Al-Fadl b. al-Hasan al-Tabrisi

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Al-Fadl b. al-Hasan al-Tabrisi
Tomb of al-Tabrisi in the shrine of Imam al-Rida (a), Mashhad
Tomb of al-Tabrisi in the shrine of Imam al-Rida (a), Mashhad
Personal Information
TeknonymAbu Ali
Well-Known AsAmin al-Islam
Well-Known RelativesAl-Hasan b. al-Fadl al-Tabrisi (his son), Abu l-Fadl 'Ali b. al-Hasan al-Tabrisi (his grandson)
Birth468/1075-6 or 469/1076-7
Place of BirthMashhad
ResidenceMashhad, Sabzevar
Death548/1153-4, Sabzevar
Burial PlaceMashhad
Scholarly Information

Abū ʿAli al-Faḍl b. al-Ḥasan b. al-Faḍl al-Ṭabrisī (Arabic: ابو علی الفَضل بن الحَسَن بن الفَضل الطَبرِسی) (b. 468/1075-76 or 469/1076-77 - d. 548/1153-4), titled as Amīn al-Islām (Arabic: اَمینُ الاِسلام), was a famous Shi'a exegete, hadith scholar, faqih, theologian, litterateur, lexicologist, and mathematician of the sixth/twelfth century. His exegesis of the Qur'an, Majma' al-bayan, is one of the most important and famous Shi'a exegesis.

Birth and Lineage

Al-Tabrisi was born in 468/1075-6 or 469/1076-7 in Mashhad. His son, Abu Nasr al-Hasan b. al-Fadl b. al-Hasan al-Tabrisi, is the compiler of Makarim al-akhlaq. His grandson, Abu l-Fadl 'Ali b. al-Hasan b. al-Fadl al-Tabrisi, is the author of Nathr al-la'ali and Mishkat al-anwar, which he wrote as a completion to Makarim al-akhlaq.


There is disagreement about the pronunciation of his title. 'Abd Allah Afandi in Riyad al-'ulama' and Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Khwansari in Rawzat al-Jannat insist that it is "al-Tabarsi" claiming that he was from Tabaristan. However, many scholars say that a person from Tabaristan is called "al-Tabari" or "al-Tabarani" or "al-Tabaristani" not "al-Tabarsi." They say the author of Majma' al-bayan is from Tafresh - a city located between Qom and Arak; so his name, al-Tabrisi, is the Arabicized of Tafrish. Al-Bayhaqi, who was contemporaneous with him, also, reported that he was from Tafresh.

Teachers and Students

He narrated hadith from:

  • Abu Ali al-Tusi
  • Abu l-Wafa' 'Abd al-Jabbar b. 'Ali al-Muqri al-Razi
  • Al-Hasan b. al-Husayn b. al-Hasan b. Babawayh al-Qummi
  • Muwaffiq al-Din b. al-Fath al-Wa'iz
  • ...

Some of those who are his students and narrated hadith from him are as follows:


Majma' al-bayan fi tafsir al-Qur'an

Al-Tabrisi authored many books, some of which are very well-known.

  • Majma' al-bayan fi tafsir al-Qur'an: an exegesis of the Qur'an, which is his most famous book and one of the most important Shi'a exegeses. He wrote this book in ten volumes. According to the preface of the book, he has used al-Tibyan, written by al-Shaykh al-Tusi, in the process of writing this book.
  • Jami' al-jawami' or Jawami' al-jami': a concise exegesis of the Qur'an. According to the preface of the book, it was intended to have the comprehensiveness of Majma' al-Bayan and the brevity of al-Kashshaf.

Some scholars believed that he was the author of al-Ihtijaj; however, as Ibn Shahrashub has explicitly mentioned in Ma'alim al-'ulama', this ascription is wrong because al-Ihtijaj was written by Ahmad b. 'Ali b. Abi Talib al-Tabrisi.

Story of Writing Majma' al-bayan

'Abd Allah Afandi narrated that it is said that al-Tabrisi had a heart attack. People thought that he had passed away, so they buried him. When he regained consciousness, he found himself in the grave. He vowed (made a nadhr) that if God released him from this grave, he would write an exegeses of the Qur'an. Incidentally, a grave robber dug his grave to steal his kafan (shroud). When the thief started to take his kafan, al-Tabrisi grabbed his hand and told his story to the frightened thief. At last, the thief put him on his back and took him home. Al-Tabrisi gave him the kafan and other properties as a reward and he repented of his evil deeds. Fulfilling his vow (nadhr), al-Tabrisi wrote "Majma' al-bayan."


According to majorly reported account, he passed away in 548/1153-54 in Sabzevar, where he spent the last 25 years of his life. Afandi and Muhammad Baqir al-Khwansari explicitly said that he was martyred; they did not report how he was martyred, though. Mirza Husayn Nuri writes: "those who wrote his biography did not mention how he was martyred. Probably, he was martyred by poison; thus his martyrdom is not widely known."

After his demise, his body was moved to Mashhad and was buried in a neighborhood near the Holy Shrine of Imam al-Rida (a).