The following is a translation of excerpts from the book Al-A’lām al-Hidāyah al-Rafīyyah fī I’tibār al-Kutub al-Arba’a al-Manī’ah written by Shaykh ‘Alī Namāzī Shāhrūdī. The intent of the author in this book is to prove the reliability of the four canonical books (al-Kāfī, al-Tahdhīb, al-Istibṣār and Man lā Yahḍuruhū al-Faqīh) through the process of analyzing the popular sources used by the authors of the 4 canonical book while compiling their magnum opi.
The book is divided into 5 categories:
- The use of the Uṣūl al-Arba’a Mi’a as sources in the Kutub al-Arba’a and other books
- The reliability of the Uṣūl al-Arba’a Mi’ia and the scholars who took from them
- The necessity of relying upon the Usul al-Arba’a Mi’ia
- The views of the authors of the Kutub al-Arba’a regarding the reliability of their books
- The views of the scholars regarding the reliability of the Kutub al-Arba’a and their respected authors
The following is a translation of excerpts from the first category discussed by the author.
The Books of Sahl b. Ziyād
From the popular and dependable Uṣūl works are the books of Sahl b. Ziyād al-Ādamī. He is considered trustworthy based on the view of Shaykh Ṭūsī in his Rijal in the section dealing with the companions of Imam al-Hādī. A group of subsequent researchers have followed him in this opinion. And we (the author) have proven his trustworthiness in our book Mustadrakāt ‘Ilm al-Rijāl al-Ḥadīth. He is from the companions of Imam Jawād, Hādī and ‘Askarī (as).
Both Kulaynī and Ṭūsī narrate from Sahl b. Ziyād abundantly in al-Kāfī, Tahdhīb and Istibṣār.
The Paths of Shaykh Kulaynī to Sahl’s Books
عدة من اصحابنا عن سهل بن زياد
A number of our companions from Sahl b. Ziyad
This path is mentioned in al-Kāfi, volume one, pages 190, 196, 202, 203, 205, 206, 208, 212, 214, 220, 222, 224, 225, 254 and many more.
علي بن محمد عن سهل بن زياد
‘Alī b. Muḥammad (from the ‘iddah of Kulaynī) from Sahl b. Ziyād
This path is mentioned in al-Kāfī, volume 1, pages 307 (repeatedly), volume 3 pages 39, 42, 298, 307 and many more.
علي بن محمد و محمد بن حسن عن سهل بن زياد
‘Alī b. Muḥammad and Muḥammad b. Ḥasan from Sahl b. Ziyād
This path is mentioned in al-Kāfī, volume 3, pages 400, 412, 410, 428, 490 and volume 1, page 102.
Sometimes Kulaynī narrates from his works without mentioning his own teachers. Like in al-Kāfī’s Kitāb al-Tawḥīd, Bāb al-Nahī ‘an al-Siffah – six traditions are mentioned without any intermediaries – and Bāb al-Fay wa al-Anfāl and Bāb Nawādir al-Ḥajj and others. Kulaynī also narrates from Sahl abundantly in al-Rawḍa al-Kāfī.
محمد بن الحسن و غيره عن سهل بن زياد
Muḥammad b. Ḥasan and others from Sahl b. Ziyād
This path is mentioned in al-Kāfī in volume 3, page 437 and others.
The Paths of Shaykh Ṭūsī to Sahl’s Books
Shaykh Ṭūsī narrates abundantly from the books of Sahl b. Ziyād and his path – as mentioned at the end of al-Tahdhīb – is as follows:
محمد بن يعقوب عن عدة من اصحابنا منهم علي بن محمد و غيره عن سهل بن زياد
Muḥammad b. Ya’qūb from a number of our companions, namely ‘Alī b. Muḥammad and others, from Sahl b. Ziyād.
From the instances where Shayk Ṭūsī mentions Sahl and narrates from his books in al-Tahdhīb are:
Kitāb al-Farā’iḍ pages 373 and 383, Kitāb al-Ḥudūd pages 390, 398, 399, 401, 403, 407, 410, 411,412, 414, 417, 418, 419, 420 and many others.
 Though in his Fihrist (Entry #339) Shaykh Ṭūsī claims he is weak
 al- Najashi in his Rijal considered him to be weak in hadith, and is not dependable. He states that Ahmad. b Muhammad b. Isa accused him of ghuluw and lying and thus exiled him from Qom to Ray.
al-Ghadairi in his Rijal considered him to be extremely weak in hadith, and corrupt in religion as well as faith. He states that Sahl b. Ziyad narrated from Marasil(reports without chains) and relied upon the Majahil (reports from unknown narrators).
 His companions include: ‘Alī b. Ibrāhīm, Muḥammad b. Yaḥya, Aḥmad b. Idrīs, Ḥusayn b. Muḥammad, Ḥamīd b. Ziyād and Muḥammad b. Ismā’īl.