|At the time e time of Death of
Ayatullah Mohsinul Hakim, a short information about this
subject was given in Iran’s Journal “ITTELA’AT’ about
Deputies of Imam-e-Asr (A.S.) in the Period of Major
Occultation (Gaibat-e-Kubra). The Urdu Translation of
original Persian was obtained from Maulana Syed Hasan
Abbas Saheb ‘Fitrat’ and was printed in Gujrati Magazine
‘ALAMDAR’ Monthly of January, 1971
According to Shia belief the Last Prophet Hazrat Mohammad Mustafa (S.A.) appointed and nominated, by order of Allah, Maula-e-Muttaqeen Ameerul Momineen Hazrat Ali bin Abi Talib (A.S.) as his Successor and Vicegerent. After the demise of the Holy Prophet, Hazrat Ali (A.S.) became Kalifatur Rasul (Vicegerent of the Prophet (S.A.) and the leadership of Islam was transferred to him by the Order of Allah...
After Him this leadership was transferred to his progeny and eleven Imams were thus appointed for the guidance of Muslims one after the other. The Holy Prophet S.A. had, on several other occasions declared Hazrat Ali (A.S.) as his successor.
From the time of the Holy Prophet (S.A.) and throughout the time of the Twelve Imams the Tradition about the promised Mehdi was an accepted fact and the belief was commonly held that the Mehdi will be Qaim-e-Aal-e-Mohammad (A.S.), and that he will remain in Major Occultation, hidden from the sight of the people, till his re-appearance at a time when this world would be full of injustice and oppression so that he would fill the Earth with Justice and Peace.
MINOR OCCULTATION AND MAJOR OCCULTATION (Ghaibat-e-Sughra aur Ghaibat-e-Kubra)_
The Twelfth Imam (A.S.) was born on the 15th Shab’an, 255
A.H. In this early years he remained concealed in an under-ground vault so that his enemies might not harm him. Even after the death of his holy father, Imam Hasan Askari (A.S.) he remained concealed from the eyes of the public for seventy years. This period is called Gibat-e-Sughra or Minor Occultation During this period, the Imam (A.S.) remained in communication with the faithfuls through four Safeers (or Deputies) who acted as medium between the faithfuls and the Imam (A.S.) Their names are:
In the last days of Abul Hasan Ali Bin Mohammad Samarri , Hazrat Imam Mehdi (A.S) told him not to appoint his successor, saying :
“ Now the time for Major Occultation has arrived. Do not appoint your successor. Hereafter the work of imparting knowledge of Canon of Mohammad (S.A.) is to be entrusted to the erudites and jurists of the community.” This fourth worthy deputy dies in 327 A.H. and the worldly link and contact of common Shias with the Imam (A.S.) came to an end.
From now onwards the responsibility of guiding people and imparting knowledge of Canon came on the shoulders of erudites, traditionists and Jurists. From then on, research work in religious sacraments and matters began. These Ulema began giving Fatwa (decrees) according to deductions based on traditions, judgements and decrees of the fourteen Infallibles including the Prophet St. Thus a system of “Reference’’ began which is known as Taqleed. By Taqleed we mean to follow decrees and decisions of an Aa’lam who is a confirmed scholar of Tradition and Islamic jurisprudence. Such an Aa’lam is termed as ‘Marja-e-Taqleed’, i.e. Centre of Reference.
Just after the beginning of the Major Occultaion the great jurist Mohammad Bin Yaqoob Kulaini took charge of the seat of learning as the first Marja-e-Taqleed. He was the resident of Kulain, a town-ship near Tehran. The system of one Marja-e-Taqleed taking position on the death of the predecessor has since continued throughout all these centuries, Some of them are mentioned herender.
In the fourth Century, Janab Abul Hasan Bin Moosa Ibne Babwaih, Qummi, was the next Marja-e-Taqleed for Shias.
Shaikh Saduq (Abu Ja’afar Mohammad Ali Bin Babwaih), who died in 381 A.H. and whose grave at Rai is still a revered place of visit for Shias was the contemporary of Ruknuddaula and remained for many years the Marja-e-Taqleed.
Shaikh-e-Mufeed (Mohammed Bin Nauman) was the next Marja-e-Taqleed and religious leader of Shias of his time, He died in the year 413 A.H.
On the death of Shaikh-e-Mufeed, Syed Murtaza (Ali Bin Husain Moosavi) “A’alamul Huda” was appointed to take his place. He was in the fifth generation of Hazrat Moosa Kazim (A.S.).
After Syed Murtaza, Shaikh-e-Toosi (Abu Ja’afar Mohammad Bin
Bin Toosi) became the centre of Reference. He was disciple of Shaikh-e-Mufeed and Syed Murtaza. His grave is in Najaf-e Ashraf.
After the death of Shaikh-e-Toosi his disciple Ibne Barraj took up the work of guiding the Shias. In the time of Shaikh-e-Toosi, he was appointed for the work of preaching the True Faith in Syria and Tripoli.
After the death of Ibne Barraj the leadership of Shias became the responsibility of Shaikh Aboo Ali Toosi. He died in 496 A.H.
PREACHING IN AFRICA
In the 6th Century Hijri, Allama Mohaqqiq-e-Halabi became the leader of the Shias. He was the first person to send different groups to Africa for preaching.
After Allama Mohaqqiq-e Halabi Janab Emaduddin Tabrasi and after him Shaikh-e-Tabrasi became Marja-e-Taqleed. Their graves are in Mashhad (Iran). The Successor of Shaikh-e-Tabrasi was Janab Hasan Tabrasi.
Qutub Ravandi was one of the great Shia erudites. He was the first critic of ‘Nahjul Balagha’. After the death of Janab Hasan Tabrasi he became Marja-e-Taqleed. His grave is in the courtyard of the masoleum of Ma’sooma-e-Qum at Qum in Iran.
In the last years of the 6th Century Ibne Zehra and Ibne Idrees performed the function of Marja-e-Taqleed.
SEVENTH & EIGHTH CENTURIES
In the Seventh and Eighth Centuries the following erudites were the Marja-e-Taqleed:
NINTH & TENTH CENTURIES
Were the centres of Taqleed in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries Hijri. When Shah Tehmasp accepted the true religion (Shia faith) he called Janab Mohaqqiq-e-Karki from Najaf to Tabrez...
The following leaders of Shia Faith became Marja-eTaqleed in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries Hijri, Seven of these erudites died and are buried in Ispahan, which was in those days the centre of religious studies and knowledge, so this period of two hundred years or so is known as Ispahan Period.
In the Twelfth Century there were many great scholars and erudites who performed the work of guidance of the Shia people, such as:-
Apart from these the greatest leader and Marja-e-Taqleed of this period was Syed Mohammad Hasan Shirazi alias Mirza-e-Buzurg. He preached the True Faith in other parts of the world, In the reign of Naseeruddin Shah Qachar,,, Mirza was grieved to note that the English were strengthening their hold in Iran. They had introduced the use of Tobacco in Iran and were earning a lot of the trade of Tobacco. To inflict a blow to the English he decreed the use of Tobacco as prohibited. On account of this declaration he achieved extraordinary popularity in the masses.
After Mirza-e-Buzurg, the Author of ‘URWATUL WUTHQA’, Ayatullah Syed Kazim Yezdi became the Marja-e-Taqleed.
JEHAD RELIGIOUS WAR
After Ayatullah Syed Kazim Yazdi, Ayatullah Mirza Mohammad Taqi Shirazi alias Mirza-e-Kuchak became the Aa’lam He decreed religious war against the British Government because they had occupied Iraq in the First World War. This decree brought the Independence of Iraq nearer.
After Mirza-e-Kuchak the leadership of the Shias came in the hands of Ayatullah Syed Abul Hasan Ispahani. In this period the Government of Iraq became hostile to the Iranian erudites who were staying in Iraq. He migrated with a big group of people to Iran and settled in Qum. He came again to Najaf-e- Ashraf after the conditions had improved.
The period of his successor late Ayatullah Al –Haj Husain Qummi was not a long one. He died within a short time of becoming Marja-e-Taqleed…
After him Ayatullah Aqa Syed Husain Burujardi became the 54th Marja-e-Taqleed and remained so till 1380 A.H. In this time some missionary cetres were established and mosques were constructed in European Countries.
Ayatullah Mohsinul Hakim has been the center of Taqleed in our times but unfortunately he too passed away on 26th Rabiul Awwal, 90 A.H. (2nd June, 1970) leaving the entire Shia world engulfed in deep grief. His greatness in erudition was unequalled and he was so famous as a fearless supporter of the religious cause that it is hard to find anybody to replace him.
A complete list of the Marja-e-Taqleed since the Major Occultation adopted from the book “Hayat-e-Kakim” by Moulana Murtaza Husein Fazil, Lahore, 1969, is shown in the appendix.
THE NAMES OF THE ‘CENTRES OF REFERENCE’ (MARJA-E-TAQLEED), IN THE PAST CENTURIE
1. Siqatul Islam Abu Jafar Mohammad Bin Yaqub Bin Ishaq Raazi Kulaini author of the book ‘Kafi’ died 329 A.H. (BAGHDAD).
2. Shaikh Sudduq Mohammad Bin Ali Bin Babwaih Qummi,
Author of the books “Maula Yahzuruhul Faqih ”, etc., died 381 A.H. (Rai).
3 . Shaikh Mufid Abu Abullah Mohammad Bin Mohammad Bin Noman, author of the book ‘Al-Maqnaa’ etc., died 318 A.H. (Kazemain).
4. Alam-ul-Huda, Abul Qasim Ali Bin Husain Bin Musa. Al-Musavi author of the books Ash-Shafi, etc., died 426 A.H. (Kazemain).
5 Abul Fath, Mohammad Bin Ali Bin Usman Karajoki author of the book ‘ Kanzul Fawaid ’ died 449 A.H.
6. Shaikh-ut-taifa, founder of the religious academy of Najaf, Abu Jafar Mohammad Bin Hasan Bin Ali Toosi , authour of the books Al-Istilesar, Tahzibul Ahkam, etc., died 460 A.H (Najaf).
7. Ash Shaikhul Ajal Shaikh Mohammad Bin Shaikh ut Taifa, died 494 A.H.
8. Shaikh Abu Jafar Mohammad Bin Abil Qasim Ali Bin Mohammad Aamili , Tabari, author of the book Basharat-ul-Mustafa, died 540 A.H.
9. Ash Shaikh-ul-Fafih, Abu Ali Al-Fazl Bin Hasan, Tibrasi author of the book Majma-ul-Bayan Fi-Tafsirul-Quran, etc., died 548 A.H. (Meshhed).
10. Abul Makaim Hamza Bin Ali known as Ibne Zahra Halabi, author of the book Al-Ghania, died 585 A.H. (Halle Aleppo).
11. Ibne Shahr Ashrile, Shaikh Rashi-ud-Din, Abu Jafar Mohammad Bin Ali, author of the book, Al Manaqile, etc, died 588 A.H. (Halle-Aleppo).
-e-Mafatih and Hashia Mudarak, died 1208 A.H. (Karbala).
61. Mujaddid-e-Ilm-e-Usul, Shaikh Ziauddin Iraqi, author of the book Kitabul Maqalat, etc.,died 28, Zil-Qada, 1366 A.H.