Four Shi'ite Collections of the Traditions During the Fourth and Fifth Centuries
First collection is Al-Kafi by Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Ya'qub al-Kulaini. He prepared this collection in thirty years and it contains 16099 Traditions with their authorities and sources, related to both Usul and Furu'. Al-Kulaini died in 328 A.H.
Second collection is by Sudduq and is called as Man La Yahdiruhul Faqih which was prepared on the pattern of Man La Yahdiruhul Talib, as we have already said. It contains 9044 Traditions.
As-Sudduq died in 381 A.H.
The third collection of the Traditions is Tahdhib-ul-Ahkam, by Shaikh Abi Ja'far Muhammad bin al-Hasan Tusi. He divided it into 393 sections and it contains 13590 Traditions. The author died in 460 A.H.
The fourth collection of the Traditions compiled during the period under reference is called Al-Istibsar Fil Jam'i Bain Ma Tu'arad Minal Akhbar. It has 920 sections and contains 5511 Traditions.
Except the first collection all other collections are collections secondary injunctions (Furu'). In this way the total number of Traditions found in these collections comes upto 44244.
Shaikh al-Baha'i has said in Al-Wajizah that the contents of our books on the Traditions are much more than the total contained in Sihah Sittah, as would be clear to a person who follows the Traditions collected by both the groups.
A large number of scholars have written about these four collections of the Traditions in the forms of explanations, notes and commentaries. A few of these are :
i) Sharh-ul-Istibsar by Shaikh Muhammad ibn Shaikh Hasan (the author of Al-Ma'alim) which contains many useful biographical pieces;
ii) Mirat-ul-'Uqul Fi Sharhil Kafi by Al-Majlisi
iii) Sharh Usul-il-Kafi by Mulla Saleh al-Mazandarni;
iv) Sharh Usul-il-Kafi by Mulla Sadra;
v) A large number of commentaries of At-Tahdhib and Al-Faqih the details of which will need much space and time here and are given in the latter chapters. In addition to these, a number of collections were prepared on the basis of the aforementioned four books, which we shall discuss when we take up the scholars of fourteenth century.
Hasan al-Amin,Shorter Shi'ite Encyclopaedia