Book of Knowledge and its Merits
By Shaykh Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ya’qub al-Kulayni
Commentary & Translation by Islamic Texts Institute
Under the direction of Shaykh Rizwan Arastu
“The earliest and most important compilation of traditions from prophet Muhammad and his successors.”
After the Qur’an, no book has been so pivotal to Islamic scholarship, especially among the Shi’ah, as al-Kafi. Written in the 10th century, it is the earliest, and arguably the most important, compilation of traditions of Prophet Muhammad and the twelve imams (divinely-appointed leaders) who succeeded him. Whether you are a Muslim looking to deepen your understanding of Islam, a seeker on a quest for truth, or an academic interested in studying the world’s fastest-growing religion, this commentary on al-Kafi is a must-read. You will get a first-hand account of the teachings and interactions of Islam’s holiest personalities, and piece by piece, you will build a complete understanding of Islam from its source.
The book before you represents, in part, a synthesis of centuries of research and deliberation over the text of al-Kafi. More importantly, it represents a very modern effort to update this rich tradition of scholarship by addressing the needs, as we see them, of readers living in the 21st century. In researching each tradition mentioned in this book, we dedicated years to painstakingly comb through the fifteen extant commentaries and annotations on al-Kafi, all of which were written around the 17th century. Where we found their literary analysis and exegesis to be sound and relevant to the modern reader, we simply narrated and, at most, refined their work. Where we found that they had not addressed issues that are now vital to our understanding, we endeavored to fill the void by writing our own original commentary. We believe this book to be a testament to the continued vibrancy and rigor of Islamic scholarship.
Islamic Texts Institute