Mawsu`t al-`Aqaid al-Islamiya

(Encyclopedia of Islamic Beliefs)

Muhammad Muhammadi Rayshahri

With the collaboration of Rida Berenjkar and Abdulhadi Mas`udi,

2004, Five Volumes, Arabic

Dar al-Hadith, Qom, Iran

Just like other divine religions, Islam is a set of beliefs and prac­tices. In the first place, religion ref­ers to the beliefs, for its place is the soul and heart of man and then from there it spreads to the body and its limbs.

Inference, elaboration and pro­tection of the Islamic beliefs are the main tasks of scholastic theology (apologetics). In order to ded­uce and infer decrees from the religious teachings, the theolo­gian needs a complete, organized set of the convictional Qur­anic verses and hadiths, as a jurisprudent needs a complete set of the jurisprudential Quranic verses and hadiths.

Mawsu`t al-`Aqaid al-Islamiya is an attempt to offer an org­anized set of the convictional Quranic verses and hadiths along with their explanation and analysis on the basis of the Quran and Hadith. The present study focuses on three issues: 1- Coll­ection of the convictional Quranic verses and hadiths, 2- Top­ical arrangement of the collected verses and hadiths, and 3- Ana­lysis of significant issues, solution of probable contradi­ctions and providing answers to the related questions and ambi­guities.

If the main task of a theologian is divided into two parts, that is, deduction and inference of the Islamic beliefs and their pro­tection, the present study covers the first part and a major chunk of the second part; for in order to defend and protect the Isla­mic beliefs, in the first place they should be organized and then explained, and finally attempts should be made to prove them, answer the obscurities and questions as well as respond to the opposite viewpoints.

The main parts of the present study are: Reason and Ignor­ance, Knowledge and Philosophy, Knowing God, Divine Jus­tice, Prophethood, Imamate, Resurrection, Cosmology, Reli­gi­ons and Religious Sects. Research on the first three subjects has been completed and published in five volumes.

The first volume covers reason and ignorance while the second volume covers knowledge and philosophy. The next three volumes are about knowing God that have been divided into five parts: Knowing God, Monotheism, Names of God, God’s affirmative attributes and God’s negative (apaphatic) attributes. The first part focuses on the general theological iss­ues (such as the value of Knowing God and those who lead to this knowledge), Sources and Ways of Knowing God, Role of the Knowledge of Creatures in Knowing the Creator, the Eff­ects and Horizons of Knowing God, Veils of Knowledge of God, , and Obstacles in the Way of Knowing God). In the sec­ond part the value and grades of monotheism have been discus­sed. The third part focuses on the issues related to meaning and the number of Divine Names, the Grand Name, and Role of God’s Name in the Management of the Universe. The fourth part offers a general explanation of the Names and Attributes and then each and every one of the major Names and important affirmative attributes of God are discussed in details. Also be­fore Presenting the Quranic verses and hadiths related to each Name, some explanations have been given about their literal meaning as well as the meaning of the same Name in the Quran and hadith. The fifth part focuses on the negative (apaphatic) attributes of God.

Some of bibliographical data of the present study are given below:

1- The hadiths related to each subject have been collected from the Shi`ite and Sunni sources and arranged along with the Quranic verses.

2- The hadiths of each subject have been arranged just like a tree while each subject has been divided into subtitles and sub­topics to facilitate research.

3- Every subject has an introduction, which includes the had­iths of the related topics and conclusion of the contents of the hadiths.

4- In the beginning and conclusion of most parts of the Encyclopedia, the commentaries, recapitulations, analyses or criticisms of the con­tents have been given.

5- The issues related to the convictional principles have been discussed thoroughly. Attempts have been made to cover all the related subjects while brevity has been taken into consideration and repetition of similar hadiths has been avoided.

6- The related subjects have been referred to each other.

7- The bombastic concepts or words have been explained in the footnotes.

8- Complementary explanations have been given in cases that require elucidation (such as superficial contradictions between the hadiths).

9- In order to support the hadith-based texts, the hadiths whose sources have been identified from the most reliable exis­ting sources, have been given in the footnotes in the order of their authenticity.

10- A comprehensive table of contents has been given at the end of the final volume of the collection to facilitate easy access to its contents.

The upcoming volumes of the collection will discuss other convictional principles of Islam (such as Divine Justice, Pro­phethood, Imamate, and Resurrection) from the viewpoint of the Quran and Hadith.

The Persian translation of this work along with its Arabic text has been published with the following bibliographical data: En­cy­clopedia of Islamic Belief, trans. Ridha Berenjkar, Abdal-Hadi Masu'di, Mahdi Mehrizi and Ali Naghi Khodayari, Qom, Dar al-Hadith 1st edition, 2006, 7 volumes.

The collection was selected as the best work in religious stu­dies at the Fifth Conference of the Researchers of the country in 2004.

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