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al-Ahsa'i - Sharh al-Ziyāra al-jāmi`a al-kabīra

The Sharh al-ziyara of Shaykh Ahmad

The al-Ziyāra al-jāmi`a al-kabīra transmitted through the 10th Imam `Ali al-Hadi (d. 254/868) and Some Notes on the Commentary thereon (Sharh al-ziyara ...) of Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa'i (d. 1241/1826).

Stephen N. Lambden UCMerced.

In progress - last updated and corrected 05-12-2015.

The Ziyāra al-jāmi`a al-kabīra  ("The Larger, Comprehensive Visitation Text") of the 10th Imam `Ali al-Hadi (d. 254/ 868) is an important devotional Ziyāra  (visitation) text for recitation at the sacred shrines of the Prophet Muhammad, his daughter Fatima, or any of the twelve Imams from `Ali ibn Abi Talib (d. 40/661) until Imam Hasan al-Askari and his son Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi, the Hidden Imam and expected Qa'im (messianic ariser). This Ziyara text can be found in numerous major and minor compilations of Twelver, Imami Shi`i devotional and related works including the following two important legalistic works of Ibn Babūya/ Babawayh al-Qumī (d. Rayy, 381/991-2), Man lā yahḍuru-hu al-faqīḥ ("For whomsoever is without access to a lawyer") and al-Ṭūsī, (d.381/991), Tahdhīb al-aḥkām  (The Rectification of Judgments). We may sum a few details regarding important transmitters of the text(s) of the al-Ziyāra al-jāmi`a al-kabīra  and select printed sources as follows ...

On the text of the al-Ziyārat al-jāmi'a al-kabīra and an English translation see : On the basis of the paragrahs and versification of this Lambden translation, I shall indicate below where one can find the commentary of al-Ahsa'i on specific phrases and lines within the recent four volume edition of his Sharh al-Ziyara : Sharh al-ziyāra al-jāmi`a al-kabīra 4 vols. Beirut: Dār al-Mufīd, 1424/2003. 







شرح الزيارة الجامعة الكبيرة 

The Sharh al-Ziyāra al-jāmi`a al-kabīra autograph ms. from Shaykh Ahmad.

The Sharh al-Ziyāra al-jāmi`a al-kabīra is a weighty Arabic commentary of Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa'i (d.1241 /1826)  on the larger, comprehensive Ziyara (Visitation) devotional text related through the 10th Imam `Ali al-Hadi (d. 254 /868). This important phrase or word by word commentary of Shaykh Aḥmad upon the  visitation prayer for various of the (twelver)  Imams (or for the Prophet Muhammad or his daughter Fatima) from the tenth Imam `Alī al-Hadi has been little studied and only rarely and sometimes inadequately translated. For some further biographical details about the 10th Imam, `Ali al-Hadi see :

The Manuscript(s) and Published Text of the Sharh al-Ziyaya of al-Ahsa'i. 

The following is a list of printed editions in loosely chronological order : 

  • Sharh al-ziyāra ... Ramaḍan 1256 / Oct-Nov. 1840.... (= first edition?).
  • Sharh al-ziyāra. Tehran Lithograph ed. Mullā Muhammad Nizam al-`Ulamā. 4 vols. in 1. Ramadan, 1267 / July 1851  Camb. Univ. Lib.  S828.a.85.2 (Momen, BSBM1).
  • Sharḥ al-Ziyāra al-jāmiʻa al-kabīra. 2 vols. in one n.p. Lithograph ed. Tabriz : Dār al-Ṭibāʻa, 1276 / 1859. 458 pp.
  • Sharh al-ziyāra. 4 Vol ed. Kirmān: Maṭba'at al-Sa'ādat, 1355-6 Sh./1976-7. The (reprinted?) 4th ed. I have seen is paginated as follows:
  • Vol. 1 has Introd. pp.1-26 dated 29th Sha`ban, 1398/ 4th August 1978 + Image of Shaykh Aḥmad + Index pp. 28-34 + text of Sh-Ziyāra, pp.1-421. 
  • Vol. 2 Index alif-ha+ Text of Sh-Ziyāra, pp.1-366;
  • Vol.3 Index alif-ha+ Text of Sh-Ziyāra, pp.1-374;
  • Vol. 4 Index alif-zein+ text of Sh-Ziyāra, pp.1-335+ 2 pages of errata + Index to all 4 vols. in 3 parts spanning 71pp.

This 4th ed. of Shaykh Aḥmad's extensive commentary on the Sharh al-ziyāra thus consists of 421 + 366 +374 + 335 pages = total of 1456 pp.

Note also :

Sayyid Muhammad Ḥusayn Marʻashī  Shahrastānī = `Abd al-Samad Ḥāʼirī Māzandarānī (1255/1839-1315/1897). 

  •   Ahadith Sharḥ al-Ziyāra al-jāmiʻa al-kabīra (= Talwih al-Ishara fi takhklis Sharḥ al-Ziyāra). Apparently a summary of the hadith in Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa'i's Sharḥ al-Ziyāra.

Among the most recent printings of the Sharḥ al-ziyāra... are,

  •   شرح الزيارة الجامعة الكبيرة = Sharḥ al-ziyārah al-jāmiʻah al-kabīra. [rep.] 4th ed. Kirmān : Maṭbaʻat al-Saʻāda, 1980.
  • Sharh al-ziyāra al-jāmi`a al-kabīra 4 vols. Beirut: Dār al-Mufīd, 1420/1999.
  • Sharh al-ziyāra al-jāmi`a al-kabīra 4 vols. Beirut: Dār al-Mufīd, 1424/2003.

Translations from the Sharḥ al-ziyārah al-jāmiʻah al-kabīra