Muhahmmad Baqir Majlisi
Iranian religious scholar
Al-Majlisi became one of the most influential ulama of all time, but he displayed a new bigotry. He tried to suppress the teaching of Falsafah and mysticism (irfan) in Isfahan, and mercilessly persecuted the remaining Sufis. He insisted that the ulama should concentrate on fiqh and he thus introduced into Iranian society a distrust of mysticism and philosophy.
Al-Majlisi promoted the mourning rituals in honour of Imam Hussain, the martyr of Karbala, to teach the populace the values of piety. There were elaborate processions, and highly emotional dirges were sung, while the people wailed and cried aloud. These rites became a major Iranian institution.
During the eighteenth century the taziyeh, a passion play depicting the Karbala tragedy, was developed, in which the people were not passive spectators, but provided the emotional response, weeping and beating their breasts, and joining their own sorrows to the suffering of Imam Hussain. The rituals provided an important safety valve. As they moaned, slapped their foreheads, and wept uncontrollably, the audience aroused in themselves that yearning for justice, who is at the heart of piety, asking him or her why the good always seemed to suffer and evil nearly always prevailed.
Al-Majlisi who authored Bahar al Anwar, an encyclopaedia of Shi'ism, was the son of Amir of Lebanon whose family migrated to Iran when Shah Ismail founded the Safarid dynasty in 1501.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan / Ghulam Mohiuddin