Safinat al-bihar (book)

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Safinat al-bihar
Author Shaykh 'Abbas Qummi
Original title سَفینَة البِحار
Language Arabic
Subject Hadith

Safīnat al-biḥār wa madīnat al-ḥikam wa l-āthār maʿa taṭbīq al-nuṣūṣ al-wārida fīhā ʿalā biḥār al-anwār (Arabic: سَفینَةُ البِحار و مَدینَةُ الحِکَمِ و الآثار مَعَ تَطبیقِ النُّصوصِ الواردَة فیها عَلی بِحارِالأنوار), known as Safīnat al-biḥār (Arabic: سفینة البحار), is a Shiite collection of hadiths written by Shaykh 'Abbas Qummi in order to provide an alphabetically ordered topic index for hadiths in the book, Bihar al-anwar. Hadiths in this book are classified within 1700 topics.

Author

Main article: Shaykh 'Abbas Qummi

'Abbas b. Muhammad Rida al-Qummi (b. 1294/1877 - d. 1359/1940), known as Shaykh 'Abbas Qummi and Muhaddith Qummi, was a Shiite scholar of the 14th/20th century. He was well-known in hadiths and history as well as preaching and orations. Shaykh 'Abbas Qummi wrote many books, the best-known of which are Mafatih al-jinan, Safinat al-bihar, and Muntaha al-amal. He died in Najaf in 1359/1940 and was buried in the Holy Shrine of Imam Ali (a).

Motivation for Writing the Book

As Muhaddith Qummi pointed out in the preface of the book, many issues in Bihar al-anwar are not mentioned in the right place. So he wrote the book in order to help researchers to more easily find materials in Bihar al-anwar.

Features

Topics in the book are alphabetically ordered in accordance with the Arabic roots of the words. The reader can easily find over 1700 topics each of which is associated with different entries.

The work is a selection of Bihar al-anwar that makes it more convenient for readers to access hadiths in Bihar al-anwar. Since the author was an expert in hadiths and 'Ilm al-Rijal, he was selective about the material. For example, under the root "'ع-ل-م" (i-l-m) (knowledge) from the first part of Bihar al-anwar on knowledge, he only mentioned Quranic verses of the begging and the end of the part, and of 122 hadiths, he only selected two. He did not cite any Quranic verses and hadiths up to the sixth part, and from the sixth part, he only cited one verse. He then overlooked the 7th part, and from the 8th part, he cited one verse from among 13 verses, and one hadith from among 92 hadiths.

One significant feature of Safinat al-bihar is that under a certain topic, the author did not rest content with one part. Instead, he tried to find and collect materials concerning the topic in other parts of Bihar al-anwar as well.

With respect to the titles, the author tried to stick to best-known terms. For example, he tried to stick with the name or the kunya or title with which a person was commonly known. Harith b. Sa'id is one case in point: Muhaddith Qummi mentioned him with his kunya with which he was best known, that is, Abu Farras al-Hamdani.

Comparison with Other Collections of Hadiths

Important Shiite collections of hadiths The author Death Number of hadiths descriptions
al-Mahasin Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Barqi 274/887 about 2604 Hadiths regarding different topics such as fiqh and ethics
al-Kafi Muhammad b. Ya'qub al-Kulayni 329/940 about 16000 Variety of hadiths regarding the principles of beliefs, ethics, conducts, and fiqh
Man la yahduruh al-faqih al-Shaykh al-Saduq 381/991 about 5500 Hadiths regarding fiqh
Tahdhib al-ahkam al-Shaykh al-Tusi 460/1067 about 13600 Hadiths regarding fiqh
Al-Istibsar al-Shaykh al-Tusi 460/1067 about 5500 Hadiths regarding fiqh
al-Wafi al-Fayd al-Kashani 1091/1680 about 50,000 Collection of hadiths in the Four Books with eliminating repeated hadiths and explaining some hadiths
Wasa'il al-shi'a al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili 1104/1692 35850 Hadiths regarding fiqh in the Four Books and over 70 other collections of hadiths
Bihar al-anwar al-'Allama al-Majlisi 1110/1698 about 85,000 Hadiths from most of the Infallibles (a) regarding various issues
Mustadrak al-wasa'il Mirza Husayn Nuri 1320/1902 23,514 Supplementation of hadiths regarding fiqh in Wasa'il al-shi'a
Safinat al-bihar Shaykh 'Abbas Qummi 1359/1940 10 volumes an alphabetically ordered index for Bihar al-anwar
Mustadrak safinat al-bihar Shaykh 'Ali Namazi 1405/1984 10 volumes Supplementation of Safinat al-bihar
Jami' ahadith al-Shi'a Ayatollah Burujirdi 1380/1960 48,342 Including all Shiite hadiths regarding fiqh
Mizan al-hikma Muhammad Muhammadi Reyshahri contemporary 23,030 564 non-jurisprudential (not regarding fiqh) topics
al-Hayat Muhammad Rida Hakimi contemporary 12 volumes 40 chapters regarding theoretical and practical issues

Relevant books

Translations

There are two Farsi translations of Safinat al-bihar: one by Muhammad Baqir Sa'idi Khurasani, published by Ja'fari bookstore in Mashhad, and another one by Hadi Salawati, published in 8 volumes by Navid-i Islam Publications in Qom.

Mustadrak Safinat al-Bihar

'Ali Namazi Shahrudi wrote the book, Mustadrak safinat al-bihar, in order to supplement Muhaddith Qummi's Safinat al-bihar. The book was first published in 1409/1988 by Bunyad-i Bi'that in 10 volumes.

Topic Index

Sayyid Mahdi Shams al-Din wrote the book, Mawdu'at al-akhbar min kitab Safinat al-bihar, to provide a topic index of Safinat al-bihar. The book is published by Dar al-Nashr al-Islami in 1992 in Qom in 128 pages.

Publications

Safinat al-bihar was published many times:

  • It was first printed lithographically in 2 volumes. Muhaddith Qummi's references to Bihar al-anwar were to its 25-volume publication. One publisher of this version of the book was Farahani publications.
  • Uswa publications, affiliated with Iran's Organization of Endowments and Charity, in 8 volumes in 1414/1993-94.
  • The Foundation for Islamic Researches, affiliated with Astan Quds Razavi published the book in 1416/1995-96 in 2 volumes and in 2004 in 4 volumes. It was published with a preface by 'Ali Akbar Ilahi Khurasani. In this version, hadiths in Safinat al-bihar were referred to the 110-volume version of Bihar al-anwar. Moreover, hadiths were also referred to the main sources cited by Bihar al-anwar.

References