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Kamil Al-Ziyarat

Kamil Al-ZiyaratUnlike many English renderings of Hadith collections, Shiabooks.ca has taken care to preserve the chain of narration for every narration in all of its projects to date. Further, if there are multiple chains or differing versions of a narration, these are often, if not always, included.Kamil  Al-ZiyaratKamil Al-Ziyarat is the fourth major publication from Shiabooks.ca, preceded by One Hundred Virtues of Ali ibn Abi Talib and His Sons by Ibn Shazan Al-Qummi, Glad Tidings of Mustafa for the Shia of Murtaza by Abu Ja’far Al-Tabari, and The Qa’em in the Qur’an by Sayyid Hashim al-Bahraani, and was released in late 2008. Copies are available for purchase now at the website of Shiabooks.ca.

Kamil Al-Ziyarat is a translation by Sayyid Mohsen Al-Husaini Al-Milani of the original work by the scholar Ibn Qulawayh Al-Qummi. It is a utilitarian yet inspiring collection of narrations, purportedly the most complete and comprehensive in existence, about Ziyarat, or the visitation to the holy places of the Shia.

Unlike many English renderings of Hadith collections, Shiabooks.ca has taken care to preserve the chain of narration for every narration in all of its projects to date. Further, if there are multiple chains or differing versions of a narration, these are often, if not always, included. This adds to the authenticity and completeness of the works and usability for scholarship and research purposes. It opens a door of study previously closed in the English language.

Kamil Al-Ziyarat is organized in chapters that start with discussing Ziyarat and its purposes and benefits in general, then quickly go onto narrations about the Ziyarat of particular holy persons and related topics. For example, a chapter on the reward of visitation of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) is followed by one which mentions how to perform this Ziyarat – what to recite and where, etc., as prescribed the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them). The next chapter is about rewards of praying in mosques where the Prophet had prayed, and after this, the narrations move on to visitation of Hazrat Hamzah. Similarly, when in later pages the topic moves to Ziyarat of Imam Hussain (peace be upon him), there are chapters explaining the rewards, and the how and where, but also many related chapters about his martyrdom appropriate for someone attempting Ziyarat to know. The majority of the 680 page work is on the Ziyarat of Imam Husain.

One oddity of format: there is no table of contents, and that at first makes the book seem hard to navigate if looking for something specific. However, there is an index at the end of the book, which is really misnamed; it is really a chapter-by-chapter table of contents. It is sufficient as an index as well, because the chapters are short, usually just a few pages, and with descriptive titles and narrow focus. For example, chapter 24 is entitled, “Signs of the Killing of Hussain in Different Places”, and chapter 82 is “Establishing Prayers in Full Form Next to the Grave of Hussain.”

This book might not be the one you take with you on a Ziyarat trip for a few reasons: for one, you might not want the chains of narration and alternate versions of the same tradition in the book you take with you. You also might not want information for places you aren’t going on your particular trip. Arabic is provided in sections which describe what you would say in performing Ziyarat, with translation but not transliteration. But these sections are a small portion of the whole work – this is not a slim back-pocket guide. It is much more than that.

But without a doubt, this book should be required reading for anyone planning a Ziyarat trip or even just dreaming about it, or those who have never really understood the merits, reasons, or appeal of such journeys. Some people will find it spiritually rewarding and engaging to read from cover to cover, while others may prefer to read portions about particular visitations individually, or use it as a quality source for religious research.

Perhaps the defining characteristic of all works put out by this publisher is quality. No one else compares when it comes to lasting bindings and use of something like LaTex to beautifully render both Arabic and English together on the same page.

The English-speaking Shia community owes sincere gratitude to Allah and to this publisher for the works they have been making available. The quality serves as evidence of a labor of love and devotion to Ahlul Bayt. Now that we see what is possible, it may raise the bar of English publication of Shia works permanently. I hope that this work will be strongly supported so that more may follow. This reader heartily recommends not only Kamil Al-Ziyarat but everything Shiabooks.ca has published to date as essential content for a decent English Shia library, as well as essential reading for a quality English-language Shia education. Purchase information as well as future projects can be found at http://shiabooks.ca.

About Masooma Beatty

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  • Ya Ali

    Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Khoei (r.a):

    “After examining the traditions of the book and investigating its isnads, it appears that it [the book] contains many traditions – maybe more than a half [of the traditions in the book] – which do not accord with his [Ibn Qawlawayh’s] description in his introduction [that the work contains reliable transmitters only]. Moreover, the book contains many traditions whose isnads are not complete or which do not culminate in a ma‘sum (the infallible one). Persons who are not from our companions also occur in theisnads. Some figures who are not cited in our biographical works at all are also mentioned, others who are known to be weak like Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah al-Mihran are also cited. Therefore, there is no alternative but to alter [our stated position] and to maintain that only his [Ibn Qawlawayh’s] mashayikh (teachers) from whom he reports directly (bila wasita), are reliable.”

  • Syed Mansab Ali Jafri

    Salaamun ‘Alaikum.

    I just want to respond to the accusation that this book is “not recommended” by al-Syed ul-Khoe’i (ra).

    First of all, this is not the case. al-Khoe’i (ra) did indeed retract his previous position and he did state that only the Mashaayikh of Ibn Qawlaweeh (ra) that he reports from directly can be considered reliable, and others are subject to investigation. This is a change from his prior opinion. However, you absolutely CANNOT say that he said it is “not recommended”. This was the Ijtihad of al-Syed ul-Khoe’i (ra), being the greatest Mujtahid in his time and the most esteemed master of Rijal and Hadith sciences, and his opinion does not detract from the importance of the work. And he himself only mentioned the scholarly opinion on the Rijal of the book, not on the importance of it as a whole.

    Secondly, will you say about Kitab ul-Kafi that it is not recommended by al-Syed ul-Khoe’i (ra), or all the other scholars, since they proved that the work has many asaaneed dha’eefat (weak chains) of all types? It’s simply academic to analyze the work for what it has, and not attribute “not recommended” to the work.

    Thirdly, those who understand the Principles of Jurisprudence and its relation to the sciences of Hadith, they will appreciate that strict grading of the asaaneed (chains) of the ahadith occurs mainly in relation to Ahkaam. Refer to the works on Jurisprudence. Our scholars have implemented weak narrations in `Aqaa’ed and Tafseer and other areas. This book does not deal with Jurisprudence.

    Fourth, this book is the earliest extant source of the Ziyaarat of `Ashura, which Ibn Qawlaweeh (ra) narrated from the book of Muhammad ibn Isma’eel ibn Bazi’ (ra), and its authenticity is not an area of discussion amongst the scholars since it is established as Hadith Qudsi and none of the supreme jurists have undermined its authenticity. The Ziyaarat was also related in Misbaah ul-Mutahajjid of Sheikh Tusi (ra) about a century later.

    Fifth, I have heard some people say that only the Mashaayikh of Ibn Qawlaweeh (ra) that he narrated from in this book are considered reliable, and everyone else is weak by the standards of al-Khoe’i (ra). This is not true, and one only needs to refer to the Rijal encyclopedia called Mu’jam Rijal il-Hadith of al-Khoe’i (ra) to find that he has given Tawtheeq (authentication in transmission of hadith) to others who are not from the Mashaayikh of Ibn Qawlaweeh (ra), like Salih ibn ‘Uqba and other narrators. Basically what he means by “only his [Ibn Qawlawayh’s] mashayikh (teachers) from whom he reports directly (bila wasita), are reliable” is that as a group, only the Mashaayikh of Ibn Qawlaweeh (ra) can be considered reliable, and others are subject to investigation. This is not different from the investigation of our primary collections of Hadith like al-Kafi, Tahdheeb ul-Ahkaam, and others.

    Wa’s-Salaamu ‘Alaikum.

    – Syed Mansab Ali Jafri

  • Ashiq Ali Ratnani

    Just got this book.
    Great book.

    Best to identify if the traditions are true or not.