Mullah Ahmad Naraqi
Like his predecessors, Mullah Ahmad was renowned for his leadership and knowledge. He authored several books on theology, spirituality, jurisprudence, including Ar-Risa'il wal Masa'il, Me'raj as-Sa'adat, Mustanad ash-Shia, and Al-Khazain.
Very rarely in Shia history has it happened that both father and son have been the leading Religious Authorities of their times. One such example were Muhaqqiq al-Naraqi and his son Mullah Ahmad Naraqi.
He was born Ahmad ibn Muhammad Mahdi ibn Abi Dhar al-Naraqi in Kashan, Iran, in 1185 AH. He started his religious education at the age of five, and only ten years later, he had received permission to perform Ijtihad (derivation of Islamic law) from his father, Muhaqqiq al-Naraqi, who was the leading scholar and teacher of the seminary in Kashan. He then traveled to Iraq and spent a great deal of time studying under Allama Waheed Behbehani, Sayyid Mahdi Bahrul Uloom, and Shaikh Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita.
In 1209 AH, his father passed away, and Mullah Ahmad was forced to return to Kashan in order to lead the seminary. Only a few years later, Shah Muhammad Khan Qajar was assassinated, and Fath Ali Shah seized power. Fath Ali Shah asked Mullah Ahmad to write a book detailing Islamic rules and guidelines on the issue of just governance and civil management. His Wasilat al-Najaat and Awaid al-Ayyam were among the earliest works done on the subject and are still considered masterpieces on the issue of Islamic government. The latter in particular is the first book in Shia jurisprudence to specifically discuss the concept of Wilayat al-Fuquha (guardianship of the jurists) in detail.
In 1219 AH, and again in 1228 AH, Russian armies invaded and occupied parts of Iran, unleashing terrible acts of tyranny against the population. Mullah Ahmad Naraqi, along with Sayyid Muhammad Mujahid, Sayyid Nasrallah Istarabadi, and Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Qazwini, declared Jihad against the occupiers and made it mandatory for every believer to partake in rising up against the occupiers. Although the rebellion was brutally crushed, the event had far-reaching implications about the role of scholars in the affairs of governance and social order.
Like his predecessors, Mullah Ahmad was renowned for his leadership and knowledge. He authored several books on theology, spirituality, jurisprudence, including Ar-Risa'il wal Masa'il, Me'raj as-Sa'adat, Mustanad ash-Shia, and Al-Khazain. He also trained dozens of scholars and jurisprudents. Among his most notable students were his brother Shaikh Abul Qasim al-Naraqi, his son Shaikh Muhammad al-Naraqi, and the legendary Shaikh Murtadha al-Ansari.
In 1245 AH, Mullah Ahmad passed away in Kashan. His body was taken for burial to Iraq, and he was interred in the shrine of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) in Najaf. After him, the helm of Shia leadership would soon be taken over by the legendary jurisprudent and genius Shaikh Murtadha al-Ansari.
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