The famous scholar and Founder of the Islamic Seminary of holy Najaf, Shaikh Tusi
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 22nd of the Islamic month of Moharram in 460 AH, the famous scholar and Founder of the Islamic Seminary of holy Najaf, Abu Ja'far Mohammad Ibn Hassan Tusi, known popularly as Shaikh at-Tayefah, passed away at the age of 75 and was laid to rest near the shrine of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), in the mosque known today as "Jame' at-Tusi".
He was born in 385 AH in Tus in Khorasan, northeastern Iran, and after completing his studies in his hometown, left for Baghdad for higher studies at the age of 23 to study under the celebrated scholar Shaikh Mufid, who died five years later in 413 AH. Leadership of the Shi'ite Muslim scholars then fell to the renowned Sharif Murtaza, who remained in this position for 23 years until his death in 436 AH. During this time Shaikh Tusi was closely associated with Sharif Murtaza, and subsequently succeeded him as head of the community. So impressive was his knowledge that the Abbasid caliph, al-Qader-Billah, used to attend his lectures.
Eleven years later in 447 AH, when the Iranian Buwayhid dynasty lost power in Baghdad to the Seljuqid Turks led by Toghril Beg, many scholars, both Sunni and Shi'ite, were killed. The house of Shaikh Tusi in Karkh locality, along with his library that contained some 90,000 books, was burnt down. In view of the danger of remaining in Baghdad, he moved to holy Najaf where his arrival made it the leading centre of Islamic scholarship, a role which it has maintained to the present day – despite Saddam’s reign of terror.
Some 13 years later, he passed away and was succeeded by his son Shaikh Hassan Tusi, known as “Mufid Thani”. Of the four authoritative Hadith Books of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt, two were compiled by Shaikh at-Tayefah Tusi. These two basic reference works are: “Tahzeeb al-Ahkaam” and “al-Istibsaar”. He wrote several other books including a commentary on the holy Qur'an titled “at-Tibyaan”.