Shawahid al-tanzil (book)

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Shawahid al-tanzil
Author Al-Hakim al-Haskani
Original title شَواهِد التَنزیل لِقَواعِد التَفضیل
Language Arabic
Subject Tafsir, Excellences of Imam Ali (a)

Shawāhid al-tanzīl li qawāʿīd al-tafḍīl (Arabic: شَواهِد التَنزیل لِقَواعِد التَفضیل), known as Shawāhid al-tanzīl (Arabic: شواهد التنزیل) is the name of a book authored by al-Hakim al-Haskani (d. 490/1096), a Sunni scholar. In this book, al-Haskani has collected 210 Quranic verses concerning the Prophet's (s) Ahl al-Bayt, and concerned himself with the virtues of Ali b. Abi Talib (a) and his progeny. Shawahid al-tanzil counts as a reliable source of hadith-based exegesis among Sunni scholars. The book is frequently cited by al-'Allama al-Majlisi in his Bihar al-anwar, and some Iranian scholars have translated it into Persian.


Main article: Al-Hakim al-Haskani

'Ubayd Allah b. 'Abd Allah b. Aḥmad al-Ḥaskani al-Nayshabūri, known as Ibn Hadhā' (Ibn Ḥaddād), was a prominent scholar of hadiths in the 5th/11th century. He was born in Nayshabur in a family of Islamic scholars. He started his religious educations with his father and his grandfather. He was a distinguished person in his own time in hadith sciences and ilm al-rijal. Many narrators of hadiths attended his sessions in order to hear hadiths or receive a permission for narration from him. He delivered many sermons and gave public religious lectures to people. He obtained many permissions for hadith narration from different scholars. There is a controversy over what school of Sunni Islam he belonged to. The widely accepted view is that he was Hanafi.


According to the introduction of the book, the complete title of the book is "Shawāhid al-tanzīl li-qawāʿid al-tafḍīl fī l-āyāt al-nāzila fī Ahl al-Bayt ṣalawāt Allāh wa salāmuhū ʿalayhim" (Evidences of revelation for the principles of superiority concerning the revealed verses about Ahl al-Bayt, God's peace and blessings be upon them). As the title suggests, he wants to appeal to Quranic evidence for the superiority of Prophet (s) over other prophets and angels and that of infallible (or ma'sum) Imams (a), especially Imam Ali (a) over other people in order to demonstrate that Imam Ali (a) and his progeny have privileged virtues and superiority over other all others.

Reliability of the Book

The book is one of the most important books, which is of significant reliability due to its author's expertise in sciences of hadith and ilm al-rijal.


The author says that the project of writing this book was started as a reaction to the claim made by a proponent of Karramiyya school to the effect that Sura al-Insan (76) is not revealed with respect to the place of Ali (a) and, indeed, there is no Quranic verse revealed with regards to the place of Ahl al-Bayt (a). Moreover, no Muslim scholar had objected to this claim before, except for one of the author's teachers who just reproached his pupils for not taking any action in this regard. Al-Haskani felt the duty to respond to this claim in a documented, reasoned way. This is why he collected hadiths and authored Shawahid al-tanzil.

At the end of the book, al-Haskani notes that since he wrote the book in an urgency at the moment, he did not manage to collect all the relevant hadiths regarding the virtues of Imam Ali (a); he just relied on sources that were available to him then.


Al-Haskani has organized the book in 7 chapters, the first six of which are put as preliminaries for the main part of the book, which is the 7th chapter:

  1. What great scholars have said about the virtues of Imam Ali (a), including the Prophet's (s) Companions, the views of 'Abd Allah b. Umar b. al-Khattab, the view of 'Ikrima, and the letter of Aisha about the virtues of Imam Ali (a).
  2. The record of Imam Ali (a) in reading, reciting and memorizing the Qur'an.
  3. The collecting of the Holy Qur'an by Imam Ali (a) for the first time after the demise of the Prophet (s).
  4. Imam Ali's knowledge of the meanings and truths of the Holy Qur'an and his unique knowledge of the occasions on which the Qur'an was revealed.
  5. The frequency of occasions on which Quranic verses have been revealed with respect to Imam Ali's and his progeny's virtues.
  6. An explanation of the hadith according to which 90 cases of the address of "O you who have faith" (Arabic:یا أیها الذین آمنوا) in the Qur'an is directed to Imam Ali (a).

In the main part of the book—the 7th chapter—the author talks about Quranic Suras one by one to consider verses in each that concern the virtues of Ahl al-Bayt (a). The chapter talks about the occasions on which the verses are revealed, based on both Shiite and Sunni sources. The book identifies 210 Quranic verses in order of Quranic Suras in which they appear, narrating hadiths from his masters under each verse. The hadiths narrated in the exegesis of these verses rise to more than 1200.


In this book, in addition to hadiths from Imams (a) and 'Abd Allah b. al-'Abbas, al-Haskani narrates from other people, such as

Since the author is himself a Sunni scholar of hadith, he has mostly cited the Sunni collections of hadiths. He has also narrated from Tafsir al-Furat al-Kufi, and Amin al-Islam al-Tabrisi has cited Shawahid al-tanzil in his Majma' al-bayan. The book is also frequently cited in Bihar al-anwar.

Summary and Translations

The book has been summarized by Isma'il Jaghman al-Zaydi under Ikhtisar shawahid al-tanzil (the summary of Shawahid al-tanzil). There are translations of the book into Persian, such as the one by Ahmad Ruhani and the other one under Sima-yi Imam Ali (a) dar Qur'an (The face of Imam Ali (a) in the Qur'an) by Ya'qub Ja'fari.

Manuscripts and Publications

  • A manuscript from the 11th century (17th century) in the Library of Tehran University.
  • A manuscript in San'a by the handwriting of Ahmad b. Nasir al-Milsi.
  • A manuscript in the Library of Ayatollah Mar'ashi Najafi.
  • A manuscript in the library of Masjid al-Jami' in Bombay.
  • A manuscript in the central library of Awqaf in Sulaymaniyah in the north of Iraq.

The book was first published in Beirut in 1393/1973 in two volumes, edited by Shaykh Muhammad Baqir Mahmudi, and then by the Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance in Iran.