Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Hamza al-Tusi

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Ibn Hamza al-Tusi
Personal Information
Full Name 'Imad al-Din Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Hamza al-Tusi
Well-Known As Ibn Hamza al-Tusi
Birth second half of 5th/11th century
Death fisrt half of 6th/12th century
Scholarly Information
Professors Al-Shaykh al-Tusi, Abu l-Futuh al-Razi
Works Al-Wasila 'ila nayl al-fadila, Al-Wasita (Ibn Hamza), Al-Mu'jizat (Ibn Hamza), Al-Ra'i' fi l-shara'i', Masa'il fi l-fiqh (Ibn Hamza)

ʿImād al-Dīn Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad b. ʿAlī b. Ḥamza al-Ṭūsī (Arabic: عِمادالدین‌ ابوجَعفَر مُحَمَّد بن‌ عَلي بن‌ حَمزَه الطوسي‌) known as "Ibn Ḥamza al-Ṭūsī" (ابن حمزه الطوسی) was the Twelver Shia scholar of fiqh in 5th/11th and 6th/12th centuries who wrote the book al-Wasila. He is also famous as "Sahib al-Wasila" for writing this book. Ibn Hamza should be regarded a follower of Al-Shaykh al-Tusi's school. A comparison between his rulings in al-Wasila and al-Shaykh al-Tusi's rulings shows that he has accepted the principles of al-Shaykh al-Tusi's fiqh.

His Life

There is no authentic report about his life, sources and students. The oldest person who has mentioned him is Muntajab al-Din (d. after 585/1189) who mentioned him in al-Fihrist as a faqih and also attributed some works to him including al-Wasila. Although, Ibn Shahr Ashub, another indexer of 6th/12th century has not mentioned any name of him, but when he has mentioned the names of books he did not know their authors, he has mentioned a book with the title of al-Wasa'il 'ila nayl al-fada'il which can be Ibn Hamza's al-Wasila 'ila nayl al-fadila.

Mentioning al-Shaykh al-Tusi and Sallar al-Daylami as "late" by Ibn Hamza and also mentioning al-Wasila in Muntajab al-Din's al-Fihrist which has been written before 584/1188 shows that writing al-Wasila must have happened between 463/1167 and 584/1188. Now, since Ibn Hamza has been influenced by Ibn Barraj in this book and fiqh scholars of the second half of 6th/12th century including al-Rawandi have benefitted from al-Wasila, Ibn Hamza's life can be estimated from late 5th/11th century continuing into the first half of 6th/12th century. In sources of the recent century, it has been said that a grave with his name on it exists in the suburb of Karbala.

His Jurisprudential Method

Ibn Hamza should be considered among the followers of al-Shaykh al-Tusi's school. A comparison between his rulings in al-Wasila and al-Shaykh al-Tusi's rulings shows that he has accepted the principles of al-Shaykh al-Tusi's fiqh. He can also be regarded among fiqh scholars who have been considered as restating al-Shaykh al-Tusi's fiqh and his followers by Humsi (the fiqh scholar of the second half of 6th/12th century). However, it should be noted that Ibn Hamza not only has stood against some opinions of al-Shaykh al-Tusi and perhaps sometimes has wanted to moderate his ruling, but he has also discussed new minor issues in fiqh which have not been discussed in al-Shaykh al-Tusi's books.

One of the most distinguished characteristics of Ibn Hamza's fiqh should be considered his approach in stating the rulings. He first determines different possibilities of the issue in general with number and then discusses each of them in details. In his divisions, he has differentiated between obligatory and recommended, forbidden and reprehensible, performing and abandoning, quality and quantity and has mentioned each separately. In the introduction to al-Wasila, he says that this categorization makes remembrance of rulings easy. Although, Ibn Hamza cannot be considered the inventor of this method, but he perfected it. His definition of jurisprudential terminology at the beginning of some chapters is another characteristic of his fiqh. Beside al-Shaykh al-Tusi, he benefitted from the opinions of other contemporary scholars in fiqh as well; for example, in some cases, he openly has mentioned the opinions of Sallar al-Daylami. He was also influenced from Ibn Barraj to some extent.

Influences of Ibn Hamza's Fiqh on Others

Although there is no name of Ibn Hamza in the works of the second half of 6th/12th century, the influence of his fiqh in these works is clearly seen. Comparison between discussions in al-Rawandi's Fiqh al-Qur'an and al-Wasila shows Ibn Hamza's influence on al-Rawandi. Al-Rawandi even in cases such as the ruling about the blood of dog and pig on the clothes of the prayer in rare rulings has followed Ibn Hamza. Also in his al-Ghunya, Ibn Zuhra has gained some influences from Ibn Hamza.

In al-Sara'ir which was finished between 587/1191 and 588/1192, Ibn Idris also frequently quotes from al-Wasila with some expressions such as "Ba'd kutub ashabina" ("some books of our companions") and usually criticizes Ibn Hamza's opinions. However, the opinions of Ibn Idris are sometimes in agreement with those of Ibn Hamza. Shadhan b. Jibra'il Qommi's treatise Izahat al-'illa fi ma'rifat al-qibla also seems to be complementary for the discussions of al-Wasila which inspired Ibn Hamza and Shadhan as well.

Al-Wasila was paid attention to the most in 7th/13th century in the school of Hilla. Without openly mentioning the name of Ibn Hamza, Al-Muhaqqiq al-Hilli accepted the principles of al-Wasila especially in acts of worship and not only followed it exactly in chaptering for the part on acts of worship, but he was also influenced by it in the titles of the chapters, the way of discussing the issues and sometimes the content. Yahya b. Sa'id Hilli in Nuzhat al-nazir and Ābi in Kashf al-rumuz written in 672/1273-4 AH have clearly mentioned the name of Ibn Hamza and have quoted his rulings.

Al-'Allama al-Hilli's Mukhtalaf al-Shi'a should be considered the peak of mentioning Ibn Hamza in jurisprudential works of Hilla. Based on what can be understood from the letter of 'Alqami, the minister to Taj al-Din Ibn Salaya, al-Wasila has been one of the most common books among Shia of Iraq (especially in Hilla) in 7th/13th century.

His Works

  • Al-Wāsita: this book has been attributed to Ibn Hamza by Muntajab al-Din. At the end of available versions of al-Wasila, there is a supplement and from the statement mentioned in page 466, it can be understood that it can be a part of al-Wasita.

One of the students of Saymuri of recent scholars, has attributed two works called al-Ta'mim and al-Tanbih to Ibn Hamza without mentioning any reference.


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from محمد بن علی بن حمزه طوسی in Farsi Wikishia.