Tadhkirah al- Shuhada

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Tadhkirah Al-Shohada
Tadhkirah Al-Shohada.jpg
AuthorHabibullah Sharif Kashani
Original titleتذکره الشهدا
Subjectmartyrs of Karbala
PublisherIndependently published

Tadhkirah al- Shuhada (َArabic: تذکره الشهدا) is a book describing the events of Karbala and the martyrs of Ashura, which was written by the Shia scholar, Habibullah Sharif Kashani and is always considered as one of the most influential texts of Ashura tragedies.

About the Book[edit | edit source]

It seems that the date of writing the book Tadhkirah al-Shuhada is 1306 AH.[1] Excerpts from Tadhkirah al-Shuhada (such as Hussaini's thoughts)[2] as well as its Arabic translation have also been published by Sayyid Ali Jamal Ashraf.[3]

In the very short preface of the book, Mullah Habibullah Sharif Kashani states his goal and motivation for writing Tadhkirah al-Shuhada as follows: "All the sufferings of the world in comparison to the calamity of Khamis al-'Abba are like drops to the Sea of Oman and particles to an endless desert. Therefore, I took a bunch of this harvest and wrote this book, which is called Tadhkirah al-Shuhada, in Persian, which is understandable to everyone so that I will be considered a beloved creature of God."[4] It is also noteworthy that among Kashani's writings, in addition to Tadhkirah al-Shuhada, there are several other books and treatises related to Ashura and Karbala, including: "Sharh al-Qusayda fi Marathi al-Hussain"[5], "Sharh al-Ziyara al-Ashura"[6] and "Asrar Hossainieh"[7].

About the author[edit | edit source]

Mullah Habibollah Sharif Kashani (1240-1340 AH) was born in Kashan and quickly passed the degrees of jurisprudence and narration, in a way  that at the age of sixteen he received permission to narrate and at the age of eighteen he received a certificate of ijtihad[8]. After a short trip to Mesopotamia, Karbala and Najaf, he returned to Iran and lived in Kashan forever from 1282 AH[9] and taught in the theological seminary of Kashan and wrote books and educated students. Until he died in the same city in 1340 AH (1301 SH).[10]

Mullah Habibullah Sharif Kashani has written many books, which according to the famous saying are over three hundred volumes of books and treatises, but only two hundred volumes have been identified so far.[11] At the end of one of his books (Labab al-Alqab), he mentions the names of 135 books he has written.[12] Among his Scientific works[13] are the following: "Montaghed al-Manafe Fi Sharh Al-Mokhtasar al-Mannafe", "Resale fi al-Esteshab", "Entekhab al-Masa’el", "Izah al-Riyaz", "Tashil al-Masalek Ela al-Madarek Fi Ro’os al-Ghavaed al-Faghih Tafsir", "Tozih al-Bayan Fi Tashil al-Avzan" and "Tashvighat Al_Salekin Ela Mearej Al-hagh Va yaghin" and "Motnavi Tanbihat Al_ghafelin" are among his literary works[14].

Abstract of book[edit | edit source]

In the preface of Tadhkirah al-Shuhada, Sharif Kashani explains how  the text of the book was organized. According to him, the book consists of twelve chapters as follows:

  • First chapter: the quality of accepting martyrdom in the world of preexistence
  • Second chapter: Some characteristics and virtues of Imam Hussain
  • Third chapter: Mentioning some mourning ceremonies and encouraging to cry for him.
  • Fourth chapter: The departure of the Hadrat from Medina to Mecca.
  • Fifth chapter: His Departure from Mecca to Kufa.
  • Sixth chapter:  his  arrival to Karbala
  • Seventh chapter: The martyrdom of some of his companions
  • Eighth chapter: The martyrdom of  Aqeel’s children and Jafar’s children
  • Ninth chapter: The martyrdom of Imam Hassan's children (in four sections)
  • Tenth chapter: Martyrdom of Imam Hussain's children (in two sections)

First: The Martyrdom of Some of Imam Hussain's Brothers

Second : The Martyrdom of Abbas

Third : The Martyrdom of Abi Abd Allah

  • Twelfth chapter: - Some events after the martyrdom (in five sections)

From the mentioned titles, the first to the tenth one  as well as the first and second parts of the eleventh title constitute the content of the first volume.  The third part of the eleventh chapter and the twelfth chapter, in addition to two other independent texts, constitute the content of the second volume of the book Tadhkirah al-Shuhada. And those two independent texts are as follows:

“Manazel” is a description of the locations of the places mentioned in the text

And poems describing the events of Ashura and Karbala, entitled: Gozide-e- Golzar-e- Asrar (means "Selection of secrets Land”) This is among the author's writings and it is the content of the second volume of the book Tadhkirah al-Shuhada.

At the end of each volume of the book, there is a list of concordance and a detailed list of topics discussed in  that volume. Additionally, the list of the refrences used to write the book can be seen at the end of the second volume.

The content of the first three chapters of the book is on glorifying the character of Imam Hussain and the gatherings in which the tragedy of Imam Hussain is mentioned and people are encouraged to cry for him. To achieve such a goal, Sharif Kashani wrote headlines such as:

" Adam and the event of Karbala, Jesus and the apostles in the land of Karbala, offering the soil of Karbala as a present to the Prophet Mohammad by Gabriel, angels helping Imam Hussain as he left Medina, the lament of the jinn in the Imam's tribulation, the mourning of the wild beasts of Karbala".[16]

The fourth to sixth titles (or chapters) are the historical narrations from the departure of Imam Hussain from Mecca to Medina and then to Kufa until the Ashura night In a part of the sixth chapter, Sharif Kashani quotes from Ibn Jozi, regarding the number of the enemy army and the number of Imam Hussain's companions: "It is strange that Ibn Jawzi wrote the number of the enemy’s army as four thousand and stated that when Imam Hussain entered Karbala, there was not more than forty-five cavalry and one hundred infantry, but it is narrated that a thousand people were with him. The author [Sharif Kashani] says that the total number of that Imam’s army, when he left Mecca was seventy-seven; there were seventeen of his children and nephews, and sixty of his companions, and some of them joined him while they were at different residence during the journey. However, some people separated from him in Zubala Manzel, and some people left him on the Ashura night, and ninety people from Bani Assad, under the guidance of Habib ibn Mazahir, joined him on the seventh night of Muharram to help him who was blocked by Omar’s army, so they came back."[17]

From the seventh chapter onwards, the events of Ashura are carefully narrated as the martyrs of Ashura. This is where the title of the book makes sense and different narrations are presented about the manner of martyrdom of each of the martyrs.

In other words, each of the chapaters from theseventh one onwards is dedicated to expressing the martyrdom of a group of martyrs on Ashura. These chapters begin with the description of "the martyrdom of some of the companions of the Imam" (Chapter 7) and continue until the description of "The Martyrdom of Abi Al-Fadl Al-Abbas" in the second part of the eleventh chapter and finally it ends with a description of " the martyrdom of Sayyid al-Shuhada" in the third part of the eleventh chapter, which is the beginning of the second volume of the book Tadhkirahal-Shuhada.

The chapter begins with the following words: "Know that if the whole world turns to a sea and all these seas and trees turn to pencils and all the jinn, angels and human beings become writers to write about the virtues, characteristics and glory of Muhammad, as well as the greatness, the degrees of knowledge, the secrets of oppression, the secrets and the points of martyrdom of Hussain ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib, they will never be able to do that until the Day of Resurrection. "[18]

Finally, the second volume of Tadhkirah al-Shuhada ends with a poem "Describing the martyrdom of that Imam" written by the author which begins with these verses:

برای سجده حق، بر زمین شد چو آن صدر جهان از صدر زین شد
چو او می دید انوار جمالش سه ساعت بی خود از خود بود حالش
چو موسی گشت مدهوش و فنایش ز تابشهای خورشید لقایش

When that Imam fell from the saddle

Actually fell to the ground to prostrate

He was unconscious for three hours

When he saw the Greatness and Beauty of God

Through the rays of the sun

Like Moses, he became intoxicated and perished »

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

Habibollah Sharif Kashani has been a jurist, commentator, and poet who has left valuable works in various fields of jurisprudence, interpretation, theology and hadith, as well as poetry and literature.[19] His mastery of various religious sciences on the one hand and his ability to write on the other hand became an important basis for writing the two-volume book Tadhkirah al-Shuhada. Tadhkirah al-Shuhada is an indicator for an emotional attitude towards the issue of Ashura and the events of Karbala and the uprising of Imam Hussain. The book addresses the non-elite Persian speakers , and perhaps this is why its content is an emotional content, and after the book was written, it has been highly praised by the preachers and mourners in the Ashura ceremonies.

Sources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Ostadi, p.38
  2. Ehsan Zaheri, Andishe Hay-e Hussaini Va Shast Majles Mosibat Az Tazkeratashuhada Sharif Kashani (Hosseini's Thoughts and Sixty Mourning Gatherings from Sharif Kashani’s Tadhkirah Shohada). Qom: Al-Tayyar, fourth edition, 1384 SH
  3. Esfandiari, p. 99
  4. Sharif Kashani, vol. 1, p. 4
  5. Ostadi, p.42
  6. Ostadi, p.61
  7. Ostadi, p.37
  8. Movahedi, pp. 21-22
  9. Ostadi, p.31
  10. Madani, p.144
  11. A detailed list of those works can be found in this source: Ostadi, pp. 37-47
  12. Madani, p.142
  13. Ostadi, pp. 37-47
  14. Madani, p.142
  15. Sharif Kashani, vol. 1, pp. 4-5
  16. Sharif Kashani, vol. 1, pp. 77-138
  17. Sharif Kashani, vol. 1, pp. 261-262
  18. Sharif Kashani, Volume 2, pp. 6-7
  19. Madani, p. 140