The renowned theologian and hadith scholar, al-Horr al-Ameli
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 8th of the Islamic month of Rajab in 1033 AH, the renowned theologian and hadith scholar, Shaikh Abu Ja’far Mohammad ibn al-Hassan ibn Ali ibn al-Hussain al-Ameli al-Mashghari, popularly known as al-Horr al-Ameli, was born in the village of Mashghara in the Jabal Amel region of southern Lebanon.
His early education began with a family of teachers that included his father, his paternal uncle, his maternal grandfather Shaikh Abdus-Salaam ibn Mohammad, and one of his father's maternal uncles, Shaikh Ali ibn Mahmoud. He also studied under Hussain ibn Hassan ibn Yunus Zaher and Hassan ibn Zain od-Din Ameli, who was the great-grandson of the Second Martyr. Husain Zaher was the first to give him the ijaza or permission to teach and transmit hadith. He remained for the first forty years of his life in his homeland, performing the Hajj to Mecca twice and pilgrimage to the holy shrines in Iraq.
He eventually journeyed to Mashhad, Iran, and settled there for the rest of his life as Shaikh al-Islam at the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS), the 8th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Before arriving in Mashhad he stayed for a while in the Safavid capital, Isfahan, where he became acquainted with the famous Allamah Mohammad Baqer Majlisi. The meeting between these two scholars left an impression on both of them and Majlisi introduced Horr al-Amili to the Safavid Emperor, Shah Sulaiman. He passed away in Mashhad at the age of 81 and was laid to rest in one of the portals of the holy shrine, where his grave is still the site of pilgrimage.
He wrote numerous books including “Wasa'el ash-Shia”, which is a vast but concise compilation and classification of Hadith that took him 18 years to compose. Among his other famous works is “al-Jawaher as-saniya fi'l-Ahadith al-Qudsiya”, and “Amal al-Amel fi Ulama Jabal al-Amel”, which is a biographical dictionary of Shi'ite Muslim scholars who originated from the Jabal Amel region.