Sayyid Abu l-Hasan Rafi'i Qazwini

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Sayyid Abu l-Hasan Rafi'i Qazwini
Personal Information
DeathMuharram 1,1395/January 14,1975
Burial Placethe Holy Shrine of Lady Fatima al-Ma'suma (a) in Qom
Scholarly Information
Professors'Ali Akbar Yazdi Siyadahani, Mirza Hasan Kermanshahi, Fadil Tihrani, Hashim Ishkiwari etc.

Sayyid Abu l-Ḥasan Rafīʿī Qazwīnī (Persian: سید ابوالحسن رفیعی قزوینی) (b. 1315/1898 - d. 1395/1975) was one of the Shiite scholars of 14th/20th century who was engaged in learning and teaching religious disciplines including fiqh, usul, Islamic philosophy, and mysticism. He studied with scholars such as Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri and Mirza Hashim Ishkiwari, and taught many students, two best-known ones of whom are Imam Khomeini and Hasan Hasanzada Amuli.

Due to his appealing way of presentation and formulation of the issues, Rafi'i attracted the attention of students and scholars of religious disciplines. He has left some works in different fields. He passed away in 1395/1975 and was buried in the Balasar Mosque of the Holy Shrine of Lady Fatima Ma'suma (a) in Qum.


Sayyid Abu l-Hasan Rafi'i, son of Mirza Khalil whose pedigree goes back to Imam al-Husayn (a), was born in 1315/1897 in Qazwin. His grandfather, Mirza Rafi' Qazwini was one of the mujtahids and philosophers of his era. His family known as the Rafi'i family was a well-known family tracing back to Mirza Muhammad Zaman Taliqani Qazwini. His mother was the daughter of Sayyid 'Ali Qazwini—a commentator on Qawanin al-'usul.


By his father's supports, Rafi'i began his studies in Islamic disciplines and soon he learned Arabic literature and grammar in the Salihiyya seminary of Qazwin. He studied fiqh and usul with Mulla 'Ali Tarumi, and he attended the courses of 'Ali Akbar Yazdi in fiqh and usul for a short time.

In 1334/1915, Rafi'i went to Tehran to study philosophy and other religious disciplines, and after a short time he went to Qom. There he studied al-Shifa' and the psychology of al-Asfar and Sharh al-'isharat with Mirza Hasan Kirmanshahi, Manzuma and Shawariq al-ilham with Fadil Tihrani, and Sharh miftah al-ghayb with Mirza Hashim 'Ishkiwari, and Shawariq and Fusus with Mirza Mahmud Ridwani Qumi. He also attended the courses of scholars such as Mirza Ibrahim Zanjani Riyadi, 'Abd al-Nabi al-Nuri, Sayyid Muhammad Tunikabuni, Muhammad Rida 'Ali Rashti, and Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri Yazdi. After his studies, Rafi'i returned to Qazwin in 1338/1919.

After one year, Rafi'i returned to Tehran in order to teach. He taught books in fiqh and usul, such as Sharh al-lum'at al-Dimashqiyya, Qawanin al-'usul, and also philosophical books such as Sharh al-manzuma by Mulla Hadi Sabziwari and al-Isharat by Ibn Sina in the 'Abd Allah Khan seminary in Tehran.

In 1340/1921 when the Islamic Seminary of Qom was established, Rafi'i moved to Qom. He attended the courses of Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri Yazdi in fiqh and usul, and he taught Kifayat al-'usul authored by al-Akhund al-Khurasani, al-Rasa'il and al-Makasib al-Muharrama written by al-Shaykh al-Ansari, the exegesis (tafsir) of the Holy Qur'an, and in particular, al-Asfar by Mulla Sadra and Sharh al-manzuma by Sabziwari. It has been reported that along with his teachings in this period, Rafi'i also studied with Muhammad b. Ma'sum 'Ali Haydaji Zanjani, Fadil Razi, Abu l-Qasim Kabir Qumi, and Muhammad Rida Masjidshahi Isfahani. Around 1348/1929, Rafi'i returned to his hometown, Qazwin, and for about 30 years he taught fiqh, usul, and Islamic philosophy, and was the imam of prayers in the Sultani Mosque of Qazwin. People in Qazwin consulted Rafi'i for their problems and difficulties.


Rafi'i had many teachers in fiqh, usul, and philosophy, including:

  • 'Ali Akbar Yazdi Siyadahani
  • Mirza Hasan Kermanshahi
  • Fadil Tihrani
  • Hashim Ishkiwari
  • Mirza Mahmud Ridwani Qumi
  • 'Abd al-Nabi Nuri
  • Mirza Masih Taliqani
  • Sayyid Muhammad Tunikabuni
  • Muhammad Rida 'Ali Rashti
  • Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri Yazdi
  • Muhammad b. Ma'sum Ali Haydaji Zanjani
  • Abu l-Qasim Kabir Qumi
  • Muhammad Rida Masjidshahi Isfahani


A) Commentaries on important books in Islamic philosophy and mysticism, such as the following classical books:

B) Essays: in addition to commentaries on the classical philosophical and mystical books, Rafi'i wrote 21 essays on different topics, gathered and published by his pupil Ghulam Husayn Ridanijad. These are as follows:

  • An exposition of al-Sahar Supplication
  • An essay on raj'a (return of some believers upon the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a))
  • An essay on mi'raj
  • An essay on substantial motion (al-haraka al-jawhariyya)
  • An essay on al-Asfar al-'arba'a
  • An essay on the unity of the cognizer and the cognized (ittihad al-aqil wa l-ma'qul)
  • On the resurrection
  • An essay on the reproductive faculty
  • Takhliya, tajliya, tahliya (Purification, polishing, ornamenting [of the soul])
  • The substantial motion
  • An essay on the unity of existence
  • An essay on the nature of the intellect ('aql)
  • An essay on the Laylat al-Qadr
  • On the existence
  • An exegesis of two verses of Qur'an 10
  • On the explication of predicative parts (al-'ajza al-hamliyya) and definitive parts (al-'ajza al-haddiyya)
  • An essay on perpetual incipience (al-huduth al-dahri)
  • A note on eternal necessary propositions
  • An essay on the will
  • An essay on the mash of one's head in wudu
  • A biography of Mulla Sadra

C) Works in demonstrative jurisprudence:

D) Works on mathematics and astronomy:

  • Commentaries on al-Shaykh al-Baha'i's Tadaris al-'ard
  • Commentaries on Euclid's al-Mu'tayat
  • Brief commentaries on the book of al-'Ukar (spheres)
  • Commentaries on Euclid's al-Manazir on vision
  • Commentaries on al-Kurat al-mutaharrika (moving sphere)
  • Commentaries on some issues in Theodosius' al-Masakin
  • Commentaries on Sharh Chaghmini (on ancient medicine)
  • Notes on the planes of circles, diagonals, overlapping circles, equal circles, intersecting circles, and tangent circles in a sphere, and trigonometry


Rafi'i had many students during his life. Here are some of the most prominent ones:

Moral Character

According to his pupils, Rafi'i was virtuous and very humble. He respected the scholars and students of religious disciplines.


Rafi'i Qazwini passed away in the midnight of Tuesday Muharram 1st, 1395/Jnuary 14, 1975 at the age of 85 in Tehran, and was buried in the Balasar Mosque of the Holy Shrine of Fatima al-Ma'suma (a) in Qom.