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Kashf al-ghumma fi ma'rifat al-a'imma (book)

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Kashf al-ghumma fi ma'rifat al-a'imma
Bibliographical Information
Author 'Ali b. 'Isa al-Irbili
Original title (کشفُ الغُمَّة فی مَعرِفَةِ الأئمّة(ع
Language Arabic
Subject Excellence of Ahl al-Bayt (a)
Published 1403/1983
Publisher Dar al-Adwa'

Kashf al-ghumma fī maʿrifat al-aʾimma (Arabic: (کشفُ الغُمَّة فی مَعرِفَةِ الأئمّة(ع, lit. lifting the hardship in knowing the Imams) is an Arabic book by Baha' al-Din 'Ali b. 'Isa al-Irbili (d.692/1293), one of Shi'a scholars in 7th/13th century. This book includes biographies, virtues and miracles of the Fourteen Infallibles (a) and is organized in two sections.


Abu l-Hasan 'Ali b. 'Isa Hakkari, famous as Baha' al-Din al-Irbili, is a well-known Shi'a Muhaddith (Hadith Transmitter) historian, literary expert and poet in 7th/13th century. He was born and raised in Irbil.[1] His father, Fakhr al-Din 'Isa, known as Ibn Jijni, was the governor of Irbil and its surrounding areas.


This book is about the Prophet (s), Lady Fatima (a), and the twelve Imams (a), their virtues and miracles. He also mentions the Lady Khadija (a).

Date of Compilation

The book has two sections; the first section was finished in 678/1279 and the second section in 682/1283.[2]


The author writes in the introduction: "I've been willing, since a long time ago, to make a collection of narrations about the virtues of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) … since Sunnis have not worked on the history and the virtues of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and even some Sunni scholars do not know the names of the Ahl al-Bayt (a). So I decided to work on the history and personality of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) so that their rightful position will be revealed for their enemies and those who possess hatred toward the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and also Ghalis (exaggerators) will leave their practices. He continues:

Many people mock the visiting of the shrine of Imam al-Kazim (a), while most of the same people visit the tombs of Darwishs and Sufis.[3]


Through the process of writing, al-Irbili used early sources and took most of the book's content from them. He merely adds some explanations and assessments under certain narrations and finishes the biography of each Imam by a poem in praising the Imam. Author makes use of his theological ideas and in the history of Shi'a Imams (a), he discusses the arguments and proofs of the their Imamate and narrates some of their virtues and miracles.


  • Author's views are in accordance with mainstream Shi'a beliefs and he seems fair in presenting different discussions; however he mentions various arguments in favor of Shi'a and against other deviant sects.
  • One significant merit of the book is its preservation of some narrations the original sources of which did not survive.
  • The method of the author is that he brings all content of a certain source, like al-Irshad or I'lam al-wara, about each Imam. Among these sources are some that have survived within this book only.
  • Al-Irbili's analyses and personal opinions as a prominent Shi'a scholar are presented in this book and are remarkable. Some of these opinions are very unique and uncommon; like that he does not regard al-Ma'mun responsible for the martyrdom of Imam al-Rida (a).

Translations and Commentaries

There are several (Persian) translations for this book:

  • Mihrab al-Qulub by: 'Ali b. Fayd Irbili
  • A translation by: Hasan b. Husayn Bayhaqi
  • A translation known as Manaqib by: 'Ali b. Husayn Zawware'i, a translator and Mufassir in 10th/16th century.
  • A translation by: Ni'mat Allah b. Quraysh Radawi Mashhadi.
  • Siyar al-a'imma or Iksir al-Tawarikh by: Mirza Muhammad b. Muhammad Rafi' Shirazi Malik al-Kuttab.
  • A translation by: Mulla 'Abd al-Latif Azarbayjani Mullabashi.

Also al-Kaf'ami, the author of Misbah, has some glosses on this book.


  1. Farrukh, Tarikh al-adab al-'arabi, vol.3 p.661
  2. Tehrani, al-Dhari'a, vol.18 p.47-48
  3. Irbili, Kashf al-ghumma, vol.1 p.4-5


  • Farrukh, 'Umar. Tarikh al-adab al-'arabi. Beirut: 1989
  • Tehrani, Aqa Buzurg. Al-Dhari'a. Beirut: Dar al-Adwa', 1403
  • Irbili, 'Ali b. Isa al-. Kashf al-ghumma. Beirut: Dar al-Adwa', 1405