Abd Allah b. Isa al-Afandi

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Abd Allah b. Isa al-Afandi
Personal Information
Full NameAbd Allah b. Isa b. Muhammad Salih al-Isfahani al-Jayrani
Well-Known AsAbd Allah al-Afandi
Religious AffiliationShi'a
Place of BirthIsfahan
ResidenceIsfahan • Tabriz
Studied inIsfahan
Scholarly Information
ProfessorsMuhammad Baqir al-MajlisiAqa Husayn al-KhwansariJamal al-Din KhwansariMuhammad b. al-Hasan al-Isfahani

ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿIsā b. Muḥammad Ṣālih al-Iṣfahāni al-Jayrāni (Arabic: عبدالله بن عیسی بن محمدصالح الاصفهاني الجیراني) (b.1066/1655-6 – d. 1130/1717-8) was an expert in bibliography and biography of scholars. He helped al-Allama al-Majlisi in compiling Bihar al-anwar and wrote many books. Riyad al-'ulama' wa hiyad al-fudala' is among his important works.


'Abd Allah Afandi was born in 1066/1655-6 in Safavid period. His family was rich and knowledgeable. They were originally from Tabriz, Iran. He was born in Isfahan. His father, Mirza 'Isa Beyk was a scholar. When he was 7 years old, his father passed away. Mirza 'Abd Allah began his education under the guardianship of his brother and uncle.

Mirza 'Abd Allah Afandi spent his teenage period in Isfahan and then went to Azerbaijan province and lived in Tabriz and then married one of his relatives.

Afandi spent half of his life in travel and visited many Islamic lands such as Hijaz, Iraq, Ottoman land, Caucasus, Turkistan, Afghanistan and India. In these journeys, he especially visited holy cities several times; for example, until the age of 40, he had gone to Hajj three times and also to holy cities in Iraq and Mashhad three times.

He passed away before the attack of Mahmud Afghan in 1130/1717-8. His burial place is unknown. When he was in Ottoman lands, he was respected by the king there; as for his request, custodian of Mecca was dismissed. In that land, Afandi always practised taqiyya, thus, they thought he was a Sunni. He received the title of Afandi there in the Ottoman court. In Basatin al-khutaba which is a collection of sermons on Fridays and religious ceremonies he gave some of them in Istanbul, Afandi prayed for the Ottoman king. In any case, the presence of Afandi in this country had a great influence on his knowledge about general rijal.

In his journeys, he searched libraries and took notes of the texts, marginalia and the notes on the back of texts. He was able to recognize a version that did not have a beginning or an end and even clarified the amount of omission from it.

Scientific Life

Assistance in Compiling Bihar al-anwar

He was the assistant of al-Majlisi in compiling Bihar al-anwar and it seems that many volumes were compiled under his supervision. 9 volumes of Bihar al-anwar (volumes 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25 of the old print) were compiled after al-Majlisi by Afandi. In addition to assistance in the recognition and provision of the sources of Bihar al-anwar, Afandi had many critical views about the text of Bihar al-anwar.

Masters of Hadith

Afandi met many masters of hadiths, the most famous of whom are:

Many scholars received the permission of transmitting hadith from Afandi, including the following ones:

  • Sayyid Abd Allah al-Jazai'ri
  • Mirza Haydar Ali, the son of Mirza Muhammad Ashtiyani
  • Mulla Muhammad Sadiq, the grandson of al-Allama al-Majlisi
  • Mirza Muhammad Husayn Khatun Abadi, the grandson of al-Majlisi
  • Sayyid Nur al-Din Jazairi
  • Hazin Lahiji

However, he did not educate any special student who followed his approach in research and studies in biographies and bibliographies.

Toward the end of his life, Afandi built a school beside his house and taught there.


Afandi wrote many works in Persian, Turkish, and especially in Arabic. According to him, due to different events, only a few of his works remained. Most of his works were commentary and marginalia on the works of others.

Printed Works

The book Riyad al-'ulama'
  • Hashiya 'ala Mashariq al-shumus fi sharh al-durus in fiqh which was lithographed in 1305/1887-8 in Tehran.
  • Riyad al-'ulama wa hiyad al-fudala on the biography of Shi'a and Sunni scholars. This book was the most important work of Afandi which led to his fame and is a sign of his knowledge, accuracy and competence in writing. Compiling this work began at the age of 40 and seemingly he added points to it until the end of his life. This book remained in the form of a draft which led to the existence of some relative points in the statements.
  • Al-Durar al-manzuma al-ma'thura fi jami' la'ali al-ad'iya al-Sajjadiyya al-mashhura or al-Sahifat al-Sajjadiyya al-thalitha which is the third compilation of Sahifat al-Sajjadiyya. The lithograph of this work was made in Tehran in 1324/1906-7.


Unavailable Works

Wathiqat al-najat: it was a great work in 5 volumes. It was frequently referred to in Riyad al-'ulama. In this work, the author extensively spoke about the primary and secondary principles of religion in Milal wa nihal.

His other works are as follows: In fiqh and hadith, he had works such as Risala wujub namaz-e Jum'a, Risala Kharajiyya; in philosophy and theology, he had some works such as Hashiya on Shifa and Sharh al-mukhtasar Qadi 'Adud al-Din Iji; in mathematics and astronomy, Sharh shikl al-'arus az tahrir Uqlidus, Risala fi rasm khutut al-sa'at; in Arabic literature, commentary on Shafiya Ibn Hajib and commentary on Alfiya Ibn Malik; in supplications, Lisan al-wa'izin wa Sahifat 'Alawiyya Thaniya; in exegesis, al-Aman min al-niran fi tafsir al-Qur'an which was based on hadiths and also the commentary of Sura al-Waqi'a in Persian. His other work is Majmu'at al-ijazat some parts of which can possibly be found in Riyad al-'ulama. He also made glosses on rijal books and also Rawdat al-shuhada and the last three works were in Arabic, Persian and Turkish.