Verses of the Holy Quran and Hadith, narrations of the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) and his Ahlul Bayt, constitute the major religious texts of Shia. However, authenticity of the narrations is often questioned. Since most of the written accounts were recorded years after the lives of the Imams, some have questioned the connection of the sources to the Prophet and his progeny (PBUT).
The history of collecting and compiling the narrations1 into book collections goes far back in time to the companions of the Imams. In the era after Imam Sadiq (PBUH), Shiites dedicated their lives to collecting the Hadith of the Imams (PBUT). Often times, the works were sent to close and far away countries to spread the teachings of the Imams (PBUT) worldwide. Gradually, more and more joined these authors with more comprehensive works. It was during the time of Imam Hassan al-Askari (PBUH) that Hadith compilation reached its height and took a turn to truly protect Shiite heritage.
Hossein Ibn Ashkib Samarqandi was a companion of Imam al-Askari (PBUH) who collected Hadith and authored several key Hadith books, such as the al-Radd ‘ala al-Zeidiah2. Hassan Musa al-Khashab also authored a number of works, such as the al-Radd ‘ala al-Waqefiah3. These two examples show the extent to which the companion of the Imams were working to prevent the Shia community from segregating into other recently developed cults such as the Zeidiah4 & Waqefiah5, which were working hard to gain popularity for themselves. The aim of the above mentioned books were to therefore, utilize the teachings of the Imams ((PBUT), help people enhance their beliefs and prevent them from deviating into newly developed cults.
In addition to the presence of collected and compiled references6, there are other factors that prove the authenticity of the Hadith. Ahmad Ibn Mohammad Burqi, a companion of Imam al-Askari, authored al-Mahasin, which is an encyclopedia on Shia jurisprudence, virtues, interpretation of Quran and more7. Muhammd Saffar Qummi was another companion who authored several books on jurisprudence and beliefs during the life of Imam Hassan al-Askari (PBUH). His most popular book is the Basair al-Darajaat, which uses Hadith to cover core Shia beliefs, such as Imamat, their lives and their virtues.8 Ali Ibn Hassan Ibn Ali Fadhal was another trusted companion of Imam al-Askari (PBUH) who authored numerous9 highly regarded and comprehensive books10.
Further, the Imams themselves also approved some of these books11. Authors would consistently check their work with the Imams. Among these, were Buraq Bushanjani who wrote the book Youm wa Lailah and offered it to Imam al-Askari to receive feedback. The Imam approved the entire content of this book 12.
The abovementioned examples show that first hand narrations of the Imams were available when these original works were under development. They further show the ongoing research movement supporting Hadith authenticity during the time. The very foundation13 (Usool) of these narrations were composed until the time of Imam al-Askari (PBUH), which formed the core of what was developed later on in primary references such as al-Kafi and the like. In turn, works of the early companions as developed during the time of the Imams remains as an invaluable heritage for the Shia from the start of the occultation of the twelfth Imam to the present day.
(Selection from The Human Role Model by Rasul Jafarian with minor changes)
The Roshd Website offers condolences to all Muslims, especially you dear friend, upon 8th of Rabee al-Awwal, the anniversary of the Martyrdom of the flag of guidance, the light of piety, the ore of wisdom and knowledge, the 11th Imam of the Shiites, Imam Hassan ibn Ali al-Askari (PBUH).
1. Narration References (Jawami’ al-Hadith) are the books, which contain narration in all subjects, and have many detailed catagories such as Mahasin Burqi and Bihar alAnwar.
2. Rijal Najashi, ph. 44
3. Rijal Najashi, ph. 44
4. al-Zeidiah: It a sect from Shia in which after the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (PBUH) followed Zeid the son of Imam Sajjad (PBUH) for all religious matters.
5. al-Waqifiah: They believed that Imam Musa Ibn JA’far (PBUH) was never martyred and hence they did not accept the other Imams as the religious leaders.
6. Different types of Narration References are beyond this note’s capacity but in short there are basic references and also collective/comprehensive references which is comprised of several basic references.
7. Rijal Najashi, pg. 44
8. Rijal Najashi, pg. 44
9. Rijal Najashi, pg. 44
10. Rijal Kashi, pg. 530 #1014
11. there are many other examples addressed in Rijal Najashi, pg. 231 such as Ahmad Ibn Abdullah wrote a book and presented to Imam Hassan al-Askari (PBUH) and the Imam told him after revising: “The content is correct; do practice what’s in it.” (Fallah alSaa’il pg. 183)
12. Rijal Kashi, pg. 538 #1023
13. Those who met the Imams and heard them speak and also had the opportunity/ability to write them down, form what is called the Principle in narration or “Asl” in which the plural form is “Usool”. The Principle is each written instance.