Criticism of: Treatise of Rights (Risalat Al Huquq)


The following is a criticism of the authenticity of the “Treatise of Rights” (Risalat Al Huquq), the falsely attributed letter to Zain Al-Abideen, the fourth Imam. The treatise, in full, can be found on

Very much like all the letters and books (i.e. Nahjul Balagha and Al-Sahifa Al-Sajjadiyya) that have been attributed to the Imams, the “Treatise of Rights” is no different. It too is a fabricated text that has been attributed to an unknowing Imam.

However, such matters are rarely ever brought up by the common man in the modern Shia society, which causes doubts to lay rest. Luckily, one scholar, Mohammad Redha Al-Jalali in his book “Jihad Al-Imam Al-Sajjad” p. 255, put in the effort of listing out the sources of this treatise. He lists out the following chains:

1- Al-Saduq from Ali bin Ahmad bin Musa from Mohammad bin Abi Abdullah Al-Kufi from Ja’afar bin Mohammad bin Malik Al-Fazari from Khayran bin Dahir from Ahmad bin Ali bin Sulaiman Al-Halabi from his father from Mohammad bin Ali from Mohammad bin Fudhail from Abu Hamza Al-Thammali from Zainul Abideen. (Al-Khisal)

2- Al-Saduq from Ali bin Ahmad bin Musa from Mohammad bin Ja’afar Al-Kufi Al-Asadi from Mohammad bin Isma’eel Al-Barmaki from Abdullah bin Ahmad from Isma’eel bin Al-Fadhl from Thabit bin Dinar Al-Thammali from Zainul Abideen. (Al-Faqeeh / Al-Amali)

3- From Al-Najashi from Ali bin Ahmad from Al-Hasan bin Hamza from Ali bin Ibrahim from his father from Mohammad bin Fudhail from Abi Hamza from Zainul Abideen. (Rijal Al-Najashi)

The first observation is that all three chains come through the path of one narrator: Abu Hamza Thabit bin Dinar Abi Safiyyah Al-Thammali. Al-Kashshi (p. 148) records from the Ali bin Al-Hasan bin Fadhal: Abu Hamza used to drink wine, and he was accused of such, but he left it before he died.

From him, we have two paths. One path is the path of Mohammad bin Fudhail, while the other is from Isma’eel bin Al-Fadhl.

The first path is weak because of Mohammad bin Fudhail himself. Al-Tusi weakened him in his Rijal (p. 343) for being weak, and accused him of extremism (p. 365).

As for the second path, the narrator from Isma’eel, Abdullah bin Ahmad, is unknown. He has been declared as such by Ibrahim Al-Shabboot in his Dirasaat fi Mashyakhat Al-Faqeeh (p. 296). Another narrator, Mohammad bin Isma’eel Al-Barmaki, has been weakened by Ibn Al-Ghadha’iri (p. 97), but has been strengthened by Al-Najashi.

Al-Jalali then comments: Whatever the case, the number of narrations and paths to Abu Hamza, makes it unnecessary to look into the chains of this book.

It is as if Al-Jalali was talking about ten different paths, when in reality he is only talking about two. Both of which are weak, as we have proven above.

In conclusion, as we have pointed out in the beginning, this treatise is no different than the Tafseer of Al-Askari, Fiqh Al-Redha, and all the other texts which have been attributed to the twelve Imams that have reached us through the paths of fabricators and unknown narrators.

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