Chapter 2: The Precedence Of The Shi’ah In The Sciences Of Hadith
This chapter comprises of a number of sections.
Before we start it is pertinent to point out that the Shi’ah have precedence in this field. There existed sharp differences between the predecessors from among the Companions and the tabi’is as regards the issue of reducing knowledge to writing. Many of them were averse to it while a group considered it permissible and actually embarked on recording it. Of the latter group were Ali and his son Hasan, as stated in al–Suyuti’s Tadrib al–Rawi.
In fact, Ali peace be on him, had compiled, in a large scroll, what the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and his Household, dictated to him. Al–Hakam ibn Uyaynah saw it with Imam al–Baqir when they disagreed on some issue, where upon the latter brought out the book and located the issue saying to al–Hakam: “This is Ali’s handwriting dictated to him by the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and his Household”.
It was the first book of knowledge which was compiled during the lifetime of the Prophet. This inspired the Shi’ah who perceived the importance of recording and organizing knowledge. Therefore, they embarked on it following the example of their Imams, whereas the non–Shi’ah who held that writing was prohibited remained behind.
Al–Suyuti mentioned in Tadrib that during the time of the Companions and notable tabi’is, works were not recorded or organized for a number of reasons: they were endowed with intelligence and enjoyed retentive memories, they had been forbidden from writing, as declared in Sahih Muslim, for fear that their works might mix with the Qur’an and lastly, because most of them were not good at writing. But it might be objected that these only affected the companions and tabi’is who were not, for the Shi’ah among them actually recorded and systematized the sciences following the example of the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him.
The first among the Shi’ah Companions was Abu Rafi, a retainer of the Messenger of Allah, blessings of Allah be on him and his Household. In Firhist Asma al–Musanifin min al–Shi’ah, al–Najashi states: “Abu Rafi, a retainer of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and his Household, wrote Kitab al–Sunan wa al–Ahkam wa al–Qadaya” and mentioned his chain of transmission of each subject including prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, zakat (alms) and judgements.
Al–Najashi says that Abu Rafi’ embraced Islam early in Mecca, migrated to Medina and was often in the Prophet’s company. After the demise of the Prophet, Abu Rafi’ attached himself to the Commander of the Faithful, being among the best of his supporters. He also participated in the battles with him and served as his treasurer in Kufa. Al–Najashi mentions other details about him. Abu Rafi’ died in 35 A. H., as reported by Ibn Hajar in Al–Taqrib, considering only the reports which say that he died in the early days of Ali’s rule as right.
This shows that it is unanimously agreed upon that he was not preceded by anyone in compiling the hadith and arranging it into chapters, for those described as pioneers in the field belong to the second century. Al–Suyuti testifies to this fact in his Tadrib and relates on the authority of Ibn Hajar’s Fath al–Bari that the first to compile the hadith was Ibn Shihab al–Zuhri by order of Umar ibn Abdilaziz. In that case, it must have taken place towards the end of the first century because Umar’s rule started in 98 or 99 A. H. and he died in 101A. H. Nevertheless, we have some reservations about what Ibn Hajar says, as pointed out in the original version of this book.
Among the Companions, the first persons to compile similar hadiths under one topic and one chapter were the Shi’ah.
They are Abu Abdillah Salman al–Farisi and Abu Dharr al–Ghifari (may Allah be pleased with them) as stated by Rashid al–Din ibn Shahrashub in his Ma’alim Ulama al–Shi’ah. While listing the names of Shi’i authors Sheikh Abu Ja’far al–Tusi and Sheikh Abu Abbas al–Najashi mention in their books a book by Salman and another by Abu Dharr and traced their chains of transmission. The title of Salman’s book is Kitab Hadith al–Jathliq and that of Abu Dharr’s is Kitab al–Khutbah. In his book, the latter explained the events that happened after the Prophet, blessing and peace of Allah be on him and his Household.
In Al–Rawdah fi Ahwal al–Ulama wa al–Sadat, Sayyid Khwansari relates from the third volume of Abu Hatim’s Kitab al–Zina that, during the time of the Holy Prophet, the title al–shi’ah was attributed to four Companions: Salman al–Farisi, Abu Dharr al–Ghifari, Miqdad ibn al–Aswad al–Kindi and Ammar ibn Yasir. Kashf al–Zunun mentions Kitab al–Zina by Abu Hatim Sahl ibn Muhammad al–Sajistani who died in 205.
These people wrote during the same period so it is unclear as to who preceded the others in this field. They are: Ali ibn Abi Rafi’, a companion of the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him, and his treasurer and secretary. In his book on the names of Shi’ah writers under the first category where he mentioned Ali ibn Abi Rafi’, al–Najashi says: “He was a tabi’i and an excellent Shi’ah. He enjoyed the company of the Commander of the Faithful and was his scribe. He memorized a great deal and compiled a book on different topics of jurisprudence like ritual ablutions, prayer and so on.” Then he retraced the chain of transmission of the book.
Ali’s brother Ubaydullah ibn Abi Rafi’, a scribe of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), had a book titled Qadaya Amir al–Muminin (a. s) and a book listing the names of the Companions who accompanied him in the battles of the Camel, Siffin and Nahrawan as recorded in the Fihrist of Sheikh Abu Jafar al–Tusi (may his soul be sanctified). Ibn Hajar says in his Taqrib: “He was Ali’s scribe and confidant.”
Asbagh ibn Nabatah al–Majashi’i, a close companion of Ali (peace be on him) lived long after him. He related the covenant which Ali (‘a) had written to Malik Ashtar. Al–Najashi observes “It is a well-known book.” Asbagh also related Imam Ali’s testament to his son Muhammad ibn al–Hanafiyah. Sheikh Abu Ja’far al–Tusi says in his Fihrist that Asbagh wrote Kitab Maqtal al–Husayn ibn Ali (a.s), as related by Al–Duri.
Sulaym ibn Qays al–Hilali, Abu Sadiq, was a companion of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a). He wrote a magnificent book in which he narrated from Ali, Salman al–Farisi, Abu Dharr, Miqdad, Ammar ibn Yasir and a group of prominent companions. Sheikh Abu Abdillah al–Nu’mani, whom we already mentioned when listing the names of the masters of Qur’anic exegesis, has recorded in his book on occultation, Al–Ghaybah, after quoting a hadith from the book of Sulaym ibn Qays, “All the Shi’ah who learnt and transmitted from the Imams agree that the book of Sulaym ibn Qays al–Hilali is the oldest source (asl) to be related by scholars and transmitters of the hadith of the Ahl al–Bayt. Besides, it is one of the sources to which the Shi’ah refer and on which they depend” Sulaym died in Kufa in the early days of al–Hajjaj ibn Yusuf’s rule.
Maytham ibn Yahya Abu Salih al–Tammar was a close companion and confidant of the Commander of the Faithful. He compiled a magnificent work on hadith which is extensively quoted by al–Tusi, Sheikh Abu Amr al–Kashi and al–Tabari in his Bisharat al–Mustafa. Maytham was murdered in Kufa by Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad for being a Shi'ah.
Muhammad ibn Qays al–Bajali to whose credit is a book which he relates from the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him. The masters of biography counted him among the Shi'ah tabi’is, and also wrote about his book. Sheikh al–Tusi, in his Fihrist relates from Ubayd ibn Muhammad ibn Qays that he said: “We showed this book to Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ali ibn al–Husayn, peace be on him and he observed: ‘These are the words of Ali ibn Abi Talib, peace be on him.’ ”
Yu’la ibn Murra also had a book in which he relates from the Commander of the Faithful (‘a). In Al–Fihrist, al–Najashi traces back a continuous chain by which the book is related.
Ubaydullah ibn al–Hurr al–Ju’fi, a Kufan tabi’i who was a poet and a brave warrior compiled a book which he transmitted from the Commander of the Faithful (‘a). He died during the time of al–Mukhtar. Al–Najashi mentioned him in the first category of Shi’ah authors.
Rabi’a ibn Sami had a book on the zakat (alms) of livestock. Al–Najashi counted him among the first category of Shi’ah writers and indicated that he was a notable tabi’i.
Al–Harth ibn Abdillah al–A’war al–Hamadani, a companion of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) had a book in which he mentions the information which the latter imparted to a Jew. ‘Amr ibn Abi al–Miqdam narrates those issues on the authority of Abu Ishaq al–Sabi’i from al–Harth al–Hamadani from the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) as reported in Sheikh al–Tusi’s Fihrist. Al–Harth died during the rule of Ibn al–Zubayr.
Al–Ghazzali expressed a different view which Ibn Sharhrashub quoted and refuted in the beginning of his book Ma’alim al–Ulama. He contradicted the view of al–Ghazzali which says: “The first book compiled in Islam is the book of Ibn Jurayj on traditions and letters of exegesis which was written in Mecca and transmitted on the authority of Mujahid and Ata’, then the book of Mu’ammar ibn Rashid al–San’ani in Yemen, then Al–Muwatta of Malik ibn Anas, then the comprehensive work (jami’) of Sufyan al–Thawri.” This is Ibn Shahrashub’s answer, verbatim: “The correct view is that the first person to write in Islam was the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), followed by Salman al–Farisi, then Abu Dharr al–Ghifari, then Asbagh ibn Nubata, then Ubaydullah ibn Abi Rafi' and then [the author of] Al–Sahifah al–Kamilah, which is related on the authority of Zayn al–Abidin (‘a)
Like Sheikh Abu Jafar al–Tusi, Sheikh al–Najashi mentions the first category of authors as we already said, but he does not identify the pioneers or the order of precedence. Perhaps Ibn Shahrashub had found some documents that the other two had no idea about. Allah the Glorious is the Grantor of success.
Note: Al–Hafiz al–Dhahabi observes in his biographical account of Aban ibn Taglib that Shi’ism, along with religiosity, abstinence and truthfulness, was widespread among the tab’is and the generation that followed them. Then he adds “Were the hadiths related by these people to be rejected, a great deal of the prophetic traditions would have been lost. This would have been an obvious cause of corruption.” A moment’s reflection on the words of this prominent hafiz will reveal the significance of the lead enjoyed by the Shi’ah tab’'is and their followers whom we have mentioned and those we are going to mention later.
Section Four: The Shi’ah of the Second Century who Compiled the Hadith in the Form of Sources (usul) and Sections (ajza’)
This section deals with the Shi’ah of the second century who compiled the hadith in the form of sources (usul) and sectors (ajza’), relating from the Ahl al–Bayt. They were contemporaries with those described as the first to compile traditions among the Sunnis. They transmitted the hadith on the authority of Imam Zayn al–Abidin and his son Imam al–Baqir (p. b. o. t). Aban ibn Taglib transmitted thirty thousand hadiths on the authority of Abu Abdillah al–Sadiq (‘a). Jabir ibn Yazid al–Ju’fi related seventy thousand hadiths from Abu Ja’far al–Baqir, from his forefathers, from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and his Household.
Jabir is reported to have said: “I know fifty thousand hadiths that talk about every topic, out of which I have not revealed anything. They are all related from the Ahl al–Bayt.” Others who compiled equally copious works were Abu Hamza al–Thumali, Zurara ibn A’yan, Muhammad ibn Muslim al–Ta’ifi, Abu Basir Yahya ibn Qayn al–Asadi, Abdulmumin ibn al–Qasim ibn Qays ibn Muhammad al–Ansari, Bassam ibn Abdullah al–Sayrafi, Abu Ubaydah al–Hazza’ (Ziyad ibn Isa Abu al–Raja) al–Kufi, Zakariya ibn Abdillah al–Fayyad (Abu Yahya), and Thawr ibn Abi Fakhitah (Abu Jahm).
A group of narrators related from him. He wrote a unique book in which he narrates from al–Baqir (‘a). Others are Jahdar ibn al–Mughira al–Ta’i, Hijr ibn Za’idah al–Hadrami (Abu Abdillah), Mu'awiya ibn Ammar ibn Abi Mu’awiya Khabbab ibn Abdillah, Muttalib al–Zuhri al–Qarashi al–Madani and Abdullah ibn Maimun ibn al–Aswad al–Qaddah.
In the original version of this book, I have written a historical account of these narrators and mentioned their works.
The hadiths which they transmitted from Imam al–Sadiq were compiled in four hundred works known as the sources (usul). Sheikh Abu Ali al–Fadl ibn al–Hasan al–Tabirisi says in A’lam al–Wara “It is certain that the number of the well-known scholars who transmitted the hadith from Abu Abdillah Ja’far ibn Muhammad al–Sadiq (‘a) is four thousand and also four hundred books relating on his authority, which the Shi’ah call the sources, have been written. They were related by the companions of Imam al–Sadiq and those of his son Imam, Musa (‘a).
Abu al–Abbas, Ahmad ibn Uqdah devoted a whole book to mention the names of those who learnt from al–Sadiq (‘a) along with their works. The title of the book is Kitab Rijal man Rawa an Abi Abdillah al–Sadiq. Sheikh Abu Jafar al–Tusi enumerated them and their works in the chapter about the companions of al–Sadiq (‘a) in his book on rijal, each chapter of which is about the companions of one of the twelve Imams.
This section is about the number of works compiled by the Imamiyah Shi’ah on hadith as related through the way of the Ahl al–Bayt, from the time of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) to the era of Abu Muhammad al–Hasan al–Askari (‘a).
The number of these works exceeds sixty–six hundred as verified by Sheikh Hafiz Muhammad ibn al–Hasan al–Hurr the author of Al–Wasa’il. He mentioned this fact at the end of the fourth note (fa’idah) in his comprehensive hadith work Wasa’il al–Shi’ah ila Ahkam al–Shari’ah. In my Nihayat al–Dirayah on of the science of hadith, I have corroborated this view.
This section enumerates some of the later masters of the science of hadith and authors of extensive and comprehensive works which the Shi’ah consider as sources of religious laws.
The first three scholars all bearing the name of Muhammad are the authors of the four most famous comprehensive works. They are: Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Yaqub al–Kulayni (d. 328), the author of Al–Kafi in which he recorded sixteen thousand and ninety–nine hadiths along with their chains of transmission; Muhammad ibn Ali ibn al–Husayn ibn Musa ibn Babawayh al–Qummi (d. 381), known as Abu Ja’far al–Saduq who had four hundred books to his credit, (the most magnificent, of which is Kitab Man la Yahduruhu al–Faqih which contains nine thousand and forty–four hadiths on Islamic laws and the practices of the Holy Prophet) and Muhammad ibn Hasan al–Tusi, the chief of the sect and the author of Kitab Tahzib al–Ahkam (which is divided into three hundred and ninety–three sections consisting of thirteen thousand five hundred and ninety hadiths). His other work Al–Istibsar which is divided into nine hundred and twenty sections contains five thousand five hundred and eleven hadiths. These four books are the main sources for the Shi’ah.
Then come another group of three scholars who also bear the name of Muhammad. They are the authors of comprehensive works of hadith including Imam Muhammad Baqir Taqi known as al–Majlisi, the author of Bihar al–Anwar, a work which runs into large volumes and essential for the Shi’ah because of its comprehensiveness.
Thiqat al–Islam Allamah al–Nuri wrote a book about some aspects of the life of this great scholar. This book has been printed in Iran, along with the Bihar. Sheikh Muhammad ibn Murtada ibn Muhammad known as al–Fayd al–Kashani, a well–versed scholar, an authority on both transmitted and intellectual sciences was the author of Al–Wafi fi Ilm al–Hadith which runs into fourteen parts each of which forms a separate book. He recorded the hadiths contained in the four previously mentioned books under such topics as the fundamentals of religion (usul), the branches (furu’), practices (sunnah) and religious laws. He wrote about two hundred books on various disciplines. He lived to the age of eighty–four and died in 1091.
The third is the sheikh of sheikhs, the authority on hadith, Muhammad ibn Hasan al–Hurr al–Shami al–Amili al–Mishghari, the writer of Tafsil Wasa’il al–Shi’ah ila Tahsil Ahadith al–Shari’ah which is arranged according to the traditional method of compiling fiqh books. This work is one of the most useful compendia of hadiths, which the author extracted from eighty books that were in his possession and from seventy others through intermediaries. It is a very essential reference for the Shi’ah. It was printed several times in Iran. Sheikh al–Hurr was born in the month of Rajab of the year 1033 and passed away in Tus, Khorasan province in the year 1104.
Sheikh Husayn, the son of Allamah al–Nuri, has written Mustadrak al–Wasa’il wa Mustambad al–Mas’il. It is similar to Al–Wasa’il as far as layout and method of compilation are concerned. It is, in fact, one of the greatest works on hadith of the Shi’ah school. Sheikh Hasan finished his work in 1319 and passed away in al–Ghari on 28th of Jumada al–Akhirah, 1320.
There is another category of hadith compendia written by pious outstanding scholars and authorities of this discipline among which are the following:
The hundred–volume Al–Awalim which was written by the erudite master of hadith, Mawla Abdullah ibn Nurillah al–Bahrani, who was contemporary with Allamah Majlisi, the author of Bihar al–Anwar.
Kitab Sharh al–Istibsar fi Ahadith al–A’immat al–At’har which runs into several large volumes similar to those of Bihar. It was written by Sheikh Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Jawad, known as Ibn al–Wandi and al–Faqih al–Kazimi. He lived in the time of Sheikh Muhammad ibn Hasan al–Hurr, the writer of Al–Wasa’il. He was among those who studied under the supervision of my (great) grandfather the great scholar Sayyid Nuruddin the brother of Sayyid Muhammad, the author of Al–Madarik.
Jami al–Akhbar fi Idah al–Istibsar an extensive work consisting of many volumes which is written by Sheikh Abdullatif ibn Ali ibn Ahmad ibn Abu Jami’ al–Harithi al–Hamadani al–Shami al–Amili. He was trained by the astute researcher, Sheikh al–Hasan Abi Mansur, son of the martyr Sheikh Zayn al–Din al–Amili who was the author of Al–Ma’lim and Al–Muntaqa. He lived in the tenth century.
The large compendium called Al–Shifa fi Hadith al–Mustafa, consisting of several volumes, was written by the well–versed scholar of hadith, Sheikh Muhammad al–Ridha’ ibn Sheikh Abdullatif al–Tabrizi. He completed it in 1105.
Jami’ al–Ahkam was written by Sayyid Abdullah ibn Sayyid Muhammad al–Ridha’ al–Shubbari al–Kazimi. He was the chief of the Shi’ah of his time and a unique writer of his age. After Allamah Majlisi no one from the subsequent writers wrote more books than him. He passed away in 1242 in Kazimiyyah.
Section Eight: The Precedence of the Shi’ah in Founding the Science of the Contextual Study of Hadith (dirayah) and its Classification into Common Categories
The first person to undertake this work is the famous Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Abdullah al–Hakim al–Nishapuri (d. 405 A. H). He wrote a book on this topic called Ulum al–Hadith in five volumes. He classified hadith into fifty kinds. The author of Kashf al–Zunun confirms that al–Hakim is a pioneer in this field, saying, “The first person to undertake this work was al–Hakim followed by Ibn al–Salah”.
What al–Hafiz al–Suyuti states in his book Al–Wasa’il fi al–Awa’il is that the first to systematize and classify the hadith into the commonly known kinds is Ibn al–Salah (d. 643) in his famous Mukhtasar and this does not contradict our assertion because what al–Suyuti meant by the first was the first from among the Sunnis while al–Hakim was a Shi’ite, a fact on which both sects agree.
Al–Sam’ani in his Al–Ansab, Sheikh Ahmad ibn Taimiyya and al–Hafiz al–Dhahabi in his Tadhkirat al–Huffaz attested to his being a Shi’i. In his book, al–Dhahabi relates on the authority of Ibn Tahir that the latter said: “I asked Abu Ismail al–Ansari about al–Hakim. ‘Reliable in hadith but a wicked rafidi (meaning Shi’ah)’, was his answer.” Al–Dhahabi says, “Ibn Tahir added: ‘Covertly, Al-Hakim was a very fanatical Shi’ah but publically portrays Sunni ideas as regards the precedence of the three Caliphs and the caliphate. He did not conceal his animosity towards Mu’awiyah and his family and openly spoke against him and never apologized for it”.
Al–Hakim’s loyalty to Shi’ism was also attested to by our companions such as Sheikh Muhammad ibn al–Hasan al–Hurr at the end of Al–Was’il. In Ma’alim al–Ulama’ in the chapter on surnames (al–kuna), it is related that Ibn Shahrashub counts him among the Shi’ah authors and ascribes to him Al–Amali and another book on the merits of al–Ridha’ (‘a). They also ascribed to him Kitab Fatimat al–Zahra (a.s). Mawla Abdullah Efendi presented a detailed biography of al–Hakim in the first section of his Riyad al–Ulama, which is especially concerned with Imamiyah Shi’ah.
He also mentioned him in the chapters on titles and surnames, attesting to his loyalty to Shi’ism and ascribing to him Kitab Usul ilm al–Hadith and Kitab al–Madkhal ila Ilm al–Sahih. He said “He supplemented Sahih al–Bukhari with some hadiths about the Ahl al–Bayt, such as that of the roasted bird and the one which reads: ‘He to whom I am his master...’, [alluding to the hadith of Imam Ali’s investiture]”
After al–Hakim a number of Shi’ah authorities on science of hadith compiled several works on this subject: Jamal al–Din Ahmad ibn Tawus coined new technical terms for the Imamiyah for the classification of hadiths such as sound (sahih), good (hasan), reliable (muwaththaq) and weak (da’if). He passed away in 673 A. H. Others are Allamah Ali ibn Abdulhamid al–Hasani who wrote Sharh Usul Dirayat al–Hadith and relates from Allamah Ibn al–Mutahhar al–Hilli. Sheikh Zayn al–Din known as al–Shahid al–Thani who has to his credit Al–Bidaya fi Ilmi al–Dirayah and its commentary Al–Dirayah, Sheikh al–Husayn ibn Abdissamad al–Harithi al–Hamadani wrote Wusul al–Akhyar ila Usul al–Akhbar, Sheikh Abu Mansur al–Hasan ibn Zayn al–Din al–Amili wrote Al–Muntaqa and mentioned the fundamentals of the science of hadith in its introduction and Sheikh Bahauddin al–Amili wrote Al–Wajizah fi Ilm Dirayat al–Hadith on which I commented producing Nihayat al–Dirayah. This book has been printed in India and used as a text book.
Section Nine: The First who Wrote about the Science of the Biography of Transmitters of Hadith (ilm al–rijal)
Indeed, the pioneer in this field is Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Khalid al–Barqi al–Qummi. He was one of the companions of Imam Musa ibn Ja’far al–Kazim as recorded in the Rijal of Sheikh Abu Ja’far al–Tusi. Abu Al–Faraj ibn al–Nadim has mentioned al–Barqi’s work on the biography of narrators in Al–Fihrist in the beginning of the section on the fifth discipline (sixth treatise) where he talked about Shi’ah jurists. He says: “Among his books are Kitab al–Awis, Kitab al–Tabsirah and Kitab al–Rijal, in which he mentions those who narrated from the Commander of the Faithful, may Allah be pleased with him.”
The next person to write in this field is Abu Muhammad Abdullah ibn Jiblah ibn Hayyan ibn Ibhur al–Kinani who compiled Kitab al–Rijal. He died in 219 after living a long life.
Al–Suyuti declared in his Kitab al–Awa’il that “the first to write about narrators was Shu’bah.” In reality, he came after Ibn Jiblah because Shu’bah died in the year 260 A. H. Furthermore, some of our scholars, apart from Ibn Jiblah had preceded him. One of them is Abu Jafar al–Yaqtini, a companion of Imam al–Jawad Muhammad ibn Ali who compiled Kitab al–Rijal according to the Fihrists of al–Najashi and Ibn al–Nadim. Another scholar who preceded Shu’bah is Sheikh Muhammad ibn Khalid al–Barqi who was among the companions of Imam Musa ibn Ja’far and Imam al–Ridha’ and he lived until the time of Imam Abu Jafar Muhammad al–Jawad (‘a). His book is still in our possession. Those who narrated on the authority of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) and on the authority of subsequent Imams, are mentioned in it. Like other similar works this book includes defamation (jarh) and authentication (tadil) of narrators.
Another author is Abu Ja’far Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid al–Barqi, who wrote Kitab al–Rijal and Kitab al–Tabaqat and died in 273 A. H. Sheikh Abu al–Hasan Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Dawud ibn Ali al–Qummi known as Ibn Dawud, a chief of the Shi’ah wrote Kitab al–Mamduhin wa al–Madhmumin, a book on commendable narrators and blameworthy ones. He died in 368 A. H.
Also Sheikh al–Saduq compiled works on rijal, Kitab ma’rifat al–rijal and Al–Rijal al–Mukhtarin min As’hab al–Nabi (S). He passed away in 381 A. H. Another is Sheikh Abu Bakr al–Ja’ani whom Ibn al–Nadim describes as “One of the exalted Shi’ah.” He wrote Kitab al–Shi’ah min As’hab al–Hadith wa Tabaqatihim. Al–Najashi says: “It is a big book”. Sheikh Muhammad ibn Battah wrote Kitab Asma Musannifi al–Shi’ah. He died in the year 270 A. H. Sheikh Nasr ibn al–Sabah Abu al–Qasim al–Balkhi, the master of Sheikh Abu Amr al–Kishshi was the author of Kitab Ma’rifat al–Naqilin min Ahl al–Mi’at al–Thalithah on the transmitters of the third century, in which he himself died.
Ali ibn al–Hasan ibn Faddal wrote Kitab al–Rijal. He was also of the same class as the previous writer. Sayyid Abi Ya’la Hamza ibn al–Qasim ibn Ali ibn Hamza ibn al–Hasan ibn Ubaidillah ibn al–Abbas ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him) compiled Kitab Man Rawa an Ja’far ibn Muhammad min al–Rijal, which is about the people who related from Imam Ja’far. Al–Najashi observes: “It is a good book from which al–Tala’kbari narrated by permission (ijazah).” He was among scholars who lived in the third century. Another scholar of the same century was Sheikh Muhammad ibn al–Hasan ibn Ali Abu Abdillah al–Muharibi who authored Kitab al–Rijal.
Al–Musta’tif, Isa ibn Mihram, one of the earlier scholars, wrote Kitab al–Muhaddithin as recorded by al–Tusi in Al–Fihrist. I have mentioned, in the original version, the works of al–Tusi al–Najashi, al–Kishshi, Allamah Ibn al–Mutahhar al–Hilli, Ibn Dawud and the classes of scholars who wrote on rijal. To this day, scholars rely on their books for defamation and authentication of narrators. Al–Najashi’s teacher Abu al–Faraj al–Qanani al–Kufi wrote Kitab Mu’jam Rijal al–Mufaddal which he arranged in alphabetical order.
The pioneer in this field is Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Umar al–Waqidi who was born in 103 A. H and lived to the age of seventy–eight. His compilation of Al–Tabaqat is mentioned in Ibn al–Nadim’s Al–Fihrist as we shall see later in a detailed account in chapter eight, section four, when referring to his biography. Ibn al–Ja’abi al–Qadi Abu Bakr Amr ibn Muhammad ibn Salam ibn al–Barra' had Kitab al–Shi’ah min As’hab al–Hadith wa Tabaqatihim which is a voluminous book, Kitab al–Mawali wa al–Ashraf wa Tabaqatihim (On the Clients and the Nobles), Kitab Man Rawa min Bani Hashim wa Mawalihim (On the Narrators from Among Banu Hashim and their Clients), Kitab Akhbar Al Abi Talib, (An Account about the Family of Abu Talib) and Kitab Akhbar Baghdad (Annals of Baghdad) with an account about the hadith scholars of that city and their various classes. In Al–Fihrist, Ibn al–Nadim says: “He was among the best Shi’ah. He called on Saif al–Daulah who gave him a warm reception and honoured him.” A number of scholars such as Sheikh al–Mufid transmitted on his authority. He died in 355 A. H.
Sheikh Abu Ja’far Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid al–Barqi, the author of Al–Mahasin compiled Kitab al–Tabaqat, Kitab al–Ta'rikh and Kitab al–Rijal. He died in 274 or, according to other sources, in 280.