Introduction of Prominent Shia Ulema (4)
Welcome to this week’s episode of the series Introduction of Prominent Shia Ulema. Sheikh Abu Jafar Mohammad ibn Ali ibn Babouyeh Qomi, popularly known as Sheikh Sadouq, is one of the prominent Shia scholars, who lived in 4th Century AH. He has compiled the second book of four Shia books, named: “Min Laa Yahzareh al-Faqih”.
Today, we continue to review another chapter of the history of prominent Shia Ulema, According to the First Infallible Successor to Prophet of Islam, Imam Ali (Peace be upon him), keeping the company of Ulema is a source of blessings.
Meanwhile, the study of lives and works of Ulema, who lived centuries ago, is synonymous to keeping their company. In the past two weeks, we discussed the life and works of Sheikh Kolayni, who penned the valuable book: “Kaafi”. Today, we intend to introduce Sheikh Sadouq, who is the main Shia hadith scholar after Kolayni.
Sheikh Sadouq is a prominent Shia scholar, who was born in the holy city of Qom in 4th Century AH. This preeminent Shia scholar was a contemporary to Hussein ibn Rouh, who was the third deputy of the 12th Infallible Imam of Prophet Mohammad’s Infallible Household, Imam Mahdi (May God hasten his reappearance). This renowned Shia scholar was born in the virtuous family of Babouyeh; from which several scientists and scholars rose to prominence for more than 300 years. His father was a well-known scholar in the holy city of Qom and a prolific author, who compiled more than 200 books throughout the era of Minor Occultation of Imam Mahdi (May God hasten his reappearance). The father of Sheikh Sadouq did not have a child until the age of 50. He wrote a letter addressed to Imam Mahdi through Imam Mahdi’s deputy, requesting the Infallible Imam to pray for him so that he could have children. Imam Mahdi heralded the father of Sheikh Sadouq that he would have two sons, who would be a source of blessing. One of these two sons was Sheikh Sadouq, who turned into one of the prominent figures of his age, given his high intelligence, eagerness to acquire knowledge, and thanks to the prayers of the 12th Infallible Imam, Imam Mahdi (AS).
Mohammad acquired knowledge under his father at a young age and completed his preliminary studies in his hometown, the holy city of Qom. In a short while, his ingenuity and sublime talent in acquisition of knowledge and his powerful memory became known throughout all scientific circles of the city of Qom. Sheikh Sadouq, upon completing higher education, began to travel to different regions in order to acquire further knowledge from the renowned hadith scholars of his age, gathering the enlightening remarks cited from Prophet Mohammad (Blessings of God upon him and his progeny), and the Infallible Imams of Prophet’s Household.
Sheikh Sadouq traveled to wherever there was a prominent hadith scholar. In fact, he traveled to a large number of cities, such as Bukhara, Neyshapour, Tous, Isfahan, Sarakhs, Marv, Balkh, Samarqand, Mecca, Medina, Kufa, and Baghdad. One of the factors, which effectively contributed to Sheikh Sadouq success, was the knowledge which he acquired from prominent Islamic scholars throughout his journeys. Some valid books have named 252 lecturers of Sheikh Sadouq. Within his journeys, Sheikh Sadouq also convened his own classes on Islamic sciences.
One of the important developments within Sheikh Sadouq lifetime, was the empowerment of the originally Iranian, Shia Bouyad Dynasty which ruled over a large part of Iran, Iraq, Arabian Peninsula, up to the northern borders of Shaam as of 322 AH to 448 AH. As the first Shia ruling system within the era of Occultation of Imam Mahdi (AS), Bouyad rulers attached significant importance to Ulema and considered their Fatwas and decrees as binding. Upon the invitation of Bouyad government’s premier, Sheikh Sadouq took up residence in the city of Rayy , lecturing theology and science of hadith in that city and remaining in Rayy for the rest of his life. The Bouyad ruler, Rokn Ed-Dollah, sought Sheikh Sadouq’s presence in all of the meetings which this Bouyad ruler attended, in order to benefit from the vast knowledge of this well-known Shia scholar. The era of Bouyad’s rule was the period of development of sciences and culture, while numerous well-known libraries and schools were founded in the city of Rayy in this era; with this city attaining its peak of prosperity in political, social, and cultural domains. Presence of renowned scientists and scholars such as Avicenna, Raazi, and Sheikh Sadouq in this city also manifests the peak of prosperity of city of Rayy in that phase in time.
Sheikh Sadouq is one of the most prolific Muslim scientists, authoring roughly 300 book titles in a number of different domains. The large number of his compilations once again manifests his relentless efforts and indomitable will. He excelled in a number of Islamic sciences, such as theology, exegesis of Holy Quran, and the science of hadith. One of the most important tasks that he achieved was the classification of hadiths based on their subjects. Initially, this seemed to be an impossible task. However, given the sublime talents and untiring efforts of Sheikh Sadouq, he accomplished this task, leaving a valuable treasure for Muslims, who live concurrent with the Major Occultation of Imam Mahdi (May God hasten his reappearance).