By paying homage to al-Mufid and publishing his written works, the scholarship of this generation pays in fact the debt of gratitude to a man whose personality and ideas have had a continued presence throughout the rich and fruitful growth of the fiqh and kalam of the school of the Ahl al-Bayt, may peace be upon them.
One thousand years ago on a tumultous day, the grounds at the Ushnan Square in Baghdad could hardly contain the crowds of people who had gathered there on account of a sorrowful event. Thousands wept and mourned for a man whose death was a terrible loss. Tens of thousands offered funeral prayers for a sublime human being who had for fifty years, like a shining torch, illuminated a vast expanse of the Islamic world with his wisdom and knowledge, and who, at Baghdad by the side of the Tigris, had set flowing another Tigris of knowledge and learning.
The storms of bitter and bloody events and the winds of prejudice and resentment that blew through the ‘Abbasid capital had failed to put out the lamp of knowledge and righteousness that drew its oil from the olive tree of the Qur’anic sciences and the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt, may peace be upon them, and whose flame drew its brilliance from the light of human intelligence. The thorny growth of twisted judgement and guile could not stop the surging floods in their auspicious course that had carried Islamic jurisprudence and theology, reason and narration to fertile lands.
On that day when the large crowds of mourners attended his funeral and offered prayers, led by the Sayyid al-Sharif ‘Ali al-Murtadha, over his body, there were others who, with hearts full of malice and devoid of wisdom and foresight, thought that everything had ended for that great man, and they foolishly proceeded to celebrate his death.
However, every thoughtful person could see clearly that the death of that august thinker could not spell an end for someone who through half a century of effort had originated numerous springs of wisdom and learning, morality and high culture, through the realms of human thought, that the will of God and the laws of history had guaranteed its fecundity and exuberance in its perpetual movement through generations, centuries and eras, right up to its merger into the endless ocean of ultimate human edification.
On that day the emaciated body of al-Mufid was consigned to the earth in his house at Darb al-Rabah, to be transferred later to the Shrine of Imam Abu Ja’far al-Jawad, may peace be upon him, and laid to rest in that abode of peace and Divine mercy. But the spirit of this warrior, indomitable and unforgettable, would linger before the gaze of time and would never be forgotten. It is still very much alive to this day and at work in the growth and fruition of the fiqh, kalam and religion of the Ahl al-Bayt, may peace be upon them.
Today, one thousand years later, this al-Shaykh al-Mufid Millennium held with your precious efforts commemorates that event and pays homage to that epitome of learning and piety whose sublimity has not been diminished by ten centuries of growth of science and culture, nor whose visage has been dimmed by the mists of time.
In fact, by paying homage to al-Mufid and publishing his written works, the scholarship of this generation pays in fact the debt of gratitude to a man whose personality and ideas have had a continued presence throughout the rich and fruitful growth of the fiqh and kalam of the school of the Ahl al-Bayt, may peace be upon them. They have served as the cornerstone of the high edifice of Shi’i theological and legal studies of the last thousand years.
Al-Mufid’s presence in the assembly of living theological ideas and scholarly pursuits does not lie in publication of his books and discussion of his views, although the publication of his writings and the discussion of his ideas and views is an expression of gratitude for the debt that all theologians and jurists that came after him owe him. Rather, this radiant presence lies in the continuity of the tradition in fiqh and kalam established by him. The holding of this millennium of gratitude and homage, firstly, makes the present generation more familiar with the visage of this great man and prepares the ground for better recognition and utilization of his legacy by this and the future generations.
Secondly, it provides researchers in the field of the history of fiqh and the rational sciences the opportunity to obtain new insights concerning the history of development of these sciences and the formation and growth of their formative elements during a critical period. This point acquires greater significance when we study the 4th/10th and the 5th/llth centuries as an outstanding and brilliant phase in the cultural, scientific and literary development of the Islamic world.
Thirdly, it will be conducive to the expansion of acquaintance with the basic theological teaching of Shi’ism on behalf of Muslim scholars and masses irrespective of school or sect. The importance of this becomes obvious when we observe the venomous pens and mercenary hands, of the enemy or his malicious agents, write and publish such lies and slanders concerning the beliefs of the Shi’ah, one of the major sects of Islam and today the heralds of Muslim awakening, as are comparable to those fabricated throughout the entire course of history.
Unfortunately, political motives and colonial designs are active in such moves, aimed to deceive the public. They are even more evident today than they were at the time when Umayyad and ‘Abbasid caliphs considered malign propaganda against the Shi’ah as part of their all-out campaign against the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt, may peace be upon them, and a necessary prerequisite of their suppression. In view of this, any effort to inform the public concerning the Shi’i doctrines and teachings is also conducive to the establishment of Muslim solidarity and brotherhood. Because the enemies of Islam have always tried to misrepresent the doctrinal and juristic principles of Muslim sects to one another in order to divide Muslims.
About the Author
Title: The Place of al-Mufid in the Development of Shi’i Kalam and Fiqh
Publisher: Ahlulbayt Organization
Pub. Date: 2015/02/14