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Al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin

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Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin.jpg
Personal Information
Well-Known Relatives 'Abd al-Karim al-'Amili (father)
Birth 1284/1867
Residence Jabal Amel, Damascus
Studied in Jabal Amel, Najaf
Death 1371/1952
Burial Place Damascus
Scholarly Information
Professors Muhammad Taha Najaf, Aqa Rida Hamadani, and Akhund Khurasani, ...
Students Al-Sayyid Husayn (his cousin), Al-Sayyid Mahdi b. al-Sayyid Hasan, Shaykh Munir 'Asiran, ...
Works A'yan al-Shi'a, al-Rahiq al-Makhtum, Naqd al-washi'a and more than 70 books
Scholarly
Activities
Establishing several schools
Socio-Political Activities
Socio-Political
Activities
A member of Damascus's Arabic Scientific Assembly, Challenging with religious Innovation

Al-Sayyid Muḥsin b. ʿAbd al-Karīm al-Amīn al-ʿĀmilī (Arabic: السید محسن بن عبدالکريم الامین العاملي) (b. 1284/1867 - d. 1371/1952) son of 'Abd al-Karim al-'Amili was born to a well-known sayyid family in Jabal Amel, Lebanon. His lineage goes back to al-Husayn Dhi l-Dam'a a son of Zayd al-Shahid.

After elementary education in his hometown, he immigrated to Najaf and completed his studies in fiqh (jurisprudence) and usul al-fiqh and reached the level of ijtihad. There, he taught some students as well. He was also a good poet, a literary critic and was knowledgeable in Arabic literature as well.

A'yan al-Shi'a is his most important work, which is a vast encyclopedia containing biographies of Shi'a great figures. The book was compiled to show the cultural identity and remind the role of Twelver Shi'a in the progress of the Islamic civilization. To get access to some sources for writing this book, he traveled to different places like Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq and Iran.

Al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin passed away in 1347/1928. in Damascus and was buried in front of the main entrance of the Shrine of Sayyida Zaynab (a).

Birth and Lineage

He is son of 'Abd al-Karim al-'Amili and he was born in 1284/1867 to a well-known sayyid family (the Prophet's (s) descendants) in Chaqra, a village in Jabal Amel, Lebanon. His Mother was a daughter of al-Shaykh Muhammad Hasan Falhat al—Maysi, a righteous scholar of his time. His lineage goes back to al-Husayn Dhi al-Dam'a son of Zayd al-Shahid.

Education and Teachers

After elementary education in his hometown, he learned logic, Arabic syntax, and rhetoric in one of the villages of Jabal Amel. Then, he took part in classes of Musa Shararah.

In 1308/1890-1, he immigrated to Najaf and stayed there until 1319/1901-2. He was a student of great Shi'a scholars such as, Muhammad Taha Najaf, Aqa Rida Hamadani, and Akhund Khurasani. He studied fiqh and usul al-fiqh in the classes of Muhammad Baqir Najmabadi and Sayyid Ahmad Karbala'i and then attained the level of ijtihad.

In addition to fiqh, he also was a good poet, a literary critic, and was knowledgeable in Arabic literature as well.

Students

  • Al-Sayyid Hasan, his cousin
  • Al-Sayyid Mahdi b. Hasan Al Ibrahim
  • Munir 'Asiran
  • Al-Sayyid Amin b. 'Ali Ahmad
  • 'Ali b. Muhammad al-Marwa al-'Amili
  • 'Abd al-Latif al-Shibli
  • Adib Taqi al-Dimashqi
  • 'Ali Suri
  • Mustafa Khalil Suri
  • 'Ali Jamal al-Dimashqi

Cultural Activities and Trips

As he stated in his book al-Rahiq al-makhtum, he immigrated to Damascus for revitalizing and spreading religious teachings and correcting what he considered opposite to both reason and religion. There, he engaged in scholarly and cultural activities for more than half a century.

Al-Sayyid Amin became a member of Damascus's Arabic Scientific Assembly in 1361/1942 and remained an active member until the end of his life. He established several schools to promote cultural educations of Shi'a youth and wrote some textbooks.

To acquire certain scholarly sources, he traveled to different regions like Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, and Iran.

Effort for Correction of the Mourning Rituals for Imam al-Husayn (a)

Al-Sayyid Musin al-Amin was among the pioneers of correcting Shi'a thoughts in contemporary ages. After returning from Jabal 'Amil, he realized that many wrong superstitions spread among the narration of the history of 'Ashura and the mourning sessions; so, he tried to correct them. Doing this, he wrote some books to replace common books of Maqtal, which he believed that they were full of lies and deviations.

  1. Lawa'j al-ashjan fi maqtal al-Imam al-Husayn (1911)
  2. Asdaq al-akhbar fi qissat al-akhdh bi l-thar about Tawwabin (1912)
  3. Al-Durr al-nadid fi marathi al-sibt al-shahid; contained poems for mourning for Imam al-Husayn (a). Later the three books were published in one volume by al-Irfan publication, about which al-'Irfan magazine mentioned that no Shi'a would be needless of that.
  4. Al-Majalis al-sunniyya fi masa'ib wa manaqib al-'itrat al-Nabawiyya in five volumes. In the introduction of the first volume, he mentioned the authenticity and legitimacy of mourning. However, at the same place, in "Muqaddama muhimma", he mentioned hadiths forged by rawda reciters and chest-beating and Qameh-zani and considered them against religion and forbidden.
  5. Iqamat al-la'im 'ala iqamat al-matam

Al-Majalis al-sunniyya was written to be recited in mourning gatherings for Imam al-Husayn (a) instead of wrong and altered Maqtals. Hearing and receiving wrong reports was the motive of the author to write this book. This corrective movement did not stop there and he prohibited Ta'ziya and Shabih-khani which he basically was against. He openly considered any action other than the five mentioned actions wrong and prohibited them. Apparently in 1924, a fight took place in a Shabih-khani ceremony and two persons were killed. Al-Amin used this opportunity and prohibited Shabih-khani and other actions such as hitting oneself and also asked governmental officials to stop them.

After his ruling for prohibition of Shabih-khani, it was stopped in Damascus as long as he was alive. Shortly later, one of the magazines in Beirut gave an analysis of the views of al-Amin and helped their promotion.

At the same time, some articles were published against Qame-zani which were written by Sayyid Mahdi Musawi Qazwini. These articles were received many reactions and raised a great challenge. Some articles were written against Amin and Qazwini. At that time, Amin was in Shaqra', his own village in Lebanon and attacks against him increased especially in Jabal Amil. According to Ja'far al-Khalili, 'Abd al-Husayn Sadiq in Nabatieh and 'Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din in Tyre opposed him.

Al-Amin wrote al-Tanzih li- a'mal al-shabih as an answer to criticisms.

Works

A'yan al-Shi'a. One of the most important works of al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin

A'yan al-Shi'a

Main article: A'yan al-Shi'a (book)

A'yan al-Shi'a is his most important work, which is a comprehensive reference containing biographies of Shi'a noble figures. A remarkable portion of the book is dedicated to biographies of Shi'a Imams (a); however regarding the expansion of the notion of Twelver Shi'a, the book has included biography and the works of 11,733 individuals to present Shi'a cultural identity and show the role of Twelver Shi'as in the progress of Islamic civilization. The book is a great biographical reference of important Shi'a figures, from early years of Islam to scholars contemporary to the compiler, including Sahaba (companions of the Prophet Muhammad (s)) Tabi'un and experts of different fields including narrators, experts of hadith, reciters and exegetes of the Qur'an, jurists, Islamic philosophers, theologians, preachers, poets, experts in Arabic syntax, lexicography, morphology and rhetoric, logicians, mathematicians, astronomers, and even political figures like kings and ministers.

A'yan al-Shi'a consists of ten large volumes, of which the first one and half volumes are the introduction and the biographies of the Prophet (s), Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (s) and Shi'a Imams (a). The rest are biographies of other Shi'a figures.

Other works

Another work of Sayyid Amin is Haqq al-yaqin fi luzum al-ta'lif bayn al-muslimin (True certainty in necessity of unity amongst Muslims) in which he emphasizes the necessity of unity in Islamic Ummah.

Kashf al-irtiyab fi 'itba' Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Wahhab. one of the important works of al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin

His other work is Kashf al-irtiyab fi 'itba' Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Wahhab, in which he refutes the beliefs of Wahhabbism.

His other famous work is Lawa'ij al-'ashjan fi maqtal al-Husayn (a), in which he discusses the event of 'Ashura.

Among his noticeable works is al-Tanzih li-a'mal al-shabih which has been written in objection to some of common ways of mourning among Shi'a and considers acts like tatbir against the Islamic Law.

Some of his works are:

  • Naqd al-washi'a
  • Tarikh Jabal 'Amil
  • al-Bahr al-zakhkhar fi sharh ahadith a'immat al-athar (a)
  • Irshad al-juhhal
  • Al-Durr al-munazzam fi mas'alat al-taqlid al-a'lam
  • Asas al-shari'a

and more than 70 other titles.

Personal and Scholarly Merits

He is known as a brave scholar in expressing his ideas, like his objection to some rituals in the mourning for Imam al-Husayn (a) which put him in a very difficult fighting situation. He had the two qualities of criticizing some sects and attitudes and endeavoring for building Islamic Unity together in his scholarly character. Although he refuted beliefs of Wahhabism in his works Kashf al-irtiyab]] and al-'Uqud al-durriyya. He emphasizes the necessity of unity in Islamic Ummah in his work Haqq al-yaqin fi luzum al-ta'lif bayn al-muslimin.

Demise

Al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin passed away in the midnight of Rajab 24, 1371/April 19, 1952 in Damascus and was buried in front of the main entrance of the Shrine of Sayyida Zaynab (a).

References