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Tatayur al-Kutub

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Shi'a Beliefs
Theology
Tawhid (Monotheism) Tawhid of EssenceTawhid in AttributesTawhid in ActionsTawhid in Worship
Other Beliefs TawassulShafa'aTabarruk
Divine Justice
Bada'Amr Bayn al-Amrayn
Prophethood
Infallibility'Ilm al-ghaybMu'jizaIntegrity of the Holy Qur'an
Imamate
InfallibilityWilaya'Ilm al-ghaybOccultation of Imam al-Mahdi (a) (Minor Occultation,Major Occultation) • Reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a)Raj'a
Resurrection
AkhiraBarzakhBodily ResurrectionSiratTatayur al-KutubMizanHashr
Other Outstanding Beliefs
Ahl al-Bayt (a)The Fourteen InfalliblesTaqiyyaal-Marja'iyya al-DiniyyaTawalliTabarri

Taṭāyur al-kutub (Arabic: تطایر الکتب) is a stage of the resurrection in which one observes the book, or record, of his or her actions. This is an Islamic belief, emphasized by hadiths.

Following some hadiths, Quranic exegetes take the term to have its root in the Qur'an, verses 13 and 14 of Sura al-Isra', and some Islamic jurists take it obligatory to believe in Tatayur al-kutub.

Lexicology

The word "tatayur" literally means to fly, to disseminate, and to dispense.

Although the word "tatayur" does not appear in the Qur'an, following some hadiths from the Prophet (s) and Imams (a), Quranic exegetes take the term to be derived from the Qur'an: "every man's 'tayir' (bird or fate) we have fastened on his own neck",[Note 1] followed by "read your book (or records)".[Note 2]

Exegesis

Quranic exegetes suggested two interpretations of the word "ta'ir" in the above Quranic verse:

  • First: the word "ta'ir" (Arabic: طائر) has its root in the word "tayr" (Arabic: طیر) which means bird. Arabs used to fly a bird in order to know whether what they sought to do was good or bad. Later the good and bad actions themselves came to be called "ta'ir".
  • Second: according to Abu 'Ubayda, by "ta'ir" Arabs meant fortune. In the verse immediately after the above verse, we read that the same "ta'ir" displays the book of people's actions to them on the Day of Judgment. According to some hadiths, this stage of the resurrection is called "tatayur al-kutub" or "tatayur al-suhuf". According to a hadith narrated from the Prophet (s) by Aisha, there are three stages of the resurrection in which one does not know or remember anyone: mizan (the measurement of one's good and bad actions), tatayur al-kutub or tatayur al-suhuf, and sirat (the bridge that everyone should pass in the resurrection).

According to a hadith from Imam al-Baqir (a), "ta'ir" refers to the good and the evil that always accompany one until the Day of Judgment when the book of one's actions is given to him or her.

Therefore, divine agents (angels) record one's actions—good and bad—in this world, and they open the record—the book—to the person after the resurrection, at the stage of tatayur al-kutub.

Theologians and faqihs take it obligatory for a Muslim to believe in 'tatayur al-kutub' as a stage of the resurrection, because it was mentioned in the Qur'an. Thus faqihs maintain that it is one of the doctrines that should be mentioned to a dead person at the time of talqin.

Notes

  1. Qur'an 17:13 ألزمناه طائره في عنقه
  2. Qur'an 17:14 اقرأ كتابك

References

  • The material for writing this article has been mainly taken from تطایر_کتب in Farsi WikiShia.