JĀMEʿ-E ʿABBĀSI, a Persian manual on foruʿ al-feqh (positive rules derived from the sources of legal knowledge) in Shiʿism written by the Safavid šayḵ-al-Eslām of Isfahan, Shaikh Bahāʾ-al-Din ʿĀmeli (d. 1621, q.v.), in response to a commission from Shah ʿAbbās I (q.v.; hence the title of the text). A key aspect of Safavid religious policy was the communication of the Shiʿite tradition in Persian to a population that was in the process of being converted. Before the Safavid period, Shiʿite sources in the religious sciences were almost exclusively written in Arabic and were available to scholars; feqh manuals in Arabic dominated, in particular al-Nehāya fi mojarrad al-feqh wa’l-fatāwā of Abu Jaʿfar Moḥammad Ṭusi (d. 1067) and al-Qawāʿed of Šams-al-Din Abu ʿAbd-Allāh Moḥammad ʿĀmeli known as al-Šahid al-Awwal (d. 1384). Jāmeʿ-e ʿabbāsi was the first Shiʿite manual written in Persian and established the shift to the use of the vernacular that has become more popular in the last two centuries (Modarressi, pp. 51, 85).
The Jāmeʿ was designed as a comprehensive and practicable text for the average believer, written in clear and simple Persian so that all the “slaves of the Commander of the faithful [i.e., ʿAli],” both elites and the common people, could understand the legal obligations and rules of their faith (Jāmeʿ, 1868, pp. 2-3). It played a key role in the development of a Persian Shiʿite law, ethics, and spirituality as it sought to cover issues beginning with ritual purity required in the performance of normative practices such as prayer, to discussions of blood money and vengeance in criminal law. ʿĀmeli had originally planned to write a text divided into twenty chapters (bāb), namely ritual purity, prayer (both compulsory and supererogatory), alms and religious dues, fasting, pilgrimage to Mecca, endowments, pilgrimage to shrines, vows and oaths, sale transactions, marriage, divorce, hunting, ritual slaughter, eating and drinking, justice system, wills and inheritance, funerary issues and rites, prescribed punishments in criminal law, and blood money and vengeance. By the time of his death in 1621, however, he had only completed the first five chapters on ṭahārat (ritual purity), namāz (compulsary prayer), ḵoms and zakāt, (religious dues and alms), ruza, (fasting), and ḥajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). At the same time, he wrote a series of Arabic treatises on the same topics called Resāla eṯnā-ʿasriya fi feqh al-ṣalāt. The text was thus completed, fulfilling the royal command, by his student Neẓām-al-Din b. Ḥosayn Sāvaji (Jāmeʿ, 1909, p. 93; Ṣefatgol, p. 182). The contents of the original chapters reflect the clear use of language and the articulation of an easy to understand set of terms as well as examples of ritual utterances and supplications required in the formulation of the ritual. Alongside these features, ʿĀmeli often included sayings of the Imams justifying and explaining the rules that were lacking on the whole from such feqh manuals. The result was a practical work of reference for believers, akin to the modern resāla ʿamaliya, and this is indeed how it was used into the Qajar period. Moḥammad-ʿAli Shah Qājār (r. 1907-09) commissioned a printing of it for this reason, as did the religious establishment in Avadh in India. One mojtahed in Lucknow, Sayyed Moḥmmad-Bāqer, even issued an epitome of the text as a manual in 1898 “practice according to whose rules was permissible and the source of reward in this life and the afterlife” (Reżawi, frontispiece).
Āqā Bozorg Ṭehrāni, al-Ḏariʿa elā taṣānif al-šiʿa, Tehran, 1968-, III, pp. 62-63.
Bahāʾ-al-Din ʿĀmeli, Jāmeʿ-e ʿabbāsi, ed. Moḥammad-Hāsem, lithograph, Tehran, 1285/1868 (only 5 bābs with tr. of Ṣalāt of Moḥammad-Bāqer Majlesi on the margin; ed. Jamāl-al-Din Eṣfahāni, Tehran, 1909.
Hossein Modarresi, An Introduction to Shīʿī Law: A Biobibliographical Study, London, 1984.
Moḥammad-Bāqer b. Abu’l-Ḥasan Reżawi, Ḵolāṣa-ye Jāmeʿ-e ʿabbāsi, Lucknow, 1898.
Manṣur Ṣefatgol, Sāḵtār-e nehād wa andiša-ye dini dar Irān-e ʿaṣr-e Ṣafawi, Tehran, 2002.
Originally Published: December 15, 2008
Last Updated: April 10, 2012
This article is available in print.
Vol. XIV, Fasc. 5, pp. 458-459