Bihar al-Anwar

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Biḥār al-Anwār (Arabic: بحار الأنوار‎, meaning "Seas of Lights") is a comprehensive collection of traditions (ahadith) compiled by the Shi'i Muslim scholar Mulla Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, known as 'Allama Majlisi (d. 1110/1698). It is a hadith collection, the second source of inspiration in Shia Islam.

Probably completed between 1106 AH (1694 AD) and 1110 AH (1698 AD), it is a compendium of Hadiths, historical subjects and commentaries on many Qur'anic verses.

Bihar al-Anwar has 110 volumes. Majlisi compiled it to gather all the ahadith he could access. His primary goal was to preserve the available knowledge for future generations. Majlisi has acknowledged this issue in the preface of Bihar al-Anwar, emphasizing that the traditions collected were not included without being subjected to scrutiny, a task in itself that was a major undertaking. Majlisi says, "Then I chose to examine the traditions of the infallible, righteous Imams, started exploring them and investigated them as was their right and I acquired its skill as was its due.". Despite Majlisi acknowledgement, criticism has remained about his approach with some critics suggesting that he has gathered both "pearls" and "pebbles".[citation needed]

The full name of the book Bihar al-Anwar in itself suggests that Majlisi did not collect anything he had access to in this book. The full name of the book is "Oceans of Light an encyclopedia for Pearls of traditions of the Pure Aimmah" (Biḥār al-Anwār al-Jāmiʿah li-Durar Akhbār al-Aʾimmat al-Aṭhār, بحار الأنوار الجامعة لدرر أخبار الأءمة الأطهار).

The collection is the most comprehensive (as a single collection) among all Islamic ahadith collections[citation needed]. The author collected narrations related from Muhammad, including statements by Fatimah (the daughter of Muhammad) and the Shi'i Imams (Twelver), using both Shi'i Shia Islam and Sunni Sunni Islam sources. The collection also includes his commentary on these narrations.

Editions[edit]

  • Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir al-, Biḥār al-nwār al-Jāmiʿahli-Durar Akhbār al-Aʾimmat al-Aṭhār [The Oceans of Lights: A Compendium of the Pearls of the Narrations of the Pure Imāms], 110 vols (Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Wafāʾ, 1983).

See also[edit]