Ali b. Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita'

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Ali b. Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita'
Personal Information
Full NameAli b. Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita' al-Maliki al-Najafi
Religious AffiliationTwelver Shia
LineageMalik al-Ashtar
Well-Known RelativesJa'far Kashif al-Ghita' (his father), Muhammad Husayn Kashif al-Ghita' (his son)
Place of BirthNajaf
ResidenceNajaf, Karbala
Studied inNajaf
Death1253/1837-8, Karbala
Burial PlaceNajaf
Scholarly Information
ProfessorsJa'far Kashif al-Ghita'
StudentsAl-Shaykh al-Ansari
WorksAl-Khiyarat, Al-Nur al-sati' fi l-fiqh al-nafi'

ʿAlī b. Jaʿfar Kāshif al-Ghitāʾ al-Mālikī al-Najafī (Arabic:علي بن جعفر کاشف الغطاء المالکي النجفي) (b. 1197/1782-3- d. 1253/1837-8) is Shi'a faqih of the 13th century. He undertook the Marja'iyya of Shi'a after the demise of his brother, Musa b. Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita'. He studied under his father, Shaykh Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita'. Many great scholars, such as al-Shaykh al-Ansari, participated in his fiqh lectures in Karbala. Holding his fiqh sessions in Najaf caused some Iranian students of Sharif al-'Ulama' to move from Karbala to Najaf. He has authored some works about fiqh and usul and some poems praising or lamenting Ahl al-Bayt (a).


Al Kashif al-Ghita' is one of the scholarly Shi'a families in the 13th and 14th centuries. They resided near Hillah and later in Najaf. They were descendants of Malik al-Ashtar. Shaykh Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita' is the most famous scholar of this family. Fighting Akhbari movement and spreading Usuli thoughts of Wahid Bihbahani are some of the characteristics of this family.


Ja'far b. Khidr b. Yahya al-Janahi al-Hilli al-Najafi, known as Kashif al-Ghita' (b. 1156/1743-4 - d. 1228/1813), is his father. The family of Kashif al-Ghita' are his descendants and are named after him. He was one of the Shi'a Marja's in the 13th century and wrote Kashf al-ghita'. He was the first Shi'a scholar to write a book against Wahhabisim. He also opposed Akhbaris.

Shaykh Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita' was called al-Maliki and also al-Janahi in some sources. These titles indicate that he was form the tribe of Al Malik and and the village of Janah in Iraq.


Muhammad, Mahdi and Ja'far were his sons. Mahdi and Ja'far were among the teachers of Sayyid Ja'far b. Mahdi Qazwini (their nephew).


After the demise of Musa b. Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita', his brother, Shaykh Ali, and Sahib Jawahir were two qualified Marja's to undertake Marja'iyya of Shi'a. Following the request of people form Shaykh Khidr b. Shallal al-'Akfawi al-Najafi to determining the most knowledgeable of the two, Ibn Shallal preferred Shaykh Ali Kashif al-Ghita' to Sahib Jawahir. It is said that afterwards, Sahib Jawahir confined his activities to teaching. Shaykh Ali was cautious in issuing fatwas. During His Marja'iyya and by the request of the people of Hillah for sending a scholar to their city, he sent his brother, Hasan, who stayed in Hillah until the demise of Shaykh Ali.

Sayyid Muhsin Amin praised Shaykh Ali Kashif al-Ghita' by different phrases in A'yan al-Shi'a and Hirz al-din fi ma'arif al-rijal. Husayn b. Muhammad b. Mubarak al-Najafi al-Jaza'iri al-Asl has composed an ode (Qasida) to him and his son, Muhammad.

Teachers and Students

Shaykh Ali Kashif al-Ghita' studied fiqh and other narrative and intellectual sciences under his father. He accompanied his father during his journeys. In a year he spent three or four months in Karbala and taught fiqh in its Hawza. According to Muhammad Hirz al-Din, about one thousand students participated his lectures. Most of his students were Iranians and among the students of Sharif al-'Ulama'. Some of whom are as follow:

After that he started teaching fiqh in Najaf, some of the Iranian students of Sharif al-'Ulama' moved from Karbala to Najaf, and Najaf became a center of Islamic knowledge for Iranians. Sayyid Muhsin Amin says before that there was no Iranian Talaba (student of Islamic Seminary) in Najaf.


  • Al-Khiyarat
  • Al-Nur al-sati' fi l-fiqh al-nafi'
  • Al-Risalat al-sawmiyya
  • Al-Bay'
  • Commentary on Baqhiyat al-talib
  • A book on usul
  • Some poems


Shaykh Ali Kashif al-Ghita' passed away in 1253/1837-8 in the holy shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a). His body was moved to Najaf and buried next to his father. Later, five of his children - Muhammad, Mahdi, Habib, Ja'far and 'Abbas - were buried beside him.