Ibn Abi Jumhur al-Ahsa'i

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Personal Information
Full Name Muhammad b. Zayn al-Din 'Ali b. Ibrahim b. Hasan b. Ibrahim b. Abi Jumhur al-Ahsa'i
Birth al-Ahsa'
Residence IraqKhorasan
Studied in Iraq • Jabal 'Amil
Scholarly Information
Professors Hasan b. 'Abd al-Karim al-Fattal• Ali b. Hilal al-Jaza'iri
...
Students Shaykh Rabi'a b. Jum'a•Shaykh Shams al-Din Muhammad b. Salih al-Gharawi
...
This article is about Ibn Abi Jumhur. For Ibn Jumhur, see Muhammad b. Jumhur al-'Ammi.

Muḥammad b. Zayn al-Dīn ʿAlī b. Ibrāhīm b. Ḥasan b. Ibrāhīm b. Abī Jumhūr al-Aḥsā'ī or al-Laḥsāwi (Arabic:محمد بن زین الدین علی بن ابراهیم بن حسن بن ابراهیم بن أبي جمهور الأحسائي) (alive in 904/1498) was a Sufi-like Twelver Shi'a scholar in fiqh, hadith, and theology. He completed his educations in Iraq and Jabal 'Amil with scholars including Shaykh Sharaf al-Din Hasan b. 'Abd al-Karim al-Fattal and Shaykh Ali b. Hilal al-Jaza'iri.

He stayed in Tus and began debates with Sunni scholars in addition to teaching and writing. Sayyid Muhsin al-Badawi al-Qummi and Shaykh al-Rabi'a b. Jum'a was among his students.

Two of his many works are Awali al-la'ali al-'aziziyya fi l-ahadith al-diniyya and Bidayt al-nihaya fi l-hikmat al-ishraqiyya.

Birth and Lineage

The exact bithdate of this scholar is not known. What can be understood from authentic sources is that Ibn Abi Jumhur was born in al-Lahsa' or al-Ahsa' of Bahrain in the first half of the 9th/15th century. His father Shaykh Zayn al-Din Ali and his forefather, Shaykh Ibrahim were among scholars.

Education and Sources

He first studied common sciences under scholars of al-Ahsa' and greatly benefitted from his father and then moved to Iraq and joined the circle of the students of Shaykh Sharaf al-Din Hasan b. 'Abd al-Karim al-Fattal in Najaf and received a permission for narrating hadith from him. In 877/ 1472, he went to visit the Ka'ba through Syria. In this journey, he benefitted from the class of Shaykh Ali b. Hilal al-Jaza'iri, a famous student of Abu l-'Abbas Ahmad b. Fahd al-Hilli in Karak Nuh, a famous Shi'a region in South Lebanon, and stayed there for one month and then received a permission for hdith transmission from him. After this journey, he returned to al-Ahsa' and after a while went to Iraq to visit the holy cities.

In Tus

Ibn Abi Jumhur went to Tus to visit the Holy Shrine of Imam al-Rida (a). In this journey, he wrote the treatise of Zad al-musafirin fi usul al-din, for which he later wrote the commentary of Kashf al-barahin following the request of Sayyid Muhsin b. Muhammad al-Radawi al-Qummi who was among important people of Tus. Ibn Abi Jumhur spent the rest of his life in Khorasan and was often travelling between Tus and other cities.

In addition to teaching and writing, in Tus, he had debates with Sunni scholars over the right of Shi'a and caliphate of Imam Ali (a). The most important debate he had was the one with Fadil al-Hirawi held in 878/1473-4 in the house of Sayyid Muhsin al-Radawi and in that debate, he convinced Fadil al-Hirawi.

Students

Ibn Abi Jumhur had students who received permission for hadith transmission from him, including:

  • Sayyid Muhsin al-Radawi al-Qummi to whom Shaykh gave the permission to read and write 'Awali al-la'ali,
  • Al-Rabi'a b. Jum'a,
  • Sharaf al-Din Mahmud al-Taliqani,
  • Shams al-Din Muhammad b. Salih al-Gharawi.

Viewpoint of Scholars about Him

Criticism

Even with having scholarship and expertise in theology and hadith, Ibn Abi Jumhur was always criticized by some Shi'a scholars in hadith and fiqh. It seems that his interest in philosophy, Sufism, dereliction in narration of reports, mentioning common, Mursal hadith and Khabar al-Wahid was the reason of such criticisms and mistrust.

Praise

Opposite to the group mentioned above, there was another group of Twelver Shi'a scholars such as al-Sayyid Ni'mat Allah al-Jaza'iri in Jawahir al-ghawali and Muhaddith Nuri in Mustadrak al-wasa'il, Mar'ashi Najafi in the treatise of al-Rudud wa al-Naqud who defended him and answered the criticisms about him and praised him.

Demise

The exact year of his demise is not known, but from evidences, it can be understood that he was alive in Dhu l-Qa'da 904/June 1499; because, in that date he wrote a commentary titled Mu'in al-fikr on Bab hadi 'ashar following a request of his friends and students. Ibn Abi Jumhur was contemporary with the famous faqih al-Muhaqqiq al-Karaki (d. 940/1533).

Works

  • 'Awali al-la'ali al-'aziziyya fi l-ahadith al-diniyya or Awali al-la'ali al-hadithiyya 'ala madhhab al-Imamiyya is a book containing Shi'a hadiths and traditions which he has narrated from 7 ways. It has been referred to by Shi'a scholars so that al-Sayyid Ni'mat Allah al-Jaza'iri wrote a commentary titled as Jawahir al-ghawali or Madinat al-hadith on it.
  • Mujli mir'at al-munji was a book in theology, mixed with philosophical and mystical issues and principles of Sufi spiritual journey and a summary of moral purification the writing of which was finished in Safar 987/ December 1490. This book is a commentary on the treatise of Maslak al-afham fi 'ilm al-kalam written by the same author. In this book, Ibn Abi Jumhur has tried to compare theology, philosophy (especially the viewpoints of Shaykh al-Ishraq) and mysticism (especially ideas of Ibn 'Arabi and commentators of his works) and through interpretation of verses and hadiths, shows the compatibility of Shi'a with Sufism.
  • Risalat al-aqtab al-fiqhiyya wa al-wada'if al-diniyya 'ala madhhab al-Imamiyya, in which he organized and compiled principles in fiqh. This book is similar to Shahid al-Awwal's al-Qawa'id.
  • Risalat al-Barmakiyya fi fiqh al-salat al-yawmiyya which was translated by one of Shaykh's students to Persian at the time of the author himself.
  • Al-Anwar al-mashhadiyya fi sharh al-Risalat al-Barmakiyya which is a commentary on the above-mentioned Risalat al-Barmakiyya.
  • Al-Tuhfat al-qasidin fi ma'frifat istilah al-muhaddithin.
  • Bidayat al-nihayat fi al-hikmat al-ishraqiyya.
  • Risala mu'in al-fikr, a commentary on Bab hadi 'ashar.
  • Risalat al-munazara ma'a al-Fadil al-Hirawi. It is a commentary on three sessions of discussions and debates by the author with Fadil al-Hirawi on the issue of Imamate and proving the rightfulness of Imam Ali (a). Qadi Nur Allah al-Shushtari has narrated a part of this debate in Persian.