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Ma'arij al-wusul ila ma'rifa fadl Al al-Rasul (book)

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Ma'arij al-wusul ila ma'rifa fadl Al al-Rasul
Author Muhammad b. Yusuf al-Zarandi al-Hanafi
Original title مَعارجُ الوُصول إلی مَعرفَة فَضل آلِ الرّسول و البَتول علیهم السلام
Language Arabic
Subject Virtues of the Ahl al-Bayt, their significance, the wide range of their miracles, and other features.

Maʿārij al-wuṣūl ilā maʿrifat faḍl Āl al-Rasūl wa l-Batūl 'alayhim al-salām (Arabic: مَعارجُ الوُصول إلی مَعرفَة فَضل آلِ الرّسول و البَتول علیهم السلام) is an Arabic book written by Muhammad b. Yusuf al-Zarandi al-Hanafi (d. 750/1349-50). The author wrote the book after writing his well-known book, Nazm durar al-simtayn. In this short essay, he provided biographies of the Twelve Imams (a) and admired the Sahaba and the wives of the Prophet Muhammad (s). Ma'arij al-wusul was very reliable among some prominent Sunni scholars, but early Shiite scholars did not know it well.

Author

Jamal al-Din Muhammad b. Yusuf b. Hasan al-Zarandi al-Hanafi al-Madani was a Sunni scholar of hadith and the author of the well-known book, Nazm durar al-simtayn concerning the virtues of The Five (a). It is said that he was a transmitter of hadiths in Medina, and after his father, he occupied the position of judge in the city. Subsequently, he went to Shiraz and resided there until his death. He also served as a judge in this city for a while.

Motivation for Writing

In his preface to the book, the author writes about his motivation for writing the book:

I wrote this book because some venerable sadat asked me to collect some material about the virtues of the pure Imams (a) and their progeny.

In this essay, the author seeks to elaborate the virtues of the Imams (a), their significance, the wide range of their miracles, and other features. Sometimes the author wrote in a rhythmic style and he sometimes cites poems composed by himself or others.

In his arrangement of the material and its structure, the author did not have specialized sources concerning the biographies of the Imams (a) at his disposal, as he says at the end of the book that he never saw a book concerning the Twelve Imams (a) to use it as a model. The way he classifies the material is the same for every Imam (a). He refers to the numerical rank of the Imam (a) and then praises him in lengthy words, citing his titles. He then gives personal information about the Imam (a) and then cites some remarks by him.

Some people believe that the book was written in Shiraz, but according to the introduction to a published version of the book edited by Majid b. Ahmad al-'Atiyya, it seems that al-Zarandi al-Hanafi wrote the book before 745/1344 in Medina and then moved to Shiraz.

Features

Although the author refers to the Imams as "Imams" just like Shi'as and enumerates them from the First Imam to the Twelfth Imam, he does not talk about features such as their infallibility and avoids to cite hadiths concerning extraordinary acts by the Imams.

The book contains odd or even mistaken material, such the Occultation of Imam al-Mahdi (a) having occurred in 296/908, although the Major Occultation has indeed started since 329/940.

Sources of the Book

The material of the book concerning the first three Imams is a selection of material in his other book, Nazm durar al-simtayn. It seems that the author did not have many sources at his disposal when writing the book, especially Shiite sources regarding the biographies of the Imams (a).

In addition to Fara'id al-simtayn which seems to be a major source of the book, he cites other books such as al-Sunnat al-Kabira written by 'Abd Allah b. Muhammad known as Abu l-Shaykh al-Isfahani, al-Tabsira written by Ibn al-Jawzi, and al-Tabiqat al-kubra written by Ibn Sa'd. The author has also cited works by Sufi scholars such as Hilyat al-awliya, Tarikh al-sufiya by Nasawi, and Shawahid al-tasawwuf by Abu Mansur al-Mu'ammar, exhibiting his Sufi tendencies.

Significance

In the past, when the book was not widely published and was only available as a manuscript, it was very significant for Muslim scholars. The book was cited by some Sunni authors, such as al-Samhudi (d. 911/1505) in his Jawahir al-'iqdayn, al-Iji in his Tawdih al-dala'il, Ibn Sabbagh in his al-Fusul al-muhimma, and al-Qunduzi (d. 1294/1877) in his Yanabi' al-mawadda. Although early Shiite authors did not know the book, some recent Shiite scholars cited the book, for example in 'Abaqat al-anwar, al-Majalis al-saniyya, Ihqaq al-haqq, and al-Ghadir.

Manuscripts

  • A manuscript in the Iranian museum in Tehran which was written in Mecca on Dhu l-Hijja 5, 918 (February 11, 1513).
  • Another manuscript in a personal library in Berlin.

Publication

The book was published by Majma' Ihya' al-Thaqafat al-Islamiyya in Tehran.

References