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Sharh al-akhbar fi fada'il al-A'imma al-Athar (book)

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Sharh al-akhbar fi fada'il al-A'imma al-Athar
Author Qadi Nu'man al-Maghribi
Original title (شرحُ ألأخبار فی فَضائل ألأئمّة ألأطهار(ع
Language Arabic
Series 3 vol.
Subject The virtues of the Imams (a)
Genre Hadith
Publisher Jami'a Mudarrisin

Sharḥ al-akhbār fī faḍāʾil al-Aʾimma al-Aṭhār (a) (Arabic: (شرحُ ألأخبار فی فَضائل ألأئمّة ألأطهار(ع) is a book written by Qadi Nu'man al-Maghribi (d. 363/973), the prominent Isma'ili scholar. Despite what the title of the book suggests, it is not restricted to the virtues of the Imams (a); rather it is a history of Imams (a) from Imam 'Ali (a) to the life of Imam al-Sadiq (a).

The Author

Main article: Qadi Nu'man

Abu Hanifa Nu'man b. Muhammad b. Mansur b. Ahmad b. Hayun al-Tamimi al-Maghribi was a prominent Isma'ili scholar at the beginning of the formation of Isma'iliyya. He was born in 259/872 in Morocco in a family of scholars. His father was a well-known Sunni scholar and a follower of the Maliki school and a narrator of many hadiths. Nu'man learned about hadiths and Islamic disciplines since he was a child.

Nu'man was a follower of the Maliki school, but he later converted to Isma'ili Shiism—the sect that takes Isma'il b. Ja'far al-Sadiq (a) to be the occluded Imam. Some Shiite scholars, such as al-'Allama al-Majlisi and Muhaddith al-Nuri, take him to be a Twelver Shiite, maintaining that he pretended to be an Isma'ili Shiite to protect himself from Isma'ili kings.

Importance and Place

Since the author of the book was an Isma'ili scholar, the book is restricted to the first six Imams (a). Instead of the rest of the Imams (a), he talked about Mahdi al-Maghribi, Isma'iliyya and the Fatimids. However, the book counts as an old book regarding the lives of Shiite Imams (a), particularly Imam 'Ali (a). Since the author agrees with the Twelver Shiites about the first six Imams (a), this part of the book agrees with the Imamiyya account of their lives. The first and the second volumes of the book are devoted to the life and virtues of Imam 'Ali (a). The third volume is devoted to the rest of Ahl al-Bayt (a) and other issues. The book is a main source of Shiite hadith and history cited by old and more recent scholars. The book cites the Event of Ghadir from the book, al-Wilaya, by al-Tabari which is not available today. And this adds to the value of the book.

Style of Writing

Qadi Nu'man's method in this book is hadith-based. Narrators of hadiths in the book are Imamiyya narrators, just as the contents of the hadiths—virtues of Ahl al-Bayt (a)—are like Imamiyya hadiths. Even the last part of the book, regarding Imam al-Mahdi (a), cites Imamiyya hadiths concerning Imam al-Mahdi (a). The book has no repeated hadiths, it shortens chains of narrations, it cites only reliable and well-known hadiths, it is classified in 16 parts, and it cites hadiths from well-known chains of narrations.

Contents

The book consists of 16 parts. There is some confusion in the order of these parts; for example, one issue is sometimes mentioned in different parts. For example, there are hadiths from the Holy Prophet (s) about the virtues of Imam 'Ali (a) in the first part, but it cited Hadith of Sadd al-Abwab in the 7th part as well. The author cited hadiths without any classification, and the titles and classifications are given by the editor of the book.

Eleven parts of the book, constituting the present two volumes, are concerned with the virtues and the biography of Imam 'Ali (a). The other parts concern the general virtues of Ahl al-Bayt (a), Lady Khadija (a), Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a), Imam al-Hasan (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a), and the history of Karbala. He also devoted part 13 of the book to the household of Abu Talib and the Martyrs of Karbala. He then cited the virtues of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and discussed Shiite sects formed after Imam al-Sadiq (a).

The issues disussed in the subsequent parts include the Uprising of Banu Hasan, Imam al-Mahdi (a), the appearance of Mahdi al-Fatimi, Fatimid calls in Yemen and Africa. The last part of the book—part 16—is devoted to the features of Shiites as mentioned in hadiths.

Parts

  • Part 2: Imam 'Ali's (a) superiority in faith
  • Part 3: Jihad of Imam 'Ali (a).
  • Part 5: hadiths regarding Siffin
  • Part 7: on the virtues of Amir al-Mu'minin (a) and the rejection of Hashwiyya
  • Part 8: hadiths regarding the obedience of Imam 'Ali (a)
  • Part 9: on what is revealed in the Holy Qur'an about Imam 'Ali (a)
  • Part 12: on the virtues of Imam al-Hasan (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a)
  • Part 13: martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a)
  • Part 14: Imam al-Sadiq (a) and his sons
  • Part 16: features of Imam 'Ali's (a) Shiites

Sources

Since Qadi Nu'man lived in the domain of Fatimid caliphs and used their facilities such as large libraries, he had many sources in his disposal. However, he did not mention many of his sources.

Manuscripts

  • Manuscript of the Library of Tehran University
  • The manuscript of the Isma'iliyya Library in Mumbai
  • A manuscript of London Library.

Publications

The book is published by the Publications of Jami'a Mudarrisin in Qom, edited by Sayyid Muhammad Husayni Jalali.

References