Abu al-Qāsim ‘Alī ibn Husayn al-Sharīf al-Murtadhā (Arabic: أبو القاسم علي بن الحسين الشريف المرتضى) (commonly known as: Sharīf Murtadhā, Sayyid Murtadhā, (Murtazā instead of Murtadhā in non-Arab languages)) (965 – 1044 AD ; 355 – 436 AH) also popular as Alam al Huda was one of the greatest Shia scholars of his time and was one of the students of Shaykh al-Mufīd . He was the elder brother of Al-Sharif al-Radi (Seyyed Razi), the compiler of Nahjul Balagha. He was four years older than his brother. He lived during the era of Buyid Dynasty. It was the golden age of Arabic literature, and great poets like Al-Mutanabbi and Al-Ma`arri were among his contemporaries.
He was born in Baghdad in 355 Lunar in Rajab Month.He was born in a prominent household.His lineage come backs to Imam kazim a.s. he was son of Al Sharif Abu Ahmad the son of Mosa son of Muhammad son of Musa son of Ibrahim son of Musa Kazim a.s. Therefore, his sixth ancestor was the seventh imam of shia. His father called him Ali and his nickname was Murtaza. His honorific title was Alam Al Hoda. He called as Alam al Hoda according to a popular narration said by Shahid Avval in The book of Arbaeen as follow: the vizir of abbasid dynasty namely Muhammad ibn Hosein became sick . he saw in his dreams Imam Ali while address him: tell alam Al Hoda till demand Health for you. When Muhammad ibn Hosein ask on the person with such a nickname he told : he is ali ibn Hosein or sharif Murtaza.
The name of Sharif al-Murtadhā’s mother was Fātimah. She was a pious and noble lady, who was held in high esteem by scholars and other notables. At her request, the great scholar Shaykh al-Mufīd compiled the book “Ahkām al-Nisā'”, which contains the fiqhi rules for women. Her family had carved out an independent principality in Tabaristan, on the southern coasts of the Caspian Sea. She died in Baghdad, in the year 995, (385 AH).
Since he was the pupil of both Qadi Abdul Jabbar the Mutazilite and Shaykh Mufid, he was influenced by both of them. He even criticised them.
Reason and Revelation
According to Sharif al-Murtaza, the first part of religious duty is the obligation to reason to the knowledge of God. The other duties are dependent on this first duty. Al-Murtaza along with the Mu’tazilite starting-point is the claim that man’s first duty is to use his reason to arrive at the knowledge of God. Also in Kalaam there is proof of the existence of God, he defended the atomist’ stance versus that of the Aristotelian notion of substantial change.
He believed that we must not limit our-selves to applying those names mentioned in Quran.
Sayyid Murtadhā acquired the epithet of: “‘Alam al-Hudā” (“The banner of guidance”), and died at the age of 81 years in 1044 (436 AH).
Work and Contribution
He was a multi-dimensional personality. All Shi’ite scholars acknowledge that Sayyid Murtadhā was the greatest scholar of his era, and groomed many outstanding ulama (scholars), including the famous Shaykh al-Tūsī, the founder of the celebrated theological Center of Najaf. He served as “Naqib al-Nuqabā'” after the death of his brother.
Sayyid Murtadhā was deeply interested in fiqh, unlike Sayyid Radhī, who was more inclined towards politics and literature,. He was considered a master of kalam, fiqh, usul al-fiqh, literature, grammar, poetry and other fields of knowledge. His divan or poetry collection has more than 20,000 verses.