Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani

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Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani
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Tomb of al-Wahid al-Bihbahani near the darih of the Martyrs of Karbala
Personal Information
Well-Known AsAl-Wahid al-Bihbahani
Well-Known RelativesMuhammad Akmal Isfahani, Mulla Salih Mazandarani
Place of BirthIsfahan
ResidenceBehbahan, Karbala
Studied inIsfahan, Najaf
DeathShawwal 29, 1205/July 1, 1791
Burial PlaceHoly shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a)
Scholarly Information
ProfessorsSayyid Muhammad al-Tabataba'i al-Burujirdi, Sayyid Sadr al-Din al-Qummi al-Hamadani
StudentsMulla Mahdi Naraqi, Bahr al-'Ulum, Kashif al-Ghita'
WorksIbtal al-qiyas, al-Ijtihad wa l-ikhbar, ...
Working against Akhbaris

Muḥammad Bāqir al-Bihbahānī (Arabic: محمد باقر البهبهاني) (b. 1118/1706-7 - d. 1205/1791) known as al-Waḥīd al-Bihbahānī (Arabic: الوحيد البهبهاني), was titled Aqa. Al-Bihbahani was a twelver Shi'a scholar in jurisprudence, principles of jurisprudence and an author in 12th/18th century. He was titled as Wahid al-'Asr (The Exceptional of the time) by al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Tabataba'i al-Isfahani. The Grand Master, al-'Allama al-Thani and al-Muhaqqiq al-Thalith were the titles of al-Wahid al-Bihbahani.

Birth and Lineage

Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani was born in Isfahan in 1118/1706-7.[1] Muhammad Akmal al-Isfahani, his father, was a student of al-'Allama al-Majlisi.[2] His mother was the daughter of Aqa Nur al-Din, the son of Mulla Salih Mazandarani.[3] According to several reports his lineage goes back to al-Shaykh al-Mufid.[4]


Al-Wahid al-Bihbahani was raised in Isfahan and learned intellectual sciences from his father. After the demise of his father and the invasion of Mahmud Afghan to Isfahan, in 1135/1722-3, he migrated to Iraq.[5]

Settlement in Behbahan

After he finished his education in Iraq, Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani travelled to Behbahan. He lived there for almost thirty years, from 1140/1727-8 to 1170/1756-7.[6]

Because Behbahan had a calm and peaceful situation comparing to the riotous situation in Isfahan, most of scholars and notable figures, including Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani, migrated to Behbahan and settled there. The other reasons for migrating to Behbahan were confronting with Akhbarism which was expanding by al-Shaykh 'Abd Allah al-Samahiji al-Bahrayni (d. 1135/1722-3), a grand scholar and supporter of Akhbarism. He extended Akhbarism in Bihbahan and his student, Sayyid 'Abd Allah al-Biladi, continued it after him.[7]

Settling in Karbala

After persistent and relentless scientific confrontation with Akhbarism, Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani along with his relatives and local people migrated to Karbala, where he passed away in 1205/1791.[8]


Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani was titled as "Ustad al-Kull fi l-Kull" (the Master of All in All Subjects). He had a large number of students including:


Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani penned on jurisprudence in different books. He wrote a commentary on chapters of supplications of Mafatih al-sharayi' by al-Fayd al-Kashani and his gloss on Madarik al-ahkam by al-Sayyid Muhammad al-'Amili.

He was an expert in rijal and hadith. In his glosses on rijal by Muhammad b. 'Ali al-Astarabadi (Minhaj al-maqal), al-Bihbahani tried to prove the reliability of narrators who were not regarded reliable, which brought criticism of recent rijal scholars.[10]

Al-Wahid al-Bihbahani has written 119 treaties and books including:

  1. Ibtal al-qiyas
  2. Ithbat al-tahsin wa l-taqbih al-'aqliyyayn
  3. Al-Ijtihad wa l-akhbar
  4. Isalat al-bara'a
  5. Isalat al-sihha fi l-mu'amilat wa 'adamiha
  6. Al-Istishab
  7. Usul al-Islam wa l-iman
  8. Al-Tuhfa al-Husayniyya
  9. Al-Ta'liqat al-Bihbahaniyya
  10. Al-Taqiyya
  11. Gloss on Irshad of al-'Allama al-Hilli
  12. Gloss on Tahdhib of al-'Allama al-Hilli
  13. Gloss on Irshad of al-Ardabili
  14. Gloss on Masalik al-afham
  15. Gloss on Ma'alim
  16. Commentary on Mafatih al-kalam


Not only al-Wahid al-Bihbahani was among notable Twelver scholars, but also several of his children and descendants became prominent figures including:

Muhammad 'Ali al-Bihbahani, the oldest son of al-Wahid al-Bihbahani was a prominent faqih in Kermanshah.

Aqa 'Abd al-Husayn, another son of al-Bihbahani was famous for piety and mysticism ('irfan). Also in the time of marja'iyya of his father, 'Abd al-Husayn was responsible for financial affairs and analyzing istifta'at.[11]

His daughter was married to al-Sayyid 'Ali al-Tabataba'i (author of Riyad). Al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Mujahid (d. 1242/1827), her son, was the author of al-Manahil. He issued a fatwa on jihad against Russian Tsar in Fath 'Ali Shah Qajar era.[12]

Dispute with Akhbaris

Al-Bihbahani started confronting Akhbaris since he settled in Behbahan, where many notable scholars of Bahrain had migrated to. It became the center of Akhbaris. Al-Wahid al-Bihbahani started teaching, performing prayers, managing religious affairs and most importantly writing explanations and reviews on Akhbaris' opinion.

In order to support ijtihad, al-Bihbahani penned al-Ijtihad wa l-akhbar in 1155/1742-3 in which he criticized Akhbaris' principles.

Al-Wahid al-Bihbahani attended the classes of al-Shaykh Yusuf al-Bahrani (d. 1186/1772) in Karbala, where most of Akhbari supporters were settling. Al-Bahrani was a grand figure in jurisprudence and the last representative of Akhbarism. Al-Bihbahani requested al-Bahrani to take over his classes for some time. He asked al-Bahrani to encourage his students to attend his classes.

Al-Bahrani is considered as a moderate Akhbari scholar. He considered himself as a person who chose a moderate way[13] and criticized categorizing Shi'a scholars in Akhbari and Usuli. He also criticized insulting notable Shi'a scholars. Therefore, he took over the biggest class of the time. Al-Bihbahani explained Usuli school of thought and gave reviews on Akhbari principles in three days. As a result two third of students quit Akhbarism and accepted Usuli school of thought.[14]

Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani stayed in Karbala over thirty years and eventually succeeded in driving out Akhbari school of thought. In addition he established Usuli school of thought which he believed in.[15]


Al-Wahid al-Bihbahani lived for almost ninety years. In the last years of his life, he was only focused on teaching al-Rawdat al-bahiyya in Karbala. He ordered al-'Allama Bahr al-'Ulum, his superior student, to return to Najaf in order to establish seminary center for teaching Islamic theology and also managing the Shi'a Muslims' affairs.

Al-Wahid al-Bihbahani passed away in 29 Shawwal in 1205/July 1, 1791 in Karbala. He is buried in the Holy Shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a).[16]


  1. 'Aliyari, Bahjat al-amal, vol.6 p.572
  2. Qummi, al-Kuna wa l-alqab, vol.2 p.97
  3. Al-Bihbahani, Fawa'id al-Wahid, p.64
  4. Amin, A'yan al-Shi'a, vol.3 p.136
  5. Al-Bihbahani, Mir'at al-ahwal, vol.1 p.147-149
  6. Al-Bihbahani, Mir'at al-ahwal, vol.1 p.147-149
  7. Al-Jazayiri, al-Ijazat al-kabira, pp. 205-206; Al-Bahrani, Lu'lu'at al-bahrayn, pp. 93-98
  8. Al-Bihbahani, Mir'at al-ahwal, vol.1 p.148-149
  9. Tihrani, Tabaqat, part:2 p.172; Qumi, Fawa'id, vol.2 p.406; Bihbahani, al-Fawa'id al-ha'iriyya, p.19-20
  10. Al-Khoei, Mu'jam rijal al-hadith, vol.2 p.346, vol.5 p.129, 133, vol.7 p.60, vol.16 p.45-46
  11. Al-Bihbahani, Mir'at al-ahwal, vol.1 p.168
  12. Al-Bihbahani, Mir'at al-ahwal, vol.1 p.128, 179
  13. Al-Bahrani, al-Hada'iq, vol.1 p.15
  14. Mamaqani, Tanqih al-maqal, vol.2 p.285
  15. Tihrani, al-Dhari'a, vol.16 p.330-331
  16. Al-Bihbahani, Mir'at al-ahwal, vol.1 p.51


  • 'Aliyari Bahjat al-amal fi sharh zubdat al-maqal. Tehran: Ja'far Ha'iri, 1366 Sh.
  • Amin, Muhsin al-. A'yan al-Shi'a. Beirut: Hasan al-Amin, 1403 AH.
  • Bihbahani, Ahamd. Mir'at al-ahwal. Qom: Jahan nama, 1373 Sh.
  • Bihbahani, Muhammad Baqir al-. Al-Fawa'id al-ha'iriyya. Qom: 1415 AH.
  • Bahrani, Yusuf al-. Al-Hada'iq al-nadira fi ahkam al-'itra al-tahira. Qom: 1363 Sh.
  • Bahrani, Yusuf al-. Lu'lu'at al-bahrayn. Qom: Muhammad Sadiq Bahr al-'Ulum.
  • Qummi, 'Abbas al-. Al-Kuna wa l-alqab. Qom
  • Bihbahani, Muhammad Baqir al-. Fawa'id al-Wahid al-Bihbahani. Qom: Muhammad Sadiq Bahr al-'Ulum, 1404 AH.
  • Jazayiri al-. Al-Ijazat al-kabira. Qom: Muhammad Samami Ha'iri, 1409 AH.
  • Khoei, Abu l-Qasim al-. Mu'jam rijal al-hadith. Beirut: 1403 AH.
  • Mamaqani. Tanqih al-maqal fi 'ilm al-rijal. Najaf: 1349
  • Qumi, 'Abbas. Al-Kuna wa l-alqab. Reprint Qom.
  • Qumi, 'Abbas. Fawa'id al-radawiyya. Tehran.
  • Tihrani, Aqa Buzurg. Al-Dhari'a ila tasanif al-Shi'a. Beirut: Munzawi, 1403 AH.
  • Tihrani, Aqa Buzurg. Tabaqat a'lam al-Shi'a. Mashhad: 1404 AH.