Jawahir al-matalib (book)

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Jawahir al-matalib fi manaqib al-Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a)
AuthorMuhammad b. Ahmad al-Ba'uni al-Dimashqi
Original titleجَواهِر المَطالِب في مَناقِب الإمام عَلی بن أبي طالِب عَلَیه السَلام
SubjectVirtues of Imam Ali (a)

Jawāhir al-maṭālib fī manāqib al-Imām Alī b. Abī Ṭālib (a) (Arabic:جَواهِر المَطالِب في مَناقِب الإمام عَلی بن أبي طالِب) written by the Sunni scholar Shams al-Din, Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Ba'uni al-Dimashqi (d. 871/1466-7). It is a review of the life of Imam Ali (a) and his righteousness and virtues, relying on Sunni sources.


Shams al-Din al-Ba'uni was born in 780/1378-9 in Damascus. He is attributed to "Ba'un", a village of "Ajloun" district, on the eastern Jordan. Al-Ba'uni was a common surname for the members of a Shafi'i family in Safad area, which shined at various cultural aspects for a century, beginning from the mid-ninth/mid-fifteenth century. The author, though a Sunni, was so fond of Imam Ali (a) and his children.[1]


After receiving the book of Ibn al-Jawzi about the virtues of 'Umar b. al-Khattab, al-Ba'uni resolved to write a book regarding the virtues of Imam Ali (a). Agha Buzurg Tihrani has quoted this from a manuscript of the book, although there is no such thing in the printed copy.[2]


As the writer has set the list of contents, the book is divided into eighty chapters. The existing copy though, which is printed based on an incomplete manuscript, includes seventy nine chapters. Each chapter is devoted to a specific title or a particular virtue of Imam Ali (a), and the last few chapters describe parts of Imam al-Hasan (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a) lives.[3]

The author has gone to extremes describing the virtues of Imam Ali (a), as though he has been superior to mankind. He had no respect for some personages, such as Mu'awiyya, 'Amr b. al-As, and Marwan b. al-Hakam, and the reports compiled in the book are somewhat against them, as for Marwan, he is described as the cause of the revolt in which Uthman was killed.[4] Opposing to some extremist Sunni writers, he never abused Shi'a when it came to mentioning them. He has posed some of the conflicts and contentions between the companions of the Prophet (s). In the sermon of Kitab, he remarks Imam Ali's (a) great virtues, putting him in the same place with the prophets.

The book enjoys a literary introduction. The family lineage, name, and appearance of Imam Ali (a) are discussed in the first chapters, and the following chapters are devoted to his virtues and parts of his life, each taking long for one or few pages.[5]

The author perceives Imam Ali (a) to be the first man who converted to Islam[6] and narrates some incidents, such as the hadith of Radd al-Shams (restoration of the sun), in regard to his virtues.[7] Moreover, he mentions some miraculous deeds and common characteristics of Imam Ali (a).


Writing his book, the author has used many sources, and has noted the names of the authors or books he has used as references, most of them which are still available. His references could be classified into four categories of hadith, history, biography, and cultural and literary resources.

He has widely used the books al-Musnad and al-Manaqib by Ahmad b. Hanbal, and after that he has quoted from authors sequentially as; al-Tirmidhi, Muslim b. al-Hajjaj, Ibn Hibban, and al-Bukhari, and in some cases from Ibn Ishaq, al-Tabari, Ibn Athir, Ibn al-Jawzi (the author of Mir'at al-zaman and al-Iqad al-farid), etc. He has used Nathr al-durar by Mansur b. al-Husayn al-Abi, who was a Shi'a writer, as references for the comprehensive sermon of Fatima (a) and her words.[8]


The book has been of great interest to Shi'a writers of the following eras. In his book Bihar al-anwar, al-Majlisi has named Jawahir al-matalib.[9] Also contemporary Shi'a writers, such as Mar'ashi Najafi in his commentary on Ihqaq al-haqq and al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin in his book A'yan al-Shi'a have widely quoted from Jawahir al-matalib.[10]


  1. Dādāshnizhād, Sīmā-yi dawāzdah Imām dar mīrāth-i maktūb-i ahl-i sunnat, vol. 1, p. 293.
  2. Āgā Buzurg Tihrānī, al-Dharīʿa ilā taṣānīf al-shīʿa, vol. 26, p. 264.
  3. Dādāshnizhād, Sīmā-yi dawāzdah Imām dar mīrāth-i maktūb-i ahl-i sunnat, vol. 1, p. 293.
  4. Bāʿūnī, Jawāhir al-maṭālib, vol. 2, p. 192.
  5. Noor Digital Library
  6. Bāʿūnī, Jawāhir al-maṭālib, vol. 1, p. 37.
  7. Bāʿūnī, Jawāhir al-maṭālib, vol. 1, p. 109.
  8. Dādāshnizhād, Sīmā-yi dawāzdah Imām dar mīrāth-i maktūb-i ahl-i sunnat, vol. 1, p. 306-309.
  9. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 1, p. 25.
  10. Dādāshnizhād, Sīmā-yi dawāzdah Imām dar mīrāth-i maktūb-i ahl-i sunnat, vol. 1, p. 309.


  • Āgā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, Muḥammad Muḥsin. Al-Dharīʿa ilā taṣānīf al-shīʿa. Beirut: Dār al-Aḍwāʾ, [n.d].
  • Bāʿūnī, Muḥammad b. Aḥmad. Jawāhir al-maṭālib fī manāqib al-Imām ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib. Edited by Muḥammad Bāqir Maḥmūdī. Qom: Majmaʿ Iḥyāʾ al-Thiqāfat al-Islāmiya, 1418 AH.
  • Dādāshnizhād, Manṣūr. Sīmā-yi dawāzdah Imām dar mīrāth-i maktūb-i ahl-i sunnat. [n.p]. 1395 Sh.
  • Kitāb-i Shinākht-i sīra-yi Ma'sūmān. Noor Computer Research Center of Islamic Sciences.
  • Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir al-. Biḥār al-anwār. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Wafāʾ, 1403 AH.
  • Ṭabāṭabāʾī, ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz. Ahl al-Bayt fi l-maktaba al-'arabiyya. Qom: Āl al-Bayt, 1417 AH.