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Introduction to Kitab al-Irshad


Author(s): Muhammad Rida Ja‘fari

Publisher(s): World Organization for Islamic Services (WOFIS)

ISBN: ‫ 964-6521-304

National bibliography numbers: 3819443

Category: General

Featured Category: Responses to Misconceptions Shia beliefs explained


This text is an introduction to Kitab al-Irshad written by Shaykh al-Mufid which covers the topics of Imamate and the different Shi'ah Sects.



In his biography of ash-Shaykhu 'l-Mufid, Dr. Howard, the translator of Kitab al-Irshad (The Book of Guidance), has reviewed the intellectual and social aspects of the author's life. On our part, we also have done so in the biographies of the Shi‘ah Imamiyyah theologians in the introduction to the English translation of "Kitabu 't-Tawhid" of Usul al-Kafi.

Therefore, we shall neither repeat anything here nor comment on what Dr. Howard has written – in spite of some points of disagreement that we have with him – because such differences can be seen by comparing the two discussions here, however, we shall only comment on some important points related to the book, al-Irshad, itself.

The Name of the Book

The title of the book "al-Irshad" has been mentioned without any genitive construction in both al- Fihrist of ash-Shaykhu’t-Tusi and al-Fihrist of an-Najashi(1) as well as in most of the later sources(2) that apparently followed the former two bibliographical works. This is how al-Irshad became the famous title for the book.

However, in many ancient and later references, and also in many manuscript copies of the book, the title appears in a more complete form as al-Irshad fi ma‘rifat hujaji 'llah ‘ala 'l-‘ibad. The same title also appears in the ijazah

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1- at-Tusi, al-Fihrist, p.187; an-Najashi, al-Fihrist, p.311.
2- Ibn Shahrashub, Ma‘alimu 'l-‘ulama’, p.101; al-Quhba’i, Ma‘jma‘u 'r- rijal, vol.6, pp.33-34; al-Hurr al-‘Amili, Wasailu 'sh-Shi‘ah, vol.20, p.43;
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