Islamic Scholars

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Islamic Scholars
Ayatullah Sayyid 'Ali Sistani
Ayatollah Sayed Mohamad Baqir Al-Hakim
Ayatullah Sayyid Mahammad Baqir Al-Sadr
Allamah Sayyid Saeed Akhter Rizvi
Haji Gulamali Haji Ismail (Haji Naji)
Ayatullah Al-Mar'ashi An-Najafi
Hujjatul Islam Sayyid Musa Sadr
Ayatollah Seyyed Abul Qasim Al-Khui
Ayatollah Ruhullah Musavi Khomeini
Mohammad Fazel Lankarani
Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Khamene'i
Ayatullah Sayyid Muhsin Al-Hakeem
Ayatullah Sayyid Mohammad Raza Gulpaygani
Ayatullah Sayyid Husain Burojirdi
Usman ibn Sayeed
Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Usman
Abul Qasim Husain ibn Ruh
Abul Hasan ali-ibn Muhammad Samarri
Seyyid Dildar Ali
Mufti Mohammad Abbas
Seyyid Hamid Husain
Seyyid Najmul Hasan
Sayyid Hussein Al-Habsyi

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Ayatullah Sayyid 'Ali seestani

Born: Rabi'ul Awwal, 1349/1930

Mashad was his place of origin and

education, where he was born in a

family renowned for its knowledge and

piety, and where he studied until he

joined Dars-e-Kharij of Mirza Mahdi


In 1368, he moved to Qum and

attended the lectures of Ayatullah

Burojirdi (in Fiqh and rijal) and

Ayatullah Kuhkamra'i. Then in 1371, he

went to Najaf and joined Dars-e-Kharij

of Sayyid Mohsin Al-Hakeem, Shaykh

Husain Al-Hilli and Sayyid Al-Khou'i. He

attended the latter's Dars-e-Kharij in

Fiqh and Usule-fiqh for more than ten years.
In 1380, he was given Ijazahs of Ijtihad by Sayyid Al-Khou'i and

Shaykh Al-Hilli. In 1381, he started his own Dars-e-Kharij of Fiqh,

using Al-Makasib and Al-Urwatul wuthqa as his main texts.
In 1384, he also began Dars-e-Kharij in Usule-Fiqh, and by 1411

had completed its third series. Ayatullah seestani's humility is

reflected in his simple attire and small rented house in Najaf where

he lives.

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Ayatollah Sayed Mohamad Baqir Al-Hakim

Ayatollah Sayed Mohamad Baqir

Al-Hakim, was born in 1939, is the

son of the late Grand Ayatollah

Muhsin AI-Hakim (who was the

spiritual leader for the Shia in world in

the period 1955-1970). Al-Hakim

family is a well known religious Iraqi

family loved and respected by millions

of Shia Muslims in Iraq and

throughout the Muslim world. Since

the age of 25 Sayed Al-Hakim, who

was born, brought up and studied

religion in Najaf - Iraq (the holy city

for Shia in the world). He was

distinguished scholar and personal

religious/political representative of

the late Grand Ayatollah AI-Hakim

throughout Iraq.
Sayed Al-Hakim was a co-founder of the Islamic political movement

in Iraq established in the late fifties, along with the late

distinguished leader Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir Al-Sadr and

other scholars. Ever since Sayed Al-Hakim maintained close

association with Ayatollah Al-Sadr up to the martyrdom of Ayatollah

Al-Sadr in 1980. In 1972 Sayed Al-Hakim was arrested and tortured

by the Bathist regime. He was released after a wide spread popular

pressure on the regime. In 1977 he was re-arrested following the

people's uprising in Feb. 1977 in Najaf, and immediately sentenced

to life imprisonment by special court without any trial. He was

released in July 1979 following huge public pressure on the regime.
Sayed Al-Hakim's association with Ayatollah Al-Sadr continued after

his release in 1979 when Ayatollah Al-Sadr was put under house

arrest. At this point Sayed Al-Hakim assumed responsibility of

conducting clandestine contact with Ayatollah Al-Sadr up to April

1980 when Ayatollah Al-Sadr was murdered by Saddam's regime.

Sayed Al- Hakim decided then to leave Iraq in 1980 shortly after the

eruption of war between Iraq and Iran, Sayed Al-Hakim played a

prominent role in the deliberations leading to the establishment of

the Supreme Council of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq (SCIRI) in

November 1982.

Saddam's regime reacted violently to Sayed Al-Hakim's leading

political activity in SCIRI and arrested 125 members of his family in

1983. Subsequently 18 members of his family were executed.

Despite this ordeal and the assassination of his brother Sayed Mahdi

Al-Hakim in Sudan Jan. 1988, Sayed Al-Hakim continued his political

activities against Saddam's regime. Beside his political activities,

Sayed Al-Hakim is a leading member of several Islamic associations.

He is also the author of many books on Islamic and political


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Ayatullah Sayyid Mahammad Baqir Al-Sadr

Born: 1353/1934

Martyred: 1400/ 9th April, 1980
A genius who charted new paths for his

academic pursuit; a revivalist who called

the people to return to Islam; a thinker

who equipped the Muslims with

ideological Ammunitions to fight

un-islamic'isms'; and a leader who

inflamed the youth's hearts with love of

For seven centuries, classifications of

the chapters of Fiqh followed the

system of Muhaqqiq Hilli; no one

thought that it could be improved, until

baqir Al-Sadr wrote his Al-Fatawi al-Wazihah. His Iqtisaduna

opened people's eyes to the fact that Islam had it's own economic

system totally different from materialistic systems of capitalism,

socialism, and communism. Hizb 'd-da'wah was established by

martyrs Baqir Al-Sadr and Mahdi Hakeem (with blessings of Muhsin

Al-Hakeem) to combat the Ba'thists' anti-Islamic onslaught; youths

answered their call and Islam began its manifest revival. This

unnerved the Ba'thist vicious regime.
They imprisoned Sayyid Baqir Al-Sadr and his learned sister

Bintul-Huda (Amina); and killed them after subjecting them to

utmost tortures.

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Allamah Sayyid Saeed Akhter Rizvi

Born: 1st Rajab, 1345 / 5th January,

A faqih and muhaddith, an expert in

tafseer and scholastic theology, a rijali

and historian, an author and speaker, a

poet and a linguist.

His sincere zeal, armed with these

qualities, has made him one of the

greatest Muballighs the Shia world has

ever known. He initiated the plan of

tabligh among Africans; is a Founder

and Chief Missionary of Bilal Muslim

Mission of Tanzania. His books and

correspondence have been instrumental

in spreading the Orignal Islam from Philippines to Guyana.
Before him Tabligh among Africans was taboo; his endeavours have

turned in into a badge of honour; and now many youths spend their

times in various Tabligh activities. He speaks and writes in Urdu,

English, Arabic, Persian and Kiswahili; and knows Hindi and Gujarati.

More than one hundred books are to his credit; some of them have

been translated into seventeen languages. He has been given

Ijazah by fourteen Grand Ayatullahs for riwayah, Qazawah, and


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Haji Gulamali Haji Ismail (Haji Naji)

Born: Bombay, 1864

Died: Bombay, 1942
Haji Naji has put the Gujrati speaking

Shi'a world under his obligation for ever.

Among the pioneers who separated from

Aga Khan community, he dedicated his

life to religion.
He started his Gujrati magazine,

Rah-e-Najat, in Dhul Qa'da, 1310 A.H.

from Bhavnagar, India. Four years later,

he bought a printing press in

Ahmadabad, and moved there.
He wrote and published nearly 300 books

on tafsir, du'as, majlises, marthiyas,

sermons anf fiqh. Even when his house was burnt down in

November 1932, consuming all books and manuscripts and

destroying the press, Haji Naji with exemplary fortitude established

new press and Rah-e-Najat continued.

He died of heart attack in 1942 in Bombay.

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Ayatullah Al-Mar'ashi An-Najafi

Born: 20 Safar, 1315

Died: 7 Safar, 1411
Ayatullah Sayyid Shahabuddeen

Al-Mar'ashi An-Najafi was a model of

piety. Whatever came into his hands, he

spent it all on his library, Madrasah,

students and teachers. His own

expenses were kept within the limits of

his small personal income. Hajj never

became wajib on him.

Containing more than 300,000 books

and more than 28,000 rare manuscripts,

his library is world famous and an

everlasting monument. Ayatullah

Al-Mar'ashi An-Najafi's collection was all

done single-handedly, sometimes selling his robe to buy a rare book.

Another academic memorial is his "Addenda" to Ihqaqul Haqq of the

martyr Nurullah Shustari (Agra). The orignal work would not take more

than 3 volumes. Ayatullah Al-Mar'ashi has extended it to 34 volumes.
He had the unique distinction of having Ijazah of riwayah from nearly 400

mashayekh- Shia, Sunni, Zaidiyah-ranging from Egypt and Jabal 'Amil to

India and Indonesia.

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Hujjatul Islam Sayyid Musa Sadr

The Shia's constitute nearly 50% of the

Lebanese population. Backward in

education and economy, thay had no

identity of their own, until Sayyid Musa

Sadr came to Surcir in 1379.

Respected scholar, Sayyid 'Abdul

Husayn Sharafudden (died 1379) had

nominated him as his sucessor, and

Ayatullah Sayyid Husain Burojirdi

encouraged him to go there.
Sayyid Musa Sadr organised them

properly and established numerous

educational and vocational institutions

for males and females for all age group.

In 1967, he toured seven West African countries to see the

conditions of Lebanese Shia's who had settled there. In 1969, with

full support of the country's President and the Parliament, he

established the Supreme Council of the Shi'ite Muslims of Lebanon.

This Supreme Council gave them confidence and earned for them

honour and respect. in 1978, he went to Libya to discuss the

Palestinian issue. The moment he set foot on the Libyan soil, he


May Allah grant him his freedom.

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Ayatollah Seyyed Abul Qasim Al-Khui

The Muslim world has lost one of its

brightest stars when, at 3:13 pm on

Saturday, Safar 8, 1413 (August 8,

1992), Ayatullah al-Uzma (Grand or

Supreme Ayatullah, the highest

theological degree in Shi'a Islam)

Abul-Qasim al-Khoei died at his Kufa

home of heart failure. He was born on

Rajab 15, 1317 A.H. (November 19,

1899) at Khoei in Iranian Azerbaijan,

heartland of many great Shi'a thinkers

and sufis, ascetics. Even in his early

childhood, al-Khoei was versed in

religious Persian and Arabic poetry and

languages, and in Turkish as well.

It was in 1330 A.H./1912 A.D. that

al-Khoei, who was then only thirteen years old, migrated to al-Najaf

al-Ashraf, Iraq, in pursuit of knowledge. Even then, he was

characterized by brilliance and a readiness to absorb knowledge and

scholarship. In all stages of his study and research, progress and

success were his companions.


Ten centuries ago, a university-type hawza was founded by the

most knowledgeable person then alive, namely shaikh Muhammad ibn

al-Hassan al-Toosi, may Allah have mercy on his soul. Al-Toosi was

an intellectual giant, a genius by all standards, and a man who was

able to absorb various types of knowledge and science. He was the

undisputed authority in fiqh, the founder of the science of hadith,

an innovative mentor of the science of usool, nay, the scholar of

scholars in all branches of knowledge related to the science of

biographies, akhlaq, and ilm al kalam. Thus did al-Toosi lay the

foundation for the hawza which has been functioning since then, i.e.

since 449 A.H.

Since that year, this blessed hawza has passed through three

significant periods: The first extended from its year of establishment

till early tenth century; the second period started from then and

ended at the early twelfth century; the third period started from

then and continued till our present time. During each of these

periods, certain personalities rose to distinction and contributed to

the development and improvement of the functions of this great

university; here is their short list:

1) Those who were distinguished during the first period included the

founder, Shaikh al-Toosi, his son al-Hassan ibn Muhammad ibn

al-Hassan who is well known as Abu Ali al-Toosi, and Abul-Nasr

Muhammad ibn Abu Ali ibn Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn al-Hassan

2) Scholars whose star shone during its second period were many;

among them are: al-Muqaddas Ahmed ibn Muhammad al-Ardabili,

then the lighthouse of knowledge Jamalud-Deen al-Hassan ibn

Zaynul-Deen, the Second Martyr, then Shaikh Ahmed ibn Isma'eel

al-Jazairi, author of Ayat al Ahkam, then both famous scholars

Sayyid Muhammad Mahdi Bahr al-Uloom and Shaikh Ja'far

3) Men of this period are innumerable, yet the most renown among

them are: Sayyid Muhammad Mahdi Bahr al-Uloom, Shaikh Ja'far

Kashiful-Ghita, Shaikh Muhammad Hussain al-Najafi, author of Al

Jawahir, Shaikh al-Ansari, author of Al Makasib wal Rasaail,

Muhammad Kazim al-Khurasani, author of Al Kifayah, and Sayyid

Muhammad Kazim al-Yazdi, author of Al Urwah. Less renown were

scholars such as Mirza Hussain al-Naeeni, Shaikh Muhammad Hussain

al-Isfahani, Shaikh Diyaud-Deen al-Iraqi, Sayyid Abul-Hassan

al-Isfahani, and Sayyid Muhsin al-Tabatabai al-Hakim (the grand

Ayatullah who preceded the late grand Ayatullah Abul-Qasim

al-Khoei). The list is concluded by men of genius such as Abul-Qasim

al-Moosawi al-Khoei, may Allah be pleased with him, during whose

period the hawza became like a bee-hive, full of energy and

productivity and scholarly competition. Some scholars have

described this particular period as the period of the Renaissance of

the hawza, while others refer to it as the period of the perfection of

scholarship due to the large number of those who proved their

genius and due to the huge public demand from Arab and non-Arab

seekers of knowledge to study there.

If we were to research the fountainheads that nurtured the intellect

of the late al-Khoei, we will come across a list of the finest among

all contemporary scholars such as Shaikh Fath-Allah who is better

known as Shaikh al-Sharee'a al-Isfahani, Shaikh Mahdi

al-Mazandarani, Shaikh Diyaud-Deen al-Iraqi, Shaikh Muhammad

Hussain al-Kampani al-Isfahani, Shaikh Muhammad Hussain

al-Naeeni, Shaikh Muhammad Jawad al-Balaghi, and others. All of

these men were considered as pioneers in the fields of their

specialization. The impact of these men on shaping the mind of the

late al-Khoei is best described by al-Khoei himself who has said,
"I have learned from each one of them a complete

course in the science of usool, and digested a number of

books in the science of fiqh, for many years. I used to

provide a critique of the research relevant of each one

of them before a number of scholars who specialized in

that branch of knowledge, and my audience included a

good number of very highly respected scholars.

Al-Naeeni, may Allah have mercy on his soul, was the

last mentor I used to accompany more frequently than

anyone else."

If you read Al Bayan fee Tafseer al Qur'an, you will most likely think

it was written by al-Balaghi, may Allah rest his soul in piece, but

worded by al-Khoei!

The above covers the stage of the life of al-Khoei when he was a

student. This chapter deals with his being a professor who taught

the most significant stages of theological studies in Islam, namely

the stages of al sutooh and al kharij, which may be compared to the

M.A. and Ph.D. respectively. Al-Khoei, may Allah be pleased with

him, colored both stages with his own hue and stamped them with

his own stamp; thus, a new generation of scholars graduated from

his school; nay! A whole new generation of scholars graduated from

his school as masters of the sciences of fiqh, usool, hadith, ilm al

rijal, tafseer, and ilm al kalam. Roughly translated, these sciences

may be said to be the sciences of jurisprudence, basics of

jurisprudence, traditions, biographies, exegesis, interpretation of the

Holy Qur'an, and theological philosophy, respectively.

Al-Khoei had his own style in teaching and tutoring. Those who

graduated from his courses describe his method of teaching as

immaculately minute, stunningly easy and clear, amazingly logical.

They say that there is neither undue complexity nor ambiguity in his

style, and this can be said about all the courses he taught. How

was his style in discussing and debating? The answer to this

question is provided by one of his students: the struggling scientist,

the pioneer and the shining star Shaikh Muhammad Jawad

Maghniyyah who has said the following in this regard:
"He [al-Khoei] was like the sun that sends its rays

everywhere, all the time. He was my professor and the

professor of all other scholars at al-Najaf al-Ashraf, and

the pivot round which the motion of scholarship

revolved, and to whom the hawza is indebted for

appreciation and loyalty... His was the golden age during

which stars such as al-Shaikh al-Ansari and al-Shaikh

al-Khurasani and their disciples shone... He remained [at

the hawza] for more than seventy years learning,

teaching, writing, helping scholars graduate, debating

newcomers as well as alumni... His style in discussing

and debating is that of Socrates: He deliberately feigns

his lack of knowledge and pretends to accept the

argument of the other party, then he confronts him with

doubts and assails him with questions. He pretends to

seek benefit and guidance from his opponent, just as a

student or an inquirer may do, so much so that when

the poor debater innocently and with naivete provides

an answer, he sharply assails him, pouncing down on him

like an eagle and dragging him to show him the facts

that support his own argument and from which the

opponent cannot rescue himself. He then causes his

opponent to unknowingly contradict himself, forcing him

to admit his error and ignorance."


In order to demonstrate the extent of contribution of his late

holiness al-Khoei, consider the following facts:
* Shaikh Murtada al-Ansari founded and polished the science of

usool more than a century and a half ago;

* Shaikh Murtada al-Ansari continued learning then teaching this

science for more than twenty five years;

* Al-Mirza Habib al-Rashti dedicated thirty years of his life to the

study of this science alone;

* Shaikh al-Akhoond al-Khurasani continued his studies of this

science for more or less than twenty years;

* Al-Mirza al-Naeeni continued studying this science for twenty-five

years and a few months;

* Shaikh Diyaud-Deen al-Iraqi dedicated more than thirty years of

his life to the study of this science;

* Shaikh al-Kampani Muhammad Hussain al-Isfahani was

distinguished by the fact that he spent thirty years of his life

studying only this science;
* Al-Sayyid Abul-Qasim al-Khoei passed the stage of usool and

continued teaching the much more advanced stage of al kharij for

more than fifty years...! The number of his graduates is estimated

at tens of thousands...

In order to form an idea about what this stage involves, let us ask

its professor himself about it, for surely his answer is more precise

than that of anyone else. He, may Allah be pleased with him, says:
"I have taught extensively, delivering numerous lectures

in fiqh, usool, and tafsir, nurturing a large number of

highly respected students at the hawza of al-Najaf

al-Ashraf. I delivered my lectures in the stage of al

kharij for two complete courses utilizing the scholarly

achievements of his holiness al-Shaikh al-Ansari, the

greatest mentor, may Allah be pleased with him, and I

taught a number of other books as well. Then I taught

two complete courses related to the Book of Salat

(prayers). On Rabi' al-Awwal 27, 1377 A.H. I started

teaching Al Urwah al Wuthqa by the faqih of the school

of thought al-Sayyid Muhammad Kazim al-Tabatabai

al-Yazdi, starting with the Book of Tahara (cleanliness),

after having taught ijtihad and taqleed. I continued, by

the Grace of Allah, doing so for a good while till I

reached the Book of Ijarah which I started teaching on

Rabi' al-Thani 26, 1400 A.H., finishing it in the month of

Safar of the year 1401 A.H. I delivered my lectures in

the science of usool, in the stage of al kharij for six

complete courses, concluding them with the research on

al didd. During the past few years, I have been teaching

the exegesis of the Holy Qur'an till circumstances

beyond my control forced me to terminate them..."
Books written by al-Khoei and already published have already

numbered ninety, not counting his numerous manuscripts. The

topics his writings have covered include Islamic law, religious

biographies, philosophy and commentary of the Holy Qur'an. His best

known books of guidance are being used today throughout the Shi'a

world, and they have been reprinted numerous times, and every

Shi'a country in the world boasts eminent scholars who were his

students. This figure demonstrates the power of his overflowing pen

despite his numerous responsibilities as the spiritual leader of two

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