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Ma'arif al-rijal fi tarajim al-'ulama' wa l-udaba' (book)

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Ma'arif al-rijal fi tarajim al-'ulama' wa l-udaba'
Bibliographical Information
Author Muhammad Hirz al-Din
Original title معارف الرجال فی تراجم العلماء و الادباء
Language Arabic
Series 3 Vols.
Subject Rijal
Published 1365/1945 in Najaf
Publisher Library of Ayatollah Mar'ashi Najafi

Maʿārif al-rijāl fī tarājim al-ʿulamāʾ wa l-udabāʾ (Arabic: مَعارِف الرِّجال فی تَراجِمِ العُلَماء و الأُدَباء), also known as Maʿārif al-rijāl, is the best-known work of rijal and biographies written by Shaykh Muhammad Hirz al-Din, a Shiite scholar of rijal in the 14th/20th century. The book is in Arabic. It contains the biographies of 556 scholars and people of literature who lived between the second half of the 12th/18th and the first half of the 14th/20th centuries. The book was published in Najaf in 1365/1945.

The Author

Main article: Muhammad Hirz al-Din

Shaykh Muhammad Hirz al-Din (d. 1365/1945), a Shiite scholar of rijal in the 14th/20th century, was the best-known person in the family of Hirz al-Din. He was a student of Mirza Husayn Khalili Tihrani, Muhammad Taha Najaf, Akhund Khurasani, and Sayyid Muhammad Kazim Tabataba'i Yazdi. His best-known student was Sayyid Shahab al-Din Mar'ashi Najafi. About 70 works in various Islamic disciplines have been attributed to him. Ma'arif al-rijal is his best-known work of rijal and biographies.

Style of Writing

Shaykh Muhammad Hirz al-Din has reported life-stories and biographies of scholars and people of literature in his Ma'arif al-rijal in an alphabetical order, as he pointed out in his very short preface to the book. Hirz al-Din began the book with a biography of Shaykh Ibrahim Yahya 'Amili (b.1154/1741 - d.1214/1799) and ended it with a biography of Shaykh Yunus Amir.


Ma'arif al-rijal is an important Shiite biographical book, which is frequently cited in works concerning the biographies of scholars contemporary to Hirz al-Din.


Ma'arif al-rijal provides biographies of 556 scholars and people of literature who were contemporary with the author or close to his time. The book begins with biographies of scholars who lived around 1150/1737 and ends with scholars who lived at the same time as the author did. Hirz al-Din focused on the scholarly life of people in his account of their biographies, talking about their life, death, teachers, students, and writings. In some cases, he also refers to their virtues and moral characters.


Muhammad Husayn Hirz al-Din, a grandson of Shaykh Muhammad, organized and edited Ma'arif al-rijal and added a preface and footnotes to it. Ma'arif al-rijal was published in 1365/1945 in Najaf in three volumes. The book was also published by the publications of the Library of Ayatollah Mar'ashi Najafi, but in its first and second volumes the biographies of 10 scholars were left out, which were published as addenda to the third volume.