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The Shiah and Writing of Hadith

After discussing writing of hadith by Ahl al-Sunnah, I found it better to complete our discussion about history of tadwin of hadith by the Shi’ah so as to make commentary about this subject full-fledged on all respects, thus:

The Shi'ah hold that: The first one who collected the traditions and arranged them into chapters was Abu Rafi', mawla of the Messenger of Allah,498 who compiled the book al-Sunan wa al-ahkam wa al-qadaya. It is said that no one preceded him in arranging the hadith and compiling it into chapters.499

The eminent scholar Muhammad Husayn Al Kashif al-Ghita' al-Najafi, in his book al-Mutala’at wa al muraja’at wa al rudud,500 writes: The first one to write hadith was Ibn Abi Rafi', a scribe of Amir al-Mu'minin Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him), and his treasurer or rather in fact the first who wrote down the hadith was Amir al-Mu'minin himself, as indicated by the report (khabar ) of al-Sahifah in the two Sahihs.501


498. Abu Rafi' was bondman (mawla) of the Messenger of Allah, and his name was Aslam. He was owned by al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, who free and granted him to the Messenger of Allah. It was hm who made the pulpit (minbar) for the Prophet from the forest tamarisk. And Salma, the bondwoman of the Messenger of Allah, was the wife of Abu Rafi', for whom she gave birth to Ubayd Allah ibn Abi Rafi', the scribe of al-Imam Ali (peace be upon him).

499. Al-Shi'ah was funun al-Islam, by al-Sayyid Hasan al-Sadr (one of ulama' of Iraq - Irfan Press, Seida, 1331.

500. See p.56.

501. I have cited previously the hadith of Sahifah among the ahadith I inferred to prove the narration on basis of meaning.

Adapted from: "Lights on the Muhammadan Sunnah" by: "Mahmud Ali Riyyah"

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