|Author||Abu Ja'far, Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Khalid al-Barqi|
Al-Maḥāsin (Arabic: المَحاسِن ) is a Shi'a hadith reference written by Abu Ja'far, Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Khalid al-Barqi (d. 274/887-8 or 280/893-4). He was a great Shi'a scholar and his book was later well-known as al-Mahasin al-Barqi (Arabic: المَحاسِن البَرقي). He compiled hadiths in different topics including fiqh and ethics.
Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Khalid al-Barqi, (b. ~200/815-6 - d. 274/887-8 or 280/893-4) was a renowned Twelver Shi'a hadith scholar (muhaddith) and historian of 3rd/9th century. Both Shi'a and Sunni scholars have relied on his hadiths. Other than al-Mahasin, his Rijal is an important book.
The book is among the best Shi'a hadith references which has great validity and some scholars have even considered it as important as the Four Books. It is also among the most important references of al-Kafi written by Thiqat al-Islam al-Kulayni and he has frequently quoted from al-Mahasin.
Quotations from Great Scholars about the book
- Al-Mahasin was one of Al-Shaykh al-Saduq's sources in compiling Man la yahduruh al-faqih, he wrote: "I have extracted the hadiths in this book [Man la yahduruh] from reliable sources which are famous among Shi'a jurists and they refer to them such as al-Mahasin written by Ahmad b. Abi 'Abd Allah al-Barqi."
- In al-Sara'ir, Ibn Idris al-Hilli has mentioned al-Mahasin as one of the reliable Shi'a books of hadiths.
- Qadi Nur Allah Shushtari considered this book the fifth reliable Shi'a reference and of similar importance as of the Four Books.
- In his Persian commentary on Man la yahduruh al-faqih , Muhammad Taqi al-Majlisi, the father of al-Allama al-Majlisi wrote, "We have al-Mahasin in hands and according to what great scholars have said about it, its author has been a great person, reliable and trustworthy and what is survived from the book is about one third of the original book."
Al-Mahasin has originally been a large collection of about a hundred parts (books) referred to as "Kutub al-Mahasin" (al-Mahasin books) which has been a comprehensive collection of Shiite hadiths in various subjects including fiqh, the reasons behind the religious regulations, rituals, wisdom, tawhid, principles of religion and ancillaries of religion. Out of this large hadith collection, only a part containing 2604 hadiths is extant today in 11 books as follows:
- Kitab al-ashkal wa l-qara'in (the Book of diagrams and evidences) including those hadiths in which numbers three to ten have been used, in addition to advice from the Prophet (s) and Ahl al-Bayt (a).
- Kitab thawab al-a'mal (the book of rewards of actions) including hadiths about rewards of different good actions.
- Kitab 'iqab al-a'mal (the book of punishments of actions) including hadiths about sins and punishments for misdeeds.
- Kitab al-safwat wa l-nur wa l-rahma (the book of elite, light and mercy) including hadiths about position of the Prophet (s) and Ahl al-Bayt (a) and their followers.
- Kitab masabih al-zulam (the book of the Lanterns of darkness) including issues on recognition and knowledge of the truth.
- Kitab al-'ilal (the book of causes) including discussions on religious rulings.
- Kitab al-safar (the book of traveling) including rulings and hadiths about journey.
- Kitab al-ma'akil (the book of what is eaten) including food and beverages.
- Kitab al-ma' (the book of waters) including the rulings about waters.
- Kitab al-manafi' (the book of interests) including rulings on consulting.
- Kitab al-marafiq (the book of amenities) including the rulings of the house, cleaning and transportation vehicles.
Comparison with other Collections of Hadiths
|Important Shi'i hadith collections||Author||Death||Number of hadiths||descriptions|
|al-Mahasin||Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Barqi||274/887-8||about 2604||Hadiths regarding different topics such as fiqh and ethics|
|al-Kafi||Muhammad b. Ya'qub al-Kulayni||329/941||about 16000||Variety of hadiths regarding the principles of beliefs, ethics, conducts, and fiqh|
|Man la yahduruh al-faqih||al-Shaykh al-Saduq||381/991-2||about 5500||Hadiths regarding fiqh|
|Tahdhib al-ahkam||al-Shaykh al-Tusi||460/1067||about 13600||Hadiths regarding fiqh|
|Al-Istibsar||al-Shaykh al-Tusi||460/1067||about 5500||Hadiths regarding fiqh|
|al-Wafi||al-Fayd al-Kashani||1091/1680||about 50,000||Collection of hadiths in the Four Books with eliminating repeated hadiths and explaining some hadiths|
|Wasa'il al-shi'a||al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili||1104/1693||35850||Hadiths regarding fiqh in the Four Books and over 70 other collections of hadiths|
|Bihar al-anwar||al-'Allama al-Majlisi||1110/1699||about 85,000||Hadiths from most of the Infallibles (a) regarding various issues|
|Mustadrak al-wasa'il||Mirza Husayn Nuri||1320/1902||23,514||Supplementation of hadiths regarding fiqh in Wasa'il al-shi'a|
|Safinat al-bihar||Shaykh 'Abbas Qummi||1359/1941||10 volumes||an alphabetically ordered index for Bihar al-anwar|
|Mustadrak safinat al-bihar||Shaykh 'Ali Namazi||1405/1984-5||10 volumes||Supplementation of Safinat al-bihar|
|Jami' ahadith al-Shi'a||Ayatollah Burujirdi||1380/1961||48,342||Including all Shiite hadiths regarding fiqh|
|Mizan al-hikma||Muhammad Muhammadi Reyshahri||contemporary||23,030||564 non-jurisprudential (not regarding fiqh) topics|
|al-Hayat||Muhammad Rida Hakimi||contemporary||12 volumes||40 chapters regarding theoretical and practical issues|
- Barqī, Aḥmad b. Muḥammad al-. Al-Mahāsin. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, 1371 Sh.
- Ḥillī, Ibn Idrīs al-. Mustaṭrafāt al-Sarāʾir. Qom: al-Nashr al-Islāmī, 1411 AH.
- Ṣadūq, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-. Man lā yaḥḍuruh al-faqīh. Qom: al-Nashr al-Islāmī, [n.d].
- Majlisī, Muḥammad Taqī al-. Lawāmiʾ ṣāḥibqarānī. Qom: Intishārāt-i Ismāʿīlīyān, [n.d].