Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani
Tomb of al-Wahid al-Bihbahani near the darih of the Martyrs of Karbala
|Well-Known As||Al-Wahid al-Bihbahani|
|Well-Known Relatives||Muhammad Akmal Isfahani, Mulla Salih Mazandarani|
|Place of Birth||Isfahan|
|Studied in||Isfahan, Najaf|
|Death||Shawwal 29, 1205/July 1, 1791|
|Burial Place||Holy shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a)|
|Professors||Sayyid Muhammad al-Tabataba'i al-Burujirdi, Sayyid Sadr al-Din al-Qummi al-Hamadani|
|Students||Mulla Mahdi Naraqi, Bahr al-'Ulum, Kashif al-Ghita'|
|Works||Ibtal al-qiyas, al-Ijtihad wa l-ikhbar, ...|
|Working against Akhbaris|
Muḥammad Bāqir al-Bihbahānī (Arabic: محمد باقر البهبهاني) (b. 1118/1706-7 - d. 1205/1791) known as al-Waḥīd al-Bihbahānī (Arabic: الوحيد البهبهاني), was titled Aqa. Al-Bihbahani was a twelver Shi'a scholar in fiqh, usul and an author in 12th/18th century. He was titled as Wahid al-'Asr (The Exceptional of the time) by al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Tabataba'i al-Isfahani. The Grand Master, al-'Allama al-Thani and al-Muhaqqiq al-Thalith were the titles of al-Wahid al-Bihbahani.
Birth and Lineage
Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani was born in Isfahan in 1118/1706-7. Muhammad Akmal al-Isfahani, his father, was a student of al-'Allama al-Majlisi. His mother was the daughter of Aqa Nur al-Din, the son of Mulla Salih Mazandarani. According to several reports his lineage goes back to al-Shaykh al-Mufid.
Al-Wahid al-Bihbahani was raised in Isfahan and learned intellectual sciences from his father. After the demise of his father and the invasion of Mahmud Afghan to Isfahan, in 1135/1722-23, he migrated to Iraq.
Settlement in Behbahan
Because Behbahan had a calm and peaceful situation comparing to the riotous situation in Isfahan, most of scholars and notable figures, including Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani, migrated to Behbahan and settled there. The other reasons for migrating to Behbahan were confronting with Akhbarism which was expanding by al-Shaykh 'Abd Allah al-Samahiji al-Bahrayni (d. 1135/1722-23), a grand scholar and supporter of Akhbarism. He extended Akhbarism in Bihbahan and his student, Sayyid 'Abd Allah al-Biladi, continued it after him.
Settling in Karbala
After persistent and relentless scientific confrontation with Akhbarism, Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani along with his relatives and local people migrated to Karbala, where he passed away in 1205/1791.
Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani was titled as "Ustad al-Kull fi l-Kull" (the Master of All in All Subjects). He had a large number of students including:
- Mulla Mahdi Naraqi (d. 1209/1794-95)
- Al-Sayyid Muhammad Mahdi Tabataba'i known as Bahr al-'Ulum (d. 1212/1798)
- Abu 'Ali al-Ha'iri, author of Muntaha al-maqal (d. 1215/1800-1)
- Al-Sayyid Muhammad Jawad al-'Amili, author of Miftah al-kirama (d. 1226/1811-2)
- Al-Shaykh Ja'far al-Najafi Kashif al-Ghita' (d.1227/1812)
- Abu l-Qasim al-Qummi, author of al-Qawanin (d. 1231/1815-16)
- Al-Sayyid 'Ali al-Tabataba'i, author of Riyad al-masa'il (d. 1231/1815-16)
- Al-Shaykh Asad Allah al-Kazimi, author of Maqabis al-anwar (d. 1234/1818-19)
- Mulla Ahmad Naraqi (d. 1245/1829)
- Al-Shaykh Muhammad Taqi al-Isfahani, author of Hidayat al-mustarshidin (d. 1248/1832-33)
- Muhammad Ibrahim Kalbasi Isfahani (d. 1261/1845)
- Al-Sayyid Muhammad Hasan al-Zunuzi al-Khu'i, author of Riyad al-janna (d. 1246/1830-1)
Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani penned on fiqh in different books. He wrote a commentary on chapters of supplications of Mafatih al-sharayi' by al-Fayd al-Kashani and his gloss on Madarik al-ahkam by al-Sayyid Muhammad al-'Amili.
He was an expert in rijal and hadith. In his glosses on rijal by Muhammad b. 'Ali al-Astarabadi (Minhaj al-maqal), al-Bihbahani tried to prove the reliability of narrators who were not regarded reliable, which brought criticism of recent rijal scholars.
Al-Wahid al-Bihbahani has written 119 treaties and books including:
- Ibtal al-qiyas
- Ithbat al-tahsin wa l-taqbih al-'aqliyyayn
- Al-Ijtihad wa l-akhbar
- Isalat al-bara'a
- Isalat al-sihha fi l-mu'amilat wa 'adamiha
- Usul al-Islam wa l-iman
- Al-Tuhfa al-Husayniyya
- Al-Ta'liqat al-Bihbahaniyya
- Gloss on Irshad of al-'Allama al-Hilli
- Gloss on Tahdhib of al-'Allama al-Hilli
- Gloss on Irshad of al-Ardabili
- Gloss on Masalik al-afham
- Gloss on Ma'alim
- Commentary on Mafatih al-kalam
Not only al-Wahid al-Bihbahani was among notable Twelver scholars, but also several of his children and descendants became prominent figures including:
Aqa 'Abd al-Husayn, another son of al-Bihbahani was famous for piety and mysticism ('irfan). Also in the time of marja'iyya of his father, 'Abd al-Husayn was responsible for financial affairs and analyzing istifta'at.
His daughter was married to al-Sayyid 'Ali al-Tabataba'i (author of Riyad). Al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Mujahid (d. 1242/1826-27), her son, was the author of al-Manahil. He issued a fatwa on jihad against Russian Tsar in Fath 'Ali Shah Qajar era.
Dispute with Akhbaris
- See also: Akhbarism
Al-Bihbahani started confronting Akhbaris since he settled in Behbahan, where many notable scholars of Bahrain had migrated to. It became the center of Akhbaris. Al-Wahid al-Bihbahani started teaching, performing prayers, managing religious affairs and most importantly writing explanations and reviews on Akhbaris' opinion.
Al-Wahid al-Bihbahani attended the classes of al-Shaykh Yusuf al-Bahrani (d. 1186/1772) in Karbala, where most of Akhbari supporters were settling. Al-Bahrani was a grand figure in fiqh and the last representative of Akhbarism. Al-Bihbahani requested al-Bahrani to take over his classes for some time. He asked al-Bahrani to encourage his students to attend his classes.
Al-Bahrani is considered as a moderate Akhbari scholar. He considered himself as a person who chose a moderate way and criticized categorizing Shi'a scholars in Akhbari and Usuli. He also criticized insulting notable Shi'a scholars. Therefore, he took over the biggest class of the time. Al-Bihbahani explained Usuli school of thought and gave reviews on Akhbari principles in three days. As a result two third of students quit Akhbarism and accepted Usuli school of thought.
Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani stayed in Karbala over thirty years and eventually succeeded in driving out Akhbari school of thought. In addition he established Usuli school of thought which he believed in.
Al-Wahid al-Bihbahani lived for almost ninety years. In the last years of his life, he was only focused on teaching al-Rawdat al-bahiyya in Karbala. He ordered al-'Allama Bahr al-'Ulum, his superior student, to return to Najaf in order to establish seminary center for teaching Islamic theology and also managing the Shi'a Muslims' affairs.
- 'Aliyari, Bahjat al-amal, vol.6 p.572
- Qummi, al-Kuna wa l-alqab, vol.2 p.97
- Al-Bihbahani, Fawa'id al-Wahid, p.64
- Amin, A'yan al-Shi'a, vol.3 p.136
- Al-Bihbahani, Mir'at al-ahwal, vol.1 p.147-149
- Al-Bihbahani, Mir'at al-ahwal, vol.1 p.147-149
- Al-Jazayiri, al-Ijazat al-kabira, pp. 205-206; Al-Bahrani, Lu'lu'at al-bahrayn, pp. 93-98
- Al-Bihbahani, Mir'at al-ahwal, vol.1 p.148-149
- Tihrani, Tabaqat, part:2 p.172; Qumi, Fawa'id, vol.2 p.406; Bihbahani, al-Fawa'id al-ha'iriyya, p.19-20
- Al-Khoei, Mu'jam rijal al-hadith, vol.2 p.346, vol.5 p.129, 133, vol.7 p.60, vol.16 p.45-46
- Al-Bihbahani, Mir'at al-ahwal, vol.1 p.168
- Al-Bihbahani, Mir'at al-ahwal, vol.1 p.128, 179
- Al-Bahrani, al-Hada'iq, vol.1 p.15
- Mamaqani, Tanqih al-maqal, vol.2 p.285
- Tihrani, al-Dhari'a, vol.16 p.330-331
- Al-Bihbahani, Mir'at al-ahwal, vol.1 p.51
- The material for this article is mainly taken from محمدباقر بهبهانی in Farsi Wikishia.
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