Tajrid al-i'tiqad (book)

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Tajrid al-i'tiqad
AuthorNasir al-Din al-Tusi
Original titleتجريد الإعتقاد
SubjectKalam & Philosophy

Tajrīd al-Iʿtiqād (Arabic: تجريد الإعتقاد ) (literally: The purification of the belief), is an Arabic book in theology from Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (d. 672/1274). The book is one of the most important books about Shi'a beliefs. According to Agha Buzurg Tihrani, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi originally named the book "Taḥrīr al-ʿaqāʾid",[1] but later the book became famous with other names as "Tajrīd al-iʿtiqād", and "Tajrid al-kalam".[2]

Tajrid al-i'tiqad is one of the most valuable and solid, and at the same time, one of the most concise theological texts of Shi'a. Because of these features, the book has become famous since its writing and scholars of different Islamic sects have written many commentaries and glosses on it, in Farsi and Arabic.

Purpose of writing

Some believe that after reviewing the book al-Muhassal of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi wrote the al-Tajrid, so that everyone who is looking for the true belief, refer to al-Tajrid instead of al-Muhassal.[3]

In the introduction of the book, Talkhis al-Muhassal (the summary of al-Muhassal), he says:

"great efforts to reach the truth (haqq) have turned away from researching and there is not any reliable book contain definite principles of thought; although some suppose that al-Muhassal of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi filled this gap, but it's not correct and this book contain many unreliable and false thoughts."[4]

After seeing the opinion of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi in the subject of Imamate, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi realized that for answering them a separate book must be written, so he wrote Tajrid al-i'tiqad.


Tajrid al-i'tiqad is considered as a milestone in the history of Islamic theology, because of its special approach to philosophy and theology. In the book, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi has brought the Peripatetic school of philosophy (al-madrasa al-mashsha'iyya) into an integration with Shi'a theology; which made philosophy and theology closer to each other among Shi'a scholars.[5]

Shahid Mutahhari describes the role of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi in theology: "Nasir al-Din al-Tusi who is an expert in philosophy and theology, made the most solid theological text by the compilation of the Tajrid al-i'tiqad. After him, every theologian, whether Shi'a or Sunni, had put this book into consideration.[6] He moved the Islamic theology, which was close to dialectic philosophy, and made it closer to demonstrative philosophy."[7]

"When Nasir al-Din al-Tusi wrote the Tajrid al-i'tiqad, made theology ninety percent like philosophy. After Tajrid al-i'tiqad all of theologians, whether Ash'ari or Mu'razili went in the same way that this great Shi'a philosopher and theologian had gone. For example the books al-Mawaqif and al-Maqasid and their commentaries took the color of Tajrid al-i'tiqad." He says.

Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, describes the book as having the best method and including all of opinions and beliefs that proved to him with reason.[8] So, the book contains opinions of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, in contrast with some other books of him, which are explanation of the opinions of other scholars –like the commentary on Ibn Sina's al-Isharat wa al-tanbihat and defending it against the criticisms of al-Fakhr al-Din al-Razi; or the "Musari' al-musari' defending the opinions of Ibn Sina against criticisms of al-Shahristani.

"Tajrid al-i'tiqad" contains 6 destinations (chapters):

  • General matters
  • Substances and non-essential qualities
  • Prove of the Creator and his attributes
  • Nubuwwa (the prophethood)
  • Imamate
  • Resurrection (ma'ad)

After Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, others like al-Qadi 'Adud al-Din al-Iji (d. 756/1355-6) in his book al-Mawaqif, and al-Taftazani (d. 792/1389-90) in his book al-Maqasid followed him in this structure.

Some discussions of the book is the base of some important philosophical systems like al-hikma al-muta'alia.


Although, in some books of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi -like Talkhis al-muhassal- he rejects some beliefs of Shi'a, including bada', in some way,[9] and this made some scholars like Sadr al-Din Shirazi[10] and al-'Allama al-Majlisi[11] criticize him; but what has come in Tajrid al-i'tiqad is in accordance to Shi'a beliefs.

The emphasis of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi on the subject of Imamate with the Shi'a point of view, in various titles like "prove of the imamate of 'Ali (a)", referring to the weak points of the life of the first three caliphs, their lack of qualification for caliphate of the Prophet (s), the definite reason of the superiority of Imam 'Ali (a), availability of the specific proof and the nass (straightforward hadith) on the imamate of the twelve imams,[12] is to the extent that Sunni thinkers criticized him harshly on this parts and did not treated him fairly.[13] So, the claim that "Tajrid al-i'tiqad" is affected of the Islamic sects other than Shi'a is not true.

Also, in philosophical thoughts, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi is not only a follower of Avicenna, because his opinions in Tajrid al-i'tiqad is different with Avicenna's, in various cases, including that Nasir al-Din al-Tusi considers the place, a dimension not a surface,[14] believes in the non-eternity of the world not it's eternity,[15] considers the prove of the non-material intellect incomplete,[16] believes that the matter of the matters, is the absolute body not hayula, and considers the prove of the hayula, a subject of criticism.[17] Also he opposed many of Mu'tazila theologians, in discussions of Tawba (repentance) and the necessity of removal of punishment by it.[18]


  • The most apparent feature of Tajrid al-i'tiqad is its extraordinary conciseness. Nasir al-Din al-Tusi had based many of his books on conciseness –including Qawa'id al-'aqa'id (the bases of the beliefs), Awsaf al-ashraf (the attributes of the noble), Sharh al-isharat wa al-tanbihat (The commentary of al-Isharat wa al-tanbihat, and Asas al-iqtibas (the basis of the conclusion), but the conciseness of Tajrid al-i'tiqad is to the extent that Shams al-Din Mahmud Isfahani considers it as riddle.[19]
    But the conciseness of the book had not impacted its comprehensiveness and the sentences of the book are short and clear in the same time. The two factors of comprehensiveness and conciseness are the most important reasons of the attention of theologians to the book. The sentences are so short and informative that with a little change, they could be changed into poem. Some contemporary theologians believe that Hakim Sabziwari benefited from Tajrid al-i'tiqad in his book Manzuma.[20]
  • Using of philosophical terms and principles in proving the theological subjects, as he proves most of the beauty and majesty attributes of God using the "principle of the inherent necessary existence" (wujub al-wujud bi l-dhat) and says: "the necessity of an existence results to its eternity and the negation of excess and partner and similar… and results to the generosity and ownership..."; and also he brings three demonstrations on the knowledge of God which the second and third ones are for the philosophers, when he says: "that He does everything solidly and that He is incorporeal and that everything is from Him are the reasons of His knowledge."
  • Before discussing theological subjects – knowing God, prophethood, imamate, and resurrection- discussed philosophical subjects –existence and essence, cause and effect, necessity and contingency- because these subjects are prelude to theological discussions.
    Also Nasir al-Din al-Tusi had written the Tajrid al-mantiq (The purification of logic) (on which great scholars like al-'Allama al-Hilli wrote commentaries) before Tajrid al-i'tiqad, because without knowing logic which teaches the methods of reasoning, it's impossible to enter philosophy and theology. Although entering the theological discussions through logical and philosophical discussion had been common before him –as in the book Yaqut by Abu Ishaq Isma'il b. Nubakht (the 4th/11th century) this method is used- but the method of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi in this book is unprecedented in terms of extent and comprehensiveness.
    So he preserving the principles of Shi'a theology –of which the most important principle is the rational good and badness (husn wa qubh 'aqli)- used the philosophical reasons and principles, for explaining many of theological subjects.
  • In Tajrid al-i'tiqad, unlike other theological books before, the chapter of resurrection (ma'ad) had come after the prophethood (nubuwwat) chapter. Before him, the discussion of the resurrection –because of the connection of discussions of the Divine promise and threat, the Divine reward and punishment, and the Divine Attributes; specially the discussion of the Divine justice- had come before the prophethood and imamate discussions, but in the Tajrid the prophethood and imamate chapters did not gain a close connection to the discussion of the Divine justice and the attention of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi in them is more to the Divine favor.[21]


Kashf al-murad fi sharh tajrid al-i'tiqad

Tajrid al-i'tiqad is one of the most valuable and strong, and in the same time one of the most concise Shi'a theological texts; and these features have been famous from the time of authorship, and scholars of different Islamic sects have written many glosses and commentaries on it, in Farsi and Arabic.[22] Reviews of scholars about the book shows that Nasir al-Din al-Tusi was successful in his job.[23]

It seems that the first commentary on Tajrid is written by the most famous student of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, al-'Allama al-Hilli. This commentary is named Kashf al-murad fi sharh tajrid al-i'tiqad (The discovery of the intention in commentary of tajrid al-i'tiqad). Some believe that if this commentary was not been written, maybe the his exact purpose in this book would never become known.[24] Agha Buzurg Tihrani,[25] Haji Khalifa[26] and others introduced many of commentaries and glosses of Tajrid. In some of these books the opinions of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi is discussed critically.

Some of the most famous and oldest commentaries are:

  • Ta'rid al-i'timad fi sharh tajrid al-i'tiqad, by Shaykh Shams al-Din Muhammad Isfarayini Bayhaqi (d. 746/1345)
  • Tasdid (or Tash'id) al-qawa'id fi sharh tajrid al-'aqaid, known as Sharh qadim (the old commentary), by Shams al-Din Mahmud b. 'Abd al-Rahman b. Ahmad 'Ami Isfahani, this commentary is named "old" in comparison to Sharh al-Fadil al-Qushji, not that it's the oldest commentary, as the author mentions the commentaries of al-'Allama al-Hilli and Isfarayini Bayhaqi.
  • Sharh al-Fadil al-Qushji (the commentary of al-Fadil al-Qushji (d. 879/1474-5)) known as Sharh jadid (the new commentary).
  • Sharh Mulla 'Abd al-Razzaq Lahiji (the commentary of Mulla 'Abd al-Razzaq Lahiji (d.1051/1641-2)) is one of the recent commentaries which is great in its precision, details, and comparison of opinions.

Each one of Sharh qadim and Sharh jadid have important commentaries and glosses:

  • The gloss of Muhaqqiq Jurjani (d. 816/1413-4) on Sharh qadim named Hashia tajrid.[27]
  • Hashia qadim and Hashia jadid and Hashia ajadd, all three by Jalal al-Din Muhammad Dawani known as Tabaqat al-Jalaia,[28] and two glosses by Sadr al-Din Muhammad Dashtaki Shirazi (d. 948/1541-2) known as Tabaqat al-Sadria.[29] The glosses of Dawani and the glosses of Sadr al-Din contain the objections and debates of these two to each other's glosses. It's notable that after the death of Sadr al-Din, his son Mir Qiyas al-Din Mansur Husayni Dashtaki (d. 949/1542-3) wrote the answers to the latest objections of Dawani in another gloss, instead of his father.[30] These glosses on the Sharh jadid are very important and got the attention of Shi'a and Sunni scholars, and caused various philosophical and theological debates. Also many critiques and glosses is written on them.[31]


Tajrid al-i'tiqad printed for the first time with the gloss of al-'Allama al-Hilli in 1311/1893-4. There are different prints of the book, among the edited printings, the edition of Muhammad Javad Husayni Jalali published in 1407/1986-7, Qom, is notable. The edition of Hasan Hasanzada Amuli, published in the same year, is one of the notable publications of Kashf al-Murad. Abu l-Hasan Sha'rani translated and glossed Kashf al-Murad into Farsi.


Sayyid Mahmud Mar'ashi and 'Ali Sadra'i Khu'i, studying different manuscripts of Tajrid al-i'tiqad and its different glosses and commentaries, collected a detailed bibliography of the book. This book, named Kitabshinasi Tajrid al-i'tiqad (The bibliography of Tajrid al-i'tiqad) is published by the public library of Ayatollah Mar'ashi Najafi in 1424/2003-4, Qom.


  1. Tihrani, al-Dhari'a, vol.3 p.353
  2. Fikrat, Fihrist alifbayi, p.104; Munzawi & Danishpazhuh, Fihrist, vol.3 p.315
  3. Al-Hilli, Kashf al-murad, p.4
  4. Al-Tusi, Talkhis al-muhassal, p.1-2
  5. Ahmadi, Ijmali az sayr falsafa islami, p.224; Dawari, Piydayish wa bast 'ilm kalam, p.119
  6. Mutahhari, Ashnayi ba 'ulum islami, vol.2 p.57
  7. Mutahhari, Ashnayi ba 'ulum islami, vol.2 p.68
  8. Al-Hilli, Kashf al-murad, p.20
  9. Al-Tusi, Talkhis al-muhassal, p.421
  10. Shirazi, Sharh usul kafi, p.378
  11. Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.4 p.123
  12. Al-Tusi, Tajrid al-i'tiqad, p.367-398
  13. Haji Khalifa, Kashf al-zunun, vol.1 pilar.346
  14. Al-Tusi, Tajrid al-i'tiqad, p.152
  15. Al-Tusi, Tajrid al-i'tiqad, p.170
  16. Al-Tusi, Tajrid al-i'tiqad, p.176
  17. Al-Tusi, Tajrid al-i'tiqad, p.150
  18. Al-Tusi, Tajrid al-i'tiqad, p.422-424
  19. Haji Khalifa, Kashf al-zunun, vol.1 pilar.346; Qushchi, Sharh tajrid, p.3
  20. Rabbani Gulpaygani, "Imamiyya", Kiyhan andishi, num.54 1373 sh
  21. Al-Tusi, Tajrid al-i'tiqad, p.348-362
  22. Kanturi, Kashf al-hujub, p.97
  23. Qushchi, Sharh tajrid, p.2
  24. Tihrani, al-Dhari'a, vol.3 p.353; Al-Hilli, Kashf al-murad, p.3
  25. Tihrani, al-Dhari'a, vol.3 p.352-354
  26. Haji Khalifa, Kashf al-zunun, vol.1 pilar.346-351
  27. Haji Khalifa, Kashf al-zunun, vol.1 pilar.347
  28. Fadil, Fihrist, vol.2 p.571
  29. Husayni, Fihrist, vol.3 p.238-239
  30. Haji Khalifa, Kashf al-zunun, vol.1 pilar.350
  31. Tihrani, al-Dhari'a, vol.6 p.64-71


  • Ahmadi, Ahmad. Ijmali az sayr falsafa islami ba'd az ibn Rushd. Tehran: Hikmat, 1358 sh
  • Dawari, Rida. Piydayish wa bast 'ilm kalam.
  • Fadil, Mahmud. Fihrist nuskhiyayi khati kitabkhani danishkadi ilahiyyat wa ma'arif islami Mashhad. Tehran: 1355-1361 sh
  • Fikrat, Muhammad Asif. Fihrist alifbayi kutub khati kitabkhani markazi astan quds radawi. Mashhad: 1369 sh
  • Haji Khalifa, Kashf al-zunun
  • Hilli, Hasan b. Yusuf al-. Kashf al-murad fi sharh tajrid al-i'tiqad, preface of Hasanzada Amuli. Qom: 1407
  • Husayni, Ahamd. Fihrist nuskhiyayi khati kitabkhani 'umumi Ayatullah Mar'ashi Najafi. Qom: 1354-1374 sh
  • Kanturi, I'jaz Husayn b. Muhammad Quli. Kashf al-hujub wa l-astar 'an asma' al-kutub wa l-asfar. Qom: 1409
  • Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir al-.Bihar al-anwar
  • Munzawi 'Ali Naqi & Danishpazhuh Muhammad Taqi, Fihrist kitabkhani madrasay 'ali Sipahsalar. Tehran: 1340-1346 sh
  • Mutahhari, Murtada. Ashnayi ba 'ulum islami. Tehran: 1369 sh
  • Qushchi, 'Ali b. Muhammad al-. Sharh tajrid al-'aqa'id. Tehran: 1285
  • Rabbani Gulpaygani, "Imamiyya", Kiyhan andishi, num.54 1373 sh
  • Sadr al-Din Shirazi, Muhammad b. Ibrahim. Sharh usul al-kafi. Tehran: 1391
  • Tihrani, Aqa Buzurg. Al-Dhari'a.
  • Tusi, Nasir al-Din al-. Tajrid al-i'tiqad. Qom: Hasanzada Amuli, 1407
  • Tusi, Nasir al-Din al-. Talkhis al-muhassal. Tehran: 'Abd Allah Nurani, 1359 sh