Mustafa b. Husayn al-Tafrishi

Without priority, Quality: b
Without references
From wikishia
Mustafa b. Husayn al-Tafrishi
Personal Information
Full NameMustafa b. Husayn al-Husayni al-Tafrishi
Studied inNajaf
Scholarly Information
ProfessorsMulla 'Abd Allah al-Shushtari

Muṣṭafā b. Ḥusayn al-Ḥusaynī al-Tafrishī (Arabic: مصطفی بن حسین التَفْرِشی) was a scholar of 'ilm al-rijal. He was a student of Mulla 'Abd Allah al-Shushtari. In his Naqd al-rijal, he tried to critically review and collect different views in an organized way. Al-Tafrishi has always been praised by subsequent scholars for his meticulousness and knowledge.


In biographical books no much information is provided about al-Tafrishi's life and there are some scattered information about his life, such as his lineage goes back through Hasan al-Aftas to Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (a), and also Khwansari speculated that he was a nephew of Fayd Allah b. 'Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni, the scholar of fiqh, kalam and 'ilm al-rijal.

The years of his birth and death are not known. However, there are few reports about his life that can approximately determine the time span in which he lived. In 1044/1634-5 when Mulla Murad al-Tafrishi finished his book, al-Ta'liqat al-Sajjadiyya, he prayed for al-Tafrishi by the phrase, "may God support him", which shows that he was alive at that time. Al-Tafrishi himself reported that he met 'Abd al-'Ali b. 'Ali al-Karaki (d. 940/1534). He wrote the book, Naqd al-rijal, in 1015/1606-7, and in his permission for hadith transmission to al-Tafrishi in 1020/1611-2, al-Shushtari used phrases that are commonly used about a young person. All this can show that he lived from about 980s/1570s to about 1050s/1640s. Al-Tafrishi's son in law, Mir Dawud b. Isma'il was a Shiite scholar in the 11th/17th century.


Al-Tafrishi was a student of Mulla 'Abd Allah al-Shushtari, the scholar of 'ilm al-rijal. Some contemporary writers who talked about his receiving a permission of ijtihad from al-Shushtari seem to have mistaken the permission of ijtihad with the permission of riwaya (i.e. permission to narrate hadiths).

However, in a permission of riwaya given by al-Shushtari to al-Tafrishi, he referred to al-Tafrishi as his dear son and emphasized on his skillfulness in hadith sciences, but he did not talk about his knowledge of fiqh. Moreover, the majority of prominent students of Mulla 'Abd Allah al-Shushtari are known for their knowledge of hadiths and their works in this field. 'Abd al-'Ali b. 'Ali al-Karaki al-'Amili also gave a permission of riwaya to al-Tafrishi.


No recent well-known biographer talked about al-Tafrishi's students. Khwansari says that he did not see a scholar of hadith who narrates hadiths from al-Tafrishi. Sharaf al-Din 'Ali al-Shulistani received a permission of riwaya from al-Tafrishi, and Muhammad Baqir Majlisi had al-Tafrishi's Naqd al-rijal with Shulistani's help.

Naqd al-rijal

Al-Tafrishi mentioned Naqd al-rijal as only one of his written works. However, there is no report of any other book by him.

Al-Tafrishi has always been praised by subsequent scholars for his meticulousness and knowledge.

In his Naqd al-rijal he explicitly pointed out that the achievements of his book are results of his studies with Mulla 'Abd Allah al-Shushtari. Relying on a quote from Sayyid Ni'mat Allah al-Jaza'iri, Khwansari holds that the method of al-Tafrishi's Naqd al-rijal is so similar to a book by Fayd Allah b. 'Abd al-Qahir al-Husayni that he might have also been a teacher of al-Tafrishi.

In his Naqd al-rijal, al-Tafrishi tried to critically review and collect different views about narrators of hadiths in an organized and brief way.

Afandi and Istarabadi followed Al-Hurr al-'Amili to suggest that in Naqd al-rijal, al-Tafrishi did not take into account books of 'ilm al-rijal that were written after al-Shaykh al-Tusi's. On the contrary, Khwansari holds that al-Tafrishi mainly took into account later books of 'ilm al-rijal, and unlike other scholars of the field, he seems to have sought to collect the views of later scholars, rather than early ones.

In his preface to the book, al-Tafrishi mentions the sources he referred to in his book. However, there are many other sources that he mentioned throughout the book. Thus some of his citations of early books of 'ilm al-rijal are the only source that is available today about those early books.

Another advantage of al-Tafrishi's book is that it has cited the views of scholars without any changes. Moreover, he tried to tackle with the evidence for reliability or unreliability of narrators of hadiths, mention teachers and students of every narrator, mention differences in manuscripts, and record the names in an accurate way.

Naqd al-rijal was welcomed by scholars of hadiths from the very beginning. Some contemporary scholars to al-Tafrishi wrote commentaries on the book. In later periods, many commentaries, expositions, and supplements were written for the book, indicating its wide circulation among scholars in different periods. Takmilat al-rijal by 'Abd al-Nabi al-Kazimi is one of the supplements written for the book, and Muhammad Taqi Majlisi's Ta'liqa was one of the commentaries written on the book.