Best Shia Scholars of All Time: Shia is a branch of Islam that has many followers today. It is also one of the oldest sects and was founded almost 7 centuries ago by Imam Hussain (AS), the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
The Shia community continued to produce famous Shia speakers and scholars after the obscured Imam Al-Mahdi. Although many schools within Shia, notably different schools, consider their scholars to be more important than others.
In our last post, we talked about Top Islamic Scholars in the World, but today we will look specifically at Shia scholars.
Who is the Founder Of Shia Islam?
This fourth Caliph was despised by those who followed Ali. From the beginning, the Shia considered Ali, the only genuine caliph. Shia, which translates as “follower,” refers to those who believed they followed Muhammad’s appointed successor.
All the hadiths—Islamic religious decisions and teachings—from these successive caliphs are therefore invalid. Shia Muslims consider Ali and those who came after him the only true leaders, especially because they sprung from Muhammad. The Sunni sect strenuously objects.
At the time and even now, this political division is quite controversial. It is indisputable that Ali ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad’s nephew, and son-in-law, created Shia Islam.
Ali would establish the Shia Islamic faith and serve as its first Caliph and Imam. According to the Shia, Ali and his offspring, all members of the Bayt, or Muhammad’s family, are the only authorized representatives of the Islamic faith.
Who are the Most Famous Shia Scholars?
This article attempts to list the top 10 Shia scholars of all time based on various factors such as their political influence, literary quality, and recognition.
01. Sheikh Murtadha Al-Ansari
The Great Sheikh is another name for him, the famous Shia scholar Iraq. In 1803, Sheikh Al-Ansari was born in Khuzestan province’s Dezful, in what is now modern-day Iran. Before relocating to Iraq and settling in Najaf, he started his academic career in his hometown.
Some of the most well-known Shia scholars, including Ayatollah Mohammad Hassan Al-Najafi, Mirza Ahmad Al-Naraqi, and Kashif Al-Gheta’a, served as his teachers. His academic and legal works are considered essential parts of seminary education, one of the prerequisites for practising law.
And we know the importance of education in Islam, as we discussed in our post on Inspiring Islamic Quotes on Education.
The Great Mirza Al-Shirazi (Tobacco Revolution) and Mohammad Kadhem Al-Khorasani are two of Sheikh Al-former Ansari’s students who are regarded as some of the best Shia scholars of all time. Mohammad Kadhem Al-Khorasani published another holy work being studied at Shia schools today.
02. Sheikh Al-Mufid
The year 948 saw the birth of Sheikh Al-Mufid in Ukbara, a tiny town north of Baghdad (present-day Iraq). He moved to Baghdad and is a student of Sheikh Al-Saduq, a well-known Shia scholar.
Moreover, he is one of the founders of philosophical theology and has produced many books on various topics that are essential readings for Islamic studies. Sheikh Al-Mufid instructed some eminent Shia intellectuals during the Golden Age of Islamic history.
03. Mohammad Ibn Ya’qub Al-Kulayni
One of the foremost traditionalists and chroniclers of Shia history is Sheikh Al-Kulayni. During Imam Al-Mahdi’s brief occultation, he was born in modern-day Iran in the year 941.
Moreover, many Islamic ideas and concepts are based on the narrations in his book, “Kitab Al-Kafi,” which he wrote. This book is the primary source of “Hadith” narrations for Shia Muslims.
04. Sheikh Al-Saduq
During the early years of his occultation, Sheikh Al-Saduq was considered one of the famous Shia speakers and scholars. He was born in Qom, which became a centre for religious studies and intellectual endeavour in 923, and went by the name Abu Ja’afar Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn Babawaih Al-Qummi.
Moreover, he is regarded as the creator of Shia law and tradition, which greatly aids in validating the traditions and narrations of various Shia Imams.
05. Mohammad Ibn al-Hassan Al-Hurr Al-Amili
He went by Al-Hurr Al-Amili and was born on April 26, 1624, in Southern Lebanon’s Amil Mount region. He was permitted to convey narrations after studying under his father, a well-known Shia scholar, and others of his time.
In addition, he contributed to Wasa’el Al-Shia, one of the sacred “Four Books” revered by Shia Muslims.
06. Sayed Abul Qasim Al-Khoie
One of the top Shia scholars of the contemporary era is Sayed Al-Khoie. He had thousands of students, and his legacy is anticipated to endure for many more decades.
As an Iraqi Shia scholar, he attended lectures by Shia scholars such as Sheikh Al-Nae’eni, Al-Kompani, Thia al-Deel Al-Iraqi, and Mirza Ali Al-Qadhi after leaving Khoie.
Moreover, as the supreme religious authority among Shia Muslims, Hakeem instructed numerous scholars and jurists who still exist today.
07. Mohammad Baqir Al-Majlisi
He went by the name Allamah Al-Majlisi and was born in the Iranian city of Isfahan in 1616. Due to his legacy, which goes beyond Islamic law and custom, Allamah Al-Majlisi is regarded as one of the greatest Shia thinkers.
In the Safavid dynasty, Allamah Al-Majlisi held several official and unofficial posts, changing the orthodox Shia seminary into an independent political organization.
Allamah Al-Majlisi, trained by illustrious Shia scholars Mulla Sadra and others, collected most of the narrations and traditions in Shia history and wrote “Bihar Al-Anwar,” which translates to “Oceans of Lights.”
08. The Great Miraza Al-Shirazi
As a religious authority, Mirza Al-Shirazi utilized his position during the Qajar dynasty for political gain. He moved the Shi’a seminary from Najaf to Samara.
Most people in Samara are known to be Sunnis, but Mirza Al-Shirazi was renowned for his tolerance and coexistence with different Islamic sects. The wing and classes he teaches have produced hundreds of Shia scholars of the contemporary era.
09. Allama Zameer Akhtar Naqvi
Syed Zameer Naqvi was born in Lucknow, India, and moved to Karachi in 1967. He is a Pakistani Shia scholar, author, and poet.
He published numerous volumes on poetry and religion. Along with running the Anees Academy, he was the editor of the Al Kalam journal.
Moreover, he received various honours. In 1989, the Mir Anees Award was given for compiling the book Josh Malih-Marthiyah. Abadi’s. In 1999, Anjuman–e–Farogh–e–Aza in London presented him with the Commonwealth Award.
10. Sayyed Ali Sistani
Sayyed Ali Sistani is a Shia scholar from Iraq, born in Iran. When the Iraqi army fell apart and ISIS came dangerously close to reaching Baghdad, Ali Sistani got involved by issuing a fatwa calling for jihad against ISIS. As a result, ISIS now controls less than one-third of Iraq’s territory.
11. Jawad Qazwini – Shia Scholar on Twitter
In the age of social media, twitter has now become a popular place for Islamic scholars to share their thoughts with their followers. Among the many shia scholars on Twitter, Jawad Qazwini’s name shines brightly because of his immense knowledge of deen and because of the way in which he shares this knowledge.
Currently based in Houston, Texas, Jawad comes from a strong family of shia scholars as the Al Qazwini family is well known through out the world.
Many more Indian, Iraqi, and Pakistani Shia scholars deserve to be on this list, but due to space constraints, we could only select 10. These ten men have earned their spots as some of the most influential Muslim scholars. Moreover, they have contributed much in their time and continue to do so even today.