The Tradition of al-Shibli is reported in Mustadrak al-Wasa’il by Mirza Husayn al-Nuri, who reports it from Sharh al-Nukbah by al-Sayyid ‘Abd Allah ibn Nur al-Din ibn Ni‘mat Allah al-Musawi.
The hadith is in the form of a conversation that takes place between Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (A) – who has recently returned from hajj – and another pilgrim called al-Shibli. During the course of this intriguing discourse, the Imam succinctly explains the spiritual dimensions of the hajj rituals, and as we see at the end of the tradition, the Imam’s words have a profound effect on al-Shibli.
Most works written by Shi‘a scholars on the spiritual aspects of hajj mention this tradition to some extent. In his seminal work Sahba-yi Hajj, Ayatollah Javadi Amuli draws upon this tradition in several places, describing its text as ‘lofty and radiant’ and at one stage quoting it in its entirety. The Ayatollah also mentions a number of useful points relating to the reliability and usability of the tradition; the remainder of this introduction incorporates the points he raises.
The exact identity of al-Shibli is unclear. A number of people called al-Shibli are mentioned in the traditions, and from among them, the mystic Abu Bakr Dulf ibn Juhdar al-Shibli lived nearest to the time of the Imams (A). However, he was born approximately two centuries after the martyrdom of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (A), and so he could not have reported this tradition directly from him.
Title: The Spiritual Aspects of Hajj: A Translation of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s (A) Discourse on Hajj with al-Shibli
Author(s): Mohammed Ali Ismail
Published in: Journal of Shi’a Islamic Studies, Volume 7, Number 3, Summer 2014
Length: 8 pages