Exir Al-Ebadat Fi Asrar Al-Shahadat (Book)

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The book Exir Al-Ebadat Fi Asrar Al-Shahadat is about the rise and martyrdom of Imam Hussain and the events after it.

About the author[edit | edit source]

Mulla Agha bin Abid Darbandi Shirwani Haeri, known as Fazel Darbandi, is a Shia jurist who considered himself more knowledgeable than Ayatollah Najafi (known as Jewel Owner) and Sheikh Ansari. He was polemical and with his power in argument, he could prove any false statement and criticize any correct statement. According to Mohammad Tonkaboni, Darbandi was one of the students of Sharif al-Ulama Mazandarani, who used to complain and argue in the classroom and sometimes he said: forty or fifty objections to such and such a thing. The late Sharif al-Ulama used to say that if you make one good objection, that would be enough. This happened many times that the classroom was disrupted and Sharif al-Ulama would say: Take him out of the classroom. So the other students grabbed his arm and kicked him out of the class. When he reached the door, he would say: “O students! I left, but you do not accept these words, because this man's words are wrong.” Darbandi used to faint from crying during the presentation of the tragedy of Hazrat Seyyed al-Shohada on the pulpit, and on the day of Ashura, he used to take off his clothes and wrap a cloth around himself, pour dirt on his head, rub mud on his body, and go to the pulpit with this appearance.

Darbandi, who is said to call himself a Hossein Allahi (a follower of the Hossein Allah school of thought), was the founder of Tatbir (also called Qama Zani which is a form of ritual bloodletting, practiced as an act of mourning among some Shias) and more likely its promoter. Abdullah Mostofi writes about him: "Injuring the body with a razor on the day of Ashura is one of the things that this mullah included in mourning or made it public and considered the forbidden act to be a reward divinely."

Darbandi has three books about Imam Hussain:

  1. Sarmaye Iman va Javaher Ighan
  2. Saadat Naseri
  3. Exir Al-Ebadat Fi Asrar Al-Shahadat (known as Asrar al-Shahadah)

The translation of the first and second books and the summary of the third book were also published with the title of the third book.

About the book[edit | edit source]

Fazel Darbandi has praised this book many times and said: This book is not like other Maqtal books, which are only compiled. The amount of thought and effort I put into writing it, is no less than my other books.” Mulla Saleh Qazvini also said: "This book deserves to be written in gold."

Fazel Darbandi states the reason for authoring Exir Al-Ebadat Fi Asrar Al-Shahadat as follows: I saw in a dream my father-in-law, Mulla Mohammad Taghi Irwani, who was a pious, honest, trustworthy, devout, and ascetic man, who commissioned me to write the book.

Modares Tabrizi has written about the Exir Al-Ebadat Fi Asrar Al-Shahadat: "To be fair, this book as well as other Maqtal books written by him contains unreal content due to his extreme love for Imam Hussain."

Sayyed Mohsen Amin also says: “Sayyed Mohsen Amin also says: "Darbandi has written strange things in Exir Al-Ebadat Fi Asrar Al-Shahadat and raised issues that cannot be trusted... He has told illusory content in most of his narrative books. He has even suggested things that are not believable from a rational point of view and have no evidence as well."

The three prominent features of this book are:

  1. Being analytical: In Exir Al-Ebadat, unlike other Maqtal books, not only the description of the events and compilation of news but also their analysis and how to collect them have been discussed. This feature of the book is because the author was skilled in logic and had a creative mind.
  2. Being detailed: Exir Al-Ebadat is one of the few detailed books about Imam Hussain, and until the time of its authoring, no book had been prepared such detailed.
  3. Being distortive: Not only there are many superstitions, fabrications, distortions, and legends in this book, but the author has also justified them and provided reasons for their validity. The following items caused the author to be involved in distortions:
  • Quoting unreliable hadiths is permissible. (Ref: Vol. 1, p. 500 and Vol. 2, p. 242, 499, and 509).
  • Quoting anonymous books is permissible (cf. Vol. 1, p. 501 and Vol. 2, p. 242-243).
  • Instead of quoting authentic news, the author has used his imagination and made inferences. At least, he clearly says twice that some of the mentioned contents are not derived from the news, but it is my inference (cf. Vol. 1, p. 70 and Vol. 2, p. 437).
  • The author has involved his emotions and feelings in the research and replaced emotion with reason.

We should also mention that Fazel Darbandi points out the necessity of avoiding false news and says: One of the abominations of this era is the prevalence of lies among Arab and non-Arab mourners, which is more common among non-Arab.

In general, Exir Al-Ebadat is the result of the opinions of scholars and common people, from the Safavid to the Qajar period, about Imam Hussain. In other words, the result of what was mentioned in Maqtal books and what was said at the pulpits and mourning gatherings is collected in this book.

This book was written in Arabic, but the author translated the final parts into Persian during Naser al-Din Shah's reign. This translation was published under the title "Saadat Naseri". In recent years, this book has been published in Farsi by Toubai Mohabbat Publishing House.

The content of the book[edit | edit source]

Exir Al-Ebadat Fi Asrar Al-Shahadat consists of 12 introductions, 44 chapters, and a conclusion including 3 chapters. Although this book is detailed, it is not a biography of Sayyid al-Shuhada, but rather it’s a Maqtal and is dedicated to the rise and martyrdom of that Imam and the events after that. Its composition lasted for eighteen months and was finished in Dhu Qada 1272 AH. Since the author wrote his book during the reign of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar, he mentioned him throughout the book and praised him with many nicknames.