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Allameh Majlesi

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Allameh Majlesi

Allamah Muhammad Baqir Majlesi
Born c. 1616
Isfahan, Iran Iran
Died c. 1698
Isfahan, Iran Iran
Religion Twelver Shia Islam

Part of a series on Shia Islam

The Fourteen Infallibles

Muhammad · Fatimah · and
The Twelve Imams:
Ali · Hasan · Husayn
al-Sajjad · al-Baqir · al-Sadiq
al-Kadhim · ar-Ridha · al-Taqi
al-Naqi · al-Askari · al-Mahdi


Judgement Day · Justice
Prophethood · Imamate

Other Beliefs

Succession to Muhammad
Imamate of the Family
Mourning of Muharram
The Occultation · Clergy
Usul · Ijtihad
Taqleed · 'Aql · Irfan


Prayer · Fasting · Pilgrimage
Charity · Taxes · Jihad
Command Justice · Forbid Evil
Love the family of Muhammad
Dissociate from their Enemies

Holy cities

Mecca · Medina
Najaf · Karbala · Mashhad
Jerusalem · Samarra · Kadhimayn · Qom ·


Usuli · Akhbari · Shaykhi
Nimatullahi · Safaviya
Qizilbash · Alevism · Alawism
Bektashi · Tabarie


Law · Marja' · Hawza
Ayatollah · Allamah
Hojatoleslam · Mujtahid
List of maraji · List of Ayatollahs

Hadith collections

Peak of Eloquence · The Psalms of Islam · Book of Fundamentals · The Book in Scholar's Lieu · Civilization of Laws · The Certainty · Book of Sulaym ibn Qays · Oceans of Light · Wasael ush-Shia · Reality of Certainty · Keys of Paradise

Muhammad Baqir Majlesi, (1616–1698 AD) (Persian: علامه مجلسیAllameh Majlesi; also Romanized as: Majlesi, Majlessi, Majlisi, Madjlessi) known as Allamah Majlesi or Majlesi-ye Thani (Majlesi the Second), was a renowned and very powerful Iranian Twelver Shi'a cleric, during the Safavid era. He has been described as "one of the most powerful and influential Shi'a ulema of all time," whose "policies and actions reoriented Twelver Shia'ism in the direction that it was to develop from his day on."[1]

He is buried next to his father in a family mausoleum located next to the Jamé Mosque of Isfahan.

Early life and education

Born in Isfahan in 1616, his father, Molla Mohammad Taqi Majlesi (Majlesi-ye Awwal--Majlesi the First, 1594 AD-1659 AD), was a cleric of Islamic jurisprudence. The genealogy of his family is traced back to Abu Noaym Ahámad b. Abdallah Esfahani (d. 1038 AD), the author, inter alia, of a History of Isfahan, entitled Zikr-i akhbar-i Isfahan.[2]

By the age of 25, he gained certification of "riwāyat" from Mulla Sadra to teach. He is said to have completed studies under 21 masters (ustadh). He is reported to have trained 181 students to become masters themselves.

Influence and beliefs

In 1678, the Safavid King, Sultan Husayn, appointed Majlesi as "Sheikh ul-Islam" (Chief Religious Leader of the land) in Isfahan, the capital of the Persian Empire (Iran). In this influential position he was given a free hand by the Sultan to encourage and to punish as he saw fit. "The three inter-related areas in which Majlisi exerted his efforts were": the suppression of Sufism, mystical philosophies, philosophic views known as Falsafah that were contrary to Islam and "the suppression of Sunnism and other religious groups." [3]

According to scholar Moojan Momem, Majlisi's era marked a breaking point, as he successfully undercut the influence of Sufism and philosophic rationalism in Shiism. "Up to the time of Majlisi, Shiism and Sufism were closely linked and indeed Sufism had been a vehicle for pro-Shii sentiment among the Sunnis. Even the most eminent members of the Shii ulama in the preceding centuries had come under the influence of Sufiism." After the death of Majlisi, "this process continued among the succeeding generations of ulama" so that Sufism became "divorced from Shiism and ceased to influence the main stream of Shii development. Philosophy was also down-graded and ceased to be an important part of studies at the religious colleges." [4]


He also reestablished clerical authority under his leadership, "and renewed the impetus for conversion from Sunni to Shi'a school."[5] Majlesi is "credited with propagating numerous Shi'a rituals that Iranians regularly practice", such as mourning ceremonies for the fallen imams, particularly the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali at Kerbala, and pilgrimages to shrines of imams and their families.[6]

Majlesi "fervently upheld the concepts of 'enjoining the good' and 'prohibiting evil'",[5] and in so doing endeavoured to provide fatwa (judgements) for "all the of the hypothetical situations a true believer could or might face."[7] In one "exposition of virtues of proper behavior" he gave directions on everything from how to "wear clothes to sexual intercourse and association with females, clipping fingernails, sleeping, waking, urination and defecation, enemas, sneezing, entering and leaving a domicile, and treatments and cures for many illnesses and diseases."[8]

More controversially, Majlesi defined "science" very narrowly as "knowledge of the clear, secure ayat [verses of the Quran]; of the religious duties and obligations which God has fixed in His Justice; and of the Prophetic Traditions (Hadith), which are valid until the day of Resurrection." Beyond this, he warned, the seeking of knowledge is "a waste of one's life," and worse would "generally lead to apostasy and heresy, in which case the likelihood of salvation is remote.".[9] He opposed the school of mystical philosophy developed by Mir Damad and Mulla Sadra, who argued that the Quran was always open to reinterpretation, and valued insights that came from intuition and ecstasy rather than reason.[10]

Majlisi is also controversial for his close relationship with Indian Mughal ruler Aurangzeb Alamgir who was known commonly for his anti-Shia inclinations. Aurangzeb is said to have referred to Majlisi as "the real leader of all true Muslims of Persia". Majlisi visited India on nine occasions between 1660 and 1695 and was awarded the respect of a government emissary thereby offending the Shah of Iran. The Shah made a futile effort of winning over Majlisi against Aurangzeb by giving him a high level post in his court but failed to win his support for his wars against the later.

Work and contribution

Allamah Al-Majlisi’s most important field of interest was the hadith. He popularized his teaching by writing numerous works in an easily understandable style in which he summarized the essential doctrines for the common people.[11] Allamah Majlisi was also a very prolific writer. He wrote more than 100 books, both in Arabic and Persian. Some of his more famous works are:

  • Oceans of Light (Arabic: Bihar ul Anwar) in 110 volumes.
  • Reality of Certainty (Arabic: Haqq-ul-Yaqeen).[12]
  • The Mirror of Intellects (Arabic: Mir'at ul-Oqool), a 26 volume commentary.
  • The Shelter of the Upright People (Arabic: Malaazul-Akhyaar) a 16-volume commentary.
  • Provisions for the Hereafter (Arabic: Zaad-ul-Ma'ad).
  • A Gift for the Pilgrims (Arabic: Tuhfatul-Za'er)
  • Essence of Life (Arabic: Aynul-Hayaat)
  • Hilyat ul-muttaqeen
  • Al-Fara'edh al-Tarifah

See also


External links

  • Bio of the Majlesi family
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