Shaikh Mohammed bin Yaqoob bin Ishaq Kulaini.  & Al Kafi

 Also see special Website www.Kulayni.com

 

Birth: His exact year of birth has not been recorded. However, it is mentioned that his birth had already taken place by start of the imamate of the 11th Imam, which lasted from 254 A.H to 2560 A.H. Thus if he was 9-10 years old at this time, (an age when children begin to understand matters), then he must have been born around 250 A.H. He was born in the village of Kulain, about 38 kms from the Iranian city of Raiy, which was an important city at that time. His father was also a scholar. Thus Mohammed bin Yaqoob al Kulayni was born around 250Ah, which was the period of imamate of the 10th Imam, and then when he was a little older, it was the period of the imamate of the 11th Imam.

Kunniyat: His kunniyat (agnomen) was Abu Ja’far.

 

An interesting coincidence is that the name of all the three compilers of  the 4 basic books of ahadeeth( al-kafi, Man la Yahdharuhul Faqih, Tehdheeb ul ehkam and Istibsaar fi mukhtatafil akhbar) is  Mohammed, and the kunniyat of all of them was Abu Ja’far. Together they are called ‘mohammaduna thalatha’ or the three Mohammeds. Another interesting fact is that even in later times, around 11th-12th century, three more important books of ahadeeth have been compiled, and the names of the compilers of all these three books are also Mohammed, and are called Mohammedun Thalatha al Awaqib. . These are (1) Mohammed Baqar bin Mohammed Taqi, famous by the name of Allama Majlisi. His book is Biharul Anwar, in 14 volumes. It is a treasure house of the teachings of the AhleBayt. (2) Mohammed bin Murtadha Muhsin Faidh Kashani. And the book is Al Wafi, in 26 volumes (3) Mohammed Hurr e Ameli, the book is Wasael us Shia and covers Shia Jurisprudence. It was originally in 6 volumes, but was later divided into 20 volumes. These scholars are called Mohammedun thalatha al Akhir(the last three Mohammeds).

 

Title: His laqab(title) was ‘Thiqatul Islam’, the one trusted by Islam and Muslims. He was  respected and trusted by all muslims and all have given him this title

Family and early life: His family was very learned and his father was a very well-known alim(scholar) and the sheikh and leader of the other Ulema of the village

 

Teachers: History has recorded the names of 36 of his teachers, prominent amongst these was Abu Ja’far Barqi Ali bin Samri, and Ali bin Mohammed Samri who later became the 4th special naeb(representative) of the12th Imam. Another of his teachers was Ali bin Ibraheem Qummi, the famous author of tafseer e Qummi. Ali bin Ibraheem Qummi was a companion of the 11th Imam, hence this tafseer has been written by a companion of the 11th imam. This implies that it was written by the author after hearing it from the Imam himself. Hence this tafseer is highly regarded in the circles of learning.

 

Students: History has recorded the names of 15 of his outstanding students. The kafi has reached us through three of these. These are: Ahmad bin Ahmad Katib Toofi,Mohammed bin Ibraheem and Abdullah Safwani.The latter is a descendent of the companion of the 7th Imam, safwani, to whom the Imam had said,”Safwan, we like everything about you, except that you hire out your camels to a cruel, tyrant king. It is related that once when the kazi of Mosul was visiting the king, he entered into a debate wit Abdulla safwan regarding Imamte. When the debate reached a deadlock, Safwani invited the kazi to an imprecation( mubahilah). Thus they invoked the curse of Allah on the liar. The kazi died the very next day.

 

Death: Kulaini died in  Baghdad in 329 A.H. The year he died is called ‘tanasirul nujoom’ or the year of the breaking of the stars, because during this year it was observed that a lot of stars appeared to break and fall. Also, it was a year that saw the death of prominent Ulema – Kulayni, followed by the death of the father of Sheikh Sadooq, Ali bin Babwayh Qummi. The 12th Imam’s special naeb(representative), Ali bin mohammed, too, died in this year. This year also marked the beginning of ghaibat e kubra( major occultation) of the Imam. Hence this year is called the year of the breaking of the stars, as it appeared as if the stars of the sky were breaking and falling towards the earth, and stars of the sky of knowledge, too, broke and fell.

His age, when he died is calculated to be about 80 years. According to the Christian calendar it was the year 941 AD. His salatul mayyit (prayer over the dead body) was recited by Mohammed bin Ja’far Husseini abu Qaraat. He is buried in Baghdad ,in Bab e Koofa. This is the same district where he used to live. It is located in eastern  Baghdad . He grave exists there even today.  

Baghdad has always been a centre of the opponents of the Shia faith. After a long time had passed after Kulaini’s death, a king happened to pass by his grave. He saw a lot of people coming to the grave. On enquiring he found out that it was the grave of a Shia alim. He was enraged and ordered the destruction of the grave. On his orders when the grave was opened, his body was found to be very fresh, with not the slightest hint of decay. A child was also found buried in the same grave. Even the body of the child had not decayed. The king was impressed and ordered the closure of the grave.

However Sayyed Ne’matullah Jazaeri had related another event. According to him, a great opponent of Shias established his rule in Baghdad He wanted to stop the people from visiting the graves of the Masoomeen(a), and decided to destroy them. He decided to begin with the grave of The 7th Imam, it being closest to Baghdad. Preparations got underway, when someone informed him that the Shias believe that the bodies of their Imams do not decay in the graves. The king replied,” let the grave be opened. If what they say turns out to be true, I will close the grave with great honor. If I find the body decayed, I will consider my actions justified”. But someone else told him,” you do not need to go far to check their claim, because they claim the same thing for their Ulema as well. One of their Ulema is buried in Baghdad itself. Open that grave. If the body is still fresh, it can be concluded that their faith is the correct one. Thus Kulaini’s grave was opened, the body was found to be so fresh that he appeared to be asleep. Even the color of henna on his nails had not faded. The king was impressed. He ordered the grave to be closed and a dome erected over it

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Some details about his life: His initial schooling took place in the city of Raiy. Later, he came to be known as Shaykh ul fuqaha (the leader of the jurisprudents) in Raiy. Then he migrated to Baghdad and started teaching there. Even in Baghdad he was called Shaykhul Fuqaha. When Kulaini came to Baghdad, the 3rd nominated representative of Imam was residing there, but he( the representative) was doing dissimulation (taqayyah), so much so that the ordinary Muslims considered him to be their alim, and his orders and writings were much respected, even in the court of the king. Kulaini is known as the Mujaddid( the reviver of Islam) of the 3rd century.

 

His Books: Ruqatul Aimma(a collection of letter penned by the Aimma, Kitab al-rijal( a book about the transmitters of ahadeeth), Kitab ta’beer ar-ru’ya( a book on the interpretation of dreams. It is said that a better book on this topic has not been written till today). Kitab al madh’ al Aimma( a collection of poetry in praise of the Aimma),Kitab ra’d al Qaramata(a book denouncing a sect who had invaded the Kaaba, robbed the Hajar e Aswad, and kept it in their land for 17 years). However, his greatest contribution is the al-kafi.

 

Al-Kafi: This book is Kulaini greatest contribution. It is a collection of 16,199 ahadeeth, comprising weak and strong ahadeeth, but no forged ones. One of the principal features of the work is that the traditions are presented systematically in chapters according to their subject matter

The Kafi is divided into 3 parts: 2 volumes of Usool e Kafi, comprising ahadeeth on beliefs, 5 volumes of Furoo’ e kafi containing ahadeeth on jurisprudence, and 1 volume of Rawdhatul Kafi. Rawdha means garden. It is a type of shia encyclopaedia, containing ahadeeth not covered in the other volumes. Thus it contains assorted ahadeeth about, eg, the life and times of our Aimma and their opponents.

 

About the background and importance of Kafi: Conditions during the times of our aimma were very hostile for the shias. Still the companions and students went to the Aimma to gain some knowledge, but before they left home they used to inform their families about their final will, because they could never be sure of returning home. Thus during the 6th Imams’ time, too, his students came to him to learn something, so much so that the Imams’ teachings began to spread everywhere. There was a time during the 6th Imams’ time when Banu Abbas and the Banu Umayyah were fighting for power. They each had already had an enemy to contend with, and could not give much attention to the happenings in Madina.Later when Banu Abbas came to powr, Masoor Dawanaqi decided to shift the capital from Damascus. Thus a new city, Baghdad, was built which again diverted is attention away from madina. His students managed to write books, 400 of which were very important. These are called Usool. But then the tyrant rulers got scared and tried to stem this knowledge from spreading. False mujtahids were brought in, and the “Ulema” attached to the court started issuing fatwa and relating ahadeeth .Going to the Imam to solve ones problems or to learn from him was taken to mean that one was working against the ruler.

 

Hence we have the case of a man in Kufa, who had divorced his wife but later regretted his actions. He did not know what to do, When someone told him to go to Medina to get his problem solved by the 6th Imam, he came to Medina. But in Medina he found out that anyone going to meet the 6th Imam was sure to be beheaded. Thus he disguised himself as a vegetable vendor, and started selling vegetables in the streets of Medina. When he reached the Imams’ house, he quietly went inside and got the solution to his problem. Thus anyone suspected of possessing any hadeeth or a book of hadeeth of the Imam was immediately arrested.  On investigation if the suspicion was confirmed he was put to death, the house harboring the book was burnt, and the book itself was either burnt or thrown into a body of water. When this was the state of affairs during the time of the 6th Imam about whom it is believed that he was able to propagate true Islam in a more conducive environment, how much more stifling would the conditions have been during the times of our other Aimma!

 

Hence we find that during the 7th Imams’ time, the episode of Ali bin Yakteen. Ali bin Yakteen was a close companion of the Imam, and a minister in the court of Haroon al Rasheed, by the imams’ permission. Once Ali was gifted a very  expensive dress by the King. When the dress remained unused for 1 year, Ali sent it to the Imam as part of khums. In those days the khums had to be paid only to the king. Giving khums to anyone else meant instant death. The Imam accepted all other articles, but returned this dress with the message: keep it, you will need it. Later it so happened that Ali fired one of his slaves. The slave went and told the king that Ali has close ties with the Imam of Madina, and has even sent him the dress you gave him, as part of khums. The king immediately summoned Ali and asked him to get the dress. Now Ali understood why the Imam had returned the dress. Ali sent a slave home to fetch the dress. On seeing the dress, Haroon was pleased and ordered the slave to be killed as punishment, and thus Ali bin Yakteen was saved.

Ishaaq bin abi Umair was a companion of the 6th Imam, and had compiled many books. When the ruler got wind of his activities, the police came to arrest him. While the police were arresting him, his sister dug a hole in the courtyard and buried the books there. She exhibited this presence of mind, because she knew very well that she may not see her brother again, but the books must be saved. Thus Abi Umair was arrested, but the sister was unable to meet him. The house was searched by the police, but not a single book was found. Still Abi Umair was not released for 14 years. When he was released, 14 long years had passed. As soon as he came home, the first question he asked was not about his wife or children. The first question he asked was about the books. The sister informed him about their whereabouts. She had been too afraid to retrieve the books, for fear of spies. After 14 years when Abi Umair retrieved them, some of the paper had decomposed, some of the ink had faded. However a major portion of the work was saved. These are the conditions in which the Imam was propagating Islam.

                

 Bear in mind that till the time of the 11th Imam, the Shias were not overly concerned about preserving ahadeeth, because whenever they were faced with a problem an Imam was there to solve it. Even during the initial stages of the minor occultation, they had recourse to the Imam through his nominated representatives. But when Husain bin Rouh was appointed the representative, the Shias grew concerned as their Imam was in occultation and Hussain bin Rouh was in taqayyah on the orders of the Imam. It was at this time that Kulaini migrated to Baghdad , and since he was the Shaykh ul Fuqaha, it fell upon his shoulders to assume the responsibility of collecting and preserving the ahadeeth.

First he collected whatever he could of the 400 books of Usool. Then he sorted them topic-wise. Remember that the students of the Imam would spend the whole day with the Imam and would write down all the queries answered by the Imam, without arranging the material topic-wise. Thus every page was a jumble of topics ranging from Greek philosophy to Indian medicine to salat to beliefs of Islam etc. However, given the circumstances even noting down the queries and their answers was a major achievement. Next, Kulaini himself traveled all over the Islamic world to collect ahadeeth. As soon it would come to his notice that a person in a particular village knows a hadeeth, he would go to that village, even if it entailed journeying over great distances, to hear it from him personally and write it. He refused to appoint anyone else to go in his stead, so that he could be sure that the written hadeeth tallied word for word with what was related by that person. This process went on for 20 years. Thus the kafi came into existence. After Kulaini, this type of work was done by others too, but Kulaini was the first to undertake this task. Today no mujtahid can issue a fatwa without studying every hadeeth of the Kafi. He compiled the book and gave it to his students. During those times writing was not popular, because it was very difficult to get paper and ink. Thus the preferred method was oral transmission. Hence Kulaini would read out the ahadeeth to his students and they would memorize them. Then the students would recite the ahadeeth and he would hear them. When he was satisfied that a student had learnt all the ahadeeth, he would give the student permission to narrate them on his authority. This permission was called Ijaza e Riwayat, and was an important permission in those days. Thus his students were instrumental in spreading these ahaheeth, till such a time when printing became popular and books began to be printed.

 

 Bear in mind that the importance of the 4 basic books (kutub e arba’) for the shias is the same as the importance of the sihah sitta for the ahl us sunna, the difference being that while they claim every hadeeth in the sihah sitta to be sahi(authentic), we make no such claims about every hadeeth contained in these 4 books. It is for the Ulema to investigate and verify the status of each hadeeth. Together the sahi Bukhari and the sahi Muslim contain 7000 ahadeeth, while the Kafi alone contains 16,199 ahadeeth. This, when these two compilers worked in very favorable circumstances, whereas Kulaini worked in a hostile environment, amongst the opponents of Shia Islam, the rulers were against him, and  he had no one to help him. Yet he managed to collect more ahadeeth than the compilers of Sahi Bukhari and Sahi Muslim put together.

 

 This was the only book of ahadeeth compiled during minor occultation. Thus it was compiled in the presence of the nominated representatives of the Imam. The 4th and last representative of Imam died shortly after Kulaini’s own death. And, of course the Imam himself was well aware of the existence of this book and also knew that this was going to become a basic book of the Shias. If there was something very wrong about this book, the Imam would have pointed it out or would have forbidden the compilation. But we find that nothing of this kind happened. On the contrary, it is said that Kafi reached Imam e Zamana, and he is reported to have said,”this book is Kafi(enough) for our Shias.” This is one of the reasons it is called Kafi. However this incident is not proved.

 

 

   MOHAMMED IBNE YAQOOB IBNE ISHAQ KULAINI

 
 
Although our scholars have recorded very little about Mohammed Kulaini, we are placing him first in the order because he compiled the most important book of the Traditions of the Ahle al Bayt. His book, Usool e Kaafi, is the first of the four Kutub e Arba. The four books mentioned here constitute the foundation of our study of the Faith. To qualify as a Mujtahid (Jurist entitled to Independent Opinion) a student has to study in depth these four books viz: Usool e Kaafi, Man laa Yahdar al Faqih, Tahdeeb al Ahkaam and Al Istabsaar fi Mukhtalif al Akhbaar. Only after studying these books one will qualify to deliver Fatwas (edicts). Of these four great books, the first to be published is Usool e Kaafi. It is a very pleasant coincidence that the first name of all the great scholars was Mohammed. They were Mohammed Kulaini, Mohammed Babawiya Qummi, and Mohammed Toosi who penned the last 2 books. These were the early Jafari writers. But the later day greats too carried the first name of Mohammed, viz: Mohammed Baqir Majlisi who wrote Bahar al Anwaar, Mohammed ibne Murtada the author of Kitab al Waafi and Mohammed Hur al Aamili who wrote Wasail as Shia. Therefore the first three are called Mohammed Talata al Awaqib (the Three Early Mohammeds) and the later three as Mohammed Talata al Aakhar ( the Later three Mohammeds). There is another coincidence that the Kunyat of all the first three Mohammeds is Abu Jafar.
 
Mohammed al Kulaini was born in the small town of Kulain which was about 38 kilometers from the City of Rai. Rai is the present day Tehran. It was one of the most important cities in the Islamic World. The area was most fertile and prosperous that Omar ibne Saad was tempted to go to the battle-ground of Karbala with a promise from Yazid that he would be given possession of Rai as a reward. The family of Yaqub ibne Ishaq was well known in Kulain for its learning. It was here that Mohammed was born around 250 H. This is an approximation because there is no authoritative record of the scholar’s year of birth. The researchers are of opinion that Mohammed Kulaini was there during the Imamate of the Eleventh Imam, which commenced in the year 254 H and concluded in the year 260 H.  In the 9 years that Mohammed Kulaini was there during the Imamate of the Eleventh Imam, he acquired the basic intelligence and comprehension that an individual achieves in his early days. At this time the Imamate of the Eleventh Imam commenced. Kulaini was now known by all Muslims with the title of Siqat al Islam which means that Islam puts its trust on him. As mentioned earlier, Mohammed’s family in Kulain was known for its erudition and learning. His early education was in the city of Rai. It is indicated that his early mentors were 36 and the most prominent among them was Abu Jafar Ali ibne Samri who was later to be nominated the Fourth Deputy of the Twelfth Imam. The other prominent mentor of Mohammed was Ali ibne Ibrahim Qummi. His commentary of the Holy Quran, Tafseer e Qummi, is rated very high because he was a companion of the Imam and derived great benefit from the company. It was the year 329 H when the great scholars Ali ibne Ibrahim Qummi, Mohammed ibne Yaqub Kulaini, Shiek Sadooq and Ali ibne Babawiya Qummi died is called Sirr al Nujum or the year of the breaking of the stars! The Ghaibat e Kubra (the Greater Hiding) of the Twelfth Imam too occurred in that year. According to the Gregarian calender, Mohammed Kulaini died in the year 941 A.D. He was interred in Bagdad and the funeral prayer was led by Mohammed ibne Jafar Hussaini abu Qirat. His grave is in the present day Baab al Koofa located near the banks of the river Dajla in Eastern Bagdad. Even today lots of people visit his graveside and offer prayers.
 
Mohammed Kulaini’s book, Al Kaafi, has acquired universal acclaim. Besides this, he wrote several other books. In Ruqqat al Aimma he has included a collection of the letters written by the Imams. Kitab ar Rijal is about the narrators of the Traditions, Kitab Taabeer ar Rooya is about interpretation of dreams, Kitab al Madani al Aimma man Shair contains the couplets written in praise of the Imams and Kitab al Radd ala  la Karamat is about the rebellious group that took away the Hajr al Aswad from the Kaaba and kept in their own town for 17 years.
 
History chronicles about 15 of his eminent students, although innumerable seekers of knowledge benefited from his company. Of the 15 eminent students there are three who were instrumental in bringing the Usool al Kaafi to the posterity. These illustrious students of Mohammed Kulaini are Ahmed ibne Ahmed Katib Toofi, Mohammed ibne Ibrahim and Abu Abdallah Safwani who was a scion of Safwan. Safwan was a companion of the Seventh Imam and was in the business of hiring out camels. He was known for hiring out camels to Haroon during the Haj pilgrimage. The Imam had once said to Safwan, “We like all your acts except renting of the camels to the tyrannical ruler!” There is one incident in the life of Abdallah Safwani. When the Qazi of Mosul came to the court of the ruler of the time and talked about the issue of Imamate, Abdallah Safwani challenged him to Mubahila that the Curse of Allah will visit the liar. They did the Mubahila and the very next day the Qazi died.
 
As mentioned earlier, Mohammed Kulaini was from a small hamlet, Kulain, about 40 kilometers from Rai, the present day Tehran, where he lived for sometime to further his education. Now he moved to Baghdad. It was the period of the Third Deputy of the Imam e Zamana (a.s), Hussain ibne Rooh, who spent all his life in Taqayya (dissimulation). This was the reason why the common Muslims too deemed him their mentor. There is a very interesting anecdote about the Taqayya of Ibne Rooh, which we shall talk about when we discuss the life and times of Sheik Sadooq. The edicts of Ibne Rooh were very highly rated in the court of the caliph of the day. When Kulaini reached Baghdad, he took residence in the eastern region of the sprawling city. When he settled down, Kulaini became the mentor of all the Shia Fuqha (Jurists). In Rai he was endowed with the title of Sheik al Fuqha (the Chief of Jurists) and was also remembered with the same title in Baghdad. After arriving in Baghdad, Kulaini started giving dars (lessons) to the seekers of knowledge. His dedicated services in the field entitled him to be termed the Mujaddad (Revivalist) of his time.
 
There is a tradition of the Prophet (s.a), oft quoted by the scholars of the other school of thought. The Prophet (s.a) had said that Allah sends a person in every century who revives the Faith among the Muslims who might forget or ignore the basic tenets over passage of time. Such persons don’t change the Faith but revive its practice among the people. Such a person is remembered as Mujaddad (or Revivalist). The Sunni scholars have made a study to determine as to who have been the Mujaddads in the Shia school during the past centuries. Ibne Athir has compiled a list of such revivalists for the 4th Century H in his book and the Shia scholars have talked of such personalities from the 1st Century H to the !3th Century. If the Tradition of the Prophet (s.a) is authentic, the persons listed had been the Mujaddads of their times. Therefore many eminent scholars of both the schools are of the opinion that the Mujaddad of the !st Century H was our Fifth Imam, Imam Mohammed Baqir (a.s) and the Mujaddad of the 2nd Century H was the 8th Imam, Imam Moosa Reza (a.s).who was martyred in 203 H. The scholars also are of opinion that the Mujaddad of the 3rd Century H was Mohammed ibne Yaqub Kulaini. It was he who taught the tenets of the Faith to the followers of the Progeny of Mohammed (s.a). The Mujaddad of the 4th Century H was Sayed Murtada Ilm al Huda and some scholars say that it was Sheik Mufeed. But the majority of the scholars say that it was Sayed Murtada. The Mujaddad of the 5th Century H was Tabrasi who wrote the monumental commentary, Majma al Bayan that till now there isn’t another commentary of this standard. Naseer uddin Toosi is accepted as the Mujaddad of the 6th Century H. The way he had propagated the Shia Faith, none other has done before or after him. The enemies of the Shias hate this great scholar because he wielded great influence in the court of Halaku as his vizier. The Mujaddad of the 7th Century H was Allama Hilli, who was a disciple of Naseeruddin Toosi. The Mujaddad of the 8th Century H was Allama Hilli’s son, and disciple of Fakhruddin, Shaheed e Awwal (the First Martyr). The Mujaddad of the 9th Century H was Muhaqqiq Kirki. He used to live in Lebanon. During his time Iran was predominantly inhabited by the enemies of the Progeny of the Prophet (s.a). It is recorded in the histories that the heinous practice of denigrating Imam Ali (a.s) from the pulpits of mosques had been stopped all over the Muslim world excepting Iran. Therefore the Safavid kings invited Kirki to come over to Iran and reform the masses. The Mujaddad of the 10th Century H was Sheik Bahai and that of the 11th Century H was Allama Majlisi. The Mujaddad of the 12th century H was Sheik Bhebahani and the Mujaddad of the 13th century H was Mirza Hassan Shirazi who, by declaring the use of tobacco Haram (Taboo) established the supremacy of the jurists. Ayatullah Rooh Allah Khomeini can rightly be termed the Mujaddad of the 14th Century H.
 
After this necessary digression, we return back to our subject of discussion. What is the achievement of Mohammed ibne Yaqub Kulaini? No doubt he achieved the revival of the Faith amongst his people. He also trained many disciples that strengthened the roots of Shi-ism in Baghdad. While he was in a state of Taqayya, the leadership of the people of the Faith was in his hands. But his most significant achievement is the book, “Usool e Kaafi”. This book records 16,199 Traditions of the Prophet (s.a) and the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). One must bear in mind that this, and the other three books of the Kutub e Arba, have the same significance for the Shias as the Saha Sitta--- The Six Books--- for the Sunni Brethren. But the Shias don’t agree that all the traditions recorded in these six books are authentic. One can very well imagine the difficulties Mohammed Kulaini must have faced in his researches that he had to contend with hostile establishment while the authors of the Six Books enjoyed the patronage and support of the ruling cliché. Despite all this, Usool e Kaafi has 16,199 authentic traditions and the Six Books together don’t have as many! We shall make a clarification. Usool e Kaafi has been compiled in three parts—the first part is called the “Usool”, it deals with the Usool e Deen or the Tenets of the Faith; the second part is called the “Furooh”, that enunciates the norms of the Practice of the faith; and the third part is called “Rauzat al Kaafi”, “Rauzat” means a garden. This is a sort of encyclopedia of Shi-ism. This part talks about the 14 Infallibles, about their adversaries and many traditions that are other than “Usool” or “Furooh e Deen”. The complete work is in 8 volumes—two volumes are the “Usool e Deen”, five constitute the ”Furooh e Deen” and the last is “Rauzat al Kaafi” The first two volumes are “Kitab al Aql wal Jehl”—the book of wisdom and ignorance--- the third is “Ilm”---the book of knowledge--- the fourth is “Tawheed”—the book of Unity of Allah, the fifth is “Hujjat Allah” that enunciates the proof about the existence of Allah, the Prophethood and the Day of Judgment.  The significance of this monumental work is that Mohammed Yaqub Kulaini worked against all odds, contending with hostile rulers, when all the efforts were being made by the opponents to obliterate the memory of the progeny of Mohammed (s.a) from the thoughts of the Muslim masses.
 
In those days having the audience of the Imam (a.s) of the Time was a very difficult task. People had to face grave danger to their lives and visit him during dark nights. For the interest of the readers the incident of Ali bin Yaqteen taking out the Khums during the Imamate of the Seventh Imam, Imam Moosi Kazim (a.s), is narrated here. Ali bin Yaqteen was the prime minister of Haroon. He was a Shi-ite but wasn’t able to freely call on the Imam (a.s) because of the animosity that Haroon had against the Ahl al Bayt (a.s).  Once Haroon presented a very expensive garment to Ibne Yaqteen in appreciation of some service that he had rendered to him. Around that time the payment of Khums became due. Taking out Khums and sending it to the right quarters was fraught with grave danger those days. The establishment considered it their right to appropriate the Khums those days. If it wasn’t sent to the ruler, it was deemed that the person wasn’t accepting the suzerainty of the ruler. If the acts of such persons were exposed, they were executed as traitors. In such circumstances people used to take out the Khums and secretly send to the Imam (a.s) in Madina. When the time for taking out the Khums was at hand, Ali bin Yaqteen too sent the due amount along with the expensive garment, that Haroon presented to him, to the Imam (a.s). The Imam (a.s) accepted all other things but returned the garment to Ali Ibne Yaqteen asking him to keep it with him. Ali was wondering why the Imam (a.s) didn’t accept the garment as a part of the Khums. It happened that once Ali bin Yaqteen was angry on one of his slaves and he punished him. The slave went to the court of Haroon and complained that his prime minister was sending his Khums to Madina. He said that the garment that Haroon gifted to him was sent to the Imam (a.s) as a part of the Khums. Several persons inimical to Ali ibne Yaqteen too had whispered to Haroon that he was a Shi-ite. Haroon urgently called for Ali bin Yaqteen and asked him about the garment presented to him. He now understood why the Imam (a.s) sent back the garment to him. He sent another slave post-haste to his residence to fetch the garment. Ali bin Yaqteen had perfumed the garment while he was sending it to the Imam (a.s). The garment still retained the fragrance. Ali told to Haroon that he had perfumed the garment and kept it safe at home that it was a gift from his ruler! Haroon smelled the garment and angrily ordered execution of the slave.
 
That was a very difficult time for the companions who used to be in the presence of the Imam (a.s), but against all odds they used to visit the Infallible Potentate. They generally used to make their wills to their kin prior to visiting the Imam (a.s). They used to tell their families that if they failed to return, it must be deemed that they had sacrificed their lives in the cause of the Imam (a.s). They used to sit in the company of the Imam (a.s), hear the traditions narrated by him and record them for the posterity. Thus a time came during the Imamate of the Sixth Imam, Imam Jafar e Sadiq (a.s), that his disciples spread far and wide in the Islamic Realm and propagated his sayings. Thus everyone received instruction, directly or indirectly, from the Imam (a.s). It is said that camels laden with the sayings of the Imam(a.s) moved in different directions. When anyone planned to visit any other town, the practice was that he presented traditions of the Imam (a.s) to his hosts. Now the establishment of the day started worrying that the teachings of the True Imam (a.s) would jeopardize their own position. Thus they forcibly started preventing the propagation of the teachings of the Imam (a.s). To counter this move, the disciples of the Imam (a.s) sat with him and compiled books of traditions. 400 such books were of great importance. These books were called “The Usool”, or the Fundamental Principles. The opponents tried all the subterfuges to counter this propagation. They created false Mujtahids (Jurists). Such imposters used to visit the Imam (a.s) and their task was to concoct false traditions. The establishment also started eliminating the ardent supporters of the Imam (a.s). For the slightest suspicion that a person possessed any book of traditions narrated by the Imam (a.s), he would be killed if such books were found with him. Even homes that were suspected of holding the books were put to fire. Fingers of persons were chopped who were detected to have recorded the traditions. Sometimes such books were consigned to the waters of the rivers if detected on the person of any of the disciples of the Imam (a.s).
 
Ishaq ibne Abi Umair was a companion of Imam Jafar e Sadiq (a.s). He wrote several books sitting in the company of the Imam (a.s). When the ruler of the time heard about this, he sent his troops to capture him. When he was being arrested, his sister knew that her brother would be killed without any inquiry or trial. Instead of pleading with the troops or crying, the girl went quietly into the house and buried all the books, compiled by Ibne Umair, in the courtyard. She wanted thus to prevent the valuable books from the tyrannical ruler. The girl couldn’t even meet her brother. The house was rummaged but no writings could be detected. Ibne Umair remained incarcerated for 14 long years. The sister always had the fear that if she brought out the books, the sleuths of the ruler might detect her doing it. She wanted to protect the sayings of the Imam (a.s). When Ibne Umair came home after 14 years of absence, the first thing he asked his sister was about the books. She then dug out the books from the courtyard. Some pages of the books were slightly damaged, but most of the contents were safe.
 
While Mohammed Ibne Ishaq Kulaini was a child of 10 years, the Eleventh Imam, Imam Hassan Askari (a.s), was martyred. While going into hiding (Ghaibat) the Twelvth Imam (a.s) appointed Othman ibne Said Omri as the Naib (the Deputy). Othman was succeeded by his own son as the Second Naib.  From 260 H to 329 H was the very important period of the Ghaibat e Sughra (the Minor Period of the Hiding of the 12th Imam(a.s).The period, 308 H to 326 H, was the time when Hussain ibne Rooh was the Naib (Deputy). This was a very important period when Mohammed ibne Yaqub Kulaini arrived at Baghdad. Since Hussain ibne Rooh was in Taqayya ( Dissimulation), the people were worried as to how they would have access to the Imam (a.s)’s traditions and sayings and guidance about the norms of the Faith. Since Kulaini came with a reputation as the Sheik al Fuqha (the Chief of Jurists), people started addressing their queries to him. They also wrote letters to Kulaini pleading with him to collect the sayings of the Imam s( a.s). Kulaini resolved to take up this difficult task. He spent 20 long years searching for the 400 Books of Basic Traditions.  The books that Kulaini gathered during his searches were the manuscripts written by the umpteen disciples of Imam Jafar e Sadiq (a.s). The contents were jotted down as and when the Imam (a.s) narrated them. They were therefore not chronologically arranged according to the subjects. These narrations were the replies given by the Imam (a.s) to the queries raised by the visitors and the disciples used to write down. These queries always used to be on different subjects and the disciples didn’t have the means to sort out the replies according to the subject. As Mohammed Ibne Yaqub Kulaini obtained the books, he commenced arranging the contents according to the subject of the narration. For this work he traveled from village to village, from hamlet to hamlet for 20 years. Even if he heard that a person was having a single tradition of the Imam (a.s) he traversed the long distance to obtain it. Such an onerous task it is to collect 16,000 Traditions and compile them according to the subjects. The great thing about Usool e Kafi is that in no other book of traditions the narrations are arranged so perfectly. It first deals with Aql (Intelligence), then about knowledge, Hujjat (Proof), about faith and infidelity, about the norms set forth by the Quran, about the rights and duties of the relatives etc. The greatest quality of this book is that it was compiled during the lifetime of the Imam (a.s)’s Naib that coincided with the Ghaibat e Sughra, from 308 to 326 H. Whenever there was a risk of the Momineen going astray, the Imam (a.s) wrote letters to the deputies to guide the people. In fact Mohammed Yaqub Kulaini spent his entire active life during the period of the Naibs and he too died in 329 H almost immediately after the expiry of the last Naib. His works had gone into the hands of the deputies and received the stamp of their approval. Some scholars have gone to the length of writing that Kulaini’s works had been perused by the Imam (a.s) who had said:
“Haada kitab kaaf la Shiatina”
“That book is sufficient in all respects for our Shias”
 
They believe that this is one reason for calling the book “Usool e Kaafi” It however is a fact that this claim is not supported with any authentic tradition. The book, as said earlier, was compiled during the period of Ghaibat e Sughra and if there were any errors in it, the Imam (a.s) would have communicated his dissent through his Naibs. The Imam (a.s) certainly was aware that this book would assume the status of the first of the 4 basic books of the Shia Faith. Here it would be appropriate to mention about the yardsticks and norms established for determining the authenticity of the traditions. The Hadith Sahih is the tradition of which the authenticity is firmly established. Then there is Hadith Daeef, or a weak tradition, the authenticity of which isn’t firmly established. The third category is Hadith Mauzoo, or a concoted tradition. The wonderful thing about Usool e Kaafi is that it doesn’t contain any Hadith Mauzoo. Mohammed Kulaini has compiled the book with such great care that the book is used as a reference by the Mujtahids for issuing edicts. In the time of Kulaini paper was a scarce commodity. The method he followed for compiling the work was that he used to dictate the traditions to his disciples. They used to repeatedly narrate them till they remembered the contents, verbatim, by heart. Once it was established that a disciple thoroughly remembered the traditions taught to him, Kulaini issued a certificate to the effect, on paper, with his seal of approval. Now the disciple would be eligible to disseminate the traditions that have been communicated to him. This process was called the Ijaza or permission by the master to the disciple for conveying the traditions to the people. All the scholars, from Kulaini’s time till now, acknowledge his great contribution in propagating the word of the Ahl al Bayt.
 
Many years after the demise of  Mhammed ibne Yaqub Kulaini, a ruler of Baghdad, who was a sworn enemy of the Ahl al Bayt, passed near the grave of the great scholar and noticed many persons offering Fateha there. He inquired from his attendants as to the identity of the person whose grave was held in such reverence. They told him that it was the grave of the Shii Scholar Mohammed ibne Yaqub Kulaini. When he heard this, his bias knew no bounds. In his anger he ordered the grave to be dug up. When the grave was taken asunder, it was noticed that the body was as fresh as fresh as it was at the time of his demise. In fact, beside his body there was the body of a small child buried next to him in the same grave. The child’s body too was found very fresh and not deteriorated. The perpetrators of this heinous act felt that such miracles are attributed to the prophets or the imams!  Nemat ullah Jazaeri, a great scholar himself, records the event in another manner. He says that an extremely biased ruler of Baghdad wanted to prevent people from visiting the graves of the Progeny of Mohammed (s.a.). He decided that the mausoleum of the Seventh Imam (a.s), Imam Moosa Kazim (A.s), was the nearest to Baghdad and that he would commence the nefarious project of demolishing the graves from there. The preparations for the act were commenced. Someone went to the ruler and asked him why he was planning such an act. He said that the bodies must have deteriorated and gone to the dust and why should people visit such graves to pay their respects. The person said that the belief of the followers of the Ahl al Bayt is that the bodies of their Imams (a.s) will ever remain fresh. The ruler said that if he found the body fresh, he would get a grand mausoleum constructed at that place. If, to the contrary, the body is found deteriorated, his act of demolishing the grave would be correct. The person said that the belief of the followers of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s) was that even the dead bodies of their eminent scholars too wouldn’t deteriorate after their death. The nearest such grave, he said, was that of Mohammed ibne Yaqub Kulaini. Therefore he suggested that the test may be conducted there. The ruler accepted the suggestion and the group immediately proceeded to the graveside. When the grave was dug up, they saw as if Kulaini was in a peaceful slumber. Even the henna that was applied to his nails appeared fresh. The ruler was much impressed and got a grand mausoleum constructed at the place.     

http://www.kulayni.com/english/

http://www.ahl-ul-bayt.org/en.php/page,7161A14177.html

 

Thiqat al-Islam Kulayni; the most famous scholar of Islamic law and Shia academic of Hadith
           
The most famous scholar of Islamic law and Shiite academic of Hadith in the first half of the fourth century is the trustworthy of Islam Muhammad ibn Ya’qub ibn Ishaq Kulayni Razi popularly known as Kulayni or Sheikh Kulayni. Kulayni is of Iranian origin from the village of Kulayn located at thirty seven kilometers of the City of Rey and on the south-western region of the Qum –Tehran main way near present day Hassan Abad. 
    
It is for this reason that he is also entitled Razi, related to Rey.[1] 
     
Yaqut Hamawi (b 626 Hegira), the renowned geographer, writes: 
  
‘Estakhri (alive in 340 Hegira) has said that Rey is bigger than Isfahan and after Baghdad, there was no city in the east more populous [and flourishing] than it, regardless that Nishabur is bigger from the viewpoint of expansiveness. Rey is one and a half farsakhs in length and width, and has villages every one of which is one bigger town.’[2] 
  
Yes, from the early days Rey and its towns have been considered as part of the Shiite centers; despite that most of the people of Rey were Hanafi and Shafi’I Sunnis. The tomb of Kulayni’s father, that is to say, Ya’qub ibn Ishaq, who was one of the prominent Shiites of those days, is at the present in the village of Kulayn and is a pilgrimage place for the people of that area. 
  
Ullan Razi (Kulayni’s maternal uncle), and another group of Shiite religious jurisprudents and scholars of Hadith, like Muhammad ibn Assam (the student of Kulayni) also came from that [same] village. 
  
Kulayni’s Status in the Islamic World 
  
The trustworthy of Islam Kulayni was born in the era of Imam Hassan Askari (a), and was a contemporary of four ambassadors and representatives of the Imam of the Age, may Allah hasten his reappearance, who were the link between the Shiites and the Imam of the Age, may Allah hasten his reappearance, in the entire period of the short occultation of his holiness. Despite that these four people were considered as being among the greatest religious jurisprudents and scholars of Hadith, and the Shiites consider them as highly prominent, but still Kulayni was the most famous pre-eminent person who lived with respect among the Shiites and Sunnis in that period and openly endeavored at spreading the correct school of thought. 
  
All the biographical works have praised him for his truthfulness in speech and correct conduct and totally encompassing knowledge of Hadiths to the extent that they have written that both Shiites and Sunnis used to refer to him to obtain religious verdicts and he was reliable and dependable in this regard to both schools of thought. It is for this very reason that he is entitled the trustworthy of Islam and one of the Islamic scholars who was called by this title and he is rightly worthy of this great title. Kulayni unparralled in dependability, justice, piety and virtue, memorization and recording of Hadiths, which were all attributes of a reliable and fully qualified religious jurisprudent. In the words of Allama Majlisi: 
  
‘He was, among all our scholars and those who related Hadiths from him likewise unequalled in the order and arrangement of his book al Kafi, and this excellence is proof that he had special approval from Allah.’[3] 
  
Kulayni in the Viewpoints of Shiite Scholars 
  
The mentor of students and front-man of Shiite religious jurisprudents Sheikh Muhammad ibn Hassan Tusi, writes in his invaluable book entitled ar-Rijal, section of those who have not narrated a Hadith from the Imams (a), writes: 
  
‘Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ya’qub Kulayni was a prominent scholar knowledgeable about the Hadiths and reports. He has literary works which have been collected in the book al Kafi. He died in the month of Sha’ban in the year 329 Hegira and is buried in a place called ‘the Door of Kufa’. We have mentioned his books in the book entitled al-Fihrist.’[4] 
  
And he cites the names of all of books of al-Kafi and a number of other books in al Fihrist which we are going to get acquainted with, and he quotes the chains of transmission of his Hadiths from his teachers Sheikh Mufid, Hussein ibn Abdullah Ghazairi, Seyyid Murtatha and Ahmad ibn Abdun. 
  
A prominent scholar of chains of transmission Abul Abbas Ahmad ibn Ali ibn Abbas, popularly known as Najashi (b 450 Hegira), who has been known as the most famous Shiite scholar of chains of transmission and has written his book after al-Fihrist and ar-Rijal of Sheikh Tusi, thus remembers Kulayni in his renowned and precious book ar-Rijjal: 
  
‘Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ya’qub ibn Ishaq Kulayni, Allan Kulayni Razi is his maternal uncle. Muhammad ibn Ya’qub Kulayni was the leader of Shiite scholars and their shining face in Rey, and is the most effective Shiite academic in Hadiths and their recording. He wrote his magnanimous book entitled al Kafi within a period of twenty years.’ 
  
Then he mentions the books of al Kafi and other writings of Kulayni, which we are going to explain later.[5] 
  
Besides the Sheikh and Najashi, who are the scholars of transmissions of Hadith and translation, other people too have remembered Kulayni or his magnanimous and renowned book al Kafi whenever they come across his name as the most effective Shiite scholar in the understanding, narration, recording Hadiths, and the beauty of the order and arrangement of his book al-Kafi. 
  
Ibn Shahr Ashub Mozandarani, Allama Hilli and Ibn Dawud, according to custom, have used those same expressions of the Sheikh and Najashi in praising him. 
  
Seyyid ibn Tawus writes: 
  
‘The trustworthiness and dependability of Kulayni in narration of Hadiths is unanimously agreed upon by all the scholars.’[6] 
  
Sheikh Hussein ibn Abdul Samad Amuli (the father of Sheikh Bahai) says: 
  
‘Muhammad ibn Ya’qub was the teacher of scholars in his age and their front-man and the most dependable academic in Hadith narration. He was the most knowledgeable and advanced at criticism of Hadiths.’[7] 
  
Mulla Khalil Qazwini, the famous religious jurisprudent, in the Farsi commentary on al-Kafi, writes: 
  
‘Friend and foe have all acknowledged his virtue.’[8] 

Allama Majlisi, in the commentary on al-Kafi called Marat al Uqul, has written: 

‘Kulayni was acceptable to all the tribes and students of those days and was praised by all.’[9] 
  
Mirza Abdullah Isfahani, popularly known as Afandi, the renowned scholar and student of Allama Majlisi, writes: 
  
‘The meaning of “the truthful of Islam”, in most instances in the books of transmissions of Hadith is Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ya’qub ibn Ishaq Kulayni Razi, the author of al-Kafi and other books, that is to say the pre-eminent Sheikh and Muslim among the ordinary, learned and scholarly of both sects.’[10] 
  
Kulayni in the Viewpoints of the Sunni scholars 
  
Kulayni is very great in the views of Sunni scholars, especially the historians who came after him. All have praised him for his greatness and magnanimity. 
  
Ibn Athir Jazari in the famous book ‘Jami’Usul’ writes”: 
  
‘Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn Ya’qub Razi, one of the leaders of the Ahlul Bait (a) school of thought, is a great, renowned and virtuous scholar.’ 
  
He has also recognized him as the reviver of the Shiite school of thought. 
  
Ibn Athir quotes a Hadith from the Prophet (s) stating, ‘At the beginning of every century, Allah raises an individual who revives His religion and keep it renowned.’ 
  
Then he embarks upon explaining this Hadith and says: 
  
‘The scholars of Hadith and the revivers of the Shiite school of thought were Muhammad ibn Ali Baqir (a) (the fifth Imam) at the beginning of the first century, Aliibn Musa ar-Ritha in the second century and Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ya’qub Kulayni Razi.’[11] 
  
From Ibn Athir’s writing, the position and circumstances of Kulayni become very clear, and it becomes known that he was the most pre-eminent Shiite scholar in the second half of the third century and the first half of the fourth century Hegira who was the reviver of the [Shiite] school of thought after two Imams (a). 
  
The younger brother of Ibn Athir (Azaddin Ali ibn Athir Jazari), in the beginning of the events of the year 328 Hegira in the book al Kamil Fil Tarikh, has also considered Kulayni as the first scholar who passed away in that year and writes: 
  
‘Muhammad ibn Ya’qub Abu Ja’far Kulayni, one of the scholars and leaders of the Shiites, died in this year.’[12] 
  
It has to be borne in mind that the contemporary scholar and researcher Hussein Ali Mahfuz, in the introduction of al-Kafi page twenty one has mistakenly quoted the expression ‘Jami-ul-usul’ from Ali ibn Athir in [the book entitled] al-Kamil and has [mistakenly] imagined that the authors of Jami-ul-Usul and al-Kamil are one and the same person. 
  
Firuz Abadi (b 818 Hegira), the eminent etymologist, in the book entitled al Qamus al Muhit has mentioned Kulayni under the word-heading Kulayn and has recognized him as a Shiite jurisprudent.[13] 
  
Ibn Hajar Asqalani (b 852 Hegira) in his famous book Lisan al-Mizan-who has in brief and at length interpreted the states of the Sunni scholars and sometimes the Shiite up to his era- thus writes about our great scholar: 
  
‘Muhammad ibn Ishaq Abu Ja’far Kulayni Razi was a resident of Baghdad and there he used to narrate Hadiths from Muhammad ibn Ahmad Jabbar and Ali ibn Ibrahim ibn Assim and the others. Kulayni is one of the Shiite jurisprudents and a person who in their school of thought has authored a lot of books.’[14] 
  
And also Ibn Hajjar in his other book at-Tabsir has said:[15] 
  
‘Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ya’qub Kulayni is one of the leaders of the Shiite scholars who lived during the reign of Muqtadar (the Abbassid Caliph).’[16] 
  
Besides these ones, whenever the rest of the Sunni scholars have come across the name of Kulayni, they have remembered him as a great scholar and renowned faqih too and one of the former leaders of the Shiites. 
  
Kulayni’s Mentors 
  
The truthful of Islam Kulayni met a lot of great scholars, jurisprudents and authorities of hadith in the second half of the third century Hegira in Rey, Qum, Baghdad, Kufa and the other Islamic lands far and wide, which are obscure to us today, and compiled what [knowledge] they had preserved and derived benefit from it and got their permission; authorization from such great men which was also very valuable to a magnanimous man like him [i.e Kulayni]. In the book of the authorities of chains of transmission and translations, they have named up to forty jurisprudents and scholars of Hadith, every one of whom is considered his teacher and master, and Kulayni was a student of theirs. 
  
Beside a number of Sunni scholars whom Hajr Asqalani has named, this number of honorable Shiite jurisprudents and scholars of Hadith whom we have become acquainted with in the first and second volume of ‘Mafakhir al Islam’ and have named them [both] in brief and in detail, are among the famous teachers of the trustworthy of Islam, this former Shiite scholar. 
  
Ahmad ibn Muhammad Issa, Ahmad ibn Idriss Qumi (b 306 Hegira), Ahmad ibn Muhammad Saeed Hamadani, popularly known as Aqda (b 333 Hegira), Ahmad ibn Muhammad Assim Kufi, Ahmad ibn Mehran, Ishaq ibn Ya’qub, Hassan ibn Hanif, Hassan Fazl ibn Yazid Yamani, Husssein ibn Hassan Husseini Aswad, Hussein ibn Hassan Hashimi Alawi, Hussein ibn Muhammad ibn Imran Ash’ari Qumi (b 307), Ali ibn Hussein Sa’d Abadi, Ali ibn Abdullah Khadiji Asghar, Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Aban ibn Razi, Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Muamar Kufi, Muhammad ibn Yahya Attar, are thirty five people altogether, and other than those. 
  
Kulayni’s Students 
  
This number of Shiite jurisprudents and scholars of Hadith, who were among our famous scholars in the first half of the middle of the fourth century Hegira in Iran and Iraq and teachers of a great number of renowned scholars of the second half of the fourth century Hegira, they are considered as some of Kulayni’s students. 
  
Ahmad ibn Ibrahim, popularly known as Ibn Abi Rafi Simri, Ahmad ibn Katib Kufi, Ahmad ibn Ali ibn Saeed Kufi, Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ali Kufi, Abu Ghalib Ahmad ibn Muhammad Zarari (285-364 Hegira), Ja’far ibn Muhammad ibn Quluwiya Qumi (368 Hegira), Abdul Karim Abdullah ibn Nasr Bazaz Tanisi, Ali ibn Ahmad ibn Musa Diqan, Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Ni’mani well known as Ibn Abi Zainab, who is one of the special students and acquaintances of him [i.e Kulayni] and copied his book al-Kafi [in his own hand writing], Muhammad ibn Ahmad Safwan the resident of Baghdad, who is also was one of his special students and copied his book al-Kafi line by line [in his own handwriting] and learned [theoretical] knowledge and [practical] morals from him and was awarded a prize by Kulayni for his recitation of the Hadiths, Muhammad ibn Ahmad Sanani Zahri the resident of Rey, Abul Fazl Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Matlab Shibani, Muhammad ibn Ali Majluwiya, Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Asam Kulayni, harun ibn Musa Talakbari Shibbani (b 385 Hegira), totaling fifteen people altogether, the others are among the category of eminent [scholars]. 
  
Kulayni’s Works 
  
Sheikh Ajal Tusi, and Najashi the scholar of chains of transmission of Hadith and their authorities, have counted a total of these books as part of Kulayni’s writings: 
  
1. The Book of Chains of Transmission 
  
2. The Book of Refuting the Qaramatiya 
  
3. The Book of the Imams’ (s) treatises 
  
4. The Book of Interpreting Dreams 
  
5. The Collection of Poems (comprising elegies which poets have recited in praise of the virtues and graces of the infallible and pure Ahlul Bait (a). 
  
6. The Book entitled al-Kafi (which we shall treat independently). 
  
Kulayni’s Death and Tomb 
  
The truthful of Islam, this former prominent scholar of Hadith who in those days was the eyes and torch of light for the Shiites and a noble source of reference for the scholars of Hadith, including both the Shiites and Sunnis, after all that pain and struggle and writing and publication and enlivening the school of thought acceptable to the infallible and pure Ahlul Bait (a), finally in the year 328 and 329 coinciding with the beginning of the greater occultation of the Imam of the Age, may Allah hasten his reappearance, died in that same city Baghdad and let his soul fly high to the garden of rest. His tomb today is on the eastern side of the Tigris River, near the old bridge of Baghdad, well known a pilgrimage place for the Muslims. (The birth day of Kulayni has never been known.) 
  
Sheikh Tusi in the book al Fihrist has recorded the year of Kulayni’s death as 328 Hegira but Najashi in al Rijjal and the Sheikh himself too who in his al Rijjal, both of which were authored after al Fihrist, have explained that Kulayni died in the year 329; we also believe this date to be authentic. In this year, Sheikh Ajal Abul Hassan Simri, the fourth representative of the Imam of the Age also died and with his death, the greater and long occultation of his holiness began, and Shiite community were placed in a particular position. But the existence of the book al Kafi, like the bright star, made the dark night of the Shiites shine luminously to the extent that the succeeding scholars undertook to completing Kulaynis work and spreading the light of the infallible Ahlul Bait (a).      
  
1 Mu’jam al Baladan vol. 2 verse 117 
[3] Sharh Mashaikhah Min la Yahtharat al faqih P 267 
[4] Al Fihrist Sheikh Tusi P 135 
[5] Rijjal Najashi P 266 
[6] The Introduction of al Kafi 
[7] The introduction of al Kafi as quoted from Wusul al Akhbar P 69 
[8] The Introduction of al Kafi 
[9] Marat ul Uqul vol 1 P 3 
[10] The Introduction of al Kafi 
[11] Al Rijjal, Abu Ali Hairi, 
[12] Al Kamil ibn Athir vol 6 P 274 
[13] Qamus al Rijjal vol 4 256 
[14] Lisan al Rijjal vol 5 P433 
[15] 
[16] Rauthat al Janat Fi ahwal al Ulama wa sadat P 525
  
  
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Reference:  Mafâkher-e Islam’s book (vol:3 Page:40)