Among Sunni authors one who has written a book
on the topic of the chains of transmission (turuq) of this
tradition is alHafiz Abu alFadl Muhammad ibn Tahir
alMaqdisi (448 507/1056 1113), known as Ibn
al Qaysarani as mentioned by the biographers (Isma`il Pasha in
Hadiyyatal`arifin (ii, 82), al'Ansab almuttafiqah
and alJam` bayn rijal alSahihayn [Hyderabad]).
However, the most exhaustive study of the subject
is the one undertaken by al'Imam Sayyid Hamid Husayn Lakhnowi
quddisa sirruh in the twelfth part of his
great work `Abaqat al'anwar fi imamat al 'A'immat
al'athar. Sayyid Hamid Husayn (1246 1306/ 1830
1888) wrote this work in Persian as a refutation of the
seventh chapter of Tuhfehye ithna `ashariyyah of
Shah `Abd al`Aziz alDehlawi (1159 1239/1746
1823). In twelve chapters of this work, which is said to
be a plagiary in Persian of alSawa`iq almubiqah
by an obscure writer Nasr Allah alKabuli, Shah `Abd
al`Aziz severely attacked Shi`i doctrines, beliefs and practices.
Shah `Abd al`Aziz's book was an effort to check the expanding
influence of Shi'ism, which had begun to flourish under the patronage
of the Shi`i kingdom of Awadh and under the religious leadeship
of the great Shi`i scholar and mujtahid Sayyid Dildar `Ali
ibn Muhammad Mu`in alNaqawi alNasirabadi (116
1235/1752 1819), known as Ghufran Ma'ab.
Shah `Abd al`Aziz's attack and accusations
drew a massive response from Shi`i scholars. `Allamah `Abd al`Aziz
Tabataba'i mentions the following authors who wrote refutations
of Tuhfehye ithna `ashariyyah: 
1. Sayyid Dildar `Ali alNaqawi alNasirabadi,
who wrote five books refuting various chapters
of the Tuhfah: alSawarim al'ilahiyyat fi qat` shubuhat
`abid al'Uzza wa alLat (1215/1800), a refutation
of the fifth chapter of the Tuhfah regarding theological
issues; Khatimat alSawarim, a refutation of the seventh
chapter concerning the Shi`i doctrine of Imamate; Husam al'Islam
wa siham almalam (Calcutta, 1215/1800), a refutation
of the sixth chapter of the Tuhfah concerning prophethood;
Ihya' alSunnah wa imatat albid`ah bi ta`n al'asinnah
(1281/1864), a refutation of the eighth chapter of the Tuhfah;
alZulfiqar, a refutation of the twelfth chapter.
2. Shaykh Jamal alDin Abu Ahmad Mirza Muhammad ibn `Abd alNabi Akbarabadi (d. 1232/1816),
who wrote Sayf Allah almaslul `ala
mukharribi Din alRasul, in six big volumes, as refutation
of all the chapters of the Tuhfah.
3. `Allamah Mirza Muhammad ibn 'Inayat Ahmad Khan Kashmiri Dehlawi (d. 1235/1820),
who wrote Nuzhat al'Ithna `Ashariyyah
fi alradd `ala alTuhfat al'ithna `ashariyyah
in twelve volumes, of which the first, third, fourth, fifth
and seventh volumes were published (1255/ 1839) and others remained
4. Mawlawi Hasan ibn Aman Allah Dehlawi `Azimabadi (d. c. 1260/ 1844),
who wrote Tajhiz aljaysh li kasr sanamay
Quraysh, as a refutation of all the chapters of the Tuhfah.
5. `Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Quli ibn Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Lackhnowi Kanturi (d. 1260/1844),
father of Sayyid Hamid Husayn, who wrote five
books in refutation of different chapters of the Tuhfah: alSayf
alnasiri on the first chapter, Taqlid almaka'id
(Calcutta, 1262/1846) on the second chapter, Burhan alsa`adah
on the seventh chapter, Tashyid almata'in li kashf
aldagha'in in two volumes (1283/1866) on the tenth chapter,
and Masari` alafham li qal` al'awham.
6. Mawlawi Khayr alDin Muhammad Allahabadi,
who wrote Hidayat al`Aziz (or Hadiyyat
al`Aziz) as a refutation of the fourth chapter of the
Tuhfah about usul alhadith and rijal.
7. `Allamah Sayyid Muhammad ibn Sayyid Dildar `Ali (d. 1284/ 1867) known as Sultan al`Ulama',
who wrote two books, one in Persian and the
other in Arabic, in refutation of the seventh chapter of the Tuhfah
concerning Imamate, of which the former was entitled alBawariq
almubiqah. He also wrote Ta`n alrimah in
refutation of the tenth chapter.
8. Sayyid Ja`far Abu `Ali Khan ibn Ghulam `Ali Musawi Banarasi,
who wrote Burhan alsadiqin and
Mahajjat alBurhan (a condensation of the former)
in refutation of the seventh chapter and Taksir alsanamayn
in refutation of the tenth chapter.
9. `Allamah Sayyid Mufti Muhammad `Abbas Musawi Tustari Jaza'iri (d. 1306/1888),
who wrote alJawahir al`abqariyyah
in refutation of the Tuhfah's seventh chapter.
10. AlShaykh Ahmad ibn `Ali Kirmanshahi (d. 1235/1819),
who wrote Kashf alshubhah `an hilyat
almut`ah (MS dated 1227 H. in the National Museum, Karachi),
in refutation of the ninth chapter.
However, the most important work that was written
as a refutation of the seventh chapter of the Tuhfah conceming
the Shi`i doctrine of Imamate was `Abaqat al'anwar, which
was destined to take its place not only as the greatest work on
Imamate ever written but also perhaps as one of the greatest masterpieces
of scholarship ever compiled on a doctrinal issue anywhere in
the history of religion.
In the seventh chapter of the Tuhfah, where
Shah `Abd al`Aziz attacks the Shi`i doctrine of Imamate,
he claims that the Shi`i claim is based on only six verses of
the Qur'an and twelve traditions of the Prophet (S). Accordingly,
Sayyid Hamid Husayn wrote his book in two sections, the first
concerning the Qur'anic basis of Imamate and the second concerning
its basis in the Prophet's hadith. The first section has not been
published. The second section consists of 12 parts, each of which
deals with the sanad (chains of transmission) and the meaning
(dalalah) of one of the twelve traditions of the Prophet
(S) concerning `Ali ibn Abi Talib (A) or the Ahl alBayt
(A) rejected by Shah `Abd al`Aziz as supporting the doctrine
The first part studies the isnad and
dalalah of what is called Hadith alGhadir.
 It is contained in three volumes,
of which the first was published in 1293/1876, in 1251 pages and
the remaining two, of 609 and 399 pages, in 1294/1877.
The second part deals with Hadith alManzilah.
 It appeared in 1295/1878 in
The third part deals with Hadith alWilayah.
 It was published in 1303/1885
in 585 pages.
The fourth part deals with Hadith alTayr.
 It was published in 1306/1888
in two volumes of 512 and 224 pages from Matba`ahye Bustan,
The fifth part deals with Hadith Madinat
al`ilm.  It consists
of two volumes, of which the first, in 745 pages, appeared in
1317/1899 and the second, in 600 pages, in 1327/1909.
The sixth part deals with Hadith alTashbih.
 It was published in 1301/1883
in two volumes of 456 and 248 pages.
The seventh part, which deals with Hadith
alMunasabah  and
was completed by Sayyid Muhammad Sa`id ibn Sayyid Nasir Husayn
ibn Sayyid Hamid Husayn, has not been published yet.
The eighth part, dealing with Hadith alNur,
 was published in 1303/1885
in 786 pages by Matba`ahye Mashriq al'anwar, Lucknow.
The ninth part, dealing with Hadith alRayah,
[l3] has also remained unpublished.
The tenth part dealing with the hadith... (al-haqqu
ma`a `Aliyyin wa `Aliyyun ma`al haqq) 
also remains unpublished.
The eleventh part dealing with Hadith alMuqatalah
 also remains unpublished.
The twelfth part deals with Hadith alThaqalayn
and Hadith alSafinah. 
It was published in two big volumes, the first of which in 664
pages appeared in 1314/1896 and the second in 891 pages in 1351/
Sayyid Hamid Husayn and his work `Abaqat
have been held in great esteem amongst leading Shi`i scholars
and many of them, from Mirza Sayyid Hasan Shirazi, the great marji`
and juristic authority of his days, to contemporary scholars,
have extolled the author and his great work. Sayyid `Ali Milani,
in the first volume of his condensed translation of `Abaqat
into Arabic, quotes the statements of various scholars. Here
we will confine ourselves to the opinion expressed by the great
scholar `Allamah Aqa Buzurg Tehrani, the author of alDhari`ah
ila tasanif alShi`ah, about Sayyid Hamid Husayn and
his work. He says about the author:
(He is) one of the greatest of Imami theologians (mutakallimun) and one of the greatest and deeply learned of Shi`i scholars who lived in the early part of this century. He was profoundly learned, and had extensive knowledge and mastery over the Islamic traditions and heritage and attained such a station in it that none of his contemporaries or anyone of those who came after him, or even most of the celebrities of the preceding centuries, have been able to attain. He spent his entire noble life in fathoming the mysteries of religiosity and in the defence of Islam and the realm of sincere religion. I don't know of anyone in the latter centuries who waged a jihad like him and sacrificed everything in his possession in the way of everlasting truths. The times, in all ages and periods, will never see a compeer of him in his research, his extensive knowledge, his precision, intelligence, and the immensity of his memory and retention.
Aqa Buzurg Tehrani says about the `Abaqat:
"It is the greatest of books compiled on the subject (ie.
Imamate) from the outset of the Islamic era to the present."
And what he says about the author and his book is perfectly representative
of the opinion of leading Shi`i scholars on this matter. 
Author's Approach in `Abaqat:
`Abaqat al'anwar was
written in Persian because Shah `Abd al`Aziz's Tuhfah, which
it refuted, was also in Persian. As mentioned above, Shah `Abd
al`Aziz had cited five verses of the Qur'an and twelve traditions
of the Prophet (S) as constituting the basis of Shi`i argument
conceming the Imamate of the Imams of the Ahl alBayt (A).
This was itself a misrepresentation of the Shi`i case, for there
are hundreds of verses and traditions, many of which are scattered
throughout the Sunni hadith corpus as well as works in tafsir.
Even the verses and traditions that he cites are dismissed summarily
by him on, as Sayyid Hamid Husayn shows, flimsy and untenable
The published parts of `Abaqat deal
with eight of these traditions, each part dealing with the sanad
and doctrinal import of one of them. Sayyid Hamid Husayn's
approach in each of these parts is to show that the hadith is
a mutawatir one, having been narrated by Sunni traditionists
of every generation from the time of the Companions to the scholars
of his own era. He devotes a section to each of the narrators,
quotes the tradition as narrated by him, and cites the opinions
of biographers and Sunni authorities of `ilm alrijal regarding
his reliability, trustworthiness and his scholarly station.
After discussing the sanad aspect of
the tradition, he goes on to deal with its meaning, dealing one
by one with all the various arguments that have been advanced
by Sunni scholars to refute what the Shi`ah assert to be its doctrinal
implications. His treatment is so logical, meticulous, precise,
thorough and exhaustive that one cannot but be struck with wonder
at his prodigious, or rather miraculous, learning and his encompassing
mastery over the entire Islamic heritage of thirteen centuries
before him which lies in front of him like an open book.
This sketchy study of `Abaqat relates
to its part concerning the Hadith alThaqalayn. At
first we will give a list of its narrators belonging to every
century of the Hijrah calendar. A brief reference is given under
the name of each narrator concerning his standing with Sunni authorities
on rijal. We have included the names of other narrators from the
appendix (mulhaqat) to `Abaqat by Sayyid `Abd al`Aziz
Tabataba'i, which has been included in the condensed Arabic translation
by Sayyid `Ali Milani.
Reprints of most parts of `Abaqat al'anwar
have appeared in Iran. The first section of the first part,
dealing with the sanad aspect of Hadith alGhadir
was published in 1369/1949 in 600 pages from Tehran. The twelfth
part, dealing with Hadith alThaqalayn and Hadith
alSafinah, was published in six parts and three volumes
(vol. 1 in 1379, vol. 2 in 137879, and vol. 3 in 1381 and
1382) by Mu'assasehye Nashre Nafa'ise Makhtutat,
Isfahan. Madrasat al'Imam alMahdi, Qumm, has published
offset reprints of the first Indian lithographed print on the
occasion of the author's first death centenary (vol. 3 on Hadith
alWilayah, 1406; vol. 4 on Hadith alTayr, 1405;
vol. 5 on Hadith Madinat al`ilm, 1406; vol. 6 on
Hadith alTashbih, 1406; vol. 8 on Hadith alNur,
1406). `Allamah Shaykh Ghulam Rida Burujerdi has prepared a new
edition of the book giving all the necessary references. His edition
is under print.
Sayyid `Ali Milani has published ten volumes
of Khulasat `Abaqat al'anwar, which is a condensed
translation of the book in Arabic. The first two volumes of his
translation, which begins with Hadith alThaqalayn, were
published in 1398. Bunyade Bi'that, Tehran, has published
a new edition of the Khulasah, of which ten parts, dealing
with Hadith alThaqalayn, Hadith alSafinah, Hadith
alNur and Hadith alGhadir, have appeared.