The Leading Imami Scholars
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
The Imami scholar Sheikh Yousuf al-Bahrani of Bahrain
On 4th of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal in 1186 AH, the Imami scholar Sheikh Yousuf al-Bahrani of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf passed away in the holy city of Karbala, in Iraq. The Omani invasion of Bahrain forced him and his family to flee, first to Qatif on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, thence to Mecca and then Iran, before he eventually settled in Karbala. He is the author of the famous biographical work of leading scholars titled "Lu'lu' al-Bahrain" or Pearl of Bahrain, the last chapter of which is his autobiography.
In Iran, impressed by the scholarly atmosphere, he decided to reside in the town of Fasa, near Shiraz in Fars Province. It was here that he wrote his other famous work, "al-Hada'eq an-Nazerah" in several volumes on hadith and the unrivalled merits of the Prophet and the Infallible Imams. A follower of the Usuli school in his youth, he later adopted the Akbhari ideas, but accepted the validity of the Friday Prayer during the occultation of the Imam of the Age, and did not go so far as to say that no verse in the holy Qur'an could be understood without the interpretation of the Infallible Imams. He sought to bridge the gap between the two. He authored a total of 32 works including "Anees al-Musafer wa Jalees al-Khawater".
The combatant Iranian religious scholar, Hojjat ol-Islam, Seyyed Mohammad Nawwab Safavi
On January 16, 1956 AD, the combatant Iranian religious scholar, Hojjat ol-Islam, Seyyed Mohammad Nawwab Safavi, and his three companions, were sentenced to death by a military court of the Shah's hated regime, and attained martyrdom. Born in a religious family, he was the leader of Fedaiyaan-e Islam group, and was a product of the famous Seminary of holy Najaf in Iraq.
On his return to Iran, he started his activities for social reforms by opposing the heinous crimes of the British-installed and American-backed Shah’s regime. He was close to the future Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA), and established contacts between Iranian Islamic revolutionaries and the Ikhawan al-Muslimin (Muslim Brotherhood) of Egypt. His three companions who also attained martyrdom this day were Tahmasbi, Zolqadr, and Vahedi. Nawwab Safavi was only 31-year old at the time of his martyrdom.
Prominent Iraqi religious leader, Hojjat al-Islam Seyyed Mahdi al-Hakeem
On January 16, 1988 AD, prominent Iraqi religious leader, Hojjat al-Islam Seyyed Mahdi al-Hakeem, son of the Source of Emulation, Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Mohsen al-Hakeem, was martyred by agents of Saddam’s Ba'th minority regime in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. He was socially and culturally active in Iraq, for which reason the tyrannical Ba'th minority party issued a death verdict against him. He went into exile, first in Pakistan and then in the UAE, where for years he was the Friday Prayer Leader in Dubai. Later, he moved to London. During the last days of the 8-year war that the US had imposed on Iran through Saddam, when efforts were underway to rid Iraq of Ba'th minority rule, Seyyed Mahdi al-Hakeem who was in Khartoum to attend a political conference, was martyred in the hotel lobby.
The prominent scholar and poet, Ali bin Mohammad Tannoukhi al-Antaki
On 7th of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal in 342 AH, the prominent scholar and poet, Ali bin Mohammad Tannoukhi al-Antaki died at the age of 64 in Basra, Iraq. He was born in Antioch in what is now southeastern Turkey, and in his youth moved to Baghdad and settled there. He was an expert in Arabic grammar, lexicography, literature, and engineering.
Later in his life he was appointed as the judge of the port city of Basra on the Persian Gulf and became known as Qazi Tannoukhi. At the same time he also served as the judge of Ahwaz. He was an eloquent speaker and was the grandfather of the famous Imami scholar, Mohsin bin Ali Tannoukhi. He has left behind a Diwan of his poems as well as a book on Arabic syntax.
The prominent Shia scholar, Sheikh Izz od-Din Hussain ibn Abdus-Samad
On 8th of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal in 984 AH, the prominent Shia scholar, Sheikh Izz od-Din Hussain ibn Abdus-Samad passed away in Bahrain at the age of 66, and was buried in the village of Hejr or Musalla where his tomb is revered by the people. He was born in the Jabal Amel region of what is now Lebanon in a religious family, and migrated to Safavid Iran along with his young son, Sheikh Bahaeddin Ameli, who grew up into a great scholar.
For eight years, Sheikh Ezzeddin lived and preached in the holy city of Mashhad near the shrine of Imam Reza (AS), the 8th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Leaving his son behind in Iran, he migrated to Bahrain since he felt the Persian Gulf Island was more in need of religious scholars than Iran. He wrote many books, including a Diwan of Arabic poetry and the book titled "Tuhfa Ahl al-Imaan" which means Gift of the People of Faith.
Aqa Bozorg Tehrani, the great scholar and bibliographer
On 11th of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal in 1293 AH, the great scholar and bibliographer, Ayatollah Sheikh Mohammad Hussain Razi, known popularly as Aqa Bozorg Tehrani was born in Tehran. After initial studies in his hometown he left for the Islamic seminary of holy Najaf in Iraq where he acquired knowledge under such great scholars as Akhound Khorasani and Mirza Hussain Noori.
He travelled around several Muslim countries to browse through the libraries of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Hejaz, and other places. Through correspondence with libraries of countries he could not visit he collected all relevant information on books. His magnum opus is the 29-volume bibliographical encyclopedia "adh-Dhariyya ila Tasaneef ash-Shi'a", in which he has recorded the books written since the early days of Islam to his times by followers of the school of the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt. His other famous voluminous work is on the life of scholars titled "Tabaqaat A'laam ash-Shi'a". He passed away in Najaf in 1389 AH at the age of 96 and was laid to rest in his own library.
Ayatollah Seyyed Hassan Sadr
On 11th of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal in 1354 AH, on this day in 1354 AH, the prominent scholar and one of the renowned lecturers of the Najaf seminary, Ayatollah Seyyed Hassan Sadr passed away. He was an outstanding jurisprudence who had attained the status of Ijtehad while quite young. He wrote several books, including "Ta'sees ash-Shi'a".
The eminent Iranian Islamic scholar, Seyyed Ali ibn Seyyed Mohammad
On 12th of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal in 1161 AH, the eminent Iranian Islamic scholar, Seyyed Ali ibn Seyyed Mohammad was born. He was the nephew (sister’s son) of the great scholar, Mohaqqeq Bahbahani, and authored the book “Riyaz al-Masa’el”, also known as “Sharh-e Kabir”. He passed away in the holy city of Karbala in 1231 AH at the age of 70, and was laid to rest in the courtyard of the shrine of Imam Husain (AS).
The prominent Iranian mujtahed, Seyyed Mahdi Qazvini,
On 12th of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal in 1300 AH, on this day in 1300 AH, the prominent Iranian mujtahed, Seyyed Mahdi Qazvini, passed away in the city of Hilla, in Iraq. He was a product of the famous seminary of holy Najaf and was an expert in jurisprudence, theology, exegesis of the holy Qur'an, and the Nahj al-Balagha – collection of the sermons, letters, and maxims of Imam Ali (AS). He wrote several books including "Wada'e" and "Mazamir". Under his influence, over 100,000 people in and around Hilla became followers of the school of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt.
The scholar Sulaiman bin Mehran Kufi al-A'mash
On 15th of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal in 148 AH, the scholar Sulaiman bin Mehran Kufi al-A'mash passed away in Kufa. He had a sharp memory and had memorized a great number of hadith. A follower of the Infallible Imams of the Household of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), he was also greatly respected by all other Muslims. He was said to be from Damavand, northeast of Tehran. Two days before his death he was visited by several scholars including Ibn Abu Layla and Abu Hanifa – the founder of the Hanafi School of jurisprudence who was the son of an Iranian convert from Kabul.
The discussion turned to hadith, and the famous statement of Imam Ali (AS): "I am the distributor of the heaven and hell". A'mash enlightened the assembly saying that Abu Mutawakkil Naji had told him on the authority of Abu Sa'eed Khudri, who heard the Prophet saying: "On the Day of Judgement, God will make me and Ali sit on the Sirat with instructions to allow into heaven whoever acknowledged my mission and the friendship of Ali, and to cast into hell whoever denied my mission and was hostile to Ali." The Prophet then added: "None have true faith in God except those who acknowledge my mission, and none have really acknowledged my mission except the one who sincerely believed in Ali." It is worth noting that this particular hadith has been narrated through various other sources as well.
The prominent jurist and scholar, Mullah Fazel Touni
On 16th of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal in 1071 AH, the prominent jurist and scholar, Mullah Abdullah Touni Basharwi, known popularly as Fazel Touni, passed away in Kermanshah, western Iran. He completed his religious studies in Isfahan and wrote several books, including "al-Wafiyah" on the fundamentals of faith. Among his other works are annotations on some important books.
The prominent scholar, jurist, and judge, Qazi Abu’l-Hassan Jurjani
On 13th of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal in 290 AH, the prominent scholar, jurist, and judge, Qazi Abu’l-Hassan Jurjani was born. He served as the chief judge of the city of Rayy and its surroundings, which today are the southern suburbs of Tehran. He died in Nishapur, in Khorasan in 366 AH and his body was taken for burial to his native Jurjan, which today is known as Gorgan in northern Iran near the Caspian Sea. He authored several books including an exegesis on the holy Qur'an and a critical assessment of history titled "Tahzib at-Tarikh".
The great Islamic scholar, Seyyed Shams od-Din Mohammad Ali al-Musawi al-Ameli
On 18th of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal in 1009 AH the great Islamic scholar, Seyyed Shams od-Din Mohammad Ali al-Musawi al-Ameli died. He was a student of the famous Moqaddas Ardebili and wrote several books.
Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Aliyari
On 19th of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal in 1358 AH, the Source of Emulation, Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Aliyari, passed away at the age of 92. He was born in a village near the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz. After learning jurisprudence, mathematics, and other preliminary sciences under his father, he left for Iraq to study at the famous Najaf Seminary under prominent scholars as Ayatollah Mirza Abu'l-Qasem Haeri, and Ayatollah Fazel Sharabiani. Ayatollah Aliyari authored several books, including “Sirat an-Najah”, and “Jame’ as-Sa’adah”.
Grand Ayatollah Jawad Aqa Tehrani
On 23rd of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal in 1410 AH, Grand Ayatollah Jawad Aqa Tehrani passed away at the age of 88 years. He was born in Tehran and after completing his studies in Qom left for Holy Najaf in Iraq to continue his higher studies. He groomed many scholars and was known for his piety and ascetic nature. Among the books written by him are: "Mizan al-Mataleb" in Arabic and "Aieen-e Zindagi" in Persian.
Ayatollah Abu'l-Makarem Zanjani
On 26th of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal in 1330 AH, the prominent scholar, Ayatollah Abu'l-Makarem Zanjani, passed away at the age of 75. He was born in Zanjan and completed his higher studies in the holy city of Najaf in Iraq under the great jurisprudence, Ayatollah Sheikh Murtaza Ansari. On returning to Iran he taught in the seminary of his hometown and was active in the Constitutional Movement. Among his works are the books titled 'Makharej ar-Rizwaan' and 'Miftah az-Zafar'.
The Iranian poet, Mohammad ibn Husaam Khoseifi
On 1st of the Islamic month of Rabi as-Sani in 875 AH, the Iranian poet, Mohammad ibn Husaam Khoseifi, passed away. He was born in the vicinity of the northeastern Iranian city of Birjand and led a simple life, despite his poetic talents. His books include a Diwan of odes in praise of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). His famous book is “Khavaraan-Nameh” on the heroic feats of the Prophet’s First Infallible Successor, Imam Ali (AS).