Al-Khiṣāl (Arabic: الخصال, lit: The Traits), is an Arabic book written by Muhammad b. Husayn b. Babawayh al-Qummi known as al-Shaykh al-Saduq (d. 381/991-2). He is considered one of the greatest Shi'a jurists (faqih) and hadith transmitters in the 4th/10th century. Al-Shaykh al-Saduq has collected many hadiths in ethics and beliefs in al-Khisal and has categorized the hadiths based on the numbers in every hadith. The book is unique and is the first book written in this manner.

Bibliographical Information
Bibliographical Information
AuthorAl-Shaykh al-Saduq
Original titleالخصال
SubjectEthical narrations
PublisherJami'a Mudarrisin publications, Qom, 1362 Sh/1983-4
Full textShia Online Library
English translation
En. titleA Numeric Classification of Traditions on Characteristics
En. publisherAnsariyan Publications, Qom, Iran


Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Al-Husayn b. Musa al-Qummi (ابوجعفر محمد بن علي بن الحسين بن موسی القمي) (after 305/917-8 — 381/991-2), commonly known as al-Shaykh al-Saduq (الشيخ الصدوق), or Ibn Babawayh (ابن‌ بابويه), was one of the greatest Shi'a traditionists and the compiler of Man la yahduruh al-faqih, one of the Four Books of Shi'a.

Purpose of writing

Al-Shaykh al-Saduq says:

"Studying the books of great scholars, I realized that they have written books in different branches of science, but there isn't any book written about the connection of numbers, and negative and positive attributes. So according to the great benefit of the subject for the seeker of knowledge, I began to write such a book in order to become close to God, so that I gain the divine reward; and reach the happiness and mercy of God. And I ask Allah that he doesn't disappoint my hope; He has the power over everything."[1]


Just like other books of al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Al-Khisal has gained the attention of Shi'a scholars, and its hadiths have been reported in many Shi'a hadith collections such as the Four Books, Bihar al-anwar, and Wasa'il al-Shi'a.


English translation of al-Khisal: A Numeric Classification of Traditions on Characteristics

Despite its relatively small size, al-Khisal is a huge encyclopedia of Islamic knowledge and also mentions some historical, exegetical, philosophical, and political subjects. The title of each chapter is according to numbers: the hadiths containing one trait are in chapter one; the hadiths containing two traits are in chapter two, and so on.[2]

Al-Khisal contains 1255 hadiths.

For example:

  • Chapter one: One sign of the affection for the world
  • Chapter two: Two characteristics of a Shi'a.
  • Chapter three: Three characteristics which have to be in a person to be a faithful.
  • Chapter four: Four things which is not accepted about four things.
  • Chapter five: Five signs of the faith.
  • Chapter six: Six deeds to go to paradise.
  • Chapter seven: Seven things which the Prophet (s) prohibited.
  • Chapter eight: Eight groups from whom the prayer is not accepted
  • Chapter nine: Nine names of Lady Fatima (a) before Allah
  • Chapter ten: Ten characteristics of Imam

English Translation

This book has been translated to English titled A Numeric Classification of Traditions on Characteristics[3]. Also, a part of the book is published under the title, The prophetic hadiths in al-khisal [4]


  1. Ṣadūq, al-Khisāl, p. 1
  2. Ṣadūq, al-Khisāl, p. 9
  3. Qom: Ansaiyan, 2008
  4. Message of Thaqalayn, vol. 10. no. 1, Spring 1430/2009.


  • Ṣadūq, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-. Al-Khisāl. Edited by ʿAlī Akbar Ghaffārī. Qum: Jamiʿa-yi Mudarrisīn, 1362 Sh.

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