Nūr al-ibṣār fi manāqib Āl bayt al-Nabī al-mukhtār (Illumination of the virtues of the family of the Most Favored Prophet) is a collection of biographies of major personalities in Islamic history. It begins with narration of critical incidents in the life of the Prophet Muhammad, followed by biographies of Ahl al-Bayt (the Prophet’s family), the four earliest caliphs, and other significant figures of Islamic history, such as the founders of the four canonical legal traditions and the major Sufi orders. The author, Muʼmin ibn Ḥasan Muʼmin al-Shablanji (circa 1836−circa 1890), was born and educated in Egypt and was well-known as a teacher, Sunni judge, and Sufi. Although the date of printing is not given, a note mentions that the author completed the book on September 9, 1873. The printer notes that the published text was authenticated against the author’s manuscript. On the margins is printed a second work, Is’af al-Raghibin (Assistance for the desirous), a similar biographical compilation by the 18th-century Egyptian scholar Muhammad al-Sabban. Nur al-Absar has received much attention from Shia scholars. Shia Muslims emphasize their unique devotion to the descendants of the Prophet. Books treating the Prophet’s grandson, Husayn, and other relatives tend to be carefully scrutinized by Shia readers for what they see as possible misinterpretations. In general, Shia scholars view Nur al-Absar and Is’af al-Raghibin favorably for their treatment of such topics as Husayn’s death at the Battle of Karbala (680) and the hadith entitled Ghadir Khamm which, according the Shiite interpretation, established the succession of leadership after the Prophet’s death.
References: Hassan al-Amin, Islamic Shi’ite Encyclopaedia (Beirut: Slim Press, 1968−73).
Place: Middle East and North Africa
Institution: Qatar National Library
Physical description: 248 pages ; 27 centimeters