Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya

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Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya
Personal Information
EpithetShaykh Mughniyya
Religious AffiliationShi'a
Well-Known RelativesShaykh Mahmud Mughniyya, Shaykh Abd al-Karim Mughniyya
Place of BirthJabal Amel, Lebanon
ResidenceLebanon, Najaf, Qom
Studied inSeminary of Najaf, Seminary of Qom
DeathMuharram 19, 1400/December 9, 1979
Burial PlaceNajaf, Holy shrine of Imam Ali
Scholarly Information
ProfessorsSayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei, Shaykh Abd al-Karim Mughniyya, Muhammad Sa'id Fadl Allah, Shaykh Husayn Karbala'i

Muḥammad Jawād Mughnīyya (Arabic: محمدجواد مغنیّة),(b.1322/1904 - d.1400/1979) was a Shiite exegete and clergy from Lebanon in the fourteenth/twentieth century. He began his studies in Lebanon and then moved to Najaf and attended the lectures of scholars such as Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei. When he returned to Lebanon, he was appointed as a judge and the head of the Lebanese judiciary.

Mughniyya wrote books concerning Islamic sciences. He wrote two exegeses of the Qur'an: al-Kashif and al-Mubin. Mughniyya's character is distinguished by his religious and political views, such as innovations in jurisprudence and ijtihad, the proximity of Islamic denominations, and Islamic unity. He has praised the Islamic Revolution in Iran and its leader.


Birth and lineage

Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya was born in 1322/1904 in the Mughniyya family which was renowned for its scholars. He was born in a village called "Tayr Dibba" near Jabal Amel[1]. His father, Shaykh Mahmud, was a well-known religious scholar in Lebanon, and his mother was from Sadat[2].


After his mother's death, Muhammad Jawad went to Iraq together with his father. In Iraq, he learned calligraphy, arithmetic, and Persian language. After four years of sojourn in Najaf, his father Shaykh Mahmud returned to Jabal Amel at the request of people in the Abbasiyya area. When his father died in 1334/1915-6, Muhammad Jawad and his younger brother returned to Tayr Dibba, where they were under the care of their older brother, Shaykh Abd al-Karim. When Shaykh Abd al-Karim moved to Najaf, the hard days of Muhammad Jawad began, days when he only had peas and hazelnuts to eat. Sometimes he did not have anything to eat for three days[3].


Shaykh Muhammad Jawad spent early years of his life in Tayr Dibba, where he studied preliminaries with scholars of the village. He then migrated to Najaf since he found the Islamic Seminary of Najaf as a good place for his studies and research. In Najaf, he studied with prominent scholars and teachers, such as Sayyid Husayn al-Hammami, a prominent scholar in Najaf at the time[4].

Other Teachers


Shaykh Muhammad Jawad died of a heart disease on Muharram 19, 1400/December 9, 1979. His corpse was moved to Najaf where it was buried in a chamber within the Holy Shrine of Imam Ali (a). Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei said Funeral Prayers on his corpse[5].

Cultural and Social Activities

Teaching the Qur'an and Islamic Doctrines

After his brother's death, Muhammad Jawad left Najaf to Maarakeh (a village near Jabal Amel). He was warmly welcomed by people and was asked to undertake the imamate of congregational prayers there, instead of his late brother. Mughniyya accepted the request and, in addition to congregational prayers, he taught the Qur'an and Islamic doctrines.

Judgeship in Beirut

In 1367/1948, Shaykh Muhammad Jawad became a judge in Beirut, and a year later, he was appointed as the supreme adviser, and from 1950 to 1955 he was appointed as the head of the Lebanese Shiite judiciary. When he was removed from the office, he still served as an adviser until 1958. During his term in the judiciary, he tried to act justly. For example, in 1956, he was asked by the agricultural minister (Kazim al-Khalil) to meet his requests so that he could stay in the office as the head. However, Mughniyya replied that "what matters is the preservation of my religion; the office position is a transient shadow"[6].

Unity among Muslims

The main concern of Shaykh Muhammad Jawad was the national and Islamic unity. He widely attempted to establish the Islamic unity, seizing every opportunity to negotiate with Sunni religious scholars and examine paths to the unity. Shaykh Mughniyya was mindful of the unity among Arabs and Muslims, believing that the reason behind the enmity of Sunni Muslims towards Shi'as was their ignorance of original Shiite beliefs.

Muhammad Mahdi Shams al-Din says, "The main worry of Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya in the seditious crisis we are suffering from was the national unity, Islamic unity, and [problems in] Southern Lebanon"[7].

Shaykh Mughniyya and Shaykh Shaltut

The friendship between Shaykh Mughniyya and the head of al-Azhar University, Shaykh Mahmud Shaltut, dates back to 1368/1948. Shaykh Shaltut was a co-founder of "Dar al-Taqrib bayn al-Madhahib" (The House of Proximity of Denominations) and an advocate of Islamic unity. He was popular among Shiite scholars because of his fatwa of the permissibility of acting upon the Shiite jurisprudence. The two scholars exchanged many letters. In 1962, Shaykh Mughniyya met Shaykh Shaltut in Egypt. He describes the meeting as follows:

I went to Shaltut's house. He welcomed me. When we talked about Shiism, he said that al-Azhar was originally founded by the Shi'as, and Shiite disciplines and beliefs were taught in al-Azhar for a short period, until Shi'as abandoned the university and deprived it of the mesmerizing light and benefits of Shiism.
I told him: "You are respected by Shiite scholars, because they recognized your services to the religion and they admire your courage in expressing what is right, without being intimidated by anyone". And I told him that the Shi'as take the caliphate after the demise of the Prophet (s) to be Imam Ali's (a) right, but they believe that one should not cause a division that undermines Islam, just as Imam Ali (a) did not do so.
He said to people present in the meeting, "Sunnis do not know this fact"[8].


Shaykh Muhammad Jawad was a persevering prolific author. He sometimes slept only four hours, and was sometimes so engaged in writing that he did not sleep for forty eight hours[9]. Mughniyya is one few exegetes of the Qur'an who wrote two exegeses.

In Exegesis

Tafsir al-Kashif

The first exegesis of the Qur'an written by Shaykh Mughniyya was al-Kashif fi tafsir al-Qur'an al-karim, which was published in seven volumes in Beirut. In this exegesis, the author deploys a host of exegetical methods.

Al-Tafsir al-Mubin

When Mughniyya wrote al-Kashif, he thought of writing another exegesis addressed to youths. Thus, he wrote a short exegesis with a simple prose under al-Tafsir al-mubin.

In Jurisprudence

Mughniyya wrote his first jurisprudential work under Fiqh al-Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a) in six volumes. His other works include: Ilm usul al-fiqh, al-fiqh ala l-madhahib al-khamsa, and al-Hajj ala mukhtalaf al-madhahib.

In Ethics

Given his concerns for moral values in the development of Islamic communities, he wrote a book titled Qayim akhlaqiyya fi fiqh al-Imam al-Sadiq (moral criteria in Imam al-Sadiq's (a) jurisprudence). The book was translated into Persian by Sayyid Muhammad Radmanish.

In Philosophy and Theology

Mughniyya was also an expert in Islamic philosophy and theology. Given his firm belief in the importance of theological issues and his sense of responsibility in this regard, he investigated issues of monotheism, proofs for God's existence and His attributes, and proofs for the prophethood of the Seal of the Prophets (a). In addition to issues of theology addressed in both of his exegetical works, he wrote a book under Falsafat al-tawhid wa l-nubuwwa (the philosophy of monotheism and prophethood). Although the book is very brief, it provides rational arguments and philosophical evidence for issues of monotheism and prophethood.

Late in his life, Mughniyya migrated to Iran in order to study and teach in the Islamic Seminary of Qom, where he made research and taught Islamic sciences, including the exegesis of the Qur'an, which resulted in dozens of precious works concerning Islamic sciences[10].

The collection of Jawad Mughniyya's works is published in a software format by Computer Research Center of Islamic Sciences (Noor).

Mughniyya's Views

Innovations in Jurisprudence and Ijtihad

Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya and al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr

Shaykh Muhammad Jawad believed in innovations in ijtihad. He firmly held that life was in constant change, and Islam accepts some phenomena of the modern age, while it rejects some others. Al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr (d. 1400/1980) writes the following about his views concerning jurisprudence and ijtihad:

Now we see for the first time that the element of a social understanding of religious texts is independently propounded, and when I read parts of the book, Fiqh a-Imam al-Sadiq (written by Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya), I see that our great master Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya has developed the issue in the book, and has given a new form and style to the Ja'fari jurisprudence. Although I cautiously speak of a social understanding of religious texts, I nevertheless believe that the principle propounded by our master, Mughniyya, for such an understanding can solve a big problem in jurisprudence"[11].

Necessity of Reforms in Islamic Seminaries

According to Shaykh Muhammad Jawad, textbooks of Islamic seminaries were unfortunately unidimensional, ignoring other scholarly aspects that are important for the society. Students of Islamic seminaries are not usually aware of today's sciences. About the Islamic Seminary of Najaf, he suggests, "one characteristics of this seminary is that its scholars are not aware of modern sciences, and they are reluctant to include them in their textbooks. Islamic seminaries are silent about what happens to Muslims and people of the world. For example, they are silent about the Algerian Movement or colonial wars and fatal weapons. The Islamic Seminary of Najaf needs to be reformed, and this is what has been fathomed by its teachers and students"[12].

Mughniyya and Islamic Democracy

Mughniyya considers an Islamic government to be the best form of government and criticizes western democracies. He believes that in western democracies, people's fate will be in the hands of a few capitalists, and others will remain poor and ignorant.

Shaykh Mughniyya and the Islamic Revolution of Iran

For Mughniyya, the Islamic Revolution of Iran is a successor of the Prophet's (s) Islamic system.

He cites the hadith, "A man from Qom calls people to the right, and people will gather around him, who are as hard as iron, and who will not be shaken by storms, will not be bored of fighting and will not sidestep, and in God they trust, and the outcome is for the righteous", and then writes: "this hadith is the most accurate characterization of Imam Khomeini and his companions"[citation needed]. He also said that the Islamic Revolution of Iran was a hard blow to enemies of Islam and humanity[13].


  1. Amīn, Aʿyān al-Shīʿa, vol. 9, p. 205.
  2. Gulshan-i Abrar, vol. 3, p. 451.
  3. Mughnīya, Tajarub-i Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya, p. 25.
  4. Amīn, Aʿyān al-Shīʿa, vol. 9, p. 205.
  5. Mughnīya, Tajarub-i Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya, p. 534.
  6. Amīn, Aʿyān al-Shīʿa, vol. 9, p. 205.
  7. Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya (Allama Mughniyya), Website of
  8. Mughnīya, Tajarub-i Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya, p. 111.
  9. Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya (Allama Mughniyya), Website of
  10. Kāẓimī, Mufassir-i 'ālī qadr Muḥammad Jawād Mughnīyya wa āthār-i ū.
  11. Kassār, Muḥammad Jawād Mughnīyya, ḥayatuhū wa minhājuhu fī l-tafsīr.
  12. Kassār, Muḥammad Jawād Mughnīyya, ḥayatuhū wa minhājuhu fī l-tafsīr.
  13. Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya (Allama Mughniyya), Website of


  • Amīn, al-Sayyid Muḥsin al-.Aʿyān al-Shīʿa. Beirut: Dār al-Taʿāruf, 1421 AH.
  • Kassār, Jawād ʿAlī. Muḥammad Jawād Mughnīyya, ḥayatuhū wa minhājuhu fī l-tafsīr.
  • Kāẓimī, Shahāb. Mufassir-i 'ālī qadr Muḥammad Jawād Mughnīyya wa āthār-i ū. Bayyināt Journal, no. 20, 1377 Sh.
  • Mughnīya, Muḥammad Jawād al-. Tajarub-i Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya. Anwar al-Huda Journal, 1385 Sh.
  • Mughnīya, Muḥammad Jawād al-. Website of Farhang-i Nukhbigan (culture of elites), Retrieved November 14, 2020. (Persian)