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Baqiyyatullah

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Baqīyyatullāh (Arabic: بَقیّة الله, literally: remainder of Allah) is among the titles of Imam al-Mahdi (a), the last Imam of Twelver Shi'a who is in occultation. The phrase "baqiyyatullah" is mentioned in the Qur'an and in some hadiths interpreting the Qur'an, it is interpreted referring to the Infallible Imams (a) and in some other hadiths, it is considered a title for Imam al-Mahdi (a).

Lexically and in the exegeses, it means what God keeps for humanity. It has also been interpreted as blessing and abundance. The reason it has been interpreted referring to Imams (a) is that they are God's blessing upon humans.

Usage about the Ahl al-Bayt (a)

In some hadiths, Baqiyyatullah is interpreted referring to the Infallible Imams (a). For example, Ibn Shahrashub said that the verse "What remains of Allah['s provision] is better for you, should you be faithful"[1] was revealed about Imams (a).[2] Al-Allama al-Majlisi considered Baqiyyatullah meaning "the one God keeps" and said, Baqiyyatullah refers to those of the prophets (a) and their vicegerents God keeps on the earth for the guidance of people, or Imams who remain after the prophets among their people."[3] Also, based on a hadith, Imam al-Baqir (a) called himself Baqiyyatullah when addressing people who closed the gate of their city to him.[4] In al-Ziyara al-Jami'a al-Kabira, Imams (a) of Shi'a are referred to as Baqiyyatullah.[5]

Title of Imam al-Mahdi (a)

According to some hadiths, Baqiyyatullah refers to Imam al-Mahdi (a); as for example, it is transmitted from Imam Ali (a) that Baqiyyatullah refers to Imam al-Mahdi (a).[6] Also, based on a hadith, in an answer to the question if people would call Imam al-Mahdi (a), Amir al-Mu'minin (the commander of the faithful) [upon his coming], Imam al-Sadiq (a) considered it the specific title of Ali b. Abi Talib (a) and asked people to call Imam al-Mahdi (a) "Baqiyyatullah".[7]

Some Shi'a commentators of Nahj al-balagha considered the phrase "he is the last of Allah's proofs" mentioned in Nahj al-balagha[8] referring to Imam al-Mahdi (a).[9]Ibn Abi l-Hadid al-Mu'tazili said that Shi'a interpret this phrase referring to al-Mahdi (a), Sufis interpret it referring to mystics and Sunnis interpret it referring to the scholars who are proofs of God upon servants.[10] Also, in the al-Nudba Supplication, Imam al-Mahdi (a) is referred to as Baqiyyatullah.[11]

In Shi'a hadiths, it is mentioned that upon his coming, Imam al-Mahdi (a) will recite the verse "What remains of Allah['s provision] is better for you,…" and will introduce himself as "Baqiyyatullah" and Muslims will greet him saying "Peace be upon you O the One remaining of Allah['s provision] on His earth."[12] It is also transmitted that Imam al-Mahdi (a) himself has said, "I am the remaining of Allah['s provision] on His earth."[13]

Different Views of Exegetes

Under the verse "What remains of Allah['s provision] is better for you, should you be faithful" mentioned among the consults of Shu'ayb (a) to his people, exegetes have proposed different interpretations for "Baqiyyatullah". Some of them considered it meaning "permissible profit of a transaction which remains".[14] Some others associated it with the full measure and the balance mentioned in verse 85 of Qur'an 11 and said that "Baqiyyatullah" refers to what remains or God keeps for you after measuring and it is better than fraud and diminishing the measure.[15] Al-Zamakhshari, the Sunni exegete mentioned this possibility that maybe "Baqiyyatullah" refers to the acts of worship remaining with God.[16] According to al-Allama al-Majlisi, exegetes have also interpreted "Baqiyyatullah" as the blessing or reward which remains for the hereafter.[17]

Baqiyya meaning Abundance and Blessing

Some exegetes have interpreted "baqiyya" as abundance and blessing. Under verse 116 of the Qur'an 11, where "Ulu baqiyyat-in" [a remnant], al-Zamakhshari interpreted it as abundance and blessing.[18] About this interpretation, Rudi Paret, the orientalist and translator of the Qur'an to German said that "fadl" originally means "baqiyya" and surplus and its meaning has developed to abundance and blessing; and the meaning of "baqiyya" has developed to blessing, abundance, superiority and select.[19] The term "baqiyya" has also been used in verse 248 of the Qur'an 2 meaning abundance and blessing.[20] They say that the reason for interpreting "baqiyya" referring to Imams (a) is that they (a) are God's abundance and blessing upon humans.

Notes

  1. Qur'an, 11:86.
  2. Ibn Shahrāshūb, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, vol. 3, p. 102.
  3. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 24, p. 211.
  4. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 24, p. 212.
  5. Ibn Mashhadī, al-Mazār al-kabīr, p. 526.
  6. Ṭabrisī, al-Iḥtijāj, vol. 1, p. 252.
  7. Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 411-412.
  8. Nahj al-balāgha, p. 262.
  9. Quṭb al-Rāwandī, Minhāj al-barāʿa, vol. 2, p. 722.
  10. Ibn Abī l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ nahj al-balāgha, vol. 10, p. 95-96.
  11. Ibn Mashhadī, al-Mazār al-kabīr, p. 578.
  12. Ṣadūq, Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 1, p. 331.
  13. Ṣadūq, Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, p. 384.
  14. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 10, p. 364.
  15. Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, vol. 2, p. 418.
  16. Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, vol. 2, p. 418.
  17. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 24, p. 211.
  18. Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, vol. 2, p. 436.
  19. Paret, Der Koran: Kommentar und Konkordanz, p. 52-53.
  20. Paret, Der Koran: Kommentar und Konkordanz, p. 52-53.

References

  • Nahj al-balāgha. Edited by Ṣubḥī Ṣāliḥ. Qom: Hijrat, 1414 AH.
  • Ibn Abī l-Ḥadīd, ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd b. Hibat Allāh. Sharḥ nahj al-balāgha. Edited by Muḥammad Abū l-Faḍl Ibrāhīm. Qom: Maktabat Āyatollāh Marʿashī, 1404 AH.
  • Ibn Mashhadī, Muḥammad b. Jaʿfar. Al-Mazār al-kabīr. Edited by Jawād Qayyūmī. Qom: Daftar-i Intishārāt-i Islāmī, 1419 AH.
  • Ibn Shahrāshūb, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī. Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib. Qom: ʿAllāma, 1379 Sh.
  • Kulaynī, Muḥammad b. Yaʿqūb al-. Al-Kāfī. Edited by ʿAlī Akbar Ghaffārī. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, 1407 AH.
  • Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir al-. Biḥār al-anwār. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, 1403 AH.
  • Paret, Rudi. Der Koran: Kommentar und Konkordanz. Stuttgart, 1977.
  • Quṭb al-Rāwandī, Saʿīd b. Hibat Allāh al-. Minhāj al-barāʿa fī sharḥ nahj al-balāgha. Edited by ʿAzīz Allāh ʿAṭārudī. Delhi: [n.p], 1404 AH.
  • Ṣadūq, Muḥamamd b. ʿAlī al-. Kamāl al-dīn wa tamām al-niʿma. Edited by ʿAlī Akbar Ghaffārī. Tehran: Islāmīyyam, 1395 AH.
  • Ṭabāṭabāyī, Muḥammad Ḥusayn. Al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Qom: Daftar-i Intishārāt-i Islāmī, 1417 AH.
  • Ṭabrisī, Aḥmad b. ʿAlī al-. Al-Iḥtijāj ʿalā ahl al-lijāj. Edited by Muḥammad Bāqir Kharsān. Mashhad: Nashr-i Murtaḍā, 1403 AH.
  • Zamakhsharī, Maḥmūd b. ʿUmar al-. Al-Kashshāf ʿan ḥaqāʾiq ghawāmiḍ al-tanzīl. Beirut: Dār al-Kitāb al-ʿArabī, 1407 AH.