Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi

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Allama Majlisi.jpg
Painting of al-'Allama al-Majlisi by one of his contemporary painters
Personal Information
Well-Known As Al-'Allama al-Majlisi, the Second Majlisi
Well-Known Relatives Muhammad Taqi al-Majlisi (father), Mulla Salih Mazandarani
Birth 1037/1628-29
Residence Isfahan
Death 1110/1699-1700
Burial Place Grand Mosque of Isfahan
Scholarly Information
Professors Muhammad Taqi al-Majlisi, Mulla Salih al-Mazandarani, Mulla Muhsin al-Fayd al-Kashani
Works Bihar al-anwar, Mir'at al-'uqul, Haqq al-yaqin, 'Ayn al-hayat, Hayat al-qulub, ...
Socio-Political Activities
Socio-Political
Activities
Religious reformation at his time; Working as shaykh al-islam in the time of Shah Sultan Sulayman and Shah Sultan Husayn

Muḥammad Bāqir b. Muḥammad Taqī b. Maqsūd ʿAlī al-Majlisī (Arabic: محمد باقر بن محمد تقي بن مقصود علي المجلسي) (b. 1037/1628-9 d. 1110/1699) known as al-ʿAllāma al-Majlisī (Arabic: العلامة المجلسي) or the Second Majlisī (Arabic: المجلسي الثاني) was among the most famous Shi'a scholars in fiqh and hadith. He was among influential government officials in Safavid era and the author of the comprehensive hadith collection of Bihar al-anwar.

He was specialist in different Islamic sciences such as exegesis of Qur'an, hadith studies, fiqh, usul al-fiqh, history of Islam, rijal, dirayat al-hadith.

Al-Majlisi wrote many works such as: Bihar al-anwar, Mir'at al-'uqul, Haqq al-yaqin, Zad al-ma'ad, Tuhfat al-za'ir, 'Ayn al-hayat, Hayat al-qulub, Jala' al-'uyun, and Hilyat al-muttaqin.

Birth and Lineage

He was born in Isfahan in 1037/1628. He was born in the rule of Safavids and the last year of the rule of Shah 'Abbas I. His father, Muhammad Taqi al-Majlisi was among the noblemen and famous Islamic authorities of his time and one of the students of Baha' al-Din al-'Amili, 'Abd Allah al-Shushtari, and Mirdamad. Muhammad Baqir's mother was a daughter of Sadr al-Din Muhammad al-'Ashuri al-Qummi who was in a family of knowledge and virtue.

It is quoted from Muhammad Baqir's father, "One night after the midnight prayer, I had a great feeling and just heard my kid's crying. I said to God, 'O God! By the rights of Muhammad (s) and his family (a) make this kid a preacher of Your religion and the rulings of the Master of Prophets (s) and bless him with limitless opportunities.'"[1] It is also quoted from him that he ordered his wife not to milk Muhammad Baqir when she was not tahir.

It is said that Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi had three wives, 4 sons, and 5 daughters.

Majlisi Family

Family of al-'Allama al-Majlisi is among the most honorable Shi'a families in recent centuries. There have been about a hundred pious scholars in this family.

Muhammad Baqir's progenitor of his father was Abu Nu'aym al-Isfahani. He was among the hadith scholars and memorizers of the Qur'an. Muhammad Baqir's grandfather was Mulla Maqsud who is described as a pious poet and a knowledgeable scholar. His father's mother was the daughter of Kamal al-Din al-Hasan al-'Amili al-Natanzi al-Isfahani. Muhammad Baqir's brothers were Mirza 'Aziz Allah and Mulla 'Abd Allah who have been praised by Muhaddith Nuri. Amina Biygum was the most famous sister of al-Majlisi who was among the scholars of her time and the wife of Mulla Salih Mazandarani.

Reason for Naming

It is said that since his grandfather held great majlis (religious gathering) or since he used the pen-name "Majlisi", his family become famous as Majlisi. Another report is that they became famous as Majlisi was because Muahammad Taqi was living in the village Majlis of Isfahan.

Education

His father began his education from early ages and Muhammad Baqir was interested in learning all religious sciences. He wrote;

"I was interested in different religious sciences since when I was a youth and I loved them and due to God's mercy I could enter gardens of knowledge. Then I learned right and wrong judgments in that knowledge so that I earned various fruits and colorful flowers of that for myself. I drank from every spring and picked up from every bouquet."[2]

Scholarly Position

Al-'Allama al-Majlisi has such a fame in different Islamic sciences that needs no explanations. He was among great scholars who had comprehensive knowledge. He was the top scholar of his time in different Islamic sciences such as exegesis of Qur'an, hadith studies, fiqh, usul, history, rijal, and diraya. A look at Bihar al-anwar best demonstrate this.

Moreover, having knowledge of rational sciences such as philosophy, logic, mathematics, Arabic literature, geography, medicine, astronomy, and occult sciences made him a great personality.

He was very sharp-witted about the hadiths which were difficult to understand. His explanations about hadiths and verses of the Qur'an are very nice and very little mistakes could be found in them. In addition to hadiths, al-'Allama al-Majlisi was very knowledgeable in fiqh even though most of the volumes of Bihal al-anwar dedicated to fiqh did not become rewritten and corrected.

In the Talk of the Noble

About him, it is said that he was the first person who taught hadith sciences in [[[Safavid]] era.

Al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili says, "He paid attention to all sciences and studied them carefully."[3]

Muhammad 'Ali Ardabili praised him greatly.

Mirza Muhamamd Tunkabuni says, "His Haqq al-yaqin alone made 3000 of Syrian Sunnis convert to Shi'a."[4]

The Sunni scholar 'Abd al-'Aziz Dihlawi, who wrote books against Shi'a, said, "If Shi'a is called Majlisi's religion, it would be fine; that was he who promoted this school and before that it was not influential."[5]

Teachers and Hadith References

According to Mirza Husayn Nuri's al-Fayd al-Qudsi fi tarjimat al-Allama al-Majlisi, Majlisi's teachers are many and Nuri mentions 18 of them:

Students and Narrators

Some reports have mentioned the number of his students exceeded 1000, each of whom became a famous scholar of his own field. Mirza Husayn Nuri mentioned 49 of them, some of whom are:

Scholarly, Political and Cultural Services

  • Fighting with Sufis and their thoughts and beliefs
  • Writing different books in different topics of fiqh, exegesis of Qur'an, theology, hadith studies, history, du'a and prayers, and writing the hadith encyclopedia of Bihar al-anwar and collecting hadiths and categorizing them.
  • Writing and translating some religious texts in simple Persian for common people.
  • Issuing fatwa and answering people's religious questions in the most simple ways.
  • Religious reformations and fighting with centers of corruption, idol houses, and fighting alcohol drinking.
  • Establishing Friday prayer, congregatioal prayer, religious gatherings, and speeches.
  • Accepting the position of judgment and being Shaykh al-Islam at the time of Shah Sultan Sulayman and Shah Sultan Husayn and using his influence for establishing Shi'a beliefs.
  • Reconciling people's arguments.

Works

one volume of the great hadith collection of Bihar al-anwar

'Allamah Majlisi's works in different topics which exceed 70 topics in Persian and Arabic. Aqa Buzurg Tihrani counted Majlisi's works as 169 volumes.

the tomb of al-'Allama al-Majlisi and his father, Muhammad Taqi al-Majlisi in Isfahan

Demise

Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi passed away in the eve of Ramadan 27, 1110/March 29, 1699 in Isfahan at the age of 70. He was buried beside the Grand Mosque of Isfahan beside the grave of his father according to his will.

See also

Notes

  1. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, Vol.102, P.11
  2. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, Vol.1, P.2
  3. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, Vol.107, P.104
  4. Tunikabuni, Qisas al-'ulama, P.205
  5. Al-Amin, A'yan al-Shi'a, Vol.9, P.183

References

  • The material for this article is mainly taken from محمد باقر مجلسی in Farsi WikiShia.
  • Amin, Sayyid Muhsin al-. A'yan al-Shi'a. Bierut, Dar al-Ta'aruf li-l-Matbu'at;
  • Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir al-. Bihar al-anwar. Beirut, mu'assisa al-wafa', 1403 AH;
  • Tunikabuni, Mirza Muhammad. Qisas al-'ulama;