Bab Letter for Mullā Ḥasan Gawhar (d. 1266/1849)

 

گوهر

A Letter of the Bab to the leading Shaykhi Mullā Ḥasan Gawhar (d. 1266/1849).


Mullā Ḥasan Gawhar [Jawhar] (d.  1849 CE) is actually Shaykh Ḥasan ibn `Alī al-Tabrizi of the village of Qarāja Dāghī near Tabriz, hence he has the designations al-Qarāja  al-Dāghī al-Tabrīzī. He had studied in Najaf with some of the leading `ulama of the time including Shaykh Musa ibn Shaykh Ja`far Najafi and is credited with a wide and impressive range of learning. He eventually became a leading Shaykhī  with an ijāza ("certificate of competency") from Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa'i (d. 1826 CE). Among his writings, which include aspects of Tafsir, Hadith, Usul al-fiqh,  Shaykhi apologetics and more besides, the following largely Arabic (and a few Persian) works one or two of which have been printed in the 19th-21st centuries,  may be noted:

  • (1) Ajwaba Masā'il in response of various questions written at the direction of Shaykh Ahmad. 

  • (2) al-Makhāzin / Makhazin jawāhir asrar al-tanzil ("The Treasuries of the jewels of the mysteries of the revelation") incorporating the ḥikma ("Wisdom") of the `People of the House of Prophethood and of the Sent Messengers' (ahl al-bayt al-nubuwwa wa'l-risāla) or about al-mabdā' (the genesis-origin) and al-mithāl (the images-similitudes).  Printed with (3) below in the compilation al-Barāhīn al-sāṭa`a fī al-ḥikma (see below). 

  • (3) al-Lama`āt anwār al-hidaya wa'l-rashad ("The Brilliances of the Lights of Guidance and the Right Course") about al-mabdā' (the genesis-origin) and al-ma`ād (the eschatological return).  Concluded in 1239/1823. A mss. exists in the Library of Shaykh Muhammad Rida' Faraj-Allah in Najaf written by  Sayyid Kazim ibn Mustafa Ha`iri at the command of his teacher Mirza Muhammad Ibrahim Ha'iri in 1294/1877. Printed in Tabriz in 1351/1932  (see below).

  • (2+3) al-Barāhīn al-sāṭa`a fī al-ḥikma  ("The Illuminating Proofs regarding Hikma [Wisdom]"). This was printed in Karbala and Tabriz in 1351/1932 and incorporates a combined reprinting of items (2) and (3) above. A extended version of this compilation was apparently also printed in Karbala in 1385/1966. See Taliqani, al-Shaykhiyya, 185. 

  • (4)  A poetical Dīwān.

  • (5) Risāla fī ta`wīl āyāt al-nahl ("A Treatise in the inner sense [s] of the [qur'anic] verse of the Bee"), probably in exposition of Qur'an 16:68. The Bab also titled and `rewrote' as sura of his Qayyum al-asma' (QA. 93 or 4) after this qur'anic sura.

  • (6) Risāla fī'l-Salat ("Treatise on the Obligatory Prayer").

  • (7) Risāla fī'l-Sawm("Treatise on Fasting").

  • (8) Risāla fī'l-ma`na qawl al-nabī, `ulamā' ummatī afḍal min anbiyā' bani Isra'il ("The `ulama' (divines, clerics) of my community (ummatī) are more favoured (afḍal) than the prophets (anbiyā') of the children of Israel (bani Isra'il)").

  • (9) Risāla fī'l-ithbat ḍilālat al-Hajji [Mirza Muhammad] Karim Khan Kirmani ("Treatise in Establishment of the Erroneous Position of Hajji Karim Khan Kirmani) In manuscript. 

  • (10) Risāla`ilmiyya  fī'l-`ibadāt ("Learned Treatise on the modes of servitude"). In Arabic.

  • (11)  Risāla`ilmiyya  fī'l-`ibadāt ("Learned Treatise on the modes of servitude"). In Persian.

  • (12) Sharh ḥayāt al-arwāḥ ("Commentary on the Life of the Spirits") on the fundamentals of Shi`i doctrine incorporating a refutation of Shaykh Muhammad Ja`far al-Astarabadi who had written in refutation of [Shaykh Ahmad] al-Ahsa'i Printed in 260 pp. in Tabriz in 1376/1956. Recently reprinted as a massive volume (see above) at the behest of `Abd al-Rasūl al-Iḥqāqī in a 2nd edition/ printing, Dawlat al-Kuwait : (`Abd al-Rasūl al-Iḥqāqī) Jāmi` al-Imam al-Sādiq, 1423/2002. 881pp. + Index pp. 883-4. This volume by the Adhirbayjani born anti-Babi Shaykhi with the laqab Jawhar or Gawhar deals with the centrally important Shi`i doctrines : Sect. 1 On Tawḥīd (the Divine Unity) pp.27-112 in 5 sub-sections; Sect.2 on `Adl (the Divine Justice) pp.115 -208 in 24 subsections; Sect. 3 on Nubuwwa (Prophethood ) pp. 213-302 in 5 (+1) subsections; Sect. 4 on the Imāma (the Imamate), pp.351-678 with 5 sub-sections; Sect. 5 On al-Ma`ad al-jismānī (On the [Eschatological] Bodily Return pp. 679-880 in 5 subsections).
  • (13) Mukhtasar Sharh ḥayāt al-arwāḥ ("Synopsis-Abbreviated Version of the Commentary on the Life of the Spirits") See (12) above.

  • (14) Sharh Khuṭba al-Imam al-Riḍā'  fi'l-tawḥid ("Commentary on the Sermon of [eighth] Imam [`Ali] al-Rida' on the Divine Unity") found in the `Uyun al-akhbar of Shaykh al-Saduq or Ibn Babuwayh al-Qumi. A manuscript of this work exists in the general al-Ha`iri Library in Karbala (Iraq) (refer al-Taliqani, al-Shaykiyya, 185).

  • (15)

  • (16)

For biographical and bibliogarphical notes see Sayyid Muhammad Hasan Taliqani, al-Shaykhiyya... (Beirut 1420/1999), pp.183-6 and the `Abd al-Rasūl al-Iḥqāqī introduction to the 2nd 2002 Kuwayti edition  of Sharh ḥayāt al-arwāḥ (pp. 3-10). 

 Mulla Hasan Gawhar  made something of an unsuccessful  leadership bid after the passing of Sayyid Kazim Rashti in 1259/1843 and opposed his rival claimants to Shaykhi leadership and authority Hajji Mirza Muhammad Karim Khan Kirmani (d. 1871 CE) and the Bab. An early opponent  of the Bab he was present at the gathering convened for the trial of Mulla `Ali Bastami (d. Istanbul 184? CE) by the Ottoman official Najib Pasha.

Mulla Hasan Gawhar is mentioned a number of times in the Tarikh-i Zarandi known in the redaction of Shoghi Effendi as  `The Dawn-Breakers':  ADD PDf.

Translation of the Letter of the Bab to Mulla Hasan Gawhar

 

From a ms. in the hand (script, khaṭṭ) of the Bab to Mulla Hasan entitled Gawhar

 

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Ṭā'-Hā' ("Ṭ"-"H").

We did not send down the Book aforetime except  it was a memorial (tadhkirat) for Whomsoever He wills that he should believe in the verses of thy Lord and be numbered among those who prostrate (al-sājidīn). Recite then the Book of thy Lord!