Tadhkirat al-khawass (book)

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Tadhkirat al-khawass (book)
کتاب تذکرة الخواص.jpg
AuthorSibt Ibn al-Jawzi
Original title تَذکِرَةُ الخَواصّ مِنَ الأمّة فی ذِکرِ خَصائص الأئمة
SubjectExcellence of Ahl al-Bayt (a)
PublishedQom, 1426/2005-6
PublisherAhl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly

Tadhkirat al-khawāṣ min al-umma fī dhikr khaṣāʾiṣ al-Aʾimma (Arabic: تَذکِرَةُ الخَواصّ مِنَ الأمّة فی ذِکرِ خَصائص الأئمة) is a book written by Yusuf b. Qazawughli, known as Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 654/1256-7), a well-known Sunni scholar of the seventh/thirteenth century. The book is concerned with the life of Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a) and his progeny in twelve parts.


Shams al-Din Abu l-Muzaffar Yusuf b. Qaz Ughli b. Abd Allah al-Baghdadi was known as Sibt b. al-Jawzi. His mother was Rabi'a, daughter of Abu l-Faraj b. al-Jawzi. He was born in Baghdad in 581/1185-6 and after learning different sciences and skills before his grandfather Abu l-Faraj, followed him in oration and became a competent and famous orator.

At the age of twenty, he went to Syria learning sciences and making speeches for people and stayed in Damascus. He also went to Egypt and stayed there for a while. Sibt was first Hanbali, but later followed Hanafi school. Also, some considered him Rafidi and Shi'a. Al-Dhahabi said that he saw a written passage from Sibt which suggested that he was Shi'a, as Ibn Rafi' Salami (d. 774/1372-3) said that he saw Riyad al-afham written by Sibt b. al-Jawzi about the merits of the Ahl al-Bayt (a), where his Shi'a tendency was apparent.

The reason for attributing him to Shi'a was that he mentioned the merits of Imams (a) and disagreements among the companions of the Prophet (s); especially because in that period, the merits of Imams (a) were spread by Fatimids and Hamdanids in the west of the world of Islam. His tendency toward Shi'a could also be due to his association with Abu al-Muzaffar, the Ayyubid governor of Damascus who loved the Ahl al-Bayt (a). Sibt's love for the family of the Prophet (s) was so that on the day of Ashura', people of Aleppo asked him to go on the pulpit and speak about the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a), but he could not speak on the pulpit and cried so hard. He only recited a poem as an elegy for Imam al-Husayn (a) and then came down. He was Sunni however and did not believe in Abu Talib's faith and loved the first caliphs and admired them upon mentioning them. He passed away in 654/1256-7 in his own house in Damascus and was buried near Mount Qasioun.

Titles of the Book

The book is known with the following titles:

  • Tadhkirat al-khawas min al-umma bi dhir khasa'is al-A'imma
  • Tadhkirat al-khawas min al-umma fi dhikr khasa'is al-A'imma
  • Tadhkirat khawas al-umma fi ma'rifat al-A'imma
  • Manaqib
  • Manaqib 'Ali (a)

Approach to Shiism

Although the author is a Sunni scholar, he elaborated the virtues of Imams (a) rather fairly, although in some of his quotes and comments, there seems to be prejudice against Shiism.


The book starts with an introduction in which the author praises God and sends regards to the Prophet (s) and his pure household and progeny, especially Amir al-Mu'minin (a). He then talks about the virtues and life histories of Imams (a) from the first Imam, Imam 'Ali (a), through Imam al-Mahdi (a). The author devoted the bulk of the book to the biography of Imam Ali (a), Imam al-Hasan (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a). The biographies of the other Imams (a) are reported very briefly.


The book has 12 parts:

1- Personal life, lineage, virtues and the caliphate of Ali b. Abi Talib (a), his appearance, parents and siblings.

2- Virtues of Imam Ali (a) and his honors, hadiths in this regard and some of his remarks. He points to the Event of Ghadir, Hadith al-Tayr, Qadib al-Ahmar, Hadith Madinat al-'Ilm, Radd al-Shams and others.

3- On Imam Ali's (a) children.

4- Imam Ali's (a) caliphate. The author points to the story of Talha and Zubayr, the story of Khawarij, and the Battle of Siffin. Abd Allah b. Ahmad b. Hanbal quoted his father as saying, "I swear to God that caliphate was not an honor for Ali (a); rather Ali was an honor for the caliphate".

5- On Imam Ali's (a) piety, asceticism and worships.

6- A selection of Imam Ali's (a) remarks such as al-Manbariyya Sermon, al-Balighiyya Sermon, al-Shiqshiqiyya Sermon, a sermon regarding the virtues of the Holy Prophet (s), as well as his wills to Kumayl b. Ziyad and his sons, his debates and other speeches.

7- Imam Ali's (a) martyrdom, and some remarks about Ja'far's wives, bondwomen and children.

8- Imam al-Hasan's (a) biography, his period and martyrdom.

9- Imam al-Husayn's (a) biography and a brief account of his martyrdom. At the end of this part, there is a chapter on Yazid b. Mu'awiya, the permissibility of cursing him, al-Mukhtar's Uprising, and God's revenge of those who killed Imam al-Husayn (a).

10- Muhammad b. Hanafiyya, his remarks and his children.

11- On the virtues of Lady Khadija (a), Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a), their marriages and the latter's elegy after the demise of the Holy Prophet (s).

12- A biography of each Imam (a) and their children.

At the end of the book, the author reports some stories about the children of Imams (a) and their moral characters.


  • A manuscript in the Sulaymaniyya Library of Istanbul
  • A manuscript in the Khudabakhsh Library, in India
  • A manuscript in the Central Library of the University of Tehran
  • A manuscript in Dar al-Kutub al-Zahiriyya in Damascus
  • A manuscript in the Buhar Library in Kolkata.


  • A lithographic print in Iran in 1285/1868-9.
  • It was published in Najaf in 1369/1949-50 by Matba'a Ilmiyya with a preface by Abd al-Mawla Turayhi.
  • It was published in Beirut in 1401/1980-1 with a preface by Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq Bahr al-Ulum.