Al-Shaykh al-Tusi

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Al-Shaykh al-Tusi
The Tumb of al-Shaykh al-Tusi.jpg
The Tomb of al-Shaykh al-Tusi in the al-Shaykh al-Tusi Mosque in Najaf
Personal Information
Full Name Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. 'Ali b. al-Hasan
Well-Known As Shaykh al-Ta'ifa, al-Shaykh al-Tusi
Well-Known Relatives Al-Hasan b. Muhammad al-Tusi (son)
Birth 385/995
Residence Khurasan, Baghdad, Najaf
Studied in Baghdad
Death 460/1067
Burial Place Najaf
Scholarly Information
Professors al-Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Sharif al-Murtada, Ibn Hashir, Ibn Salt al-Ahwazi, al-Husayn b. 'Ubayd Allah b. al-Ghada'iri
Students Abu l-Salah al-Halabi, Abu l-Fath al-Karajaki, Mansur b. al-Husayn al-Abi
Works Tahdhib al-ahkam, Al-Istibsar fi ma ikhtalaf min al-akhbar, Ikhtiyar al-rijal, Al-Tibyan fi tafsir al-Qur'an, Al-Khilaf fi l-ahkam

Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan b. ʿAli b. al-Ḥasan (Arabic: محمد بن الحسن بن علي بن الحسن) (b. 385/995 in Tus, d. 460/1067 in Najaf), better known as al-Shaykh al-Ṭūsī (Arabic: الشيخ الطوسي), was one of the greatest Shi'a jurists and compilers of hadith. He has written many works in the fields of theology and tafsir. For his great contributions and tremendous influence, he received the honorable title of al-Shaykh al-Ṭāʾifa (Arabic: الشيخ الطائفة) (the chief or head of the Shi'a).


Muhammad b. al-Hasan was born in Khorasan in Ramadan 385/995, four years after the demise of al-Shaykh al-Saduq and the same year of the demise of Harun b. Musa Talla'ukbari. His kunya was Abu Ja'far and since the kunya of both al-Shaykh al-Kulayni and al-Shaykh al-Saduq also was Abu Ja'far, he is sometimes called the third Abu Ja'far.

Al-Shaykh al-Tusi spent the first part of his life in Khorasan, and moved to Baghdad at the age of 23. In Baghdad, he studied under leading Shi'a scholars such as al-Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Sharif al-Murtada, and Ibn al-Ghada'iri. The Abbasid caliph of the time eventually appointed him to the principal chair of theology in Baghdad, where nearly three-hundred students would attend his classes.

Following the demise of al-Sharif al-Murtada, al-Shaykh al-Tusi took over the leadership of the Shi'a.

After his house and library were burnt down in the sectarian conflicts of 449/1057, and the decline of the Buyid dynasty, al-Shaykh al-Tusi moved to Najaf. There, he established a Shi'i scholarly circle which led to the formation of the Islamic Seminary of Najaf.[1]

Scholarly Position

Al-Shaykh al-Tusi was the leader of of Shi'a faqihs. He attained the station of ijtihad in both fiqh and usul al-fiqh. From the Four Books, al-Shaykh al-Tusi is the author of both al-Istibsar and Tahdhib al-ahkam.

The ideas and works of al-Shaykh al-Tusi had overshadowed Shi'a scholarship and no one opposed his opinions until the time of Ibn Idris (d. 597/1201). His book, al-Nihaya, was the main source of teaching in Shi'a scholarly circles until al-Muhaqiq al-Hilli (d. 676/1277) wrote Shara'i' al-Islam.

Al-Shaykh al-Tusi wrote in nearly all fields of Islamic sciences. His works are a unique resource for later generations because many of the sources he used were destroyed when Shapur library was burned.[2]


Al-Tusi studied with many teachers, but the following five figures are the ones he refers to most:


It is reported that al-Tusi had over 300 Shi'i students, and many other Sunni ones. The following list includes some of his more well-known students:

  • Adam b. Yunus b. Abi Muhajir al-Nasifi
  • Abu Bakr Ahmad b. al-Husayn b. Ahmad al-Khuza'i al-Nayshaburi
  • Abu l-Khayr Barakat b. Muhammad b. Barakat al-Asadi
  • Al-Taqi b. Najm al-Din al-Halabi, known as Abu l-Salah
  • Shams al-Islam al-Hasan b. al-Husayn b. Babawayh al-Qummi, known as Haska
  • Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b. 'Abd al-'Aziz b. al-Hasan al-Jabhani
  • Sa'd al-Din b. al-Barraj
  • Abu al-Hasan Sulayman b. al-Hasan b. Salman al-Sahrashti
  • Sa'id b. Rabi'at b. Abi Ghanim
  • Abu 'Abd al-Rahman b. Ahmad al-Husayni al-Khuza'i
  • 'Ali b. 'Abd al-Samad al-Tamimi al-Sabziwari
  • Ghazi b. Ahmad b. Abi Mansur al-Samani
  • Jamal al-Din Muhammad b. Abial-Qasim al-Tabari al-Amuli
  • Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Shahriyyar al-Khazin al-Gharawi
  • Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. 'Ali al-Fattal al-Neyshaburi, the author of Rawdat al-wa'zin
  • Abu l-Fath Muhammad b. Ali al-Karajaki
  • Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad b. Hibat Allah al-Tirablusi
  • Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. Ali b. al-Hasan al-Halabi
  • Mansur b. al-Husayn al-Abi
  • Abu Ibrahim al-Nasir b. al-Rida b. Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah al-Alawi al-Husayni.[4]
Al-Istibsar fi ma khtalafa min al-akhbar is one of the four books
Tahdhib al-ahkam is also one of the Four Books
Kitab al-khilaf


Al-Shaykh al-Tusi composed over fifty books in the fields of fiqh, hadith, theology, and tafsir. Some of his important works are as follows:

Al-Shaykh al-Tusi Mosque in Najaf


Al-Shaykh al-Tusi lived for 12 years in Najaf and passed away in Muharram 460/1067. According to al-Shaykh's will, he was buried in his house, and the house was converted into a mosque. The al-Shaykh al-Tusi mosque, which is also called Jami' al-Shaykh al-Tusi, is one of the most famous mosques of Najaf. It has been reconstructed and repaired several times, and is used by the professors and scholars of the Islamic Seminary of Najaf as a place for holding lectures.[6]


  1. Agha Buzurg, Tabaqat a'lam al-shi'a. p. 161-162
  2. Agha Buzurg, Tabaqat a'lam al-shi'a, p. 162
  3. Al-Tusi, al-Nihaya, p. 31
  4. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi. al-Nahaya. p36-39
  5. Al-Tusi, al-Nihaya, pp. 17-31
  6. 'Alawi. Rahnama-yi musawwar-i safar-i ziyyarati-yi Iraq, p.150.


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from شیخ طوسی in Farsi Wikishia.
  • Agha Buzurg Tihrani, Tabaqat a'lam al-shi'a, Qom, Isma'ilyan, n.d.
  • Tusi, Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-. Al-Nihaya fi mujarrad al-fiqh wa l-fatawa, Beirut: Dar al-Andulus.
  • 'Alawi, Sayyid Ahmad (compiler), Rahnama-iy mussawar-i safar-i ziyarati-yi Iraq. Qom: Ma'ruf, 1389Sh.