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Abul Hasan al-Umri

Abu al-Hasan al-`Umari was a descendant of `Umar b. `Ali b. Abi Talib. `Umar was the progeny of the marriage of Amir al-Mu'minin with Umm Habib bint Rabi`a. Al-`Umari is reported to have lived until 443/1051, and is acknowledged as an authority on genealogies of Arab tribes in general and the descendants of the Prophet and Abu Talib in particular. His forefathers were among Shi`i scholars of eminence. He was a contemporary of al-Sharif al-Murtada and al-Sharif al-Radi, whom he knew very well. His father Abu al-Ghana'im was also an expert in the genealogy of the Arabs.
Abu al-Hasan al-`Umari's teacher, besides his father, was Abu al-Hasan Muhammad b. Abi Ja`far, known as al-Shaykh al-Sharaf (d. 435/1042), a descendant of Husayn al-Asghar, son of al-Imam Zayn al-`Abidin `Ali b. al-Husayn, who was also a teacher of al-Murtada and al-Radi. Ahmad b. `Ali Dawudi al-Hasani, known as Ibn `Anbah, (d. 828/1424), author of `Umdat al-talib fi ansab Al Abi Talib, which is considered to be the most authentic book on the genealogical tree of the descendants of the Prophet and Abu Talib, has liberally borrowed material from al-`Umari's works in the field. He acknowledges:
Abu al-Hasan `Ali b. Abi al-Ghana'im Muhammad b. `Ali b. Muhammad represents the culmination of the science of genealogy. His views are accepted as the last word in this field by later scholars. He met all the great experts of this science and compiled in this field al-Mabsut, al-Shafi, al-Mujdi and al-Mushajjar. Abu al-Hasan al-`Umari lived in Basra but shifted to Mosul after 423/1032, where he married and had children.
We narrate the works of Abu al-Hasan al-`Umari on the authority of the Naqib Taj al-Din Muhammad b. Mu`ayya al-Hasani, who narrated them from his teacher, Sayyid `Alam al-Din Murtada b. Sayyid Jalal al-Din `Abd al-Hamid b. al-Sayyid Shams al-Din Fikhar b. Ma`bad al-Musawi, who narrated from his father, Sayyid Jalal al-Din `Abd al-Hamid b. Taqi al-Husayni, who narrated from Ibn Kulthum al-`Abbasi, the genealogist, who quoted from Ja`far b. Hashim b. Abi al-Hasan al-`Umari, who narrated from his grandfather, Abu al-Hasan `Ali b. Muhammad al-`Umari.
The author of `Umdat al-Talib was a pupil and son-in-law of Taj al-Din b. Mu`ayya. Sayyid `Ali Khan al- Shirazi (d. 1120/1708), in al-Darajat al-rafi`a fi tabaqat al-Shi`a, acknowledges the greatness of al-`Umari in the field of genealogy, and says that all later scholars and researchers in this field are indebted to him. In Ma`alim al-`ulama' and al-Fawa'id al-Ridawiyya, al-`Umari is said to have been known by the nickname 'Ibn al-Sufi'.

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