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Kitab man la yahduruh al-faqih (book)

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Kitab man la yahduruh al-faqih
Author Al-Shaykh al-Saduq
Original title كِتاب مَن لا يَحضُرُه الفَقيه‎
Language Arabic
Subject Fiqh
Genre Narrative
Publisher Mu'assisa al-Nashr al-Islami


Kitāb man lā yaḥḍuruh al-faqīh (Arabic: كِتاب مَن لا يَحضُرُه الفَقيه‎) is a hadith collection mainly about fiqh complied by the famous Twelver Shi'a hadith scholar al-Shaykh al-Saduq. This book is among the most reliable Shi'a hadith books and one of The Four Books of Twelver Shi'a hadith.

Name

The full name of this book is Kitab Man la yahduruhu al-faqih (The word "Kitab" sometimes is not mentioned). Its name literally means The book for the one who does not have a Faqih before him. Some translate the title as Every man his own lawyer.

Contents

In his introduction to the book, al-Shaykh al-Saduq says when he was at Ilaq (a region near Balkh), met one of his friends and one day

[this friend] mentioned a book compiled by Muhammad b. Zakariyya al-Razi entitled Kitab man la yahduruhu al-Tabib (The book for the one who does not have a doctor before him) which is comprehensive, albeit small. So he asked me to compile a book on fiqh and lawful and unlawful for him… which includes all I have written about fiqh… and to name the book Kitab man la yahduruh al-faqih so that he can refer to it as a reliable book and act according it when needed…

Therefore the book is mainly concerned with fiqh and contains hadiths which are about lawful and unlawful. Since he meant to compile this book as a reference book to help ordinary Shi'a Muslims in the practice of the legal requirements of Islam, al-Saduq had mentioned hadiths he considered them correct. He says in the introduction of the book:

I did not have the usual intention of compilers (of Hadith books) to put forward everything which they (could) narrate but my intention was to put forward those things by which I issue fatwa and which I am sure of their attribution to the Prophet (s) and Imams (a).

In fact the work represents a definitive synopsis of all the hadiths which al-Shaykh al-Saduq had collected and included in individual books on specific fiqh subjects.

Structure

The book encompasses most of the areas of fiqh. It is arranged in small sections and every several sections constitute one major topic in fiqh; for example:

  • Several sections about the rules of prayer
  • Several sections about the rules of fasting
  • Several sections about the rules of judgment
  • Several sections about the rules for marriage
  • Several sections about the rules of heritage

According to the authors classification, the book was arranged in four volumes and 666 sections. The number of hadiths al-Saduq has narrated in this book is around 6000.

Method

This book is written in the conventional method of that time in which faqihs only narrated the hadiths about the subjects in discussion (in later periods of fiqh, faqihs write their own inferences from hadiths and other sources).

Since this book has been written for ordinary people, generally the "Isnads" of hadiths (that is, the chain of authorities by which the hadith had been received from the Prophet or one of the Imams) is omitted. Al-Shaykh al-Saduq explains in the introduction of the book that "I omitted the Isnads, lest the book become voluminous." The scholars, however, could check the Isnads in other works of al-Saduq.

Sources

Al-Shaykh al-Saduq says that this work is driven from all hadiths and books he knew. He also gives an account of the works which he has consulted in compiling this book:

"all what mentioned in this book is derived from those well-known works that we should rely on them and refer to them."

Then he mentions the names of eleven early Shi'a hadith compiler whose work he has refer to; such as Hariz b. 'Abd Allah al-Sajistani, 'Ubayd Allah b. 'Ali al-Halabi, 'Ali b. Mahziyar, Husayn b. Sa'id al-Kufi, Ibn al-Walid al-Qummi, 'Ali b. Babawayh al-Qummi (his father).

This inclusion of the list of some of the works consulted is an evidence that the works of both al-Shaykh al-Saduq and his predecessor, al-Kulayni, who compiled al-Kafi, the first of the Four Books, represent the zenith of hadith works which had been compiled in a continuous process from the earliest times and at least from the time of Imam al-Sadiq (a).

In addition to these references which the author gives in his introduction he frequently refers to his own works during the course of the book. Thus at the end of his "Bab nawadir al-hajj" (Chapter of Exceptional hadiths about Hajj), he says: "I have published these hadiths with their Isnads with others in Kitab jami' nawadir al-hajj ."

Position

This book has been esteemed as one of the most reliable hadith collections among Shi'a scholars, hence its inclusion in The Four Books. As all hadith collections, however, there is no guarantee of the authenticity of each individual hadith and the reliability of each must be separately assessed.

Important Shiite collections of hadiths The 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

Commentaries

As one of the major works of Shi'a hadith, 23 commentaries have been written on it so far. Many of these commentaries have been lost or are unpublished transcripts. Among the significant Shi'a scholars who have written commentaries on this book are al-Shahid al-Thani and al-'Allama al-Majlisi.

References

  • Amin, al-Sayyid Muhsin al-, A'yan al-Shi'a, Beirut, Dar Al-Ta'aruf li-l-Matbu'at, 1406 AH (vol. 1, p. 122)
  • Bahrani, Yusuf, Lu'lu'at al-bahrayn, Najaf, Dar Al-Nu'man, 1386AH (p. 395)
  • Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Al-Muqni', Qom, Mu'asisa Imam al-Hadi (a), 1415AH (p. 5)
  • Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Kitab man la yahduruh al-faqih, edited by 'Ali Akbar Ghaffari, Qom, Dafter Intisharat Islami, 1413AH (vol. 1, p. 3; vol. 4, p. 180 and pp.538-539 footnote)
  • Nadhari, Mahmud, “Pajhuhishi Darbari Kitab man la yahduruh al-faqih”, Masjid, No. 34, 1376Sh.