WikiShia:Featured Article/2017/12

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Ahmad b. 'Ali al-Najashi (Arabic: أحمد بن علي النَجاشی ) (b. 372/982 - d. After 463/1071), famously known as al-Najāshī (Arabic: النجاشی) or Ibn al-Kūfī (Arabic: ابن الکوفی), is one of the great Shi'a scholars of biographical evaluation ('ilm al-rijal) from the 4th/10th century and the beginnings of the 5th/11th century. His book, Fihrist asma' musannifi l-Shi'a, also known as Rijal al-Najashi is one of the prominent sources of biographical evaluation among the Shi'a.

He traces his ancestor to 'Adnan, the Prophet's (s) twentieth forefather. According to himself, his grandfather is 'Abd Allah, governor of Ahwaz during al-Mansur al-Dawaniqi's rule, who sent a letter to Imam al-Sadiq (a) and was replied by the Imam (a) in a letter known as Risalat al-Ahwaziyya (letter of Ahwaz).

Al-Najashi was taught by great scholars such as al-Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Shaykh al-Saduq, al-Sayyid al-Murtada, al-Sayyid al-Radi, and Ibn al-Ghada'iri.

One of the important characteristics of al-Najashi was that he only quoted narrations from completely authentic sources, although he had access to many narrations from weak, or accused as unauthentic sources. In many cases he says, "In this topic I have some narrations from weak people or weak books, but I shall not quote them."

His attention and meticulousness was to the extent that he wouldn't even listen to narrations from weak sources. This doubles the value of writings such as al-Najashi because of the certainty that exists when reading their works.

Muhammad Baqir Khwansari quotes 'Abd al-Nabi al-aza'iri in his book al-Hawi: "Al-Najashi was an honorable man and a great scholar of recording biographical evaluation. The people after him completely trust him in his judgment of personalities." Read more...