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Muhammad Rida al-Muzaffar

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محمد رضا مظفر.jpg
Personal Information
Full Name Muhammad Rida al-Muzaffar
Birth 1322/1904
Death 1383/1964
Burial Place Najaf, Iraq
Scholarly Information
Professors Muhammad Hasan al-MuzaffarMuhammad Husayn Na'iniDiya' al-Din 'IraqiSayyid 'Abd al-Hadi ShiraziSayyid 'Ali Qadi Tabataba'iMuhammad Husayn Isfahani
Students Ahmad Wa'ili • Sayyid Jawad Shubbar • Sayyid Muhammad Bahr al-'Ulum
Works usul al-fiqhal-Mantiq • 'Aqa'id al-imamiyya

Al-Shaykh Muḥammad Riḍā al-Muẓaffar (Arabic: محمد رضا المظفر) (b. 1322/1904 - d. 1383/1964) was a Shiite scholar of the 14th/20th century. He began his studies in the Islamic seminary of Najaf, and attended lectures by Muhammad Husayn Na'ini, Diya' al-Din 'Iraqi, Qadi Tabataba'i, and had a lot of students. Because of his influence in Najaf and in order to realize his ideas, al-Muzaffar founded several scholarly and cultural institutes. He also took remarkable measures for the sake of proximity of Shiite and Sunni Muslims. He wrote books in a new and simple style, some of which are now textbooks in Islamic seminaries.

Birth

Muhammad Rida al-Muzaffar was born on Sha'ban 5, 1322/October 15, 1904 in a district of Najaf called "Barraq", 5 months after his father's death. His father, Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah al-Muzaffar was from the Al Muzaffar household and a scholar of fiqh in Najaf. His mother was the daughter of Shaykh 'Abd al-Husayn al-Turayhi (d. 1293/1876-7). He was brought up first by his elder brother, Shaykh 'Abd al-Nabi (d. 1337/1919-20), and after his death, by another brother of his, al-Shaykh Muhammad Hasan al-Muzaffar (d. 1375/1956-7).

Household

"Al Muzaffar" was a well-known and well-reputed household in Najaf, many of its members being Islamic scholars. Since 12th/18th century, many prominent scholars of Najaf came from this household.

Demise

Al-Shaykh Muhammad Rida al-Muzaffar passed away on the night of Ramadan 16, 1383 / January 31, 1964 in Najaf, and was buried near the grave of his brother, al-Shaykh Muhammad Hasan.

Education

Muhammad Rida al-Muzaffar started his educations in Najaf. After learning to read and write, he began studying in the Islamic seminary at the age of 13. He studied the principles of Arabic literature and grammar with Shaykh Muhammad Taha al-Huwayzi. He then studied fiqh (jurisprudence) and usul al-fiqh (principles of jurisprudence) with prominent scholars of these fields. Some of his professors are as follow:

Students

Some of his prominent students are as follow:

Scholarly, Cultural, and Social Services

Founding the Society of Muntada al-Nashr

"Muntada al-Nashr" literally means to call one another to propagate (Islamic cultures and sciences). By founding this society, al-Muzaffar tried to realize his reformist goals. This scholarly and religious foundation received its permission from the Iraqi government in 1353/1934-5. Its goals included the propagation of the Islamic culture and sciences, social reforms by publishing appropriate books, and educations.

Al-Muntada Collage

In 1355/1936, al-Muzaffar founded an Islamic seminary in which fiqh, exegesis of the Qur'an, usul al-fiqh, and philosophy were taught. The school was called al-Muntada collage. Scholars such as Muhammad Jawad al-Balaghi, 'Abd al-Husayn Dashti, and 'Abd al-Husayn al-Hilli taught in this collage.

Al-Muntada Schools

Al-Muzaffar's next step was the foundation of al-Muntada schools that was welcomed by scholars of Najaf and well-known households there, and this helped develop the schools. For decades, primary, secondary and pre-university levels were taught in these schools. The idea was to teach modern courses with an inlination towards a religious culture.

College of Fiqh

In 1376/1957-8, al-Muzaffar founded the College of Fiqh in Najaf. The college was recognized by the Iraqi Ministry of Culture in 1377/1958-9. The courses of the college included: Imamiyya fiqh, comparative fiqh, usul al-fiqh, exegesis of the Qur'an, hadith, Dirayat al-hadith, educational sciences, psychology, literature, history of literature, sociology, history of Islam, Islamic philosophy, modern philosophy, logic, modern history, principles of teaching, Arabic grammar, Arabic conjugation, and foreign languages.

Muhammad Rida al-Muzaffar taught philosophy in this college, and was writing his book on usul al-fiqh to be taught there. He also headed the college and supervised the books written for the college courses.

Style of Writing

Al-Muzaffar tried to provide textbooks of Islamic disciplines in an up-to-date and simple style. His written works are free of complexities usually observed in older works of fiqh and usul al-fiqh. They are easy to comprehend. His style of writing is said to be affected by his familiarity with literature and modern teaching.

Works and Textbooks

The books, al-Mantiq (logic), usul al-fiqh, and 'Aqa'id al-Imamiyya (Imamiyya beliefs), upgraded the way textbooks of Islamic seminaries were written. They are textbooks of Islamic seminaries today.

Usul al-fiqh: al-Muzaffar wrote this book as a textbook for the College of Fiqh in Najaf, and he intended it to fill the gap between two other textbooks in usul al-fiqh: Ma'alim al-din and Kifayat al-usul. In the structure of the book, he followed the lead of his teacher, Muhammad Husayn Gharawi Isfahani. Like his other written works, usul al-fiqh was written in a simple style. He tried to cash out complex issues of usul al-fiqh in a very clear and comprehensible way.

'Aqa'id al-Imamiyya: the book is a collection of Islamic beliefs in accordance with Ahl al-Bayt (a) in a summarized and eloquent style. Before writing the book, he had lectured the material in al-Muntada collage in 1363/1944-5, and then published it both as Aqa'id al-Imamiyya and Aqa'id al-Shi'a. His purpose of writing the book was to approximate Islamic sects.

Al-Mantiq: the book consisted of al-Muzaffar's lectures regarding logic since 1357/1938-9 in al-Muntada al-Nashr College. The book is taught as a textbook in both the Islamic seminaries and universities.

Some Other Works

  • Ahkam al-yaqza
  • Tarikh al-Islam
  • Hurriyyat al-insan wa irtibatuha bi qada' Allah
  • Al-Saqifa
  • Al-Falsafa al-islamiyya
  • Falsafat al-Imam Ali (a)
  • Al-Muthul al-Aflatuniyya 'inda Ibn Sina
  • Al-Najaf ba'da nisfa qarn

etc.

Poems

Al-Muzaffar composed poems since he was young. He was encouraged to compose poems by Shaykh Muhammad Taha al-Huwayzi. His collection of poems includes about 5000 verses.

References