Mawsu`t al-Imam Ali  bin Abi Talib fi al-Kitab wa al-Sunnata wa al-Tarikh

(Encyclopedia of Imam Ali  bin Abi Talib in the Book, Sunnah and History)

Muhammad Muhammadi Rayshahri

With the collaboration of Sayyed Mohammad Kazem Taba­tabi, Sayyed Mahmud Tabatabinejad,

1st ed., 2000, 12 Volumes, Arabic

 Dar al-Hadith, Qom, Iran

Relying on the holy Quran, hadith and history, Mawsu`t al-Imam Ali  bin Abi Talib discusses various aspects of Imam Ali ’s life from birth to marty­rdom.

The compilation of the work took more than ten years. Besides the holy Quran, the Hadith and historical texts, the present work has relied on many modern research studies. After doing a lot of research and stud­ying almost all available hist­orical sources, commentaries and hadiths, the author of the coll­ection and his colleagues at the Research Cen­ter of Dar al-Hadith chose the best of them for the present study. The sel­ection and presentation of the texts are based on the practiced principles and rules of fiqh al-Hadith (Understanding of Had­ith) and criticism of historical texts. In order to reject or accept the quotations, viewpoints and ideas of the tradi­tionists and hist­orians. The authors rel­ied on contextual conformities of the texts as well as their rational evaluation and their assessment on the basis of the Quran, Sunnah and established historical facts. The present work is not merely a compilation of the sayings of Imam Ali  or historical texts about him, rather it introduces his personality, discusses his life from birth to martyrdom and also explains the time and space of his valuable sayings. This app­roach provides the reader with an opportunity to fully com­prehend the true mea­ning, depth and philosophy of the stances and re­marks of the Imam (PBUH). Hence, his useful, some­times leng­thy, state­me­nts have been put in th­eir proper places related to the ori­ginal chapters and te­xts so that the reader would be able to reach a co­mprehensive, encompassing docu­mented analysis. Most of these stat­ements like many chapters of the book are about the daily needs and try to provide answers to the ques­tions and problems of today’s Muslim societies. They include the political insight of the Imam, Alawid reforms, psycho­analysis of the Insurgents (Kharijites), the period of lone­liness and suffering of the Imam and how he dealt with the opp­onents and treated them.

The 12-volume study is 4,500 pages containing 6738 hist­orical texts and hadiths with more than 30,000 references and about 570 Shi`ite and Sunni sources (320 Sunni and 250 Shi`ite sources). A brief introduction of the sixteen chapters of the study is given below.

Chapter I: Genealogy of Imam Ali  (PBUH)

The first chapter discusses the dynasty, the birthplace and the environment where he grew up, private life, personality of par­ents, names, titles, nicknames, mode of life, marriages, wives, and children of ImamAli  (PBUH).

Chapter II: Imam Ali  (PBUH) with the Prophet (PBUH)

The second chapter discusses the companionship of Imam Ali  (PBUH) with the Holy Prophet (PBUH) from the early days of Bi’tha (appointment as a prophet onto mankind) to his demise and also demonstrates his presence on the side of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in all occasions in order to pave the way for the rule of Islam in the society. Also it discusses the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) efforts right from Bi'tha, when he was ordained as God's messenger up to his departure, to elucidate the position of Imam Ali  after his demise. 

Chapter III: Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) Efforts for the Leadership of Imam Ali (PBUH)

The third chapter maintains that besides the event of Ghadir – wich was the peak of Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) continuous effo­rts in com­pleting his mission, His Holiness spared no efforts up to the end of his life to emphasize on the leadership of Imam Ali .

Chapter IV: Imam Ali (PBUH) after the Holy Prophet (PBUH)

Chapter IV provides answers to the following questions: why the Prophet’s (PBUH) desire for the future did not materialize? Why Imam Ali (PBUH) kept silent in the aftermath of the dep­arture of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) until he was elected as the ruler? Also in the course of reporting the events that took place in the aftermath of the departure of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and those during the caliphate of Uthman and  the people’s up­rising against him, sagacious stances of the Leader of the Sages have been discussed.

Chapter V: Imam Ali’s (PBUH) Policies

The fifth chapter discusses in length the way Imam Ali (PBUH) came to power, his reforms, his fundamentals in carrying out the reforms and the reflections of the reforms in the society. The review of most pivotal fundamentals of Imam Ali (PBUH) in carrying out the reforms in the cultural, economic, social, judicial, and security fields is among the most important sub­jects of this chapter. The political viewpoints of the Imam, the reasons for the stability of the governments, the reasons for the weakness and fall of governments, ways of intergovernmental cooperation, etc. are among other important subjects discussed in this chapter.

Chapter VI: Imam Ali’s Battles

The fifth chapter discusses the reasons and roots of the seditions and plots that surfaced during the caliphate of Imam Ali. It also discusses the plots of the Disloyals (Nakithin), the Illegitimate Claimants of Power (Qasetin) and the Defectors who later wa­ged an armed uprising (Mariqin) against the Imam and who resisted the reforms of the Imam and his principled, inflexible stances vis-à-vis the divine rights and values and the rights of the people.

Chapter VII: The Period of Loneliness of Imam Ali (PBUH)

This chapter discusses the concluding years of Imam Ali’s rule when he was engaged in thwarting the plots and facing the plot­ters. His statements relating to those years are full of pang, suffering. It was during this period that Egypt fell and the most faithful, loyal, effective and courageous com­panion of the Imam, that is, Malik Ashtar, fell martyr, agoni­zing and renting the heart of the Imam. The seventh chapter is an account of the loneliness of the Imam, the account of opp­ression inflicted on him, the inequities against him, and the ref­lection of his lone­liness.

Chapter VIII: Martyrdom of Imam Ali (PBUH)

The present chapter discusses the way of martyrdom of Imam Ali (PBUH), his instructive statements up to his martyrdom, the stances of the most staunch enemy of the Imam and his reaction after hearing the news of the Imam’s (PBUH) martyrdom, the burial of the Imam, the hiding of the Imam’s grave, and finally the subject of visiting the Imam's shrine and its blessings.

Chapter IX: Imam Ali (PBUH) in Viewpoint of others

The ninth chapter elaborates on the personality of the Imam (PBUH) from the viewpoint of the Quran, the Holy Prophet (PBUH), the Imam himself, Hadhrat Zahra, the Most Purified (PBUH), the Household of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), the Prophet’s Companions, the Prophet’s wives and a number of out­standing scientific, cultural and political figures as well as some poets, literati, and orators and even the enemies of the Imam.

Chapter X: Characteristics of Imam Ali (PBUH)

The tenth chapter discusses the characteristics of Imam Ali in the light of the Quranic verses and historical reports. Also his con­victional, ethical, and practical, political and social chara­cteristics as well as his endeavors in the holy wars and battles have been discussed in details in separate sections.

Chapter XI: Knowledge of Imam Ali (PBUH)

The eleventh chapter discusses the scientific status and know­ledge of Imam Ali (PBUH) in various fields. Also his teachings in various fields such as divinity, ontology, psychology, edu­cation, sociology, ethics, history, literature and poetry have been classified under a topic entitled: “Some Radiations of His Know­ledge”.  

Chapter XII: Imam Ali’s (PBUH) Judgments

The twelfth chapter discusses various aspects of the judgments of Imam Ali (PBUH) in four sections. In the first section of this chapter the status of the Imam as “the best judge” - according to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) - has been discussed. Some judgments of the Imam during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), those in the aftermath of the Holy Prophet’s departure as well as during his own caliphate have been reported here.

Chapter XIII: Imam Ali’s Virtues

The present chapter reproduces some accounts of the spiritual power, Universal Wilaya and manifestations of divine vice­gerency (khalifatullahi) of the Imam. He who was a sublime manifestation of the Divine power and grandeur.  Acce­ptance of the supplications, speaking of the unseen and invi­sibles as well as some miraclcs such as retuning the sun, which is a unique, wonderful miracle by itself, etc, are some of those man­ifestations.

Chapter VIX: Loving the Imam

The fourteenth chapter emphasizes on the love and devotion for the Imam, and discusses the blessings associated with his love and the char­acteristics of his true lovers, while a separate section has been assigned to the nece­ssity of avoidance of any exaggeration regar­ding the love of the Imam.

Chapter XV: Hostility towards the Imam

The present chapter focuses on the issue of hostility towards the Imam while the reasons for such hostilities, the damages of these hostilities, the real face of some of his greatest enemies, their failure in concealing the Imam’s bright face, etc. have been elucidated.

Chapter XVI: The Imam’s Companions and Executives

A brief account of the personality of a number of companions and executives of the Imam has been reproduced in this chapter.

The bibliographical data of the Persian translation of the collection are: Encyclopedia of the Commander of Faithful on the Basis of the Quran, Hadith and History, trans. Abdulhadi Mas`udi, Mohammad Ali Sultani, Mahdi Mehrizi, Sayyed Ab­ulqasem Hosseini (Zharfa), and Javad Mohadethi, Qom: 2003, 13 volumes.

The Volume 13 of the translated collection contains the top­ical index and other contents of the entire collection. In this volume, the entire encyclopedia has been indexed in a precise manner on the basis of topics and subtopics. There are about 3,000 main entries and tens of thousands of related indexes of the collection in this volume. The indexes of this collection are so frequent that some of its entries such as Ali  (PBUH) con­stitute about 50 pages with hundreds of indexes. The indexes of this collection give proper clues to the researchers of history and religion to all exiting information of the collection, facili­tating their easy access to the issues of their interest. The ind­exing of the present collection was carried out by Mohammad Moradi.

Mawsu`t al-Imam Ali  bin Abi Talib fi al-Kitab wa al-Sun­nata wa al-Tarikh was selected as the Best Book in the second round of the Wilayat Book of the Year in 2000. The translation of the collection was also selected as the Best Translation in the sixth round of the Wilayat Book of the Year.

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