Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem,
We often hear from misinformed Shias that the twelve infallible Imams received knowledge exclusively from one another. Methods theorized about this transfer of knowledge include the direct approach (i.e. teaching verbally, the inheritance of books from one another, etc…) and that the Imams received knowledge through a spiritual transfer of knowledge upon the death of the previous Imam. Regardless of which of these methods a Shi’ee adopts, it has been well documented that the Imams have received knowledge from fallible sources that aren’t restricted to a certain tribe or bloodline. In an attempt to shed some light on this subject, we have collected the names of the teachers of three of the Imams of the Ithna-`Ashari sect to prove this fact.
The three Imams we chose, were known to have lived in the age of Hadith and Fiqh, and were praised by many scholars of Islam, so their names will appear in many chains in the reliable books of Hadith, they are:
`Ali bin al-Husayn (Zayn al-`Abideen) who was popular for his Zuhd, his son Muhammad bin `Ali (al-Baqir) who was popular for his Hadith, and his grandson Ja`far bin Muhammad (al-Sadiq) who was popular for his Fiqh.
A- The list does not include the names of men that the Imam attributed narrations to but did not hear from. (i.e `A’ishah is not listed as a teacher for al-Baqir since he never met her and his narration from her is Mursal)
B- The chain which contains liars, fabricators or those of extreme weakness and are subsequently abandoned shall not be taken into consideration. (i.e If Jabir al-Ju`fi is the one narrating from al-Baqir, then whoever it is that al-Baqir is narrating from cannot be listed as his teacher since Jabir is a liar)
-Click on the name of each Imam below to see a list of his teachers: