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Man la yahduruh al-Faqih' by Al-Saduq
Dr. I. K. A. Howard
Al-Serat, Vol. 2 (1976), No. 2

The Author Al-Shaikh al-Saduq is the title given to Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. 'Ali ibn Babawaih al Qummi. He was the leading traditionist of his time (4th Century A.H.) and one of the most outstanding traditionists of Shi'ite Islam. He earned the title of al-Shaikh al-Saduq on account of his great learning and his reputation for truthfulness. It is a title which he also shares with his father. Al-Shaikh 'Ali, the father of the author, was a leading figure among the scholars of Qumm. By the father's time the family were established as strong adherents of Shi'ite Islam. However, it is not known how early the family entered into Islam.[1]
Al-Shaikh al-Saduq is sometimes known as Ibn Babawaih. This is the family name and indicates the Persian origin of the family. For Babwaih is an Arabicized version of the Persian form Babuyah.[2]
The date of al-Shaikh al-Saduq's birth is not known exactly. However an interesting story surrounds the circumstances of his birth. When his father was in Iraq, he met Abul Qasim al-Husain b. Rawh, the third agent of the Hidden Imam. During their meeting he asked the latter several questions. Later he wrote to al-Husain b. Rawh asking him to take a letter to the Hidden Imam. In this letter he asked for a son. Al-Husain sent back an answer telling him that they (the Hidden Imam and al-Husain) had prayed to God to ask Him to grant the request and he would be rewarded with two sons. Another version of the story says three sons. The elder, or eldest, of these sons was Muhammad, that is al-Shaikh al-Saduq, our author. On the basis of this story, early Shi'ite scholars have placed his birth after the year 305 A.H. probably 306 A.H. For al-Husain b. Rawh was the agent of the Hidden Imam from 305 A.H. until his death in 326 A.H. Al-Shaikh al-Saduq was born and grew up in Qumm. He was educated by his father and came into close contact with all the leading scholars of Shi'ite Islam in Qumm and studied under many of them.[3]
Qumm was one of centres of the study of Shi'ite traditions and it was this form of religious learning which held great influence over al-Shaikh al-Saduq. He travelled widely visiting many cities in search of traditions and as a result the number of scholars whom he learned traditions from is considerable. The number is put at 211. The importance of traditions is emphasized by al-Shaikh al-Saduq and he quotes traditions against speculative theology. His works reflect this interest in traditions and nearly all of them take the form of compilations of traditions. However he did write a creed of Shi'ite Islam al-I'tiqadat. His pupil, the eminent theologian al-Shaikh al-Mufid, wrote a correction of this creed Tashih al-i'tiqad where he criticises him on several points.[4]
The number of al-Shaikh al-Saduq's works is considerable.[5]
Al-Tusi says that they numbered over 300 but list only 43 of them that he has immediately in his possession, while al-Najashi lists 193 of them. Curiously enough al-Najashi does not mention the important work Man la y'ahduruh al-faqih! Many of the works of al-Shaikh al-Saduq have been lost but a considerable number survive and have been published. There are also other works not yet published but extant in manuscript form. As has been mentioned during his life al-Shaikh al-Saduq devoted most of his energy to the collection and compilation of traditions; he was also a great teacher of tradition. During the last years of his life al Shaikh' al Saduq lived in a Rayy. He had been invited there by the Buyid Rukn al Dawla.[6]
He seems to have been well-treated and honoured there by Rukn al-Dawla and took part in many discussions with him. However it is reported that his teaching was eventually restricted by the Buyid Wazir Ibn 'Abbad. The attack appears to have been aimed at traditions for several Sunni traditionists also suffered similar restrictions at the hands of Ibn 'Abbad.[7]
Al-Shaikh al-Saduq died in al-Rayy in 381 A.H. and he was buried there. He was probably more than 70 years of age. He left behind him many collections of traditions which are of great importance. Man la yahduruh al-faqih This work is included in the four major books of the traditions of Shi'ite Islam Despite the fact that many of his other works are extremely important, this book must be regarded as his most important work However some authorities maintain that there were five major books of traditions and they include another of al Shaikh al Saduq's works Madinat al-'ilm, in this number.[8]
Al-Tusi mentions that the latter work was bigger than Man la yahduruh al-faqih.[9]
It appears that this book is no longer existant. It seems to have been concerned with usul al-din (the principles of religion) rather than the furu', which are the practical regulations for carrying out the shari'a, the holy law of Islam. As its title implies Man la yahduruh al faqih was concerned with furu'. It has be neatly translated by E. G. Brown as "Every man his own lawyer"[10]
In his introduction to the book al-Shaikh al-Saduq explains the circumstances of its composition and the reason for its title. When he was at Ilaq near Balkh, he met Sharif al-Din Abu 'Abd Allah known as Ni'mah whose full name was Muhammad b. Al-Husain b. Al-Husain b. Ishaq b. Musa b. Ja'far b. Muhammad b. Ali b. Al-Husain b. Ali b. Abi Talib. He was delighted with his discourses with him andh his gentleness, kindness, dignity and interest in religion. He brought a book compiled by Muhammad b. Zakharia al-Razi entitled Man la yahduruh al-Talib or "Every man his own doctor" to the attention of al-Shaikh al-Saduq. He, then, asked him to compile a book on fiqh (jurisprudence), al-halal Wa-'1-haram (the permitted and prohibited) al-shara-i' wa-'l-ahkam (revealed law and (ordinary) laws) which would draw on all the works which the Shaikh had composed on the subject. This book would be called Man la yahduruh al-faqih and would function as a work of reference.[11]
In fact the work represents a definitive synopsis of all the traditions which al-Shaikh al-Saduq had collected and included in individual books on specific legal subjects. In the lists of books of al-Shaikh al-Saduq, individual works are attributed to him on every subject of the furu'; examples are such works as Kitab al-nikah "Book of Marriage" or Kitab al-hajj "Book of the Pilgrimage". That this was the intention of both the author and the learned member of Ahl al-bait is emphasised by the author when he says that Sharif al-Din had asked him for this work despite the fact that he had copied or heard from him the traditions of 145 books.[12]
Another element in the work that stresses that it was conceived as a reference book to help ordinary Shi'ites in the practise of the legal requirements of Islam is the general absence of the isnads for traditions. The isnads - or the chain of authorities by which the tradition had been received from the Prophet or one of the Imams - was, and is, an all-important feature of the science of traditions. Therefore this book was not meant to be a work for scholars, who would want to check the authorities. Scholars could check the isnads in the numerous individual studies compiled by al-Shaikh al-Saduq. This book was a summary of the study of legal traditions by one of the great scholars of traditions. Al-Shaikh al-Saduq says that he complied with the request for him to compile the book "... because I found it appropriate to do so. I compiled the book without isnads (asanid) so that the chains (of authority) should not be too many (-and make the book too long-) and so that the book's advantages might be abundant. I did not have the usual intention of compilers (of books of traditions) to put forward everything which they (could) narrate but my intention was to put forward those things by which I gave legal opinions and which I judged to be correct.[13]
Al-Shaikh al-Saduq also gives an account of some of the earlier works which he referred to. These works were the books of Hariz b. 'Abd Allah al-Sijistani - he died during the life time of Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq; the book of 'Ubaid Allah b. 'Ali al-Halabi - who was also a contemporary of Imam Ja'far; the books of Ali b. Mahziyar - who took traditions from Imam 'Ali al-Rida, Imam Muhammad al-Jawad and Imam al-Hadi; the books of al-Husain b. Sa'id - who also heard traditions from those three Imams; the Nawadir of Ahmad b. Muhammad b. 'Isa - who died in 297 A.H. and also heard traditions from those three Imams; the Kitab nawadir al-hikma of Muhammad b. Yahya b. 'Imran al-Ash'ari; Kitab al-rahma of Sa'd b. 'Abd Allah - who died in 299 A.H. or 301 A.H.; the Jami' of Muhammad b. al-Hasan - who was one of the teachers of the Shaikh and died in 343 A.H.; the Nawadir of Muhammad b. Abi 'Umayr - who died in 218 A.H.; the Kitab al-Mahasin of Ahmad b. Abi 'Abd Allah al-Barqi (i.e. Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Khalid al-Barqi) who died in 274 A.H. or 280 A.H. (this book has been published in Teheran); and the Risala which his father had written to him. The Shaikh goes on to mention that he also consulted many other works whose names occur in the book-lists.[14]
This inclusion of the list of some of the works consulted is useful evidence that the works of both al-Shaikh al-Saduq and his predecessor, al-Kulaini, who compiled the first of the four major books of Shi'ite traditions, al-Kafi, represent the culmination of works of traditions which had been compiled in a continuous process from the earliest times and at least from the time of Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq. In addition to these references which the author gives in his introduction he frequently refers to his own works during the course of the book. Thus at the end of his Bab nawadir al-hajj (Chapter of Exceptional Traditions of the Pillgrimage), he says: "I have published these nawadir with isnads with others in Kitab jami', nawadir al-hajj."[15]
Another feature of the work is the method used by the author. He does not leave the traditions to speak for themselves but frequently draws rules from the traditions or explains their meaning. In a summary of the various traditions on the pilgrimage, he gives a long outline of all the rituals which should be performed by the faithful with very few traditions intervening in his outline.[16]
The book covers most of the points concerned with the furu' (practices) of fiqh jurisprudence. It is not arranged in chapters (kutub) but in smaller sections (abwab), with the various categories such as fasting and pilgrimage following closely after each other . As indicated, its lack of isnads and al-Shaikh al-Saduq's own explanations make it an extremely useful compendium of law for ordinary Shi'ite Muslims of the period. The book, naturally as one of the four major works of traditions, has had many commentaries written on it. Among the great Shi'ite writers who have written such commentaries are al-Sayyid Ahmad b. Zain al-'Abidin al-'Alawi al-'Amili (died 1060 A.H.) and Muhammad Taqi al-Majlisi al-Awwal (died 1070 A H ). The book itself has been recently published in four volumes in Teheran.
1.Cf. "Introduction" by al-Sayyid Hasan al-Musawi al-Khurasan in his edition of Man la yahduruh al-faqih (4 volumes Teheran, 1390), I, pages h-w A. A. 2.Fyzee, A Shi'ite Creed (Calcutta, 1942), p.8 footnote
2 Cf.
3.al-Sayyid Hasan al-Musawi al-Khurasan, "Introduction", op cit, I, pages z-t
4.W. Madelung, "Imamism and Mu'tazilite Theology",
5.Le Shi'isme Imamite, (Paris 1970), 21 5.Al-Shaikh al-Tusi, al-Fihrist (Mashhad 1351 A.H.S.), 303
6.Cited by A. A. Fyzee, op cit., 11, 16
7.Cited by W. Madelung, op cit., 20
8.Al-Sayyid Hasan al-Musawi al-Khurasan, op cit., page Ar
9.Al-Shaikh al-Tusi, loc cit Cited by A. A. Fyzee,
10.op cit., 6
11.Man la yahduruh al-faqih, I, 2-3
12.Ibid, I. 3
14.Ibid, I, 3-5
15.Ibid, II, 311
16.Ibid, II, 311

Tahdhib al-Ahkam' and 'Al-Istibsar' by Al-Tusi
Dr. I. K. A. Howard
Al-Serat, Vol. 2 (1976), No. 2

The Author Shaikh al-ta'ifa (the teacher of the community) Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. 'Ali b. al-Hasan al-Tusi was born in Tus in Iran in the year 385 of the Islamic era. His career marks the climax of a very great period in Shi'ite Islamic scholarship and learning. It was during this period that Shi'ite scholars were without rivals in the Islamic world. Al-Shaikh al-Tusi's teachers included al-Shaikh al-Mufid, and the two brothers, members of Ahl al-bait and both outstanding scholars, al-Sharif al-Murtada and al-Sharif al-Radi. This period of great public Shi'ite Islamic scholarship had begun with al-Kulaini (died 328/9 A.H.), whose collection of traditions, al-Kafi, is the first of the four major works of Shi'ite Islamic traditions.[1]
It was then continued with al-Shaikh al-Saduq lbn Babawaih (died 381 A.H.); his great collection of traditions, Man la yahduruh al-faqih, is the second of the major works of traditions.[2]
The remaining two major collections of traditions were compiled by al-Shaikh al-Tusi and they are Tahdhib al-ahkam fi sharh al-munqi' a[3]
and al-Istibsar fima 'khtalaf min al-akhbar.[4]
Al-Shaikh al-Tusi grew up in Tus and began his studies there. In 408 A.H. he left Tus to study in Baghdad. There he first studied under al-Shaikh al-Mufid, who died in 413 A.H. Leadership of the Shi'ite scholars then fell to al-Sharif al-Murtada. The latter remained in this position until his death in 436 A.H. During this time al-Shaikh al-Tusi was closely associated with al-Sharif al-Murtada. His vast scholarship and learning made him a natural successor of al-Sharif al-Murtada as the leading spokesman of Shi'ite Islam. So impressive was his learning that the Abbasid caliph, al-Qadir bi-'llah, attended his lectures and sought to honour him. In the closing years of al-Shaikh al-Tusi's life the political situation in Baghdad and the domains of the Abbasid caliphate was in turmoil. The Saljuqids fiercely anti-Shi'ite, were gaining commanding power in the centre of the Islamic Empire at the expense of the Buyids who had always seemed tolerant to Shi'ite views. In 447 Tughril-bek the leaders of the Saljuqids entered Baghdad. At this time many of the 'ulama' in Baghdad, both Sunni and Shi'ite were killed. The house of al-Shaikh al-Tusi was burnt down, as were his books and the works he had written in Baghdad, together with important libraries of Shi'ite hooks. Fanaticism against the Shi'a was great. Al-Shaikh al-Tusi, seeing the danger of remaining in Baghdad, left and went to al-Najaf. Al-Najaf, the city where 'Ali b. Abi Talib had been martyred, was already a very important city in the hearts of Shi'ite Muslims. However, it was al-Shaikh al-Tusi's arrival which was to give that city the impetus to become the leading centre of Shi'ite scholarship. This is a role, which it has maintained down to the present day. Al-Shaikh al-Tusi died in al-Najaf in 460 A.H. His body was buried in a house there, which was made into a mosque as he had enjoined in his will. Even today his grave is a place of visitation in al-Najaf. Al-Tusi was succeeded by his son al-Hasan, who was known as al-Mufid al-Thani, and was himself an outstanding scholar.[5]
The learning of al-Shaikh al-Tusi extended over the whole of Islamic studies. He was a learned traditionist, whose two compilations will be discussed below; but he was not only a traditionist, he was also an authoritative jurist, who could interpret traditions to meet the needs of jurisprudence, and many of his works on jurisprudence and the principles of jurisprudence still survive, in particular al-Mabsut and al-Nihaya. In addition, he was the leading Shi'ite theologian of his time. As well as writing works of a general theological nature, he also wrote specific works on individual topics. On the Imamate, he wrote Talkhis al-Shafi, which was based on al-Sharif al-Murtada's al-Shafi fi 'l-imama. He wrote a work on al-Ghaiba, the occultation of the 12th Imam. As a traditionist, he naturally had an interest in the men who related traditions, in his Kitab al-rijal, he tries to list most of the important Shi'ites. His Fihrist is an important work of Shi'ite bibliography. In it he lists many of the works of early Shi'ite writers and sometimes gives an account of their writers and the contents of the works. This work may to some extent reflect al-Tusi's own library before it was so tragically destroyed. Tahdhib al-ahkam fi sharh al-muqni 'a The title of this work could be translated as "The Refinement of the Laws (as Discussed) in Terms of the Explanation of the Sufficiency". "The Sufficiency" or al-Muqni'a was a work on traditions by al-Shaikh al-Mufid, the teacher of al-Tusi, who has been mentioned earlier. Thus the original intention of al-Tusi had been to write a commentary on al-Muqni'a of al-Mufid. However, he makes it clear in his introduction that his work would only concern the furu' of Islamic law, i.e. the practical regulations for carrying out the sharia, the holy law of Islam. He said: "I went first to the chapter which was connected with ritual purity (tahara), leaving aside the (chapters) which preceded it, which were about the Unity of God (tawhid), Justice ('adl), Prophethood (nubuwwa) and the Imamate (imama), because the explanation of these would be too lengthy, and also because it was not the intention of this book to elucidate the principles of religion (al-usul).[6]
In his introduction, al-Tusi makes it clear that the principal motive for writing this work and limiting it to the furu', was the great differences which were arising in Shi'ite traditions. He mentions that these differences were being used against the Shi'a by their opponents as an argument against the truth of Shi'ite beliefs. The situation had become so critical that al-Tusi reports al-Mufid's account of one Shi'ite adherent who had left the community because of the contradictory traditions. Al-Tusi set himself the task of analysing the traditions concerned with furu', explaining which traditions were deficient and reconciling apparent contradictions in sound traditions. He used al-Mufid's al-Maqni'a as the basis for this task.[7]
However, he did not only deal with the traditions used in al-Muqni'a; he analysed many more traditions which he included at the end of various sections, appendices of traditions not mentioned by al-Mufid, which he also discusses. The method used is to quote the traditions and then al-Mufid's comments on them. This is often followed by al-Tusi's explanation of al-Mufid's comments. Sometimes, it is not always clear whether the explanation belongs to al-Mufid or al-Tusi. However, he quite often makes it clear that it is al-Mufid when he says: "Al Shaikh said..." But sometimes a discussion is introduced by the ambiguous terms: "He said..." This could refer to either al-Mufid or al-Tusi. In the appendices al-Tusi makes it quite clear that he is making the comments, for he says: "Muhammad b. al-Hasan said..." The discussions on the traditions are sometimes of considerable length. An example is the discussion of the method of performing ritual ablutions, there quotations are made from Arabic verse to support the Shi'ite version of rubbing the feet instead of washing them.[8]
The work is divided into chapters (kutub) and the chapters into sections (abwab) with appendices following when appropriate. The work is a very comprehensive study of Shi'ite traditions and consists of the following chapters: al-Tahara Ritual Purity al-Salat Formal Prayer al-Zakat Alms Tax al-Siyam Fasting al-Hajj Pilgrimage al-Jihad Sacred War al-Qadaya wa-'l-ahkam Judgements and Legal Requirements al-Makasib Acquisitions al-Tijarat Trading al-Nikah Marriage al-Talaq Divorce al-'itq wa-'l-tadbir wa-'l-mukatba Manumission of Slaves(according to the various methods) al-Ayman wa-'l nudhur wa-'1-kaffarat Oaths, Vows Atonements al-Said wa-'l-dhaba'ih Hunting and Ritual Slaughter al-Wuquf wa-'l-sadaqat Endowments and Alms al- Wasaya Bequests al-Fara'id wa-'l-mawarith Formal Rules of Inheritance al-Hudud Punishment prescribed by Revelation al-Diyat Indemnities for Bodily Injury It is said that al-Tusi began this work during the life of al-Mufid and had reached the end of the chapter on "Ritual Purity" by the time of his death (413 A.H.). However the work was not finally finished until al-Tusi moved to al-Najaf (448 A.H.).[9]
One of the remarkable features of this work is that despite the great number of traditions, which had become known to al-Tusi since the time of al-Kulaini and lbn Babawaih, al-Tusi's interpretation of what are the correct traditions, preserves Shi'ite law in a very similar position to that of al-Kulaini and lbn Babawaih The reason for the great spread of diverse traditions during the period from al-Kulaini's death to al-Tusi's (328/9 A.H.) death (460 A.H.) may have been the fact that this was a period in which the Buyids held sway in Baghdad; they were very sympathetic towards the Shi'a. Thus, this was a period in which the Shi'a were not persecuted and could admit their beliefs without too much fear. In such circumstances, there was much more opportunity for outsiders to bring extraneous traditions into the Shi'ite corpus. However al-Tusi had available to him many of the early works of Usul which had been available to the earlier Shi'ite compilers of collections of traditions. Al-Tusi says about this work: "When our companions looked at the akhbar (traditions) connected with what is permitted and forbidden (al-halal wa-'l-haram) which we had collected in it, they saw that they included most of what the sections of laws connected with jurisprudence. In all its sections and its chapters, only very little of the traditions of our companions, their books, usul and compilations has escaped.[10]
Al-Istibsar fima 'khtalaf al-akhbar Al- Istibsar is the fourth and last of the major works of Shi'ite Islamic traditions. It covers the same field as Tahdhib al-ahkam but is considerably smaller. Al-Tusi mentions that his colleagues, after seeing the size of Tahdhib al-ahkam considered: "...... It would be useful that there should be a reference (madhkur) book which a beginner could use in his study of jurisprudence, or one who has finished, to remind himself, or the intermediate (student) to study more deeply. Thus (so that) all of them could obtain what they need and reach their soul's desire, what is connected with different traditions would be set in an abridged way . . . Therefore they asked me to summarise it (Tahdhib al-ahkam) and devote care to its compilation and abridgement, and to begin each section with an introduction about what I relied on for the legal decisions and traditions in it; then I should follow with those traditions which disagree and explain the reconciliation between the two without leaving out anything which was influential. I would follow my practice in my big book mentioned earlier (i.e. Tahdhib al-ahkam) and at the beginning of the book, I would explain briefly how traditions are weighed against each other, and how the practice of something was possible through (the authority) of (some of) them to the exclusion of the rest ..."[11]
Al-Tusi, then, follows this statement with a brief but comprehensive and clear outline of the principles of jurisprudence.[12]
As can be seen from al-Tusi's own introduction, al-Istibsar is essentially a summary of Tahdhib al-ahkam. Its methods are similar but briefer; there are not so many traditions used in the work and the explanations are more concise. In many ways it is closer to Man la yahduruh al-faqih, although unlike the latter it gives full isnads for the traditions quoted. However it is possible to say that al-Kafi and Tahdhib al-ahkam represent comprehensive collections of traditions, while Man la yahduruh al-faqih and al-Istibsar are books intended to be used as ready reference works for students and scholars. The collections and commentaries of Shi'ite traditions did not end with al-Tusi but his works mark the high point in this process. It had begun with al-Kulaini, whose al-Kafi, while not the first collection, was certainly the first major collection based on the early works of usul. The process had been continued by lbn Babawaih; in his introduction to Man la yahduruh al-faqih he makes it clear that he had also used these usul. Al-Tusi, the author of the other two major works of Shi'ite traditions also admits his dependence on these early works. As has already been pointed out, these three authors and their four major works of tradition present a generally consistent picture of Shi'ite Islamic legal thinking. It is a remarkable picture of tradition and shows that, whatever the vagaries of individuals may have been, leading Shi'ite scholars had a clear and consistent view of their traditions.
1. On al-Kulaini and al-Kafi, cf. Al-Serat, Vol. II, No.1 (March, 1976), 28-32
2. On Ibn Babawaih and Man la yahduruh al-faqih, cf. Al-Serat, Vol.II, No.2 (June, 1976), 19-22
3. New edition in ten volumes edited by al-Sayyid Hasan al-Musawi al-Khurasan, published in Teheran (3rd edition) 1390 A.H.
4. New edition in four volumes edited by al-Sayyid Hasan al-Musawi al-Khurasan, published in Teheran (3rd edition) 1390 A.H.
5. The details of the life of al-Shaikh al-Tusi have been taken from al-Sayyid Bahr al-Ulum's introduction to al-Tusi's Talkhis al-Shafi (3rd edition) (Qumm 1974) 1-45
6. Tahdhib al-ahkam, op.cit., I, 3
7. Idem 2-3
8. Idem, 66-74
9. al-Musawi, "Introduction" Tahdhib al-ahkam, I, 46 citing al-Sayyid Bahr al-Ulum.
10. al-Istibsar, op.cit. I, 2
11.Idem 2-3
12. Idem 3-5

Kitab al-Irshad' by Al-Mufid
Dr. I. K. A. Howard
Al-Serat, Vol. 3 (1977), No. 3

Al-Shaikh al-Mufid's full name was Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Nu'man al-Harithi al-Baghadi al-'Ukbari; his kunya was Abu 'Abd Allah. As well as being called al-Shaikh al-Mufid, he was known in both Shi'i and non-Shi'i circles as Ibn al-Mu'allim. He was born in the year 338 A.H./949 and was brought up in a village. His father brought him to Baghdad for his education. There he studied under Shi'i and Mu'tazili scholars. He showed such promise that one of his teachers recommended that he study under one of the leading scholars of the period, 'Ali b. 'Isa al-Ramani. He also studied under the leading Shi'i traditionists of the time, al-Shaikh al-Saduq. [1]
Al-Mufid lived during the period when the Buyids held political sway over Baghdad. They permitted much more tolerance towards the Shi'ites whether of Imami or Zaidi persuasion; they themselves were probably of Zaidi persuasion. As a result of this tolerant attitude, the Shi'ites were allowed to celebrate in public the Days of Ghadir Khumm (when the Prophet is said to have nominated 'Ali as his successor before the people) on 18th Dhu'l-Hijja, and 'Ashura, 10th Muharram (when al-Husain was killed at Karbala'). As a counter demonstration, some of the non-Shi'ites celebrated the Day of the Cave, (when the Prophet with Abu Bakr took refuge in a cave to escape the Quraysh who were pursuing them) on 26th Dhu'l-Hijja and also the day when Mus'ab ibn al-Zubair defeated al-Mukhtar b. Abi 'Ubaid on the 18th Muharram. [2]
It is said that al-Mufid earned his title of al-Mufid as a result of a dispute about the relative merits of the two events - Ghadir Khumm and the Cave. The story goes that when al-Mufid - Abu 'Abd Allah as he was - went to visit the scholar 'Ali b. 'Isa al-Ramani, mentioned above, there was a great crowd of people with the scholar. When the crowd grew thinner, the young Abu 'Abd Allah approached the scholar. However, then the arrival of a man from Basra was announced. The two, that is 'Ali b. 'Isa and his visitor from Basra, spoke for some time. Then the visitor asked 'Ali b. 'Isa what he had to say about the events of Ghadir Khumm and the Cave. 'Ali b. 'Isa replied: "The tradition of the Cave is definite knowledge (diraya) while the tradition of Ghadir is (of the status) of a narration (riwaya). A narration (riwaya) does not require the same (acceptance) as definite knowledge (diraya)." The Basran could not find an answer to this and departed. However, al-Mufid took up the discussion: "O Shaykh, I have a problem," he said to 'Ali b. 'Isa. "Put it forward, then," replied the latter. "What would you say about someone who fought against a just Imam?" asked al-Mufid. "He is an unbeliever (kafir)," was the answer. Then after a pause he changed it to "grave sinner (fasiq)." "What do you say about the Commander of the Faithful, 'Ali b. Abi Talib?" . He was an Imam." "What do you say about the Battle of the Camel, and some of the companions who fought against Ali b. Abi Talib." Therefore according to the above argument they should be described as fasiq, that is grave sinners who would go to hell. (However there is a tradition that these companions were among ten people whom the Prophet said would go to heaven. Thus 'Ali b. 'Isa has to explain how they could be fasiq and go to heaven. He does this in his next answer.) "They repented." "The tradition of the Battle of the Camel is definite knowledge (diraya) while the tradition of the repentance is a narration (riwaya)," replied al-Mufid. Thus al-Mufid had turned the tables on him. The event of the cave was something all Muslims accepted as fact but there was no point in giving the well-reported tradition of Ghadir Khumm inferior status since if this was done the same terminology could be used to question the repentance of the said companions, which was also accepted by most Muslims. 'Ali b. 'Isa was very impressed by the young man's reasoning. He asked him about his teacher and then gave him a note to take to that man. In the note he recommended his intellect and gave him the nickname of al-Mufid, "the one who gives benefit". [3]
Al-Mufid soon became one of the foremost scholars of his time. He was an outstanding theologian and jurist, and a brilliant polemical writer on behalf of the Shi'ites. He became head of the Shi'i scholars in Baghdad and took part in many debates and discussions with his opponents. As we have seen there was some rivalry between various groups during this period. This rivalry became much more tense during the time of the four rival days of remembrance which all came within four weeks of each other. Riots sometimes broke out and the authorities had to take firm action to restore the situation. After such a riot in 398 A.H./1007, al-Mufid was nearly exiled from Baghdad. However, in 410 A.H./1019, he was banished for a short time.[4]
During his life, al-Mufid was not only a brilliant debater and disputer he was a fine teacher and an outstanding and prolific writer As a teacher he will be remembered for the greatness of his three most outstanding pupils. They were the two 'Alids, al-Sharif al Radi and al Sharif al Murtada. Al Sharif al-Radi is perhaps best remembered as the compiler of many of Ali b. Abi Talib's speeches, sermons and letters Nahj al-balagha. His brother al Sharif al-Murtada was a brilliant theologian and an outstanding literateur. The other pupil was to become Shaikh al-Ta'ifa; he was Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Tusi. The writings of al-Shaikh al-Mufid were numerous. Al-Tusi tells us in the Fihrist that they numbered nearly two hundred. A number of these still survive; some have been published and some are still in manuscript form. Among them is al-Muqni'a, a work on tradition, which al-Tusi used as the basis for his great work Tahdhib al-ahkam fi sharh a/-munqi'a.[5]
In theology, we are left with an important treatise Awa'il al-maqalat, where al-Mufid discusses Shi'i theology in relation to other schools; this work has been recently studied by a leading French scholar.[6]
A working on the battle of the Camel, known as Kitab al-Jamal also survives. There is also Kitab al-Irshad which will be discussed later. Al-Shaikh al-Mufid died in the month of Ramadan in the year 413 A.H./1022. One report says that over 80,000 people attended his funeral.[7]
Al-Tusi himself reports that such a great crowd of mourners, both of opponents as well as friends, had not been seen before.[8]
Al-Sharif al-Murtada led the funeral prayers and gave an eulogy. After being buried in his own house, his body was later removed and buried near to the great shrine of two of the Imams in Baghdad, known as al-Kazimayn. [9]
Kitab al-Irshad [10]
This book sets out to name the twelve Shi'i Imams. It briefly describes the circumstances of the Imamate of each Imam, the miracles that each performed by which he gave evidence of his Imamate, the virtues of each Imam, and the circumstances of the death of all the Imams and the disappearance of the last Imam. It also gives an outline of the nass, or the nomination of each Imam. The Imamate of 'Ali b. Abi Talib after the Prophet is the cornerstone of the Shi'i view of succession and the Imamate in general. Therefore it is natural that the book should devote considerable space to 'Ali. Nearly half of the book is concerned with him. In particular al-Mufid pays great attention to 'Ali's career during the life of the Prophet. 'Ali is revealed as the person of outstanding merit during that period, the one who most deserved and was most entitled to succeed the Prophet. The reports of the traditions by which the Prophet is said to have made 'Ali's succession clear are fully reported, especially the tradition of Ghadir Khumm. In addition several of his speeches are given. Al-Mufid gives an account of some of 'Ali's legal decisions during the time of the three Caliphs, and he explains that 'Ali, although entitled to the office of the Caliphate, held back from attempting to seize the office or expressing public discontent. Little space is given to 'Ali's reign as Caliph, perhaps because these events had been discussed elsewhere by the author in Kitab al-Jamal for instance. The circumstances of 'Ali's murder by lbn Muljam are given in full and the author quotes from historical authorities, such as Abu Mikhnaf and Isma'il b. Rashid. The Imamate of al-Hasan is described more briefly by the author. The martyrdom of al-Husain at Karbala' is given at some length. In this account al-Mufid tells us that he has relied on Abu Mikhnaf and Ibn al-Kalbi, who were also the main authorities of the historian al-Tabari for this event. The other Imams are dealt with more briefly and in succession. The final Imam - the Qa'im, the Mahdi - is dealt with in more detail. The author gives the evidence of those who saw him. This is particularly important as doubt was expressed of his existence. He also refers to miracles performed by him; he tells of the prophecies about him and gives an account of what will happen when he returns. Al-Irshad represents an important statement of Shi'i belief. It is written more as a defence of the Imami Shi'i view of the Imamate and it takes care to provide believers with the evidence of the Imamate. In establishing the Imamate of 'Ali, the doctrine of nass is shown by the author to be legitimate. Its legitimate use is carried on by 'Ali and his successors. In the author's view, the proof to the world of the Imamate of each of the Imams is expressed in the miracles performed by each Imam. Important moments in the lives of the Imams, such as the martyrdom of al-Husain and the ghaiba, the disappearance of the last Imam, are dealt with in some detail. Al-Irshad was not the first work to be written on the subject. Al-Tabari, who died in the second half of the fourth century wrote two volumes on the Imamate; the first, al-Mustarshid, deals with 'Ali b. Abi Talib and the second Dala'il al-imama is an account of Fatima, and the other eleven Imams. However these two works are not as well-organised as al-Mufid's, nor do they make as much use of non-Shi'i sources as al-Mufid does. Al-Irshad, then, represents a valuable contribution to the history of the Imamate, It has been written by one of the outstanding Imami Shi'i writers of his time and must be considered as one of the definitive Shi'i works on the history of the Imamate.
1. On al-Shaikh al-Saduq cf. A-Serat Vol.II No.2, June, 1976, 19-22;
2. H. Laoust, "Les Agitations Religieuses a Baghdad" in Islamic Civilisation 950-1150 (ed. D. H. Richards) (Oxford 1973), 170.
3. Ibn Idris al-Hilli, Kitab aI-Sara'ir cited by al-Zanjani in his introduction to
4. al-Mufid's Awa'il al-maqalat, (Tabriz, A.H. 1371).
5.Al-Tusi, a1-Fihrist (ed. Sprenger), new edition including indexes by
6.Mahmoud Ramyar (Mashhad, A.H. 1351), 314.
7.Cf. Al-Serat, Vol. II No.3, September 1976, 23-25.
8.D. Sourdel, "L'Imamisme vu par le Cheikh al-Mufid", Revue des Etudes
9.Islamique, XL, (Paris, 1972), 217-296.
10.D. Sourdel "Le Shaykh al-Mufid", Islamic Civilisation 950-1150,

Collection of the Hadith by the Sh'ia
It was during the Khilaafah of Abu Bakr and early Khilaafah of Omar that Imam Ali (a.s.) set to the task of registering the Hadiths. Imam Ali was incomparably strict about Islam, and could foresee the need to register the Hadith to be the source for future generations. Ali was fanatic about the accuracy of his writing, and in an agonizingly methodical manner he accomplished the following: During Abu Bakr's Khilaafah: Ali rendered in writing the following: Holy Quran: Chronological order of the Quran's revelations. Tafseer of the Holy Quran, 3 volumes: called Mus'haf Fatima.
During Omar's Khilaafah: Ali rendered the following: Hadith of the Prophet (pbuh): Voluminous writing, called Saheefa of Ali. Fiqh: Al-Ah'kaam and Mu'aamalat, the Halal and Haram. During Uthman's Khilaafah: Ali rendered the following: History of the various Prophets as he learned from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), called: The White Al-Jafr. Islamic rules and directives of Wars, called The Red Al-Jafr. The books Ali rendered were called Al-Jaami'a (the Encyclopedia) and they were left with the Imams of Ahlul Bayt, each new Imam receiving them from the dying predecessor Imam. The Imams referred to these Hadiths and books over a period of about three centuries. Notable among them is Imam Ja'far Al-Saadiq, who was the teacher of Imam Abu Hanifah and Al-Maliki, and as many as 4000 scholars who graduated from his school. As many as 400 religious books were written by his students, referred to as the 400 Usool. Because of the source and chain of narration of the Hadith, the Shi'a (Ja'fari) rely only on the Hadiths as narrated by Ahlul Bayt or those Hadiths in the Al-Sihaah Al-Sittah (Bukhari, Muslim and others) that are similar to what Ahlul Bayt had quoted.

The Corpus of Islamic Knowledge
The Holy Quran in chronological order. The Tafseer of the Holy Quran consisting of three large volumes, called Mus'haf Fatima. The books of Hadith as Imam Ali had recorded them, called Saheefa of Ali. The books about Al-Ah'kaam, detailing the rule and regulations of the Shari'ah. The books of Jafr: The White Jafr about knowledge of the Prophets, life happenings, and other special (mystic) matters. The Red Jafr comprise of rules and matters about and involving wars.

Imam Ali(A.S.) About Ahlul Bayt(A.S.)
Describing the high standing of Ahlul Bayt Ali said in one of his sermons:
Allah Almighty has placed His trust in Aali Muhammad (Ahlul Bayt). They are the citadel where His Commandments receive protection, and from which the Directives are defined and interpreted. Aali Muhammad are:
The fountainheads of knowledge created by Allah,
The shelters for Allah's teachings,
The haven for the Heavenly Books, and
The mighty bastion to defend Allah's religion.
Islam in its beginning was weak and helpless, but Aali Muhammad (pbuh) came to its service, support, and defense. Islam was jittery of the infidels around it, but Aali Muhammad (pbuh) made it strong and powerful.
About 30 years later, Ali's grandson, Al-Sajjad invoked a Du'aa on behalf of Ahlul Bayt:
"Oh Lord! Bless Thy Ahlul Bayt, whom Thou chose to execute Thine works, and have made them the reservoir for Thy knowledge, the guardians for Thy religion, deputies of Thine on earth, and the path toward Thy Paradise."

Ja'fari(Sh'ia) Source of Hadith
The original books of Hadith as written by Imam Ali are not available, but the sources of Hadith of Ahlul Bayt were best registered by:
Al-Kulaini (d.329 A.H.=940 A.D.) in the book of Al-Kaafi which registers 16,199 Hadiths.
Life: Great scholar, taught in Baghdad, wrote many books.
Hadith Works: Al-Kaafi took 20 years to write, 34 sections with 326 chapters. Registered 16,199 Hadith or sayings through Ahlul Bayt, 2577 Sahih, 1118 Moothaq, 302 Qawiy, 144 Hasan, and 9380 Weak.
Al-Saduq in the book of Man La Yah'dharhu al-Faqeeh.
Life: Scholar of exceptional caliber, from Qum. Wrote numerous books and resided in Baghdad, teaching for a while.
Hadith Works: Mun Laa Yah'dharhu Al-Faqeeh, 5,973 Hadiths in 446 sections.
Toosi in the book of Al-Tah'dheeb, and the book of Istibsaar.
Life: Leader and scholar of great repute; taught in Baghdad both Shi'a and Sunni. During disturbance between Shi'a and Sunni which the government enticed, Al-Toosi's library was burned, his house attacked, and he left Baghdad to Najaf establishing the Howza Ilmiyyah.
Hadith Works:
Tah'dheeb Al-Ah'kaam, 12,590 Hadiths, in 390 sections.
Al-Istibsaar 5,521 Hadiths.

Highlights of Collection of Hadith by the Sh'ia
Imam Ali Saheefa of Ali Referenced by Shi'i and Sunni scholars Zainul Abideen Risalat Al-Huqooq Al-Saheefa Al-Sajjaadia Written by the Imam or Dictated to his Companions Servant of the Prophet, close to Ali, d 30H Abi Rafi' Sunan and Ah'kaam Companion of the Prophet, d 78H Jabir Al-Ansaari Mansak Hadith in the 2nd Century Imam Al-Baaqir Tafseer Al-Quran Having references to Hadith Zaid Ibn Ali Mus'nad Hadith and Fiqh Imam Al-Saadiq Al-Tawhid Most of the writing by his Companions Al-Saadiq's Companions The 400 Usool (400 books). Elaboration and expansion on Hadith All referencing to Imam Ja'far Al-Saadiq. Completed by the time of Al-Hasan Al-Askari. Hadith in the 3rd Century Depending on the 400 Usool (the 400 Books) three massive works of collecting the Hadith through Ahlul Bayt, categorized and indexed, were done. It became a reference for about two centuries. They are:
The Collection (AL-Jami') by Al-Warraq Al-Hadhrami
The Collection (AL-Jami') by Muhammad ibn Ahmad Al-Asha'ri
The Collection (AL-Jami') by Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan ibin Al-Waleed
Hadith in the 4th Century Till Now Al-Kulaini Al-Kaafi 16,199 Hadiths, most of which are Sahih, Hasan, Moothaq, or Qawiy. Al-Qummi Al-Siddooq Mun Laa Yah'dharhu Al-Faqeeh 5,973 Hadiths, with 3913 References. Muhammad Al-Toosi Tah'dheeb Al-Ah'kaam 12,590 Hadiths, in 93 chapters. Muhammad Al-Toosi Al-Istibsaar 5,521 Hadiths.

The Golden Chain of Narration
Because of being the trusted Prophet's family and the most learned, the narrations of Ahlul Bayt were often referred to as the Golden Chain of Narration. Ahlul Bayt's care in transmitting, and their meticulousness, and righteousness made people flock to them for quotes of Hadith, taking them as examples, and writing numerous books about Hadith, Fiqh, Ah'kaam, Halal and Haram among other subjects. The Shi'a believe that the Imams were Divinely Commissioned, therefore they were Ma'soom, meaning safeguarded by Allah from:
Religious error,
Sin, and
Therefore, to the Shi'a the narration of the Imams was binding, their teaching binding, and the Hadith they narrated was the only one acceptable to them. If the Hadith in the Sihaah Al-Sittah (Sunni) is confirmed by the Hadith from one of the Imams, then that Hadith is acceptable, otherwise it would be questionable. Each Imam used to say: "My Hadith is the Hadith of my father, and his is the Hadith of his father, up to Ali, who directly narrated the Hadith from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)."

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