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Fihrist asma' musannifi l-Shi'a (book)

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Fihrist asma' musannifi l-Shi'a
Author Ahmad b. 'Ali al-Najashi
Original title فهرس أسماء مصنفي الشيعة
Language Arabic
Series 1 volume
Subject Rijal
Published 1407/1986
Publisher Jami'i Mudarresin

Fihrist asmāʾ muṣannifi l-Shiʿa (Arabic: (فهرست اسماء مصنفی الشیعة (کتاب) or Rijāl al-Najāshi (رجال النجاشي) is among the four principal sources of Shi'a in rijal. Ahmad b. 'Ali al-Najashi (d. After 463/1071) wrote it as an index for the names of Shi'a writers and only mentioned the names of great individuals who wrote books or other works. The significance of al-Najashi's book is that it preceded all other books of rijal in time and with regards to the author.

The Author

Ahmad b. Ali b. Ahmad b. 'Abbas b. Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah al-Najashi was born in Kufa in 372/982. His father was too among hadith scholars and great Shi'a individuals. Based on researches made, his kunya was Abu l-Husayn and his title was al-Najashi.

Writing Motive

In the introduction of his book, al-Najashi mentioned the criticism of some opposer's of Shi'a about non-existence of a scientific history for this school as his writing motive. He wrote,

Al-Sharif al-Murtada quoted from our opposer's (Sunni people) that they said, "You Shi'a neither have precedents, nor writers. Since, this claim is out of ignorance, I wanted to answer it; so, I collected as many names of Shi'a writers as I could".

Date of Writing

Writing this book was between 419/1028 and 436/1044-5, because in it, the death of Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Malik al-Tabban (419/1028) is mentioned and when mentioning the name of al-Sayyid al-Murtada (d. 436/1044), it said "May God prolongs his presence".

Writing Approach

The book first mentions the names of the writers at the time of the Prophet (s) or close to his time and then the names of other writers in alphabetical order based on the first letter of their given names; and other letters of their names, name of their fathers, etc. are disregarded. 'Inayat Allah Qahpa'i, a scholar of 11th century AH reordered the names based on alphabet so that it would be easier to use and also added some parts to the book, but unfortunately, its edition is not available and the present print of the book is based on the author's original order.

In this book, al-Najashi mentioned about 1000 of Shi'a writers, as well as non-Shi'a ones (such as Sunni, Waqifid, Zaydi and Fatahiyya) and mentions their schools. In his rijal, he mentioned 141 transmitters of hadith weak, due to their weakness and corruption of religion, beliefs or weakness in transmitting hadiths.

Sources

Al-Najashi mentions his sources and thus the books which were available to him at that time. He benefited from great teachers and experts in rijal and hadiths such as Husayn b. 'Ubayd Allah al-Ghada'iri, Ibn Nuh al-Sirafi, al-Shaykh al-Mufid and others and also cited from the works of previous scholars such as Abu 'Amr al-Kashshi, Ibn Walid al-Qummi and Ibn 'Uqda.

Significance

Al-Najashi's book is superior to other books of rijal regarding precedence in time and expertise of the author. One of the important characteristics of the book is that al-Najashi did not quote from non-authentic sources and if he wanted to quote from a non-authentic source, he would say, "said such a person…" or "mentioned such a person…" or indirectly quoted them through an authentic person such as al-Shaykh al-Mufid.

He also accepted and rejected some transmitters of hadiths. He gave exclusive reports about the lives of Imams (a) and mentioned that some works were presented to the Infallible Ones (a).

Versions

  • A version of the book by the handwriting of Fadl b. Muhammad 'Abbasi belongs to 1021/1612-3 which is copied from the versions originally written by Ibn Idris al-Hilli, in which the handwritings of al-Sayyid 'Abd al-Karim b. Tawus and Sayyid Muhammad b. Sayyid Musawi are also available.
  • The version available in the library of Tabriz from 981/1573, written from the version of 551/1156-7.

References