The book Al-Kāfī (The Sufficient Book) is a Twelver Shīʿī ḥadīth collection compiled by Muhammad ibn Ya‘qūb al-Kulaynī. It is divided into three sections: Usūl al-Kāfī, which is concerned with epistemology, theology, history, ethics, supplication, and the Qurʾān, Furūʿ al-Kāfī, which is concerned with practical and legal issues, and Rawdat (or Rauda) al-Kāfī, which includes miscellaneous traditions, many of which are lengthy letters and speeches transmitted from the Imāms. In total, al-Kāfī comprises 16,199 narrations.
Such narrations are not to be taken for granted and most of our great scholars did not follow it in their verdicts. It might be talking about a specific year and can not be taken for all the years.
According to Hadeeths narrated from Ahlul Bayt (AS), Kursi of Allah is His Knowledge about Skies and earths and creatures which has got an outer existence, while Arsh is His Full Knowledge about everything, which is more inclusive than Kursi. There are degrees of Knowledge, in which Arsh is deeper, wider and more inclusive than Kursi, that is why we read in the Hadeeth that The Kursi is within The Arsh. In the Hadeeth from Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq (AS): Everything created by Allah is in the Kursi except His Arsh because it is greater than be included in The Kursi.
Hadeeth of Hanan ibn Sadeer from Imam Al-Sadiq (AS) when he was asked about Arsh and Kursi, he replied: Both of them are great gates of the Unseen. Kursi is the outer gate of the Unseen and Arsh is the inner gate of the Unseen.
Kursi is limited to the skies, earth and what is between them while Arsh is unlimited.
In some narrations we read that The Kursi is the knowledge which Allah granted to His Prophets and messengers, while The Arsh is The Knowledge which no one knows but Allah.
It has been very clearly mentioned in many authentic narrations from our Infallible Imams e.g. Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq (AS) that: My Hadeeth is the Hadeeth of my father, and it is the Hadeeth of my grand father, which is the Hadeeth of Imam Husain, which is the Hadeeth of Imam Hasan, which is the Hadeeth of Ameerul Mo'mineen, which is the Hadeeth of the Prophet (SAWA) which is the order of Allah.
(Kitab Al-Kaafi, V.1, P. 53.).
In the Shi'i view, it is held that the knowledge of the Prophet (S) passed directly to the Imams. Therefore, when one of the Imams speaks, they are speaking accurately and correctly on behalf of the Prophet, whether or not it is word for word.
In some cases, the Imam may have a dialogue with someone present with them, refer to people in their time by name, or discuss current events and questions. In these cases, these are not word for word quotations from the Prophet (S) but accurately reflect or expound upon the Prophet's teachings as applied to those situations.
In other cases the Imams provide a direct quotation from one of their forebears.
Apart from that, it would be very lengthy to always give the full chain of narration back to the Prophet (S) through all the Imams. However, it is understood that this is intended to be the chain of transmission of knowledge.
This principle is mentioned in al-Kafi and is related from Imam al-Sadiq (A) as follows:
"My hadith is the hadith of my father. The hadith of my father is the hadith of my grandfather. The hadith of my grandfather is the hadith of al-Husayn. The hadith of al-Husayn is the hadith of al-Hasan. The hadith of al-Hasan is the hadith of the Commander of the Faithful. The hadith of the Commander of the Faithful is the hadtih of the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him and his family). The hadith of the Messenger of God is the word of God, the Mighty and Glorious."
علي بن محمد، عن سهل بن زياد، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن عمر بن عبد العزيز عن هشام بن سالم وحماد بن عثمان وغيره قالوا: سمعنا أبا عبد الله عليه السلام يقول: حديثي حديث أبي، وحديث أبي حديث جدي، وحديث جدي حديث الحسين، وحديث الحسين حديث الحسن، وحديث الحسن حديث أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام وحديث أمير المؤمنين حديث رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وحديث رسول الله قول الله عز وجل.
Here, of course, the "word of God" does not mean the same thing as the Qur'an being the "word of God" in the sense of the literal divine word, but rather is the correct teaching given from God to the Prophet (S).
So, from a Shi'i perspective, the Imam has full knowledge of the teachings of the Prophet (S) and full authority to speak about it. Therefore the Imam can speak authoritatively without giving a further chain of narration back or may provide a further chain of narration back.
Hope that helps!
I don't think there is a full resource on this in English available presently (online or in print). However, you can purchase the Dirayat al-Noor software from Iran and it offers an easy to use database for hadith narrators in Arabic (not sure about Farsi). Another useful resource is Mu'jam Rijal al-Ahadith by Ayatollah al-Khoei, which is also available online in Arabic.
Sometimes, you can find information about some of the narrators in some other books in English. For instance, some of the biographies of the Imams by Baqir Sharif Qarashi have information on some of the companions of the Imams. There is a book called Tradition and Survival by Hossein Modarressi which also has some bibliographic information on some early Shi'i narrators.
So if there is someone specific you want to know more about, you may be able to find information in other sources. However in general I don't think there is a comprehensive source available in English. Perhaps someone will update this answer with one, or perhaps you will create one!
Many Shia books of Hadeeth are already translated including all-Kafi. Many books are under translation. You can check on www.shiasearch.org
There is no book of Hadeeth compiled by Shia or Sunni scholars which is 100% and fully authentic in each and every narration. Al-Kafi is the most authentic book of Hadeeth among Shia scholars. Bukhari is claimed to be fully authentic by many Sunnis but it contains narrations which go against Quran and allegation against the Prophets. The authentic Hadeeths in Al-Kufi are more in number than all the total authentic Hadeeths in all the six books of Sunni Hadeeth الصحاح الستة.
Number of unrepeated narrations in Saheeh al-Bukhari is 2602 and in Saheeh Muslim 4000, while the number of unrepeated narration mentioned in both Bukhari and Muslim is 2514 narrations.
Al-Kafi alone has 16199 narrations.
Allama Mohammad Baqir al-Majlisi is a great scholar in the Hadeeth sciences and he compiled the well known collection of Hadeeth in his famous book Biharul Anwaar. He has written others books as well. His grading is according to his own research and Ejtihaad. Other scholars have their grading which can be like or different from his grading as all the Mujahid scholars are free in their research in the narrators and narrations.
Al-Kaafi book has the most authentic collection of narrations of Hadeeth but we don't say that every narration in al-Kaafi is equally authentic. The expert scholars have their right to study and verify every narration.
This narration is weak and not authentic because of its narrator (Jafar al-Khuza'ee) is unknown and never been authenticated by any of our Ulama. Al-Majlisi in Baharul Anwaar mentioned that this narration is weak.
Al-Kho'ee in Mo'jam Rijal al-Hadeeth stated that the narrator ( Jafar Al-Khzaa'ee is unknown.
'The authentic narrations in all Shia books and many Sunni books stated that this verse was revealed on the Day of Ghadeer. (Al-Kafi 1:289, and 1:198)
Many Sunni scholars narrated authentic Hadeeths that this verse was revealed on the Day of Ghadeer e.g.
1.Al-Tabari in his book Al-Wilayah,
2, Ibn Oqdah.
3. Ibn Asaakir.
4. Ibn Mardawayh.
5. Al-Hafidh Abu Na'eem in his book (Maha Nazala Min al-Quran Fi Ali).
6. Al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi in Tareekh Baghdad 8:290 .
7.al-Hafidh al-Sijistani in his book al-Wikayah.
8. Al-Khawarizmi in al-Manaaqib:page 80.
9. al-Hamaweeni al-Hanafi in Faraa'id al-Simtayn in chapter 12.
No scholar can turn his face away from many authentic narrations and take instead a single weak narration.
Such narration is not authentic because all ethnic backgrounds are equal in Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) and Infallible Imams have married women from deferent ethnic backgrounds.
Thank you for your question. Different authors had different purposes and differing criteria when compiling their books. Sometimes, it is not the author's criteria, but the version of the book that has reached us that may be problematic, as Shii hadith history is a history of textual transmission.
Bihar al-anwar is a book that was written in the 17th Century which tried to preserve as much of the Shii tradition as possible. The author was therefore not concerned with sifting reports and left that to later hadith scholars, as hadith scholars also use different criteria when analyzing the reports in various books.
Usul al-Kafi on the other hand was an attempt to produce a book of reliable reports, but at the same time, not everybody agrees with what the author of al-Kafi (al-Kulayni) considered reliable. In short, hadith scholarship is a complex field where there are many aspects to weigh up and that is why it takes expertise. The natural outcome of that is that not everyone will agree with a specific scholar's assessment if they are trying to produce a reliable work.
May you always be successful
Our Shia faith in Quran is: Quran is absolutely intact and saved by Allah The Glorious from any change, distortion or alteration. Narrations which suggest change or distortion in Quran are mainly in Sunni books including narrations from Umar Ibn Al-Khattab who claimed that Sura Al-Ahzab used to be as long as Sura al-Baqara. (al-Soyooto, Al-Dorr al-Manthour 3:208) and Ayisha who claimed that a Sura was eaten by a pet (Sunan Ibn Maajah 1:625).
Few narrations in this regard came from Sunni books to some of our Shia books but our leading scholars were and are always very clear in rejecting any claim against the fact that Quran is intact. Some narrations in our books might mean that people distorted the meaning (Tafseer) of some verses away from the real meaning explained by the Prophet (SAWA) and his Ahlul Bayt (AS) which is a sad fact, but it never means that Quranic text was distorted by any way.
Leading Shia scholars al-Shaikh Al-Saqouq (381 H), al- Shaikh al-Mofeed (413 H), al-Sayyed al-Mortadha (436H), al-Shaikh al-Toosi (460 H), al-Shaikh al-Tabrasi (548H), al-Shaikh al-Bahaa'ee, al-Faydh al-Kashaani, al-Shaikh Kashif al-Ghitaa', al-Sayyed Sharaf al-Deen, Allamah Tabataba'ee, al-Sayyed al-Kho'ee, al-Sayed al-Khomaini, al-Sayyed al-Gulpaygani, al-Sayyed al-Borojordi, al-Shaykh al-Saafi, al-Sayyed al-Sistani, al-Sayyed al-Hakeem and all our leading scholars are very clear in confirming the fact that Quran is absolutely intact from any change or distortion.