Masar al-Shi'a (book)

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Masār al-Shīʿa fī mukhtaṣar tawārīkh al-sharīʿa
Author al-Shaykh al-Mufid
Original title مَسارُ ألشيعَة في مُختَصَرِ تَواريخ ألشّريعَة
Language Arabic
Subject Historical-Religious Calendar of Events
Published 1414/1993, Beirut
Publisher Dar al-Mufid

Masār al-Shīʿa fī mukhtaṣar tawārīkh al-sharīʿa (Arabic:مَسارُ ألشيعَة في مُختَصَرِ تَواريخ ألشّريعَة) is a book written by Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Nu'man al-Baghdadi, best known as al-Shaykh al-Mufid (d. 413/1022). The book is a historical-religious calendar containing the date of birth and martyrdom of the infallible Imams (a), important events in the history of Islam and other special occasions and dates in Islamic calendar. This book is one of the earliest and most authentic historical sources of Shi'a.

Title

The book's title is reported as Masar al-Shi'a fi mukhtasr tawarikh al-shari'a, in some sources it is mentioned as Tawarikh al-shar'iyya. Shaykh Mahdi Najaf, the scholar who studied and prepared the book for publishing, says at the beginning of the book:

"the title of the book means 'celebrations and happy occasions of Shi'a in religion,' but this contradicts with the content of the book as the author also talked about the sad and sorrowful occasions as well."

He adds:

"according to the introduction of the book, its title is Mukhtasr fi tarikh ayyam masar al-Shi'a wa a'maliha min al-qurb fi l-Shari'a wa ma khalaf fi ma'nah which includes happy and sorrowful occasions and also the specific rituals of them."

Authenticity

This book is one of the earliest and most authentic historical Shi'a sources, which is written about knowing the date of special Islamic occasions and events.

Reason for Writing

Al-Shaykh al-Mufid writes in the introduction of the book:

"One of our teachers in narrative sciences had [written] a treatise on this topic, but it does not meet the need of the reader due to its brevity."

Method and Style of Writing

  • The information is presented briefly: the author, al-Shaykh al-Mufid, relied on his books: al-Mazar, al-Irshad and al-Muqni'a, in reporting the events and incidents. However, in some cases such as the Event of Ghadir, Laylat al-Mabit he talked thoroughly and benefetted form other sources.
  • The book is arranged according to Islamic lunar calendar and starts from the the month of Ramadan and ends with Sha'ban.
  • After mentioning each day or event, the special Wajib or Mustahab ritual of it is mentioned based on reports and hadiths from Ahl al-Bayt (a).

Importance

This book is one of the few books whose original manuscript in the author's handwriting has survived. The published book has been proofread based on the original manuscript which was written in 389/999. Historically and philosophically, the book is regarded as one of the precious treasures of Islamic culture and civilization.

References