Muhammad 'Ali Gharawi Urdubadi

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Muhammad 'Ali Gharawi Urdubadi
محمد علی اردوبادی.jpg
Personal Information
Epithet'Allama Urdubadi
Religious AffiliationShia Islam
BirthRajab 21, 1312/January 18, 1895
Place of BirthTabriz
Studied inNajaf
DeathSafar 11 1380,August 5, 1960
Burial PlaceShrine of Imam 'Ali (a)
Scholarly Information
ProfessorsShaykh al-Shari'a al-Isfahani, Muhammad Husayn Gharawi Isfahani, and Muhammad Jawad al-Balaghi

Muḥammad 'Alī Gharawī Urdūbādī (Arabic: محمدعلی غَرَوی اُردوبادی, b. 1312/1895-d. 1380/1960) was a Shiite jurist and poet in fourteenth/twentieth century. Urdubadi obtained his degree of ijtihad in Najaf. He collaborated with al-'Allama al-Amini in writing his book, al-Ghadir. It is said that it was with his edits that al-Ghadir came to have a great literary value. Urdubadi wrote essays in Islamic journals in critique of Christian propagations.

He opposed the view of al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin that some manners of mourning for the Imams of the Shia are heretic and forbidden. Urdubadi wrote a number of books, mainly poems he composed for the praise of the Imams. Moreover, Urdubadi had a library in Najaf containing many manuscripts.


Muhammad 'Ali Urdubadi was born in Tabriz on Rajab 21, 1312/January 18, 1895. He is originally from Ordubad, an area between Caucasus and Azerbaijan near the Aras River. His father, Mirza Abu l-Qasim al-Urdubadi, was a scholar in Tabriz.


Urdubadi died in Karbala on Safar 11 1380, August 5, 1960 and his corpse was moved to Najaf. After the funeral, he was buried in a chamber around the Shrine of Imam 'Ali (a). Ceremonies of the fortieth day of his death were held in the Mosque of al-Shaykh al-Ansari in Najaf.

Scholarly Activities

Urdubadi went to Najaf at the age of four, and was taught the preliminaries of seminary education by his father. He then attended advanced courses of jurisprudence and its principles, as well as Quranic exegesis and philosophy by Shaykh al-Shari'a al-Isfahani, Mirza 'Ali Shirazi, Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Gharawi Isfahani, and al-Shaykh Muhammad Jawad al-Balaghi. After graduation from advanced seminary courses, he received permissions of ijtihad from these scholars. Moreover, he received permissions for the transmission of hadiths from six scholars in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran.


Musu'a al-Allama al-Urdubadi

Urdubadi wrote over thirty scholarly works concerning theology, jurisprudence, principles of jurisprudence, history, rijal, and Quranic exegesis. His collected works are published under Mawsu'at al-'Allama al-Urdubadi. One of his works is a six-volume book containing miscellaneous issues such as those of history, literature, rijal, and the like. He gave different titles to each volume. Moreover, he cooperated with great authors and scholars in the Seminary of Najaf and edited their works. According to Sayyid 'Abd al-'Aziz al-Tabataba'i, he stipulated that these authors do not mention him in their books.


Urdubadi composed poems in both Arabic and Persian. Most of his poems are in Arabic in the praise of the Infallible Imams (a). These amount to over 6000 verses. Moreover, he composed elegies of Ashura.

Collaboration with al-'Allama al-Amini and al-Muhaddith al-Qummi

Urdubadi was a close friend of al-'Allama al-Amini. He collaborated with al-Amini in the compilation of his al-Ghadir, and edited the first volumes of the book. According to Sayyid Musa Shubayri Zanjani, the great literary value of al-Ghadir is due to Urdubadi's edits. Some men of letters could find literary errors in Asl al-Shi'a by Muhammad Husayn Kashif al-Ghita', but they could not find any errors in al-Ghadir since it was edited by Urdubadi.

Moreover, al-Shaykh 'Abbas al-Qummi's al-Kuna wa l-alqab was edited by Urdubadi. He rewrote the contents of the book, but asked al-Qummi not to mention him in the book.

Essays in Religious Periodicals

Urdubadi worked with some periodicals published in Islamic countries. Along with his teacher, Muhammad Jawad al-Balaghi, he began campaigns against Christian propagations and criticized them by writing essays in dozens of periodicals.

Critique of al-Amin's View

Urdubadi criticized al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin's view of how the mourning for Imam al-Husayn (a) should be held. In his book, al-Tanzih li-a'mal al-shabih, al-Amin criticizes non-religious acts in mourning ceremonies of Sayyid al-Shuhada', dismissing some manners of mourning as heretic and forbidden. Following the publication of al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin's book, Urdubadi wrote the book, al-Kalimat al-jami'a hawl al-mazahir al-'aza'iyya (comprehensive words about mourning manifestations).

Urdubadi's Library

Muhammad 'Ali Urdubadi had a library in Najaf, which contained many manuscripts. The library and its books are mentioned by Aqa Buzurg Tihrani in his al-Dhari'a. Rasul Ja'fariyan refers to the library as one of the libraries in Najaf.