Al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Shuba al-Harrani is a Shi’i hadith compiler. His major work on hadith is Tuhaf al-uqul.
Al-Harrani related to the Shu’ba family, who were originally from Halab. Many hadith scholars raised from this family. The date of Ibn Shu’ba’s birth and death is not known and in the early Shi’i rijal works, there is no information about him.
The earliest remark on the scholarly and religious position of al-Harrani is mentioned in the book al-Wafiya (as reported by al-Shushtari) written by Ibrahim b. Sulayman al-Qatifi, a Shi’a scholar of 10/16 century. Al-Qatifi describes al-Harrani as the great Shia faqih and dignitary. According to al-Husayn b. Ali b. Sadiq al-Bahrani, in his treatise Fi l-akhlaq wa l-suluk ila Allah ala tariqt Ahl al-Bayt, Ibn Shuba was among the early Imami scholars and al-Shaykh al-Mufid quoted from his Tuhaf al-uqul. Later remarks are quoted from al-Bahrani and al-Qatifi’s reports.
Agha Buzurg Tihrani, adduced the above-mentioned quotation of al-Bahrani to introduce Ibn Shuba contemporary with al-Shaykh al-Saduq and one of the teachers of al-Shaykh al-Mufid; however, in the works of ilm al-rijal, there is no report about a teacher of al-Shaykh al-Mufid called Ibn Shuba.
There are two works attributed to al-Harrani; al-Tamhis and Tuhaf al-‘uqul fi ma ja’ min al-hikam wa l-mawa’iz min Al al-Rasul.
This book explains the causes and the ways of divine trials for believers and also some narrations about patience, piety, and submission.
The attribution of this book to al-Harrani is a matter of disagreement among scholars of hadith; al-Qatifi, al-Hurr al-Amili, and Afandi al-Isfahani accepted the attribution of this book to al-Harrani, while al-Allama al-Majlisi and Muhaddith Nuri doubted whether this book authored by al-Harrani or Ibn Hammam al-Iskafi.
This book, that is his famous work, includes narrations on Islamic principles, jurisprudence and moral sayings of Imams (AS). In this book, he first offers a collection of hadiths from the Prophet (PBUH) and Imams of Shia (AS) (except for the Twelfth Imam (AS)) and he finishes the book with the words of God with Prophet Moses (BUH) and Prophet Jesus (PBUH).
Tuhaf al-uqul has been discussed by Shi’a scholars of different times and al-Qatifi describes this book as unique.
Al-Sayyid Abu al-Qasim Khoei, though confirmed the knowledge and trustworthiness of al-Harrani, did not accept the authenticity of the narrations of this book, because the chain of narrators are not complete and therefore these narrations are “mursal”; according to al-Khoei, these narrations cannot be counted as a reliable basis for Islamic jurisprudence.
It is noteworthy that Tuhaf al-uqul is highly esteemed by Nusayri Shias and many of the followers of this Shia sect know this book by heart.