KASHIF AL GHITA
The valiant commander of Hazrat Ali (a.s)’s army, Malik e Ashtar, had recited a dirge in one of the battles challenging the enemy troops saying that he had a lion’s heart and wanted his match to come forward to fight with him! But none of the enemy’s men had the courage to accept his challenge. Malik e Ashtar and his progeny played a major role in the history of Islam.
There is a village, Janajia, in the neighborhood of Hilla City, which was called as Qanaqia in the olden days. The entire population of the village belongs to the family of Malik e Ashtar. One person from that village reached Najaf e Ashraf to open a new chapter in the history of Islam and Iraq.
Khizr bin Yahya bade adieus to his place of birth and migrated to Najaf e Ashraf. Khizr’s sons, who were the progeny of Malik e Ashtar, became the residents of Najaf e Ashraf. Even to this day the family is known as Al e Ali (a.s) in Najaf and Hilla. After migrating to Najaf, the first son born to Khizr was Jafar. In early youth he joined the Hauza e Ilmia there and very soon acquired proficiency in different disciplines of learning. He was a disciple of the eminent scholar, Bahr al Uloom, and was accepted as one of the leading young intellectuals of the Seminary. When he started giving lessons, he soon had tens of disciples and some of his earlier mentors too considered him with respect! It is such a nice thing that a mentor kisses the hand of his disciple in recognition of his erudition!
In course of time Jafar became the Marja e Taqleed for the people of Najaf e Ashraf and wrote a book in the name and title of “Kashif al Ghita an Mubhaat al Shariah al Ghara” The book attained such popularity that “Kashif al Ghita” became the title of his progeny. Jafar had rendered easy many intricate aspects of the Fiqh in his book. He was a disciple of the great Shia intellectual Ayatullah Waheed Behbahani. He had emulated his mentor to challenge the Akhbari school of thought.. If someone reads the book “kashif al Ghita” he could become a Mujtahid. Ayatullah Sheik Jafar Kashif al Ghita was so erudent in the field of Fiqh that he said that he was capable of summarizing all the books on the subject. His strong memory and analytical prowess was proverbial. He used to be awake late in the nights, offer Namaz e Shab and spend time communing with Allah. He exhorted people to offer prayers in congregation, helping the feeble and aged and implicitly following the dictates of Amr bil Maroof nahi an il Munkar. He himself followed these norms strictly. Between two obligatory prayers he would go round the mosque collecting funds for the needy. If any calamity hit the people of the town, he would always be in the front to give a helping hand. During the period when the Wahabis were making skirmishes on the Holy cities, he traveled to many cities in Iran and propagated the word of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). When Russia attacked Iran in 1215 H and annexed the Northern territory, Kashif al Ghita issued an edict for Jihad along with Ayatullah Mirza e Qummi, Ayatullah Mulla Naraqi and Ayatullah Sayed Ali Tabatabai. They wrote a letter to the king of Iran, Fath Ali Shah, to defend his realm. He himself wrote to the king, “While the Imam e Zamana (a.s) is in hiding, the responsibility of appointing the commanders for the battles is with the Mujtahids. Therefore I entrust to you the task of protecting the territory from the enemies and I permit the Muslims to rise to the help of Fath Ali.”
On Wednesday, 22 or 27 Rajab 1228 H Sheik Jafar Kashif al Ghita passed away and his eldest son was the seniormost intellectual of Iraq at that time. The leadership of the people of Iraq was in the hands of the Kashif al Ghita family and many of their ladies too were erudite scholars. The grand children of Kashif al Ghita too took the name of the family forward in learning and erudition. Ayatullah Ali Kashif al Ghita traveled to some Islamic countries, like Iran and Turkey and propagated the word of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s) there. He traveled in Iran for 7 years for his missionary work.
AYATULLAH MOHAMMED HUSSAIN KASHIF AL GITHA
Name : Sheik Mohammed Hussain Kashif al Ghita ibn e Sh. Ali Kashif al Githa
Born : 1214 H (1872 A.D.) At : Najaf e Ashraf, Iraq
Died : 1373 H At :Karand Village, near Qanqeen, Iraq
It was the year 1214 H/1872 A.D. In a narrow lane of the Amara neighborhood of Najaf e Ashraf there was unusual movement of women in an old fashioned house.From the small ventilators of the room constructed with bricks the rays of sunlight were passing through around the time of Asr prayer. Sheik Ali Kashif al Ghita was seated at a corner in the courtyard. He was in deep thoughts. It was his ancestral house and his father and grand father too were born there. The door of the room opened, a woman emerged from there and before she could utter a word, the cries of the newborn baby were heard from the room! Sheik Ali looked towards the room and the newborn announced his arrival to the doting father! He was still to know if the child was a son or a daughter! In a moment the woman came near him and gave him the good tiding of a son. Sheik Ali looked towards the sky and thanked Allah. Sheik Ali stood up and walked with soft feet towards the room. He opened the door and his greeting and his shadows reached inside before he entered! His spouse gently acknowledged his greeting. He picked up the baby. He talked with his wife for a while and then gently recited the following words in the right ear of the baby:
Allaho Akbar, Allahl Akbar, Allaho Akbar, Allaho Akbar.
Ashadu an laa ilaha il Allah
Ashadu anna Muhammedan Rasool Allah
After the Adaan the Sheik recited the Iqama in the left ear of the baby. Thus the Islamic upbringing commences from the time a baby is born! Even prior to the birth of a baby there are certain regimen prescribed for the parents. They must consume Halal (liegitimate) food and keep away from disturbing thoughts. Sheik Ali selected the name of Mohammed Hussain for his newborn son. With his innocent looks Mohammed Hussain was the focus of attention of all the inmates of the house. He slowly started crawling and walking. Mohammed Hussain had a younger sibling, Ahmed, who was born one year after him. The two kids used to play around in the lanes of Najaf e Ashraf. During 1300 H people were celebrating the Thirteenth Hundredth Anniversary of the migration of the Prophet (s.a) to Madina Munawwara, when these two kids were busy in their childish play from morning to the evening! When Mohammed Hussain was six years of age, his formal Islamic education commenced. Whenever the father stood up to offer his prayers, the innocent kids used to stand behind him emulating his movements. They used to be with the father when he went for the majlis gatherings. They used to be in tow with the parents on their visits to the Mausoleum of Imam Ali (a.s). The parents used to lift them up to touch the railing of the sarcophagus. On emerging out of the mausoleum the kids would play with the pigeons. At the age of 10 years Mohammed Hussain started attending classes at the Hauza e Ilmia Najaf.
The Hauza e Ilmia Najaf e Ashraf was shedding its radiance for over a thousand years when Mohammed Hussain Kashif al Ghita entered its portals. It used to be the wish of every student to get an opportunity to become an alumnus of this center of learning. The students reached there braving all the hardships of travel from many countries in the World. It was doubly felicitous for them that they were having the opportunity of the Ziarat of the mausolia of Amir al Momineen (a.s) and Imam Hussain (a.s). Mohammed Hussain commenced his studies at the Hauza with the Arabic Grammer. The Arabic Grammer, Eloquence, Oration and Rhetoric are included in the initial lessons of the curriculum of the Hauza. In a very short while Mohammed Hussain acquired proficiency in Grammer, Eloquence and Mathematics. Then he busied himself in the study of Fiqh and the Principles of Fiqh. Logic too is a part of the intial curriculum at the Hauza. The discipline of Fiqh is deducing the tenets if Islam through the study of the Verses of the Holy Quran and the traditions of the Prophet (s.a). Mohammed Hussain’s was a restless spirit. He was only 15 years of age but was deeply engrossed in his studies. He somehow had a feeling that he was in search of something that he had lost.
Mohammed Hussain started research into the history of his family. He thought, perhaps, he would get an answer to his search through this research. Therefore, at the age of 15 he penned the histiry of his family with the title of “Kitab al Abaqaat al Ambaria fi Tabaqaat al Jaafariah”. He sent a copy of the book to his uncle who was residing at Isfahan. One manuscript of the book, in four volumes, is in the library at Astana e Rizvia Mashad and another at the library of Majlis e Shura Islami. Everyone was surprised with his erudition at such a tender age. Most of his contemporaries had squandered their time in aimless gallivanting. But Mohammed Hussain strived from his very early childhood to study the biographies of the great Ulema. His thirst for knowledge was unquenchable. His quest continued but he wasn’t able to guage what he was in search of!
“Shias were a small group of people but are now non-existent!”
This isn’t the statement of any ignoramus who spends his life of a rustic in the jungles! This was utterd by Georgy Zaidan (Died 1914 A.D.) the author of Lughat al Arabia (The Arabic Dictionary). He was the author of many books and had penned the History of Arabic Literature in four volumes! Such a person had stooped so low to utter the canard!
Three close friends resolved to refute this canard and clarify the facts about Shi’ism and the civilization of this large group of Muslims. It is a pity that lot of people are oblivious of the service of thousands of erudite Shia writers. The more pitiable thing is that they don’t take notice of the large Shia population in Iraq, Iran and other countries. Do we have to believe that a scholar of the status of Georgy Zaidan hadn’t the opportunity of perusing the Shii writings spread over the thousand years of human History! No just person would accept the contention of Georgy Zaidan!
Kashif al Ghita Mohammed Hussain, along with his friends, Ayatollah Sayed Hassan Sadr (Died 1354H) and Ayatollah Sheik Aqa Buzurg Tehrani (Died 1389 H) determined to pen fitting replies to the contention of Georgy Zaidan.
It was decided by the three that Hassan would conduct research on the contribution of the Shias in various Islamic Disciplines. After years of intensive research he penned his book “Taasees al Shia lil Uloom al Islam”.
Sheik Aqa Buzurg Tehrani traveled far and wide to refer to books in the libraries and compiled a bibliography of over 50,000 books written by eminent Shia authors. It was a befitting reply to the statement of Georgy Zaidan that there was no trace of Shias or any of their effects in the world!
Allama Kashif al Ghita took upon himself the task of writing a reply to the book of Georgy Zaidan “Tareeq Aadaab al Lughat”. He wrote a voluminous critique of the book and even pointed out the errors of diction in the author’s work.
Kashif al Ghita married in Lebanon. Now he started getting concerned about the expenses of his family. Therefore he moved to Egypt. Egypt is the heart of the Arab Nation and the University of Al Azhr the heart beat of the great nation! Azhr is the highest center of Sunni Islamic learning. The vice chancellor and the professors of the University were aware of the erudition of Kashif al Ghita. They welcomed him wholeheartedly. Sayed Jamal al Din Asadabadi and Ayatullah Sayed Abd al Hussain Sharf al Din had already taught at Al Azhr some years ago. Thus the people at the University had the experience of hearing the talks of eminent Shia scholars.Kashif al Ghita first attended a few lectures of the Sunni professors. The students were much impressed with the erudition and gentle manners of Kashif al Ghita. They expressed their wish to hear talks from him on the subjects of Fiqh and the discipline of Balagha (Eloquence). He therefore acceded to their wish and started delivering a series of lectures. Kashif al Ghita made the best use of his time. He engrossed the students, the teachers, the writers and the poets as was done by Sayed Jamal al din Asadabadi some years ago. Sayed Jamal al Din’s theme used to be the stratagem of the imperialists to create dissensions among the people in the Islamic countries. His talks, replete with emotions, oftentimes made the audiences cry! Kashif al Ghita took upon himself the responsibility of carrying forward his message.
In 1332 H (1914 A.D.) the First World War started. Britain had occupied many Iraqi cities. The Ottoman regime suffered defeat after defeat.Kashif al Ghita was in Lebanon those days. He got the sad news of the occupation of his dear mother-land and immediately started his journey to Iraq. He reached Kuwait and learned that the enemy troops were surrounded by the Iraqi troops and the youths of the Nation. Kashif al Ghjita joined the ranks of the defenders of the country and committed himself wholeheartedly to the task.
The Shia Marjas had given an edict for Jihad against the aggressors. Many Mujtahids from the Hauza e Ilmia Najaf were actively involved in the fight. Many of Kashif al Ghita’s contemporaries attained martyrdom. The world War had involved many countries in the conflict and millions of human beings lost their lives. Several cities in the world were destroyed and the entire populations annihilated.
The family of Kashif al Ghita had managed the Madrasa e Motamad for well over a century. The school was very near the residence of Kashif al Ghita. Masjid e Toosi and the mausoleum of the Kashif al Ghita family too were located in the Ammara neighborhood of Najaf e Ashraf. The building of the school was in acute disrepair. Kashif al Ghita engaged all his energies in the renovation of the school building. The library of the school had one of the largest collections of books. There were several rare manuscripts in the library. Kashif al Ghita visited the Madrasa every day and looked after the progress of the alumni. He also held discussions about the world affairs during these visits. He also attended to his correspondence during his visits to the school. Till his last days this was the routine of Kashif al Ghita. Many disciples of Kashif al Ghita attended his talks at the Haram of Ali (a.s) and the Mausoleum of Meerzai Shirazi. Mohammed Jawad Mughnia, a renowned writer and scholar was one of his disciples. Ayatullah Mohsin Hakim, Ayatullah Sayed Razi Shirazi, Ayatullah Sayed Murtada Hami and Zafuli too were his eminent disciples. Madrasa e Motamad, also known as Madrasa Kashif al Ghita, used to meet the expenses of the students there. He represented to the government of the day and got special grants sanctioned for the purpose.
It would be of interest to quote an incident from the life of Kashif al Ghita here. One day, after the lesson he said to his students, “I have a daughter who has reached the age of consent. If I find a morally upright and religious young person, I shall give her in marriage to him.” Hearing this, one of the students got up and sat down. According to the custom of that time, this meant that he was offering himself as a match for the daughter of the eminent cleric. Kashif al Ghita asked the boy to follow him home and adjourned the class. The student went behind him. The cleric knew that the boy was morally upright and a good student in the group. He knew that the boy was a good practitioner of the moral values of Islam. But neither did he have any wealth nor property. Kashif al Ghita told his daughter that there was a proposal for her from a bot who was morally and religiously upright but had no worldly wealth. Would she be interested in marrying the boy? She told her father that all the aauthority vested in him. The contract of marriage was immediately drawn; the young couple was tied in wedlock. Kashif al Ghita vacated one room at his house and settled the couple there. When he got up for the night prayer, he knocked at the door of the young couple and said, “I have placed a contatiner of water at the door of such and such a room. Go and offer prayers” The couple performed the Ghusl and offered Salah al Layl. Kashif al Ghita’s son-in-law, Sheik Mohammed Taqi, reached such a high state of learning that he could write a commentary on “Ma-alim”. Even now his commentary is recognized as very authoritative.
A group of Palestinian Muslim intellectuals decided to call a conference of Muslim scholars. Till that time Palestine wasn’t occupied by the Israelis. Shia and Sunni scholars from Asia and Africa reached Palestine for the conference. Representatives from most of the sects, Hanafi, Shafaee, Maliki, Hanbali, Wahabi, Nasibi, Khawarij, Ismailis, Zaidias, were in attendance. The aim of the conference was to deliberate the future prospects of the Muslims and the Islamic states. The Mufti of Bayt al Muqaddas invited Kashif al Ghita to participate in the conference. In his lecture at the conference Kashif al Ghita said that what the world Muslims needed was unity among their ranks. He exhorted them to shun internecine rivalries that always gave a big advantage to the Imperialist forces. They stoked rivalries between Muslims for their selfish motives. He said that the Jews were united and the Muslims were divided into interest groups. He said that if a Jew in Iraq had any problems, the other Jews wouldn’t remain silent spectators. To the contrary, the Muslims wouldn’t bother about the problems of their Muslim brothers! He appealed to the Shias and Sunnis to unite
Kashif al Ghita wrote several important books. “Al Firdous al Aala” is one of his most important works. This book encompasses Tahreek e Hussaini (The Hussaini Movement), philosophical discussions, commentary on the verses of the Holy Quran, supplications and prayers for different occasions. This book was published in Najaf e Ashraf in the year 1371 H. Kashif al Ghita’s disciple, Shaheed Qazi Tabatabai, published another edition at Qum in 1402 H with the permission of the author. Imran Ali Zahid published a Persian translation of the book with the title of “Bahisht e Bareen” from Tabriz. The second volume of the book came out under the title of “Jannat al Maawa” This volume is a collection of miscellaneous writings of Kashif al Ghita. The other important book written by Kashif al Ghita is “Daerat al mu-aarif al Ulia” In this book hie discussed about the Prophet (s.a) and the Ahl al Bayt (a.s)
Kashif al Ghita was an octogenarian and was keeping indifferent health at that advanced age. It was suggested to him to move to a more salubrious place to recuperate his health and energy. He therefore moved to a village, Karand, half way between Mansha and Qanqeen on 15 Zilqidda. Kashif al Ghita had traveled to the place earlier too for a change. He was familiar with the palce and the people there. Taqi Mashadi Karandi was briskly walking along with his son on the streets of Karand. He had heard that Kashif al Ghita had arrived and he was eager with happiness to meet him as soon as he could. He barged into the room of Kashif al Ghita and greeted him. The very first look at the face of the worthy gave him an idea of the condition of the health of the guest. He uttered a word of encouragement saying that with Allah’s help he would be restored to good health. At that moment Hussain Karbalai, the helper at the mosque, came into the room and made enquiries about the health of the guest. Many persons from the small village arrived in no time on hearing of his arrival. The Ustad Shaaban’s son, Mehdi, was sitting at the extreme corner of the room. When the Aqa had visited Karand seven years ago, he was 10 years of age. He had now grown into a youth. That time he used to be with the Aqa wherever he went. He remembered the hardship that Kashif al Ghita went through during the construction of the mosque at Karand. Two days went by and some improvement was noticed in the health of the guest. On the third day, after the morning prayers, the condition of Kashif al Ghita suddenly deteriorated. As the sun was rising, he had breathed his last! The people of Karand carried his bier and took his mortal remains to the mosque!
Source Urdu Lectures of Moulana Sadiq Hassan Book
http://islamicinsights.com/religion/history/shaikh-ja-far-kashif-al-ghita.html Written by Arsalan Rizvi
The poor man became angry very quickly. "What do you mean you already distributed all the money?" he shouted at the Shaikh. "I am sorry," responded the Shaikh quietly, "but you came too late, and I have already distributed all the Khums money." The crowd in the mosque looked on to see how the man would react. And to their horror, he suddenly spat at the Shaikh's beard! A few people ran forward to grab him, but the Shaikh at once held up his hand. With great composure, he wiped the spit from his beard and turned to the crowd. "This poor Sayyid is in need of assistance," he said, "if this Shaikh's beard is worth something to you, you will help alleviate this man's need." The Shaikh held out his cloak and walked around the congregation, and each person dropped a few coins in it. By the time he returned to the poor man, it was filled with money. The Shaikh emptied all the money in front of the poor man, who began sobbing uncontrollably in regret at the great scholar's patience and forgiving nature
He was born Ja'far ibn Khidr ibn Yahya al-Maliki al-Janaji in Najaf in 1156 AH. His father was a descendant of Malik al-Ashtar, the famous companion of Imam Ali (peace be upon him), and had migrated from southern Iraq to the holy city of Najaf. Shaikh Ja'far received his early education from his father. He also studied under Shaikh Yusuf Bahrani, a famous Akhbari, but upon the arrival of Allama Waheed Behbahani in Iraq, Shaikh Ja'far renounced his previous Akhbari ideas and accepted the Usuli school of thought. Upon the demise of Sayyid Mahdi Bahrul Uloom in 1212 AH, Shaikh Ja'far was recognized as the Supreme Religious Authority of the Shia world.
In the previous century, the center of Shia learning had shifted from Najaf to Karbala. Shaikh Ja'far began teaching in Najaf, and as a result, the city of Amirul Momineen once again acquired its former glory. He trained several prominent scholars and jurists, including Shaikh al-Jawahari, Sayyid Jawad Ameli, and Mullah Ahmad Naraqi. All three of his sons, Shaikh Musa, Shaikh Ali, and Shaikh Hasan, also became prominent jurists. He was a noted theologian, linguist, and poet. However, his greatest contribution to Shia academia came in the form of his magnum opus on jurisprudence, Kashif al-Ghita an Khufiyat Mubhimat Shari'at al-Ghara. In fact, because of this book, he (and other scholars of his family) came to be referred as "Kashif al-Ghita".
In the time of Shaikh Ja'far, the Wahhabi movement was gaining momentum in the Arabian peninsula as a result of an unholy alliance that came into existence between Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, an obscure radical preacher, and Muhammad ibn Saud, a tribal chieftain. The movement considered many Shia practices to be heretical, and on the day of Ghadir in 1215 AH, a group of Wahhabi militants led by Saud ibn Abdul Aziz launched a surprise raid on Karbala, looting the shrines and massacring over five thousand innocent civilians. When Shaikh Ja'far found out, he organized a small militia of civilians and seminary students to defend the holy shrines. When the Wahhabis tried to raid Karbala again five years later, the 64-year-old scholar personally led the charge against the enemy onslaught and caused it to retreat. In addition, he was the first scholar to write a theological challenge to the warped beliefs of the Wahhabi movement, entitled Minhaj ar-Rishad.
A true scholar, Shaikh Ja'far was renowned for his piety and humbleness. Between the two congregational prayers, he would walk around the mosque and collect funds for the needy. His family members narrate how he would often stay up all night in prayer and remembrance of God. He traveled all over Iraq and Iran, preaching the message of the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them) to the masses.
In 1228 AH, Shaikh Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita passed away from this world. Amidst an outpour of grief by the people of Najaf, he was laid to rest near the shrine of Amirul Momineen. After him, his descendants continued his legacy of religious scholarship and propagation, and many of them went on to become prominent scholars, preachers, and jurisprudents.