Amal al-amil fi 'ulama' Jabal Amil (book)
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Amal al-āmil fī ʿulamāʾ Jabal ʿĀmil (Arabic: أمَلُ الآمِل فی عُلماء جَبَل عامِل) is a book of rijal concerning the biographies of some Shiite scholars, particularly those from Jabal Amel in Lebanon, written by al-Shaykh Muhammad b. Hasan, known as al-Hurr al-'Amili (d. 1104/1693). The book, or sometimes its second part, is also known as Tadhkirat al-mutabahhirin fi l-'ulama' al-muta'akhkhirin.
- Main article: Al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili
Muhammad b. Hasan b. 'Ali b. Muhammad b. al-Husayn, known as al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili, was an Imami scholar, muhaddith and faqih in the 11th/17th century and the author of the precious, influential work, Wasa'il al-Shi'a. Al-Hurr al-'Amili is also known as "Sahib al-Wasa'il" (the author of Wasa'il). He died in Mashhad and is buried in the Holy Shrine of Imam al-Rida (a).
Motivation for Writing
Al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili says in the introduction to the second part of the book that his motivation for writing the book was a dream he had 23 years before writing this book when he went to Mashhad in (1073/1662). In this dream, he saw a man who seemed righteous and well-wishing. The man told him: "why do you not write a book under 'Amal al-amil fi 'ulama' Jabal 'Amil’?" He also writes in the introduction of the book: "it seemed to me to write the biographies of scholars of Jabal Amel as well as recent Shiite scholars and their work, because I never saw such a book, although they are mentioned here and there in some books."
Al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili himself writes about the content of the book as follows: "I rest content to contemporaries of al-Shaykh al-Tusi and people who lived near his time without mentioning all of them, because the main purpose was to mention people who lived after the time of al-Shaykh al-Tusi, except for people of Jabal Amel."
He also writes in the 10th point (or "Fa'ida") in the second part: "my book is, in fact, a supplement for Mirza Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Ibrahim al-Astarabadi's book and a complement for its points, because it includes the majority of Shiite scholars and most of their written work. While Mirza Muhammad's book has collected most of the early scholars, this book is concerned with most of the recent scholars."
Al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili has divided the book into two parts:
- The first part: It is devoted to the biographies of scholars of Jabal Amel. It includes 214 biographies. In this part, the author provided extensive biographical accounts, mentioning the scholars' births, deaths, and parts of their poems and writings.
- The second part: In this part, the author mentions scholars later than al-Shaykh al-Tusi (d. 460/1067). This part includes 1122 biographies. However, the author has left out the biographies of some figures and scholars in this part as well as in the first part.
- The author has organized the biographies in an alphabetic order. At the end of the book after the last Arabic letter, "ی" (yā), the author mentioned scholars who were known with their kunyas.
- In the second part, the author added a chapter regarding scholars whose names begin with "ibn" (the son of).
- The first part includes 12 preliminary remarks, and the second part includes 12 points ("Fa'ida").
- In writing people's biographies, the author adopts different methods in the two parts of the book. In the first part, he provides lengthy and detailed accounts, while in the second part, he provided very short biographies in some cases, and in many cases, he left out the dates of birth and death and significant points that should have been mentioned.
Research about the Book
A great deal of research has been done with regard to this book. Some of them are supplements in which the biographies which were left out are added. They include Takmila amal al-amil in 3 volumes written by Sayyid Hasan al-Sadr (d. 1354/1935) and Tatmim amal al-amil by Shaykh 'Abd Allah Qazwini, a prominent scholar in the 12th/18th century. There are also commentaries on the book in which its contents are discussed and criticized. They include al-Ta'liqa 'ala amal al-amil by Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi, al-Hawashi 'ala amal al-amil by Sayyid Hasan al-Sadr, and Ta'liqat 'ala amal al-amil by al-Sayyid Ni'mat Allah al-Jaza'iri.
Al-Sayyid Ahmad Husayni Ishkewari has edited the two parts of Amal al-amil as well as two of its supplements: Takmila amal al-amil and Tatmim amal al-amil.
- Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Amal al-āmil, vol. 1, p. 53, 54.
- Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Amal al-āmil, vol. 1, p. 56.
- Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Amal al-āmil, vol. 1, p. 55-57.
- Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Amal al-āmil, vol. 1, p. 59-61.
- Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥāsan al-. Amal al-āmil. Edited by Sayyid Aḥmad Ḥusaynī, Baghdād: Maktabat al-Āndulus, [n.d].