Muhammad Ibn Babawayh

An Enlightened Adolescent And A Teacher Of Aged Pupils

Muhammad ibn Babawayh, known as Shaykh Sadooq in the world of knowledge, lived in the fourth century Hijri. He is considered the father of the science of traditions and is a well-known personality of Shias. His father was Ali Ibn Babawayh and he was the most prominent scholar of Qom and he wrote twenty books, which are well known in the literary circles. He had married the daughter of his uncle but even after the passage of so many years they did not have any issue. In 305 A.H. he traveled to Baghdad and met Husayn Ibn Rauh Nawbakhti, the special deputy of the twelfth Imam (a.s) and through him sent a request letter to the Imam of the time. Husain ibn Rauh conveyed his request to the Imam who replied as follows:

“You will not have any children with this wife. I have petitioned Allah in this regard and soon you will get two righteous and worthy sons from a lady of Daylam.” Shaykh Sadooq has mentioned this episode in the introduction to his book, Kamal

uddin. Thus not many days passed when Ali Ibn Babawayh married a Dailamite lady and two sons were born through her. One he named Muhammad and other Husain. The two became well known scholars of their time.

The elder was Muhammad who later became famous as Shaykh Sadooq. He had extraordinary intelligence and an analytical mind and he was incomparable in his intellect, wisdom and perfections.

Muhammad was born in Qom . He first studied under his respected father, and then received instructions from Muhammad ibn Walid Qummi and other scholars of Qom . Not much time passed when he earned for himself a distinguished place in the literary circles.

While yet in his youth he occupied the position of a teacher and also initiated the work of writing and compilation. His honorable father expired in 329 A.H. and from that very year he acquired the position of “point of reference” (Marjaiyat) and the people of areas around Qom used to refer to him regarding their problems and religious questions.

Traditionalists and jurists, senior in age used to attend his classes. Despite the fact that he had just stepped into his youth, many senior scholars used to attend his daily lectures on the science of traditions. This proves that he possessed extraordinary capabilities and an exceptional memory.

Scholars of traditions and intellectuals were perplexed at his memory and intellectual perfections. And when people expressed their astonishment to him he said, “What is astonishing about it? I am born through the prayers of the Imam of the time.”

When his fame spread beyond the area Ruknud Dawla the ruler of Rayy invited him. He went to Rayy upon the royal invitation where he was accorded the most honorable welcome by the vizier, Sahib ibn Abbad. Thus he spent most

of his life in Rayy. The spiritually inclined Shias of this province used to visit him and benefit from his knowledge.

Later Ibn Babawayh traveled to Khorasan, Nishapur, and Balkh and performed the Hajj pilgrimage and Ziarat of the holy Imams in Hijaz and Iraq . During his stay in Kufa and Baghdad , the Shias there gained from his religious knowledge and continued to visit him one after the other. Then he returned to Iran and passed away in Rayy in the year 381 A.H. Many of his students later became famous as great scholars of their times, like Shaykh Mufid and Husain ibn Ubaidullah Ghazaeri etc.

Shaykh Sadooq has written three hundred books on religious sciences, of which the most important are Man La Yahzarul Faqih, which is one of the four canonical books of Shias. Other famous books, Khisal, Maniul Akhbar, Ilalush Sharai, Itiqadat, Uyun Akhbar Reza and Tawheed.

The tradition scholars and jurists of the Shia world look upon Shaykh Sadooq with utmost respect due to his scholarly services and since the last thousand years till today they all agree about his greatness, reliability, truthfulness and insight. They consider him so well versed in the science of traditions that they say, ‘as if he understands even the modulation and accent of Ahle Bayt (a.s)’.