Misbah al-za'ir (book)
|Author||Sayyid b. Tawus|
|Original title||مِصْباحُ الزّائر|
|Subject||manner of visiting the Infallible Ones (a)|
|Publisher||Mu'assisa Al al-Bayt (a)|
Miṣbāh al-zā'ir (Arabic: مِصْباحُ الزّائر) is a book in Arabic written by the Shi'a scholar, Sayyid b. Tawus (b. 589/1193 - d. 664/1265). This book discusses about the manner of traveling and visiting the Infallible Ones (a), their descendants and other religious figures. The author did not mention the references and sources of ziyarah texts, but claimed that he adopted them from hadiths.
- Main article: Sayyid b. Tawus
Sayyid Radi al-Din, Ali b. Musa b. Ja'far b. Tawus, known as Sayyid b. Tawus was the author of this book. He was the author of Luhuf and the leader of Shi'a during the rule of Mongols over Baghdad. Ibn Tawus's focus was more than anything on moral and spiritual issues and most of his works were related to such issues; including Misbah al-mutahajjid, Muhasabat al-nafs, Iqbal al-a'mal and Kashf al-mahajja.
Aqa Buzurg Tihrani mentions the title of the book as Misbah al-za'ir wa janah al-musafir which is also mentioned in the biography of Sayyid b. Tawus; however, in printed versions of the book, only Misbah al-za'ir has been printed on the cover. Some have even speculated its title to be Minhaj al-za'ir and have added that "Minhaj" and "Misbah" are two titles for the same book.
In Misbah al-za'ir, the author mentions the prerequisites of a journey, its manner and visiting the pure Imams (a), their descendants and believers. In this book, Sayyid b. Tawus begins each chapter with hadiths and then mentions the manner of ziyarah and related practices. He did not mention the chains of transmission for hadiths, as he mentioned that he intended to be brief.
The book begins with a short introduction about the blessings of Divine mercy, obligation of obeying the Prophet (s) and necessity of revering Imams (a) and their graves by intellectual reasons. Then, he refers to two hadiths and mentions the necessity and the rewards for visiting Imams (a) and travels for ziyarah and enters the discussion on the main topic of the book.
Table of Contents
The book is written in twenty chapters:
- First chapter: preliminaries and manner of traveling (ghusl for traveling, manner of farewell to the family, supplication for traveling, giving charity at the beginning of the journey, the merit of having some of the soil of the grave of Imam al-Husayn (a) in the journey, dhikrs upon fear)
- Second chapter: merits of visiting the Prophet (s)
- Third chapter: manner of visiting the Prophet (s) and recommended practices in the mosque of the Prophet (s), visiting Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a), graves of martyrs, practices and visiting the graves of Baqi' cemetery, practices at the pillar of Abu Lubaba, visiting the grave of Fatima bt. Asad, Hamza and Ibrahim, son of the Prophet (s).
- Fourth chapter: about enjoining to visiting the Prophet (s) and its manner from distance.
- Fifth chapter: visiting Imam Ali (a): containing hadiths about the merit of visiting Imam Ali (a), recommended practices for entering Kufa, visiting Yunus b. Matta, manner of entering the mosque of Kufa and the place of the martyrdom of Imam Ali (a), prayer and supplication in the mosque of Sahla.
- Sixth chapter: merit of visiting Imam Ali (a) and dhikrs about Kufa and the grave of Imam Ali (a).
- Seventh chapter: visiting Imam Ali (a) in different times: including a hadith which refers to visiting Imam (a) on the day of Ghadir, Ghadir sermon, and manner of prayer and ziyara of Imam (a) on this day; and also, the manner of visiting Imam (a) in the eve of Rajab 27th and on the day of Rabi' al-Awwal 17th.
- Eighth chapter: merits of visiting Imam al-Hasan (a)
- Ninth chapter: visiting Imam al-Husayn (a): including seven hadiths on the merits of visiting at different time, manner of visiting Imam al-Husayn (a), martyrs of Karbala, Abbas (a) and ziyarat al-Wida' [visit of farewell].
- Tenth chapter: visiting Imam al-Husayn (a) in different times. (including 5 hadiths on the merits and manner of ziyarat 'Ashura, ziyaarat of Imam al-Sajjad (a) on the day of Arba'in, hadiths on the merits of visiting Imam al-Husayn (a) on the days of Rajab 1st and 15th of Sha'ban, night of Qadr, night of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha).
- Twelfth chapter: on visiting Imam al-Kazim (a). (including three hadiths on ziyara and its manner)
- Thirteen chapter: on visiting Imam al-Rida (a). (including six hadiths)
- Fourteenth chapter: on visiting Imam al-Jawad (a).
- Fifteenth chapter: on visiting Imam al-Hadi (a).
- Sixteenth chapter: on visiting Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari (a). (mentioning the merits of visiting Imams (a) and visiting the Imam al-Mahdi's (a) mother).
- Seventeenth chapter: on visiting Imam al-Mahdi (a). (Including the ziyara of Sardab al-ghayba (the holy basement), supplication of Nudba, Ziyara of Imam (a) every morning, al-'Ahd Supplication)
- Eighteenth and nineteenth chapters: on ziyaras of Jami'a.
- Twentieth chapter: on visiting the graves of the descendants of Pure Imams (a). (also visiting Salman and the Four Deputies)
The book ends with mentioning hadiths on the subject of the book, prayer for ziyara of Imam al-Husayn (a) and a story about the dignity of Imam Ali (a).
In most cases, Sayyid b. Tawus does not mention the sources and when he mentions the name of an author, he does not mention his work. For example, he quotes a ziyarah to be recited beside the grave of Imam al-Husayn (a) from al-Sharif al-Murtada, but does not mention the name of his book; or, when he quotes from al-'Umari, does not mention the name of his book. In some cases, al-Majlisi does not become certain about the sources Ibn Tawus referred to for a certain supplication. However, Ibn Tawus mentions that he has adopted supplications and ziyaras from hadiths.
In Rawdat al-jannat, Muhammad Baqir Khwansari criticizes this approach of Sayyid b. Tawus that he believes that he can invent manner for visiting religious places such as the mosque of Kufa and as such, while such manners are not mentioned in previous works of Shi'a and do not match the words of any of Imams (a). Mirza Husayn Nuri defended Sayyid b. Tawus in this regard and emphasized that all the instructions mentioned in Misbah al-za'ir are mentioned by others such as Shaykh al-Mufid in al-Mazar and Ibn al-Mashhadi in al-Mazar al-kabir.
Versions and Prints
The only print of this book is published by the research of Mu'assisa Al al-Bayt (a) in Qom. This research is based on the three mentioned versions, corrected and the diacritics are printed on the texts.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from مصباح الزائر (کتاب) in Farsi WikiShia.