Monday, April 16, 2012

Tanbih al-Khawatir

A question was asked regarding the book Tanbīh al-Khawāṭir, which you too can ask via the Contact Us form on the blog.

What is this book? Tanbih al-Khawatir


The book’s full name is Tanbīh al-Khawāṭir wa Nazhah al-Nawādhir, another name for this book is called Majmū`ah Warrām. This is a book that mainly deals with akhlāq (mannerism) issues, and would be categorized as an akhlāq (mannerism) / tazkiyyah al-nafs (purification of the soul) book. The author of this book is Warrām b. Abī Fāris al-Mālikī al-Ashtarī (d. 605 AH), the book is extant and it has been published by many publishers. This book is originally in two volumes, but many publishers (i.e. Dār al-Ta`ārif in Beirut) have published both volumes in one volume binding. This book has not been translated in English.

Name: Warrām b. Abee Fāris b. Hamadān al-Mālikī al-Ashtarī[1]
From the lineage of al-Mālik al-Ashtari (companion of Imām `Alī (عليه السلام)), and he is the maternal grandfather of the famous scholar al-Sayyid ibn Ṭawus (d. 664)

There isn't an exact date for his birth, but it is stated that he was born in the 6th century of Hijrah in the city of al-Hilla[2]

Sadīd al-Dīn Maḥmūd b. `Alī al-Hamaṣī & `Alī b. Ibrāhīm al-`Alawī al-`Urayḍī  

Scholarly Opinion regarding him:
1.    Muntajab al-Dīn (d. 600) in his al-Fihrist[3] titles him al-Amīr al-Zāhid (The prince of asceticism) and calls him a good faqīh

2.    al-Sayyid ibn Ṭawus (d. 664) in his Falaah al-Saa'il[4]: "He is from who we emulate his actions"

3.    Hurr al-`Āmulī (d. 1104) in his Amal al-Āmul[5]: “Shaykh of great merit and importance”

4.    `Alī al-Namāzī al-Shāhrūdī in his Mustadarakāt `ilm al-Rijāl[6]: "Prince of asceticism, trustworthy, pious, and a good faqīh"

His Books:
1.    Tanbīh al-Khawāṭir wa Nazhah al-Nawādhir (also known as Majmū`ah Warrām)
2.    Mas'alah fee al-Mawāsi`ah wa al-Muḍāfah

His Death:
He died on the 2nd of Muharram in the year 605 in the city of al-Hilla[7]

About the book:
There are three major issues with this book:
1.    When reading this book, you would have a hard time believing that it was a Shī`ah book, because majority if not all the ḥadīth is either narrated by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) or Imām `Alī (عليه السلام). Many times it goes through major Sunni narrators such as `Ā’ishah, Abū Sa`īd al-Khudri, Ibn `Abbās. Rarely, if ever, does he narrate from the A’immah (عليهم السلام).

2.    All of the ḥadīth that have been narrated in this book is mursal (disconnect), meaning that there are no chain of narrators. Sometimes even the primary narrator is not mentioned.

3.    Hurr al-`Āmulī says this about this book, “It is good, except in it is inferior and poisonous (things)” (i.e. incorrect information)[8]

Some Chapter Titles: (Not in order)
1.    Chapter on Perfume and Scent
2.    Chapter on the Description on associating with the people and sitting with them
3.    Chapter on Names, Kunya, and Laqab
4.    Chapter on Traveling and Journeys
5.    Chapter on the Yearning for country of the family
6.    Chapter on Dhann (Speculation)
7.    Chapter on Lying
8.    Chapter on al-Gheebah
9.    Chapter on What has come about Gossiping
10.  Chapter on Anger
11.  Chapter on Condemnation of the World
12.  Explanation on the Remedy for Stinginess
13.  Chapter on the Condemnation of Riyaa' (Showing Off)
...And Many Others

Nader Zaveri
Jamadi’ al-Awwal 24, 1433
April 16, 2012

[1] Warām is from the lineage of the great companion of Imām `Alī (عليه السلام), Mālik al-Ashtar. This is the reason why he is called al-Mālikī al-Ashtarī (See: Ja`far al-Subhānī’s Mawsū`ah Ṭabaqāt al-Fuquhah, vol. 7, pg. 289)
[2] City 100 km south of Baghdād in Iraq
[3] Muntajab al-Dīn, al-Fihrist, (Qum: Maktabah Ayatullah al-Mar`ashī al-Najafī), pg. 128-129, person # 522
[4] al-Sayyid ibn Ṭawus, Falāḥ al-Sā’il wa Najāḥ al-Masā’il, pg. 75
[5] Hurr al-Āmulī, Amal al-Āmul, vol. 2, pg. 338, person # 1040
[6] `Alī al-Namāzī al-Shāhrūdī, Mustadarkāt `ilm al-Rijāl, (Tehran, 1st ed. 1412), vol. 8, pg. 98, person # 15682
[7] ibid
[8] Hurr al-Āmulī, Amal al-Āmul, vol. 2, pg. 338, person # 1040

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