ʿALĪ B. ʿOBAYDALLĀH B. ḤASAN ḤASKĀ B. ḤOSAYN B. ḤASAN B. ḤOSAYN (this last was a brother or a cousin of Shaikh Ṣadūq Moḥammad b. ʿAlī b. Ḥosayn b. Mūsā b. Bābūya Qomī), ABU’L-ḤASAN, called MONTAJAB-AL-DĪN, a Shiʿite traditionist and biographer (b. 504/1110-11, d. after 585/1189). He learned traditions in Baghdad, Qazvīn, and Isfahan and finally settled in Ray. His disciple, Shaikh ʿAbd-al-Karīm Rāfeʿī Qazvīnī (d. 623/1226), whose Ketāb al-tadwīn fī taʾrīḵ Qazvīn (British Museum ms. No. 959, fol. 421b-423b) is the chief source for his life, says that he composed a Taʾrīḵ al-Ray but did not publish it. This work is quoted by Ebn Ḥaǰar ʿAsqalānī in his Lesān al-mīzān and by Sobkī in his Ṭabaqāt al-Šāfeʿīya (these quotations have been gathered by M. Qazvīnī, Yāddāšthā VII, pp. 144-48, and Ḥ. Karīmān, Ray-e bāstān, Tehran, 1345-49 Š./1966-70, I, pp. 5-7). Qazvīnī adds that despite his illustrious Shiʿite ancestry Montaǰab-al-dīn did not confine his sympathy or the authorities for his traditions to that party. At least towards the end of his life he expressed high esteem for all of the first four caliphs and was heard in 585/1189 to recite traditions promising reward for those who love them.

The work for which he is principally remembered among Shiʿites is his Fehrest of Shiʿite authors and their works, which covers the century and a half from those contemporaries of Shaikh Ṭūsī who were omitted from the latter’s Fehrest down to his own time. The Fehrest of Montaǰab-al-dīn is reproduced fully in the last book of Maǰlesī’s Beḥār al-anwār (Tehran lithograph, XXV, pp. 2-13; 1391/1971, CV, pp. 200-98; see al-Ḏarīʿa XIV, p. 395). Ḥorr ʿĀmelī has made it the basis of his Amal al-ʿāmel, where its contents are to be found entire and in a form more readily available than that in which Montaǰab-al-dīn wrote it. Al-Arbaʿīn ḥadīṯ men al-arbaʿīn ʿan al-arbaʿīn is a collection of forty traditions from forty books on the authority of forty recounters of the virtues of ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭāleb (Ḏarīʿa I, p. 433). Also ascribed to Montaǰab-al-dīn is Resāla fī masʾalat adāʾ al-farīża le-man ʿalayh qażāʾ al-ṣalāt, of which Ḵᵛānsārī saw a copy (Rawżāt al-ǰannāt, Isfahan, 1341 Š./1962, p. 380).


See also Āḡā Bozorg Tehrānī, Moṣaffa ’l-maqāl, Tehran, 1337 Š./1958, pp. 463-64.

Brockelmann, GAL I, p. 405, S. I, p. 710.

M. Qazvīnī, Yāddāšthā VII, pp. 145-53.

Aʿyān al-šīʿa XCI, pp. 343-45.


(M. J. McDermott)

Originally Published: December 15, 1985

Last Updated: August 1, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 8, p. 853

Cite this entry:

M. J. McDermott, “ʿALĪ B. ʿOBAYDALLĀH,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/8, p. 853, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ali-b-obaydallah (accessed on 30 December 2012).