Rawdat al-shuhada

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Rowzeh al-Shuhada
Rawdat al-shuhada1.jpg
AuthorMulla Husayn Wa'iz Kashifi
SubjectMartyrdom of Imam Hussain and the tragedies of the event of Karbala

In the beginning years of the tenth AH century Vaez Kashefi (820-910 AH) wrote the book Rowzeh al-Shuhada (in Arabic: رَوضَة الشُّهَداء) in Persian which was a creativity in written text and also a new look at the battle of Karbala; this look became dominant in the mourning ceremonies held for Imam Husayn for several reasons in later centuries.

About the book[edit | edit source]

Rowzeh al-Shuhada is one of the most famous texts of lamentation and mourning for Imam Husayn in the last centuries. The exact year of its creation is in 907 AH, in the final years of Vaezi Kashefi’s life which was at the same time of the Safivid dynasty’s establishment in west of Iran.[1] Rowzeh al-Shuhada penetrated the Iranians’ society in an unbelievable pace. This was so fast that just two decades after its writing time Husayn Nedaee rewrote it as a poem entitled “Sayf al-Nobovah ya Mashhad al-Shuhada”.[2]

The popularity of the book Rowzeh al-Shuhada kept rising in a way that in the last four centuries the whole book or selected parts[3] of it have been republished repeatedly in handwritten or new forms inside and outside Iran in Persian, Indian, Dakhini and Turkish.[4] Moreover Rowzeh al-Shuhada has been corrected many times by different people like Abul Hasan Sharani[5] and Muhammad Roshan.[6]

The references and accuracy of the chain of narrations used by Kashefi in Rowzeh al-Shuhada have been questioned by many. Due to many fake ravaya (narrations and quotes)[7] present in the book, many scholars like Mirza Abd Allah Afandi, Noori and Murteza Mutahhari have criticized Rowzeh al-Shuhada and Vaez Kashefi.[8] Many thorough reviews and critiques have been written on the book[9] and the book is mentioned to be “among the books which created distortion about Ashura and with a much bigger effect in comparison to other books”[10]. Additionally it is noteworthy that the effect of Sufi learnings on the process of writing the book cannot be ignored since Kashefi was attracted to Tasavof and Sufis for periods of his life or at least he pretended this way.[11]

One of the features of Rowzeh al-Shuhada is the author's familiarity with artistic and literary secrets and structures. In this regard, many researchers believe that the narrating techniques and artistic traits are so strong in Rowzeh al-Shuhada; Vaez Kashefi benefiting from his strong writing skills has written a text which has created a great and deep change in the process of historiography of the event of Karbala and especially the process of Maqtal writing for Imam Husayn.[12] Additionally being familiar with the works of the eulogists Vaez Kashefi has categorized them based on their works.[13] Based on this work it can be believed that he has written Rowzeh al-Shuhada smartly and he has used many artistic and literary features in the content of his book.

About the author[edit | edit source]

Kamal al-Din Husayn Vaez Kashefi (820-910 AH) introduces himself as "Husayn ibn Ali al-Beihaghi al-Vaez al-Madov Belkashefi".[14] Regarding his religion there are different narrations, some call him Sunni Hanafi, other Sufi and some others Shia.[15] Davani believed that Vaez Kashefi kept his religion from others.[16]

Not only was Vaez Kashefi good at literature, he also knew politics and governing well and he has had many positions in the government; he has also presented many important points of view (for instance Akhlaghe Mohseni (Mohseni ethics)) in this regard.[17]

He was an active author and more than thirty-five of his works are known nowadays among which these ones can be named: "Akhlagh Mohseni Dar Hekmat Amali va Akhlagh, Asrar Ghasemi dar Oloum Gharibeh, Anvare Soheili dar Baznevisi Dastanhaye Kalileh Va Demneh,[18] Badayeh al-Afkar fi Sanaye al-Ashjar about literary devices, Jame al-Tasin which is the interpretation of Yousef Surah, Javaher al-Tafsir is offered to Amir Alishir Navaee, Resaleh al-Elliyyeh Fil al-Ahadis al-Nabaviyyah which is the description of forty Hadith by the Prophet; Fotovat Nameh Soltani Dar Adab Fotovat, Lab Labab Masnavi which is a summary of Masnavi Ma'navi and finally Mavaheb Alayhe Ke Tafsir"[19]

Among the books mentioned these ones are published: Ghodrat Nameh Soltani,[20] Badi ol-Afkar Fi Sanaye al-Asha'ar,[21] Anvar Soheili ya Kelilieh o Demneh Kashefi,[22] Adab al-Ashab,[23] Akhalaghe Mohseni.[24]

Abstract of book[edit | edit source]

آشوب بلای تو، عطای دل ما ای شربت درد تو، دوای دل ما
وز نام حبیب تو، صفای دل ما از نامه ی حمد تو، شفای دل ما

“O thy pain's syrup is our remedy, the chaos of your calamity is our heart's reward

The praising letter for you is our heart's remedy and the name of your friend is the calm of our heart[24]

The text of Rowzeh al-Shuhada begins with the poem above after which the history of the prophets is stated. It is totally clear that Vaez Kashefi's purpose behind such historiography is to relate it to Imam Husayn and the calamity of Ashura.

The second to the sixth Bab (chapters) are about the events that took place during the time of the prophet, lady Fatimah, Hadrat Ali and Imam Hasan.[25] The seventh Bab onwards is dedicated to Imam Husayn. After mentioning some of the features of Imam Husayn, his birth and some of the events after his brother's death (seventh Bab or chapter),[26] two parts of the book (the eighth and ninth Babs) are dedicated to the events in Karbala to the end of Ashura.[27] It is clear that the most significant and biggest part of the book which is the ninth Bab (chapter) is about Imam Husayn arriving at Karbala, his fight with the enemies, his martyrdom along with his children, friends and close ones and other martyrs. The events after Ashura, what happened to the captives and to the murderers of Imam Husayn and Mukhtar’s uprising are mentioned in the tenth Bab (chapter) of Rowzeh al-Shuhada.[28] The final part of the book describes the children of the Imams peace be upon them.[29]

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

Since Vaezi Kashefi had declared that he had written his book in accordance with the “minds of the people of the time”[30]  so that it can be used by the preachers in ceremonies and Ashura event, Rowzeh al-Shuhada cannot and must not be considered as a scientific book.  This is the reason why some Shia historical researchers do not consider this book to be among the reliable Maqtals. Apart from the scientific value of the book, Rowzeh al-Shuhada caused an amazing revolution in lamenting and mourning of Ashura and Karbala. It can be said that a short while after Rowzeh al-Shuhada was written, reading Rowzeh (a kind of mourning ceremony) became popular among Shias and specially among Iranians and after some centuries it was added to the mourning of Ashura and Imam Husayn.[33]

Sources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Esfandiari, pages 62-63
  2. Kia va Ghanbari Naniz, pages 273-275
  3. Among the selected parts prepared from the text of Rowzeh al-Shuhada: Muslim ibn Aqil created by Ali Ahangar, Tehran: Bahar Afarin, 1393
  4. Vaez Kashefi, pages 92-93
  5. Huseyn Vaez Kashefi, Rowzeh al-Shuhada, corrected by Abul Hasan Sharani. Tehran: Islamiyya bookshop, 1358
  6. Huseyn Vaez Kashefi, Rowzeh al-Shuhada, corrected by Muhammad Roshan. Tehran: Sedaye Moaser with the cooperation of Shabgir Publication, 1390
  7. Gohari, Kazem Beigi va Ghanavat, Rowzeh al-Shuhada Az Revayat Majool Ta Tasir Gozari (Rowzeh al-Shuhada from fake narrations to effectiveness), pages 97-115
  8. Esfandiari, pages 64-65
  9. For instance: Dabiran and Tasnimi, pages 35-36, Asgri and Rafa’t, pages 62-64
  10. Sehhati Sar Dar Vadi, pages 218-219
  11. Boroumand A’lam, Hasan Khani, page 10-25
  12. Jafarian, page 22
  13. Ajan, pages 21-22
  14. Kia and Ghanbari Naniz, page 271, about the biography of Vaezi Kashefi and the nice and thorough article of Farhani Monfared, it has precise explanations. Refer to Monfared, pages 194-201
  15. Esfandiari, page 61
  16. Davani, page 23
  17. Gohari Fakhr Abad and Ghanavat, pages 16-20, and refer to Fahani Monfared, pages 201-203 and Amini Zadeh and Ranjbar, pages 21-30
  18. Refer to Nazemian, Hooman, Shams Abadi, Husayn va Sattari Elaheh, pages 121-133
  19. Kia and Ghanbari Naniz, page 271-272, moreover you can refer to Gohari and Kazem Beigi's Vaziyat Oloum Gharibeh Pas az Hamleh Moghol pages 142-155 for studying about Vaezi Kashefi's works.
  20. Vaez Kashefi Sabzevari, Husayn, Ghodrat Nameh Soltani, collected by Muhammad Ja'far Mahjoob. Tehran: Bonyad Farhang Iran, 1350
  21. Kashefi, Husayn ibn Ali, Badaye al-Afkar fi Sanayeh al-Asha'ar, with Rahim Musalman Gholf's introduction and table of content. Moscow: Danesh Publication's organization, Khavar (the East) Literature branch, 1977 (1356)
  22. Kashefi, Husayn ibn Ali, Anvar Soheili ya Kelilieh o Demneh Kashefi, Berlin photo with a list of stories and new words. Tehran, AmirKabir, 1362
  23. Vaez Kashefi, Fakhr al-Din Ali bin Molla Husayn, Adab al-Ashab, with Sayydi Abd Allah Naghshbandi Mojaddadi's effort. Torbat Jam: Khajeh Abd Allah Ansari's publications, 1390
  24. 24.0 24.1 Vaez Kashefi, page 105
  25. Vaez Kashefi, pages 195-386
  26. Vaez Kashefi,387-416
  27. Vaez Kashefi, pages 417-632
  28. Vaez Kashefi,pages 633-702
  29. Vaez Kashefi, pages 703-731
  30. Esfandiari, page 63