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Ask an Alim

Books Authored By or Attributed To The Infallibles



I am a Madrasah teacher. The background behind this question was that I asked my class to write down the answer to
“Which practice was started during the time of the 4th Imam and was continued by later Imams?”
The expected response was holding majaalis to commemorate the tragedy of Imam Hussain (as) as per our textbook.
However, one student gave me an interesting response -“books”- which made me wonder which books I know of that are actually written by the Aimma.
I think that books like Nahjul Balagha and Sahifa Alawiyya from Imam Ali were actually compiled later. As for books that directly come from the Aimma I could think of Sahifa-tus-Sajjadiyya, Risalatul Huqooq, some medical texts from Imam Sadiq and Imam Ridha, and some books of tafasir attributed to the 6th and 11th Imams.

Can you provide a complete list of known books authored by the 12 Aimma or attributed to them, not including books of their ahadith or duas that were compiled by someone living at a later time?


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم وصل الله على محمد وآله الطاهرين


Alaykum salaam

Here is a list of the works mentioned to have been written by the Imāms (as). The list does not include treatises that the Imāms dictated or letters written to specific individuals. For more information on these see the references below. An important point is that the Shīʿī ḥadīth tradition is based on written works rather than on oral transmission and so there were many works written by the companions of the Imāms (as) which included the sayings of the Imāms. These works are known as the four hundred principle [works] (Uṣūl arbaʿ miʾa) upon which later compilations such as al-Kāfī were based. Since these works were not actually written by the Imāms (as) they are not included here either.


Imām ʿAlī (as):

  1. A version of the Qurʾān with the commentary of the holy Prophet (saw)
  2. Kitāb ʿAlī (the book of ʿAlī) – where he (as) recorded what he heard from the Prophet (saw). This book may be the same as two other books mentioned in the riwāyāt (the traditions) the Jāmʿ which is a parchment scroll 70 cubits long which contains what the people need in terms of laws and another book called the Jafr. Both of these latter works were notes from the Prophet’s (saw) dictation.
  3. Saḥīfat al-farāʾid – a text on the law of inheritance dictated by the holy Prophet (saw) which is said to be part of the Kitāb ʿAlī or the Jāmʿ.
  4. Kitāb al-diyāt – a text on monetary compensations which the Imām (as) sent to his governors.
  5. Musḥaf Fāṭima – this was what Imām ʿAlī recorded from the visitations of Jibrāʾīl (as) to bibi Fāṭima (as) to comfort her (as) after the death of the holy Prophet (saw).
  6. A small scroll – this scroll the Imām (as) would keep in his (saw) sword which was three sentences dictated by the Prophet (saw).


Imām al-Sajjād (as)

  1. Saḥīfat al-Sajjādīya – there was one supplication of Imām al-Sajjād (as) that was shown to a disciple of Imām al-Ṣādiq from a notebook by the 6th Imām. Thereafter the compilation that exists today seems to have evolved over time and there are different versions of the Saḥīfat.
  2. Saḥīfat ʿAlī b. Ḥusayn fī al-zuhd – a treatise attributed to the Imām on zuhd (asceticism).
  3. Risālat al-ḥuqūq – a work attributed to the Imām (as) that is originally known as Risālat ʿilā baʿd aṣḥābih (a treatise to some of his companions).


Imām al-Bāqir (as)

  1. Tafsīr Imām al-Bāqir (as) – This is not written by the Imām (as) but rather by one of his students Abū Jārūd.


Imām al-Ṣādiq (as)

  1. Al-Ihlīlja – A treatise that the Imām (as) gave to Mufaḍḍal concerning arguments against atheists.
  2. Al-Jaʿfarīyāt – Also known as al-Shaʿthīyāt. A treatise on jurisprudence written by Imām al-Ṣādiq (as) and narrated by Imām al-Kāẓim (as).
  3. Miṣbāḥ al-Sharīʿa – This book although attributed to the Imām (as) seems to more likely have been a work written by one of his (as) companions.

Imām al-Ṣādiq (as) also wrote a number of other treatise for his (as) companions.


Imām al-Riḍā (as)

  1. Ṣaḥīfat or Musnad al-Riḍā – a collection of aḥādīth written by the Imām (as) on the authority of his (as) pure forefathers (as).
  2. Risālat al-dhahabīya – A medical treatise written by the Imām (as) for Maʾmūn Abbāsī.


Imām al-Hādī (as)

  1. Risālat radd ʿalā ahl al-jabr wa al-tafwīḍ
  2. Kitāb fī aḥkām al-dīn


Imām al-ʿAskarī (as)

  1. Tafsīr al-Imām al-Ḥasan al-ʿAskarī – there is a difference of opinion regarding the attribution of this work to the Imām (as).
  2. Kitāb al-Maqaba – a jurisprudential book which is attributed to Imām al-ʿAskarī (as) but some have considered it to be another book called Fiqh al-Riḍā.



For more information please refer to:

Hossein Modarressi, Tradition and Survival: A Bibliographical Survey of Early Shīʿite Literature, Volume 1 (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2003)

Sayyid Riżā Muʾaddab, Taʾrīkh al-ḥadīth, translated into Arabic by Sayyid ʿAbd al-Karīm Ḥaydarī (Qum: Jāmiʿ al-Muṣṭafā al-ʿālamīya, 1388 Sh/2009)


For an encyclopaedic collection of the written works of the Imāms see ʿAlī al-Aḥmadī al-Mīyānjī, Makātīb al-Aʾimma, ed. Mujtabā Farajī, 7 vols. (Qum: Dār al-ḥadīth, 1384 Sh/2005) 


Zoheir Ali Ismail