Ibn Babawaih Qummi:The Great Muhaddith
Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Babawaih Qummi, also known as Ibn Babawaih and Shaykh Sadukh was one of the distinguished jurists of Shi'ites and also a great narrator of ahadith in the second half of the fourth century Hijrah.In the year 308 A.H.the second Nayeb(special deputy)of Imam Mahdi(A.S.) passed away and Shaykh Husain ibn Rooh Nubakhti was assigned as the third deputy of Imam Mahdi(A.S.).
Shaykh Sadukh's father,Ali ibn Babawaih who was one of Qum's leading theologians travelled to Baghdad.He was sad and feeling upset of not having any childeren.He took the occasion to wtite a letter to Husain ibn Rooh Nubakhti to forward his letter to Imam Mahdi(A.S.).He expressed his desire of having a son and Imam Mahdi (A.S.) responded and the holy Imam prayed for him and very soon Allah(SWT) gave him a jurisprudent son.He was granted a son with the prayers of Imam Mahdi(A.S.)in the year 311A.H.He was named Muhammad and who became famous as Shaykh Sadukh and Ibn Babawaih.This event is recorded in the book Kamal al-Din,Shaykh Toosi's book Ghaybat(page 195) and Shaykh Najashi's book Rijal (page 184).
He as a young student completed learning fundamental Islamic sciences like hadith and jurisprudence with the most honourable scholars of Qum like his father Ali ibn Babawaih and Muhammad ibn Hasan ibn Waleed,the renowned jurisprudents of Qum,Ahmed ibn Ali ibn Ibrahim Qummi,Hasan ibn Idris Qummi and others.He lived in era of Shi'ite Buwayhid rulers and they ruled the major parts of the Islamic world.He took a long journey to the other Islamic world to visit the other scholars.
Shaykh Sadukh studied hadith in Ray in the year 347A.H.with Abul Hasan Muhammad ibn Ali Asadi also known as Ibn Jaradeh Barde'i. Between the years 347-352 A.H., he studied hadith in Marv,Neyshabour,Kufa,Makkah,Baghdad,Balkh and Sarakhs from the great scholars of his age.
In 344 A.H. Rukn al-Dawlah Daylami requested Shaykh Sadukh to stay in Ray to took the role of scientific and religious leadership of the ummah.Due to his esteemed scientific and spiritual personality the Shi'ite jurisprudents and scholars recall his name with the most outstanding titles.The great jurisprudent Allamah Bahr al-Ulum called him as "the Master of the Narrators(Raes al-Muhadditheen).
Shaykh Sadukh studied from many teachers.The famous scholar the late Abd al-Rahim Rabbani Shirazi has named 252 teachers for Shaykh Sadukh.
Shaykh Toosi has mentioned that Shaykh Sadukh compiled 300 books and Shaykh Najashi has named 182 books written by Shaykh Sadukh.
Great Ulama's Praise for Shaykh Sadukh
The great Shi'ite scholar Shaykh Muhammad ibn Hasan Toosi who died in 460 A.H., was the ardent admirer of Shaykh Sadukh and said about him:"Shaykh Sadukh was as great scholar and narrator of ahadith and was very effective in protecting and disseminating the science of hadith among the scholars in Qum.He was unique in the science of hadith and compiled 300 volumes of valued books in this field."
The great genius Muhammad ibn Idris Hilli who died in the year 598 A.H. says in his valued book ''Sara'ir'':"Ibn Babawaih Qummi was a great theologian,specialist in hadith and Ilm al-Rijal(Science of Introducing the Personalities) and also a great memorizer of hadith."He addressed him as Wajh al-Tayefah(the Radiant face of the Islamic nation).
Ibn Shahrashub has called him great combatant in the cause of knowledge.
Fakh al-Muhaqqiqin, Allamah Hilli's son has named him as the Leader of the Shaykhs.
Allamah Bahr al-Ulum says: "Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Husayn ibn Musa ibn Babawaih Qummi was the great leader of the Shi'ites.He was the Master of Narrators(Muhaddithin) and always narrated authentic ahadith of Shi'ite Imams(A.S.)."
Ibn Babawaih Qummi famous as Shaykh Sadukh passed away in 381 A.H.in Ray after more than 70 years of honourable and noble life and writing more than 300 volumes of highly valued books . His tomb is located in Ray and a great number of Muslims pay a visit to the tomb every day.