The author of this book (a.s.heikh Sadooq) - May God have Mercy upon him - is the highly esteemed, noble Abi Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Al-Husayn ibn Musa ibn Babooyeh al-Qummi known as Sheikh Sadooq. He has such a high rank in knowledge, understanding, realization of the true meaning of traditions, jurisprudence, honesty in speech and extensive highly valuable writings that no one can write about and fully express these. All the knowledgeable people who have either written his biography or used his highly valuable books have tried to praise his works and declare his Divine Leadership and honesty. They have called him Sheikh that is normally the title of native scholars trained in the traditional sciences such as clerical dignitaries, members of a religious order, or professors of spiritual institutions of higher learning - that is master of an order. He has also been called honest and a forerunner.
We can say that he has been one of the signs of God. He passed away in the year 381 A.H. (990 A.D.) when he was more than seventy years old. His publications - that were more than 300 in number - were like brilliant stars guiding those who sought to follow the Divine Path. Unfortunately, the tragic occurrences in history resulted in the loss of the majority of his works. We can clearly state that not even one tenth of his writings have remained up until today.
There is no need to present any evidence or reasoning to prove his high rank. However, we will briefly mention a few of the remarks of our noble religious scholars about his noble personality here for the readers to get a bit more familiar with him.
Sheikh al-Taefeh (may God have mercy upon him) has called him ‘of a high position’ in his book Al-Fehrest. Then he wrote, ''He is the protector of the traditions, aware and informed about the personalities, and is an informed person and a critic on Akhbar (traditions). One has not seen anyone of similar capabilities among the scientists in Qum. He has about 300 publications.'' He also makes similar remarks about him in his Rijal.
Najjashi who was a great researcher on ‘great men’ calls him ‘Abi Ja’far from Qum’. He also calls him Sheikh, our jurisprudent, a shining character, and the honor of the Shiites in Khorasan1. He wrote, “When in the year 355 A.H. (965 A.D.) he entered Baghdad, he was young. The great men of the Shiites listened to him to learn traditions and gain Divine Knowledge.”
Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi in his famous book TARIKH BAGHDAD (the history of Baghdad) wrote, “He (a.s.heikh Sadooq) went to Baghdad and quoted traditions on the authority of his father. He was one of the well-known and noble men of the Shiites, and Muhammad ibn Talha an-Naáli told me about him.”
Ibn Edris has praised him in his book SARA’IR and said, “He was honest in speech, noble, informed about the traditions and a critic. He was very knowledgeable about the great men. He had memorized many traditions.”
Allameh al-Hilli has called him Sheikh, and has said that he is our jurisprudent, our honor, and the bright and real character of the Shiites.
He has been called the following titles by the noble religious Shiite scholars: Ibn Shahr Ashoob; Seyed ibn Tawoos; Fakhr al-Mohaghegin; ash-Shahid al-Awwal (the first martyr); Re'is al-Mohaditheen; al-Sheikh al-Ajall; Imam Asreh; Rokn Min Arkan ad-Din (one of the pillars of religion); Sadooq al-Muslimeen; Ayatullah fil-Alemin; al-Sheikh al-A'zam; al-Sheikh al-Sadooq; Hujatul Islam; al-Sheikh ath-Thiqa; al-Molood Bid-Da'wat; al-Sheikh al-Imam al-Moghaddam; al-Fadhil al-Mo’adhdham; Omdatul Fudhala; Sheikh Minal-Mashayekh; Rokn min Arkan ash-Sharia; Sheikh al-Hafazah; Wajihat at-Ta’efah al-Mostahfazeh; Emaduddin; and al-Sheikh al-Alam Al-Amin, among many other titles.
He made many trips to various towns in order to learn nobility and hear the traditions directly from the greatest scholars. He was born in Qum, raised there and he acquired knowledge from the great scholars there. Then, although there were many renowned religious scholars in Ray2, the people of Ray invited him to go and reside there. Of course, there is no precise mention of the date of his immigration to Ray in the books on Rijal and Tarajom. However, one can conclude from what is written in this book, and in Al-Khisal and Amali, that his immigration was after the (Arabic) month of Rajab of the (lunar) year 339 A.H. (949 A.D.), and before the (Arabic) month of Rajab of the year 347 A.H. (957 A.D.) This is because he has cited a tradition he had heard from Hamza ibn Ahmad ibn Ja’far ibn Muhammad ibn Zayd ibn Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) in the Quran on the first date, and has cited another tradition from Abul Hassan Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Ali ibn Asad al-Asadi known as Ibn Jaradeh al-Bardaýee in Ray on the second date.
He lived in Ray from 347 A.H. (957 A.D.) until he requested permission from Rokn ud-Dowleh - the ruler of the Buya clan - to visit the holy shrine of Imam Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) in Mashhad. He then traveled to Mashhad in 352 A.H. (962 A.D.) and returned to Ray after visiting the holy shrine. Regarding this he wrote in his book, “When I asked the successful ruler Rokn ud-Dowleh for permission to visit the holy shrine of Imam Al-Ridha’ (a.s.), he approved of my request in the (Arabic) month of Rajab in the year 352 A.H. (962 A.D.) When I returned home, he called me in again and said, ‘The place you want to visit is a blessed place of martyrdom. I have visited it myself. When I was there, I asked God to fulfill the requests I had in my mind. God answered my prayers and fulfilled them. Therefore, when you get there, remember me, and do not forget to visit on my behalf and pray for me since prayers will be fulfilled by God when they are presented in that holy place.’ I promised him to do so, and I fulfilled my promise. Upon my return from the blessed Mashhad, I went to see the ruler. He asked me if I had prayed for him, and visited the Shrine on his behalf. I replied in the positive. He said, ‘You did well since it has been proven to me that prayers will be accepted there.’
On this trip to Mashhad that year, he entered Neishaboor. He recorded some traditions from the religious scholars there, among whom we can name Abu Ali Husayn ibn Ahmad Bayhaqi - who narrated several traditions for him in his own house - Abdul Vahid ibn Muhammad ibn Ubdoos Neishaboori, Abi Mansoor Ahmad ibn Ibrahim ibn Bakr Khori, Abu Saeed Muhammad ibn Fadhl ibn Muhammad ibn Ishaq Mozakkar Neishaboori known as Abi Saeed al-Muallem, Abut-Tayyeb Husayn ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad Razi and Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab al-Sejezy. In addition, Abu Nasr Ahmad ibn Al-Husayn ibn Ahmad ibn Obayd al-Zabee al-Marwani al-Neishaboori cited some traditions for him in Neishaboor. In addition, a group of people cited traditions for him in Marv Rood among whom we can name the jurisprudent Abul Husayn Muhammad ibn Ali ibn al-Shah, and Abu Yusuf Rafeh ibn Abdullah ibn Abdul Malik. In the same year, he traveled to Baghdad and heard some traditions from the religious scholars there. He had also gone to Kufa, Fayd, Mawara’ un-Nahr, Balkh, Samarqand and Forghaneh and had heard traditions from the religious scholars in these cites.
We are not precisely aware of the year in which he has born. None of the biographers has stated his birth date. However, we can draw some conclusions in this regard from his own book Kamal Ad-Din, and Sheikh Toosi's Ghayba and Najashi's Fehrest that he was born after the demise of Muhammad ibn Uthman al-Umari who was the second (of the four) representatives of the twelfth Imam (a.s.) - that is in year 305 A.H. (917 A.D.) at the beginning of the mission of Abil Qasim Husayn ibn Ruh - who was the third representative of the twelfth Imam (a.s.).
Sheikh Sadooq quoted on the authority of Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ali ibn al-Aswad, ‘After the demise of Muhammad ibn Uthman al-Umari - may God be pleased with him - Ali ibn Husayn ibn Musa ibn Babawayh3 asked me to ask Husayn ibn Ruh to ask our Master - the Imam of Time (the twelfth Imam al-Mahdi) (a.s.) - to pray and ask God the Almighty to grant him a son. I did so, and he secretly reported that. He informed me after three days that the Imam (a.s.) had prayed for Ali ibn Al-Husayn, and that God the Almighty will soon bless him with a son, and will grant him more children thereafter.’
The above has also been cited by Sheikh al-Ta’ifeh and Najjashi - may God have mercy upon them. What has been presented about his birth-date was the information available from him himself who best knows about his life history and some of the great religious scholars. Thus, we can conclude that he was born after the year 305 A.H (917 A.D.). His birth was a blessing, and he was blessed since he was born due to the prayers of the Imam of Time (a.s.). Everyone benefited from him, and his being blessed. That is why he was always very proud and said that he was born due to the prayers of the Imam of Time (a.s.). He also said, ‘There were many occasions when Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ali al-Asvaed (who narrated the details about his birth) saw how studiously I attended the classes of our Professor - Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn al-Valid (May God have mercy upon him); and how eager I was to learn and memorize scientific books. He would tell me there is no wonder I am so eager to acquire knowledge since I was born due to the prayers of the Imam of Time (a.s.).’
He died in 381 A.H. (990 A.D.) after living for seventy years. He was buried in Ray next to the Toghrol Garden, near the shrine of the blessed Abdul Azeem al-Hassani - may God be pleased with him. His shrine is simple, but spiritual. Many people go visit his shrine and receive blessings.
In the year 1238 A.H. (1859 A.D.), Fath Ali - the king of Qajar - ordered the building of the shrine to be reconstructed. This resulted in a demonstration of nobility. The word spread around among the people, and it was finally approved of by the government officials and the king. The details of this event have been recorded by many authors - may God have mercy upon them. Among them we can mention Rowza by Khansari, Qisas Al-Ulama by Tonikaboni, Tanqih Al-Maqal by Mamaghani, Montakhab Ul-Tawarikh by Khorasani and Tava’ed Ar-Razavieh by Qumi. This has been recorded in Rowza by Khansari as follows: ‘This event was a demonstration of the nobility of the Sheikh. It attracted the attention of many people, and was a source of guidance for many and a cause of happiness for many enlightened people. There once appeared a rupture in the shrine of the noble Sheikh - that is located near Ray - due to a flood.
When they investigated to find the degree of damage done in order to reconstruct it, they reached a room in which he was buried. Once they entered that room they found his body naked, with his private parts covered, and in perfect shape. His face was absolutely peaceful and they could still see the polish (khadhab) on his nails. The shroud with which his body was wrapped at the time he was buried had worn out, torn into shreds and fallen down on the dirt around his corpse. The news rapidly spread around in Tehran. When Fath Ali - the grandfather of Naser ad-Din - the king of Qajar heard about this around the year 1238 A.H. (1859 A.D.), he went there in person to investigate.
He consulted with the government officials whom he trusted as to whether or not he should enter the tomb in person. They did not recommend the king entering the tomb, as they thought this was not appropriate for his rule. Then a group of religious scholars and well-known people were sent into the tomb to check the issue. When the numerous people who had entered the tomb all testified to the truth of this issue, no doubt was left for the king. Once he was certain about the truth of this issue, he ordered the cavity to be closed off, and the building of the shrine to be reconstructed, and decorated in the best possible fashion using mirror work. I have personally seen some of the people who were present there. Some of our religious professors who are of the noble scholars have also described this event. And peace be upon him the day he is born, and the day he dies, and the day he is resurrected.’