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Maqtal Works During the Safawid and Qajarid Eras

By: Rasul Ja 'fariyan
Translated by Dr. Delaram Furadi

A major portion of Shi‘ite historiography of the past few centuries is made of maqtal works. It is a well established fact that the holding of mourning ceremonies for Imam Husayn (‘a) was very much in vogue in the eastern parts of Iran before the Safawids came to power. K?shif? wrote the Rawzah al-Shuhad?’ for the predominantly Sunnis region of Herat and Khur?s?n at a time when the Safawid state was being established in western Iran and had no sway in the east. However, with the establishment of the Safawid State, ‘Ashur?’ ceremonies became more profound and new books were compiled in this regard. This trend grew and spread all over Iran until the end of the Qajarid dynasty and each year new works both in prose and poetry were added to the existing heritage. Unfortunately, during this period, no care and precision was taken from the perspective of historical value and the principal sources were not consulted with meticulosity. What such writings mainly focus on in this period is mourning, elegy and tragedy. This is actually how the issue of martyrdom was viewed in this period and less attention was paid to the historical context. The majority of these works have been prepared to suit mourning ceremonies in order to make the people cry more. The following is a list of such books which have been written since the Safawid era onwards. Most of these books belong to the Qajarid era.
· Iks?r al-‘Ib?dah f? Asr?r al-Shah?dah by Mull? Aq? Darband? (Storey, p. 986)
· Amw?j al Buk?’ (Storey 979; Mar‘ash?, 7165)
· Bahr al-Buk?’ f? Mas?’ib al-Ma’sum?n (al-Dhar?‘ah, vol. 26/84)
· Bahr al-Huzn (Storey, p. 990)
· Bahr al-Dumu‘ (Mar‘ash?, 2592)
· Bahr-i Gham ( Storey, p. 964)
· Bust?n-i M?tam (Storey, p. 1001)
· Buk?’ al-‘Ayn (Mar‘ash?, 6582)
· Bal? wa Ibtil? dar Ruyd?d-i Karbal?’ (Storey, p. 960)
· Bayt al-Ahz?n (Storey, p. 976)
· Khul?sah al-Mas?’ib (Storey, p. 1017)
· D?st?n-i Gham (Storey, p. 964; Mar‘ash?, 2916)
· Dam‘ al-‘Ayn ‘al? Khas?’is al-Husayn (Storey, p. 995)
· Al-Dam‘ah al-S?k?bah f? al-Mus?bah al-R?tibah (al-Dhar?‘ah, vol. 264/8)
· Riy?z al-Buk?’ (al-Dhar?‘ah, vol. 6/1)
· Rawzah Husayniyyah (Storey, p. 951; Mar‘ash?, 6224, 6545)
· Rawzah al-Khaw?ss (Mar‘ash?, 3001)
· Rawzah al-Shuhad?’-i Yazd? (Mar‘ash?, 156)
· Riy?z al-Ahz?n (Storey, p. 172)
· Riy?z al-Ahz?n (Masjid-i A‘zam Library Catalogue, Qum, 215)
· Riy?z al-Shah?dah f? Zikr Mas?’ib al-S?dah (Storey, p. 958)
· Sirr al-Asr?r f? Mus?bah al-A’immah al-Ath?r (Storey, p. 996)
· Tar?q al-Buk?’ (al-Dhar?‘ah, vol. 15/164)
· Tuf?n al-Buk?’ (Storey, p. 967)
· ‘Umm?n al-Buk?’ (Storey, p. 982)
· ‘Ayn al-Buk?’ (Storey, p. 941)
· ‘Ayn al-Dumu’ (Mar‘ash?, 440)
· Fayz al-Dumu‘ (Storey, p. 988)
· Qabas?t al-Ahz?n (Storey, p. 989)
· Kanz al-B?k?n (Storey, p. 4550)
· Kanz al-Mihan (Storey, p. 991)
· Kanz al-Mas?’ib (Storey, pp. 969, 987)
· Lubb ‘Ayn al-Buk?’ (Storey, p. 942)
· Lis?n al-Dh?kir?n (Storey, p. 970)
· M?tamkadah (Storey, p. 963, 975)
· Mubk? al-‘Uyun (Mar‘ash?, 5006)
· Maj?lis al-Mafja‘ah (Storey, p. 945)
· Mujr? al-Buk?’ (al-Dhar?‘ah, vol. 2/40)
· Majma‘ al-Mas?’ib f? Naw?’ib al-At?’ib (Mar‘ash?, 3369, 5425, 6643)
· Majma‘ al-Mas?’ib M?zandar?n? (Mar‘ash?, 6572)
· Muhriq al-Qulub (Storey, p. 943)
· Muh?t al-‘Az? (Storey, p. 945)
· Makhzan al-Buk?’ (Mar‘ash?, 1645; Storey, p. 969)
· Ma‘din al-Buk?’ f? Maqtal al-Sayyid al-Shuhad?’ (Mar‘ash?, 3017)
· Mift?h al-Buk?’ f? Mus?bah Kh?mis al-‘Ab? (Mar‘ash?, 2363)
· Mift?h al-Buk?’ (Mutahhar? Library, 5/921)
· Man?hil al-Buk?’ (Mar‘ash?, 3455)
· Manba‘ al-Buk?’ (al-Dhar?‘ah, vol. 22/358)
· Muhayyij al-Ahz?n (Storey, p. 959)
· Naj?h al-‘As?n (Storey, p.1000)
· Nur al-‘Ayn f? Jaw?z al-Buk?’ (al-Dhar?‘ah, vol. 24/372)
· Was?lah al-Buk?’ (Mar‘ash?, 5500)
· Was?lah al-Naj?h (Storey, p. 961)
· Yanbu‘ al-Dumu‘ (Mar‘ash?, 3083)
Paying close attention to the names of these books shows that there are some key words in them such as buk?’ (crying), huzn (sadness), ibtil?’ (suffering), ashk (tears), and mus?bat (calamity). During this era Karbal? was viewed more from the angle of such meanings than from the historical viewpoint. Another noteworthy point in these works is that the astonishment rising from the death of Imam Husayn’s (S) companions led these latter day authors to exaggerate the figures of the enemies killed by them in battle. In this regard a look at the work Asr?r al-Shah?dah by Mull? Aq? Darband? shows astronomical figures which cannot be proved through any historical means. Such works were so far from reality that even M?rz? Husayn Nur? who was an akhb?r? scholar has included the greater part of such weak narrations in his book Mustadrak al-Was?’il, and later he decided to write a separate book entitled Lu’lu’ wa Marj?n in which he has launched a scathing attack on the writers of maqtal and the reciters of such weak narrations.

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