List of Shia Books

Books by Shia Imams

  • Nahj al-Balaghah “a collection of sermons, letters and quotes of Imam Ali”, collected by Al-Sharif al-Radi (970 AD – 1015 AD)
  • Al-Jafr “a mystical Shia`s holy book attributed to Imam Ali”
  • Risalah al-Huquq “attributed to Imam Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin”
  • Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya “attributed to Imam Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin”
  • Al-Risalah al-Dhahabiah by Ali al-Ridha (765 AD – 818 AD)
  • Al-Sahifat al-Ridha by Ali al-Ridha (765 AD – 818 AD)

Shia BooksHadith collections

Al-Kutub al-Arbaʿah

  • Kitab al-Kafi by Kulayni (864 AD – 941 AD) (divided into Usul al-Kafi, Furu al-Kafi and Rawdat al-Kafi)
  • Man la Yahdhuruhu’l Faqih by Shaykh Saduq (923 AD – 991 AD)
  • Tahdhib al-Ahkam by Abu Ja’far al-Tusi (995 AD – 1067 AD)
  • Al-Istibsar by Abu Ja’far al-Tusi (995 AD – 1067 AD)

Shi’a Muslims use different books of hadith from those used by Sunni Muslims, who prize the Six major Hadith collections. The Shi’a consider many Sunni transmitters of hadith to be unreliable because many of them took the side of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman in preference to Ali (and the rest of Prophet 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 the prophet Muhammad and son of Ali ibn Abi Talib) was killed at the Battle of Karbala. Shia trust traditions transmitted through the Imams, Muhammad’s descendants through Fatima Zahra.

The Four Books have been praised by many notable Shi’a scholars. This is what some have said:

  • Shaikh al-Hur al-Aamili said, “The authors of the 4 Books of shia have testified that the Hadiths of their books are accurate (saheeh) , firm and well conducted from the roots that all shia agreed on , and if you consider those scholars (the authors of the four books) are reliable then you must accept their sayings and their narrations . ” [Al-wasa’el, vol. 20, p. 104]
  • Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din al-Musawi said: “Al-Kafi, Al-Istibsaar, Al-Tahzeeb and Mun La Yahduruhu Al-faqeeh are Mutawatirah and agreed on the accuracy of its contents (the Hadiths), and Al-Kafi is the oldest, greatest, best and the most accurate one of them.“ [The book of Al-Muraja’aat (A Shi’i-Sunni dialogue), Muraj’ah No. 110]
  • Al-Tabrosi (aka, Tabarsi) said:”Al-Kafi among the 4 shia books is like the sun among the stars, and who looked fairly would not need to notice the position of the men in the chain of hadiths in this Book, and if you looked fairly you would feel satisfied and sure that the hadiths are firm and accurate.”[Mustadrak al-Wasail, vol. 3, p. 532]

Other Major Hadith collections

  • The Book of Sulaym ibn Qays by Sulaym ibn Qays ( ?? – 695 AD)
  • Daim al-Islam by Al-Qadi al-Nu’man (Isma’ili Shia) ( ?? – 974 AD)
  • Al-Ihtijaj by Abu Mansur Ahmad Tibrisi
  • Wasā’il al-Shīʿa by Shaikh al-Hur al-Aamili (1624 AD to 1693 AD)
  • Bihar al-Anwar by Allama Majlesi (1627 AD to 1699 AD)
  • Haq ul-Yaqeen by Allama Majlisi (1627 AD to 1699 AD)
  • Ayn al-Hayat by Allama Majlisi (1627 AD to 1699 AD)
  • Kamil al Ziarat[1] by ibn al-Qummi (collection of hadiths and ziarats (sacred visits) regarding the visitation of the Imams (as) and Karbala)
  • Mustadrak Al-wasa’il by Mirza Husain Noori Tabarsi
  • Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha by Shaykh Saduq (923 AD – 991 AD) (it has the sayings of the eighth Imam, Ali al-Ridha)

Hadith`s Anthologies & Commentaries

  • Shahr Usul al-Kafi — by Mohammad Salih al-Mazandarani
  • A Bundle of Flowers — collected by Ayatollah Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani; a popular English language secondary collection of Shi’a hadith. It narrates traditions from such Shia collections as Kitab al-Kafi and Man la Yahdhuruhu’l Faqih.
  • A Shi’ah Anthology[2] — by William Chittick, Hossein Nasr and Muhammad Husayn Tabataba’i; a brief introduction to exemplary hadith from the 12 Imams.

Shia kids studying

Theology of Shi’a

These books include discussions about Theology (Tawḥīd, Nubuwwah, Imamah, etc. ) of Shi’a.

Classic Kalam

These books seek to give a rational account of Shi’a theology in contrast with the Ash’ari, Mu’tazili and other theological schools of Islam. The contents of these books are taken from the 8th to the 13th century (2nd to 7th century of Islam).

  • Eʿteqādātal-Emāmīya by Shaykh Saduq (923 AD – 991 AD)
  • Al-Amali by Sheikh al-Mufid (948 AD to 1022 AD)
  • Al-Amali by Shaykh Saduq (923 AD – 991 AD)
  • Al-Amali by Shaykh Tusi
  • Al-Amali by Shayhk Murtaza
  • Tashih al-I’tiqad by Shaykh Mufid (948 AD – 1022 AD), a correction of Shaykh Saduq’s Eʿteqādātal-Emāmīya.
  • Tajrid al-i‘tiqad by Nasir al-Din Tusi (1201 AD – 1274 AD)
  • Al-Khisal by Shaykh Saduq (923 AD – 991 AD)
  • Awail Al Maqalat by Shaykh Mufid (948 AD – 1022 AD)

Modern Kalam

These books seek to give a rational account of Shi’a theology in contrast with modern Western ideologies including Marxism and Liberalism during the 20th century.

  • Fundamentals Of Islamic Thought by Morteza Motahhari, trans. R. Campbell: Berkeley, California, Mizan Press, 1982.

Quranic Tafsirs

  • Tafsir Al-Qummi — by Mohammad bin Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Qummi (?? – 919 AD)
  • Al-Tibbyan Fi Tafsir al-Quran — by Shaikh Tusi (995 AD – 1067 AD)
  • Majma’ al-Bayan by Shaykh Tabarsi (1073 AD – 1153 AD)
  • Al-Bayan Fi Tafsir al-Quran — by Ayatollah Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei (1899 AD – 1992 AD)
  • Tafsir al-Mizan — by Allamah Tabatabai (1903 AD – 1981 AD)
  • Tafsir Nemooneh by Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi (1927 AD – Present)
  • Al Kauthar fi Tafsir Al Quran by Mohsin Ali Najafi (1938 AD to Present)[3]
  • Tafseer e Masoomeen (as)–[4] compiled by Wilayat Mission[5]

History books

  • Kamaaluddin wa Tamamum ul Ne’amah— by Shaikh Saduq (923 AD – 991 AD)
  • Tazkar-tul-Athar— by Sheikh al-Mufid (948 AD – 1022 AD)
  • Majalis al-muminin— by Qazi Nurullah Shustari ( (1542 AD – 1610 AD)
  • A 250 Years Old Person— by Ali Khamenei (1939 AD – Present)

Shi’a-Sunni argumentations

  • Al Muraja’at — by Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din al-Musawi (1872 AD – 1957 AD)
  • Peshawar Nights — by Sultanu’l-Wa’izin Shirazi (1894 AD – 1971 AD)
  • Then I was Guided (book) — by Muhammad al-Tijani (1943 AD – Present)
  • The Shi’ah are (the real) Ahl al-Sunnah (book) — by Muhammad al-Tijani (1943 AD – Present)
  • Ask Those Who Know (book) — by Muhammad al-Tijani (1943 AD – Present)
  • To be with the truthful (book) — Muhammad al-Tijani (1943 AD – Present)
  • Al-Ghadir by Allamah Amini (About the Hadith of Ghadir from Sunni books)

Ilm ur Rijal

  • Rijal e Kashi by Allamah Kashi
  • Rijal e Nijashi by Allamah Ahmed bin Ali-al Najashi
  • Rijal e Tusi by Shaykh Tusi
  • Mojam Hadith e Rijal by Grand Ayatollah Khoei

Books on Shia Imams

  • Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim by Abdul Wahid al-Tamimi (Collections of short quotations and aphorisms by Imam Ali)
  • Mafatih al-Jinan — collected by Shaykh ‘Abbas Qummi (Collections of Du’a (Supplications))
  • Qalam-e-Mowla[6] is a Nizari Ismaili shi’a muslim book that has speeches by the first Shi’a Imam, Ali. It is a poetic translation of Shi’a teachings into South Asian languages.
  • Muntahi al-Amal by Shaykh ‘Abbas Qummi (About Prophet Muhammad and his descendants)
  • Kitab al-Irshad by Shaykh Mufid (About the life of 12 Imams)

Islamic Jurisprudence (fiqh)

  • Urwa al-Wuthqa by Ayatollah Mohammed Kazem Yazdi
  • Shara’i’ al-Islam fi masail al-halal wal-haram by Muhaqqiq al-Hilli
  • Jawahir Al Kalam by Ayatollah Muhammad Hasan al-Najafi
  • Madarik al-ahkam fi sharh shara’i’ al-Islam by Ayatollah Muhammad Musawi al-Amili
  • Tawdih al-Masa’il by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani
  • Tawdih al-Masa’il by Grand Ayatollah Hossein Vahid Khorasani


  • Imamate and Leadership
  • Fatemeh is Fatemeh
  • The Message (Subhani) by Ja’far Sobhani


Academic sources:

  • Expectation of the Millennium: Shi’ism in History by Seyyed Hossein Nasr.
  • Shi’ism Doctrines, Thought, and Spirituality by Seyyed Hossein Nasr.
  • Introduction to Shi’i Islam by Moojan Momen, Yale University Press.
  • An Introduction to Shi’i Law: A Bibliographical Study by Hossein Modarressi Tabataba’i (London 1984)
  • Shi’ite Identities: Community and Culture in Changing Social Contexts by Christoph Marcinkowski (Berlin 2010).

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