Ilal al-sharayi' (book)

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'Ilal al-sharayi'
Bibliographical Information
Bibliographical Information
AuthorAl-Shaykh al-Saduq
Original titleعِلَلُ الشَّرائِع
Series2 Vols.
SubjectReason of Ahkam

ʿIlal al-sharāyiʿ (Arabic: عِلَل الشَّرائِع, literally: reasons of the rulings) is an Arabic book written by al-Shaykh al-Saduq (d. 381/991-2) who was a great jurist (faqih) and hadith scholars of Shi'a in the 4/10 century. The book contains narrations from the Prophet (s) and Imams (a) regarding the reasons of religious obligations and theological beliefs. It also includes the reason of naming some characters and events and some information about creation of animals. Al-Shaykh al-Saduq mentioned some points on the behaviors and activities of the Prophet (s) and Imams (a).

The book has been published in two volumes and has 647 chapters. It is a reliable book and Shi'a scholars trusted it.


Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Husayn b. Musa b. Babawayh al-Qummi well-known as al-Shaykh al-Saduq, was one of the greatest Islamic scholars of the fourth/tenth century. His birth was at 305/917-8 and he breathed his last at 381/991 and was buried in Rey. He was the greatest Muhaddith and jurist in the Hadith school of Qom. He had approximately 300 works some of which are lost. The book Kitab man la yahduruh al-faqih, which is one of the four books of Shi'a, is one of his works.


The book is reputed by the title 'Ilal al-sharayi' and in some cases it is briefly called al-'IIal. However in some books it is named as 'IIal al-sharayi' wa al-ahkam.[1].[2].[3]


Al-Shaykh al-Saduq divided the book based on subjects. In some cases, he added his point of view about the hadiths of the Prophet (s) and Imams (a), opening with the phrase "the author of the book says"; that is to make a differentiation between his ideas and the hadiths. The author argues for his opinions by verses of the Qur'an, hadiths of the infallibles (a), historical events, ideas of scholars and rational reasons.

To explain some of the hadiths, al-Shaykh al-Saduq sometimes discusses about the literal meaning of hadith, mentions the case of the hadith, rejects the content of some hadiths and makes compromise among the hadiths.[4]


'Ilal al-sharayi' has been compiled in two volumes and has 1907 hadiths in 647 chapters. The first volume has 262 chapters and the second volume has 385 chapters. Each chapter starts with the title "bab al-'illa …"[5]. (The chapter of the reason of …). The first chapter is titled "al-'Illa allati min ajliha summiyat al-sama' sama' wa al-dunya dunya wa al-akhira al-akhira …" (The reason why sky called sky and the universe called universe and hereafter called hereafter …). The last chapter is "Nawadir al-'ilal" (the uncommon reasons)

The subjects like how the generation of Adam (a) originate, the reason that Imam 'Ali (a) entered the council of selecting the 3rd caliph, the reason why the fajr prayer should be recited loudly, explaining of the reason of zakat, why the will of the deceased is valid only in his one third of property, why prayer is obligatory, why do people need Prophets and Imams, why hunting is forbidden for Jews in Saturday, etc. are among the reasons that has been mentioned in the book.

In the first volume, the first chapter is about the reason of naming of sama' (sky), dunya (universe), akhira (hereafter), Adam, Hawwa (Eve), dirham, dinar, etc. and the last chapter is about reason of emerging of suffering in grave. In the second volume, the first chapter is about the reasons of wudu (ablution), adhan and prayer. The last chapter is about "Nawadir al-'ilal" (the uncommon reasons).[6].[7].[8]

Position and Authenticity

Due to the content of the book which is about the reasons of the religious obligations and phenomena, the book was noticed since the time of compiling. The scholars like Qadi al-Nu'man, in his Sharh al-akhbar,[9] al-'Allama al-Majlisi in his Bihar al-anwar,[10] al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili in his Wasa'il al-shi'a,[11] etc. benefited from the book and referred to it.

The book has been criticized by some of Usulis like al-Wahid al-Bihbahani, because al-Shaykh al-Saduq tried merely to gather hadiths without regard to its authenticity.[12]

Studies on the Book

There are two concise versions of the book, first one is by Ibrahim b. 'Ali al-Kaf'ami which is titled Ikhtisar 'ilal al-sharayi[13] and the second one is by al-Shaykh Sharaf al-din Yahya al-Bahrani under the name of Talkhis 'ilal al-sharayi[14] and translated to Persian by Muhammad Taqi Aqa Najafi.[15]

The book is translated by contemporary translators as well.

Some authors like al-Shaykh Sharaf al-din Yahya al-Bahrani studied on the chain of Narrators of the book.



The book has been published three times in Iran in 1289/1872-3, 1311/1893-4, and 1378/1958-9.[17] It is also published edited by Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq Bahr al-'Ulum in Najaf in 1385/1965-6.


  1. Āgā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, al-Dharīʿa, vol. 15, p. 313.
  2. Ziriklī, al-Aʿlām, vol. 6, p. 274.
  3. Aḥmadī, Tārīkh hadīth-i Shīʿa, p. 178.
  4. Maʿārif, ʿIlal al-sharāʾi atharī wazīn dar majmūʿa āthār shaykh Ṣadūq, p. ?
  5. Aḥmadī, Tārīkh hadīth-i Shīʿa, p. 179.
  6. Maʿārif, ʿIlal al-sharāʾi atharī wazīn dar majmūʿa āthār shaykh Ṣadūq, p. ?
  7. Ṣadūq, ʿIlal al-sharāʾiʿ, index of the book.
  8. Aḥmadī, Tārīkh hadīth-i Shīʿa, p. 179-180.
  9. Maghribī, Sharḥ al-akhbār, vol. 3, p. 550.
  10. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 1, p. 6.
  11. Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Wasāʾil al-Shīʿa, vol. 1, p. 7.
  12. Wāhīd Bihbahānī, al-Rasāʾil al-fiqhiyya, p. 193.
  13. Āgā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, al-Dharīʿa, vol. 1, p. 356.
  14. Āgā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, al-Dharīʿa, vol. 4, p. 424.
  15. Āgā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, al-Dharīʿa, vol. 15, p. 313.
  16. Maʿārif, ʿIlal al-sharāʾi atharī wazīn dar majmūʿa āthār shaykh Ṣadūq, p. 126.
  17. Maʿārif, ʿIlal al-sharāʾi atharī wazīn dar majmūʿa āthār shaykh Ṣadūq, p. 139.


  • Amīn, al-Sayyid Muḥsin al-. Aʿyān al-Shīʿa. Edited by Ḥasan Amīn. Beirut: Dār al-Taʿāruf, 1403 AH.
  • Āgā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, Muḥammad Muḥsin. Al-Dharīʿa ilā taṣānīf al-shīʿa. Beirut: Dār al-Aḍwāʾ, [n.d].
  • Aḥmadī, Mahdī. Tārīkh hadīth-i Shīʿa dar sadahā-yi chāhārum ta haftum hijrī. Qom: Dār al-Ḥadīth, 1389 Sh.
  • Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Wasāʾil al-Shīʿa. Qom: Muʾassisat Āl al-Bayt, 1414 AH.
  • Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir al-. Biḥār al-anwār. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Wafāʾ, 1403 AH.
  • Maghribī, Qāḍī Nuʿmān al-. Sharḥ al-akhbār. Qom: Jāmiʿa Mudarrisīn, 1414 AH.
  • Maʿārif, Majīd. ʿIlal al-sharāʾi atharī wazīn dar majmūʿa āthār shaykh Ṣadūq. Ḥusnā, Winter 1391, No 15.
  • Ṣadūq, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-. ʿIlal al-sharāʾiʿ. Najaf: al-Maktaba al-Ḥaydariyya, 1385 AH.
  • Wāhīd Bihbahānī, Muḥammad Bāqir. Al-Rasāʾil al-fiqhiyya. [n.p]. 1419 AH.
  • Ziriklī, Khayr al-Dīn al-. Al-Aʿlām. Beirut: Dār al-ʿIlm li-l-Malāyyīn, [n.d].