شيخ محمد بن الحسن الطوسي
By Yasin T. al-Jibouri

TThe reader will come across the name of Sheikh (or Shaikh) al-Tūsi in the three volumes of the translation/research by Yasin T. al-Jibouri of the famous book titled Nahjul-Balagha (which is being published in the United States); therefore, we have decided to acquaint him with this great personality:

Shaikh al-Tūsi, “Abū Ja`far” Muhammed ibn al-Hassan (385 – 460 A.H./995 – 1068 A.D.), is one of the greatest literary figures in Islamic history, a scholar the scope of whose knowledge encompassed Islamic history, fiqh and hadīth. He is called “Tūsi” after his birthplace, the city of Tūs, Khurasan, Iran. After Tūsi’s demise, Tūs expanded in area, gradually becoming a center of knowledge and culture especially after Imām Ali ibn Mūsa al-Rida[1] A had resided in it. The Imām’s presence attracted scholars and seekers of knowledge from all the corner of the then Islamic world.

Sheikh al-Tūsi was taught by the greatest scholars of his time who included Sheikh al-Mufīd, Sayyid al-Sahreef al-Murtada, brother of al-Shareef al-Radhi, compiler of Nahjul-Balāgha, who kept company with Sheikh al-Tūsi for twenty-eight years, directing and helping the growth of his academic talents, so much so that Sheikh al-Tūsi became a candidate for leading the nation after the demise of his mentor, and this is exactly what took place.

Students and seekers of knowledge went in hordes to the residence of Sheikh al-Tūsi in order to learn from him, so his house in Baghdad embraced seekers of knowledge whose number was estimated to be no less than three hundred renown mujtahids from among the Shi`a faith in addition to countless Sunnis who attracted them with his own method and convincing style, presenting his evidence and treating everyone with lofty Islamic ethical standards. The former rector of al-Azhar, the revered Shaikh Abdul-Majeed Saleem, has been quoted as saying that he very much admired Shi`ite fiqh after someone had given him a copy of the book titled Al-Mabsoot by Sheikh al-Tūsi as a gift. He liked the book so much that he made statements saying that he reviewed this book prior to issuing any fatwa, binding religious edict; so, whenever he found in this book what convinced him that it was the best viewpoint, he adopted it without any hesitation, an open-mindedness which has now become so rare…

Al-Qā’im bi Amr-illāh was the ruler of his time. Recognizing the distinction of Sheikh al-Tūsi, he ordered a special chair to be designed and made for the scholar, a chair which came to be known as that of scholarship and tutorship, one of its kind at the time. Sheikh al-Tūsi, therefore, used to sit on that chair and deliver his sermons and speeches. This went on till the year 447 A.H./1055 A.D. when the flames of sectarianism swept Baghdad brought by Turkish Saljukes who burned the Sheikh’s house, library and chair. The Sheikh’s library was known as the Shah-pur Library which is described by the great historian Yāqūt al-Hamawi as the greatest in the entire Islamic world. The Turks schemed to get the two main branches of Islam, the Shi`i and the Sunni, to be at each other’s throats. This forced Sheikh al-Tūsi to migrate to the city that houses the Shrine of the Commander of the Faithful Ali A, namely al-Najaf al-Ashraf, Iraq, where he established a great university, turning this city into a capital for knowledge and a center for scholars, one which has ever since been attracting men of virtue and seekers of knowledge. Thousands of senior faqīhs, jurists, speakers, virtuous exegetes and historians have graduated from it and will always continue to do so, Inshā-Allāh.

After his death, the grave of Sheikh al-Tūsi turned into a lofty school for disseminating Islamic knowledge and a center for the scholarly howza, theological seminary, and for its very prominent religious authorities.

The sectarian fire sparked by the Turks in Iraq in 447 A.H./1055 A.D. consumed most, if not all, the treasure of knowledge which Sheikh al-Tūsi had spent years researching and compiling. Despite that, the following list has been compiled from various sources, and it introduces us to a drop in the bucket of what Sheikh al-Tūsi had written:

1 ـ رجال الطوسيّ ، ويُسمى هذا الكتاب ( الأبواب )

. Al-Abwāb: a book about narrators of hadīth

2 ـ اختيار معرفة الرجال ـ هذّب من خلاله كتاب ( رجال الكشيّ )

. Ikhtiyār Ma`rifat al-Rijāl, a critique of the famous work Rijāl al-Kashi

3 ـ الاستبصار ـ جزءان في العبادات، والثالث في بقية أبواب الفقه.

Al-Istibsār: Two Volumes about rituals and a third in the rest of aspects of fiqh

4 ـ الأمالي ـ في الحديث، ويُسمى أيضاً ( المجالس ).

Al-Amāli fil Hadīth (also called Al-Majālis): one of his most famous works

5 ـ التبيان في تفسير القرآن.

Al-Tibyān fī Tafsīr al-Qur’ān: a book of exegesis

6 ـ تلخيص الشافي ـ في الإمامة، وأصله للشريف المرتضى ( الشافي ).

Talkhīs Al-Shāfi: a summary of the book titled Al-Shāfi by al-Shareef al-Murtada, and it deals with the subject of imāmate.

7 ـ تمهيد الصول ـ شرح لكتاب المرتضى ( جُمَل العلم والعمل ).

Tamhīd al-Usūl: an explanation of the book titled Jumal al-`Ilm wal `Amal by al-Murtada

8 ـ تهذيب الأحكام ـ عشر مجلّدات، من الكتب الأربعة التي عليها مدار استنباط الأحكام الشرعيّة.

Tahthīb al-Ahkām: Ten Volumes and one of four books used as references for deriving rulings relevant to the Sharī`a, the Islamic legislative system

9 ـ الجُمل والعقود ـ في العبادات، ألّفه بطلبٍ من قاضي طرابلس.

Al-Jumal wal`Uqūd: a book in rituals which he wrote after being requested by the judge of Tripoli of the time to do so

10 ـ الخلاف ـ في الأحكام، ناظَرَ فيه المخالفين. في مجلَّدين.

Al-Khilāf: a book in two volumes that deals with the ahkam, religious rulings, in which he debates those who dispute with his School of Thought

11 ـ رياضة العقول ـ شرح لكتابه ( مقدّمة في علم الأصول ).

Riyādat al-`Uqūl: an explanation of his own book titled Muqaddima fī `Ilm al-Usūl (Introduction in the Science of Principles)

12 ـ العُدّة ـ في أصول الدين وأصول الفقه.

Al-`Udda: deals with the principles of the creed and of those of fiqh

13 ـ الغَيبة ـ في غيبة الإمام المهديّ ( عجل الله تعالى فرَجَه ).

Al-Ghaiba: deals with the occultation of Imām al-Mahdi (may Allāh Almighty hasten his ease)

14 ـ الفهرست ـ في ذكر أصحاب الكتب والأصول.

Al-Fihrist: a bibliography of major books and authors who wrote in the science of usul, principles of the Islamic faith

15 ـ ما يُعلّل وما لا يُعلَّل ـ في علم الكلام.

Mā Yu`allal wamā lā Yu`allal (what can be explained and what cannot): a book in the science of logic

16 ـ المبسوط ـ من أجلّ كتب الفقه. يشتمل على سبعين فصلاً.

Al-Mabsoot (refer to the text above): one of the most prestigious books of fiqh; it contains seventy chapters.

17 ـ مصباح المتهجّد ـ في أعمال السَّنة، وهو من أجل كتب الأدعية والأعمال.

Misbāh al-Mutahajjid: a book of recommended acts of the Sunnah, one of the greatest books of supplications and acts of worship

18 ـ المفصح ـ في الإمامة، وهو من الآثار المهمّة.

Al-Mufsih: deals with the subject of Imāmate, and it is one of the important sources in this topic.

19 ـ مقتل الإمام الحسين عليه السّلام.

Maqtal al-Imām al-Hussain Alaihis-Salām: a narrative of the epic of heroism of Imam al-Hussain’s martyrdom

20 ـ المستجاد من الإرشاد ـ في أصول الدين الخمسة.

Al-Mustajād minal Irshād: deals with the five principles of the creed

21 ـ مناسك الحجّ ـ في مجرّد العمل.

Manāsik al-Hajj: deals with pilgrimage-related rituals

22 ـ النهاية ـ في الفقه والفتوى.. يحتوي على 22 فصلاً و 214 باباً.

Al-Nihāya: a book about fiqh and issuing fatwas, edicts and contains 22 parts and 214 chapters

23 ـ هداية المسترشد وبصيرة المتعبّد ـ في الأدعية والعبادات.

Hidāyat al-Mustarshid wa Basīrat al-Muta`abbid: a book of supplications and acts of adoration

From this list of precious books, we have selected these few works for the reader only because they are available at libraries, providing you with their place of publication; unfortunately, the name of publisher or press house is omitted from existing editions:

Kitāb al-Ghaiba, Al-Najaf al-Ashraf, Iraq.

Misbāh al-Mutahajjid, Qum, Iran.

Al-Tibyān, Al-Najaf al-Ashraf, Iraq.

Al-Amāli, Al-Najaf al-Ashraf, Iraq, 1384 A.H./1964 A.D. (Iran, 1313 A.H./1895 A.D.).

Al-Fihrist, Al-Najaf al-Ashraf, Iraq.

[1]Im¡m Ali ibn Musa al-Al-Ridha is the eighth in the series of Infallible Imams. He was born in the holy city of Medina on the eleventh of Thul-Qa`da, 148 A.H./765 A.D. and was given the titled “Al-Ridha” which means that Allah Almighty and His Holy Messenger are pleased with him. The Imam is also considered as one of the Greatest Learned and Erudite of Ahlul Bayt. Al-Ma’mūn (ruled from 198 – 218 A.H./813 – 833 A.D.) (younger son of caliph Haroon “al-Rashīd” who ruled from 170 – 193 A.H./786 – 809 A.D.), the then Abbasi Khalifa, appointed him as his crown prince but later poisoned him in Sanabad, Tus, in the Iranian region of Khurasan on the last day of the month of Safar 203 A.H./August 818 A.D. where the Imam was buried. After the burial of Imam al-Ridha in this place, Sanabad was soon transformed into a metropolis. The holy shrine of Imam al-Ridha in the holy city of Mashhad is also one of the extensively visited centers in the world: Annually, more than 25 millions visitors and lovers of Ahlul Bayt from all parts of the world visit it. Alhamdu-Lillāh, I translated a book about this great Imam which the late Sheikh Muhammed-Jawād Fadlallah, the famous Lebanese scholar, had written, and you can review my translation Online by clicking on this Link: http://www.al-islam.org/al-rida/index.html.