Shaykh Tusi

For other uses, see Al-Tusi.
Abu Ja'far al-Tusi
Title Shaykh al-Taʾifah
Born October 995
Died 2 December 1067 (aged 72)
Ethnicity Persian
Era Islamic golden age
Religion Islam
Denomination Shia Islam
Jurisprudence Twelver
Main interest(s) Kalam, Tafsir, Hadith, Ilm ar-Rijal, Usul and Fiqh
Notable idea(s) Hawza of Najaf
Notable work(s) Tahdhib al-Ahkam, Al-Istibsar, Al-Tibyan

Shaykh Tusi (Persian: شیخ طوسی), full name Abu Jafar Muhammad Ibn Hassan Tusi (Persian: ابوجعفر محمد بن حسن طوسی), known as Shaykh al-Taʾifah (Arabic: شيخ الطائفة) was a prominent Persian scholar of the Twelver school of Shia Islam. He became known as “sheikh of the sect (shaikh al-ta'ifah),” authored two of the four main Shi'i books of hadith, Tahdhib al-Ahkam and al-Istibsar, and is believed to have founded the Hawza.[1] He also counts as the founder of shia jurisprudence.[2]


He was born in Tus in Iran in 995 AD/385. In 1018 AD/408 A.H.[3] His life was along with the government of Buyid dynasty.[4] He was born according to praying of twelfth imam of shia namely Mahdi[5] He learned significant level of Islamic sciences of that period in Tus[6] in Khorasan.[7] he left Tus to study in Baghdad. In 1055 AD/447 A.H Tughril-bek entered Baghdad. there he could participate in the courses of Shykh Al-Mufid as paramount teacher.[6] Also he wrote some of his books when he was between twenty and thirty. When he was forty two he participated in the class of his master namely Shaykh Murtaza.[8] At this time many Muslim scholars in Baghdad, both Sunni and Shiʿite were killed. The house of al-Shaikh al-Tusi was burnt down, as were his books and the works he had written in Baghdad, together with important libraries of Shi'ite books. Al-Tusi went to al-Najaf after the fall of Baghdad. He died at Najaf on the 22nd of Muharram in the year 460 A.H/2 December 1067.


Tusi had important role in formation and revival of Shia jurisprudence and law. since that his time was coincidence with the burning of the great books and library,[9] nearly he must to revive the hadith and jurisprudence in a way.[10] He innovated in the sphere of jurisprudence. He tried to defend the application of jurisprudence in respect of religious laws. One of his accomplishments was that he could be successful in propagation and coherence of methodologies of argumentation and inference. His dominance was unrivaled until long Time. Nearly all jurisprudents only were affected by shaykh Tusi's opinions. The influence of shaykh Tusi continued until the emergence of Ibn Idris Hilli who criticized some views od shaykh Tusi.[11] Also Tusi Had given to shaykh Mufid a definite formulation in Ijtihad.[12] In fact three people including Shaykh Tusi had important role in leadership of Shia's school of law.[13]

Usuli School

in confliction between two schools of Ahbaris and usuli, Shaykh Tusi defended of Usuli school and calls akhbari as followers of literate or literalists.[12] Shaykh Tusi believed in principles of jurisprudence as a fundamental knowledge in acquiring the judgments of Islam religion.[14] he wrote in introduction of 'Al-Iddah' book as follow: " thus you may say, it is essential to attach the greatest importance to this branch of knowledge( namely Usul) because the whole of shariah is based on it and the knowledge of the any aspect thereof is not complete without mastering the principles.[15] Also he tries to compare different schools of law in Islam with each other and show there is a little divergence between them and they are near to each other and differences among them is in minor subject not major.[16] Shaykh Tusi, like his Masters, refuted the legal analogy(Qiyyas Fiqhi) in his manual of usul Fiqh.[17]

Importance of reason

His emphasis was on the rational dimension of religion such a way that he know principles like commanding to good and prohibiting of evil as something which is indispensable according to reason.[18] Even shaykh Tusi try to give validity to Consensus(Ijma) according to rational rule of Lutf. according to principle of Lutf, God must provide believers with conditions and situation for doing religious acts and nearing to good.principle of lutf requires the appointment of infallible imam and necessitates that the Imam reveals the truth about any problem on which a wrong agreement may have been reached.[19]


Tusi was leading in different majors of religious sciences such as Ilm-rijal(Biography),traditions(Hadiths) and Fihrist(Catalogue).He also starts important developments in that allow shia clerics to comprehend some of the roles permitted before only for Imam. these roles are to collecting and distributing the religious taxes and organizing the Friday prayers.[20]

Najaf Seminary

According to some scholars, Sheykh Tusi established the Hawzeh of Najaf after migrating from Baghdad.[21]


He wrote nearly over fifty works in different Islamic branch of knowledge such as philosophy, hadith,theology, biography,historiography,exegesis and tradition.[22] Of the four authoritative resources of the Shiites, two are written by Shaykh Tusi. These two basic reference books are: Tahdhib al-Ahkam and Al-Istibsar. Both of these pertain to Hadiths of Islamic Jurisprudential decrees and injunctions.


this book is one of the first book in the sphere of comparative jurisprudence written by Tusi. he tries to collect all opinions of law schools of Islam in this book. this book also shows that there is great accordance between shia school of law and other schools.the differences exist merely in minor problem namely furu.[16] This book, as a compendium, not only rendered those opinions which shia hold uniquely but also the conflicting Sunni opinions in much greater detail.[28]

See also


  1. Haytham Mouzahem. "Iraqi Shiite clerics maintain humility, influence". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  2. Hamid Dabashi (1988). Shi'ism: Doctrines, Thought, and Spirituality. SUNY Press. pp. 65–. ISBN 978-0-88706-689-4.
  3. Abū al-Faz̤l ʻIzzatī & 2008 Concise Description of Islamic Law and Legal Opinions, p. i
  4. Seyyed Hossein Nasr; Hamid Dabashi; Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr (26 April 1989). Expectation of the Millennium: Shi'ism in History. SUNY Press. pp. 253–. ISBN 978-0-88706-844-7.
  5. Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi. Your Questions Answered volume V. Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania. pp. 37–. ISBN 978-9976-956-67-2.
  6. 1 2 ʻAlī Nāṣirī (28 February 2013). An Introduction to Hadith: History and Sources. MIU Press. ISBN 978-1-907905-08-7.
  7. Hamid Wahed Alikuzai (October 2013). A Concise History of Afghanistan in 25 Volumes. Trafford Publishing. pp. 111–. ISBN 978-1-4907-1441-7.
  8. Imam Khomeini & 2003 the greatest Jihad, p. 20
  9. Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi. Prophecies about Occultation of Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.). Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania. pp. 13–. ISBN 978-9987-620-23-4.
  10. Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi & 1994 The Divine Guide in Early Shi'ism: The Sources of Esotericism in Islam, p. 27
  11. CHangizi Adihayi and Isa Al Hakimin Gholamali Haddad Adel, Mohammad Jafar Elmi, Hassan Taromi-Rad 2012, pp. 115–116
  12. 1 2 Clifford Edmund Bosworth & Brill Archive, 1989 The Encyclopedia of Islam, Volume 6, p. 549
  13. Linda S. Walbridge Adjunct Professor of Anthropology Indiana University (6 August 2001). The Most Learned of the Shi`a : The Institution of the Marja` Taqlid: The Institution of the Marja` Taqlid. Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 216–. ISBN 978-0-19-534393-9.
  14. The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition: Supplement. Brill Archive. 1 January 1980. pp. 56–. ISBN 90-04-06167-3.
  15. Dr. Alsyyed Abu Mohammad Naqvi (12 December 2013). Shia Dissociation from Usuli School. AuthorHouse. pp. 145–. ISBN 978-1-4918-8644-1.
  16. 1 2 3 Jaʻfar Subḥānī; Reze Shah-Kazemi (7 December 2001). The Doctrines of Shi'ism: A Compendium of Imami Beliefs and Practices. I.B.Tauris. pp. 181–. ISBN 978-1-86064-780-2.
  17. Dewin Stewart in weiss & Muhammad b. Dawud al-Zahiri's Manual of Jurisprudence: Al-Wusul ila ma'rifat al-usul 2002, p. 134
  18. Hiroyuki Mashita (5 September 2013). Theology, Ethics and Metaphysics: Royal Asiatic Society Classics of Islam. Routledge. pp. 90–. ISBN 978-1-136-87198-6.
  19. Abdulaziz Abdulhussein Sachedina. Islamic Messianism: The Idea of Mahdi in Twelver Shi'ism. SUNY Press. pp. 143–. ISBN 978-1-4384-1844-5.
  20. Moojan Momen in Holy people of the world : a cross-cultural encyclopedia , Phyllis G. Jestice, editor 2004, p. 870
  21. Gholamali Haddad Adel; Mohammad Jafar Elmi; Hassan Taromi-Rad (31 August 2012). Hawza-yi ‘Ilmiyya, Shi‘i Teaching Institution: An Entry from Encyclopaedia of the World of Islam. EWI Press. pp. 116–. ISBN 978-1-908433-06-0.
  22. Abul fazl Ezzati 2008, p. iv
  23. Julie Scott Meisami; Paul Starkey (1 January 1998). Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature. Taylor & Francis. pp. 713–. ISBN 978-0-415-18572-1.
  24. al-Qadi al-Numan, (19 January 2015). Disagreements of the Jurists: A Manual of Islamic Legal Theory. NYU Press. pp. 28–. ISBN 978-0-8147-7142-6.
  25. Gholamali Haddad Adel; Mohammad Jafar Elmi; Hassan Taromi-Rad (31 August 2012). Education in the Islamic Civilisation: An Entry from Encyclopaedia of the World of Islam. EWI Press. pp. 105–. ISBN 978-1-908433-03-9.
  26. Amirhassan Boozari (29 March 2011). Shi'i Jurisprudence and Constitution: Revolution in Iran. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 234–. ISBN 978-0-230-11846-1.
  27. Yehoiakin ben Ya'ocov (17 July 2012). Concepts of Messiah: A study of the Messianic Concepts of Islam, Judaism, Messianic Judaism and Christianity. WestBow Press. pp. 26–. ISBN 978-1-4497-5745-8.
  28. Steward & 1998 islamic legal ortodoxy, p. 143
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