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'Abd al-Nabi al-Jaza'iri

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'Abd al-Nabi al-Jaza'iri
Personal Information
Full Name 'Abd al-Nabi b. Sa'd al-Jaza'iri
Religious Affiliation Shia Islam
Residence Karbala
Studied in Najaf
Death 1021/1612
Burial Place Shiraz
Scholarly Information
Professors al-Muhaqqiq al-Karaki, al-Sayyid Muhammad b. 'Ali al-'Amili
Students Sayyid Mirza Jaza'iri
Works Hawi al-aqwal, al-Mabsut fi l-imama

ʿAbd al-Nabī al-Jazāʾirī (Arabic: عبد النبي الجزائري, d. 1021/1612) was a Shiite scholar of rijal in the eleventh/eighteenth century. In a division of scholars of rijal into founders, supplementers, compilers, and refiners, he counts as the first refiner. Another novel contribution of al-Jazaʾiri was the quadripartite classification of hadiths: sahih (authentic), muwaththaq (reliable), hasan (praised), and daʿif (weak or unreliable).

The author of Madarik and al-Muhaqqiq al-Karaki were his teachers. His works include Hawi al-aqwal (on rijal) and al-Mabsut fi l-imama (about the theological issue of imamate).


There is no information about ʿAbd al-Nabi al-Jazaʾiri’s date of birth. Given references by his teachers and students, some people have inferred that he was born around the middle of the tenth/sixteenth century. His father’s name is said to be Saʿd, although this was called into question by the biographer Abd Allah b. Isa al-Afandi.

ʿAbd al-Jazaʾiri was originally from Jazaʾir, a region in northwestern Basra in Iraq (known as Jibayish). He studied in Najaf, and in the last two decades of his life, he inhabited in Karbala. He was contemporary with the following Shiite scholars: the author of Maʿalim (d. 1011/1602-3), the author of Madarik al-ahkam (d. 1009/1600), and al-Shaykh al-Bahaʾi (d. 1031/1621-2).

Al-Jazaʾiri passed away on Jumada I 18, 1021/July 17, 1612 in a village between Isfahan and Shiraz in Iran. His grave is located in Shiraz.

Education and Teaching

ʿAbd al-Nabi al-Jazaʾiri learned Islamic sciences in the Seminary School of Najaf. The author of Madarik and al-Muhaqqiq al-Karaki were his teachers. Given the age difference between al-Muhaqqiq al-Karaki and al-Jazaʾiri, the biographer Abd Allah b. 'Isa al-Afandi has cast doubt on al-Karaki being al-Jazaʾiri’s teacher. Nevertheless, al-Muhaddith al-Nuri the Shiite scholar believes that al-Karaki was his teacher because of a permission cited by al-Allama al-Majlisi in his Bihar al-anwar, although al-Jazaʾiri was probably very young when he attended al-Karaki’s lectures.

Al-Jazaʾiri also obtained a permission from the author of Madarik.

Here are his students:

Pioneer of Transformations in Rijal

Some people believe that ʿAbd al-Nabi al-Jazaʾiri and Sayyid Mustafa al-Tafrishi were pioneers of the period of criticizing hadith transmitters and the science of rijal. Sulayman b. 'Abd Allah al-Mahuzi categorizes scholars of rijal into four groups: founders, supplementers, compilers, and refiners (or researchers), holding that al-Jazaʾiri marked the beginning of the period of refinement. He investigated the science of rijal and had a critical consideration of appraising the transmitters of hadiths. Before al-Jazaʾiri, some scholars such as al-Shahid al-Thani also criticized rijal, but this was not comprehensive enough to include all the transmitters and aspects of the science of rijal.

ʿAbd al-Nabi al-Jazaʾiri was the first to categorize the transmitters of hadiths into four groups: sahih (authentic), muwaththaq (reliable), hasan (praised), and da'if (weak or unreliable). Before him, there was no categorization in assessing the transmitters, or there simply was the dual classification of authentic and weak.

According to Abu 'Ali al-Ha'iri, a scholar of rijal in the thirteenth/nineteenth century, al-Jazaʾiri was like Ibn al-Ghada'iri in that he unfairly dismissed many transmitters of hadiths as weak and unreliable. Ahmad al-Bahrani, the Shiite scholar of the eleventh/seventeenth century, was also quoted as saying that al-Jazaʾiri was too strict in his assessment of the transmitters, which is perhaps why the reliability of some transmitters is established by his trust in them.

According to Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Khwansari, ʿAbd al-Nabi al-Jazaʾiri was also an expert in jurisprudence, principles of jurisprudence, theology, hadith, and the like.


ʿAbd al-Nabi al-Jazaʾir wrote works in rijal, jurisprudence, principles of jurisprudence, and theology:

The book Hawi l-aqwal fi ma'rifat al-rijal

Hawi l-aqwal fi maʿrifat al-rijal is a book of rijal, which attracted the attention of scholars because of its innovative methods. In this book, he divides the transmitters of hadiths into four categories: sahih (authentic), muwaththaq (reliable), hasan (praised), and daʿif (weak or unreliable). Moreover, in the introduction and the epilogue, he gives a definition of the science of rijal, introduces the titles of Imams of the Shia, outlines the seven Shiite sects, and introduces People of Consensus.

Other Works

  • Al-Imama or al-mabsut fi l-imama: This book has four sections: the notion of imamate, the necessity of the Imam being appointed by God, characteristics of Imams, and instances of imamate.
  • Al-Iqtisad fi sharḥ al-irshad: it is a commentary on ʿAllama al-Hilli’s Irshad al-adhhan (to the end of the section on zakat) mixed with the original text.
  • Ajwiba masaʾil al-Shaykh Jabir b. ʿAbbas al-Najafi usuliyya wa-fiqhiyya: replies to questions about jurisprudence and its principles asked by his student Jabir b. ʿAbbas al-Najafi.


  1. Al-sharh al-mazji” (commentary-cum-text or commentary mixed with the text) is a commentary that can be separated from the original text only with conventional signs.