Al-Luhuf ala qatla l-tufuf (book)

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Al-Luhuf 'ala qatla al-tufuf (book)
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AuthorSayyid b. Tawus
SubjectMaqtal (about the Battle of Karbala)

Al-Luhūf ʿalā qatlā al-ṭufūf (Arabic: اللهوف علی قتلی الطفوف) or al-Malhūf ʿalā qatlā al-ṭufūf best known as "Luhuf" is a book about the tragedies of the Battle of Karbala and the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a). It is written by Sayyid b. Tawus al-Hilli (d. 664/1266). This book is one of the famous Maqtal books among Shi'a. Because the author wrote this book for the pilgrims of Karbala, the book is brief and does not contain complete chain of narrators, rather only that last narrator or the source of narration.


Sayyid Raḍī al-Dīn, ʿAlī b. Mūsā b. Jaʿfar b. Ṭāwūs, famously known as Sayyid b. Ṭāwūs (b.589/1193 - d.664/1266),[1] is a great Shi'a scholar and a descendant of Imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba (a), and Imam al-Sajjad (a). He is the author of books such as: al-Muhimaat wa l-tatimmat, Kashf al-mahajja li-thamarat al-muhja, Misbah al-Za'ir wa janat al-Musafir, al-Malhuf 'ala qatla al-tufuf, and Muhj al-da'awat wa manhaj al-'ibadat. He was the teacher of great scholars such as 'Allama Hilli and his father Shaikh Yusuf Sadid al-Din.[2]

Although Sayyid b. Tawus never accepted the Niqabat position during the Abbasid Caliphate,[3] but he was the Naqib of the Shi'a during the rule of Hulagu Khan (Founder of Ilkhanate dynasty). Due to his great ethical traits, his piety and constant attention to his deeds, his spiritual experiences, and his acts of wonder, he was famous as Jamāl al-ʿĀrifīn (The Beauty of the Mystics).[4]

Title of the Book

Due to different manuscripts and also the author himself, different titles were reported for this book. The author has chosen different titles or has changed the title. Based on manuscripts of the book and other sources, the following titles are mentioned for this book:

  1. Al-Luhuf 'ala qatla al-tufuf
  2. Al-Malhuf 'ala qatla al-tufuf
  3. Al-Malhuf 'ala qatl al-tufuf
  4. Al-Luhuf fi qatla al-tufuf
  5. Al-Malhuf 'ala ahl al-tufuf
  6. Al-Masalik fi maqtal al-Husayn 'alayh al-salam: Sayyid b. Tawus says in the preface of the book, "I have put it (the book) into three Maslak" (Masalik is the plural of Maslak, the title of the chapters of the book. Maslak in Arabic means passage.)[5]

In al-Dhari'a, Aqa Buzurg Tihrani says that "al-Luhuf 'ala qatla al-tufuf" is more well known than the other titles.[6]


Having the intention of reporting the event of 'Ashura briefly, Sayyid b. Tawus has put the hadiths in an order that makes a coherent account. He avoided narrating the redundant and miscellaneous hadiths so that the book presents a historical view of the Battle of Karbala rather than just some disordered hadiths.

The book is divided into four parts:

  • Preface: about the greatness of the event of 'Ashura', the grandness of Imam al-Husayn's status and the value of crying and mourning for Imam al-Husayn (a).
  • First chapter: about the events before 'Ashura' from Imam's birth to the day of 'Ashura'.
  • Second chapter: about the events in the day of 'Ashura' to the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a).
  • Third chapter: about the events after the martyrdom of the Imam (a), starting from sending the heads of martyrs to Kufa and captivity of Ahl al-Bayt to their return to Medina.[7]


Despite having some scholarly issues, such as the omission of the chain of narrators and narrative structure, Sayyid b. Tawus did not report the exaggerative reports that were presented in similar books. Besides, this book contains some exclusive accounts which had not been reported in other Maqtal books, such as Imam al-Husayn's letter to Banu Hashim (Hashemites) and his foretelling about his martyrdom by this phrase "…indeed, Allah wanted to see me martyred."[8]


a Persian translation of Luhuf

As the book was written for the general reader it was translated several times to Persian:

  • The oldest translation is titled Fayd al-dumu' written by Badayi' Nigar in 1907-8.
  • Lujjat al-alam fi hujjat al-umam by Mirza Rida Quli Shaqaqi Tabrizi in 1311 sh/1932-3.[9]
  • Among these translations there is one translation into a poem named Wajizat al-masa'ib by Ziya' al-Din Mahdi b. Dawud, whose pseudonym was "Dhawqi."
  • The book has been translated into Urdu by Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Hindi (d. 1936-7) titled "Dam' al-dhuruf".
  • Translation by Ahmad b. Salama al-Najafi to Persian.[10]
  • Translation into Persian by Sayyid Abu l-Hasan Mir Abutalibi.[11]


Due to the importance, the special way of writing, and scholars' need, the copyists paid special attention to this book. Thus, there are many manuscripts available from this book in libraries around the world, such as:

  • Two copies (written in 1707-8 and 1885-6) in the Library of Ayatullah Mar'ashi Najafi in Qom.
  • Malik Library in Tehran (written in 1673-4)
  • The Library of the Iranian Parliament in Tehran (written in 1689-90)
  • The Library of Imam al-Rida (a) in Mashhad (written in 1680-1)
  • Two copies in Radawiyya Library (no date).
  • Radawiyya Library (written in 1705-6)
  • Berlin State Library (written in 1611-2)


This book has been printed several times in Qom, Tehran, Sidon, Beirut, Bombay, Najaf and Tabriz.[12]


  1. Kamūna Ḥusaynī, Mawārid al-itḥāf, vol. 1, p. 107-108.
  2. Qummī, al-Kunā wa l-alqāb, vol. 1, p. 341.
  3. Kohlberg, Kitābkhāna-yi Ibn Ṭāwūs, p. 31-32.
  4. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 107, p. 63-64.
  5. Ibn Ṭāwūs, al-Luhūf (Tarjuma), p. 63.
  6. Aqā Buzurg Tihrānī, al-Dharīʿa, vol. 22, p. 223.
  7. Ibn Ṭāwūs, al-Luhūf, index of the book.
  8. Noor Dijital Library
  9. Aqā Buzurg Tihrānī, al-Dharīʿa, vol. 18, p. 296.
  10. Aqā Buzurg Tihrānī, al-Dharīʿa, vol. 26, p. 201.
  11. Ibn Ṭāwūs, al-Luhūf (Tarjuma), p. 65.
  12. Ibn Ṭāwūs, al-Luhūf (Tarjuma), p. 64, 65.


  • Āgā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, Muḥammad Muḥsin. Al-Dharīʿa ilā taṣānīf al-shīʿa. Beirut: Dar al-Adwa', 1403 AH.
  • Ibn Ṭāwūs, ʿAlī b. Mūsā. Kashf al-maḥajja li-thamart al-muhja. Translated by Asadullāh Mubashshirī. 1st Edition. Tehran: Nashr-i Farhang-i Islāmī, 1368 Sh.
  • Ibn Ṭāwūs, ʿAlī b. Mūsā. Al-Luhūf ʿalā qatlay al-ṭufūf. Tehran: Nashr-i Jahān, 1348 Sh.
  • Ibn Ṭāwūs, ʿAlī b. Mūsā. Al-Luhūf (Translation). Translated by Sayyid Abu l-Ḥasan Mīr Abūṭālibī. Qom: Dalīl-i Mā, 1380 Sh.
  • Kitāb-i Shinākht-i sīra-yi Ma'sūmān. Noor Computer Research Center of Islamic Sciences.
  • Kamūna Ḥusaynī, ʿAbd al-Razzāq. Mawārid al-itḥāf fī nuqabāʾ al-ashrāf. Najaf: Nashr-i al-Ādāb, 1388 AH.
  • Kohlberg, Etan. Kitābkhāna-yi Ibn Ṭāwūs. Translated by ʿAlī Qarāʾyī and Rasūl Jaʿfarīyān. Qom: Kitābkhāna-yi Āyatullāh Marʿashī al-Najafī, [n.d].
  • Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir al-. Kitāb-i al-ijāzāt dar biḥār al-anwār. 3rd edition. Beirut: Nashr-i Muʾassisa al-Wafaʾ, 1403 AH.
  • Qummī, Shaykh ʿAbbās. Al-Kunā wa l-alqāb. Najaf: Nashr-i Ḥaydarīyya, 1389 AH.