Friday, December 31, 2010

Some more on the Iḥqāqīya who follow Šayḫ Aḥmad

The book by the former head of the community Mīrzā ʿAbd al-Rasūl on the two centuries of the scholarly and religious service provided by his family is a valuable record of how the family moved from Tabrīz to Karbalā and then to al-Aḥsāʾ and Kuwait and the centres, mosques and ḥawzāt they established. At his death, his son Mīrzā ʿAbdullāh succeeded but was not declared the full head of the community but now certainly seems to be. He is given titles such as ‘al-ḥakīm al-ilāhī’, ‘rūḥ al-šarīʿa’ and even the title of a marǧaʿ (which they now use for him) ‘āyatullāh al-ʿuẓmā’. His visits to Kuwait are major events most recently a few months ago. The difficulty is to figure out how large the community is. It seems fairly small confined to parts of al-Šarq and Bneid al-Gār in Kuwait, some pockets in the eastern province in al-Aḥsāʾ and al-Hufūf and a very small community of students in al-Sayyida Zaynab in the southern suburbs of Damascus where they have a Muʾassasat al-fikr al-awḥad (although most of the books are published in Beirut). The works of their scholars are published in the following places:

· Kuwait: Maktabat al-ʿAḏrāʾ is a wonderful little Šayḫī bookshop in Bneid al-Gār run by devotees originally from Iran (the whole area is very much a Šīʿī Iranian area) and they publish many of the works at their press – simple and fairly cheap paperbacks (at least for Kuwaiti standards where 1-2KD is hardly anything for a paperback). Their risāla ʿamalīya is available there – one in two thick volumes with a long introduction on doctrine and belief by Mīrzā ʿAbd al-Rasūl, and another more recent entitled Aḥkām al-šarīʿa by Šayḫ Muḥammad al-Ǧadī.

· Kuwait: Ǧāmiʿ al-Imām al-Ṣādiq in al-Šarq (the Imam there is Šayḫ ʿAbdullāh al-Mazīdī) is their main centre with the Ḥusaynīya Ǧaʿfarīya next door which act jointly as headquarters for publishing, dissemination and services – there are two laǧna-s for publication – one for the works of Šayḫ Aḥmad and the tradition and another for the works of Sayyid Kāẓim al-Raštī. Rather odd that they prefer to published the many risāla-s separately and do not publish the complete Ǧawāmiʿ al-kalim as the Kirmānī branch has.

· Beirut: the Damascus based Muʾassasat al-fikr al-awḥad publishes usually through one of the major Šīʿī presses like al-Maḥaǧǧa al-bayḍāʾ; the Kuwaiti laǧna-s also use Muʾassasat al-balāġ

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