The great scholar and jurisprudent, popularly known as Sharif Murtaza
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 25th of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal in 436 AH, the great scholar and jurisprudent, Seyyed Ali ibn Hussain, popularly known as Sharif Murtaza, passed away in Baghdad at the age of 81 in his hometown Baghdad. Born in a family descended on both sides from Prophet Mohammad (SAWA); his father Hussain was 5th in line of descent from Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS), the Prophet’s 7th Infallible Heir, while his mother, Fatema – a scion of the family that had carved out an independent state in Tabaristan on the Caspian Sea coast of Iran – was a descendent of Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the Prophet’s 4th Infallible Heir.
It was she who entrusted her two sons, as students, to the great scholar, Sheikh Mufid, who on her insistence had written one of his famous books “Ahkaam an-Nisa” or jurisprudential rules for women. Sharif Muftaza soon mastered almost all the branches of learning and his vast knowledge earned him the title of 'Alam al-Huda' (Banner of Guidance).
He wrote some 66 books and treatises on a variety of topics such as theology, jurisprudence, Qur’anic sciences, grammar, literature, and poetry. This leading Mujtahed served for 30 years as the Chief Judge of Baghdad, and was highly respected by all including Sunni Muslims, who eagerly read his works. Acknowledged as the greatest scholar of his era, during the rule of Iranian Buwaihid Dynasty over Iraq and Iran, he groomed many outstanding ulema, including the famous Iranian scholar Shaikh at-Ta’efa Tousi, the founder of the celebrated Islamic Seminary of the holy city of Najaf. Sharif Murtaza was the elder brother of the equally prominent, Sharif Radhi, the compiler of the famous book “Nahj al-Balagha” – the collection of the sermons, letters and maxims of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS). His books include “al-Intisar”, “ash-Shafi”, “at-Tanzih al-Anbiyya”, “al-Ghurar wa’d-Durar” and “Zakhirat al-Usul al-Fiqh”, as well as a Diwan of more than 20,000 of his Arabic verses.