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Al-Wafi (book)

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Al-Wafi
Author Mulla Muhsin al-Fayd al-Kashani
Language Arabic
Series 26 vol.
Subject Narrations of Ahl al-Bayt (a)
Genre Hadith
Published Isfahan
Publisher Maktabat al-Imam Amir al-Mu'minin Ali b. Abi Talib (a)

Al-Wāfī (Arabic:الوافی) is a hadith reference in Arabic written by al-Fayd al-Kashani. This book includes all hadiths of the Four Books of Shi'a and the first hadith collection of recent scholars. In this book, al-Fayd al-Kashani has tried to collect hadiths, explains about their problems and solve them. This book has fourteen chapters and due to its advantages and features has always been referred to by recent scholars and many commentaries and marginal notes have written for it.

Author

Muhammad b. Murtada b. Muhammad known as Mulla Muhsin al-Kashani was titled as al-Fayd. He was a hadith scholar, philosopher, mystic, jurist, and a man of literature. He was born on Safar 14, 1007/September 16, 1598 and passed away on Rabi' II 22, 1091/May 22, 1680 and was buried in Kashan.

Naming

The author titled the book al-Wafi since he believed that it has done the rights completely to bringing of hadiths, important issues, and explanation of ambiguous expressions in hadiths.

Date of Compilation

The author spent 9 years and one month for writing this work and finished it in 1068/1657.

Goal of Writing

In an introduction the author has written on the book, he mentioned his goal of writing this book as the following:

  • None of the Four Books alone is enough for the reader because some important narrations are not mentioned there.
  • Referring to these books and finding a specific hadith is very difficult, because the titles of chapters are orderly. (Some hadiths are not mentioned in their corresponding chapter and mentioned somewhere else. Sometimes, narrations which needed to mention separately have been mentioned together or vice versa, when narrations which have a similar theme and needed to be mentioned in one chapter are mentioned in different chapters.)
  • Some narrations are repeated in the Four Books and this has caused their bulkiness and extra volume.

Content

Al-Wafi has an introduction, 14 chapters, and an ending. The number of its sections, according to Aqa Buzurg's counting, is 273 sections and the number of its hadiths reach 50,000.

This book contains all hadiths of the Four Books (al-Kafi, Kitab man la yahduruh al-faqih, Tahdhib al-ahkam, and al-Istibsar). In this book, al-Fayd collected these hadiths and tried to explain hadiths and solve their literal difficulties.

Chapters

The 14 chapters of al-Wafi are as following:

  • Book of intellect, knowledge, and unity
  • Book of proof
  • Book of faith and disbelief
  • Book of purity and ornamentation
  • Book of prayer, supplication, and the Qur'an
  • Book of zakat, khums, and charitable deeds
  • Book of fasting, i'tikaf, and personal promises
  • Book of hajj, 'umra, and pilgrimage
  • Book of religious judgeship, rulings, and witnesses
  • Book of ways of living, jobs, and dealings
  • Book of foods, drinks, and luxuries
  • Book of marriage, divorce, and births
  • Book of dead bodies, obligations, and wills
  • Book of rawda containing various hadiths

Ending of al-Wafi, on references of hadiths in Man la yahduruh al-faqih, Tahdhib al-ahkam, and al-Istibsar, which Mulla Muhsin listed alphabetically for a better accessibility and to preserve concision, he mentioned the names of some transmitters of hadiths in short form.

Comparison with other Hadith Collections

Important Shi'i hadith collections Author Death Number of hadiths descriptions
al-Mahasin Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Barqi 274/887 about 2604 Hadiths regarding different topics such as fiqh and ethics
al-Kafi Muhammad b. Ya'qub al-Kulayni 329/940 about 16000 Variety of hadiths regarding the principles of beliefs, ethics, conducts, and fiqh
Man la yahduruh al-faqih al-Shaykh al-Saduq 381/991 about 5500 Hadiths regarding fiqh
Tahdhib al-ahkam al-Shaykh al-Tusi 460/1067 about 13600 Hadiths regarding fiqh
Al-Istibsar al-Shaykh al-Tusi 460/1067 about 5500 Hadiths regarding fiqh
al-Wafi al-Fayd al-Kashani 1091/1680 about 50,000 Collection of hadiths in the Four Books with eliminating repeated hadiths and explaining some hadiths
Wasa'il al-shi'a al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili 1104/1692 35850 Hadiths regarding fiqh in the Four Books and over 70 other collections of hadiths
Bihar al-anwar al-'Allama al-Majlisi 1110/1698 about 85,000 Hadiths from most of the Infallibles (a) regarding various issues
Mustadrak al-wasa'il Mirza Husayn Nuri 1320/1902 23,514 Supplementation of hadiths regarding fiqh in Wasa'il al-shi'a
Safinat al-bihar Shaykh 'Abbas Qummi 1359/1940 10 volumes an alphabetically ordered index for Bihar al-anwar
Mustadrak safinat al-bihar Shaykh 'Ali Namazi 1405/1984 10 volumes Supplementation of Safinat al-bihar
Jami' ahadith al-Shi'a Ayatollah Burujirdi 1380/1960 48,342 Including all Shiite hadiths regarding fiqh
Mizan al-hikma Muhammad Muhammadi Reyshahri contemporary 23,030 564 non-jurisprudential (not regarding fiqh) topics
al-Hayat Muhammad Rida Hakimi contemporary 12 volumes 40 chapters regarding theoretical and practical issues

Al-Fayd's Criticisms of the Four Books

In his introduction, the author has criticized the Four Books and has mentioned the necessity of one hadith reference.

Al-Kafi

Although al-Fayd considers al-Kafi the noblest, most authentic, most complete and most comprehensive of the Four Books due to its coverage of principles and clearance of unnecessary extras, he mentions the following problems for it:

  • A weakness is seen in mentioning many rulings and its chapters are not complete.
  • In some cases, there is only one version/interpretation of the narrations, where there is a question about their conflict, and the other version/interpretation is not mentioned.
  • Ambiguities and literal difficulties in hadiths have been left unexplained.
  • In some of its chapters, sections, and hadiths, there is no good order and some hadiths have not been mentioned in corresponding chapters.

Man la yahduruh al-faqih

Al-Fayd continues and mentions the problems of man la yahduruh al-faqih and says that this book is similar to al-Kafi in many of the mentioned cases, except for the following:

  • It is void of hadiths related to principles of belief.
  • It has more missing chapters and sections.
  • In some cases, hadiths are confused with the author's word.
  • Its mursal hadiths and the missing references are many.

Tahdhib al-Ahkam

The author also mentions some problems about Tahdhib al-ahkam and although believes that Tahdhib al-ahkam is comprehensive about rulings and contains almost all hadiths about rulings, however, regarding its emptiness of hadiths regarding principles of beliefs, it is the same as man la yahduruh al-faqih. In addition to the mentioned points, he also points out the following problems in Tahdhib al-ahkam:

  • Coverage of far-from-the-fact interpretations and wrongly relating the conflicting hadiths
  • Separating hadiths which need to be mentioned together and mentioning hadiths together which needed to be separate.
  • Placing many reports in inappropriate places and not mentioning hadiths in their respective places
  • Having boring repetitions and stretching chapters with short titles

Al-Istibsar

According to al-Fayd, al-Istibsar was a part of Tahdhib al-ahkam which was extracted from it and has been remiss in mentioning contradictory and conflicting reports and has tried to relate them using close and far hadiths. In his opinion, it is fair to say that relating such hadiths and others is something impossible and even out of man's capability.

Before beginning his work, the author has brought three issues and explained about them as follows:

  • Way of learning religious sciences
  • Way of identifying hadith references
  • Terminology and rules of the book

Advantages and Features

  • Great order of mentioning hadiths in the corresponding chapter
  • Explanation of the words in hadiths and some verses of the Qur'an
  • Narrating hadiths related to every chapter from references other than the Four Books
  • Making the researcher needless of referring to references in many hadiths
  • Mentioning the cases when a hadith is split
  • Interpreting many Qur'anic verses
  • Paying attention to the cause of issuing hadiths upon explaining their meanings
  • Correcting the texts of hadiths in the Four Books using different hadith sources
  • Correcting references of the hadiths from the Four Books
  • Observing scholarly piety in relating scholarly theories to their owners
  • Explaining the philosophy of some issues in the verses of the Qur'an or hadiths
  • Mere following of reason in fatwas
  • Explaining the meaning of proverbs in narrations
  • Explaining similitude in narrations
  • Clarifying the meaning of narrations through giving examples
  • Bringing poems related with the subjects of narrations
  • Mentioning the cases of mentioning a narration in the Four Books, etc.
  • Quoting the exact text together with the reference

Commentaries and Marginal Notes

  • Al-Hashiya 'ala al-wafi written by Muhammad Baqir b. Muhammad Akmal, known as al-Wahid al-Bihbahani (d. 1206/1706-7). This book has been mentioned to be a commentary, but the author has mentioned it in the list of his works as a marginal note on al-Wafi.
  • Al-Hashiya 'ala al-wafi written by Fadl Allah b. Muhammad al-Sharif al-Kashani. This book includes a marginal note on the chapters of intellect and knowledge from al-Wafi and mostly discusses the explanation of hadiths and sometimes addresses references as well. It was finished in Rajab of 1107/1696. This marginal note has been compiled by the author and a version of it together with glosses also written by him is available in the library of Sepahsalar school.
  • Sharh al-wafi written by al-Sayyid Muhammad Jawad b. Muhammad al-Husayni al-'Amili, author of Miftah al-karama (d. 1226/1811-12) containing a commentary on the chapter of purity from al-Wafi and the class notes of the discussion of his teacher, Bahr al-'Ulum who discussed the text and references of the reports of al-Wafi and has also been mentioned as class notes.
  • Al-Hashiya 'ala l-wafi written by al-Sayyid Muhsin b. Hasan al-A'raji (d. 1227/1812-13) containing Awa'il al-wafi compiled by one of his descendants.
  • Sharh tahara al-wafi written by Muhammad Taqi b. Muhammad Rahim Tihrani (d. 1248/1832-3) which is class notes of the class of his teacher, Bahr al-'Ulum.

Collection, Anthology, Complement and Index

  • Al-Shafi al-muntakhab min al-Wafi written by Muhammad Muhsin b. Murtada al-Fayd al-Kashani (1007/1598 – 1091/1680). In this book, the author has omitted conflicting and repeated hadiths, references of transmitters and extracted the rest from al-Wafi and only has mentioned authentic topics. The author has compiled al-Shafi in two parts, each of which contains twelve chapters with different sections.
  • Nawadir al-akhbar (Nawadir al-Fayd); After extracting al-Shafi from al-Wafi, al-Fayd wrote a complement for al-Shafi as well and called it Nawadir al-akhbar. He collected authentic hadiths which were not mentioned either in the Four Books, al-Wafi or al-Shafi in Nawadir al-akhbar. Shaykh Husain al-'Usfuri completed it and titled it as al-Hada'iq al-nawazir.

References