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'Abd al-Husayn Amini

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عبدالحسین-امینی-1.jpg
Personal Information
Full Name 'Abd al-Husayn Amini
Well-Known As 'Allama Amini
Birth 1320/1902-3, Tabriz
Studied in Tarbiz, Najaf
Death Rabi' II 28, 1390/July 3, 1970; Tehran
Burial Place Amir al-Mu'minin library, Najaf
Scholarly Information
Professors Sayyid Abu l-Hasan Isfahani, Muhammad Husayn Na'ini, 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri Yazdi, Muhammad Husayn Gharawi Isfahani
Works Al-Ghadir, Shuhada' al-fadila etc.
Scholarly
Activities
Foundation of Amir al-Mu'minin Library

ʿAbd al-Ḥusayn Amīnī (Arabic: عبدالحسین امینی) (b. 1320/1902-3 - d. 1390/1970), known as 'Allāma Amīnī the author of the well-known book al-Gadir, was a Shi'a jurist (faqih), hadith scholar, theologian, historian, codicologist and one of the great Shi'a scholars in the 14th/20th century. Beside writing numerous important scholarly works, he also established in the city of Najaf the Amir al-Mu'minin Library, which includes 70,000 manuscripts.

Contents

Birth and Childhood

'Abd al-Husayn Amini, the son of Mirza Ahmad Amini was born in Tabriz in 1320/1902.[1] His father was a religious leader in Tabriz. His grandfather Mullah Najaf 'Ali, was known as Amīn al-Sharʿ (the Protector of the Shariah), hence his family name was called "Amini".

'Abd al-Husayn Amini started his education in the schools of Tabriz and after memorizing the Qur'an and finishing the elementary level, started his studies of fiqh and usul and took part in the classes of scholars like Sayyid Muhammad Mawlana, the author of Misbah al-salikin, and Sayyid Mortada Khusrushahi and Shaykh Husayn, the author of Hidayat al-Anam[2].

Migration to Najaf

Amini migrated at the age of 22 from Tabriz to Najaf and took part in the classes of prominent scholars, such as Sayyid Muhammad Firuzabadi (d. 1345/1928) and Sayyid Abuturab Khwansari (d. 1346/1927).[3]

License for Ijtihad and Riwaya

Amini got the permission for ijtihad from some marja's like Abu l-Hasan Na'ini, Muhammad Husayn Gharawi Isfahani[4] and Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri Yazdi[5]. Regarding the death date of these marja's (between the years 1355/1936 to 1364/1945), one can see that 'Allama Amini has gotten the permission for ijtihad and hadith transmission, prior to the age of 35. Having gained this permission (for ijtihad and hadith transmission) he returned to Tabriz, but after a short while he went back to Najaf again.[6]

Publications

Shuhada' al-fadila

Main article: Shuhada' al-fadila

'Abd al-Husayn Amini, has published the book Shuhada' al-Fadila (The Martyrs of Virtue) in the year 1355 AH/ 1936 CE. This book contains the biographies of 130 Muslim and Shi'a religious scholars from the 4th century up to the 14th century AH/ 10th to 20th CE, who have been martyred. Some regard the publication of this book as a reaction to the British imperialism, by the purpose of teaching courage and resistance against the foreigners.[7] Writing this book, Amini made use of the Iranian and Iraqi libraries.[8] [9]

In the introduction of the book Shuhada' al-Fadila, Aqa Buzurg Tihrani titled 'Abd al-Husayn Amini "the skillful scholar, the Alim of Elm al-Yaqin (the scholar of certain knowledge) and the pride of the nation and the faith". Sayyid Abu l-Hasan Isfahani, the supreme marja' of Shi'as at the time, Haj Aqa Husayn Qumi and Muhammad Husayn Gharawi Isfahani have written some remarks in approving his book.[10] Some have considered unprecedented the admiration and the exaltation 'Abd al-Husayn Amini received in the Shia' Seminary setting in Najaf, after the publication of this book.[11] Based on some sources, 'Allama Amini has written the book Shuhada' al-Fadila in response to Musa Jarullah's book al-Washi'ah fi Naqd 'Aqa'id al-Shi'a,[12] where it is claimed that the Shia' had no logical foundations for their belief system and had no martyrs killed on the path of Islam.[13]

Al-Gadir fi' l-kitab wa' l-sunnat wa l-adab

Al-Ghadir

'Allama Amini's magnum opus is the book 'Al-Ghadir fi l-kitab wa l-sunnat wa l-adab (The Ghadir in the Book, the Sunnah, and Literature), a book on verifying Imam 'Ali's immediate Imamate and Caliphate (after the Prophet), based on the Ghadir Incident and analyzing the chains of transmition and indication of the Hadith of al-Ghadir.[14] 'Abd al-Husayn Amini has spent forty years of his life writing this 11-volume book, and in order to find the documents of the Incident of al-Ghadir, went all the way into the libraries in Iraq, Iran, India, Syria and Turkey in order to conduct his research.[15] According to Ja'far Shahidi, quoting Amini himself, he has read up to 10, 000 books as to be able to write the book al-Ghadir. [16] The first to the ninth volumes of the book al-Ghadir have been published in Najaf in the year 1364 AH. The whole compilation of 11 volumes have been published in 1372 AH/ 1953 CE in Tehran.[17] This anthology includes 20 volumes, of which only 11 have been published.[18]

Other Works

1. Analyzing and annotating the book Kamil al-Ziyarat written by Ibn Qulawayh. Published in 1356 AH/ 1937 CE in Najaf.[19]

2. Adab al-Za'ir Liman Yammum al-Ha'ir, a book describing the due rituals in visiting the Holy Shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a) shrine. Published in Najaf.

3. Siratuna wa Sunnatuna Siratu Nabiyina wa Sunnatuhu, documented discussion about the wilaya and love of the family of the Prophet and reporting the historical aspect of the Ashura mourning ceremonies.[20] Referring to the Sunni sources, he regards, in this book, the mourning and crying for Imam al-Husayn (a) as the prophetic tradition and hence regards Shi'as in this respect as followers of the Prophet.[21]

4. A'lam al-Anam fi Ma'rifa al-Mulk al-A'lam, on tawhid, written in Farsi.

5. A commentary to the sura al-Hamd. The first chapter of this book is dedicated to the commentary of the sura and the second one to analyzing of it. This book was published in 1395 AH/ 1975 CE in Tehran.

6. Commentary to the aya (verse) "walillahi l-asma'u l-husna".

7. Commentary to the Qur'anic verse "wa kuntum azwajan thalthatan".

8. Commentary to the Qur'anic verse of the world of Zdar.

9. Commentary to the Qur'anic verse "qalu rabbana amattana ithnatayn" (40:11).

10. Thamarat al-Asfar.

11. Treatise on the Science of Dirayat.

12. Treatise on Niyya (Intention).

13. Riyad al-Uns (in two volumes, each volune 1000 pages). Describing and introducing the books and manuscripts that the author has seen. [22]

14. Annotation to Rasa'il by al-Shaykh al-Ansari.

15. Annotation to Makasib al-Shaykh al-Ansari.

16. Treatise on the Truth of the Ziyarats (in response to the Pakistani Islamic scholars).

17. Al-'Itra al-Tahira fi l-Kitab al-'Aziz. [23]A kind of commentary, that include describing the foundations of the political philosophy in Islam, that is describing some of the Qur'anic verses that were revealed concerning the Household of the Prophet, naming the characteristics of those who have the priority and authority to be guardian of the nation.[24]

18. Nazara fi Kitab Minhaj al-Sunna al-Nabawiyya. This book is, in fact, the collection of three volumes of the anthology of Al-Ghadir, and since its topic is mainly the responses 'Allama Amini has given to the critiques of Ibn Taymiyya in the book Minhaj al-Sunna, it was published independently.

Amir al-Mu'menin Library

The public library of Amir al-Mu'menin in Najaf was inaugurated on the 18th of Dhihajja 1379 AH/ 1959 CE by 'Allama Amini, and at the presence of some the leading figures of the Shi'a Seminary of Najaf, including Agha Buzurg Tehrani. This library included 500,000 books in different languages and around 70,000 manuscripts.[25] 'Allama Amini, the founder of it, has donated all the books of his personal library – which were around five to six thousand books – to the Amir al-Mu'menin Library. Also his son, Muhammad Hadi, has given away 1,000 of his personal books to this library.[26] While collecting due hadiths and documents required to write his book on the Ghadir Incident, 'Allama Amini visited many libraries in the Muslim world. The largest library of Najaf at his time had just 4ooo books and this very shortcoming made him to establish a large library in this city.[27] In the year 1373 AH/ 1954 CE, at the age of 53 he began collecting the needed book.

Views and Goals

Ijtihad and Marja'iyya

Allama Amini's Tomb, Najaf
  • 'Abd al-Husayn Amini believed that ijtihad (religious spiritual authority) is beyond one's authority and for that a "delegation of fatwa (religious verdict)" consisting of authoritative, courageous and well-informed scholars should be established. He did not regard as sufficient for the marja' of the Shi'a world – who should be universal – to just write a risala (a manual of Islamic law), and criticized those who accepted the position of the Shi'a marja'iyya without having the qualification, and regarded it as a crime which would ruin all Shi'a values.[28]
  • He believed that one should distinguish between the titles of being a mujtahid, the author of a risala, and being the "marja'/ leader of the Shi'a world" and that among the prerequisites for the qualification of a marja', beside the famous prerequisites (of maturity, intelligence…) there should be other conditions.[29] Amini believed, knowing the fact that there were hundreds of intellectual, philosophical, educational, economic and military movements in the world, one could not sacrifice the scientific, legislative, social and political heritage of 'Ali (a) and his decedents by giving it to the hands of those who have just spent some years of studying fiqh and usula at of the Shi'a Seminary, and that this important task could not be left to the hands of some coward, close-hearted, narrow-sighted, frozen and closed minded, unenthusiastic people.[30]

Criticizing the Religious Books

Amini was against publishing books that did not have authentic historical sources, and nor were based on ijtihad and firm reasoning. Regarding some of the religious books published at his time, he said: "The Farsi books that have been published during these years on the life of Shi'a Imams should all be thrown into the water (thrown away)".[31]

Criticizing Some of the Mourning Ceremonies

Although Amini was very much interested in the mourning ceremonies for Imam al-Husayn (a) and mourning convocations for other Imams and that in such religious convocations and gatherings felt very much saddened and begrieved (upon the remembrance of the suffering of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and other Imams) , yet was not content with them and was very critical of many of them – due to the banality of some of them and the fact that most of the speakers had no knowledge of the hadith and the religious knowledge, were not pious enough, and that were unaware of the life of the Shi'a Imams and the history of the incidents in their lives and the reason behind their conflicts with the oppressing powers of their times and about the Shi'a revolutionary culture. He suffered from and was troubled by them all. And was deeply discontented by the undocumented and undue statements of the preachers and the base and banal words of the dirge-reciters. 'Allama Amini once said: "I was taking part in one of the major convocations in Tehran. In the middle of the sermon – although it was very improper to do so – I stood up and left the gathering, because I would regard it as haram (religiously forbidden) sitting there and listening to those words".[32]

Ziyarah

'Abd al-Husayn Amini believed that visiting the shrines of the Imams and their descendants, contrary to what Shi'as nowadays understand, should have a more educational productivity. Thus, one of his first tasks was to publish one of the most authentic texts on the Shi'a ziyara rituals called Kamil al-Ziyarat. Another publication by him was the book Adab al-Zair, describing the due rituals for visiting the Holy Shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a) shrine.[33]

Unfulfilled Tasks

In the introduction of his book in memory of 'Allama Amini, Hakimin mentions that apart from all that Allama Aminni had carried out there were others tasks that he did not manage to fulfill during his life time. Some of these tasks were:

  • Establishing the Dar al-ta'lif (The House of Authors).
  • Establishing a foundation for investigating the publications on Islam worldwide.
  • Publishing and distributing many of the books written by the Islamic scholars, which had remained only in manuscripts.
  • Striving to spread deeper understandings among the seminary students and encouraging them to set off and travel around the world and get to know about the actual life, global issues and the science of the time.
  • Editing and modifying and carefully and broadly supervising the religious books; so that by time only those who possessed both sufficient and technical knowledge and were qualified – not any layperson, claiming so – would write about the faith and religion.
  • Rectifying the religious convocations and monitoring what they would teach people.[34]

In the Eyes of the Prominent Figures

Shia' Scholars

  • Sayyid Abu l-Hasan Isfahani, in his appreciation of the book Martyrs of Virtue, regards 'Allama Amini as the herald of knowledge and ethics and the champion of the Islamic intellectual movement, and adds that he, with his interesting innovations and creativities, has surpassed the authors preceding and contemporary to himself, and has left behind some very precious scientific, historical, literary and ethical works.
  • Muhammad Husayn Gharawi Isfahani, known as Kampani, in a commentary on 'Allama Amini's first book, beside appreciating and praising the book, also exalts the intrinsic capabilities of 'Abd al-Husayn Amini and regards him as having high talent in writing and the virtue of saying and seeking the truth.
  • In commenting on the book Martyrs of Virtue in 1353 AH/ 1935 CE, Aqa Buzurg Tihrani has regarded Amini as the true manifestation of faith, the beauty of religion, and a man of piety, and has regarded his book as a masterpiece for the (Islamic) community.

Sunni Scholars

  • Muhammad 'Abd al-Ghani Hasan Misri, one of the Sunni scholars, has composed a poem about him. In this poem he stresses the fact that although Amini's tone was caustic during the discussion, but he was very gentle in behavior. He also asks God for high rewards and merits for 'Abd al-Husayn Amini, a merit as high as the greatness of Amini's defense of the Ghadir.[35] [36]
  • Muhammad Sa'id Duhduh, one of the great Islamic sholars of Halab, in a part of his letter to 'Allama Amini writes: “You have indeed inherited a kind of style and ethic from the Family of the Prophet, the kind of which could be found in hardly anyone, except for some few righteous and pious people.[37]

Moral Traits

Some of the students and relatives of 'Allama Amini have numerated his moral traits as follows:

  • Piety: according to Muhammad Rida Hakimi, Amini was so passionate in performing prayers and religious rituals and mustahab (recommended) prayers and reciting the Qur'an. He would even perform night prayers and the dawn prayers, would recite a complete juz' of the Qur'an, along with reflecting on the meanings.[38]
  • Righteousness: Although he had resided in Najaf for 40 years, he didn't have a house of his own.[39] Sayyid Ja'far Shahidi has regarded Amini as the best example for the Qu'anic verse: "They strive in the cause of Allah and do not fear the blame of a critic" (5:54).[40]

Books Published about 'Abd al-Husayn Amini

  • The Epic of Ghadir, written by Muhammad Rida Hakimi, a commentary and critique of the book Al-Ghadir by 'Allama Amini – that also deals with his life.
  • A Quarter of Century with 'Allama Amini (Memoirs), written by Husayn Shakiri.
  • Accompanying Khidr , written by Husayn Shakiri. He was an associate of 'Allama Amini and in this 117 page-book has accounted in details on the life and trips of 'Allama Amini.
  • In the Memory of 'Allama Amini, under the supervision of Sayyid Jafar Shahidi and Muhammad Rida Hakimi. An anthology of articles written by seminary and university figures on 'Abd al-Husayn Amini. Sahidi and Hakimin dedicated the first 28 pages of the book to the life of Amini, and then followed are 20 articles with different topics written by the Shi'a Seminary scholars as well as the academic figures.
  • The Confidant of the Shari'a (Memoirs), the special journal issued in the book launch ceremony of the book Al-Maqasid al-'Illiya fi l-Matalib al-Sunniya written by different authors and published by the Muhaqqiq Tabataba'i Foundation in 2013 in Qom.
  • The Salute of the Drop to the Sea-like Heart of Ghadir, a poem by Mahdi Akhawan Thalith (famous Iranian poet) about 'Allama Amini.
  • 'Allama Amini the Inexhaustible Peacemaker, written by Ali Rida Sayyid Kibari, including the biography of 'Abl al-Husayn Amini.
  • 'Allama Amini the Sip Drinker of Ghadir, written by Mahdi Lutfi in 256 pages, including the biography of 'Allama Amini.
  • A Historical Trip, a report on the one-month trip of 'Allam Amini to Isfahan.
  • Al-Hujja al-Amini Taba Thara; a recently discovered biography of 'Allama Amini, written by Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq Bahr al-'Ulum.
  • Some Remarks on the Book Al-Maqasid al-'Elliya, written by Hasan Ansari.
  • The Chronical of 'Allama Amini's Life, written by 'Abd al-Husayn Tale'i.
  • A Guide in Researching on 'Allama Amini and His Works, written by Salim Gandumi.

Demise

'Allama Amini passed away at Friday noon on 28th Rabi' II 1390 AH/ 3rd July 1970. Some have regarded the cause of his death at the age of 70 – despite having a robust and healthy body – due to severe study and his total dedication to writing and taking care of the library task. In his will, Amini has requested that one be chosen as his representative to go to Karbala for ten years. He has also willed that for ten years mourning ceremonies be held on the demise anniversary of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a).

Notes

  1. Sayyid Mustafa Husayni Dashti, Ma'arif and Ma'arif, vol. 2, p 550.
  2. Sayyid Mustafa Husayni Dashti, Ma'arif and Ma'arif, vol. 2, p 550
  3. Sayyid 'Ali Rida Sayyid Kibari, Allama Amini, Ghawwas-i Ghadir, p. 43-44.
  4. 'Ali Rida Sayyid Kibari, Allama Amini, Ghawwas-i Ghadir, p. 43-44.
  5. 'Ali Rida Sayyid Kibari, Allama Amini, Ghawwas-i Ghadir, p. 43-44.
  6. 'Ali Rida Sayyid Kibari, Allama Amini, The Diver of Ghadir, p. 43-44.
  7. 'Ali Rida Sayyid Kibari, "Allama Amini, The Diver of Ghadir", 44.
  8. 'Ali Rida Sayyid Kibari, Allama Amini, The Diver of Ghadir, 44.
  9. Sayyid Mustafa Husayni Dashti, Ma'arif and Ma'arif, vol. 2, p 551.
  10. Sayyid Mustafa Husayni Dashti, Ma'arif and Ma'arif, vol. 2, p 551.
  11. Sayyid Mustafa Husayni Dashti, Ma'arif and Ma'arif, vol. 2, p 551.
  12. Mahdi Lutfi, Allama Amini, The Sip Drinker of Ghadir, p. 55.
  13. Mahdi Lutfi, Allama Amini, The Sip Drinker of Ghadir, p. 56.
  14. The Encyclopedia of Shi'a Islam, vol. 12, p. 39.
  15. The Encyclopedia of Shi'a Islam, vol. 12, p. 39-40.
  16. Sayyid Ja'far Shahidi, The Development of the Shi'a Faith and Amini as the Reviver of the Faith.
  17. Sayyid Mustafa Husayni Dashti, Ma'arif and Ma'arif, vol. 2, p 551.
  18. Mahdi Lutfi, Allama Amini, The Sip Drinker of Ghadir, p. 62.
  19. Mahdi Lutfi, Allama Amini, The Sip Drinker of Ghadir, p. 57.
  20. Muhammad Rida Hakimi, The Myth of Ghadir, p. 323.
  21. Mahdi Lutfi, Allama Amini, The Sip Drinker of Ghadir, p. 59.
  22. Muhammad Rida Hakimi, The Myth of Ghadir, p. 323.
  23. Muhammad Rida Hakimi, 'Allama Amini, in In the Memory of ..., p. 24.
  24. Muhammad Rida Hakimi, The Myth of Ghadir, p. 323.
  25. Mahdi Lutfi, Allama Amini, The Sip Drinker of Ghadir, p. 63.
  26. Mahdi Lutfi, Allama Amini, The Sip Drinker of Ghadir, p. 63.
  27. Mahdi Lutfi, Allama Amini, The Sip Drinker of Ghadir, p. 63.
  28. Hakimi, The Myth of Ghadir, p. 289.
  29. Hakimi, The Myth of Ghadir, p. 290.
  30. Hakimi, The Myth of Ghadir, p. 294.
  31. Hakimi, The Myth of Ghadir, p. 297.
  32. Hakimi, The Myth of Ghadir, p. 298-299.
  33. Hakimi, The Myth of Ghadir, p. 304.
  34. In The Memory of 'Allama Amini, p. 31.
  35. The Myth of Ghadir, p. 295; Shakiri, A Quarter of a Century with 'Allama Amini, p. 318.
  36. In the Memory of 'Allama Amini, p. 31.
  37. The Translation of al-Ghadir, vol. 1, p. 21.
  38. The Myth of Ghadir, p. 551.
  39. A Quarter of a Century with 'Allama, p. 283.
  40. The Myth of Ghadir, p. 481.

References