Saif od-Dowlah, the scholar, patron of men of letters, and philanthropist
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 30th of the Islamic month of Jamadi as-Sani in 501 AH, the scholar, patron of men of letters, and philanthropist, Sadaqah bin Mansour Mazyadi al-Assadi, passed away. He was titled Saif od-Dowlah and was chief of an Arab emirate in southern Iraq under the Buwaiyhid Iranian Shi’ite dynasty of Iran-Iraq.
His house in Baghdad was the refuge of the needy, the travelers, and the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). In 498 AH, three years before his death, he founded the city of Hillah, which developed into a centre of promotion of Islamic sciences of the School of Ahl al-Bayt, and produced such outstanding scholars as Muhaqqiq Hilli, Allamah Hilli, and the Seyyed Ibn Tawous family.
An interesting narration by Sabagh ibn Nabata says that in 37 AH while proceeding for the Battle of Siffeen in Syria, the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), stopped at a hillock and pointing to a vast uninhabited tract of swampy land besides the River Euphrates, stretching from the hillock in the direction of the Babylon, exclaimed: A city! What a city! The narrator seeing no sign of habitation asked whether a city existed in the past on this tract. The Imam replied: No! In the future a city will be built here, and will be called Hillah as-Saifiyyah. Its founder will be a man of the Bani Assad, and in this land, virtuous men will flourish.