Islamo-Biblca in select Sunni and Imami Shi`i Hadith Literatures I

Islamo-Biblca in select Sunni and Imami Shi`i Hadith Literatures I

Stephen Lambden UCMerced.

The Bible/ Islamo-Biblica in  aḥādīth / akhbār  (Compendia of  traditions ).

Based on Notes dating to the 1980s and now under revision and correction.

Last updated 14-02-2017.

In the first few Islamic centuries tafsīr works and ḥadith compilations were hardly differentiated.  Ayoub has stated that it was from a very early period that the ahl al‑kitāb .. played an important and controversial role in the development of ḥadith  and tafsir  tradition. A need was felt from the beginning to know more about the prophets of old and their generations than the meagre information which the Qur’an provided" (1984:30).

Both Sunnī and Shī`ī  Muslims give tremendous weight to ḥadīth  (pl. aḥādīth), khabar  (pl. akhbār ) literatures though relative to the Bible and Isrā’īliyyāt only select Shī`ī compilations can be considered here. Traditions are valued for doctrinal guidance and  for patterns of life‑style they  set down for emulation. Though Sunnī and Shī`ī collections of tradition have much in common, as the Bāb does not seem to have specifically cited Sunnī  ḥadīth  collections and BA* only did this sparingly in his latter years, the Bible and Isrā’īliyyāt in specifically Sunnī sources will be bypassed (Goldziher, GS [1971]; Schwartzbaum, 1982:29‑38+fns.). For the Ithnā `Ashariyyah  (twelver)  Shī’ īs  authoritative prophetic traditions are supplemented by those deriving from the `Alid Imāms, from `Alī up till Ḥasan al‑`Askārī and his allegedly  occulted son Muhammad (d. c. 260/874). These Twelver Shī`a give especial weight to "the four books" three of which are predominantly legalistic. They are supplemented by three other massive compendia one of which is again distinctively legalistic (Librande, `Ḥadīth’ Enc. Rel. 6:150‑1). Out of these seven (4+3 supp.) compendia it is the following three large works which include much material relating to the Bible and  Isrā’īliyyāt:

  • (1) [K.] al‑Kāfī fī `ilm al‑dīn  ( [The Book of] What is Sufficient for the Knowledge of Religion’ ) of Abū Ja`far Muhammad b. Ya`qūb al‑ Kulaynī [Kulīnī] (d.c. 329/941) (15,000+ hadīths);
  • (2) The commentary on the Kāfī  of Kulīnī (= Kulaynī) by Ṣadrā al‑Dīn Shīrāzī (= Mullā Ṣadrā d.1050/1640) and 
  • (3)The al‑Wāfī  (The Comprehensive) of  Muḥsin al‑Fayḍ al‑Kāshānī  (d.1090/1679), a compilation with commentary on the "four books".

 The early and lengthy al‑Kāfī fī `ilm al‑dīn  of  Kulīnī (d. c. 329/941) was written during the ghaybat al‑sughrā  (lesser occultation) and  was specifically cited by both the Bāb and BA* - In his K. īqān    BA* cites traditions from both the Kāfī  and the Rawḍat al‑kāfī  (KI:190‑1 / 56‑7). as was certain of its six supplementary volumes, the compendium of miscellanea, entitled the Rawḍat al‑kāfī  (The Garden of the Kāf ī). The eighth volume is of particular interest in that it contains a large collection of traditions touching upon prophetological, eschatological, imamological and other matters associated with pre‑Islamic prophets. Sections within it record traditions of the Imams dealing with Adam and the Tree, the story of  Cain and Abel as well as  Shī`ī  sayings of Jesus and other pre‑Islamic prophets. There are also traditions dealing, for example,  with the cosmological secrets of the celestial Domes (ḥadīth al‑qibāb), Yājūj and Mājūj  (Gog and Magog) and much more besides (Furū`  8:97ff). 

Ayoub has translated some traditions reflecting the Shī`ī image of Jesus and his sayings in the  Rawḍat al‑kāfī  (Ayoub,1976).  An example of a Shī`ī Jesus logion reads, "Verily, I say to you, Moses commanded you not to swear by God, truthfully or falsely, rather to say, "Yea" or "Nay" (cf. Exod. 20:7; Matt 5:34; Ayoub, 1976:184). Also recorded in the Rawḍat al‑kāfī  is a series of beatitudes of Jesus (VIII:141f, Ayoub 1976:177).

The legalistic books among these four are by no means devoid of Abrahamic, Islamo-biblical or Jewish and Christian influence. They are :

  • [Kitāb] Man lā yaḥḍuruhu al‑faqīh (The Book for whomsoever is without a lawyer), a  legal textbook of Muhammad b. Bābūya al‑Qummī (= al‑Ṣadūq, d. 381/991) (9,000+ traditions) and the other two basically legalistic works
  • Tahdhīb al‑aḥkām (The Correction of the Judgements) (3,000+ traditions) and
  • al‑Istibṣār.. al‑akhbār  (The Examination.. of the Reports) (5,000+ hadiths)  of Muhammad b. Ḥasan al‑Tū sī (d.460/1067).

Vajda has discussed aspects of the post‑biblical, Talmudic‑Midrashic Jewish substrate of several Shī`īte Isrā’īliyyāt informed traditions found in the Uṣūl al‑Kāfī  of  al‑Kulīnī.  These traditions uphold the authority of the twelver Imams or set out various other  Shī`ī perspectives. Nine Isrā’īliyyāt  passages are identified by Vajda, including, [1] Uṣūl al‑Kāfī  I:383, on the nature of the  flowering rod  of Solomon (see Num.17:1ff [16‑24]; 1 Sam 16:1ff ), [2] Uṣūl al‑Kāfī  II:265, recording words of Imam `Alī related by Ja`far al‑Ṣādiq, "Poverty (al‑faqr)  is a supreme ornament (azyan)  for the believer (mumin)" which has  midrashic precedent ( B. Ḥagīga 9b, cf. Lev. Rabba, 13, 4), [3] Uṣūl  al‑Kāfī  II:270 which records the following prophetic saying relayed by Ja`far al‑Ṣādiq parallelled at Deut. 27:18‑21, "Cursed! Cursed be whomsover is the servant of money (al‑dīnār wa’l‑dirham). Cursed! Cursed! Be whomsover leads the blind astray! Cursed! Cursed! Be he who copulates with a beast (behīma)"  (Vajda, 1981:46f).

Aside from the abovementioned repositories of Shī`ī tradition, the encyclopaedic Biḥar al‑anwār  (Oceans of Lights; 2nd ed.110 vols)  of Muhammad Bāqir Majlisī (d. 1111/1699‑1700) is a further very influential thematized collection of Shī`ī traditions. It is quite frequently cited in Bābī‑ Bahā’ī primary scripture. The Bāb and BA* as well as AB* and SE* sometimes challenged the authenticity of Islamic traditions recorded by Majlisī and others. Citing  eschatological proof texts in his (Persian) Dalā’il‑i sab`ih, for example, the Bāb directs his (Shaykhī?) questioner to the Biḥār al-anwar  though he boldly has it that she authenticity of such traditions is suspect (taḥqīq‑i  īn aḥādīth ithbāt nīst,  DSP:51). Going further in a complex commentary upon the  prophetic import of certain isolated letters of the Q., the Bāb cites then disagrees with Majlisī holding that he had failed  to grasp the true ẓāhir  (outer) import of the qur’ānic isolated letters which he had applied to his own time (Biḥār2  52:107; INBMC 98:35ff).

In the new 110 volume edition it includes four volumes totalling over 1, 500 (394+ 388+ 407+522) pages making up the K. al‑Nubuwwa  (Book of Prophethood; 2nd ed. vols.11‑14). Within it numerous qur’anic verses are expounded, Isrā’īliyyāt influenced traditions cited, and other Islamicate materials related from a wide variety of sources. Much is said about prophets believed to have lived between Adam until Muhammad. Rich in Isrā’īliyyāt the K. al‑nubuwwa   cites, for example,  Ṭabarī’s Tafsīr   and a lengthy extract from the K. al‑kharā’ij   of  Quṭb al‑Dīn Rawandī (d. Qumm  573/1177‑8) which includes several citations of  Islamicate (pseudo‑) Johannine paraclete sayings such as the following,

And he (Jesus) says in another narrative, `the fāraqlīṭ (> Gk παράκλητος, the Paraclete), the Spirit of Truth rūḥ al‑ḥaqq) whom he [God] will send in my [Jesus’] name shall teach you all things (kulli shay ’) (Biḥār,  15:211; cf. Jn 14:26; 16:13).

 Aside from the Biḥār  of Majlisī, the Bāb  and BA* also quote a wide range of traditions from sometimes  obscure Shī`ī compilations. In his T. Kawthar , for example, the Bāb cites lengthy eschatological traditions including some  ascribed to  al‑Mufaḍḍal  ibn `Umar  Ju`fī ( d. c. 762‑ 3), a companion of  Ja`far al‑Ṣādiq from whom he  is said to have relayed traditions and treatises (T. Kawthar, fols. 38b‑39a; 55a; 57a, etc). These  include a work of  al‑Mufaḍḍal, the K. al‑tawhīd al‑Mufaḍḍāl  (Dharī`a  IV:482 No. 2156; GAL 1:530 No. 9; T. Kawthar, fol.108aff). There were a number of 19th cent. editions of works ascribed to al‑Mufaḍḍāl / Imām Ja`far al‑Ṣādiq. Among them a Persian translation by Majlisī of an Arabic work entitled  Tawḥīd‑i Mufaḍḍāl   (Tehran, 1860 + Najaf 1375/1955).This Arabic text was also recently printed asTawḥīd al‑Mufaḍḍāl,  Maktabat Aḥmad  `Īsā’ al‑Zawād,  Suyahāt: Saudi Arabia. 1403 / 1983.

            Many examples could be given of the considerable influence of  specific ḥadīth   upon the doctrines of the Bāb and BA* some of which are Isrā’īliyyāt rooted traditions. The `Ḥadīth of the Cloud (al‑`amā’)  record’s Muhammad’s response to a question posed by Abū Razīn al‑`Aqīlī about God’s location "before he created the creation";

He [God]  was  in  عماء   (`amā’ , a "cloud") with no air above it [Him] and no air below it [Him]. Then he created His Throne upon the [cosmic] Water (cited al‑Ṭabarī, Tārīkh, 1:36).

Regarded as "especially sound"  by al‑Ṭabarī this prophetic  ḥadīth   reflects passages in the Hebrew Bible where God is said to dwell in  "thick darkness" (Hebהָֽעֲרָפֶל ha-araphel  Exod.  20:21b) and whose theophany was at times in a "pillar of cloud"  (Exod. 33:9ff;  cf. 1 Kings 8:12;  Ps. 97:2; Jud. 13:22). It is also strongly reminiscent  of the  apophatic  theological speculations of the Cappadocian Father Gregory of Nyssa (d. c. 395 CE) some of whose works were early translated into Arabic. His On the Life of Moses  states that the "divine cloud" which led the Israelities (Exod. 13:31‑2) was "something beyond human comprehension" (Life of Moses, tr. 38; cf. Philo, Vit. Mos. I.29.166).

            Through the influence of the above Islamic tradition upon his cosmology, Ibn al‑`Arabī made considerable use of the term `amā’  (lit. "blindness", "cloud") and of genitive phrases containing it (al‑Futūḥāt; 1:148; 2:310; 3:430 etc; al‑Ḥakīm, al‑Mu`jam, 820f ). So likewise the Bāb whose QA makes frequent use of `amā’   and  related genitive expressions (100+ times). In this work the Bāb included addresses to a mysterious ahl al‑`amā’   (denizens of the Divine cloud) associated with the celestial Sinaitic realm (Lambden1984;1988). A commentary on the `Tradition of `amā’’  was specifically written by the Bāb for Sayyid Yaḥyā Dārābī, Vaḥīd (d.1850 CE) (‑‑> bib.).  BA* likewise utilized this terminology extensively. His  first major poetical writing was entitled Rashḥ‑i `amā’  (`The Sprinkling of the Theophanic Cloud’, late 1852) after its opening hemstitch.

            While the Bāb wrote commentaries upon the gnostically inclined Ḥadīth Kumayl ibn Ziyād al‑Nakhā’ī  (‑‑>bib.) and the tradition sometimes ascribed to Imām `Alī,  naḥnu wajh Allāh  ("We are the Face of God"), BA* commented upon the widely attested, man `arafa nafsahu faqad `arafa rabbubu  (Whoso knoweth himself shall surely know his Lord) and that which has it that `The [true] believer is alive in both the [two] worlds (al‑dārayn)’  (MAM:346‑361).

At one point in his K. īqān  BA* cites  a prophetic tradition from Ja`far Ṣādiq  contained in  the Yanbū  (Wellspring)  of  Ibn Junayd  al‑Iskāfī (? d. 381/991; QI. IV:1866‑7; KI:189/ tr. [SE*] 155). In the same source he also cites from the massive (100+vols; larger than Majlisī’s Biḥār)  Awā’lim  al‑`ulūm  of  Shaykh `Abd‑Allāh b. Nūr Allāh al‑Baḥrānī [al‑Iṣfahānī] (d. early 18th cent. CE?)  an important pupil of Majlisī (Dharī`a 15:356‑7, No. 2282).1  This work appears to have been a key source of messianic proof texts for the early Bābīs, including Mullā Ḥusayn Bushrū’ī (d. 1849; see INBMC 80:1ff). Twice cited as a source of eschatological traditions by BA* in his Kitāb‑I īqān, Baḥrānī’s  Awālim  was referred to as among "the well‑known and respected books." (BA*, KI:187).2

1, The massive (K.) [ al‑] Awā’lim al‑`ulūm wa’l‑ma`ārif wa’l‑aḥwāl min al‑āyāt wa’l‑akhbār wa’l‑aqwāl..  of al‑Baḥrānī seems to have been partially published at least three time (Chs. bib.). 

2. Also cited in the same context in the Kitāb‑I īqān is a [K. al‑]`Arba`īn ([Book of the] Forty [Traditions], a common title of compendia of treasured traditions.

The Mashāriq  anwār  al‑yaqīn  of Rajab al‑Bursī (d. c. 814 /1411).

          Among the numerous often `irfānī  (esoteric‑gnostic) collections of tradition significant in esoteric Shiism and the Bābī‑Bahā’ī religions is that revolving around traditions ascribed to Imām `Alī in the Mashāriq  anwār al‑yaqīn fī asrār Amīr al‑mu’minīn (The Dawning‑Places of the Lights of Certitude in the mysteries of the Commander of the Faithful’) of Rajab al‑Bursī (d. c. 814 /1411;  Lawson, 1992:261‑276; Borsi [Lorey+ Corbin],1996).  A number of arcane Shī`ī traditions cited by the Bāb and BA* originate with this compilation. In his Kitāb‑I  īqān,  for example, BA* cites a tradition about Imām `Alī having been with one thousand Adams, each  50, 000 years apart, and having repeatedly declared his walāya   ("successorship") before them (KI:130/tr. [SE*]107‑8).

            Bursī’s Mashāriq contains important sermons and traditions which were very highly regarded by the first two Shaykhī leaders as well as by the Bāb and BA*. A considerable number of important Imamī traditions about walāya, the `ilm al‑ḥurūf  (the science of letters) the ism Allāh al‑a`ẓam   and other esoteric matters are scattered throughout the Mashāriq. The influence of the Bible and Isrā’īliyyāt is evident throughout this seminal esoteric tract.

            Among the influential discourses ascribed to Imam `Alī contained in the Mashāriq of Bursī is the arcane Khuṭba al‑ṭutunjiyya [ taṭanjiyya]  (Sermon of the Gulf) allegedly delivered by the first Imam between Kūfa and Medina (Mashāriq: 166‑170). This oration is a quasi‑extremist (ghuluww) sermon which was partially commented upon by Sayyid Kāẓim Rashtī who regarded it very highly. So too the Bāb and BA* who quote and selectively comment upon it quite  frequently. They were markedly influenced by its at times  high imamology and abstruse yet suggestive apocalyptic. The Kh-Ṭutunjiyya  incorporates Islamicate motifs deriving from Isrā’iliyyāt including many Arabic  "I am" sayings  at times incorporating apparently pseudo‑Hebrew/ Aramaic names such as "I am B‑A‑R‑Ḥ‑l‑U‑N  (pointing uncertain).

            In the Kh. ÿutunjiyya  many utterances of an all but deified `Alī echo the gnostic and predominantly  Johannine NT  "I am" logion  of Jesus. Like Jesus, `Alī at one point, in a loose Arabic transliteration of the Greek, claims ناعليوثوثا ا  (sic.) (= Gkγώ εμι …  λήθεια,  ego eimi  aletheia,  Jn 14:6a), "I am the Truth"  (Bursī, Mashriq, 169). Numerous other theophanic claims of the deified Imam `Alī cast in the form of "I am" sayings are present  in this sermon (Mashāriq, 166‑170) as well as in other  texts collected in Bursī’s Mashāriq. The Sermon which follows the Khuṭba al‑ṭutunjiyya  consists of over 100 such  "I am.." sayings of `Alī several  of which are translated above (Bursī, Mashāriq 170‑172). Certain of Shāh Ismā’īl’s (the founder of the Safavid dynasty d.930/1524) Turkish poems contain similar such "I am" sayings (Minorsky:1942 esp. 1042a).

 Only a few of these "Iam" sayings can be translated here:

  • I am the one who presideth over the two gulfs (waqif `alā al‑ṭutunjayn).. 
  • I am the Lord of the first flood (ṣāḥib al‑ṭūf ān al‑awwāl);
  • I am the Lord of the second flood [of Noah?];
  • I am the one who raised Idrīs [Enoch] to a lofty place [cf. Q.19:57]
  • I am  the agent whereby the infant Jesus cried out from the cradle [Q. 19:29, etc]
  • I am the Lord of the Mount [Sinai] (ṣāḥib al‑ṭūr)  ..
  • I am the one with whom are the keys of the unseen (mafātīḥ al‑ghayb)..
  • I am Dhū’l‑Qarnayn mentioned in the primordial scrolls (ṣuḥuf al‑awwālī)
  • I am the bearer of the Seal of Solomon (sāḥib khātam sulaymān)
  • I am first First Adam; I am the First Noah... I am the Lord of Abraham, (ṣāḥib ibrahīm), 
  • I am the inner depth of the Speaker [Moses] (sirr al‑kalīm)...
  • I am the Messiah [Jesus] = al‑rūḥ ] (al‑masīḥ)  inasmuch as no soul (rūḥ)  moves nor  spirit (nafs) breathes without my permission...
  • I am the Speaker who conversed (mutakallim) through the tongue of Jesus in the cradle...
  • I am the one with whom are one thousand volumes of the books of the prophets (alf  kutub min kitāb al‑anbiyā’)..  (Bursī, Mashariq, 166ff). 

 From the very beginning  of his messianic career the  Bāb quite frequently cited and creatively refashioned  lines of the Khuṭba al‑ṭutunjiyya,   sometimes as interpreted by Sayyid Kāẓim Rashtī  In expressing his own claims he often used "I am" proclamatory sentences and dual formations echoing the sayings ascribed to `Alī in the ṭutunjiyya and elsewhere (see QA). This especially in his claim, "I am one presiding over the ṭutunjayn ... al‑khālijayn  ("the two gulfs") (QA:93:374‑5; 109:434‑5).

 The opening lines of the Bāb’s early Khuṭba al‑Jidda  (Homily from Jeddah) are basically a rewrite of the opening words of the al‑Khuṭba al‑ṭutunjiyya  (INBMC 91:60‑61; cf. Ibid 50 [untitled]). Both the Bāb and BA* saw themselves as the eschatological theophany of the Sinaitic speaker (mukallim al‑ṭūr) whose future advent is predicted by `Alī in the Sermon of the Gulf  (Bursī, Mashariq, 168; Lambden 1986).  The distinctly esoteric influence of this sermon is obvious in the following lines from the Bāb’s  commentary upon the qur’ānic phrase al‑lawḥ al‑mafūẓ. (Q. 85:22), (The preserved Tablet):

 .. God assuredly made this [person  the Bāb ?] to be that Book, a supremely great Tablet (lawḥ al‑akbar).  And he foreordained therein whatsoever was called into being at the beginning and at the [eschatological] end (fī’l‑bad` wa’l‑khatm). God   destined for that Book two Gates (bābayn) unto the mystery of the two Gulfs (li‑sirr al‑ṭutunjayn), through the water of the two channels [gulfs] (mā’ al‑khalījayn). One of these two [streams] is the water of the Euphrates of the realities of the Elevated Beings (mā’ al‑firāt ḥaqā’iq al‑`aliyyīn) [streaming] from the inmates of the two easts (min ahl al‑mashriqayn) from the two [regions] most proximate [unto God] (min al‑aqrabayn  [sic.]). The second of the two [streams] is the water of the fiery [hellish] expanse of the saline bitterness (mā’ al‑mulḥ al‑ajjāj [ujāj] ?) [streaming] from the inmates of the two wests (min ahl al‑maghribayn), from the two [regions] most remote  [from God] (min al‑ab`adayn [sic.]). And God fashioned above every entrance (`alā kull bāb)  the triangular form (ṣūrat al‑tathlīth), and within the threefold form is the Threefold Personage [= Jesus?] (haykal al‑tathlīth) [which leads] unto the depth of the gates of Gehenna (li‑tamām abwāb al‑jaḥīm)..  ( B* Q. Mafūẓ,  80)

            Numerous Shī`ī traditions deriving from the Twelver Imams are reckoned to be inspired (ilhām)  or divinely inspired (waḥy) in the writings of the Bāb and BA*.  Summing up the developed Bahā’ī perspective AB* wrote in response to an enquiry about waḥy  (divine revelation):

the sanctified pure [twelver] Imams were the dawning‑places of ilḥām (divine inspiration). The manifestations of the bounty of the presence of the All‑Merciful are the rasūl  (sent messengers), who are singled out as recipients of waḥy. Consequently, we do not say that the word (kalām) of the sanctified [twelver] Imams is other than inspiration from the All‑Merciful (ilhām-i raḥmānī)   (Ma’idih 9:122).

Prophetic and Imamī traditions are thus often cited as authoritative texts in Bābī‑ Bahā’ī primary sources. This perhaps indicates Akhbārī influence which also seems reflected though transcended in the mystical imam‑centred unveiling (kashf) of the first two Shaykhi leaders. The Bāb and BA* cited as authoritative many Shī`ī traditions though   their non‑literal hermeneutic meant that they bypassed any notion of Akhbārī literalism. Many akhbār   are commented upon in considerable detail and many others are merely allusively drawn upon. Items of Shī`ī ḥadīth set out or inform many aspects of the hermeneutical orientation as well as the legal‑doctrinal B ābī‑ Bahā’ī universe of discourse.

The ḥadīth qudsī  (lit. `Sacred Hadīth’, `Divine Saying’)

 The ḥadīth qudsī are an important category of  extra‑qur’ānic revelations found in canonical ḥadīth  collections, in early ṣuhuf   collections and in many Sufi writings. They are very highly regarded in both Sunnī and Shī`ī Islam. Numerous compilations and commentaries upon these ḥadīth  were made from early times right up into the Safavid period (1501‑1722 CE) and beyond (Graham,1977 App. A). Among the influential Shī`ī collections is that written in 1056/1645 by al‑Ḥurr al‑`Āmilī (1104 /1693) entitled   al‑Jawāhir al‑saniyyah fī’l‑aḥādith al‑qudsiyya (The Essences of the Splendours in the Sacred Traditions) which sets down from a wide range of Shī`ī sources over one hundred pages of sacred traditions communicated by God between the time of Adam and that of Jesus (al‑Jawāhir, 9‑117). Most compilations of ḥadīth qudsī   include directives and statements which God allegedly communicated to pre‑Islamic figures and sometimes also to Muhammad and the Imams. The ḥadīth qudsī are closely related to and are often distillations of the Isrā ’iliyyāt or biblical tradition.  Two examples from a Sunnī and a Shī`ī sources are:

I heard the Apostle of God say, relating from his Lord: "`Those who love one another in God (mutaḥābbun fi Allāh)  shall be upon platforms of light (manābir min nūr)  in the shadow of the [Divine] Throne on a day in which there shall be no shade except His [its] shade’" (Ibn Ḥanbal, Musnad  V:239; Ibn `Arabī, Mishkat, 22. Graham, 1977:144).

... O Jesus! Commemorate me within thy Self and I shall commemorate thee in Myself. And bring Me to remembrance in the gathering of thy devotees, in the meeting of the good among the concourse of the children of Adam (al‑ādamiyyīn)  (al‑Ḥurr al‑Āmilī, al‑Jawāhir, 108).

The  ḥadīth qudsī  were very influential upon the Bāb and BA*.  In his early K. al‑rūḥ (Book of the Spirit, 1261/1845?) and K. al‑Fihrist (1261/ 1845) the Bāb explicitly cites as a sacred utterance of God (al‑ḥadīth al‑qudsī) the famous Sufi tradition known as the ḥadīth al‑nawāfil  (ḥadīth  of supererogatory works) (K. al‑rūḥ  64‑5).  In this ḥadīth  the servant is represented as so assiduously  engaging in devotions (al‑nawā’fil) and drawing nigh unto God that God himself loves that servant to the degree that he becomes the "ear wherewith he hears", etc. (Fihrist, 343,  cf. Nasr, IS1:108‑9).

With respect to BA* and ḥadīth qudsī   it is clear that his Kalimāt‑i maknūnih  (Hidden Words) is essentially a collection of Sufi‑type, pre‑Bābī divine wisdom. Over 150 brief Arabic and Persian  divine sayings consist of utterances largely cast in the literary form evident in many key ḥadīth qudsī commencing  yā ibn al‑insān   ("O son of Man" ) at root a Semitic‑Aramaic  phrase (cf. Jesus’ `Son of Man’ sayings) which introduces numerous Islamic ḥadīth qudsī.  Initially from around 1858 CE entitled the ṣāḥifa‑yi Fāṭimiyya   (The Scroll of Fāṭimah)  then a decade or so later coming to be entitled the `Hidden Words’ by BA* himself, this compilation is  basically modeled upon collections of the ḥadīth qudsī  so cherished and much cited by Sufis. Occasionally echoing Gospel sayings the Hidden Words are introduced by BA* as a distillation of pre‑Bābī divine inspiration:

This is that which was sent down [from God, nuzzila) from the omnipotent realm (jabarūt al‑`izza) through the Tongue of Power and Might unto the prophets of the past (`alā al‑nabiyyūn min qabl)... ( HW. Ar., 32). 

These words seem to refer to Islamic ḥadīth qudsī  traditions. As far as the form and content of BA*’s  Hidden Words  goes, items within the Arabic of the kalimat‑I maknūna  can be profitably compared and contrasted with ḥadīth qudsī  found many Islamic sources including the section of Majlisi’s Persian  Ḥayāt al‑qulūb (The Life of Hearts) where Islamicate versions of beatitudes, woes  and other sayings ascribed to Jesus are recorded (Majlisī, Hayat, 2:1160‑1175).

Duplicate - check texts ,,,

 

The Bible and Isrā’īliyyāt  in  aḥādīth / akhbār  ( Compendia of  traditions ).

Stephen Lambden UCMerced

Written early 1980s now under revision.

In the first few Islamic centuries tafsīr works and ḥadith compilations were hardly differentiated.  Ayoub has stated that it was from a very early period that the ahl al‑kitāb .. played an important and controversial role in the development of ḥadith  and tafsir  tradition. A need was felt from the beginning to know more about the prophets of old and their generations than the meagre information which the Qur’an provided" (1984:30).

            Both Sunnī and Shī`ī  Muslims give tremendous weight to ḥadīth  (pl. aḥādīth), khabar  (pl. akhbār ) literatures though relative to the Bible and Isrā’īliyyāt /Islamo-biblica only select Shī`ī compilations can be considered here.1

Sunnī Muslims give primacy to "the six books" of `canonical’ ḥadīth  compilations and secondary importance to numerous other supplementary works.

They are

  • (1) the  Ṣaḥīḥ ("Reliable [Collection]") of Muḥammad b. Ismā’īl al‑Bukhārī ( d. 256/870),
  • (2)  the Ṣaḥīḥ ("Reliable [Collection]") of  Muslim b. Ḥajjāj (d.  261/874).

The four Sunan works of

  • (3), Abū Dā’ūd ( d.275/888),
  • (4) al‑Tirmidhī (d. 279/892),
  • (5) al‑Nasā’ī (d. 303/9150 and
  • (6) Ibn Mājah (d. 273/887).

Among others the large collection of prophetic ḥadīth  of Aḥmad Ibn Hanbal (d. Baghdad, 241 / 855), the Musnad  ("Supported [Traditions]") is an highly respected supplementary collection (See Burton,1994). 

 At certain points within a number of  these compilations one finds examples of Isrā’īlyyāt / Qi ṣa ṣal‑anbiyā’ as well as adapted or Islamicate  bible citations. Thewell‑known  Ṣaḥīḥ  (Sound) collection  of  Muhammad b. Ismā’īl al‑Bukhā rī ( d. 256 /870) for example, contains a Kitāb badā’ al‑khalq  (`Book of the Genesis of Creation’ in 17 sections)  followed by an Kitāb al‑`Anbiyā’  (`Book of the Prophets’ in 54 sections).1  There is also a quite lengthy Kitāb tafsīr al‑Qur’ān  and  Kitāb faḍā’il al‑Qurān (`Book of the Excellences of the Qur’ān’ which contains some Isrā’īliyyāt.

            In  Bukhārī’s qiṣaṣ al‑anbiyā’  section are recorded data pertaining to prophets stemming from Adam until the time of Jesus, the companions of the cave and beyond. Following an extended narration of the story of `Khi ḍr with Moses’ (see Q. 18:60f)  the following short  ḥadīth  from Abū  Hurarya gives an etymological rationale to the traditional name of Khiḍir (Khiḍr),  the unnamed  servant who guided Moses according to Q. 18:60ff; "Khāḍir (cf. `Akhḍar , `Green’) was so named because when he sat down upon parched white earth (farwa bayḍā’) it became verdent (`green’, khaḍrā’ a) behind him  (LV. 27/28:719‑20).

            An examle of an Islamicate Bible citation can be found in al‑Bukhārī’s Kitāb al‑tafsīr  on Q. 48:8 where it is reported that by `Abdullāh b. Al‑`Ā ṣthat the description of Muhammad  in the Bible (fī’l‑tawrat) is refelected in Q. 33:45 and reads:

"O thou Prophet! We assuredly sent you as a witness, a herald of good‑tidings, a warner and a protector of those unlettered ones (ḥirz an li’l‑ummiyyīn; `illiterates’). You are my servant and my Messenger [cf. Isa 42:1]. I have named you al‑mutawakkil  (`The Trusting [in God]’). You are neither hard‑hearted [harsh] (bi‑faẓẓ)  nor fierce of character [rough] (ghalīẓ), nor one who shouts in the streets [markets] (sakḥkḥāb bi’l‑aswāq) [cf. Isa 42:2a‑3]. He will not return evil for evil, but shall pardon and forgive. God will not detemine his end until through him He guides a twisted people [nation] (millat) such that they exclaim `There is no God but God’,  opening thereby  the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf  and the hardened hearts’ [cf. Isa. 42:6‑7] (Bukharī, Ṣaḥīḥ, K. tafsīr, no. 4838 p.1051). 

                  This can be loosely identified as a  paraphrastic,  Islamicate version of part of the first so‑called  `Servant Song’ found in Deutero‑Isaiah 42:1‑4 (‑7);  a version of which is also applied to Jesus in the New Testament (Matt. 12:18‑21). It was thought to paralleled Q. 48:8  or  Q. 33:45. A number of similar versions of this Arabic  testimony  can also be found elsewhere in Sunnī ḥadīth  literatures. Seven or eight such passages sometimes echoing Isaianic texts can be found, for example,  towards the beginning of the Kitāb al‑sunan  of al‑Dārimī (d.255/869), in the second section headed `On the description of the Prophet in the Books dating prior to his mission’.2

            In his 1902 article Neutestamentliche Elemente in der Traditionsliteratur  Goldziher has set down numerous examples of Christian, New Testament influence on Sunnī ḥadīth  literatures including a realized, transformed Islamicate `Lord’s Prayer’ (see Matt. 6:10‑13; Luke 11:3‑5)  attributed to Muhammad and recorded  in the Sunan of Abū Dawud al‑Sijistānī (d. 275/888):

Our Lord God, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom (is) in heaven and on earth; as Thy mercy is in heaven, so show Thy mercy on earth; forgive us out debts and our sins (ḥawbanā wa‑khaṭāyānā). Thou art the Lord of the good (rabb al‑ṭayyibīn);  send down mercy from Thy mercy and healing from Thy healing on this pain, that it may be healed (Abū Dawud, Sunan I:[101?]).1

Shī`ī  Ḥadīth compendia

            For the Ithnā `Ashariyyah  (twelver)  Shī’ īs  authoritativee prophetic traditions are supplemented by those deriving from the `Alid Imāms, from `Alī up till Ḥasan al‑`Askārī and his allegedly  occulted son Muhammad (d. c. 260/874). These Twelver Shī`a give especial weight to "the four books" three of which are predominantly legalistic.1 They are supplemented by three other massive compendia one of which is again distinctively legalistic (Librande, `Ḥadīth’ Enc. Rel. 6:150‑1). Out of these seven (4+3 supp.) compendia it is the following three large works which include some material relating to the Bible and  Isrā’īliyyāt:

 

(1) [K.] al‑Kāfī fī `ilm al‑dīn  ( [The Book of] What is Sufficient for the Knowledge of Religion’ ) of Abū Ja`far Muhammad b. Ya`qūb al‑ Kulaynī [Kulīnī] (d.c. 329/941) (15,000+ hadīths);

 

(2) The commentary on the Kāfī  of Kulīnī (= Kulaynī) by Ṣadrā al‑Dīn Shīrāzī (= Mullā Ṣadrā d.1050/1640) and 

(3)The al‑Wāfī (The Comprehensive) of  Muḥsin al‑Fayḍ al‑Kāshānī  (d.1090/1679), a compilation with commentary on the "four books". 

            The early and lengthy al‑Kāfī fī `ilm al‑dīn  of  Kulīnī (d. c. 329/941) was written during the ghaybat al‑sughrā  (lesser occultation) and  was specifically cited by both the Bāb and Bahā’-Allāh 2 as was certain of its six supplementary volumes, the compendium of miscellanea, entitled the Rawḍat al‑kāfī  (The Garden of the Kāfī). The eighth volume is of particular interest in that it contains a large collection of traditions touching upon prophetological, eschatological, imamological and other matters associated with pre‑Islamic prophets. Sections within it record traditions of the Imams dealing with Adam and the Tree, the story of  Cain and Abel as well as  Shī`ī  sayings of Jesus and other pre‑Islamic prophets. There are also traditions dealing, for example,  with the cosmological secrets of the celestial Domes (ḥadīth al‑qibāb), Yājūj and Mājūj  (Gog and Magog) and much more besides (Furū`  8:97ff). 

            Ayoub has translated some traditions reflecting the Shī`ī image of Jesus and his sayings in the  Rawḍat al‑kāfī  (Ayoub,1976).  An example of a Shī`ī Jesus logion reads, "Verily, I say to you, Moses commanded you not to swear by God, truthfully or falsely, rather to say, "Yea" or "Nay" (cf. Exod. 20:7; Matt 5:34; Ayoub, 1976:184). Also recorded in the Rawḍat al‑kāfī  is a series of beatitudes of Jesus (VIII:141f, Ayoub 1976:177).

            Vajda has discussed aspects of the post‑biblical, Talmudic‑Midrashic Jewish substrate of several Shī`īte Isrā’īliyyāt or Islamo-Biblica type traditions found in the Uṣūl al‑Kāfī  of  al‑Kulīnī.  These traditions uphold the authority of the twelver Imams or set out various other  Shī`ī perspectives. Nine Isrā’īliyyāt  passages are identified by Vajda, including,

  • [1] Uṣūl al‑Kāfī  I:383, on the nature of the  flowering rod  of Solomon (see Num.17:1ff [16‑24]; 1 Sam 16:1ff ),
  • [2] Uṣūl al‑Kāfī  II:265, recording words of Imam `Alī related by Ja`far al‑Ṣādiq, "Poverty (al‑faqr)  is a supreme ornament (azyan)  for the believer (mumin)" which has  midrashic precedent ( B.Ḥagīga 9b, cf. Lev. Rabba, 13, 4),
  • [3] Uṣūl  al‑Kāfī  II:270 which records the following prophetic saying relayed by Ja`far al‑Ṣādiq parallelled at Deut. 27:18‑21, "Cursed! Cursed be whomsover is the servant of money (al‑dīnār wa’l‑dirham). Cursed! Cursed! Be whomsover leads the blind astray! Cursed! Cursed! Be he who copulates with a beast (behīma)"   (Vajda, 1981:46f).

 

∎ Muhammad Bāqir Majlisī (d. 1111/1699‑1700)

            Aside from the abovementioned repositories of Shī`ī tradition, the encyclopaedic Biḥar al‑anwār  (Oceans of Lights; 2nd ed.110 vols)  of Muhammad Bāqir Majlisī (d. 1111/1699‑1700) is a further very influential thematized collection of Shī`ī traditions. It is quite frequently cited in Bābī‑ Bahā’ī primary scripture.1  In the new 110 volume edition it includes four volumes totalling over 1, 500 (394+ 388+ 407+522) pages making up the K. al‑Nubuwwa  (Book of Prophethood; 2nd ed. vols.11‑14). Within it numerous qur’anic verses are expounded, Isrā’īliyyāt influenced traditions cited, and other Islamicate materials related from a wide variety of sources. Much is said about prophets believed to have lived between Adam until Muhammad. Rich in Isrā’īliyyāt the K. al‑nubuwwa   cites, for example,  Ṭabarī’ s Tafsīr   and a lengthy extract from the K. al‑kharā’ij   of  Quṭb al‑Dīn Rawandī (d. Qumm  573/1177‑8) which includes several citations of  Islamicate (pseudo‑) Johannine paraclete sayings such as the following,

And he (Jesus) says in another narrative, `the fāraqlīṭ (> Gk παράκλητος, the Paraclete), the Spirit of Truth rūḥ al‑ḥaqq) whom he [God] will send in my [Jesus’] name shall teach you all things (kulli shay ’) (Biḥār,  15:211; cf. Jn 14:26; 16:13).

            Aside from the Biḥār  of Majlisī, the Bāb  and Bahā’-Allāh also quote a wide range of traditions from sometimes  obscure Shī`ī compilations. In his T. Kawthar , for example, the Bāb cites lengthy eschatological traditions including some  ascribed to  al‑Mufaḍḍal  ibn `Umar  Ju`fī ( d. c. 762‑ 3), a companion of  Ja`far al‑Ṣādiq from whom he  is said to have relayed traditions and treatises (T. Kawthar, fols. 38b‑39a; 55a; 57a, etc). These  include a work of  al‑Mufaḍḍal, the K. al‑tawhīd al‑Mufaḍḍāl  (Dharī`a  IV:482 No. 2156; GAL 1:530 No. 9; T. Kawthar, fol.108aff).

            Many examples could be given of the considerable influence of  specific ḥadīth   upon the doctrines of the Bāb and Bahā’-Allāh some of which are Isrā’īliyyāt rooted traditions. The `Ḥadīth of the Cloud (al‑`amā’) record’s Muhammad’s response to a question posed by Abū Razīn al‑`Aqīlī about God’s location "before he created the creation";

 

He [God]  was  in  عماء   (`amā’ , a "cloud") with no air above it [Him] and no air below it [Him]. Then he created His Throne upon the [cosmic] Water (cited al‑Ṭabarī, Tārīkh, 1:36).

Regarded as "especially sound" by al‑Ṭabarī this prophetic  ḥadīth   reflects passages in the Hebrew Bible where God is said to dwell in  "thick darkness" (Heb הָֽעֲרָפֶל ha-araphel  Exod.  20:21b) and whose theophany was at times in a "pillar of cloud" (Exod. 33:9ff;  cf. 1 Kings 8:12;  Ps. 97:2; Jud. 13:22). It is also strongly reminiscent of the  apophatic  theological speculations of the Cappadocian Father Gregory of Nyssa (d. c. 395 CE) some of whose works were early translated into Arabic. His On the Life of Moses states that the "divine cloud" which led the Israelities (Exod. 13:31‑2) was "something beyond human comprehension" (Life of Moses, tr. 38; cf. Philo, Vit. Mos. I.29.166).

            Through the influence of the above Islamic tradition upon his cosmology, Ibn al‑`Arabī made considerable use of the term `amā’  (lit. "blindness", "cloud") and of genitive phrases containing it (al‑Futūḥāt; 1:148; 2:310; 3:430 etc; al‑Ḥakīm, al‑Mu`jam, 820f ). So likewise the Bāb whose QA makes frequent use of `amā’   and  related genitive expressions (100+ times). In this work the Bāb included addresses to a mysterious ahl al‑`amā’   (denizens of the Divine cloud) associated with the celestial Sinaitic realm (Lambden1984;1988). A commentary on the `Tradition of `amā’’  was specifically written by the Bāb for Sayyid Yaḥyā Dārābī, Vaḥīd (d.1850 CE) (‑‑> bib.).  Bahā’-Allāh likewise utilized this terminology extensively. His  first major poetical writing was entitled Rashḥ‑i `amā’  (`The Sprinkling of the Divine Cloud’, late 1852) after its opening hemstitch.

            While the Bāb wrote commentaries upon the gnostically inclined Ḥadīth Kumayl ibn Ziyād al‑Nakhā’ī  (‑‑>bib.) and the tradition sometimes ascribed to Imām `Alī,  naḥnu wajh Allāh  ("We are the Face of God"; ‑‑>bib.), Bahā’-Allāh commented upon the widely attested, man `arafa nafsahu faqad `arafa rabbubu  (Whoso knoweth himself shall surely know his Lord ;‑‑> bib.) and that which has it that `The [true] believer is alive in both the [two] worlds (al‑dārayn)’  (MAM:346‑361).

            At one point in his K. īqān  Bahā’-Allāh cites  a prophetic tradition from Ja`far Ṣādiq  contained in  the Yanbū  (Wellspring)  of  Ibn Junayd  al‑Iskāfī (? d. 381/991; QI. IV:1866‑7; KI:189/ tr. [SE*] 155). In the same source he also cites from the massive (100+vols; larger than Majlisī’s Biḥār)  Awā’lim  al‑`ulūm  of  Shaykh `Abd‑Allāh b. Nūr Allāh al‑Baḥrānī [al‑Iṣfahānī] (d. early 18th cent. CE?)  an important pupil of Majlisī (Dharī`a 15:356‑7, No. 2282).1  This work appears to have been a key source of messianic proof texts for the early Bābīs, including Mullā Ḥusayn Bushrū’ī (d. 1849; see INBMC 80:1ff). Twice cited as a source of eschatological traditions by Bahā’-Allāh in his Kitāb‑I īqān, Baḥrānī’s  Awālim  was referred to as among "the well‑known and respected books." (Bahā’-Allāh, KI:187).2

The Mashāriq  anwār  al‑yaqīn  of Rajab al‑Bursī (d. c. 814 /1411).

          Among the numerous often `irfānī  (esoteric‑gnostic) collections of tradition significant in esoteric Shiism and the Bābī‑Bahā’ī religions is that revolving around traditions ascribed to Imām `Alī in the Mashāriq  anwār al‑yaqīn fī asrār Amīr al‑mu’minīn (The Dawning‑Places of the Lights of Certitude in the mysteries of the Commander of the Faithful’) of Rajab al‑Bursī (d. c. 814 /1411;  Lawson, 1992:261‑276; Borsi [Lorey+ Corbin],1996).  A number of arcane Shī`ī traditions cited by the Bāb and Bahā’-Allāh originate with this compilation. In his Kitāb‑I  īqān,  for example, Bahā’-Allāh cites a tradition about Imām `Alī having been with one thousand Adams, each  50, 000 years apart, and having repeatedly declared his walāya   ("successorship") before them (KI:130/tr. [SE*]107‑8).

            Bursī’s Mashāriq contains important sermons and traditions which were very highly regarded by the first two Shaykhī leaders as well as by the Bāb and Bahā’-Allāh. A considerable number of important Imamī traditions about walāya, the `ilm al‑ḥurūf  (the science of letters) the ism Allāh al‑a`ẓam   and other esoteric matters are scattered throughout the Mashāriq. The influence of the Bible and Isrā’īliyyāt is evident throughout this seminal esoteric tract.

            Among the influential discourses ascribed to Imam `Alī contained in the Mashāriq of Bursī is the arcane Khuṭba al‑ṭutunjiyya [ taṭanjiyya]  (Sermon of the Gulf) allegedly delivered by the first Imam between Kūfa and Medina (Mashāriq: 166‑170). This oration is a quasi‑extremist (ghuluww) sermon which was partially commented upon by Sayyid Kāẓim Rashtī who regarded it very highly. So too the Bāb and Bahā’-Allāh who quote and selectively comment upon it quite  frequently. They were markedly influenced by its at times  high imamology and abstruse yet suggestive apocalyptic. The Kh-Ṭutunjiyya  incorporates Islamicate motifs deriving from Isrā’iliyyāt including many Arabic  "I am" sayings  at times incorporating apparently pseudo‑Hebrew/ Aramaic names such as "I am B‑A‑R‑Ḥ‑l‑U‑N  (pointing uncertain).

            In the Kh. ÿutunjiyya  many utterances of an all but deified `Alī echo the gnostic and predominantly  Johannine NT  "I am" logion  of Jesus. Like Jesus, `Alī at one point, in a loose Arabic transliteration of the Greek, claims ناعليوثوثا ا  (sic.) (= Gkἐγώ εἰμι …  ἀλήθεια,  ego eimi  aletheia,  Jn 14:6a), "I am the Truth"  (Bursī, Mashriq, 169). Numerous other theophanic claims of the deified Imam `Alī cast in the form of "I am" sayings are present  in this sermon (Mashāriq, 166‑170) as well as in other  texts collected in Bursī’s Mashāriq.1 Only a few of these sayings can be translated here:

  • I am the one who presideth over the two gulfs (waqif `alā al‑ṭutunjayn).. 
  • I am the Lord of the first flood (ṣāḥib al‑ṭūf ān al‑awwāl); I am the Lord of the second flood [of Noah?];
  • I am the one who raised Idrīs [Enoch] to a lofty place [cf. Q.19:57]
  • I am  the agent whereby the infant Jesus cried out from the cradle [Q. 19:29, etc]
  • I am the Lord of the Mount [Sinai] (ṣāḥib al‑ṭūr)  ..
  • I am the one with whom are the keys of the unseen (mafātīḥ al‑ghayb)..
  • I am Dhū’l‑Qarnayn mentioned in the primordial scrolls (ṣuḥuf al‑awwālī)
  • I am the bearer of the Seal of Solomon (sāḥib khātam sulaymān)
  • I am first First Adam; I am the First Noah... I am the Lord of Abraham, (ṣāḥib ibrahīm),
  • I am the inner depth of the Speaker [Moses] (sirr al‑kalīm)...
  • I am the Messiah [Jesus] = al‑rūḥ ] (al‑masīḥ)  inasmuch as no soul (rūḥ)  moves nor  spirit (nafs) breathes without my permission...
  • I am the Speaker who conversed (mutakallim) through the tongue of Jesus in the cradle...
  • I am the one with whom are one thousand volumes of the books of the prophets (alf  kutub min kitāb al‑anbiyā’)..  (Bursī, Mashariq, 166ff). 

From the very beginning  of his messianic career the  Bāb quite frequently cited and creatively refashioned  lines of the Khuṭba al‑ṭutunjiyya,   sometimes as interpreted by Sayyid Kāẓim Rashtī (‑‑>3.3f).  In expressing his own claims he often used "I am" proclamatory sentences and dual formations echoing the sayings ascribed to `Alī in the ṭutunjiyya and elsewhere (see QA). This especially in his claim, "I am one presiding over the ṭutunjayn ... al‑khālijayn  ("the two gulfs") (QA:93:374‑5; 109:434‑5).

            The opening lines of the Bāb’s early Khuṭba al‑Jidda  (Homily from Jeddah) are basically a rewrite of the opening words of the al‑Khuṭba al‑ṭutunjiyya  (INBMC 91:60‑61; cf. Ibid 50 [untitled]). Both the Bāb and Bahā’-Allāh saw themselves as the eschatological theophany of the Sinaitic speaker (mukallim al‑ṭūr) whose future advent is predicted by `Alī in the Sermon of the Gulf  (Bursī, Mashariq, 168; Lambden 1986).  The distinctly esoteric influence of this sermon is obvious in the following lines from the Bāb’s  commentary upon the qur’ānic phrase al‑lawḥ al‑mafūẓ. (Q. 85:22), (The preserved Tablet):

... God assuredly made this [person  the Bāb ?] to be that Book, a supremely great Tablet (lawḥ al‑akbar).  And he foreordained therein whatsoever was called into being at the beginning and at the [eschatological] end (fī’l‑bad` wa’l‑khatm). God   destined for that Book two Gates (bābayn) unto the mystery of the two Gulfs (li‑sirr al‑ṭutunjayn), through the water of the two channels [gulfs] (mā’ al‑khalījayn). One of these two [streams] is the water of the Euphrates of the realities of the Elevated Beings (mā’ al‑firāt ḥaqā’iq al‑`aliyyīn) [streaming] from the inmates of the two easts (min ahl al‑mashriqayn) from the two [regions] most proximate [unto God] (min al‑aqrabayn  [sic.]). The second of the two [streams] is the water of the fiery [hellish] expanse of the saline bitterness (mā’ al‑mulḥ al‑ajjāj [ujāj] ?) [streaming] from the inmates of the two wests (min ahl al‑maghribayn), from the two [regions] most remote  [from God] (min al‑ab`adayn [sic.]). And God fashioned above every entrance (`alā kull bāb)  the triangular form (ṣūrat al‑tathlīth), and within the threefold form is the Threefold Personage [= Jesus?] (haykal al‑tathlīth) [which leads] unto the depth of the gates of Gehenna (li‑tamām abwāb al‑jaḥīm)..  ( B* Q. Mafūẓ,  80)

 Numerous Shī`ī traditions deriving from the Twelver Imams are reckoned to be inspired (ilhām)  or divinely inspired (waḥy) in the writings of the Bāb and Bahā’-Allāh.  Summing up the developed Bahā’ī perspective AB* wrote in response to an enquiry about waḥy  (divine revelation):

the sanctified pure [twelver] Imams were the dawning‑places of ilḥām (divine inspiration). The manifestations of the bounty of the presence of the All‑Merciful are the rasūl  (sent messengers), who are singled out as recipients of waḥy. Consequently, we do not say that the word (kalām) of the sanctified [twelver] Imams is other than inspiration from the All‑Merciful (ilhām-i raḥmānī)   (Ma’idih 9:122).

Prophetic and Imamī traditions are thus often cited as authoritative texts in Bābī‑ Bahā’ī primary sources. This perhaps indicates Akhbārī influence which also seems reflected though transcended in the mystical imam‑centred unveiling (kashf) of the first two Shaykhi leaders. The Bāb and Bahā’-Allāh cited as authoritative many Shī`ī traditions though   their non‑literal hermeneutic meant that they bypassed any notion of Akhbārī literalism. Many akhbār   are commented upon in considerable detail and many others are merely allusively drawn upon. Items of Shī`ī ḥadīth set out or inform many aspects of the hermeneutical orientation as well as the legal‑doctrinal B ābī‑ Bahā’ī universe of discourse.

∎ The ḥadīth qudsī  (lit. `Sacred Hadīth’, `Divine Saying’)

The ḥadīth qudsī are an important category of  extra‑qur’ānic revelations found in canonical ḥadīth  collections, in early ṣuhuf   collections and in many Sufi writings. They are very highly regarded in both Sunnī and Shī`ī Islam. Numerous compilations and commentaries upon these ḥadīth  were made from early times right up into the Safavid period (1501‑1722 CE) and beyond (Graham,1977 App. A). Among the influential Shī`ī collections is that written in 1056/1645 by al‑Ḥurr al‑`Āmilī (1104 /1693) entitled   al‑Jawāhir al‑saniyyah fī’l‑aḥādith al‑qudsiyya (The Essences of the Splendours in the Sacred Traditions) which sets down from a wide range of Shī`ī sources over one hundred pages of sacred traditions communicated by God between the time of Adam and that of Jesus (al‑Jawāhir, 9‑117). Most compilations of ḥadīth qudsī   include directives and statements which God allegedly communicated to pre‑Islamic figures and sometimes also to Muhammad and the Imams. The ḥadīth qudsī are closely related to and are often distillations of the Isrā ’iliyyāt or biblical tradition.  Two examples from a Sunnī and a Shī`ī sources are:

I heard the Apostle of God say, relating from his Lord: "`Those who love one another in God (mutaḥābbun fi Allāh)  shall be upon platforms of light (manābir min nūr)  in the shadow of the [Divine] Throne on a day in which there shall be no shade except His [its] shade’" (Ibn Ḥanbal, Musnad  V:239; Ibn `Arabī, Mishkat, 22. Graham, 1977:144).

... O Jesus! Commemorate me within thy Self and I shall commemorate thee in Myself. And bring Me to remembrance in the gathering of thy devotees, in the meeting of the good among the concourse of the children of Adam (al‑ādamiyyīn)  (al‑Ḥurr al‑Āmilī, al‑Jawāhir, 108).

The  ḥadīth qudsī  were very influential upon the Bāb and Bahā’-Allāh.  In his early K. al‑rūḥ (Book of the Spirit, 1261/1845?) and K. al‑Fihrist (1261/ 1845) the Bāb explicitly cites as a sacred utterance of God (al‑ḥadīth al‑qudsī) the famous Sufi tradition known as the ḥadīth al‑nawāfil  (ḥadīth  of supererogatory works) (K. al‑rūḥ  64‑5).  In this ḥadīth  the servant is represented as so assiduously  engaging in devotions (al‑nawā’fil) and drawing nigh unto God that God himself loves that servant to the degree that he becomes the "ear wherewith he hears", etc. (Fihrist, 343,  cf. Nasr, IS1:108‑9).

            With respect to Bahā’-Allāh and ḥadīth qudsī   it is clear that his Kalimāt‑i maknūnih  (Hidden Words) is essentially a collection of Sufi‑type, pre‑Bābī divine wisdom. Over 150 brief Arabic and Persian  divine sayings consist of utterances largely cast in the literary form evident in many key ḥadīth qudsī commencing  yā ibn al‑insān   ("O son of Man" ) at root a Semitic‑Aramaic  phrase (cf. Jesus’ `Son of Man’ sayings) which introduces numerous Islamic ḥadīth qudsī.  Initially from around 1858 CE entitled the ṣāḥifa‑yi Fāṭimiyya   (The Scroll of Fāṭimah)  then a decade or so later coming to be entitled the `Hidden Words’ by Bahā’-Allāh himself, this compilation is  basically modeled upon collections of the ḥadīth qudsī  so cherished and much cited by Sufis. Occasionally echoing Gospel sayings the Hidden Words are introduced by Bahā’-Allāh as a distillation of pre‑Bābī divine inspiration:

This is that which was sent down [from God, nuzzila) from the omnipotent realm (jabarūt al‑`izza) through the Tongue of Power and Might unto the prophets of the past (`alā al‑nabiyyūn min qabl)... ( HW. Ar., 32). 

These words seem to refer to Islamic ḥadīth qudsī  traditions. As far as the form and content of Bahā’-Allāh’s  Hidden Words  goes, items within the Arabic of the kalimat‑I maknūna  can be profitably compared and contrasted with ḥadīth qudsī  found many Islamic sources including the section of Majlisi’s Persian  Ḥayāt al‑qulūb (The Life of Hearts) where Islamicate versions of beatitudes, woes  and other sayings ascribed to Jesus are recorded (Majlisī, Hayat, 2:1160‑1175).

 



            1 Traditions are valued for doctrinal guidance and for patterns of life‑style they set down for emulation. Though Sunnī and Shī`ī collections of tradition have much in common, as the Bāb does not seem to have specifically cited Sunnī  ḥadīth  collections and Bahā’-Allāh only did this sparingly in his latter years, the Bible and Isrā’īliyyāt in specifically Sunnī sources will be bypassed (Goldziher, GS [1971]; Schwartzbaum, 1982:29‑38+fns.).

 

            1 The bada` al‑khalq   and the aḥadīth al‑`anbiyā’   (`Traditions about the Prophets’) sections in al‑Bukhārī   Ṣaḥīḥ  follows the pattern of early biographiesof the Prophet  and later Qi®a® akl‑anbiyā’ volumes.

            2 See al‑Dārimī, (Kitāb al‑sunan =) Sunan al‑Dārimī , 1:10‑12; cf. Tibrīzī, Mishkat  3:1602‑3 no. 5752 ( trans. Robson Mishkat  II:1232‑3), 3:1607 no.5771 (trans. Idem Mishkat  II:1237). 

            1 Muhammad allegedly said as recorded just prior to this prayer that `if anyone suffers or his brother suffers’ he should recite it Goldziher ( trans. Stern) 1971 (Muslim Studies) II:350.

            1 The legalistic books among these four are (2) the legal textbook  [Kitāb] Man lā yaḥḍuruhu al‑faqīh (The Book for whomsoever is without a lawyer) of Muhammad b. Bābūya al‑Qummī (= al‑Ṣadūq, d. 381/991) (9,000+ traditions) and the two works (3)  Tahdhīb al‑aḥkām (The Correction of the Judgements) (3,000+ traditions) and (4) al‑Istibṣār.. al‑akhbār  (The Examination.. of the Reports) (5,000+ hadiths)  of Muhammad b. Ḥasan al‑Tū sī (d.460/1067).

            3 In his K.īqān    Bahā’-Allāh cites traditions from both the Kāfī  and the Rawḍat al‑kāfī  (KI:190‑1 / 56‑7).

     1The Bāb and Bahā’-Allāh as well as `Abd al-Bahā  and Shoghi Effendi sometimes challenged the authenticity of Islamic traditions recorded by Majlisī and others. Citing  eschatological proof texts in his (Persian) Dalā’il‑i sab`ih, for example, the Bāb directs his (Shaykhī?) questioner to the Biḥār  though he boldly has it that she authenticity of such traditions is suspect (taḥqīq‑i īn aḥādīth ithbāt nīst,  DSP:51). Going further in a complex commentary upon the  prophetic import of certain isolated letters of the Q., the Bāb cites then disagrees with Majlisī holding that he had failed  to grasp the true ẓāhir  (outer) import of the qur’ānic isolated letters which he had applied to his own time (Biḥār2  52:107; INBMC 98:35ff).

     2There were a number of 19th cent. editions of works ascribed to al‑Mufaḍḍāl / Imām Ja`far al‑Ṣādiq. Among them a Persian translation by Majlisī of an Arabic work entitled  Tawḥīd‑i Mufaḍḍāl   (Tehran, 1860 + Najaf 1375/1955).This Arabic text was also recently printed asTawḥīd al‑Mufaḍḍāl,  Maktabat Aḥmad  `Īsā’ al‑Zawād,  Suyahāt: Saudi Arabia. 1403 / 1983.

     1 The massive (K.) [ al‑] Awā’lim al‑`ulūm wa’l‑ma`ārif wa’l‑aḥwāl min al‑āyāt wa’l‑akhbār wa’l‑aqwāl..  of al‑Baḥrānī seems to have been partially published at least three time (Chs. bib.).

            2 Also cited in the same context in the Kitāb‑Iīqān is a [K. al‑]`Arba`īn ([Book of the] Forty [Traditions], a common title of compendia of treasured traditions. 

     1The Sermon which follows the Khuṭba al‑ṭutunjiyya  consists of over 100 such  "I am.." sayings of `Alī several  of which are translated above (Bursī, Mashāriq 170‑172). Certain of Shāh Ismā’īl’s (the founder of the Safavid dynasty d.930/1524) Turkish poems contain similar such "I am" sayings (Minorsky:1942 esp. 1042a).