Qurb al-isnad (book)

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Qurb al-isnad
Author 'Abd Allah b. Ja'far al-Himyari
Original title قرب الإسناد
Language Arabic
Genre Hadith
Publisher Al al-Bayt (a) li Ihya' al-Turath al-'Arabi Institute, Qom

Qurb al-isnād (Arabic: قُرب الإسناد) is an Imamiyya book of hadiths written by 'Abd Allah b. Ja'far al-Himyari, a Shiite scholar of the 3rd/9th and 4th/10th centuries. The book introduces short chains of narrations of hadiths that are very close to the Imams (a). It contains 1387 hadiths of Imam al-Sadiq (a), Imam al-Kazim (a) and Imam al-Rida (a). The book includes sections regarding tahara, prayer, fasting, zakat ,and hajj. There is a disagreement among scholars and bibliographers as to the attribution of the book to al-Himyrari.


'Abd Allah b. Ja'far al-Himyari was a Shiite scholar and muhaddith in the 3rd/9th and 4th/10th centuries. Nothing is known about the dates of his birth and death, but he definitely lived in the periods of Imam al-Hadi (a) and Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari (a) and the Minor Occultation.

Attribution of the book to al-Himyari

There is a disagreement among scholars and bibliographers as to who the author of the book is. Many scholars attribute the book to 'Abd Allah b. Ja'far al-Himyari; among them are al-Shaykh al-Tusi in his al-Fihrist, al-Najashi in his Rijal, al-'Allama al-Majlisi in Bihar al-anwar, Ibn Shahrashub in Ma'alim al-'ulama, al-Hurr al-'Amili in Wasa'il al-shi'a, Aqa Buzurg Tihrani in al-Dhari'a, and Ayatollah Khoei in Mu'jam rijal al-hadith.

Some other scholars take the author to be his son, Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah b. Ja'far al-Himyari who cited his father's hadiths. Ibn Idris al-Hilli in Mustatrafat al-sara'ir is one such scholar.

It seems that all scholars agree that the book was cited by Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah b. Ja'far and that all hadiths of the book are cited by 'Abd Allah b. Ja'far. So the real author of the book is the father and his son cites the book from his father.


Qurb al-isnad (which literally means short chains of narrations) refers to work in which a muhaddith (a narrator of hadiths) narrates hadiths with shortest chains of narrations from an Imam (a). 'Ali b. Ibrahim, Muhammad b. 'Isa al-Yaqtini and 'Ali b. Babawayh also wrote books under Qurb al-isnad , but the only book of this sort available to us today is al-Himyari's. Such a selection of hadiths is important in that if the chains of narrations are too long, then the possibility of error will be greater, even if all the narrators are reliable. So al-Himyari found the shortest such chains in order to reduce the possibility of error.

Qurb al-isnad includes 1387 hadiths (in an earlier edition the number of its hadiths was mentioned to be 1404) structured in three parts:

1. Qurb al-isnad 'an al-Imam al-Sadiq (a) (hadith with short chains of narrations from Imam al-Sadiq (a)) that includes two sections:

  • Section 1: Hadiths from Imam al-Sadiq (a) regarding supplications (27 hadiths).
  • Section 2: miscellaneous hadiths regarding fiqh, history, and some moral issues (hadith number 27 through 645).

2. Qurb al-isnad 'an al-Imam al-Kazim (a) (hadiths with short chains of narrations from Imam al-Kazim (a)) in two sections:

  • Section 1: hadiths regarding different parts of fiqh: questions 'Ali b. Ja'far (a) asked his brother Imam al-Kazim (a) (hadith number 646 through 1229).
  • Section 2: miscellaneous hadiths from Imam al-Kazim (a) (hadith number 1230 through 1248).

3. Qurb al-isnad 'an al-Imam al-Rida (a) (hadiths with short chains of narrations from Imam al-Rida (a)).

This section includes Imam al-Rida's (a) hadiths without any structures. It includes hadiths regarding issues in fiqh, such as inheritance, marriage, jihad, hajj, kharaj (taxes), ghina (singing) and the like, as well as hadiths regarding history, such as the occasions on which some verses of the Qur'an were revealed, the life of the prophet Ibrahim (a) and the prophet Adam (a), circumstances of the time of Imam al-Rida (a), the appearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a) and some moral issues (hadith number 1249 through the end of the book).

Most hadiths in the book are comprised by hadiths in different parts of fiqh. Hadiths of the book were cited by al-'Allama al-Majlisi in his Bihar al-anwar and al-Hurr al-'Amili in his Wasa'il al-shi'a.


Although all manuscripts of Qurb al-isnad are recent, but they go back to an old manuscript by Himyari's son, Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah. This is known by a permission cited from him in the manuscripts of the book.

The book was not well-known in the early centuries. Although al-Shaykh al-Saduq should have known al-Himyari since his father was al-Himyari's pupil, he did not cite al-Himyari's Qurb al-isnad in hadiths he cited from Imam al-Rida (a) in his 'Uyun akhbar al-Rida (a). It seems that the book was known by few people at the time (al-Himyari's son and Abu Ghalib al-Zurari). However, the book was more or less known by scholars before the Safavid period, such as Ibn Tawus and Ibn Idris al-Hilli.

Here are the manuscripts of the book:

  • Ayatollah Mar'ashi Najafi Library in Qom. This manuscript cites the manuscript written by Ibn Idris. It was written in 1066/1655 on the basis of a manuscript with a permission by al-Himyari himself.
  • Another manuscript in Ayatollah Mar'ashi Najafi Library that was written in 1056/1646. It was written on the basis of a manuscript that was in turn written on the basis of Ibn Idris's.
  • Another manuscript in the same library written in 983/1575 on the basis of Ibn Idris's manuscript and compared by al-Hurr al-'Amili.
  • Another manuscript in the same library written in 1308/1890.

Aqa Buzurg Tihrani mentioned three manuscripts:

  • The manuscript available in Astan Quds Radawi.
  • The one possessed by Muhaddith Nuri that he had received from I'jaz Husayn, the author of Kashf al-hujub wa l-astar.


The book, Qurb al-isnad, was published by Mu'assisa Al al-Bayt (a) li Ihya' al-Turath in Qom in 1413/1992 with the circulation of 3000 copies. It is 543 pages, 395 pages of which are the hadiths of the book, and the rest includes indices of the Quranic verses, Qudsi Hadiths, hadiths, work, proper names, historical dates and events, foods and drinks, clothes, animals, and bibliographies.

The book had been published before in three volumes by Naynawa publication in Tehran.


  • The material for writing this article has been mainly taken from قرب الاسناد in Farsi WikiShia.