Shiites have their distinct sources of hadith. My questions are:

  1. How did they develop and by whom?
  2. What is their authenticity?

2 Answers 2


Let’s start with the history of Shia sources...

Actually compilation of hadith among the Shiah started during the life of the Prophet (PBUH).And The texts which were compiled by the early Shiah scholars were called “Usul”.

Most of the authors of these book were those who had heard the ahadith from one of the Imams, in particular, from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir and Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq (A) or someone who heard from someone who had heard the Imam.

These texts compiled from the era of Ali (A.S.) to the time of Imam Hasan al-`Askari (A.S.) (the eleventh Imam).

And the popular ones have four-hundred hadith by different authors without any classification. And most of these traditions exist in the al-Mahasin al-Barqi, al-Kafi, Man la Yahduruhu al-faqih.

Some of them are found in Tahdhib.

Most of these notebooks existed in the Shahpur Karkh Library of Baghdad and were lost when Tughrul the Turk burnt the city on conquering it in the year 448/1056. Others which escaped this calamity, and other disasters, were preserved until the time of Ibn Idris and Ibn Ta'wus and were available to them. Some, more than two-hundred of them, have survived to our own times. These notebooks usually go with the prefix “kitab” and often “nawadir”.

Thirteen of them exist in the library of the Tehran University in the manuscript file number 962. Twelve of them are “kitab” and one is “nawadir”. These are:

  1. Kitab Zayd al-Zad;

  2. Kitab Ghasfari;

  3. Kitab ibn Hamid al-Hannat;

  4. Kitab Zayd al-Nirsi;

  5. Kitab Ja`far al-Hadrami;

  6. Kitab Muhammad al-Hadrami;

  7. Kitab `Abd al-Malik ibn Hakim;

  8. Kitab Muthanna ibn Walid al-Hannat;

  9. Kitab Haddad al-Sindi;

  10. Kitab Husayn ibn `Uthman;

  11. Kitab Kahili;

  12. Kitab Salam Khurasani;

  13. Nawadir Abi al-Hasan `Ali ibn Asbat ibn Salim.

Later, Shiah scholars of hadith compiled four great collections from that notebooks or Usul book which became the most important texts of hadith in the Shiah world. These four books are:

  1. Al-Kafi: It was compiled by Shaykh Abu Ja`far Muhammad ibn Yaqub al-Kulayni al-Razi (died 329/940) which contains 16,099 musnad (documented) hadith narrated from the Ahl al-Bayt (the Household of the Prophet).

  2. Man la yahduruhu al-faqih: It was compiled by Shaykh Saduq Abu Ja`far Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Babwayhi al-Qummi(died 381/991) who is known as “Shaykh-i Ajal” or “Saduq al-Ta'ifah”. This book contains 9,044 hadith.

  3. Al-Tahdhib: It was compiled by Abu Ja`far Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Tusi (died 460/1068) also known as “Shaykh al-Ta'ifah” (The chief of the sect). This book contains 13,590 hadith.

  4. Al-Istibsar: This book was also compiled by Abu Ja`far Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Tusi, and contains 5,511 hadith. The book is divided into four parts.



  • Thank you beautiful mind. But please note that you didn't answer the question of authenticity.
    – infatuated
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 5:23
  • 1
    @infatuated But I answered it...It 's clear in the text(chain of Ahadith). Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 10:39

In general Shia scholars do not maintain, that all hadith in their major books are authentic, unlike Sunni scholars, who claim that all hadith in their Sahih books are authentic.

When it comes to the authenticity of hadith, each and every hadith is scrutinised, as Shia school of thought accepts only trustworthy narrators. All narrators, in a chain of narrators, must be known as honest and trustworthy people.

Second criteria is, that hadith must not contradict the Holy Qur'an. If an hadith states something, which is mentioned in the holy book in an opposite meaning, then this hadith is classified as being not authentic.

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