Al-Sayyid 'Ali Khan al-Madani

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Al-Sayyid 'Ali Khan al-Madani
Personal Information
Full Name'Ali b. Ahmad b. Muhammad Ma'sum al-Husayni al-Dashtaki al-Shirazi
Well-Known Asal-Sayyid 'Ali Khan al-Madani, Sayyid 'Ali Khan Kabir
Religious AffiliationTwelver Shi'a
Well-Known RelativesZayd b. Ali (ancestor)
Place of BirthMedina
ResidenceMedina, Mecca, Hyderabad, Shiraz
Studied inHijaz, India
Death1118/1707 or 1120/1709
Burial PlaceShiraz
Scholarly Information
ProfessorsJa'far b. Kamal al-Din al-Bahrani, Hasan b. Zayn al-Din al-'Amili, ...

Al-Sayyid Ṣadr al-Dīn ʿAlī b. Aḥmad b. Muḥammad Maʿsum al-Ḥusaynī al-Dashtakī al-Shīrāzī (b. 1052/1642 – d. 1118/1707 or 1120/1709) known as al-Sayyid 'Ali Khan al-Madani, Sayyid 'Ali Khan Kabir or Ibn Ma'sum was a Shi'ite scholar in the twelfth/seventeenth century. Riyad al-salikin which is a commentary on al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya is regarded one of the notable works of him; he has written a number of works on Arabic literature as well.

During his lifetime, Sayyid Ali Khan traveled to numerous cities. When he moved to India, he was appointed as the Crown Prince of Sultan 'Abd Allah Qutb Shah in Hyderabad, then after some time he was appointed as the head of administration of Sultan Muhammad in Burhanpur. Sayyid Ali Khan spent the last years of his life teaching in Shiraz.


Birth, Lineage and Demise

Sayyid Ali Khan Madani was born in Jumada I 1052/August 1642 in Medina, as a result he was known as al-Madani. His father was Amir Nizam al-Din Ahmad and his mother was the daughter of al-Shaykh Muhammad al-Manufi, the Imam of Shafi'i in Hijaz. His lineage goes back to Zayd b. 'Ali within twenty six generations which was mentioned in introduction of his book Riyad al-salikin.

Al-Sayyid Ali Khan passed away in 1118/1707 or 1120/1709 in Shiraz. His body was buried in the shrine of Sayyid Ahmad b. Musa al-Kazim (a) known as Shah Cheragh, next to the grave of Al-Sayyid Majid al-Bahrani.


As al-Sayyid Ali Khan was born in Medina, he was titled as al-Madani which was the most famous title of him. He also cherished this title a lot and he used it in his book Riyad al-salikin numerously. As sixteen ancestors of al-Sayyid Ali were living in Shiraz, he was also known as al-Shirazi. He became known as al-Sayyid Ali Khan Kabir and al-Sayyid Ali Sharih Sahifa in Seminaries of Iran.

Education, Travels and Positions

After years of living in Medina, al-Sayyid 'Ali moved to Mecca with his family where he stayed until 1066/1655-6. Al-Sayyid Ali learned basic Arabic literature and jurisprudence and mathematics from his father al-Sayyid Ahmad Nizam al-Din, al-Shaykh Ja'far al-Bahrani and al-Shaykh Muhammad b. Ali Shah.

Al-Sayyid Ali migrated to India in 1066/1655-6 with his family. He managed to enter the courts of local rulers and Sultans and he achieved governmental positions. Al-Sayyid Ali spent the majority of his life in this country.

In 1113/1701-2 al-Sayyid Ali left his position and traveled to Mecca to make pilgrimage. He lived in Hijaz for some time but he left Mecca and moved to Isfahan because of the changes of social situations in 1114/1702-3 Shah Husayn, the Safavid Shah of the time, welcomed and respected al-Sayyid Ali.

After some time, he left Isfahan and moved to his ancestors' city, Shiraz where he started teaching in Mansuriyya School. Al-Sayyid Ali lived in Shiraz until his demise.

Scientific Character

A large number of Shi'ite scholars mentioned the name of al-Sayyid Ali in their books and they admired and praised characteristics and knowledge of him including al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-Amili in Amal al-amil, Khwansari in Rawdat, Shaykh 'Abbas Qummi in Safina al-bihar, Allama Amini in al-Ghadir, Mudarris Tabrizi in Rayhanat al-adab, 'Abd Allah b. 'Isa Afandi in Riyad al-'ulama' and al-Muhaddith al-Nuri in Mustadrak al-wasa'il.




Riyad al-salikin is one the most notable works of al-Sayyid 'Ali Khan Kabir which is a commentary on al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya. In this work subjects related to literature, the Qur'an, jurisprudence, theology and history are presented which gave the book a form of encyclopedia of Islamic theology.

He had several works in different fields, specially in Arabic literature such as Anwar al-rabi' and Anwa' al-rabi' and rijal such as al-Darajat al-rafi'a fi tabaqat al-imamiyya min al-Shi'a.