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Al-Shaykh al-Saduq

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This article is about Al-Shaykh al-Saduq. For other people who are named as Ibn Babawayh, see Ibn Babawayh (disambiguation).
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq
The tomb of al-Shaykh al-Saduq in Ibn Babawayh cemetery.jpg
The tomb of al-Shaykh al-Saduq in Ibn Babawayh cemetery
Personal Information
Full Name Abu Ja'far Muahammad b. Ali b. al-Husayn b. Musa al-Qummi
Well-Known As Ibn Babawayh
Well-Known Relatives 'Ali b. Babawayh al-Qummi
Birth after the year 305/917
Residence Qom,Ray
Studied in Qom
Death 381/991
Burial Place Ray, Ibn Babawayh cemetery
Scholarly Information
Professors 'Ali b. Babawayh al-Qummi, Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. Ahmad b. al-Walid al-Qummi, Ahmad b. 'Ali b. Ibrahim b. Hashim al-Qummi, Abu l-Hasan Ahmad b. Muhammad b. 'Isa, and Muhammad b. Musa b. al-Mutawakkil
Students Al-Shaykh al-Mufid, Harun b. Musa al-Talla'ukbari, 'Ali b. Muhammad al-Khazaz, al-Husayn b. 'Ubayd Allah b. al-Ghada'iri, al-Sharif al-Murtada
Works Kitab man la yahduruh al-faqih, Kamal al-din wa tamam al-ni'ma, al-Tawhid, 'Ilal al-sharayi' and ...

Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad b. ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn b. Mūsā al-Qummī (Arabic:ابوجعفر محمد بن علي بن الحسين بن موسی القمي) (b. after 305/917 — d. 381/991), commonly known as al-Shaykh al-Ṣaduq (Arabic: الشيخ الصدوق), or Ibn Babawayh (Arabic: ابن‌ بابويه), was one of the greatest Shi'a hadith scholars of the 4th/10th century the most prominent hadith scholar and faqih of the hadith school of Qom. Up to 300 scholarly works have been attributed to him, most of which are not extant today. He has compiled the Man la yahduruh al-faqih, one of the Four Books of the Shi'a.

Al-Saduq began teaching and narrating hadith from a young age, and continued to do so during his travels. He had many students, and many scholars narrate hadith on his authority. Some of his famous students are Al-Sharif al-Murtada, al-Shaykh al-Mufid and al-Talla'ukbari. He is buried in Rey.


Al-Shaykh al-Saduq's ancestral name is Babuya, an Iranian name that was later Arabicized into Babawayh. It is not known when the al-Saduq's family converted to Islam and Shi'ism, but it is clear that they were among the strong adherents of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) from the early 4th/10th century. There are well-known scholars from the al-Saduq lineage extending all the way down to the end of the 6th/12th century.[1]

His father, Ali b. Babawayh al-Qummi (d. 327/939), was a leading faqih of Qom. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi and al-Najashi have attributed several books and treatises in various fields to him. In al-Fihrist, Ibn al-Nadim writes, "I saw his son Muhammad b. 'Ali's handwriting: 'I am authorized … to narrate my father's books which are 200 in number.'"[2]


Al-Saduq's exact date of birth is not known. It appears from his book, Kamal al-din, as well as al-Fihrist al-Najashi, and al-Ghaybah of al-Shaykh al-Tusi, that he was born in the early period of the deputy-ship of al-Husayn b. Ruh, the third deputy of Imam al-Mahdi (a) in his Minor Occultation.

Al-Saduq himself narrates from Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Aswad that Ali b. al-Husayn b. Musa b. Babawayh (al-Shaykh al-Saduq's father who is also called the first Saduq) has asked Abu Ja'far to ask al-Husayn b. Ruh to ask Imam al-Mahdi (a) to pray for him. Ibn Ruh wrote back and told him that the Imam (a) had prayed for him and he would soon be granted a blessed son.[3]

On the basis of this account, early Shi'a scholars have placed his birth date after the year 305/917, as al-Husayn b. Ruh was the deputy of Imam al-Mahdi (a) from 305/917 until 326/928.[4]


Al-Saduq was born in either Qom or Khorasan, but was brought up in Qom, where he studied under his father and other leading Shi'a scholars. At some point - perhaps after 343/945 - he left Qom for Rey, the capital of the Buyid dynasty. He then traveled to Mashhad, and held teaching sessions in Nishapur. In the course of his life he also undertook a journey to Mecca for Hajj and then to the holy shrines in Iraq, and another journey to Mashhad and Transoxiana. In all of his travels, he visited many cities and was able to hear hadith from a vast number of scholars. He spent the last years of his life in Rey, where he is buried.[5]


Due to his numerous travels, al-Shaykh al-Saduq was able to benefit from nearly 260 teachers.[6] Some of his well-known teachers are:

  1. Ali b. Babawayh al-Qummi[7]
  2. Ibn al-Walid al-Qummi, another faqih of Qom. [8]
  3. Ahmad b. Ali b. Ibrahim b. Hashim al-Qummi[9]
  4. Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa[10]
  5. Muhammad b. Musa b. al-Mutawakkil[11]


Al-Saduq began teaching and narrating hadith from a young age, and continued to do so during his travels. He had many students, and many scholars narrate hadith on his authority. The following are some of the prominent scholars who studied under him or heard hadith from him:

  1. Al-Shaykh al-Mufid
  2. Harun b. Musa al-Talla'ukbari
  3. Ali b. Muhammad al-Khazaz
  4. Al-Husayn b. Ubayd Allah b. al-Ghadairi
  5. Al-Sharif al-Murtada
  6. Harun b. Musa b. Ahmad al-Talla'ukbari
  7. Al-Hasan b. Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Shaybani, the author of Tarikh Qom[12]


Al-Saduq is a leading figure of the Akhbari school of his time, and this is exemplified in his books. The main feature of this school of thought is that of regarding hadith as the main authority in religious matters. This was the cause of some differences of opinion between al-Saduq and other Shi'a scholars. One such scholar is al-Shaykh al-Mufid, who has written a critique of al-Saduq's al-I'tiqadat entitled, Tashih al-i'tiqad. According to his Akhbari inclination, al-Saduq believed it was possible for the Prophet (s) to make minor mistakes - this viewpoint was heavily criticized by al-Shaykh al-Mufid.[citation needed]

Al-Shaykh al-Saduq has written many books in response to criticisms against the Shi'a. His book, al-Tawhid, was written to counter accusations that the Shi'a believe in jabr (predestination) and tashbish (anthropomorphism).[citation needed]

He also has several works arguing against ghuluww (exaggerating the Imams' status) and taqsir (lowering the Imams' status), and a number of books defending the belief in Imam al-Mahdi (a). The most famous among these is, Kamal al-din wa tamam al-ni'ma, which was written in response to criticisms coming mainly from Zaydi and Mu'tazili opponents.[citation needed]


Kitab man la yahduruh al-faqih is al-Saduq's most famous book

Al-Shaykh al-Saduq traveled extensively to meet hadith scholars and receive hadith from them. His epithet, al-Saduq (the Truthful), is a reflection of his reliability in narrating hadith. He has compiled several hadith collections, the most important of which is Man la yahduruh al-faqih, one of the Four Books that form the main authoritative corpus of Shi'i hadith.[citation needed]


Al-Shaykh al-Saduq was a prolific writer. According to his own statement, by the year 368/978 he had written 245 books and treatises. Although many of his works no longer exist, a considerable number of them have reached us.[13] The following is a list of his published works:

  1. Kitab man la yahduruh al-faqih (The book for the one who does not have a Faqih before him); one of the Four Books of the Shi'a, and al-Saduq's most famous work. As its title implies, the book is mainly concerned with hadith relating to fiqh.
  2. Kamal al-din wa tamam al-ni'mah (The Perfection of the Religion and the Fulfillment of the Blessing); a defense of the belief in Imam al-Mahdi (a) and his occultation.
  3. Al-Tawhid; a compilation of hadith about tawhid, divine attributes, divine actions and other theological issues.
  4. Al-Muqni' (The Convincer); a compilation of hadith concerning legal matters.
  5. Ilal al-sharayi' (The Causes of the Rulings); an explanation of the philosophy behind different Islamic rulings.
  6. Al-Amali (Dictations); a compilation of hadith which he dictated to some of his students.
  7. Al-I'tiqadat (The Beliefs); a treatise of Shi'a beliefs.
  8. Ma'ani al-akhbar (The Meanings of the Narrations); an explanation of the deeper meanings of some hadith and Qur'anic verses.
  9. 'Uyun akhbar al-Rida (The Springs of the Narrations of al-Rida); a compilation of hadith from Imam al-Rida (a).
  10. Al-Khisal (The Clusters); a collection of hadith categorized according to the stress that each lays on a specific number.
  11. Thawab al-a'mal wa 'iqab al-a'mal (The Reward of Deeds and the Punishment of Deeds]]; a description of righteous deeds and their rewards and evil deeds and their punishments.
  12. Al-Hidaya (The Guidance); a collection of hadith related to beliefs and fiqh.[14]


Al-Shaykh al-Saduq died in Ray in 381/991-2. He is buried in a cemetery known today as Ibn Babawayh Cemetery.

It is reported that when the cemetery was under construction in 1238/1822, a devastating flood destroyed his tomb, and people were astonished to see that his body had remained intact after so many years.[15]


  1. Ṣadūq, Man lā yaḥḍuruh al-faqīh, p. 8.
  2. Ṣadūq, Man lā yaḥḍuruh al-faqīh, p. 9.
  3. Ṣadūq, Maʿānī l-akbār, p. 73.
  4. Ṣadūq, Maʿānī l-akbār, p. 74.
  5. Ṣadūq, Man lā yaḥḍuruh al-faqīh, p. 8-9.
  6. Ṣadūq, Man lā yaḥḍuruh al-faqīh, p. 8.
  7. Ṣadūq, Maʿānī l-akbār, p. 56.
  8. Ṣadūq, Maʿānī l-akbār, p. 62.
  9. Ṣadūq, Maʿānī l-akbār, p. 40.
  10. Ṣadūq, Maʿānī l-akbār, p. 42.
  11. Ṣadūq, Maʿānī l-akbār, p. 66.
  12. Ṣadūq, Maʿānī l-akbār, p. 69-72.
  13. Ṣadūq, Maʿānī l-akbār, p. 72.
  14. Najāshī, Rijāl al-Najāshī, p. 389-392.
  15. Ṣadūq, Maʿānī l-akbār, p. 74.


  • Najāshī, Aḥmad b. ʿAlī al-. Rijāl al-Najāshī. Qom: Daftar-i Intishārāt-i Islāmī, 1365 Sh.
  • Ṣadūq, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-. Maʿānī l-akhbār. Edited by ʿAli Akbar Ghaffārī. Qom: Daftar-i Intishārāt-i Islāmī, 1361 Sh.
  • Ṣadūq, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-. Man lā yaḥḍuruh al-faqīh. Edited by ʿAlī Akbar Ghaffārī. Second edition. Qom: Daftar-i Intishārāt-i Islāmī, 1404 AH.