How credible and truthful is the statement attributed to Imam Al-Mahdi (peace be upon him): ‘Al-Kafi is sufficient to our Shi’a’?
In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful.
May Allah bless Muhammad and his Family and damn their enemies.
It cannot be verified that the statement came directly from the Imam (may Allah hasten his reappearance), but we do not doubt its truthfulness. Regardless of the statement’s authenticity, it is not a command to follow all we find in Al-Kafi and a confirmation of the authenticity of every narration in it.
That said, Al-Kafi, as a whole, is *sufficient* for the main fundamentals and branches of faith, as Al-Kafi does indeed make available all that we need in matters of faith and day-to-day life as judged to be so by many great scholars throughout time. The authenticity of every narration is not a requirement to accept, or see a source as reliable.
Only the holy Qu’ran is fully authentic; every other source we have is subject to scrutiny. The position of the Shi’a school of thought has always been to leave the door open to ‘Ijtihad’ to qualified scholars to investigate, study and determine the authenticity of narrations and reports based on various scientific practices. Unlike the ‘Sunnis’, we do not need or require an ‘authentic’ source of narrations – such as Bukhari and Muslim’s narration books – which we blindly place on par to the authenticity of the Qur’an and take our faith from. We do not have a single book or series of books that we view as an entirely authentic source. Verification of narrations and their authoritativeness is a subject left to qualified and trusted scholars.
The Office of Sheikh al-Habib