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Newman - Nature of Akhbari-Usuli Dispute Part 1

Newman - Nature of Akhbari-Usuli Dispute Part 1

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Published by Tahir Ali
Akhbari usuli dispute
Akhbari usuli dispute

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Published by: Tahir Ali on May 19, 2013
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08/01/2013

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THE NATUREOFTHEAKHBARI/USULIDISPUTEINLATESAFAWIDIRAN.PART1:'ABDALLAHAL-SAMAHIJI'SMUNYATAL-MUMARISIN1
ByANDREWJ. NEWMAN
Wellcome UnitfortheHistoryofMedicine,OxfordTheAkhbari/Usuli controversywithin Twelver Shi'ism has beenportrayedinWestern-languagescholarshipprimarilyas a scholasticdisputeoverjurispru-dentialmethodologywhich came to fruitiononlyineleventh/seventeenth-centurySafawidIran. Usilismisgenerallycharacterized ashavingstressedrecoursetorationalist,subjectiveforms ofanalysis-particularlytheprincipleofijtihad(independent judicial reasoning)-onlegal questionswheretherevealedsources were deemedwanting.Akhbarism has beenportrayedmainlyinnegativeterms,ashavingforbadrecourse tospeculativereasoningin favourof reliancesolelyon theTwelver-acceptedrevelation-theQur'anand thesunna,thelatterespeciallyincludingthe akhbdr(sg.khabar),theArabic-languagebodyof statements ofandnarrativesabout thetwelveShi'iImams,thelastof whomdisappearedin260A.H./A.D.873-874.Thetendencytoviewthe debateasentirelyscholastic andasarising onlyinthe second Safawidcenturymostlikelyresultsfrom the identificationofAkhbarismwith thepersonalityof MuhammadAminal-Astarabadi(d.1030/1640)and the characterizationofhisal-Fawa'idal-Madaniyyaas the earliestcoherent statementof the Akhbaricritique,ifnot also itsembodiment andepitome,and from referenceto the'Munyatal-Mumdrisn',writtenbythe late-SafawidAkhbari scholar 'Abdallahb.al-Salihal-SamahijTd. 1135/1723),onthepointsofdisagreementbetweenUsulisandAkhbaris,as an effectivesummaryofthe conflictbetween thetwo.Thepresenttwo-part essayisintendedtoinitiate a re-examinationoftheconventionalunderstandingof theAkhbari/Usuli disputebasedona re-examination ofal-Samahiji'sessayandcontemporaneousclericalbiographies.Becausescholars haveinfactrelied on a laterabridgementofal-Samahiji'streatise,the firstpartof thepresentessay comprisesanintroductionto andtfepresentationof anedited,annotatedversion of theArabic textandEnglishtranslationof the relevant sectionofal-Samahiji'sessay.Part2 of thispaper-toappearin the next issueofBSOAS-willfirstsuggestthat thenotionof theprimacyof al-Astarabadi'sroleinSafawidAkhbarismwasnot sharedbycontemporaneousTwelverclericalbiographers.Comparativeexaminationofal-Samahiji's originaltreatiseand thelaterabridgementthen showsthat thelatter omittedmuchdetailand a numberof thepointsmadein theoriginal.Someof the excisedmaterialfurther underminesthepresumedcentralityofal-Astarabadi'spositionindelineatinganddefiningtheAkhbarichallenge,revealsclear evidenceofsplitswithin eachof thetwofractions,and demonstratestheintrinsicallypracticalimplicationsof theAkhbari/Usuliconfrontation.Al-Samdhiji's'Munyatal-Mumdrisn'ExaminationoftheAkhbari/Usulidisputeasoriginallyrepresentedby'Abdallahal-Samahijiseems a usefulearly stepin theprocessofre-evaluatingthe natureof the conflictbetween thetwo fractionsinthe late-Safawidperiod.
The authorwould like to thank Drs. Norman CalderandEtanKohlbergfor theircommentsandcriticisms ondrafts of the entire text of thispaper.See alsotheacknowledgementsin n. 5 ofthepresentsection. Theerrors herein are theresponsibilityof theauthor alone.
 
THEAKHBARI/USULIDISPUTEINLATESAFAWIDIRAN
Al-Samahijiwas borninal-Bahrayn-thearea of the easternArabianmainlandincludingal-Qa.tfandal-Ahsa.His fatheral-Salihwas a strictUsulicleric,known forhisanti-Akhbariproclivities.Yusufal-Bahrani(d. 1186/1772)characterizedal-Salih'sson'Abdallah,however,asa'pure(sarf)Akhbari'anda'greatrevilerof themujtahids
2
Accordingtoal-Ba.hran,al-SamahijiservedbrieflyasShaykhal-Islamin IsfahanduringtheAfghanattacksonIran,inthelastyearsof thereignofShah SultanHusayn(1105-1135/1694-1722).HefledtheSafawidcapitalat itsfall,and settled inBihbihanwherehe died in1135/1722,when thatcityfell to theinvaders.Al-Samahijiwrote a number oftreatises,at least oneimportantakhbarwork, and,in1125/1712-1713-severalyearsafter fallofIsfahanandnearlyacenturyafter thedeathof Aminal-Astarabadi-theArabic-language 'Munyatal-MumdrisTn',nreplyto someninety questionsaddressed tohimby ShaykhYasin b.Salahal-Din.Inthe seventhsectionof thisessay, al-Samahijilistedfortyoutstanding pointsofdisputebetween theAkhbarisand theUsuls.3Al-Samahiji'slistofthese issues wasabridgedastwenty-nine points bythefourteenth/nineteenth-centurybiographerMuhammadBaqiral-Khwansarial-Isbahani(d.1313/1895)inhisArabic-languageRau.datal-Janndt. Itisthisabridgement byal-Khwansariwhich has sofrequentlybeencitedbyWestern-languagescholarsintheir discussionsof the nature oftheAkhbari/UsulTdispute.4Anedited,annotated version ofal-Samahiji'sfullandcompletereplytoShaykhYasin onthedifferencesbetween the twogroupsispresentedbelow,firstintheoriginalArabic and then inEnglishtranslation.The edition andtranslation of theessayisbasedontwocopiesof thetext, Tehran,MajlesLibrary,MS1916/27-ashortened version of thefullfortypoints-andQum,Mar'ashiLibrary,MS1018-a fullandcompleteversion ofthe entireMunya.TheQumcopywas made in1126/1713,oneyearafter theoriginal'scomposi-tion,was later inthepossessionofal-Samahijihimself,and bears hiscorrec-tions.5
2
Al-SamahijVsAkhbarismnodoubtderived,atleastinpart,from hisstudywithSulaymanb.'Abdallahal-Bah.anial-Miahuzld. 1121/1709),thehead of the Twelvercommunityinal-Bahrayn,whomal-Bahranidescribed ashavingAkhbari tendencies. SeeYiisufal-Bahrani,Lu'luatal-Bahrayn (Najaf, 1969),98,7-12esp.10;AghaBuzurgMuhammad Muhsinal-Tehrani,al-Dharf'aildTasdnffal-Shi'a(TehranandNajaf,1353-98),15:265-6;MuhammadBdqiral-Khwdnsarial-Isbahadn,Rau.dital-Janndt,M. T.al-KashfiandA.Isma'lliydn (ed.) (Tehran-Qum,1390-92),4:16-21;Muhsinal-Amin,A'ydnal-Shf'a(Beirut,1960f.),35:105-112;'All b. al-Hasanal-Bahradni,Anwdral-Badrayn (Najaf,1377/1957-58),150-58.Seealsoal-Samdhij'sreferences to histeacher intheessay reproducedbelow,especiallynumbers5,11and39. Onthedepthof thecommitment ofbothal-Samahijiandhisteacheral-Mdhu.izloAkhbarism,see further thediscussion inparttwo ofthepresent essay,especiallynn.4, 34,and 35.Onal-Bahrdnl,seealso section two of thepresentessay,especiallynn. 4-7.3Al-Bahrdnl,Lu'lu'at, 98-100; al-Khwdnsari,op.cit.,4:247-9;'Allal-Bahrainl,op.cit.,175;Muhammad 'Allb.Muhammad TdhirMudarris,Rayhdnatal-Adab(Tehran,1328-33),2:223-4;al-Tehrani, ibid,23:210-11,20: 372.Foral-Samdhijfsessayssee also H. M.Tabdtaba'i,Anintroduction toShN'i aw:abibliographicalstudy (London:IthacaPress,1984),97,108-9,149.ShaykhYasln was astudentofal-Samahijiandareligiousofficial inal-Bahrayn. Hefled to Shirazafter thedestruction ofal-Bahrayn.See Yuisufal-Bahradn, bid.,p.100,n.38;'Allal-Bahrdn1,op.cit.,221.4Forthetextoftheabridgment,seeal-Khwdnsdar,1:127-30.References totheabridgementinthesecondarysourcesincludeGianrobertoScarcia,'Intorno allecontroversietra 'Ahbari e'Usulipresso gliImamitidiPersia',RevistadegliStudiOrientali, 33,1958,225;AbdoljavadFalaturi,'DieZwolfer-Schiaaus der SichteinesSchiiten:Probleme inhrerUntersuchung',FestschriftWernerCaskel,E.Graf(ed.) (Leiden:Brill,1969),p.81,n.3;EtanKohlberg,'Akbdarya', EncyclopediaIranica,I(Leiden:Brill,1985),718,WilferdMadelung,'Akhbdriyya',EI(2nd ed.),sup.(Leiden:Brill1980),57; Tabatabdi,op.cit.,p.54,n.2;MoojanMomen,Anintroduction oShi'i Islam(NewHaven:YaleUniversityPress,1985), p.222,n. 1.See also nn. 1-3 inpart2of thepresentessay.
5
Descriptionsofthese twomanuscriptcopiescan befound in A.Ha'erl,et.al.,Fehrest-eKetdbkhdna-yeMajles-eShurd-yeMellI,9(2)(Tehran,1347),587-8;A.Husaynl,Fehrest-eNuskhahd-ye Khatti-yeKetdbkhdna-ye'UmumF-yeHa,ratAydtalldhal-UzmdNajafi Mar'ashT,3
23
 
ANDREWJ. NEWMAN
Becauseofal-Samahiji'sdirectassociationwiththe lattermanuscriptthepresenteditor/translatorassumes that theQummanuscriptis the closer of thetwocopiesto theoriginaltext of'Munyatal-Mumdrisn '. Footnotes to theArabictext note thedifferences between theQum(referredtoasqaf)andMajles(designedasmfm)copiesof the text.Perhapsthe mostimportantdifferencebetweenthesetwomanuscriptsoccursinthosepointsnumbered 20 to 22. TheMajles manuscript'snumber20correspondstoQum'snumber21,whileMajles'snumber22correspondstoQum's22. TheMajlesmanuscript actuallyomits apointnumbered21,correspondingto number20intheQummanu-script.Because theQumcopyispresumedcloser to theoriginal,inboththeArabictext andEnglishtranslation thepresenteditor has followed thenumberingand textoftheQummanuscript.Arabicmanuscriptsfeatureoverliningrather thanunderlining.IntheArabictext belowthinoverliningindicates additionsmade within thebodyof theQumtextitself,mostlikely bythecopyist.Text withabrokenline over indicates textin thebodyof theQumcopycrossedout,again probablybythecopyist.Thickoverliningindicates additions made in themarginsof theQummanuscript,presumably byal-Samahijihimself.Adoublebrokenline,usedonlyinnumber12,indicates text addedabove theline inmim,presumablybythecopyist.Paragraphsandpunctuationmarkingshave been addedbythepresenteditor/translator tothe Arabicoriginal-andEnglishtranslation-wherechangesinstyleor substancesuggest.IntheEnglishtranslation,insquarebracketsafterthe number ofthepointintheoriginalisthenumberof thepoint(s)inal-Khwansari'sabridgementto whichit mostcloselycorresponds.Arabictext
vj~YL~ -gJL
LY
..; jlY
.p0
"
IU
Jl
(Qum,1975),214-15. The presentwriter would like to thankDr. H. M.abjtab'i,ProfessorW.Madelung, andDrs. Norman Calder andEtan Kohlberg for their commentson the Arabic textandEnglish translationof this text, andJohn Cooper for his encouragementand assistancewith thetypesettingoftheArabic text. 'Abdal-Hoseyn H.'erand Drs.Tab.tab~'iand Yann Richardare tobe thankedfor their assistance infacilitating access to these two manuscripts. TheArabic textitself
istypesett the OxfordUniversityComputingervice.
t
LiaIli
lL,
;jii
v;
(Qum, 1975),214-15.Thepresentwriterwould liketo thankDr. H. M.Tabataba'l.Professor W.Madelung,andDrs. NormanCalderandEtanKohlbergfor theircommentson the Arabictext andEnglishtranslationof thistext,andJohnCooperforhisencouragementandassistance with thetypesettingoftheArabic text.'Abdal-HoseynHa'eri and Drs.Tabataba'land YannRichard are tobethanked fortheirassistance infacilitatingaccesstothese twomanuscripts.TheArabic text itselfistypesetattheOxfordUniversityComputingService.
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