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Al-Hujja 'ala al-dhahib ila takfir Abi Talib (book)

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Al-Hujja 'ala al-dhahib ila takfir Abi Talib (book)
Author Sayyid Fikhar b. Ma'd al-Musawi
Original title ألْحُجّةُ عَلَی الذّاهب إلی تَکْفیر أبي طالب
Language Arabic
Subject Faith of Abu Talib
Publisher Sayyid al-Shuhada' Publications

Al-Ḥujja ʿalā al-dhāhib ilā takfīr Abī Ṭālib (Arabic: ألْحُجّةُ عَلَی الذّاهب إلی تَکْفیر أبي‌طالب, literally: the proof against those who believe in Abu Talib's disbelief) or Īmān Abī Ṭālib (Arabic: ایمانُ أبي‌طالب, literally: Abu Talib's faith) by Sayyid Fakhkhar b. Ma'd al-Musawi, a Shiite scholar. The book aims to prove Abu Talib's faith. The author proves Abu Talib's conversion to Islam based on the Shiite consensus and the words by Sunni Muslims. The book is structured in ten chapters.

The Author

Sayyid Shams al-Din Abu Ali Fikhar b. Ma'd al-Musawi (d. 603/1206) was a Shiite jurist, historian, and genealogist in the sixth century and a son of Ibrahim al-Mujab, Imam al-Kazim’s grandson. His father and son were prominent figures of the time. He was trained and educated by great scholars and obtained permissions of hadith transmission from them. Moreover, he trained my students in the field of Islamic disciplines and ijtihad.

The Background

Abu Talib's faith is a subject of theological debate between Shiite and Sunni Muslims. By recourse to hadiths from the Prophet's household, the Shi‘a have consensus over the faith of Abu Talib, the Prophet's paternal uncle and Imam Ali (a)'s father. However, Sunni Muslims deny Abu Talib's faith; they make an appeal to certain hadiths and historical sources that indicate Abu Talib's disbelief and his persistence on the rituals of his ancestors until his death. In addition to responses to arguments by opponents of Abu Talib's faith, Shiite scholars present their own arguments for his faith as well.

The Book’s Title

The original title of the book is “al-Hujja ‘ala al-dhahib ila takfir Abi Talib.” Aqa Buzurg Tihrani mentions other titles for the book as well: “Hujjat al-dhahib ila iman Abi Talib” and “al-Radd ila kufr Abi Talib.” Thus, “Iman Abi Talib” is an original title of the book; in fact, it was given to the book by its editor Sayyid Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum to be more succinct and attractive.

Content

The author presents arguments for Abu Talib's faith to establish it beyond any doubts. He believes that it is not only proved by the consensus of Shiite scholars, it is also supported by the words of many Sunni scholars. The book has an introduction, ten chapters, and an epilogue:

A. Introduction

It includes a discussion of the motivation for writing the book and the place of the Prophet’s ancestors and Abu Talib.

B. The chapters

  • Chapter one: the meaning of faith and different ways of proving Abu Talib's faith.
  • Chapter two: The arguments of opponents of Abu Talib's disbelief, including the Quranic verse “You cannot guide whomever you wish,” and replies to these arguments.
  • Chapter three: The Prophet's love for Abu Talib as evidence for his faith, since it is forbidden to love and be friendly with disbelievers.
  • Chapter four: Abu Talib’s words and poems that indicate his faith.
  • Chapter five: The story of the Prophet (s) and Ali (a) being lost, and Abu Talib's command to his son Ja'far to say prayers with them.
  • Chapter six: Abu Talib's demise and the Prophet's command to his funeral ghusl and burial.
  • Chapter seven: Abu Talib's kindness to the Prophet (s) and his poems that are indicative of his conversion to Islam.
  • Chapter eight: A well-known qasida by Abu Talib and a number of historical events that prove his faith.
  • Chapter nine: Abu Talib's advice to his companions for supporting the Prophet (s) and the political motivations for doubts in Abu Talib's faith.
  • Chapter ten: The reason why Abu Talib concealed his faith, and his similarity to the Companions of the Cave (the Seven Sleepers) and the believer from the Pharaoh's family who concealed their faith.

C. Epilogue In the epilogue, the author emphasizes that what he has presented is just a “drop from the sea,” asking for divine rewards.

Manuscripts

  • A manuscript of the book available to Sayyid Sadiq Kamuna, going back to the eighth/fourteen or ninth/fifteen centuries.
  • A manuscript in Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Kashif al-Ghita'’s library dated 1344/1925.

Critical Edition and Publicaiton

The book was critically edited by Sayyid Muhammad Bahr al-‘Ulum and published by Sayyid al-Shuhada’ Publications in Qom, Iran. In this edition, the sources of hadiths and Quranic verses are cited. Moreover, this edition contains lists and indexes, such as the table of contents, short biographies in footnotes, indexes of people, and a bibliography.

References