Al-Kutub Al-Arb'ah

Distinguish from the Four Books of Chinese Confucianism.

The Four Books (Arabic: الكتب الاربعة Al-Kutub Al-Arbʿah') is a Twelver Shiʿa term referring to their four best known hadith collections.

The books are:

Name Collector Size
Kitab al-Kafi (divided into Usul al-Kafi, Furu al-Kafi and Rawdat al-Kafi) Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni al-Razi (329 AH) 15,176 hadith
Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih Muhammad ibn Babuya 9,044
Tahdhib al-Ahkam Shaykh Muhammad Tusi 13,590
Al-Istibsar Shaykh Muhammad Tusi 5,511

Shi'a Muslims use different books of ahadith than Ahl al-Sunnah's Six major Hadith collections. The Shi'a consider many Sunni transmitters of hadith to be unreliable because many of them accepted the Caliphate of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman in preference to Ali and the majority of them were narrated through certain personalities that waged war against Ali or sided with his enemies such as Muawiya. Shia trust traditions transmitted through the Imams, Muhammad's descendants through Fatima Zahra.[1]

The Four Books have been praised by many notable Shi'a scholars. This is what some have said:

  • Shaikh al-Hur al-Aamili said, "The authors of the 4 Books of shia have testified that the Hadiths of their books are accurate (saheeh) , firm and well conducted from the roots that all shia agreed on , and if you consider those scholars (the authors of the four books) are reliable then you must accept their sayings and their narrations . " [Al-wasa’el, vol. 20, p. 104]
  • Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din al-Musawi said: "Al-Kafi, Al-Istibsaar, Al-Tahzeeb and Mun La Yahduruhu Al-faqeeh are Mutawatirah and agreed on the accuracy of its contents (the Hadiths), and Al-Kafi is the oldest, greatest, best and the most accurate one of them.“ [The book of Al-Muraja'aat (A Shi'i-Sunni dialogue), Muraj'ah No. 110]
  • Al-Tabrosi (aka, Tabarsi) said:"Al-Kafi among the 4 shia books is like the sun among the stars, and who looked fairly would not need to notice the position of the men in the chain of hadiths in this Book, and if you looked fairly you would feel satisfied and sure that the hadiths are firm and accurate."[Mustadrak al-Wasail, vol. 3, p. 532]

See also


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.