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Jawahir al-matalib fi manaqib al-Imam 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) (book)

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Jawahir al-matalib fi manaqib al-Imam 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a)
Bibliographical Information
Author Shams al-Din, Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Nasir b. Khalifa Ba'uni al-Damishqi
Original title جَواهِر المَطالِب في مَناقِب الإمام عَلی بن أبي طالِب عَلَیه السَلام
Language Arabic
Subject Virtues of Imam Ali (a)
Genre Narrative
Published 1415/1994

Jawāhir al-maṭālib fī manāqib al-Imām ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib (a) (Arabic:جَواهِر المَطالِب في مَناقِب الإمام عَلی بن أبي طالِب عَلَیه السَلام) written by the Sunni scholar Shams al-Din, Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Nasir b. Khalifa Ba'uni al-Damishqi (d. 871/1466-1467). It is a review of the life of Imam 'Ali (a) and his righteousness and virtues, relying on Sunni sources. Contrary to other Sunni writers, the author has a distinctive, or in some cases, rather extremist viewpoint on Imam 'Ali (a).

About the Author

Shams al-Din Ba'uni was born in 780/1378-1379 in Damascus. He is attributed to "Ba'un", a village of "'Ijlun" district, on the eastern Jordan. Ba'uni was a common surname for the members of a Shafi'ite dynasty in Safad area, which shined at various cultural aspects for a century, beginning from the mid-ninth century. The author, though a Sunni, was so fond of Imam 'Ali (a) and his children.

Introducing the book

As the writer has set the list of contents, the book is divided into 80 chapters. The existing copy though, which is printed based on an incomplete manuscript, includes 79 chapters. Each chapter is devoted to a specific title or a particular virtue of Imam 'Ali (a), and the last few chapters describe parts of Hasanayn's (his two sons) lives.

Motives

After receiving the book of Ibn Jawzi about the virtues of 'Umar b. al-Khattab (the second caliph), Ba'uni resolved to write a book regarding the virtues of Imam 'Ali (a). Agha Buzurg Tihrani has quoted this from a manuscript of the book, although there is no such thing in the printed copy.

Point of view

The author has gone to extremes describing the virtues of Imam 'Ali (a), as though he has been superior to mankind. He had no respect for some personages, such as Mu'awiyya, 'Amr b. 'As, and Marwan, and the reports compiled in the book are somewhat against them, as for Marwan, he is described as the cause of the revolt in which 'Uthman (the third caliph) was killed. Opposing to some extremist Sunni writers, he never abused Shi'a when it came to mention them. He has posed some of the conflicts and contentions between the companions of the Prophet (s). In the sermon of Kitab, he remarks Imam 'Ali's (a) great virtues, putting him in the same place with the prophets.

The book enjoys a literary introduction. The family lineage, name, and appearance of Imam 'Ali (a) are discussed in the first chapters, and the following chapters are devoted to his virtues and parts of his life, each taking long for one or few pages.

The author perceives Imam 'Ali (a) to be the first man who converted to Islam, and narrates some incidents, such as the hadith of Radd al-Shams (restoration of the sun), in regard to his virtues. Moreover, he mentions some miraculous deeds and common characteristics of Imam 'Ali (a).

References

Writing his book, the author has used many sources, and has noted the names of the authors or books he has used as reference, most of them which are still available. His references could be classified in four categories of hadith, history, biography, and cultural and literary resources.

He has widely used the books Musnad and Manaqib by Ahmad b. Hanbal, and after that he has quoted from authors sequentially as; al-Tirmizi, Muslim, Ibn Habban, and al-Bukhari, and in some cased from Ibn Ishaq, al-Tabari, Ibn Athir, Ibn Jawzi (the author of Mir'at al-zaman and Al-'uqad al-farid), etc. He has used Nathr al-durar by Mansur b. Hussein 'Abi, who was a Shi'a writer, as reference for the comprehensive sermon of Fatima (a) and her words.

Significance

The book has been of great interest to Shi'a writers of the following eras. In his book Bihar al-anwar, al-Majlisi has named Jawahir al-matalib. Also contemporary Shi'a writers, such as Mar'ashi Najafi in his commentary on Ihqaq al-haqq and al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin in his book A'yan al-shi'a have widely quoted from Jawahir al-matalib.

References