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A Study of the Migration of Shi'i Works from Arab Regions to Iran at the Early Safavid Era.

By:
Rasul Ja'fariyan

During the very first days of the establishment of Safavid rule, the Shi'i Imami creed was declared as the state religion. However, the Shi'ism of the family of Shaykh Safi al-Din Ardabili irrespective of the time from which it dates-was not a Shi'ism characterized by scholarship and legalist learning. Apart from the absence of Shi'i scholars and jurists, the Shi'i works on fiqh were also not accessible to them.
However, immediately following the establishment of Safavid power the migration of scholars began and they were invited to Iran. This issue has been examined in various studies. That which has received lesser attention is that by the side of the immigration of scholars, Shi'i works and writings were also brought to Iran from Arabic-speaking lands, and they performed an important role in the religious development of Iran.
Before pursuing this matter futher, it is necessary to point out that the absence of Shi'i works in the early days of Safavid rule has been noted by historians, and an important remark in this regard is that of Rumlu in his Ahsan al-Tawarikh. He writes that "during those days the people did not have any knowledge of the issues of the Ja'fari madhhab and the principles and laws of the madhhab of the Twelve Imams, because there did not exist any works on Imami fiqh. The first volume of the book Qawa'id-e Islam (i.e. Qawa'id al-Ahkam fi Ma'rifat al-Haram), one of the works of the prince of erudite scholars, Shaykh Jamal al-Din Mutahhar al-Hilli, which was in the possession of Qadi Nasrullah Zaytuni, served as the main textbook for the teaching and learning of religious issues until the time when the sun of the true Twelver madhhab rose and illuminated the horizons of research. "(1)
In this regard it is essential to make a qualification. It appears that this remark is correct only in a limited sense in the year 907/1501 and that too only in Azerbaijan. Because we know that there existed many manuscripts of the works of 'Allamah Hilli, as well as other Shi'i sourcs, before the Safavid period. On this basis we should have some reservations in accepting Rumlu's remark in its blanket form.
In fact, several cities of Iran which served as seats of Shi'ism, such as Kashan, Sabzawar(2), Istarabad(3), and, at times, Ray and Tus(4), were places where manuscripts of Shi'i works fiqh were made. Evidence of it is provided by the works of 'Allamah Hilli, to which we have referred elsewhere(5). One example is 'Allamah Hilli's work Qawa'id, whose manuscript was written by Hasan ibn Husayn ibn Hasan Sarabeshnawi, a resident of Kashan, in the year 763/1361 and Afandi had seen it at Tabriz(6).
Another example is the manuscript of Shaykh Tusi's Mabsut, which was in Afandi's possession and bore an ijazah, dated 584/1188, in the hand of Hasan ibn Husayn ibn 'Ali Duriyasti, a resident of Kashan(7). Another ijazah by the same scholar existed on a manuscript of Shaykh Mufid's Irshad, which was also seen by Afandi. Also another manuscript of the Irshad, made by Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn Husayn Jasbi Harazkani, completed on 14 Shawwal 566/1170 and compared with a manuscript of Fadl Allah Rawandi in 566/1170 exists in the Ayatullah Mar'ashi Public Library (AML, ms. 1144).
A manuscript of Sayyid Murtada's al-Intisar, dated 25 Dhu al-Qa'dah 591/1195 was written by Abu al-Hasan 'Ali ibn Ibrahim ibn Hasan ibn Musa Farahani in a locality of Kashan called Bab Walan and is kept at the AML (ms. 3598). Another manuscript containing several Shi'i books and treatises, such as Fakhr al-Muhaqqiqin's Irshad al-Mustarshidin wa Hidayat al-Talibin, one Risalah fi 'Ilm al-Kalam by an unknown author, and 'Ali ibn Yusuf Nili's (6th/12h century) Muntaha al-Su'ul fi sharh al-Fusul, as well as other works, was written in 845/1441 in the village of Lambalangi(8).
Afandi had seen an old manuscript of Qutb al-Din Rawandi's Minhaj al-Bara'ah fi Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah at Istarabad, which according to him had probably been written during the lifetime of its author (6th/12th century).(9)
Another example is the story of the discovery of the book Fiqh al-Reza as narrated by Majlisi from Qadi Amir Husayn, that a group of persons from Qum residing at Makkah had brought its manuscript whose date went back to the era of the Imam Reza (A.S.)(10). This book is an epistle (risalah) of Ibn Babawayh to his son, Saduq, although its text consists of the traditions of the Imams and has no particular relation to Imam Reza (A.S.). All these books must have been written in Iran and, naturally, they negate the view that there did not exist any manuscripts of old Shi'i works at the beginning of the Safavid era.
Afandi had seen a manuscript of the exegesis of Abu al-Futuh Razi which had been written during the lifetime of the author (6th/12th century)(11). Perhaps that manuscript, dated Sunday 12 Safar 565/1198, is the same as the one which was writen by Abu Sa'id ibn Husayn Katib Bayhaqi and which is kept at the AML (ms. 368). This work, which is in Persian, must have remained in Iran.
There are several manuscripts of the Nahj al-Balaghah which are related to Iran. One of them pertains to the 7th century and was written by Hasan ibn Mahdi 'Alawi Hasani Amuli Bahlawi in Rabi' al-Awwal 677/1278 and is preserved at AML (ms.3994). Afandi had seen a risalah entitled Risalah fi Hall al-Shukuk fi al-Tasawwur wa al-Tasdiq by Shaykh Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn Sharaf Nayshaburi which was copied by Najati Nayhshaburi and was dated 693/1293.(12)
It is worthy of note that some of the works of Iranian Shi'i authors had gone to Arab lands during the pre-Safavid era and Afandi had see an old manuscript of Qutb al-Din Rawandi's Ayat al-Ahham in Bahrayn.(13)
The Migration of Shi'i Manuscripts from Arab Regions to Iran:
Shi'ism came to Iran from Arab regions in the course of four stages. First, through the Ash'aris at the end of the first/seventh and during the second/eighth century. Second through the pupils of Shaykh Tusi, and especially those of Shaykh Mufid, who were from Ray and Sabzawar and resided in those cities. Third, through the school of Hillah under the leadership of 'Allamah Hilli and his son Fakhr al-Muhaqqiqin. Fourth, through the scholars of Jabal al-'Amil residing in that region, or in Iraq, during the 10th/16th and 11th/17th centuries who later migrated to Iran.
During the third stage, and to a greater extent during the fourth, the works of Arab Shi'i authors found way into Iran and resulted in consolidating the foundations of legalist Shi'ism in this Iand. The migration of books accompanied scholars who brought with themselves their personal libraries to Iran. Also, on many occasions, pilgrims to the holy shrines would buy manuscripts in Iraq and bring them over to Iran. This matter is evident from marks and inscriptions indicating ownership on the back of the manuscripts.(14)
Most important from the viewpoint of identification of these manuscripts is, in the first place, the valuable work Riyad al-'Ulama' wa Hiyad al-Fudala' of Mirza 'Abd Allah Afandi, a pupil of 'Allamah Majlisi, who with a great effort lasting for several decades undertook a search to identify Shi'i works and collect biographical details of Shi'i scholars. The second source consists of the old manuscripts kept in Iranian libraries and, of course, a more complete account of the immigrant manuscripts could be obtained by a more thorough research than has been carried out here.
From what can be found in the Riyad, it may be said that most of the old manuscripts that were brought by immigrant scholars during the early years of Safavid rule were kept at Ardabil, most likely at the library attached to the shrine of Shaykh Safi al-Din Ardabili. In this regard Afandi mentions many of such manuscript which he had seen at Ardabil.(15)
Tabriz should also be mentioned in this relation. Afandi writes that he had seen many books copied by Shaykh 'Ali ibn Husayn Mazidi. For instance he says, "I have seen Shaykh Tusi's al-Istibsar in his handwriting in the village of Khusrowshah in the vicinity of Tabriz which was written in the year 877/1472. I have seen 'Uyun Akhbar al-Reza in the village of Dehkhareqan near Tabriz. I have also seen the fifth volume of Tadhkirat al-Fuqaha' at Tabriz."(16)
At Ardabil, Afandi had seen a manuscript of a work of Ibn Khalawayh, the author of the Kitab al-Al, with the title al-Tarqiyyah, which had been written in 561/1165. (17)We know that this city had been the religious capital of the Safavids and was held in much regard right until the end of the Safavid era. Shah 'Abbas Safavi donated many manuscripts to the shrine of Shaykh Safi. Later this collection was stolen by the Russians and transferred to the library at the Academy of Sciences at Leningrad.(18) However, it may be said that, after Ardabil, most of these manuscripts went to Isfahan, which is quite natural in view of its becoming the capital of the Safavid monarchy after the year 1000/1591.
Besides Ardabil and Isfahan, these works were also to be found in many other Iranian cities, including Istarabad, Ray, Barforush (present Babol) and Tehran.(20)
Another point is that during that era there existed three Arab Shi'i centres in the Islamic world,from where Shi'i works came to Iran. The first was Iraq, a region nearest to Iran and an important base of Shi'i scholars. The second was Bahrayn, whose Shi'ism was very ancient. The third region was Jabal 'Amil whose Shi'ism dated from several centuries before the establishment of the Safavid rule. Shi'i works were scattered in these regions and were mainly brought to Iran by immigrant scholars.
The point should also be noted that many of the Shi'i works brought to Iran returned to Iraq, especially when Najaf recovered its position as the academic centre of the Shi'i world after the rule of Nadir Shah.(21) It must also be mentioned that the discussion concerning immigrant manuscripts should not be limited to foreign manuscripts; many of the old sources which existed in Iraq were copied during the early days of the Safavid rule and the manuscripts made were brought to Iran. For instance, a manuscript of Irbili's Kashf al-Ghummah was made by Tayfur ibn Sultan Muhammad Bastami in 1047/1637 from a manuscript belonging to Muhaqqiq Karaki. Karaki had made his own copy in the year 908/1502 from the author's original autograph.(22) Thus a book belonging to scholar of Jabal 'Amil residing in Iraq who himself came to Iran-was brought to Iran in the shape of a second-generation copy.
Manuscripts from Jabal 'Amil:
Jabal 'Amil was a Shi'i region by tradition whose Shi'ism probably dates from the time of the migration of some tribes of the Ansar to that land. This centre has produced many Shi'i scholars whose biographical accounts have been given by Shaykh Hurr 'Amili in the first part of Amal al-Amil. He mentions that one funeral ceremony in the era of the Shahid Thani was attended by seventy mujtahids.(23)
During the 10th/16th century many scholars of this region, like other Arab regions, whould in Iraq, especially at Najaf and Hillah, and many of them would return to Jabal 'Amil after their studies. In the course of there centuries after the establishment of the Safavid dynasty, from 10th/16th to 12th/18th, many of them came to Iran and some went to India.(24) Most of them on coming to Iran were appointed to official positions such as that of ra'is al-'ulama' or shaykh al-Islam.(25)
Some of these scholars came to Iran for the purpose of pilgrimage to Mashhad, not to assume official positions in the Safavid administration,(26) and brought with them manuscripts of some works existing in Jabal 'Amil or Iraq, or works written in India.(27) For instance, one scholar from Jabal 'Amil, named Muhy al-Din ibn Ahmad ibn Taj al-Din 'Amili, wrote made copies of a number of treatises of the Shahid Thani during the years 953-954/1546-47.(28) This was during the lifetime of Shahid Thani and probably the said scholar came for the purpose of pilgrimage to Mashhad and perhaps settled down in Iran. He must have made his copies from a manuscript which had been brought to Iran from abroad. Shaykh 'Ali Minshar 'Amili was one who had migrated to India and on coming to Iran brought with himself about four thousand books, of which at least some must have been taken to India from Jabal 'Amil before they were brought to Iran. This library came into the possession of Shaykh Baha'i, who was the husband of his sole daughter, but it perished later.(29)
Naturally, many of the immigrant scholars possessed personal libraries. Many of them were descendants of outstanding scholars and possessed manuscripts of the writings, ijazahs and notebooks of major scholars of Jabal 'Amil and brought them on migration to Iran. For instance, Shaykh 'Ali, a descendent of Shahid Thani, possessed among his books the works of Shaykh Hasan, the Shahid's son, which were seen by Afandi in his library.(30)
As mentioned, this situation continued from the 10th/16th to the 12th/18th century. In the second half of the 12/th/18th century, Sharaf al-Din Muhammad Makki Jizini 'Amili, a descendant of Shahid Awwal, lived at Najaf. He possessed an important library which among other books contained a manuscript of Fakhr al-Muhaqqiqin's ldah al-Fawa'id in the hand of Shahid Awwal. His books, with marks of ownership in his handwriting, are found in several libraries of Iran, for sons migrated to Iran.(31)
A precious collection of treatises dating from 902/1496 which, most probably, had been written at Jabal 'Amil and contains several risalahs such as Shaykh Mufid's al-Nukat al-I'tiqadiyyah, 'Abd al-Wahid ibn Safi Nu'mani's Nahj al-Sidad ila Sharh Wajib al-I'tiqad, Shahid Awwal's al-Nafliyyah, Karjajaki's Ma'dan al-Jawahir, Abd Muhammad Qasim Hariri's Mulahhat al-I'rab, along with a note in Shahid Thani's hand dated 19 Rabi' al-Thani 950/1543 is kept at AML (ms. 1126). The scribe is 'Ali ibn Husayn Husayni 'Anqani, who had written it at the order of Zayn al-Din Muflih ibn Ahmad Maruni.
Afandi had seen a manuscript of Ibn Idris's al-Sara'ir bearing a note by Sharaf al-Din Husayn ibn Nasir al-Din Musa ibn 'Awd, dated 16 Rajab,761/1360. It is most likely that this scholar came from Jabal 'Amil.(32) Afandi had seen a collection in the hand of a certain scholar of Jabal 'Amil bearing the date 752/1351 which had been completed at Hillah.(33)
A manuscript of Fakhr al-Muhaqqiqin's Tahsil al-Najat existed at Shahid Thani's library and Afandi had seen on it an ijazah, dated 736/1335, by Fakhr al-Muhaqqiqin written for Sayyid Nasir al-Din Hamzah ibn Hamzah ibn Muhammad 'Alawi Husayni. As a rule this work must have been in Hillah from where it was taken to Jabal 'Amil before it was brought to Iran.(34) Afandi's remark that this book was among the books of Shahid Thani probably indicates that the works of the Shahid were kept at the house of his son and descendants at Isfahan.
There exists a manuscript of Shaykh Saduq's Thawab al-A'mal at 'Allamah Tabataba'i Library (ATL) at Shiraz which had been copied by 'Ali ibn Faris ibn Muhammad ibn Yusuf ibn Ahmad ibn Ibrahim ibn Abi al-Fawaris 'Amili and is dated 12 Sha'ban 763/1362.(35)
Afandi reports having seen a collection at Ardabil in the possession of a scholar of Jabal 'Amil which bore the signature of Shaykh 'Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Makki 'Amili, son of Shahid Awwal. Under his handwriting Shaykh Muhammad ibn 'Ali Juba'i had written that its writer died in 865/1460.(36)
Afandi had also seen at Isfahan a collection in the hand of its author, Shaykh Zayn al-din 'Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Yunus Bayadi, the author of Sirat al-Mustaqim, in the library of Ahmad Bahrani. Afandi gives a list of the author's treatises contained in this old collection.(37)
Some Manuscripts from Iraq:
The city of Hillah in Iraq was the most important Shi'i centre during 7th/13th to 9th/15th century. It has been said that during the lifetime of 'Allamah Hilli there lived four hundred and forty mujtahids in this city.(38).
Iraq was the place to which Shi'is migrated from all regions. In fact, since the time of the leadership of Shaykh Mufid and Shaykh Tusi, Iraq had a central academic position for Shi'ism. This central position was transferred to Iran during the Safavid era for two-and-a-half centuries, after which it partly returned to Najaf. Until before the Safavid era Shi'i manuscripts were mainly written in Iraq, and with the establishment of the Safavid rule these manuscripts were transferred to Iran.(39)
For instance, a manuscript that had been written in Najaf in 947/1540 and which at the end bears a note in the hand of 'Ali Karaki dated 952/1545 is presently preserved at the Majlis Library (see catalogue of the manuscripts at the Majlis Library, vol. 25, p. 59, no.7050). Later on a part of them returned to Iraq but the to and fro movement of these works was continuous.
A manuscript of Fakhr al-Muhaqqiqin's Idah al-Fawa'id with a mark indicating its ownership by Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn 'Ali Hilli Juhaymi, which has been recognized as an old precious manuscript, is preserved at AML (ms. 1162).
A manuscript of Ibn Shahr Ashub's Manaqib whose first part was completed by Ja'far ibn Ahmad ibn Husayn Qamarwayh Ha'iri on 16 Rajab 587/1161 and a portion of the second part completed by Abu al-Qasim ibn Isma'il Warraq Hilli at the end of Rajab 658/1259 is preserved at the Isfahan Public library.(40)
A manuscript of Shahid Awwal's Durus (d. 786/1384), completed on Monday 12 Ramadan 846/1442, is preserved at Ayatullah Gulpaigani Library (AGL, ms. 125). It is likely that this manuscript was written in Iran at Istarabad. It bears an ijazah dated 836/1432-that is, before the completion of the writing of the manuscript-given by 'Ali ibn Husayn ibn Muhammad Istarabadi to Shihab al-Din Ahmad 'Imadi Nili.
A manuscript of the Kitab al-Lum'ah written by Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn Hasan Khuyani Muisi dated Rajab 808 and completed at Najaf is presently kept at (ATL) at Shiraz.(41) Taqi al-din Ibrahim Kaf'ami (905/1499) is an outstanding Shi'i figure. He was originally from Jabal 'Amil but came to Najaf and drew much benefit from the library of Imam 'Ali's ('a) Shrine in compiling his books.(42) He, who lived some years before the emergence of the Safavids, compiled many works. After the establishment of the Safavid dynasty his works, most of them as original autographs, were transferred to various cities of Iran, especially those of Azerbaijan, the centre of the Safavids. Afandi had seen some of these manuscripts.
Afandi had seen at Irawan a big collection consisting of several treatises all of which were in the hand of Kaf ami with such dates of compilations as 848, 859, 852.(43) He had seen another risalah in Kaf' ami's own hand at Mazandaran entitled Ghurrat al-Mantiq and yet another entitled Durrat al-Mantiq. He appears to have seen a book on the exegesis of the Surat al-Fatihah in Kafami's hand at Tabriz.
Afandi had seen a manuscript of al-Malahim wa al-Fitan in the hand of its author, Ibn Tawus (d. 664/1265), bearing the handwriting of 'Abd al-Karim ibn Jamal al-Din, dated 670/1271.(44) He had also seen a manuscript of Kitab al-Majdi by al-'Umari, the famous genealogist (nassabah), bearing a note dated 682/1283 by the same 'Abd al-Karim ibn Ahmad ibn Tawus.(45)
Also Afandi had seen a manuscript of Ibn Abi al-Hadid's versification of Tha'lab's al-Fasih (al-Fasih al-Manzum) which bore a note dated 701/1301.(46) He had also seen a collection of the verses of Sayyid 'Abd Allah ibn Muhammad Husayni Ha'iri at Ardabil written by one of his pupils in the year 750/1349 during the poet's lifetime.(47)
He had seen a collection at Ardabil in the hand of Muhammad ibn 'Ali Juba'i 'Amili, the grandfather of Shaykh Baha'i and pupil of Ibn Fahd Hilli, containing elegies written by Shaykh 'Ali ibn Shahifini Hilli on Imam Husayn ('a).(48) He had also seen a manuscript of Fadil Miqdad's Arba'in in the hand of Shaykh Zayn al-Din 'Ali ibn Hasan ibn Ghalalah (or 'Alalah)bearing an ijazah by Shaykh Miqdad, dated 822/1419.(49)
Again at Ardabil Afandi had seen a manuscript of Risalat al-Muqna'ah fi Adab al-Hajj by Muhammad ibn Shuja' Ansari, a contemporary of Fadil Miqdad, in the hand of the same scribe, Shaykh Zayn al-Din 'Ali, and dated 822/1419.(50) Also at Ardabil he had seen a manuscript of Sayyid Murtada's Fusul which had compared with the original manuscript.(51)
Afandi had seen a manuscript of Sayyid Murtada's Tanzih al-Anbiya' which bore an ijazah by Sayyid 'Abd al-Muttalin ibn Murtada, written at Musil and dated 723/1331.(52) He had seen a manuscript of Sayyid Murtada's Diwan which had been read to him and which also bore his handwriting. Afandi had made a copy of it for himself in the course of ten days.(53) He had also seen a manuscript of Majma' al-Bayan in the hand of Qutb al-Din Kaydari which had been read for Khwajah Nasir al-Din Tusi.(54) Afandi had seen a manuscript of Sayyid Murtada's al-Ghurar wa al-Durar at Ardabil which had been written in the year 545/1150.(55)
At Isfahan Afandi had seen a manuscript of the Nahj al-Balaghah dated 677/1278 which had been written by Sayyid Najm al-Din Abu 'Abd Allah Husayn ibn Ardashir Tabari, apparently at Hillah.(56) That which is certain is that this manuscript bore marks which showed that it had been in Hillah for centuries before it was brought to Iran. Another manuscript of the Nahj al-Balaghah was in the possession of Afandi and was dated 499/1105 (469 according to another manuscript). It had been written by Husayn ibn Hasan ibn Husayn Mu'addab.(57) Afandi had seen a manuscript of ibn 'Ata'iqi's Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah written in 786/1384 at Isfahan, which also bore his handwriting.(58)
Some works dating from 5th/11th to 8th/14th centuries whose manuscripts are kept at AML are as follows:
Rijal al-Kashshi, dated 14 Rabi' al-Awwal 577/1181 (ms. 2636). This manuscript bears marks of ownership of some Shi'i scholars including several members of a Farahani family residing in Iraq (Iraq-e Arab) with dates extending from 6th/12th to 7th/13th century (see the catalogue of AML manuscripts, vol. 7, p. 209).
Basa'ir al-Darajat by Muhammad ibn Hasan Saffar Qummi, dated 1 Safar 591/1195 (ms. 1574).
Al-Tibyan by Shaykh Tusi, bearing the Shaykh's handwriting with the date Rabi' al-Awwal 455/1063, as well as that of Shaykh Abu al-Wafa, dated Jamadi al-Awwal 494/1100 (ms. 83).(59) Other volumes of the work kept at AML bear ms. nose. 3670, 3665, 8419 and pertain mainly to 5th/11th and 6th/12th centuries.
Al-Mabsut by Shaykh Tusi, copied by Shams al-Ma'ali ibn 'Ali ibn Muhammad Muhammadi, one of the pupils of the Shaykh, and dated 507/113 (ms. 276).
Other manuscripts of this work, dating from 6th/12th century, are kept at this library and bear ms. nos. 2562 and 2613.
Man la Yahduruhu al-Faqih by Shaykh Saduq. Two volumes of this book copied in 6th/12th century are kept at AML with ms. nos. 235 and 2151.
Al-Nihayah by Shaykh Tusi, copied by Hamzah ibn Nasr Allah ibn Ahmad Musili is dated 14 Shawwal 507/1113 and bears the signature of Hasan ibn Sidad Hilli dated 727/1326 and an ijazah by Shaykh 'Abd Allah ibn 'Ali Waramini for Zayn al-Din ibn 'Ali ibn Hasan 'Imadi, dated 691/1291 (ms. 241). Other manuscript of the Nihayah, one dated middle of Safar 535/1140 and another dated 599/1202 are kept at this library with ms. nos. 1840 and 3126. The second manuscript bears ijazahs by Muhaqqiq Hilli dated Shawwal 645/1248 and 654/1256.
A colection of Shaykh Mufid's risalahs. This collection pertains to the 6th/12th century and contains 16 treatises (ms. 243).
Al-Irshad by Shaykh Mufid, copied by Sulayman ibn Muhammad ibn Sulayman Ha'iri at Najaf during 7th/13th century (ms. 7220).
Al-Sara'ir by Ibn Idris dating from the 7th/13th century (AML, ms. 2603). It should be mentioned that at the library of Shaykh Safi's shrine Afandi had seen a manuscript of the Sara'ir that had been read to Shams al-Din Abu 'Ali Fakhkhar ibn Ma'd, one of his pupils. He had seen another manuscript of the Sara'ir at the library of Amirza Fakhr al-Mashhadi which was copied during its author's lifetime.
Majma' al-Bayan by Tabrisi, dating from 7th/13th century (ms. 2273).
Misbah al-Mutahajjid by Shaykh Tusi, dating from the 7th/13th century (ms. nos. 253 and 4867).
Perhaps the most important works on fiqh which were brought to Iran from Iraq before the establishment of Safavid rule are the works of 'Allamah Hilli (d. 726/1225).
Instances which will be cited here show that many of the works of the 'Allamah and his pupils were handed. down to the Safavid era almost intact. The late Sayyid 'Abd al-'Aziz Tabataba'i in his work Maktabat al-'Allamah al-Hilli, has given a relatively complete list of the 'Allamah in Iranian libraries and other places. That list need not be repeated here but is long enough to convince us that most of the 'Allamah's works came down in the form of 8th/14th- and 9th/15th-century manuscripts to the Safavid period and later eras.
Afandi had seen a manuscript of the 'Allamah's Khulasat al-Rijal written by one of his pupils and it differed in many placcs from its more recent versions. The writer of the said manuscript was Hasan ibn Husayn ibn Hasan ibn Mu'aniq and it was dated 707/1370. A manuscript of the 'Allamah's Khulasah written by 'Ali ibn Muhammad ibn 'Ali Tabari written at Najaf Ashraf and dated Dhu al-Qa'dah 747/1346 exists at Shiraz. Afandi states that a manuscript of the 'Allamah's treatise on the subject of wajibat al-zakat and its principles (arkan) was in his possession. He refers to it as an old manuscript (nuskhah 'atiqah) written close to the time of the author. Afandi possessed manuscripts of two of the 'Allamah's treatises, one of which was on the topic of the rationale behind the abrogation of the laws (hikmat-e naskh-e ahkam) written in answer to a question of Sultan Muhammad Khudabandah, and another was entitled Wajib al-Wudu' wa al-Salat, and was written for his minister Taramtash. He refers to them as "two old manuscripts" with the remark that they were written at a time close to the era of the author . Afandi had received a manuscript of Rijal al-Kashshi bearing 'Allamah Hilli's handwriting. A manuscript of the 'Allamah's Idah Mukhalafat-i Ahl al-Sunnah dated 723/1323 is kept at the Majlis Library (catalogue of the Majlis Library manuscripts, vol. 15, p. 30)
Afandi has seen a manuscript of the 'Allamah's Tahrir which bore an ijazah by Hasan ibn Hamzah Najafi dated 862/1457, and 836/1432 on some pages. A manuscript of the Tahrir written by Washshah ibn Muhammad ibn 'Assah dated 2 Jamadi al-Awwal 719/1319 is kept at AML (ms.7815). Another manuscript of the Tahrir in this library was written by Muhammad ibn Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn Nasir al-Mujaljal. The writing of this manuscript was completed on Tuesday 6 Sha'ban 747/1346 and it is preserved at AGL (ms. 261). This manuscript was compared in 775/1373 with the author's original and bears a note dated Rajab 783/1381 and a mark of ownership dated 30 Rabi' al-Thani 941/1534 by Ibrahim ibn 'Ali Sayyari Bahrani. A manuscript of 'Allamah Hilli's Irshad al-Adhhan written by Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn 'Ali 'Alawi Tusi in 28 Ramadan 704/1304 at Hillah was in the library of Farhad Mirza in 1297/1879 and is presently kept at the Majlis Library (vol. 14, p. 171). This manuscript bears an ijazah in the 'Allamah's hand dated end of Dhu al-Hijjah 704/1304. A valuable collection pertaining to the 8th/4th century and containing several treatises and ijazahs of the 'Allamah and his son, Fakhr al-Muhaqqiqin, as well as others, is kept at the Majlis Library (catalogue of manuscripts, vol. 14, pp.226-227,no. 4953).Another manuscript of Sharh Irshad al-Adhan by Kamal al-Din 'Abd al-Rahman 'Ata'iqi written close to the era of the author (8th/14th century) is preserved at AML (ms.8609).
A manuscript of the 'Allamah's Kashf al-Fawa'id fi Sharh Qawa'id al-Aqa'id written in 902/1496 at the Madrasah Zaynabiyyah at Hillah is preserved at AML (ms. 8047).
A manuscript of the 'Allamah's Qawa'id al-Ahkam written by Sultan ibn Hasan ibn Sultan ibn Husayn Husayni Shajari dated end of Rabi' al-Awwal 823/1420 is preserved at AML (ms. 8673). This manuscript had been in the possession of the family of Fayd Kashani. Afandi has seen a manuscript of the Qawa'id, dated 761/1359, in the hand of Shaykh Nizam al-Din Abu al-Qasim 'Ali ibn 'Abd al-Hamid Nili. He had also seen a manuscript of Khwajah Nasir al-Din Tusi's Kitab al-Hisab bearing an ijazah in the hand of the 'Allamah for Khwajah Rashid al-Din Awi.
A collection containing the 'Allamah's Nahj al-Mustarshidin fi Usul al-Din and Ibn Maytham Bahrani's Qawa'id al-Maram fi 'Ilm al-Kalam, along with several treatises by Baydawi, was written at Najaf by Abd al-Muhammad 'Ubaydali and is dated 798/1395 and kept at AML (ms. 8751). Afandi had seen a manuscript of Risalah Mukhtasarah fi Munasakhat al-Mirath by Sayyid 'Amid al-Din 'Abd al-Muttalib (d. 754/1353), a nephew of 'Allamah Hilli, which bore a note in the 'Allamah's hand and was copied by Ahmad ibn Haddad Hilli in the year 721/1321.
A manuscript of a work of Sayyid 'Amid al-Din ('Abd al-Muttalin ibn Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn Muhammad) entitled Kanz al-Fawa'id fi Hall al-Mushkilat al-Qawa'id and compiled in the interval between middle of Rajab and 20 Sha'ban 737/1336, whose copy was made on 19 Safar 782/1380 existed at the personal library of Shaykh Fadl Allah Nuri and is presently kept at the Majlis Library (catalogue; vol. 12, p. 94; no. 4387). Another manuscript of the same book copied by a scholar of Jabal 'Amil named 'Ali ibn Husayn ibn ... Maysi on Monday 9 Safar 790/1388 is preserved at AML (ms. 8429). The same author had written a sharh on the 'Allamah's Sharh al-Yaqut, and an old manuscript of it written during the author's lifetime was in Afandi's possession.
Some of other very old manuscripts of Iraq that were transferred to Iran include an old manuscript of the Qurb al-Asnad in the hand of Ibn al-Mahjanaz Bazzaz, a jurist who was Shaykh Mufid's contemporary, and it had been used by Afandi. Allamah Majlisi also writes that he had used an old manuscript bearing the handwriting of Ibn Idris which seems to be the same manuscript as referred to by Afandi. He also possessed a manuscript of the Kitab al-Anwar by Ahmad ibn 'Abd Allah Bakri which had been copied in 696/1296.
At Tabriz Afandi had seen a manuscript of the Sahifah Sajjadiyyah which had been compiled by Ibn Ashnas, and he mentions it as a manuscript that was probably written during the lifetime of the compiler. He says that the original manuscript of the author existed during his time in the possession of one of the major scholars. He had also seen another manuscript of the Sahifah bearing the date 603/1206 and the handwriting of Shahid Awwal.
Another manuscript that he had seen was that of the book Nuzhat al-Nazir fi al-Jam' bayn al-Ashbah wa al-Naza'ir by Muhadhdhab al-Din Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn 'Abd Allah ibn Riddat al-Nili and it was dated 674/1275. Afandi had seen at Istarabad a manuscript of the book Misbah al-Muhtadin fi Usul al-Din by Shaykh Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn Rashid Hilli which was dated 883/1478. He saw a manuscript of Shaykh Tusi's Misbah al-Mutahajjid bearing a note in the hand of Shaykh Hasan ibn Rashid Hilli which was dated 830/1426. Also, he had seen a manuscript of the 'Allamah's Qawa'id bearing the handwriting of Shaykh Hasan ibn Rashid at the library of Fadil Hindi. At Isfahan he saw a manuscript of the Hashivah Yamani on the Kashshaf, all of which was in the hand of Shaykh Hasan ibn Rashid Hilli and had been written in 824/1421.
Afandi mentions having seen at Isfahan an old manusvript of the book al-Masa'il al-Yaqin li Dhawi al-Fitnah wa al-Tamkin dated 824 in the hand of Ahmad ibn Husayn ibn Hamzah Sarihani which he identifies as being the same as the Masa'il of Ibn Abi Tayy. He had also seen a manuscript of Shaykh Tusi's al-Tibyan bearing an ijazah in the Shaykh's hand. He saw a manuscript of the book al-Marasim al-'Alawiyyah by Abu Ya'la Sallar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz Daylami, one of the pupils of Shaykh Mufid and Shaykh Tusi, which had been written close to the time of the author. A manuscript of Shaykh Mufid's Irshad pertaining to the 7th/13th century is kept at AML (ms. 318).
Afandi saw a manuscript of Shahid Awwal's al-Durus copied by Hasan ibn Husayn ibn Matar Asadi at Kubenan, which was dated 802/1399 and mentioned Hillah. This manuscript had been written for Ahmad ibn Ja'far Shami Hilli. At Qazwin Afandi had seen a manuscript of the book Tuhfat al-Talibin fi Ma'rifat Usul al-Din by 'Abd al-Sami' ibn Fayyad Asadi Hilli, to which he refers as a really old manuscript (kanat 'atiqatan jiddan).
Afandi had seen several old manuscripts of the book 'Uyun al-Mu'jazat by Husayn ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, one of the contemporaries of Shaykh Tusi. He had seen these manuscripts at Kazerun, Bahrayn and Ahsa' and he remarks that the manuscript he saw at Kazerun was dated 566/1170. From his further remarks it appears that the manuscript at Kazerun had since long been among the endowments of the shrine of one of the sayyids.
Afandi had seen manuscripts of the book Kitab al-Tahqiq al-Mubin fi Sharh Nahj al-Mustarshidin by Mawla Najm al-Din Khidr ibn Shams al-Din Muhammad Hablrudi, a resident of Najaf, bearing the date 828/1424, which is close to the period of its compilation. One of these manuscripts was at Tabriz and the other at Ardabil. Afandi had also seen manuscripts of his other books at Ardabil, Istarabad and Sari (in Kafami's hand). At Isfahan he had seen a manuscript of a refutation written by him against Yusuf ibn Makhzum A'war who had written against the Shi'ah. Its date of compilation was 839/1435.
Some Manuscripts from Bahrayn:
Frequent visits of scholars from Bahrayn to Iran were a common feature of the Safavid period. At times Iranians also travelled to Bahrayn. For instance, Shaykh Husayn, Shaykh Baha'i's father, who had been residing in Iran for years, went to Bahrayn where he died.
Some Bahraynis were engaged in studies in Iraq. For instance, Shaykh Husayn ibn 'Ali Hajri was one of the pupils of Muhaqqiq Karaki. Afandi saw his books at Mashhad and an ijazah by him at the shrine of 'Abd al-Azim at Ray. Afandi mentions a book Sharh Sharh al-Yaqut whose author was 'Amid al-Din, son of the 'Allamah's daughter. The Sharh al-Yaqut is by the 'Allamah himself. Afandi remarks that 'Amid al-Din's Sharh was popular at Bahrayn and he had seen a very old manuscript of it at Isfahan. Afandi had seen at Yazd a manuscript in the author's hand of the book Jawami' al-Sa 'adat fi Funun al-Da'awat by Shaykh 'Abd al-Rahim ibn Yahya ibn Husayn Bahrani, a scholar of the era succeeding Ibn Fahd Hilli. A manuscript of Ibn Fahd Hilli's book (d. 841/1437) Kitab al-Masa'il al-Shamiyyah fi Fiqh al-Imamiyyah written close to the author's era is kept at AML (ms. 8484).
'Allamah Majlisi and Old Shi'i Manuscripts:
'Allamah Majlisi was very keen to use old and reliable manuscripts of various sources in his compilation of the Bihar al-Anwar. In the Bihar, after mentioning his sources, he opens a section entitled "Fi bayan al-wuthuq 'ala al-kutub al-madhkurah wa ikhtilafuha fi dhalik." In it he examines the extent of reliability of his sources and defends the credibility of these sources on the ground that the manuscripts he had used were old and bore ijazahs of eminent scholars and traditionalists. First he mentions the works of Saduq and remarks that a corrected manuscript of the Amali was in his possession which was written at a time close to the author's era and bore ijazahs of many teachers (mashayikh). He also possessed a manuscript of Saduq's Khisal bearing an ijazah of Shaykh Miqdad.
The first volume of 'Uyun Akhbar al-Reza was in the form in the form of an old manuscript which was considered by some to be in Saduq's own hand. Majlisi does not accept this. but writes that it bore Saduq's signature. He mentions a book entitled Kitab al-Imamah whose author was unknown to him but from the ijazahs appearing on an old manuscript of it he infers that the author must have been an outstanding Shi'i author and jurist.
He also possessed an old manuscript of Himyari's Qurb al-Asnad bearing Ibn Idris's handwriting. He possessed an old manuscript of Shaykh Tusi's Amali bearing ijazahs of scholars. Also he had an old manuscript of the Kitab al-Ikhtisas, ascribed to Shaykh Mufid, to which he refers as an old manuscript. He had also two old manuscript of 'Ayyashi's Tafsir but does not mention their dates.
Majlisi possessed a manuscript in the author's hand of Shaykh Tabrisi's A'lam al-Wara as well as a manuscript of the Tuhaf al-'Uqul to which he refers as an old manuscript (nuskhah 'atiqah). He also possessed the manuscript of a certain Kitab al-Du'a by an unknown author to which he refer as an old manuscript. Majlisi also possessed another collection of supplications whose manuscript was written in 576/1180 and from which Ibn Tawus had also cited repeatedly in his books. 'Allamah Majlisi possessed a manuscript of al-Gharat which had been made by one of the scholars from a manuscript written chose to the author's era and which had been placed at his disposal. He mentions a manuscript of Dala'il al-Imamah, to which he refers as an old corrected manuscript (nuskhah qadimah musahhahah), which existed at the shrine of Imam 'Ali (A.S.) and had been used by him.
Notes:
1. Hasan Bayk Rumlu, Ahsan al-Tawarikh (Tehran: Intisharat-e Babak, 157 H. Sh.), 'Abd al-Husayn Nawa'i, p. 86.
2. A manuscript of Fakhr al-Muhaqqiqin's Idah la-Fawa'id was written by Muhammad in 'Ali Juwayni in the years 793-4/1389-91 at Sabzawar. See Fihrist-e Kitabkhaneh Majlis (Qum: Markaz-e Mutali'at wa Tahqiqat-e Islami, 1376 H.Sh.), ed. 'Ali Sadra'i, vol. 25, p. 249.
3. Concerning Istarabd, see Mirza 'Abd Allah Afandi, Riyad al-'Ulama' (Qum: Kitabkhaneh Ayatullah Mar'ashi, 1401 H.), vol. 2, p. 413. A copy of Shahid Awwal's Kitab al-Bayan was completed by a scholar named 'Imad ibn 'Ali Istarabadi on Tuesday 5 Sha'ban 861. This might have been in Iran, for we know that Istarabad was an important Shi'i centre during the 9th/15th century.
4. One of the Shi'i scholars of the 6th/12th century is Nasir al-Din Abu Talib 'Abd Allah ibn Hamzah Mashhadi, known as Nasir al-Din Tusi. Qutb al-Din Kaydari is among his pupils, as he himself narrates hadith from Abu al-Futuh Razi. Afandi had seen his book Kitab al-Wafi Kalam al-Muthbit wa al-Nafi, whose manuscript had been written in 679/1280. He also saw a manuscriprt, dated 578/1182, of Sahifat al-Reza in his possession. See Riyad al-'Ulama', vol. 3, p. 216.
5. For a list of the 'Allamah's works whose manuscripts were made in Iran or by Iranian scholars before the Safavid era, see Rasul Ja'fariyan, Tarikh-e Tashayyu' dar Iran (Qum: Ansariyan 1376 H. Sh.), vol. 2, pp. 669-676.
6. Riyad al-'Ulama', vol. 3, pp. 397-398.
7. Ibid., vol. 1, p. 179, vol. 3, p. 418.
8. Fihrist-e Nusakh-e Khatti-ye Kitabkhaneh Milli, vol. 14, pp. 160-163.
9. Riyad al-'Ulama', vol. 2, p. 42.
10. Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar (Tehran: Islamiyyah, vol. l, p, l l, Riyad al-'Ulama', vol. 2, p. 30.
11. Rayad al-'Ulama', vol. 2, p. 157.
12. Ibid., vol. 5, p. 109.
13. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 424.
14. See the first folio of the manuscript of Hashiyat al-Sharif 'ala Sharh al-Matali' (ms. 8046 at AML)
15. See for instance, Riyad al-'Ulama', vol. l, p. 186, vol. 2, pp. 64, 101, 103, 109, 122, vol. 4, pp. 18, 319. It should be noted that Afandi had seen manuscripts of several books during the Safavid period at Ardabil, and this shows that books were provided on a regular basis for the library at Shaykh Safi's shrine. See Ibid., vol. 4, p. 332.
16. Ibid., vol. 4, p. 269.
17. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 24.
18. In this regard see the journal Nashr-e Danesh, year 16 (1372 H. Sh.), no. 6, pp. 24-28.
19. Riyad al-'Ulama', vol. 4, p. 262, as well as other instances.
20. See for instance Ibid., vol. 2, pp. 157, 196.
21. We know that some decades ago some people tried hard to collect manuscripts from Iranian cities for having them transferred to the library at Imam 'Ali's shrine.
22. Fihrist-e Kitabkhaneh Milli (Tehran 1372), ed. Habib Allah 'Azimi, vol. 13, pp. 230-231.
23. Amal al-Amil, vol. 1, p. 15.
24. Fihrist-e Kitabkhane Majlis-e Shura-ye Islami (Tehran 1347), ed. Iraj Afshar, Danesh Pezhuh, and others, vol. 15, p. 126.
25. Shah Tahmasb had said that he would make use solely of scholars from Jabal 'Amil for administration of this kind of affairs. See Riyad al-'Ulama', vol. 3, p. 90.
26. Some of them like the family of Shaykh Baha'i's brother, settled down at Mashhad and joined the servants of the shrine. See Fihrist-e Kitabkhaneh Ayatullah Mar'ashi, vol. 21, p. 354, no. 8385.
27. Riyad al-'Ulama', vol. 5, p. 136.
28. Fihrist-e Kitabkhaneh Milli, vol. 13, p. 31.
29. Riyad al-'Ulama', vol. 4, p. 266.
30. Ibid., vol. 1, p.233.
31. Shaykh Aqa Buzurg Tehrani and 'Ali Naqi Munzawi, al-Kawakib al-Muntashirah, (Tehran: Tehran University 1372 H. Sh.), pp. 739, 740.
32. Riyad al-'Ulama', vol. 2, p. 182.
33. Ibid., vol. 5, p. 79.
34. Ibid., vol., 2, p. 200.
35. Sayyid 'Abd al-'Aziz Tabataba'i, "Min Turathina al-Khalid fi Shiraz, " in Mirath-e Islami-e Iran (Qum: Kitabkhane Ayatullah Mar'ashi, 1373 H. Sh.), ed. Rasul Ja'fariyan, p. 399.
36. Riyad al-'Ulama', vol. 4, p. 251.
37. Ibid., vol. 4,pp. 256-258.
38. Ibid., vol. 1, p. 361.
39. Some of these works were copied at Najaf during the Safavid period itself and then sent from there to Isfahan. See Fihrist-e Kitabkaneh Majlis-e Shura-ye Milli, vol. 12, p. 315.
40. Fihrist-e Nushkhaha-ye Khatti-ye Kitabkhaneh 'Umumi-ye Isfahan, pp. 311-312. Another part of the same Manaqib pertaining to the same period is kept at Tabriz.
41. Sayyid 'Abd al-'Aziz Tabataba'i, "Min Turathina al-Khalib fi Shiraz, " in Mirath-e Iran, p. 440..
42. Riyad al-'Ulama', vol. 1,p. 21.
43. lbid., vol. 1, pp. 22-23, 257.
44. Ibid., vol. 3, p. 164.
45. Ibid., vol. 3, p. 167.
46. Ibid., vol. 3, p. 183, vol. 4, p. 123.
47. Ibid., vol. 3, p. 235.
48. Ibid., vol. 3, p. 403, vol., 4, p. 107.
49. Ibid., vol. 3, p. 408.
50. Ibid., vol. 3, p. 409.
51. Ibid., vol. 4, p. 183.
52. Ibid., vol. 3, pp. 267,291.
53. Ibid., vol. 4, p. 48.
54. Ibid., vol. 3, p. 297.
55. Ibid., vol. 4, p. 30.
56. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 37.
57. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 43.
58. Ibid., vol. 3, p. 106.

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