ḤORR-e ʿĀMELI, MOḤAMMAD B. ḤASAN b. ʿAli b. Ḥosayn ʿĀmeli, better known as Ḥorr-e ʿĀmeli (b. 8 Rajab 1033/26 April 1624, d. 21 Ramażān 1104/26 May 1693), one of the outstanding Twelver Shiʿite Hadith scholars of the Aḵbāri school (see AḴBĀRIYA) in the late Safavid period. He began his traditional education in his native village, al-Mašḡara, in Jabal ʿĀmel (southern Lebanon), with a family circle of teachers that included his father, his paternal uncle, and his maternal grandfather. He also studied in the neighboring village of al-Jabaʿ with renowned teachers, including Ḥasan b. Zayn-al-Din ʿĀmeli (d. 1011/1602), the author of al-Maʿālem fi’l-din, one of the prominent scholars of Jabal ʿĀmel (and a son of al-Šahid al-Ṯāni), and Ḥosayn b. Ḥasan b. Yunos Ẓa-hiri, who was the first to give Ḥorr-e ʿĀmeli a license to teach, or ejāza (q.v.; Ḥorr-e ʿĀmeli, 1385/1965, I, p. 70). He spent the first forty years of his life in his home region, during which time he performed the ḥajj twice and visited the holy Shiʿite cities in Iraq. The most significant journey of his life, however, was the one to Persia, during which he met, in Isfahan, the eminent scholar Moḥammad-Bāqer Majlesi. This meeting made a lasting impression on both men, who henceforth became close associates. The two even mutually granted each other an ejāza to transmit Hadith (Ḵᵛānsāri, II, p. 84; VII, p. 99; for Ḥorr-e ʿĀmeli’s ejāzas to Majlesi, see Majlesi, CVII, pp. 103–6). Ḥorr-e ʿĀmeli’s destination in Iran was Ma-šhad, which he reached in 1073/1662–62. He remained there until his death and was buried there (Amin, XLIV, p. 53). The claim that he died in Yemen in 1079/1669 is baseless (Amin, op. cit.).
Ḥorr-e ʿĀmeli’s importance and prestige can be additionally inferred from his being considered one of “the three later Moḥammads who collected the traditions of this religion” (aḥad al-Moḥammadin al-ṯalāṯa al-motaʾaḵ-ḵerin al-jāmeʿin le-aḥādiṯ hāḏehe’l-šariʿa; Ḵᵛānsāri, VII, p. 92), the other two being his friend and colleague Majlesi and Moḥammad Kašāni, better known as Moḥsen-e Fayż.
During his stay in Isfahan, Ḥorr-e ʿAmeli, on his own initiative and without having been invited, paid a visit to Shah Solaymān I (d. 1105/1694). At first dismayed by this audacity, the shah is said to have soon grown to respect him, impressed by his forceful personality (Ḵᵛānsāri, VII, p. 99; Amin, XLIV, p. 54).
Ḥorr-e ʿĀmeli was a prolific scholar. Shiʿi biographical sources credit him with numerous works covering many branches of religious literature, but in particular Hadith and jurisprudence. He is, in addition, known as an ardent polemicist against Sufism, and also as a poet. The most famous of his extant compositions is his monumental Taf-ṣil wasāʾel al-šiʿa elā aḥkām al-šariʿa (Tehran, 1376–89/1956–69), a treasure-trove of traditions based on the Four Books (al-kotob al-arbaʿa) of canonical Shiʿite Hadith, as well as on many later sources. The book gained prominence due to the author’s skillful classification of the vast amount of material it encompasses (Ḵᵛānsāri, VII, p. 93; Amin, pp. 54–55). Among his other prominent works are al-Jawāher al-saniya fi’l-aḥādiṯ al-qodsiya, which is considered the first collection exclusively devoted to Sacred Hadith, or aḥādiṯ qodsiya (Bombay, 1302/1885; Najaf, 1384/1964; see also Ḵᵛānsāri, op. cit.); and Eṯbāt al-hodāt be-l-noṣuṣ wa’l-moʿjezāt (Qom, 1378–80 /1958-60), which deals with the question of the divine right of the Imams to rule and describes the miracles performed by them. Another notable biographical work, in which Ḥorr-e ʿĀmeli contributed inter alia to our knowledge of the Shiʿite scholars of his homeland, is his Amal al-āmel fi ʿolamāʾ jabal ʿāmel (lith., Tehran, 1302/1885; Najaf, 1385/1965). Representing an idiosyncratic aspect of his literary activity is his anti-Sufi treatise Resāla eṯnāʿašariya fi’l-radd ʿalā al-ṣufiya (1408/1987-88). As a poet, Ḥorr-e ʿĀmeli is credited with a diwān comprising approximately 20,000 verses, which includes several didactic poems (manẓumas), most of which constitute panegyrics to the Prophet Moḥammad and to his descendants, the Imams (Ḵᵛānsāri, VII, p. 95). In two fine verses, Ḥorr-e ʿĀmeli expresses the inner struggle he had to endure between his poetic and scholarly leanings: “My scholarship and my poetry fought one another, then were reconciled / poetry reluctantly surrendering to scholarship” (ʿelmi wa-šeʿri qatalā wa-ṣṭalaḥā / fa-ḵażaʿa al-šeʿro le-ʿelmi rāḡemā); “My scholarship objected to my being considered a poet / poetry, however, conceded that I be regarded as a scholar” (fa-l-ʿelmo yaʾbā an oʿadda šāʿeran / wa’l-šeʿro yarżā an oʿadda ʿālemā; Ḵᵛānsāri, VII, p. 97, whence Amin, XLIV, p. 59). If one judges by his rich and varied literary output, it is obvious that it was his scholarship that prevailed.
Moḥsen Amin, Aʿyān al-šiʿa, Damascus and Beirut, 1354-82/1935-63, XLIV, pp. 52–64.
Moḥammad-Taqi Faqih, Jabal ʿāmel fi’l-taʾriḵ, Beirut 1406/1986.
Moḥammad b. ʿAli Ardabili Ḡarawi Ḥāʾeri, Jāmeʿ al-rowāt, Beirut, n.d., II, pp. 90–91.
Ḥorr-e ʿĀmeli, al-Jawāher al-saniya f’l-aḥādiṯ al-qodsiya, Bombay, 1302/1885; Najaf, 1384/1964.
Idem, Amal al-āmel fi ʿolamāʾ jabal ʿāmel, lith., Tehran, 1302/1885; Najaf, 1385/1965.
Idem, Tafṣil wasāʾel al-šiʿa elā aḥkām al-šariʿa, Tehran, 1376–89/1956–69.
Idem, Eṯbāt al-hodāt be-l-noṣuṣ wa’l-moʿjezāt, Qom, 1378–80/1958-60.
Idem, Resāla eṯnāʿašariya fi’l-radd ʿalā al-ṣufiya, n. p. 1408/1987-8.
E. Kohlberg, “al-Uṣūl al-arbaʿumiʾa,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 10, 1987, pp. 138, 164-65, 167, reprinted in idem, Belief and Law in Imāmī Shīʿism, Aldershot, 1991, chap. 7.
Moḥammad-Bāqer Musawi Ḵᵛānsāri, Rawżāt al-jannāt fi aḥwāl al-ʿolamāʾ wa’l-sādāt, Beirut, 1411/1991, VII, pp. 92–101.
Moḥammad-Bāqer Majlesi, Beḥār al-anwār, Beirut, 1403/1983, CVII, pp. 103–6.
M. Momen, An Introduction to Shīʿī Islam, New Haven and London, 1985, pp. 115, 117–18.
ʿAbbās Qommi, al-Fawāʾed al-reżawiya fi aḥwāl ʿolamāʾ al-maḏhab al-jaʿfariya, Tehran, 1327 Š./1948, pp. 473–77.
Sezgin, GAS I, p. 359.
Āqā Bozorg Ṭehrāni, al-Ḏariʿa elā taṣānif al-šiʿa, Najaf, 1355–95/1936–75, I, p. 129.
Idem, Moṣaffā al-maqāl fi moṣannefi ʿelm al-rejāl, n.p., 1378/1959, pp. 401–2.
(Meir M. Bar Asher)
Originally Published: December 15, 2004
Last Updated: March 23, 2012
This article is available in print.
Vol. XII, Fasc. 5, pp. 478-479