Ibsar al-ayn fi ansar al-Husayn

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Ibsar al-ayn fi ansar al-Husayn
Ibsar al-ayn fi ansar al-Husayn.jpg
AuthorMuhammad Samawi
Original titleإبْصارُ العَین فی أنْصارِ الحُسین

The story of Imam Hussain’s companions who went to Karbala with him and were martyred there, is the subject of the research by the Shia scholar Muhammad Samawi, and as a result of his efforts, the book Ibsar al-ayn fi ansar al-Husayn (Arabic:إبْصارُ العَین فی أنْصارِ الحُسین) was written in Arabic. .

About the book[edit | edit source]

The book Ibsar al-ayn fi Ansar al-Husayn was first published in Najaf in 1341 AH in Arabic[1] and later its Persian translation along with explanations and additions got published by other scholars.[2] Al-Samawi cites the compiling of Ibsar al-ayn as the result of his ten-year effort to study various sources.[3] In his short introduction to Ibsar al-ayn fi ansar al-Husayn, he states his purpose and motivation for writing the book as follows:  "I had a lot of desire and love to know the prominent companions of Imam Hussain and their history, so that I could get to know these personalities as I should. This led me to study the books of rijals, Maqtals and battles by buying and borrowing them for ten years and, like a bird looking for a seed, I took a grain from every book. Until I got only a little bit of the biography of those majesties. [So] I made an effort and called it Ibsar al-ayn fi Ansar al-Husayn. I have dedicated sections of the book to mentioning each of the tribes and I have named those companions of Hussain who were attributed to these tribes, and I have organized a final discussion in which the names of the companions of Imam Hussain are in alphabetical order."[4]

The order of the biography of the martyrs of Karbala in the book Ibsar al-ayn fi ansar al-Husayn is based on the family and their tribe, as well as the value of that family. In a way, the first part of the book begins with the biography of the martyrs of the Abu Talib family.[5] The number of pages dedicated to each of the martyrs is also completely different and depends on the amount of news and narrations about them.  For example, the description of the text about Jabala bin Ali Sheibani is about three lines while that a of  Saeed bin Abdullah Hanafi is in three pages. [6]

The main purpose of Al-Samawi in writing the book “Ibsar al-ayn fi Ansar al-Husayn “is to tell the biography of the martyrs of Karbala. Therefore, in that book, the biography of Imam Hussain and the events of the Karbala uprising and the events after the departure of the captives’ caravan from Karbala to Medina are described very briefly, and approximately four-fifths of the book is dedicated to the biography of the martyrs of Karbala.

The historical narration of the martyrs of Karbala has been written using various sources such as: Manaqib, Hadayek al-Wardiyyah, Rijāl by Sheikh Tusi, Al-Irshād by Sheikh Mufid, Bihar al-Anwar by Majlisi and Tarikh al-Tabari and a significant part of the text of the book contains Arabic texts, hadiths and their translations.

The content of the book is based on the historical narration of the dimensions of the Karbala event using hadiths and narrations, and is less dealt with the argumentative dimension of the subjects. One of the few cases in which al-Samawi tries to embellish his speech with arguments is to state the reason why Imam Hussain did not revolt against Mu'awiyah during the lifetime of his brother Imam Hassan. In this regard, he first refers to Imam Hussain’s commitment to his brother's covenant with Mu'awiyah and writes: Imam's silence about his right in the time of Imam Mojtaba, was firstly because of Imam Hassan's right to Imamate over him and secondly because of fulfillment of the covenant that his brother, Hassan, had made with Mu'awiyah, finally, he ends his analysis with the sentence: "and other causes and motives that Imam Hussain was aware of."[7]

About the author[edit | edit source]

The author of the book "Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Tahir Ibn Habib Ibn Hussain Ibn Mohsen Ibn Turki Fazli" known as Samawi, was born in Dhi Hajjah 1292 AH in the city of Samawah in Mesopotamia. He completed his education in his hometown and in Najaf. In the following years, he held various government positions in the cities of Najaf, Baghdad, and Karbala, and died on the fourth of Muharram 1370 AH in Najaf.[8] In addition to “Ibsar al-ayn ", Samawi has also written other books such as "Al-Tali'ah Fi Shu'ara Al-Shi'a", "Shajreh Al-Riyadh Fi Madh Al-Nabi Al-Fayadh" and "Al-Kawakab Al-Samawiyyah Fi Sharh Al-Qusida Al-Farzdaqiyya".[9]

Abstract of book[edit | edit source]

At the beginning of the book and in the introductory section, al-Samawi provides a "brief overview of the life of Aba Abdullah al-Hussain from birth to martyrdom."[10] In twelve lines, the author quickly describes the life of Imam Hussain from his birth to Rajab in 60 AH.[11]  The preface  continues with   narrating the events from the beginning of the Imam's uprising to his martyrdom. The author's expression in the preface is historical and very brief. For example, al-Samawi’s narration from the events beginning with Imam's departure from Medina and his movement towards Kufa to the encounter with the Hur’s army is as follows: "Hussain left at dawn. Ibn Abbas and Ibn Zubayr demanded him to change his mind , but he did not accept. He reached Tan'im Manzel (Stopping place) and Omar's son, who was in his fields, asked the Imam to return. This time, the Imam did not accept either and entered the Wadi l-'Aqiq and then continued his movement from there. Abdullah ibn Ja'far sent two of his sons to him and wrote a letter asking him to return. But Imam did not accept this offer and without hesitation, he hurriedly continued to move until he reached Dhat 'Irq where a group of people joined him and then he reached Hajar in the womb of Ramah and sent it by Qays to Muslim to inform the people of Kufa of his arrival, and then he moved to Tha'liya and then to Zarrud. There he was informed of the martyrdom of Muslim, Hani and Qais, and he continued on his way until he reached the Zubala. In that land, he was informed about the martyrdom of Abdullah Ibn Yaqtar and spoke to his companions and informed them about the martyrdom of Muslim, Hani, Qais and Abdullah and allowed them to return. Many people left him and only his family and his chosen companions stayed with him. Then he continued his movement until he reached  Aqaba and stopped in Sharaf and spent the night there. At dawn, when he left, an army appeared in the distance."[12]

Similarly, the events after Ashura and the movement of the caravan of captives are described in only two lines as follow: "The tents were looted and those who were there were taken captive and the heads of the martyrs were taken with the captives to Kufa and from there to Syria and then to Medina, the homeland of their ancestor, the Messenger of God."[13]

In the following text, the author presents the biography of the companions of Imam Hussain the number of which is one hundred and twelve, in seventeen sections, according to the importance of their families. The titles of the seventeen sections are as follows: "The martyrs of Abu Talib family, the martyrs of Bani Assad and their slaves, the martyrs of Hamedani and their slaves, the martyrs of Madhaji, the martyrs of Ansari, the martyrs of Bajli and Khathami, the martyrs of Kennedy, the martyrs of Ghaffari, the martyrs of Kolbi, the martyrs of Azdi, the martyrs of Abdi, the martyrs of Timi, the martyrs of Tai, the martyrs of Taqalobi, the martyrs of Jahani, the martyrs of Tamimi and the seventeenth section, the other companions of Imam Hussain »

The last section describes the biographies of Jabal ibn Ali Sheibani, Qanab ibn Umar Nimri, and Sa'id ibn Abdullah Hanafi.[14] The last section describes the biographies of Jabal ibn Ali Sheibani, Qanab ibn Umar Nimri, and Sa'id ibn Abdullah Hanafi. About one of them, Al-Samawi writes: “Jabal ibn Ali Sheibani was one of the Kufi heroes who first revolted along with Muslim and then joined Imam Hussain , and all biographers have mentioned him. “Sahib al-Hadaiq says: “Jabalah was martyred in support of Imam Hussain in Karbala during the first attack."[15]

After the seventeenth section, al-Samawi concludes Absar al-Ain with "Useful Phrases about Hussain’s Companions.[16]" Attached to the book are various and voluminous lists prepared by its researcher (Tabasi).[17]

The value and importance of the book[edit | edit source]

Ibsar al-ayn fi Ansar al-Husayn can be considered as one of the first specialized books in the field of Ashura studies, which had an important impact on the spread of this style of historiography of the Karbala movement. Agha Bozorg Tehrani praises “Ibsar al-ayn " and introduces its author as "Allameh Chireh Dast[18]" (chireh dast means proficient in Persian) Wāʿiẓ Khiyābānī Tabrizi praised Ibsar al-ayn[19] and describes Samawi as "a unique scientific and literary character who has many principles of virtue, a thinker with a special acumen and punctuality enjoying a great memory.[20]" Of course, some of the manuscript sources used by Samawi have been criticized, and for this reason, some scholars have considered the validity of his book to be very low.[21]

Sources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Samawi, p.25
  2. Including: - Mohammad Samawi, Maqtal-e- Ashab-e- Hussain, Sharh-h Zendegani-e- Yaran-e- Mazloom-e- Imam Hussain (P.B.U.H), translated by Mohammad Safari. Tehran: Yasin Noor, 1390 SH - Mohammad Samawi, Ansar Al-hossain , Zendegi namey-e- Yaran-e- Mazloom-e- Imam Hussain, translated by Mehdi Fazahat. Tehran: Omid Azadegan, 1383 SH - Mohammad Samawi, Jamaat-e- Hosseini Tarjomey-e- Absar Al-eyn Fi Ansar Al-hussain (Hussaini’s Congregation translation of Absar Al-Ain Fi Ansar Al-Hussain, peace be upon him), translated and written by Alireza Khosravani. Tehran: Iqbal Bookstore and Printing House, 1361 SH
  3. Samawi, p.31
  4. Samawi, p.31
  5. Samawi, p.61
  6. Samawi, pp. 261-265
  7. Samawi, p.34
  8. Samawi, pp. 22-24
  9. Samawi, p.24
  10. Samawi, pp. 33-60
  11. Samawi, pp. 33-34
  12. Samawi, pp. 42-43
  13. Samawi, p.60
  14. Samawi, pp. 261- 265
  15. Samawi, p. 261
  16. Samawi, pp. 265-282
  17. Samawi, pp. 283- 376
  18. Samawi, p.25
  19. Esfandiari, p.119
  20. Samawi, pp. 23-24
  21. Sayed Hassan Mousavi Bojnord