Why Abaqat al Anwar was written
Al-Imam Sayyid Hamid Husayn Lakhnowi quddisa sirruh wrote his great work ‘Abaqat al-Anwar fi imamat al- ‘A’immat al-athar. in Persian as a refutation of the seventh chapter of Tuhfehye ithna ‘ashariyyah of Shah ‘Abd al-Aziz al-Dehlawi (1159 1239/1746 1823). In twelve chapters of this work, which is said to be a plagiary in Persian of al-Sawa’iq al-mubiqah by an obscure writer Nasr Allah al-Kabuli, Shah ‘Abd al-Aziz severely attacked Shi’i doctrines, beliefs and practices. Shah ‘Abd al-Aziz’s book was an effort to check the expanding influence of Shi’ism, which had begun to flourish under the patronage of the Shi’i kingdom of Awadh and under the religious leadership of the great Shi’i scholar and mujtahid Sayyid Dildar ‘Ali ibn Muhammad Mu’in al-Naqawi al-Nasirabadi (116 1235/1752 1819), known as Ghufran Ma’ab.
Shah ‘Abd al-Aziz’s attack and accusations drew a massive response from Shi’i scholars. ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Aziz Tabataba’i mentions the following authors who wrote refutations of Tuhfehye ithna ‘ashariyyah:
- Sayyid Dildar ‘Ali al-Naqawi al-Nasirabadi
who wrote five books refuting various chapters of the Tuhfah:
- A-al-Sawarim al-ilahiyyat fi qat’ shubuhat ‘abid al-Uzza wa al-Lat (1215/1800), a refutation of the fifth chapter of the Tuhfah regarding theological issues;
- B-Khatimat al-Sawarim, a refutation of the seventh chapter concerning the Shi’i doctrine of Imamate;
- C-Husam al-Islam wa siham al-malam (Calcutta, 1215/1800), a refutation of the sixth chapter of the Tuhfah concerning prophet hood;
- D-Ihya’ al-Sunnah wa imatat al-bid’ah bi ta’n al-asinnah (1281/1864), a refutation of the eighth chapter of the Tuhfah;
- E-al-Zulfiqar, a refutation of the twelfth chapter.
- Shaykh Jamal al-Din Abu Ahmad Mirza Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Nabi Akbarabadi (d. 1232/1816)
who wrote : Sayf Allah al-maslul ‘ala mukharribi Din al-Rasul, in six big volumes, as refutation of all the chapters of the Tuhfah.
- ‘Allamah Mirza Muhammad ibn ‘Inayat Ahmad Khan Kashmiri Dehlawi (d. 1235/1820)
He wrote: Nuzhat al-Ithna ‘Ashariyyah fi al-radd ‘ala al-Tuhfat al-ithna ‘ashariyyah in twelve volumes, of which the first, third, fourth, fifth and seventh volumes were published (1255/ 1839) and others remained incomplete.
- Mawlawi Hasan ibn Aman Allah Dehlawi ‘Azimabadi (d. c. 1260/ 1844)
He wrote Tajhiz al-jaysh li kasr sanamay Quraysh, as a refutation of all the chapters of the Tuhfah.
- ‘Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Quli ibn Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Lackhnowi Kanturi (d. 1260/1844)
He is father of Sayyid Hamid Husayn, who wrote five books in refutation of different chapters of the Tuhfah:
- A- al-Sayf al-nasiri on the first chapter,
- B- Taqlid al-maka’id (Calcutta, 1262/1846) on the second chapter,
- C- Burhan al-sa’adah on the seventh chapter,
- D- Tashyid al-mata’in li kashf al-dagha’in in two volumes (1283/1866) on the tenth chapter,
- E- and Masari’ al-afham li qal’ al-awham.
- Mawlawi Khayr al-Din Muhammad Allahabadi
He wrote: Hidayat al-Aziz (or Hadiyyat al-Aziz) as a refutation of the fourth chapter of the Tuhfah about usul al-hadith and rijal.
- ‘Allamah Sayyid Muhammad ibn Sayyid Dildar ‘Ali (d. 1284/ 1867) known as Sultan al-‘Ulama’
He wrote two books, one in Persian and the other in Arabic, in refutation of the seventh chapter of the Tuhfah concerning Imamate, of which the former was entitled al-Bawariq al-mubiqah. He also wrote Ta’n al-rimah in refutation of the tenth chapter.
- Sayyid Ja’far Abu ‘Ali Khan ibn Ghulam ‘Ali Musawi Banarasi
He wrote :
- A-Burhan al-sadiqin and Mahajjat al-Burhan (a condensation of the former) in refutation of the seventh chapter
- B-and Taksir al-sanamayn in refutation of the tenth chapter.
- ‘Allamah Sayyid Mufti Muhammad ‘Abbas Musawi Tustari Jaza’iri (d. 1306/1888)
He wrote :al-Jawahir al-Abqariyyah in refutation of the Tuhfah’s seventh chapter.
- Al-Shaykh Ahmad ibn ‘Ali Kirmanshahi (d. 1235/1819)
He wrote : Kashf al-shubhah ‘an hilyat al-mut’ah (MS dated 1227 H. in the National Museum, Karachi), in refutation of the ninth chapter.
11. Abaqat al-Anwar
However, the most important work that was written as a refutation of the seventh chapter of the Tuhfah concerning the Shi’i doctrine of Imamate was ‘Abaqat al-Anwar, which was destined to take its place not only as the greatest work on Imamate ever written but also perhaps as one of the greatest masterpieces of scholarship ever compiled on a doctrinal issue anywhere in the history of religion.