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Misbah al-za'ir

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Misbah al-za'ir
Misbah al-za'ir (book)
Author Sayyid b. Tawus
Original title مِصْباحُ الزّائر
Language Arabic
Series 1 volume
Subject manner of visiting the Infallible Ones (a)
Published 1417/1996
Publisher Mu'assisa Al al-Bayt (a)

Misbah al-za'ir (Arabic: مِصْباحُ الزّائر) is a book in Arabic written by the Shi'a scholar, Sayyid b. Tawus (b. 589/1193 - d. 664/1265 AH). 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.

The Author

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.

Content

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 ziyara 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)
  • Fourth chapter: about enjoining to visiting the Prophet (s) and its manner from distance.
  • 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.
  • Twelfth chapter: on visiting Imam al-Kazim (a). (including three hadiths on ziyara and its manner)
  • 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).

Writing Approach

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 Sayyid Murtada, but does not mention the name of his book; or, when he quotes from al-'Umri, 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.

Criticisms

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 Mashhadi in al-Mazar al-kabir.

Versions and Prints

There are three versions of this book available in the library of Ayatullah Mar'ashi Najafi in Qom. Two of them are written in 1024 AH and 1078 AH and the other version is without a date.

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.

References