|Author||Ahmad b. Ali b. Abi Talib al-Tabrisi|
|Subject||Theology • arguments and debates of the Prophet (s) and Imams (a) against their opponents|
Al-Iḥtijāj ʿalā ahl al-lijāj (Arabic:الإحتجاج على أهل اللجاج), best known as al-Ihtijaj (الإحتجاج ) is a book in Arabic written by Abu Mansur, Ahmad b. Ali b. Abi Talib al-Tabrisi, the scholar of 6th/12th century.
According to the beginning of the book, its name is "al-Ihtijaj", and there is no mention of "al-Ihtijaj 'ala ahl al-lijaj." However, other scholars introduced the book by two names. The book is well known as "Ihtijaj al-Tabrisi."
During the history of Islam, great religious figures by the motivation of proving the right and refuting the wrong, wrote books under the title of "al-Ihtijaj" or dedicated some chapters of their books to this topic. There are about 20 books by the title of "al-Ihtijaj" among Shi'a early sources, the earliest of which is "al-Ihtijaj" written by Muhammad b. Abi 'Umayr, the close companion of Imam al-Kazim (a).
Shaykh Yusuf al-Bahrani, the author of Lu'lu'at al-bahrayn writes: "Some of the recent Shi'a scholars mistook in ascription of the book to Abu Ali al-Tabrisi, the author of Majma' al-bayan. Some of those who made this mistake are Amin al-Istarabadi and before him, the author of Mashayikh al-Shi'a and before him, Muhammad b. Abi Jumhur al-Ahsa'i in 'Awali al-la'ali and also Qadi Nur Allah al-Shushtari in Majalis al-mu'minin."
Cause of Writing
In the introduction of the book, al-Tabrisi writes: "What made me to write such a book, was that some Shi'a have desisted from argument and debate with the opponents of Shi'a and say 'we are not allowed to do this, because the Prophet (s) and the Imams (a) never debated and argued and did not allow Shi'a to do so' therefore, I decided to collect the arguments of great Shi'a figures against their opponents in the roots and branches of the religion." In the following, he mentions that the prohibition of Imams (a) form arguing and debating only meant those who are weak in defending the religion and Shi'a beliefs, not those eminent and strong one in proving the right and refuting the wrong.
Reliability of Its Hadiths
Al-Ihtijaj is one of the reliable books among Shi'a scholars. The only problem of the book is that most of the hadiths in it are narrated as al-hadith al-Mursal and there is no chain of transmitters for them in the book. In the introduction of the book the author writes: "Except for those hadiths that I have narrated form Tafsir al-Imam al-'Askari (a), I mentioned all hadiths in the book without their chain of transmitters, because whether they are unanimously accepted or agree with our beliefs or are narrated in ours and the opponents' books. I narrated the hadiths of the ascribed exegesis to Imam al-'Askari (a) by its chain of narrators: because these hadiths are not as famous as the other hadiths in the book." According to this paragraph, Shi'a scholars have relied on and accepted the hadiths in the book, although they do not have chain of narrators.
From Great Scholar's Perspective
Many of great Shi'a scholars, such as al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili in Amal al-amil, Khwansari in Rawdat al-jannat and al-Khoei in Mu'jam Rijal al-Hadith, regarded this book as precious, good and very useful.
- Introduction: contains hadiths about prohibition of arguing and debating, and condemning them, and the cause of the writing the book;
- Arguments and debates from the Prophet (s) and the Imams (s) about the roots and branches of faith;
- The Event of Ghadir al-Khumm and Fadak and the arguments presented by Imam Ali (a), lady Fatima (a), other Imams (a) and other companions about these two event.
- Imam Ali's arguments with Mu'awiya, the people of Syria, Khawarij, and Nakithun (those who violated the allegiance to Imam Ali (a));
- and in the last chapter, the arguments of Imam al-Mahdi (a), his correspondence with his Four Deputies during the Minor Occultation and his Tawqi's during the Major Occultation.
Translations and Commentaries
The book have been translated several times into Persian. Three commentaries have been written on the book:
- The commentary written by Mulla Fath Allah Kashani
- The commentary written by Mirza Abu l-Hasan al-Bahrani (d. 1193/1778-9) who was one of the great scholar in Shiraz during Zand dynasty.
- The commentary written by Sayyid Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Husayni al-Mukhtari.
- The manuscript kept in Astan Qods Razawi
- The manuscript in Mulk Library.
- A manuscript by the handwriting of Karam Ali b. Muhammad Baqir Kirmani Parizi Sirjani Mashhadi. This manuscript is written in Naskh in 1318/1900-1 and there are writings on its margins in Nasta'liq. This manuscript is kept in Mulk Library.
- Another Manuscript kept in Mulk Library, by the handwriting of Muhammad b. Muhammad Ali Khavari in Naskh, written in 1069/1658-9.
- In 1268/1851-2 in Iran.
- In 1300/1882-3 In Iran.
- In 1354/1935-6 in Najaf, Iraq.
- In 1403/1982-3 in Iran. This version is a copy of the version published by al-Jawad Institute in Beirut. Sayyid Muhammad Bahr al-'Ulum has written a foreword on this version.
The book is researched by Muhammad Baqir Musawi Khirsan. In addition to providing the address of the verses of the Qur'an and explaining the difficult words, he has written many useful comments including the biography of many figures mentioned in the text and hadiths of the book; also there are an index of the content of the book and an index of the glosses and comments.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from الاحتجاج علی اهل اللجاج (کتاب in Farsi WikiShia.