|أوائِل المَقالات فی المَذاهِب و المُختارات
Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Nu'man al-'Ukbari al-Baghdadi, famously known as al-Shaykh al-Mufid, is one of the greatest Twelver Shi'a scholars of the late 4th/10th and early 5th/11th century. He was a student of al-Shaykh al-Saduq. Sayyid al-Radi, al-Sayyid al-Murtada and al-Shaykh al-Tusi were his students. He was one of the great revivers of Islamic studies and one of the diligent promoters of Shi'a culture and disseminators of Shi'a jurisprudence.
The full name of the book is "Awa'il al-maqalat fi al-madhahib al-mukhtarat." Aqa Buzurg Tihrani has mentioned this book by the same title and counted it as a work from al-Shaykh al-Mufid. Al-Najashi, also, mentioned this book as "Awa'il al-maqalat."
Cause of Writing
Al-Shaykh al-Mufid wrote this book at the request of his student, al-Sayyid al-Murtada to explain these issues:
- Differences between Shi'a and Mu'tazila and the cause of their naming
- Differences between Imamiyya Shi'a and other Shi'a sects such as Zaydiyya
- Common theological beliefs between Shi'a and Mu'tazila and their different opinions.
- Different opinions and beliefs about theological issues.
- Rational discussions that underlie theological issues.
- Verdict on those who fought Ali (a)
- Intercession and repentance (Shafa'a and Tawba)
- Monotheism (Tawhid)
- Infallibility ('Isma) of the prophets.
- Single and mass transmitted reports (Khabar al-Mutawatir and Khabar al-Wahid)
- Essences and Accidents (Jawahir and A'rad)
- Abrogation and distortion of the Qur'an (Naskh and Tahrif of the Qur'an)
- Ijtihad and Qiyas
- A manuscript written in a beautiful handwriting by Muhammad Husayn b. Zayn al-'Abidin in 1352/1933-4. It is preserved in the library of Astan Quds Razavi.
- A manuscript in the library of Sayyid Muhammad 'Ali Rawdati written by Muhammad b. Zayn al-'Abidin in 1281/1864-5.
- A manuscript in the library of Majlis Shura-i Islami written in 1148/1735-6.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from اوائل المقالات in Farsi WikiShia.