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Muhammad b. Tahir al-Samawi al-Najafi

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شیخ محمد سماوی.jpg
Personal Information
Full Name Shaykh Muhammad b. Tahir al-Turki al-Fadli
Well-Known As al-Samawi
Birth Dhu l-Hijja 27, 1292/January 24, 1876
Place of Birth Samawa
Residence Samawa, Najaf
Studied in Najaf
Death Muharram 2, 1370/October 14, 1950
Burial Place Holy Shrine of Imam Ali (a)
Scholarly Information
Professors Aqa Rida Hamadani • Sayyid Muhammad Hindi • Muhammad Taha Najaf • Muhammad Hasan MamaqaniShaykh al-Shari'a al-Isfahani
Permission for
Ijtihad From
al-Sayyid Hasan al-Sadr
Works Ibsar al-'ayn fi ansar al-Husayn
Socio-Political Activities
Membership in the National Assembly of Iraq, A judge and Sharia ruler in Baghdad and Najaf

Shaykh Muḥammad b. Ṭāhir al-Turkī al-Faḍlī (Arabic: شیخ محمد بن طاهر التركي الفضلي), known as al-Samāwī (السماوي) , was a Shiite mujtahid, scholar, judge, man of literature, and poet in the fourteenth/twentieth century.

Al-Samawi was mainly renowned for his enthusiasm transcribing manuscripts and collecting rare books. He had a rich library containing such books. Al-Samawi died in 1370/1950 in Najaf. His best-known book is Ibsar al-'ayn fi ansar al-Husayn in which he introduces the Martyrs of Karbala.


Muhammad al-Samawi was born on Dhu l-Hijja 27, 1292/January 24, 1876 in Samawah, a city in Iraq. Because of his birth and residence in Samawah, he came to be known as al-Samawi.

He lost his father at the age of ten. He moved to Najaf in order to study. He learned the preliminaries from his teachers, particularly Shaykh Shukr b. Ahmad al-Baghdadi and Shaykh Abd al-Din Ma'tuq al-Qatifi. He learned mathematics from Aqa Rida Isfahani and principles of jurisprudence from Ali b. Shaykh Baqir al-Jawahiri, Aqa Rida Hamadani, Sayyid Muhammad Hindi, Muhammad Taha Najaf, Muhammad Hasan Mamaqani, and Shaykh al-Shari'a al-Isfahani. He received permissions for ijtihad from Shaykh Ali b. Shaykh Baqir al-Jawahiri, Sayyid Muhammad al-Hindi, and Sayyid Hasan al-Sadr. Al-Samawi stayed in Najaf until 1322/1905 when he returned to his hometown and remained there until 1330/1912.


Muhammad al-Samawi died on Muharram 2, 1370/October 14, 1950. He was buried in Najaf in chamber number seven of the Holy Shrine of Imam Ali (a).


During his life, al-Samawi held a number of positions:

  • He was elected as a member of the provincial assembly for five years.
  • For several years, he served as a judge and the Sharia ruler in Baghdad and Najaf. However, he resigned after a friction with Sayyid Muhammad al-Sadr.
  • Membership in the National Assembly of Iraq.

Transcription of Books

After resignation from judgeship, Shaykh Muhammad al-Samawi concerned himself with research, transcription of books, and writing books. He is said to be best-known for his fascination with books and libraries. From a very young age, he began collecting books. He spent years of his life trying to find rare manuscripts as well as published books and sources. About 260 books in his personal library were in his own handwriting. The first book he transcribed with his own handwriting was Madamir al-imtihan by Sayyid Mahdi al-Qazwini, which he transcribed at the age of twelve.

Al-Samawi's Library

Shaykh Muhammad al-Samawi's personal library contained the rarest and oldest books and manuscripts. He purchased a house in al-'Imara neighborhood and devoted its second floor to different books, some of which were in his own handwriting. He employed a group of people to transcribe books he had failed to obtain copies of, and to help him find and transcribe some contents. His books also included books published out of Iraq, such as books published in Leiden [1] and Bulaq [2].

Al-Samawi's personal library was inherited by his daughter after his death. When the books were put on sale, they were purchased by some prominent scholars. About 450 manuscripts and hundreds of published books were bought by Ayatollah Hakim's library. Most collections or diwans of poems ended up in personal libraries.


Here are some books by Shaykh Muhammad al-Samawi:


  1. Leiden is a city in the Netherland known for its old university and Brill Publishers.
  2. Bulaq is a small port city in Cairo with important publishers in early 19th century, which published Arabic, Persian, and Turkish books