The Four Books

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The Four Books (Arabic: ٱلْكُتُب ٱلْأَرْبَعَة, al-Kutub al-ʾArbaʿah), or The Four Principles (al-Uṣūl al-Arbaʿah), is a Twelver Shia term referring to their four best-known hadith collections:

Name Collector No. of
Kitab al-Kafi [a] Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni al-Razi (329 AH) 16,199
Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih Muhammad ibn Babawayh 9,044
Tahdhib al-Ahkam Shaykh Muhammad Tusi 13,590
Al-Istibsar Shaykh Muhammad Tusi 5,511

Most Shi'a Muslims use different books of hadith from those used by other Muslims,[b] who prize the six major hadith collections. In particular, Twelver Shi'a consider many Sunni transmitters of hadith to be unreliable because many of them took the side of Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali instead of only Ali (and the rest of Muhammad's family) and the majority of them were narrated through certain personalities that waged war against Ahlul Bayt or sided with their enemies such as Aisha that fought Ali at Jamal, or Muawiya who did so at Siffin. Hussain (grandson of Muhammad and son of Ali ibn Abi Talib) was martyred at the Battle of Karbala.[2] Shia trust traditions transmitted through the Imams, Muhammad's descendants through Fatima Zahra.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Divided into Usul al-Kafi, Furu al-Kafi and Rawdat al-Kafi.
  2. ^ However, for example Zaidi Shi'a also accept and hold Sunni Hadith collections in high esteem.[1]


  1. ^ Karimov, N.R., 2019. SOME BRIEF INFORMATION ON AL-SIHAH AL-SITTA. Theoretical & Applied Science, (5), pp.611-620.
  2. ^ Momen, Moojan, Introduction to Shi'i Islam, Yale University Press, 1985, p.28-31
  3. ^ Momen, Moojan, Introduction to Shi'i Islam, Yale University Press, 1985, p.174