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Al-Rijal (al-Tusi)

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Rijāl al-Ṭūsī
Author al-Shaykh al-Tusi
Original title رِجال الطُّوسی
Language Arabic
Subject Rijal
Published 2006, Qom
Publisher Mu'assisa al-Nashr al-Islami

Rijāl al-Ṭūsī (Arabic:رِجال الطُّوسی), also known as al-Abwāb (الأبواب), is one of the main Shi'a rijal books, which is written by al-Shaykh al-Tusi between 423/1032 and 436/1044. The book contains descriptions of the people who narrated from the Holy Prophet (s) and the infallible Imams (a). The style of the book differs from the author's another book, al-Fihrist, and al-Rijal written by al-Najashi. The names of narrators are put in chapters according to the Imam (a) they have narrated from. In each chapter the names of narrators are arranged alphabetically. At the end of the book, there is a chapter about narrators who did not narrated hadith form any Imams (a). The book consists of 13 chapters and contains description of 6429 narrators.


Main article: al-Shaykh al-Tusi

Muhammad b. Hasan b. Ali b. Hasan (b. 385 d. 460) best known as al-Shaykh al-Tusi and Shaykh al-Ta'ifa (patriarch of Shi'a) is one of the greatest Shi'a narrators and faqihs. He is the author of al-Tahdhib and al-Istibsar, two books of the four main Shi'a hadith sources known as the Four Books. When he was 23, he emigrated from Khurasan to Iraq and studied under al-Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Sayyid al-Murtada and other great figures of that time. The Abbasid Caliph give him the Chair of Kalam (theology) in Baghdad. After that Shapur Libraray burned, he moved to Najaf and founded Hawza al-'Ilmiyya of Najaf. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi became the leader of Shi'a after Sayyid al-Murtada.

Title and Date of Writing

In his book, al-Fihrist, al-Shaykh al-Tusi has mentioned this book as al-Rijal, and also al-Najashi in his book, al-Rijal. In addition, the subsequent works quoted from this book by the same name. However, Ibn Tawus and al-'Allama al-Hilli mentioned the name of the book as Asma' al-Rijal. Although this name is taken from a phrase in the introduction of the book, it is not accurate. Al-'Allama Bahr al-'Ulum mentioned this book as al-Abwab, and al-Baghdadi mentioned it as al-Abwab 'ala tabaqat al-rijal. Even though the book is arranged in Abwab (chapters) there is no evidence for such names.

The exact time of writing the book is unknown. However, because at the last chapter of the book and in the description of al-Sharif al-Murtada the author prayed for his longevity - which indicates the book was written when he was still alive – and because the death date of Ahmad b. 'Ubdun is mentioned in the book, it must have been written between 423/1032 and 436/1044. It is noteworthy that one of the main sources in writing al-Rijal was al-Fihrist by al-Tusi, which shows al-Rijal was written after al-Fihrist.


In the book, the narrators and companions of the Holy Prophet (s) and each Imam are put in a separate chapter. The last chapter is dedicated to narrators who lived in the era of Minor Occultation or those who lived during the time of Imams (a) but did not narrate hadith directly from them. Each chapter consists of: alphabetically arranged name of narrators, a section for Kunyas and a section for female narrators. However, in the chapter of the companions of Imam al-Sadiq (a) there is another section about anonymous narrators from him, placed before the section of female narrators. In the introduction, the author noted that although he attempted to collect the names of all narrators from the Holy Prophet (s) and the infallible Imams (a), it is not possible to do so as they are a lot and are spread out in the East and West; however, he hoped that the missing narrators would be very few. According to the introduction of the book and by flipping through the book, it became clear that the author did not consider any other attributes or characteristics of the people mentioned in the book except for their narration from the Holy Prophet (s) or the Imams (a). Thus, all kinds of narrators - Twelver Shi'a, other sects of Shi'a, Sunni, faithful, hypocrite, reliable, unreliable and etc. - are found in the book. For instance: Imam Ali (a), Imam al-Hasan (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a) are mentioned among the Companion of the Holy Prophet (s) who narrated hadith from him; each Imam is mentioned as a companion of his father (in some cases even as a companion of his grandfather); Salman, Miqdad, Jundab b. Junada, Abu Dhar, Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman, Mu'awiya, 'Amr b. al-As are found among the Holy Prophet's (s) Companions; Salman, Abu Dhar, Miqdad and 'Ammar - described as al-Arkan al-Arba'a (the Four Pillars) - Ziyad b. 'Ubayd, 'Abd Allah b. Wahb Rasbi (the head of Khawarij) and 'Abd Allah b. Saba are found among the narrators form Imam Ali (a). Likewise, in the chapter of the companions of Imam al-Baqir (a) and the chapter of the companions of Imam al-Sadiq (a), figures such as: al-Mansur al-Dawaniqi (the Abbasid Caliph), Abu al-Jarud Ziyad b. Mundhir (the founder of al-Jarudiyya), Hasan b. Salih b. Hayy (the founder of al-Salihiyya, a branch of Zaydiyya), Abu Hanifa, Nu'man b. Thabit, Malik b. Anas, Sufyan al-Thuri and other famous Sunni faqihs are found. In most cases there is no mention of the narrators' faith; also there is no evidence that the author had the intention of specifying non-Twelver Shi'a narrators. Therefore, one cannot infer from the absence of information about the faith of a narrator in the book that he is a Twelver Shi'a.


There are two well-known prints of al-Rijal: one is edited by Muhammad Sadiq Al Bahr al-'Ulum and the other by Jawad Qayyumi Isfahani. The number of the narrators in the first print is 6417 and in the second is 6429; however, the number of the narrators in these two prints differs from the number in authentic manuscripts. In the oldest available manuscript of the book, the number of narrators is less and based on a calculation is 6347. This difference originates in the names which were written in the margin of the early manuscripts. Most of these names have become a part of the main text in these prints; but it is still unclear whether they were added by the author or others. Most likely, some users of the book wrote the name of other narrators in the margin of some copies of the book and later, copyists thought that these names are parts of the book; so they added them to the main text.


One of the discussions about al-Rijal is the repeated names. In the book, if a person has narrated hadith form more than one Imam, his name is repeated in all related chapters; for instance, Jabir b. 'Abd Allah al-Ansari is repeated in six chapters. Another criticism of the book is repetition of the name of one narrator in one chapter. This originates in the lack of complete alphabetical order (names are arranged alphabetically only by their first letter); however, some scholars have replied to this criticism.


The only source that the author has explicitly mentioned is al-Rijal written by Ibn 'Uqda. Another course of the book is Rijal by al-Barqi, which al-Tusi referred to for the chapter of the companions of Imam al-Baqir (a) and the chapter of the companions of Imam al-Hasan al-Askari (a). In the chapter of the narrators from the Holy Prophet (s), the author narrated some parts form Ibn 'Uqda, which is probably taken from his history book. In this chapter he also narrated from Baghawi, Bukhari, Ahmad b. Hanbal and Muhammad b. Ishaq, which is probably taken - directly or indirectly - form their books. In the chapter of the narrators from Imam Ali (a) he quoted an excerpt from al-Kashshi and criticized it, which is probably taken form Kashshi's Asl (special type of book) in Rijal. In this chapter and the chapter of the companions of Imam al-Hasan (a), he quoted an excerpt from 'Abd Allah al-Ash'ari, which is probably taken from his book Tabaqat al-Shi'a; however, in the chapter of the companions of Imam al-Rida (a), the author quoted an excerpt from him which is apparently taken from Rijal al-Barqi. In the chapter of the companions of Imam al-Baqir (a), he quoted Ali b. Hasan b. Faddal, which is probably taken from his Rijal book. In the chapter of the companions of Imam al-Jawad (a), he quoted Fadl b. Shadhan. In the chapter of the companions of Imam al-Hadi (a) and in the chapter of companions of Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari (a), there are some reports that are probably taken from Rijal al-Kashshi. In addition, there is an excerpt in the chapter of the companions of Imam al-Hadi (a) which is similar to that in al-Fihrist, written by Ibn Nadim. Moreover, he narrated a point form Ibn Qulawayh in the chapter of the companions of Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari (a) and criticized it.