|Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Shahrashub
|مناقب آل ابی طالب
|Merits and Virtues of the Infallibles (a)
Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib (Arabic: مَناقِبُ آلِ أبی طالب) known as al-Manāqib (Arabic: المناقب) is an Arabic book about merits and virtues of the Infallibles (a) written by the Shi'a scholar, Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Shahrashub (d. 588/1192). In this book, the author has talked about the virtues of the Prophet (s), Imams (a) and the Companions which are not available in the current version. Current prints are organized in four volumes which begin from the virtues of the Prophet (s) and end with virtues of Imam al-'Askari (a) and there is no discussion about Imam al-Mahdi (a). Also, some issues which the author refers them in his other books to Manaqib cannot be found in current versions.
Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Shahrashub Saravi Mazandarani (b.488/1095-6 – d.588/1192) known as Ibn Shahrashub had the titles of Rashid al-Din and 'Izz al-Din and was among great Shi'a scholars of fiqh and hadith and lived at the end of the 5th/11th century and beginning of the 6th/12th century. He was born in Sari and went to Baghdad to continue his education. He had many works such as Manaqib Al 'Abi Talib and Ma'alim al-'ulama'.
In this book, the author mentions merits and virtues of the noble Prophet (s), Imams (a) and the Companions. Books having "Manaqib" in their titles are about the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and talk about their position, virtues, miracles and wonders.
Goal of Writing
He wrote about his goal of writing as below,
"Since I saw the disbelief of the enemies of 'Ali (a) and found Shi'a and Sunni having many disagreements upon the Wilaya of his highness, and that was while many people either abandoned the love of Ahl al-Bayt (a) or if they are still their lovers, they fear to express their love. When I was awakened from the sleep of ignorance and it was a gift so that I found the truth from among current disagreements and different hadiths; then I found narrators of hadiths who had changed and distorted prophetic hadiths and made false merits for others. They split hadiths, narrated some parts to hide the truth and misguide Muslims from Divine truth of Wilaya. On the one hand, these people accused narrators of the merits of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) of exaggeration or deviation. Therefore, due to many reasons, I decided to compile merits of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) accurately with references."
Al-Manaqib can be considered among the authentic books which made everyone praise it. It is so authentic that Shi'a and Sunni scholars rely on it and quote its hadiths with no worries.
This book is organized in four volumes:
- The first volume is about the Prophet's (s) biography including prophethood (nubuwwa), his birth, his mission, battles, etc.
- The second volume includes position and merits of Imam 'Ali (a), his wonders, judgment and oppression made against Ahl al-Bayt (a) chronologically.
- The third volume begins with the Prophet's (s) hadiths about caliphate of Imam 'Ali (a) and then mentions his spiritual merits, bravery and position in the hereafter in the following chapters. Then it mentions some points about his equal position with all prophets (a), his life and conduct. After talking about Imam 'Ali (a), the book mentions the merits and biography of lady Fatima (a) and finally it discusses the Imamate of her children.
- The fourth volume is about the merits and biographies of other Imams (a) and the book ends with Imam al-'Askari (a).
Names of some of the chapters of the book are as below:
- Chapter on our master, the Prophet (s)
- Chapter on Imamate
- Chapter on the Imamate of the Twelve Imams (a)
- Chapter on the merits of Amir al-Mu'minin 'Ali (a)
- Chapter on what is unique about his merits
- Chapter about him before the Creator and the creation
- Chapter on the judgments of Amir al-Mu'minin 'Ali (a)
- Chapter on the texts about his imamate
- Chapter describing his soul
- Chapter on a summary of his battles
- Chapter about his other merits
- Chapter on the major points and delicate points
- Chapter on his conduct
- Chapter on the merits of Fatima al-Zahra (a)
- Chapter on the imamate of the two sons (a) Imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a)
Then, the author has brought one chapter about every imam, from Imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba (a) to Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari (a). Then, he has divided every chapter to different sections.
- In his other books, Ibn Shahrashub has referred some issues to al-Manaqib which do not exist in the current version of the book.
- The chapter about Imam al-Mahdi (a) and issues about his imamate and occultation which have been among the most important issues of that time are not available in the current version.
- Ibn Shahrashub wanted to compile anything on the merits of the progeny of the Prophet (s), while many of the issues and hadiths mentioned in old sources are not available in this book.
- Ibn Shahrashub himself says in the introduction that he has written a chapter on the companions of the Prophet (s) and their merits which is not available in the current version of the book.
- The book includes unusual issues which are sometimes exclusive to this book and cannot be found anywhere else.
Researches about the Book
Husayn b. Jubayr, the student of Ibn Shahrashub summarized the book and gave it the title Nukhab al-Manaqib li Al Abi Talib. Also, Ibn Jubayr wrote a book called Nahj al-Iman as a summary of al-Manaqib. Ibn Shahrashub's Mathalib al-nawasib can be considered as completing al-Manaqib.
- Ibn Shahrāshūb, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, introduction.
- Ibn Shahrāshūb, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, content.
- Āqā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, al-Dharīʿa, vol. 24, p. 88, 411.
- Āqā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, al-Dharīʿa, vol. 15, p. 95.
- Āqā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, Muḥammad Muḥsin. Al-Dharīʿa ilā taṣānīf al-shīʿa. Beirut: Dār al-Aḍwāʾ, [n.d].
- Ibn Shahrāshūb, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī. Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib. Najaf: al-Maktaba al-Ḥaydarīyya, 1376 AH.