Muntajab al-Din al-Razi
|Full Name||'Ali b. 'Ubayd Allah|
|Well-Known As||al-Shaykh Muntajab al-Din al-Razi|
|Well-Known Relatives||'Ali b. Babawayh (ancestor)|
|Professors||'Ubayd Allah b. Hasan al-Razi • Abu l-Futuh al-Razi • 'Abd al-Jalil al-Qazwini al-Razi • al-Sayyid Fadl Allah al-Rawandi|
|Students||'Abd al-Karim al-Rafi'i al-Qazwini|
|Works||al-Fihrist • al-Arba'in 'an al-arba'in fi fada'il Amir al-Mu'minin|
ʿAlī b. ʿUbayd Allāh (Arabic: عَلی بن عُبَیدالله) known as al-Shaykh Muntajab al-Dīn al-Rāzī (Arabic:الشيخ مُنتَجَب الدین الرازی) was a hadith scholar of 6th/12th century and a descendant of Ali b. Babawayh al-Qummi. He studied under many Sunni and Shi'a scholars including Abu l-Futuh al-Razi, 'Abd al-Jalil al-Qazwini al-Razi, al-Sayyid Fadl Allah al-Rawandi. 'Abd al-Karim al-Rafi'i al-Qazwini was among his distinguished students. One of his most important works is al-Fihrist which has been referred to by both great Islamic schools. It has been disagreed whether he was Shi'a or Sunni, due to his severe Taqiyya (precautionary dissimulation); while, Shi'a scholars have regarded him definitely Shi'a.
Abu l-Hasan Ali b. 'Ubayd Allah b. Hasan b. Husayn b. Ali b. Husayn b. Babawayh al-Qummi al-Razi was born in a family all of whom were distinguished Shi'a scholars in jurisprudence. His father 'Ubayd Allah was a reliable faqih, whose grandfather was Shams al-Islam Hasan known as Hasaka among great scholars in jurisprudence and a student of al-Shaykh al-Tusi.
His Teachers and Students
Muntajab al-Din associated with many distinguished hadith scholars, received permission for narrating hadith from them and many Shia and Sunni scholars were his students. Shaykh Muntajab al-Din had many teachers whom he has listed in his al-Fihrist. Al-Rafi'i has mentioned that he had many permissions for narrating hadith.
Some of his most important teachers are:
'Abd al-Karim al-Rafi'i al-Shafi'i, the author of al-Tadwin fi tarikh Qazwin was one of his most famous students.
Muntajab al-Din spent most of his time to study and benefit from his contemporary teachers and little time to write or teach and thus he has few works.
- Al-Arba'in 'an al-arba'in fi fada'il Amir al-Mu'minin containing 40 hadiths narrated from 40 teachers from 40 companions of the Prophet (s). Sayyid Muhsin Amin has mentioned the name of this book as "al-Arba'in 'an al-arba'in min al-arba'in fi fada'il Amir al-Mu'minin, Salawatullah 'alayh". Another book called Arba'in hadithan fi fada'il Ali wa arba' 'ashara hikaya fi mu'jzat Ali (a) has also been attributed to him.
- Al-Fihrist or al-Fihris, one of the most famous books in rijal, known as "Fihrist saghir" which is authentic to both Shia and Sunni scholars. He wrote these two books for 'Izz al-Din Yahya b. Abi al-Fada'il 'Alawi, naqib in Rey and Qom. This book is about biographies of hadith sources contemporary with al-Shaykh al-Tusi and after him up to the time of Muntajab al-Din. In fact, after al-Kashshi, al-Shaykh al-Tusi and al-Najashi, Muntajab al-Din wrote a book about biographies of scholars.
- A treatise on the issue of judgment
His Religious School
Shaykh Muntajab al-Din strictly dissimulated before his teachers and students and hid his works from extremist Sunni people so that his students did not know the religious school he followed until al-Rafi'i wrote, "They attribute Shaykh to Shia because his forefathers and ancestors have been from Qom, but I really doubt that the teacher Shaykh would be Shia. He wrote about virtues of the companions and prioritized Sunni narrators and greatly respected Rashidun caliphs."
That is while the author of Rawdat al-jannat wrote, "His Shiism was brighter than the sun and his works do not leave any doubt in that he was Shia."
In the Views of Great Scholars
- In the preface to Bihar al-anwar, Allama Majlisi considers him among famous hadith scholars and quotes from al-Shahid al-Thani about him that he has been accurate in recording hadiths.
- The author of Riyad al-'ulama considers him a good recorder (of hadith) and narrating many hadiths from many sources.
- Al-Rafi'i, among his students, regarded him perfect in listening, recording, keeping and collecting hadith.
- Al-Hurr al-'Amili mentions him with titles such as "a truthful reliable one", "a keeper hadith scholar" and Allama.
- Shaykh Abbas Qummi has mentioned him "a reliable Shaykh", "knowledgeable scholar", "truthful hadith scholar", "Shaykh of the companions" and "a pole of hadith scholars".
There is a disagreement about the date of his demise. Al-Rafi'i has mentioned it after 585/1189.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from علی بن عبیدالله رازی in Farsi Wikishia.