The great collections of Shiite traditions (hadith) have for a long time been organized in a topical manner. The organization of these collections has been influenced by the nature of requirements as well as the personal and social problems of the time of the compilers of these books. Another influence was the need to assign topics to these collections and insert entries- congruent with the intellectual concerns of the scholars - both advocates and opponents. Therefore, the emergence of new queries and questions in any era necessitates the publication of new books. Indeed Mizan al-Hikmah is one of such answers.

The present work is the outcome of new ideas in the fifth and sixth decades of the present century which based on the requirements of the time is not only a collection of hadiths, concerning morals and ethics, even though it includes them" as well. The work, besides providing answers to the needs of its time in different fields, responds to various questions, problems and doubts (philosophical and those related to the mode of conduct of the true leaders of Islam) based on the ontological teachings of the Household of the Holy Prophet (S).

The Mizan al-Hikmah Encyclopedia, through the divine verses and constructive hadiths of the infallible Imams, covers all aspects of religious life and provides us with the religious recommendations in many minor and major levels of social life.

Mizan al-Hikmah enjoys the following characteristics:

1- Comprehensive approach to religious teachings in order to offer a profound understanding of the divine teachings. This approach is an outcome of the interpretation of every Quranic verse and hadith within the harmonic system of religious statements. This system facilitates the accomplishment of the above objective through organizing the members of every hadith category on their topical basis.

2- Attempts have been made in the present work to organize the topics in a meticulous manner to avoid the repetition of hadiths or overlapping of the entries.

3- The present collection does not focus on the jurisprudential hadiths, rather it concentrates on the hadiths with ethical or social contents or with contents related to intellectual or convictional problems.

4. The compiler has relied on the Shi'ite and Sunni sources of hadith and at the same time before mentioning the hadiths of the infallible Imams regarding any issue, he has presented the related Quranic verses.

5- Although the author has not discussed the documents of the hadiths, through content analysis of the hadiths and arrangement of similar hadiths and those having similar contents with the Quran, reason and other authentic hadiths, he has succeeded to a great extent in setting aside the unreliable hadiths or explain their authenticity properly. The useful explanations in chapters regarding the prophets and also some difficult convictional problems (such as fate, destiny and episteme) are among the topics discussed in the above manner.

6- The present collection encompasses 564 topics, 4260 chapters and 23030 hadiths. The main topics of the present collection have been organized on an alphabetic basis. Its opening chapter is about Selflessness and Sacrifice and its concluding chapter is about Certitude.

In its first edition, Mizan al-Hikmah was published in ten volumes by the Office for Islamic Propagation affiliated to the Qom Seminary between 1983 and 1985. Its next and new edition was published in five volumes, whose fifth volume contains the table of contents of the entire collection. The collection was also published in another edition in nine volumes, whose ninth volume contains the table of contents. The same collection was also published in Beirut in 12 volumes.

There are some corrections and changes in the new edition of this collection. Some of these corrections and changes are:

1- Correction of the text of the hadiths through contrasting them with their sources,

2- Correction and revision of the topics,

3- Replacement of some of the repetitive hadiths or those incom­patible with the topics,

4- Giving the primary sources of a num­ber of hadiths,

5- Utilizing the new editions of the sources in organizing and extracting the hadiths,

6- Giving full names of the sources instead of abbreviations,

7- Transferring the sources of the hadiths from the text to the footnotes, and

8- Selecting the most authentic sources of hadiths from amongst the existing numerous sources, etc.

The work was translated into Persian by Hamid Reza Sheikhi and its IS-volume bilingual version (Arabic-Persian) was published in 1997. Volume IS of the said work contains the table of contents. The bibliographical data of the book are: Mizan al­Hikmah with Persian translation, trans. By Hamid Reza Sheikhi, Qom: Dar al-Hadith, 2nd ed., 2000, 15 Volumes.

As a result of the warm welcome accorded to the book thus far, it has been reprinted twenty times (with and without translation).

Some selections of the Mizan al-Hikmah have also been published. Due to its voluminousness and expanse of the subjects it discusses, the work in many cases could not be handy for many users. Hence, some of its selections were prepared for the utilization of the public as well as the preachers during their trips for propagation. The selection of the Mizan al-Hikrnah includes its most important entries in Arabic as well as Persian translation published in one-volume and two-volume in oblong size as well as one-volume in a different size. There are 6848 hadiths under 419 main topics and 1900 subtopics in this collection, which has been published in a suave form. The selection starts with the subject of "Sacrifice and Selflessness" and ends with the subject of "Certitude". The bibliographical data of various versions of Mizan al-Hikrnah are as follows:

- A Selection of Mizan al-Hikrnah, summarized by Sayyed Hamid Hosseini, Qom: Dar al-Hadith, 1 st ed., 2001, 608 pages, (Arabic).

- A Selection of Mizan al-Hikmah, summarized by Sayyed Hamid Hosseini, Qom: Dar al-Hadith, 1 st ed., 2002, 928 pages, (Persian).

- A Selection of Mizan al-Hikmah, summarized by Sayyed Hamid Hosseini, Qom: Dar al-Hadith, 1 st ed., 2002, two vol­umes, 1174 pages, (Arabic-Persian).

- A Selection of Mizan al-Hikrnah, summarized by Sayyed Hamid Hosseini, Qom: Dar al-Hadith, 2nd ed., 2004, 667 pages, (Arabic-Persian).

Dar al-Hadith, Qom, Iran