|Full Name||Sayyid Murtada Sharif Askari|
|Well-Known As||Allama Askari|
|Place of Birth||Samarra|
|Studied in||Qom, Samarra|
|Burial Place||Holy Shrine of Lady Fatima al-Ma'suma (a) in Qom|
|Works||'Abd Allah b. Saba' wa asatir ukhra, Ma'alim al-madrasatayn, Khams wa mi'a Sahabi mukhtalaq, etc.|
Sayyid Murtaḍa Sharīf Askarī (Arabic: سیّد مُرتضی شَریف عَسکری) (b. 1332/1914 - d. 1428/2007), also known as Allāma Askarī, was a Shiite scholar who tried to do scholarly research on the history of Islam accurately and fairly. The fruit of this method is seen in his compiled works which brought about an effect on the world of Islam. Khams wa mi'a sahabi mukhtaliq, Al-Tawassul bi-l-Nabi wa l-tabarruk bi-atharih, 'Abd Allah b. Saba' wa asatir ukhra, and Ma'alim al-madrasatayn are some of his important books.
Birth and Lineage
Sayyid Murtada Askari was born in Samarra on Monday, Jumada II 18, 1332/1293. His ancestors were among the jurisprudents and hadith scholars of their era. His paternal grandmother was Sayyid Isma'il Husayni (d. 1306/1889) the son of Sayyid Muhammad Kuchaki Sawuji and his maternal grandmother was Mirza Muhammad Sharifi Askari Tihrani (d. 1371/1952). His ancestors were invited from Sabziwar to Sawih and they inherited the title of Shaykh al-Islam. Many Sunni people converted to Shiite through his ancestors' guidance in this city as Allama Askari said. All of the great ancestors of this extended family were known as "Shaykh al-Islam" other than Sayyid Murtada that was known as Askari because he was born in Samarra. His father died when he was a child, so his maternal grandmother trained him.
Allama Askari said, "when I was a child I become afflicted with a deadly disease, typhoid fever, and there was no hope to be cured and my condition got worse. My mother took me to Kadhimiya but I did not respond well to the treatment, so I saw majesty 'Izra'il while he was good looking and dressed in white, he entered the room with beautiful face, then the family of the Holy Prophet (a) came in. They all sat and alleviated me then we had a talk. I saw suddenly my mother went to the roof turned to the dome of holy Shrine of Musa b. Ja'far (a) and said, 'oh! Musa b. Ja'far (a) do you like I bury my son here then come back alone to my home town? No! you don't like it.' Hence Imam al-Kazim (a) came into our room and said to the Prophet (s) 'please accept the request of the mother of this Sayyid' then the Prophet (s) turned to the 'Izra'il and said 'Go! God has given a new life to this son through his mother's tawassul and we will go too'. I was terribly angry with my mother and said to her I was about to go with the Majesty Infallibles but you did not let me go."
Sayyid Murtada entered the Seminary of Samarra when he was ten and learned the formal books of the Seminary of Iraq.
Attendance at the Seminary of Qom
By the dictatorship of Reza Khan he had to leave Iraq, therefore, he came to Iran and the Seminary of Qom. He explained the reasons of his immigration to Iran and consider it as obligatory Divine assistance and said, "I studied elementary levels and literature in Samarra, the expenses of my education was provided with my landed properties in Sawih, so I did not use any fund from seminary, but by the dictatorship of Reza Khan sending money from Iran to Iraq was forbidden, therefore, by the leadership of late Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri Yazdi (1351/1932 - 1353/1934) I came to the Seminary of Qom and became roommate with Shaykh 'Ali Safi in one of the rooms of Faydiyya Seminary.
Coming Back to Samarra
The presence of Allama Askari in the Seminary of Qom was short. That time apparently, the exegesis of Quran and hadith were not taught in the Seminary of Qom, so Allama Askari collaborated with some of the learned men and asked Mirza Khalili Kamara'i to teach the exegesis of Quran but this action did not suit most of the students taste of that time, hence they tried to close down the classes. This made Allama Askari sad and he came back again to Samarra.
School of Samarra
Educational style founded by Sayyid Muhammad Hasan al-Shirazi became known as School of Samarra. He stimulated a major development in the sort of attitude towards the educational system of Hawza. He offered the courses on philosophy, hadith, exegesis of Quran and theology as well as jurisprudence and principles of jurisprudence in the Seminary of Samarra and emphasized the importance of social interaction within the opponent and the proponent in addition to education and self-purity. It is clear that this educational environment exerted a significant effect on the great soul of Allama Askari, therefore he was known as a unique personality with distinct personal style and astute views in the scientific arena.
On the other hand he had information about the social, politicalو and intellectual environment of Iran. His understanding of dictatorship and pressures of Reza Khan and his coming back to Samarra was about the same time as increased political, social, and cultural activities in Iraq as well as intense political parties' activities in Iran, so all of these brought about the changes in the direction of his scientific life and he devoted considerable effort to improve the life of the Shiite and in general all the Muslims.
Founding a University
He was among the first scholars who discovered the nature of the educational system of the eastern countries. He found that the educational system designed by the orientalists for the eastern countries is terribly inefficient and cannot answer the increasing problems and development of the Islamic society. He believed that this educational system did not let the eastern countries be developed, therefore, he with the scholars sharing the same views decided to develop the educational system of Hawza and offered some courses in the direction of expanding the Ja'fari school of thought. His innovations and changes were both in practical and theoretical fields.
Allama Askari other than his practical activities founded a modern and an efficient university in Baghdad called Usul al-Din. They invited the great professors to teach exegesis of Quran, diraya (the science of knowing hadith), theology and comparative theology, however, these innovative activities stopped and the university closed down by the Ba'th's coup d'etat, so Allama Askari became wanted by the regime.
Tendency toward History
Allama Askari mainly concentrated on the study of history. The practical fruit of this appeared in his writings. He said, "since the early years of my education, I was interested in the books about the life of the Prophet (s), history of the Holy Prophet (s) and his companions, the seditions of early years of Islam, and travelogue and I was after the colonial stories of the colonialists in the Islamic countries."
Writing more than fifty valuable books by this unique scholar in the direction of expanding the Ja'fari Shiite is among his scientific activities. He had belief in the unity of Islamic Umma and the proximity among different branches of Islam, therefore, he on the basis of this belief wrote many valuable books. He held view that if the Shiite become free from historical accusations then his words would be accepted.
The enemies of Islam during the history through these accusations could begin hostility and the feeling of hatred between the Sunni and the Shiite. If Shiite become free from this unjust accusations and the Sunni brothers get acquainted with the Shiite more, then these hostilities would end. Hence he devoted effort to refute these accusations brought against the Shiite. All of these efforts is seen in his written and social works, so the central features of his works is to prepare the safe ground for Islamic unity.
He wrote more than 50 works, some of the are as follows:
- 'Abd Allah b. Saba' wa asatir ukhra (lit. 'Abd Allah b. Saba' and some other myths, 2 Vols.);
- Khamsun wa mi'a sahabi mukhtalaq (One hundred and fifty feigned sahaba, 3 Vols.);
- Ma'alim al-madrasatayn (knowledge of the two schools, 3 Vols.);
- Saqifa (a historical review of how to form caliphate after the demise of the Holy Prophet (s));
- Aya-yi Tathir dar kutub-i du maktab (al-Tathir verse in the books of the two schools);
- Imaman-i in Ummat 12 nafarand (Imams of this Umma are twelve persons);
- Mushaf dar riwayat wa akhbar (Mushaf in hadith and narrations);
- Al-Quran al-Karim wa riwayat al-madrasatayn (Al-Quran al-Karim and hadiths of the two schools);
- Al-buka' 'ala l-Mayyit (Crying for the deceased);
- Al-tawassul bi-l-Nabi wa al-tabarruk bi-atharih (Tawassul to the Prophet and tabarruk to his relics);
- Al-bina' ala qubur al-anbiya' wa al-awsyia' wa ittikhaziha masajid wa amakin li-l-'ibada (Building on the graves of the prophets and the guardians and taking them as mosques and places for worship);
- Shi'ayan-i Ahl-i Bayt;
- Buzurgdasht-i yad-i anbia' wa bandigan-i salih-i Khuda;
- Idalat-i Sahaba;
- Salawat bar Muhammad wa al-i Muhammad az sunnatha-yi Rasul Allah buda ast;
- Adyan-i asimani wa mas'ala-yi tahrif;
- 'Aqa'id al-Islam min al-Quran al-Karim (3 Vols.);
- Al-Usturat al-Saba'iyya (3 Vols.);
- Qiyam al-A'imma bi-ihya' al-sunna;
- Ma'a Abi l-Futuh al-Talidi fi kitabih 'al-anwar al-bahira';
- Naghsh-i A'imma dar 'ihya'-i din (16 vols.);
- imamat wa mahdawiyyat dar maktab-i khulafa;
Writing controversial books had made him more popular, so many individuals liked to confront and have a debate with him, however, the history shows that all of his opponents have lost all the debates.
- Husayni, Ma'adshinasi, vol. 1, p. 283-5
- The material for this article is mainly taken fromعلامه عسکری in Farsi Wikishia.
- Adibi Larijani, Muhammad Baqir, marzdar-i maktab-i ahl-i bayt (a) (sayri dar ahval wa athar-i marhum Allama Askari), Qom, Intesharat-i danishkadeh-i usul-i din, 1419/1999
- Husseini Tihrani, Sayyid Muhammad Hussein, Ma'ad shinasi, Mashhad, Intesharati 'Allama Tabataba'i, 1417/1996
- Askari, Sayyid Murtada, Naghsh-ه 'A'isha dar Islam, Tehran, Intesharat-i Munir, 9th Print, 1420/ 1999
- Kayhan Farhangi, Shawwal 1422/December 2001, no. 183, Article Ketabshenasi-i Allame Askari
- Magazine of Ulum-i Hadith, No. 20, P. 85, interview with Allama Askari
- Magazine of Kitab-i mah-i din, Dhu l-Hijja 1418/April 1998, No. 6 and 7
- Interview with Allama Askari in the program "Didar ba farzanigan', 1422/2001