Al-Irshad fi ma'rifat hujaj Allah 'ala l-'ibad (book)

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Al-Irshad fi ma'rifat hujaj Allah 'ala l-'ibad
Author Al-Shaykh al-Mufid
Original title الإرشاد في معرفة حُجَج الله عَلَى العباد
Language Arabic
Subject History of Ahl al-Bayt (a)
Published 1414/1993, Beirut
Publisher Dar al-Mufid

Al-Irshād fī maʿrifat ḥujaj Allāh ʿala l-ʿibād (Arabic: الإرشاد في مَعرفَة حُجَج الله عَلَى العِباد ) (the lead in knowing the guides for the people) famous as: al-Irshad is a historical theological book written about the history of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) by: Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad b. Muhammad b. al-Nu'man al-'Ukbary al-Baghdadi widely known as al-Shaykh al-Mufid (d.413/1022). He was a great Shi'a Jurist and theologian. Al-Irshad comprises two major sections, the larger of which illustrates the history and life of Imam 'Ali (a), Imam al-Husayn (a) and the Event of Karbala.

Main Topic

Al-Irshad narrates the history and the lives of the Infallible Imams (a). Al-Shaykh al-Mufid has selected the reliable reports among the ones he had at his disposal; he also mentions the merits and virtues of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and their close companions.

Reception

Al-Irshad is regarded as one of the most authentic Shi'a sources in the History of the Infallible Imams (a). Many later Shi'a books that present the history of the Imams (a), have cited the narrations within al-Irshad . It also is one of Bihar al-anwar's sources and a unique bridge to the earliest accounts of the history and the virtues of the Ahl al-Bayt (a). In his masterpiece, al-Dhari'a ila tasanif al-shi'a , Aqa Buzurg Tihrani writes about al-Irshad :

"This book is about the lives of the Infallible Imams (a). Whoever has written anything in this field after al-Shaykh al-Mufid, has taken this book as one of his references." [1]

Motivation

Al-Shaykh al-Mufid authored this book at the request of "one of shi'as". In the introduction, he writes:

"According to your request, I have mentioned the names, history of the lives and the burial sites and holy shrines of the Infallible Imams (a). Also, I have narrated some accounts about the position and status of those purified Imams (a), so that your faith would be based on knowledge and insight."[2]

Date

Al-Shaykh al-Mufid finished al-Irshad in 411/1020, two years before his demise.

Method

The author of al-Irshad has adopted a historical attitude and compiled historical reports. In addition to reporting the history, this book is regarded as a theological work, for many Shi'a beliefs have been highlighted in it. Also, following the standard of narrative sources, the author presents the chain of transmission for each historical report which elevates the value and authenticity of the book.

After an introduction, the book is divided into 12 sections, correspondent to the number of Shi'a Imams (a). The largest part of the book is dedicated to the history and life of Imam 'Ali (a) and then, the history of the following Shi'a Imams (a) are reported. In each section, the author presents a range of 3 to 13 subdivisions; discussing: general historical events (in the Muslim world), personal life events (birth, life and martyrdom), merits and virtues, companions and disciples, sayings and sermons, children, merits of Ziyara, miracles and debates of each Imam (a).

Content

  • The first section: who is 'Ali (a)? Reports, merits, sayings and miracles of the Commander of the Faithful (a), some fragments of his sermons and the children of Imam Ali (a).
  • The Second section: Imam al-Hasan (a) and his children.
  • The third section: Imam al-Husayn (a) his virtues and the merits of his Ziyara and the reports about his passions and martyrdom.
  • The Fourth section: Imam al-Sajjad (a); his birth date, proofs and evidences of his Imamate, his life time and Imamate duration, his martyrdom and burial site. Some reports and narrations about him and his virtues and the names and number of his children.
  • The fifth section: Imam al-Baqir (a); his birth date, proofs and evidences of his Imamate, his life time and Imamate duration, his martyrdom and burial site. The history of his brothers, the names and number of his children.
  • The sixth section: Imam al-Sadiq (a); his birth date, proofs and evidences of his Imamate, his life time and Imamate duration, his martyrdom and burial site. Some reports and narrations about him and his virtues and the names and number of his children. Some of his sayings.
  • The seventh section: Imam al-Kazim (a); his birth date, proofs and evidences of his Imamate, his life time and Imamate duration, his martyrdom and burial site; his children. Some of his virtues that indicate his superiority over others; the cause of his martyrdom; some reports about his arrest and imprisonment.
  • The eighth section: Imam al-Rida (a); his birth date, proofs and evidences of his Imamate, his life time and Imamate duration, his martyrdom and burial site. Some of his virtues and the cause of his martyrdom.
  • The ninth section: Imam al-Jawad (a); his birth date, proofs and evidences of his Imamate, his life time and Imamate duration, his martyrdom and burial site. Some of his virtues and miracles. Some narrations explicitly stating his Imamate, especially those from his father, Imam al-Rida (a).
  • The tenth section: Imam al-Hadi (a); his birth date, proofs and evidences of his Imamate, his life time and Imamate duration, his martyrdom and burial site. Some of his evidences and miracles and his arrival to Samarra from Medina.
  • The eleventh section: Imam Hasan al-'Askari (a) his birth date, evidences of his Imamate, his life time and Imamate duration, his martyrdom and burial site. Narrations about his virtues and miracles and his honorable Son (a).
  • The twelfth section: Imam al-Mahdi (a); his birth date, proofs and evidences of his Imamate, some narrations about his occultation, his manner of Imamate when he reappears and the duration of his divine state, his miracles, the signs and indicators of his reappearance and some of the events during his reign.

Manuscripts

  1. A manuscript at Ayatollah Mar'ashi Najafi Library which dated 565/1169; this manuscript had been checked with the copy of Fadl Allah Rawandi from: 566/1170.
  2. A manuscript in the Library of Majles-i Showra-yi Islami, which dated: 575/1179; this manuscript had been checked with the copy of Mawlana Imam Diya al-Din.
  3. A manuscript in the library of Sayyid Hasan Shirazi which was copied in seventh/thirteenth century.

Elaborations

For several times, Al-Irshad has been translated, commented on and summarized.

Persian Translations

Al-Tuhfa al-Sulaymaniyya , by: Muhammd Masih Kashani at the command of Shah Sulayman Safavi

Another Persian translation with corrections by: Muhammad Baqir Bihbudi and Muhammad Baqir Sa'idi Khurasani.

A Persian translation by: Sayyid Hashim Rasuli Mahallati.

English translation

Dr. Howard has translated al-Irshad . It was published in London.

Commentaries and Summaries

  1. Sharh al-irshad by: Sayyid Muhammad baqir b. Zayn al-'Abidin Dastghayb Husayni Shirazi (fl. 1092/1681)
  2. Sharh al-irshad by: Shaykh Sulayman Kashani.
  3. Al-Mustajad min kitab al-irshad by: al-'Allama al-Hilli, this book is organized and set out by: Abu l-Khayr Mahmud b. 'Isa b. Rafi' (fl. 982/1574)

Notes

  1. Aqa Buzurg Tihrani, Vol.1, P. 510
  2. al-Shaykh al-Mufid, the introduction of the book

References