A Numeric Classification of Traditions Oncharacteristics


Al-Khisal is a collection of religious and moral precepts from reliable works on the subject compiled by Sheikh Sadooq. Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ali ibn al-Hussein ibn Musa ibn Babooyeh Al-Qumi nicknamed Sheikh Sadooq**[1]** was a jurist and a prominent scholar on Shiite traditions. Sheikh Tousi in his Al-Istibsar which is one of the four major Shiite reference books has nicknamed him Imad Al-Din that means the pillar of religion. About his date and place of birth there is no exact information. Ibn Babooyeh was brought up in a learned family in Qum and in his youth was educated by famous teachers of the city. On an unknown date Ibn Babooyeh left Qum for Ray which was the capital of the Buwahids and settled in that city. In 352 A.H. (963 A.D.) with the permission of Rukn ad-Dawlah the governor of Ray, he left for the holy city of Mashhad to perform the pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Imam Reza (MGB**[2]** ). The main characteristic of Ibn Babooyeh is that by stressing on traditions, he explains and proves theological arguments. His jurisprudence is also based on traditions. He considers analogy and deduction not permissible.

Ibn Babooyeh traveled extensively to collect traditions. He met many masters of traditions and he has left behind many works in tradition. His nickname ‘Sadooq’ was due to his authenticity in narrating the traditions. The first person who nicknamed Ibn Babooyeh as ‘Sadooq’ was Ibn Idris.

Ibn Babooyeh was a voluminous writer. He himself mentions that he has compiled more than 245 books. Some of his works are as follows: Al-Iteqadat, Al-Amali, Man La Yahzaroh Al-Faqih, Uyun Akhbar Al-Reza, Al-Faqih, Al-Amali, Illal Ash-Sharayeh, Al-Tawhid, Thawab Al-Amaal va Uqab al-Amaal, Al-Khisal and a few other manuscripts which are present in several libraries. About 200 books ascribed to him are mentioned in Rijal-i-Najashi and the works of Tousi and Ibn Shahr Aashub.

Sheikh Al-Sadooq, who authored one of the four basic works on Shiite traditions, compiled dozens of authoritative collections of traditions, each of which usually follows a particular theme. His Al-Tawhid collects traditions which illustrate the profession of monotheism. His Uyun Akhbar Al-Reza gathers together everything that has been related about Imam Reza (MGB); the eighth Imam, whose tomb in Mashhad is the holiest pilgrimage site in Iran. The work contains such things as descriptions of the Imam's mother; explanations of the reason why his name was chosen; all the sayings which have been recorded from him; and traditions concerning his death and the miracles which have occurred at his tomb.

The present work that is Sheikh Al-Sadooq's Al-Khisal demonstrates the importance of numbers in the traditions. This has led to a valuable collection of traditions that is very interesting to study. Each part of this book contains several traditions on various issues. His main theme in this book is on ethics, manners and good characteristics. This book covers numbered characteristics. It starts with one and ends with one million. The traditions are presented with a complete record of transmission. This is the first book of this kind. Sheikh Sadooq himself presented his motivation for compiling Al-Khisal as follows, “I noticed that the previous Sheikhs and scholars have already compiled books on various aspects of knowledge. However, they have neglected to compile a book on numbers and good and bad characteristics. Since this topic is very useful for those who seek knowledge, I decided to compile this book in order to get closer to God, attain divine rewards, prosperity and the Almighty God’s Mercy. I ask God not to turn my hopefulness into hopelessness, since He has power over all things.” Al-Khisal is a great encyclopedia on Islamic knowledge, the forbidden and the allowed acts, historical topics, interpretations on the Holy Quran, philosophical points and political issues. It is one of the most valuable sources of traditions from the members of the Holy Household of the Prophet of God (MGB). It is an authentic source and many authoritative works on Shiite traditions such as Bihar Al-Anwar have cited it as a reference. We have tried to enrich it with many footnotes which explain the concepts and words presented in the text after doing a lot of research so that the interested readers can gain as much benefit from the book as possible.