedia in six volumes which was later published in thirty volumes; however the last five volumes were the mustadrakat of Al-Dhari'a.

Main Content of Volumes

  1. The first volume includes three introductions from author, Al-Shaykh Muhammad 'Ali Urdubadi and Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Kashif al-Ghita' and a commentary by al-Sayyid al-Hasan al-Sadr. It also includes 800 [Ijaza] from Shi'a scholars with the most important chain of Aqa Buzurg and Tabaqat (levels) of Shi'a scholars.
  2. The second volume includes the four hundred principles/books.
  3. The fourth volume introduced the history of calendar writing in Iran and also a list of the books on Tafsir.
  4. The fifth volume includes a large number of Kalam books as Jawāb (answer) and Jawābāt (answers).
  5. The sixth volume introduced 763 books about Hadith which are sources of Shi'a laws. The author has brought the library sources he used at the end of the 6th, 7th and the 8th volumes of Al-Dhari'a.
  6. The seventh volume includes the important sections about Khamsa and Khutba.
  7. The eighth volume explained the history of encyclopedia writing and the history of storytelling and also the history of supplications writing.
  8. The ninth volume is dedicated to Shiite poems and poets which are arranged alphabetically by their pen-names. It includes the works of 8500 Shiite poets. It has a list of poets' titles which are arranged by the names of their cities, professions and their families. All the works of all poets are brought in another list. It must be said that the table of expressions and secrets of the ninth volume was not published in its first edition, but it was published only in its second edition; however they omitted this section in the third edition of Beirut.
  9. The tenth volume: A number of books about Kalam and Rijal have been introduced.
  10. The eleventh volume has the names of a number of anonymous booklets as treaties.
  11. The twelfth volume: its most important sections are about the history of astrology among Shi'a Muslims, and Saqi namih for contemporary literature in the first era of Safavid dynasty which were explained under the titles of Zij.
  12. The thirteenth volume contains a number of mistakes. It is worth to mention that only 1000 editions are completed which were published in Najaf.
  13. The fifteenth volume: the reviser brought the names of writers of this volume at the end of it.
  14. The sixteenth volume was published after Ahmad Munzawi, author's son, revised it.
  15. The nineteenth volume includes 1150 poems in Mathnawi section.
  16. The twentieth volume starts with a biography of Aqa Buzurg in 12 pages.
  17. The twenty fourth volume includes the history of astrology and Iranians' efforts in translation of this knowledge to Arabic. Also a brief history of writing short books in the first three centuries of Islam is stated in the section of Nawadir (Exceptionals), which includes the four hundred Principles Books of Shi'ism.
  18. The twenty fifth volume: the brief history of publication of twenty five volumes of Al-Dhari'a and a list of the names of the authors of the introduced books is stated here along with an Istidrak for the mistakes in previous volumes. It also has useful references in 143 pages.
  19. The twenty sixth volume is considered as the first Mustadrak of Al-Dhari'a which was printed and published with determined attempt of al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Husayni on behalf of Astan Quds Radawi in 1405/1985.

Printing and Publishing

Aqa Buzurg was settling in Samarra until 1354/1936 when he indented to publish the encyclopedia.

After several anti-Shi'a and anti-Iranian activities by people of Samarra such as killing Al-Shaykh Hadi al-Tihrani, it became obvious to Aqa Buzurg that he could not publish his book there; therefore, he migrated to Najaf.

Aqa Buzurg established a printing office, Matba'a al-Sada, in Najaf with the help of Habib Allah Muhsini, his merchant uncle, in order to print and publish his works. However the government of Iraq banned it due to the nationality of Aqa Buzurg, Iranian. They also tried to establish a printing office under the license of an Iraqi man, which failed due to the government dis-allowance.

After the first volume was published, the ministry of culture of Iraq banned its publishing for six months, only because the author was Iranian.[7]

Due to the mentioned problems in Iraq, Aqa Buzurg's son, Dr. 'Ali Naqi Munzawi, brought the books to Tehran for printing and publishing. As a result its volumes were published in Tehran and Najaf with the help of his sons. Aqa Buzurg passed away before the twentieth volume was published.[8] It took over forty years for printing and publishing of the entire encyclopedia. It was reprinted many times by Iranian and Lebanese publishers.

Mustadrak al-dhari'a

After the demise of Aqa Buzurg, 'Abd al-'Aziz Tabataba'i arranged a mustadrak for al-Dhari'a and corrected its mistakes. Also he added the missing books to encyclopedia.

However a number of scholars wrote Istidrak on the gloss of Al-Dhari'a including: 'Abd al-Husayn al-Ha'iri and Muhammad 'Ali Rawdati Isfahani, but they were not printed and published.

In addition Muhammad Tabatab'i Bihbahani, after becoming familiar with 'Abd al-Husayn Hairi's work, he wrote a gloss on it with a brief explanation. His glosses adding to Hairi's reached 500 books. Then with enthusiastic support from Shahab al-Din Muhammad 'Ali Ahmadi Abhari, the head of the library of Iran Parliament, it was published under the name of Al-Shari'a ila istidrak al-Dhari'a.[9]

Criticism

Despite the significance of Al-Dhari'a, this book suffered inadequate documentations and recording information of some books due to unavailability of sources, including Ikhtisar, changing the name of books,[10] inaccurate biography of authors[11] and title-less books.[12] Even in some cases the author was not introduced deservedly.[13] The author of encyclopedia was responsible for the mistakes and inefficient documentations; however some may blame his sons who were responsible for printing and publishing books.

Sources

Aqa Buzurg has employed indexes of Shi'a books of the time in writing Al-Dhari'a including:

  1. Al-Fihrist by al-Shaykh al-Tusi
  2. Al-Fihrist by al-Najashi
  3. Al-Fihrist al-'ulama by Ibn Shahr Ashub Mazandarani Sarwi
  4. Amal al-amil by al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili
  5. Khatima al-Mustadrak by al-Shaykh Mirza Husayn al-Nuri

In addition, he employed indexes of different libraries and studied handwritten and published works and also listened to a number of reliable sources.

Generally the author has employed different sources such as private and public libraries, analyzing Rijal, history and Tadhkira books, indexes of libraries and handwritten indexes of knowledgeable and well-informed scholars.

Interpretation, Glosses, and Equivalents

Correction

In 1427/2006, the institute of Shi'a bibliography was established in Seminary of Qom in order to continue the life of al-Dhari'a. Except for two independent projects, Free Encyclopedia of Shi'a in Farsi and Tarikh al-turath al-shi'i in Arabic, they started a new project in completing and correcting al-Dhari'a. It includes a complete re-reading of al-Dhari'a according to the hand-written version of the book along with new added information and correcting and supplementary notes.

Notes

  1. Musawi Bujnurdi, Da'ira al-ma'arif buzurg islami, vol.1 p.455
  2. Musawi Bujnurdi, Da'ira al-ma'arif buzurg islami, vol.18 p.802-803
  3. Husayni Jalali, Zindigi wa athar-i shaykh aqa buzurg tihrani, p.98
  4. Husayni Jalali, Zindigi wa athar-i Shaykh Aqa Buzurg Tihrani, p.98
  5. Rughani, Kitabshinasi, p.165
  6. Aqa Buzurg, al-Dhari'a, vol.8 p.296
  7. Munzawi, Aqa Buzurg wa al-dhari'a, no.3,4 p.250
  8. Fikrat, Musannafat shi'a, preface p.8-9
  9. Tabataba'i, al-Shari'a, preface p.13-16
  10. e.g. Istinbat al-ahkam fi 'asr ghayba al-imam, al-Dhari'a, vol.2 p.34 cf. vol.15 p.134, vol.8 p.191
  11. e.g. Sharh al-fusus of Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Astarabadi, al-Dhari'a, vol.13 p.381 cf. vol.14 p.107
  12. e.g. Kitab al-bayan, al-Dhari'a, vol.3 p.171
  13. e.g. Adab nasiri, al-Dhari'a, vol.1 p.31

References

  • The material for this article is mainly taken from الذریعه الی تصانیف الشیعه in Farsi Wikishia.
  • Musawi Bujnurdi, Kazim. Da'ira al-ma'arif buzurg islami. Tehran: Markaz-i Da'ira al-Ma'arif Buzurg Islami, 1374 S.H./1995 C.E.
  • Husayni Jalali, Muhammad Husayn. Zindigi wa athar-i shaykh aqa buzurg tihrani. Tehran: Kitabkhani, Muzi wa Markaz-i Asnad-i Majlis Shawra Islami, 1382 S.H./2003 C.E.
  • Rughani, Shuhri. Kitabshinasi guzidi tusifi tarikh wa tamaddun milal islami. Tehran: Samt,1382 S.H./2003 C.E.
  • Tihrani, Aqa Buzurg. al-Dhari'a ila tasanif al-shi’a.
  • Munzawi, 'Ali Naqi. Al-Dhari'a wa Aqa Buzurg. 1359 S.H./1980 C.E.
  • Fikrat, Muhammad Asif. Musannafat shi'a. Mashhad: Bunyad Pazhuhishhayi Islami Astan Quds Radawi, 1372 S.H./1993 C.E.
  • Tabataba'i Bihbahani, Muhammad. Al-Shari'a ila istidrak al-dhari’a. Tehran: Kitabkhani, Muzi wa Markaz-i Asnad-i Majlis Shawra Islami, 1383 S.H./2004 C.E.

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