Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir (1627–1698)

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Muhammad Baqir b. Muhammad Taqi Majlisi, known as the second Majlisi or the author of the Bihar, was a renowned Iranian Twelver Shi˓ite jurist of the late seventeenth century. Acting as the prayer leader and shaykh al-Islam of Isfahan under the Safavid monarchs, Shah Suleiman (r. 1666–1694) and Shah Sultan Husayn (r. 1694–1722), he suppressed philosophy and Sufism and reestablished clerical authority under his leadership. He devoted great efforts to the collection and translation of Shi˓ite hadith from Arabic into Persian to benefit the laity. He opposed the conventional reliance on Arabic as the main medium of instruction and publication for religious scholars and emphasized the need for doctrinal and legal works in Persian, which could be accessible to the public. He fervently upheld the concepts of "enjoining the good" and "prohibiting evil" and renewed the impetus for conversion from Sunnism to Shi˓ism. His legal method drew upon both the akhbari (traditionist) and usuli (rationalist) schools, as such accepting both the authority of Shi˓ite traditions and the role of reason in arriving at a legal opinion. He is mostly known for his monumental work, a Shi ite encyclopedia of hadith, Bihar al-Anwar, completed in 1692.

Rula Jurdi Abisaab