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Kashf al-astar (book)

Kashf al-astar (book)
Author Mirza Husayn Nuri
Original title كشْفُ الْاَسْتار عَنْ وَجْهِ الغائب عَنِ الْاَبْصار
Language Arabic
Series 1 vol.
Subject Imam al-Mahdi (a)
Published 1400/1980
Publisher Maktaba Naynawa al-Haditha

Kashf al-astār an wajh al-ghā'ib an al-abṣār (Arabic: كشْفُ الْاَسْتار عَنْ وَجْهِ الغائب عَنِ الْاَبْصار) is a book in Arabic concerning al-Imam al-Mahdi (a) written by the Shiite scholar of the fourteenth/twentieth century, Mirza Husayn Nuri (d. 1320/1902). He wrote the book when he saw a qasida by an anonymous poet in Baghdad which was sent to scholars of Najaf, in which Shi'as were ridiculed and satirized because of their belief in al-Imam al-Mahdi (a) and his Reappearance. Al-Muhaddith al-Nuri tried to respond to the qasida. Thus, he wrote Kashf al-astar in 1318 in two chapters and a conclusion.



Main article: Mirza Husayn Nuri

Mirza Husayn Nuri, known as Muhaddith Nuri, was an eminent Shi'a Muhaddith of the fourteenth/twentieth century. He is well known for his book Mustadrak al-Wasa'il. He died in 1320/1902.

Motivation for Writing

Mirza Husayn Nuri wrote the book as a rejection of a qasida by an anonymous poet in Baghdad which was sent to scholars in Najaf. The qasida was about the disagreement among Muslims over al-Mahdi. In response to the qasida, Nuri argues for the longevity and the Imamate of the Twelfth Hujja from rational principles and transmitted evidence. Here is a translation of the first two verses of the qasida:

O’ the contemporary scholars and knowledgeable people of the time! O’ the insightful people who are aware of subtleties over which thoughts are confused! Truly, my thought is in much confusion and bewilderment over the rising leader about whom people disagree, and who has caused confusions.


Nuri wrote the book in 1318 with one introduction, two chapters, and one conclusion.

  • The first chapter is about disagreements over the birth of Imam al-Mahdi (a), which makes it explicit that all Shi'as believe in the Imamate of al-Hujja b. al-Hasan al-'Askari (a) who was born in 255/869, with two stages of Occultation: Minor and Major. He cites four Sunni scholars who have confirmed the Shiite belief.
  • The second chapter tackles with objections made in the Baghdadi Qasida.
  • And the conclusion rejects the widespread accusation that Shi'as believe that the Occultation of Imam al-Mahdi (a) occurred in a cellar and his Reappearance is going to be there.


The book was first published on Jumada I 17, 1318 September 12, 1900 in lithographic print by the Print House of Hajj Ahmad Mu'ayyid al-Ulama' in Tehran. It was then published with an introduction by Sayyid Ali Milani in Maktaba Naynawa al-Haditha in Tehran in 1400/1980. It was also published in Beirut by Mu'assisat al-Nur in 1408/1988 and by Mu'assisat al-Safa' in 1431/2010.