|Birth||Safar of 372/982|
|Death||450 or after 463/1058-9 or 1071|
|Burial Place||Matar Abid or Matir Abad, near the city of Samarra|
|Professors||Al-Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Shaykh al-Saduq, al-Sayyid al-Murtada, al-Sayyid al-Radi, ...|
Abu l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad b. ʿAlī b. Aḥmad b. al-ʿAbbās al-Najāshī al-Asadī (Arabic: ابوالعباس احمد بن علی بن احمد بن العباس النَجاشی الأسدی) (b. 372/982 - d. 450 or after 463/1058-9 or 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 early 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.
Birth and Ancestry
Books of biographical evaluation (rijal) books do not name his place of birth, however it is said that he was born in the month of Safar of 372/982. Some believe he was from Baghdad and his father was from Kufa, as indicated by his epithet Ibn al-Kufi. 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 has been referred to as Abu l-Husayn and Abu l-'Abbas. The name al-Najashi comes from his ancestor, 'Abd Allah, who governed over Ahwaz and was famous as al-Najashi.
Al-Najashi learned primary lessons from his father. He was only thirteen years old when he learned Hadith science and Qur'an recitation from the keeper of Lu'lui'i Mosque, and read the book of al-Kafi to Ahmad b. Ahmad al-Kufi, the writer.
He spent most of his life in Baghdad and took few journeys, most of which were to pilgrim the 'Atabat al-Muqaddasa. One of his journeys was to Najaf in 400/1010, where he stayed in the city for some time. He also had a trip to the city of Samarra for Ziyarah of 'Askariyyayn (a). He traveled to Mecca and Basra, and also went to his original town, Kufa, several times where he took or gave permission to transmit hadith.
- Fihrist asma' musannifi l-Shi'a, known and Rijal al-Najashi. Although a thousand years has passed from the publication of this book and hundreds of such books have been written in this time, yet it remains the prominent source for discerning the authenticity and validity of narrators. Scholars and researchers have stated that Rijal al-Najashi is the top source of rijal books and no other book can compete with it. In cases of academic conflict, the opinion stated in this book is preferred.
- Jumu'a wa ma warad fih min al-a'mal (Friday and its rituals)
- Al-Kufa wa ma fiha min al-athar wa al-fada'il (Kufa and its relics and virtues)
- Tafsir al-Najashi (Najashi's exegeses)
Authenticity in Narrating Hadith
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.
Opinion of Great Personalities
Muhammad Baqir Khwansari quotes 'Abd al-Nabi al-Jaza'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."
Muhaddith al-Qummi writes:
- "He was one of the greatest scholars of biographical evaluation. Our great scholars have tried to gather and publish such books and none of them have managed to reach the level of al-Najashi, and have all trusted him [instead]."
Al-Najashi died in Matar Abid or Matir Abad, near the city of Samarra, in 450 /1058-9 . The first person to mention his date of death was al-'Allama al-Hilli (died 726/1326) in his book, Khulasat al-aqwal, and no Shi'a or Sunni source before him has mentioned the date of al-Najashi's death. However, it seems that al-Najashi died long after this date, which means this date appears to be incorrect. Shubayri Zanjani says, "al-Najashi has recorded the death of Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. Hamza al-Ja'fari in the Ramadan of 463/1071, so it is impossible that al-Najashi had died in 450/1058-9".
- Al-Hilli, Khulasat al-aqwal, 1417 AH, p. 73
- al-Zirikli, al-A'lam, 1980, vol. 1, p. 172; al-Kahala, Mu'jam al-mu'alifin, vol. 1, p. 317
- Al-Najashi, Rijal al-Najashi, 1416 AH, p. 213
- Al-Najashi, Rijal al-Najashi, 1416 AH, p. 101
- Gulshan-i abrar, vol. 1, p. 70
- Bahr al-'Ulum, al-Fawa'id al-rijaliyya, 1363 Sh, vol. 2, p. 81-82
- Quoted from: Najashi, Rijal Najashi
- See: Majidinasab, "Tarikhnigari0yi Shi'a"
- Agha Buzurg, al-Dhari'a, 1403, vol. 4, p. 317
- Khwansari, Rawdat al-jannat, vol. 1, p. 61
- Qummi, al-Kuna wa al-alqab, vol. 3, p. 239
- See: Shubayri Zanjani, "Abu al-Abbas al-Najashi"
- Agha Buzurg, Tihrani. Al-Dhari'a ila tasanif al-Shi'a. Beirut: Dar al-Adwa', 1403 AH.
- Bahr al-'Ulum, al-Sayyid Muhamad Mahdi. Al-Fawa'id al-rijaliyya. Tehran: Maktaba al-Sadiq, 1363 Sh.
- Gulshan-i abrar. Qom: Ma'ruf, 1385 Sh.
- Hilli, al-Hasan b. Yusuf al-. Khulasat al-aqwal. Nashr al-Fiqaha, 1417.
- Khwansari, Muhammad Baqir al-. Rawdat al-jannat fi ahwal al-'ulama wa al-sadat. Qom: Isma'iliyan.
- Majidinasab, Nargis. "Tarikhnigari-yi Shi'a dar kitab-i Rijal-i Najashi". Nama-yi tarikh pazhuhan, no. 16, 1387 Sh.
- Kahala,'Umar Rida al-. Mu'jam al-mu'allifin. Beirut: Maktaba al-Muthanna.
- Najashi, Ahmad b. 'Ali al-. Rijal. Qom: Jami'a-yi Mudarrisin, 1416 AH.
- Qummi, 'Abbas. Al-Kuna wa l-alqab. Tehran: Maktaba al-Sadr.
- Shubayri Zanjani, Sayyid Musa. "Abu l-Abas Najasji", Nur-i 'ilm, no. 11, 1364 Sh.
- Ziriklī, Khayr al-Dīn al-. Al-Aʿlām qāmūs tarājum li ashhar al-rijāl wa al-nisāʾ min al-ʿarab wa al-mustaʿribīn wa al-mustashriqīn. Beirut: Dār al-ʿIlm li-al-Malāyīn, 1989.