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'Abd Allah b. Ja'far b. Abi Talib

This article is about a son of Ja'far b. Abi Talib. For other people named 'Abd Allah b. Ja'far, see 'Abd Allah b. Ja'far (disambiguation).

ʿAbd Allāh b. Jaʿfar b. Abī Ṭālib (Arabic: عبدالله بن جعفر بن ابي طالب) was one of the companions of the Prophet (s), Imam Ali (a), and Imam al-Hasan (a). He was the husband of Zaynab -the daughter of Imam Ali (a).

'Abd Allah b. Ja'far b. Abi Talib
Personal Information
Full Name 'Abd Allah b. Ja'far b. Abi Talib b. 'Abd al-Muttalib al-Qurashi al-Hashimi
Teknonym Abu Ja'far
Epithet Bahr al-Jud (the sea of generosity)
Lineage Banu Hashim
Well-Known Relatives the Prophet Muhammad (s)  • Imam Ali (a)(uncle and father-in-law) • Imam al-Hasan (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a)(cousins and brothers-in-law) • Ja'far b. Abi Talib(father) • Asma' bt. 'Umays(mother) • Zaynab(wife)
Birth 2 or 3?/623, 624, or 625?
Place of Birth Abyssinia
Muhajir/Ansar Muhajir
Place(s) of Residence Abyssinia, Medina, Kufa, Basra, Syria
Death/Martyrdom 80?/699-700?
Burial Place al-Baqi' Cemetery, Medina
Religious Information
Migration to Medina
Known for Companion of Imam 'Ali, Imam al-Hasan and Imam al-Husayn (a)
Notable Roles Commander of Imam 'Ali's army
Other Activities Presence in the battles of Jamal and Siffin, allegiance to 'Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr

He was the first Muslim child born in Abyssinia. He pledged allegiance to the Prophet (s) when he was a child and after the Prophet (s) he became a companion to Imam Ali (a) and participated in the battles of Jamal and Siffin.

He accompanied Imam al-Hasan (a) until his peace treaty with Mu'awiya. Although he accepted rewards from Mu'awiya and Yazid during their reign, his two sons –'Awn and Muhammad- were martyred in the day of 'Ashura' by Yazid's army. Also, some of his other children were martyred in the Event of Harra.

After the death of Yazid, he pledged allegiance to 'Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr. He was in touch with 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan and was welcomed in his court; but because of 'Abd al-Malik's oppression, he became poor at the end of his life.

He was very generous that he was titled as "Bahr al-Jud" (the sea of generosity) and was listed among the four most generous people from Banu Hashim.

Finally, he passed away in Medina in the 80s/700s decade. The Umayyad Caliph performed Salat al-Mayyit on his body and he was buried in al-Baqi' Cemetery.



'Abd Allah b. Ja'far b. Abi Talib b. 'Abd al-Muttalib al-Qurashi al-Hashimi, his kunya was Abu Ja'far and his father was Ja'far -Imam Ali's brother- and his mother was Asma' bt. 'Umays. He was a companion of the prophet (s), Imam Ali (a), and also Imam al-Hasan (a).

Family tree of the Prophet (s)
400 CE
'Abd al-'Uzza
'Abd Manaf
430 CE
'Abd al-Dar
464 CE
'Abd Shams
'Abd al-Muttalib
497 CE
Khadija (a)
'Abd Allah
b. 545 CE
Abu Talib
Muhammad (s)
b. 571 CE
'Ali (a)
b. 599 CE
Fatima (a)
'Abd Allah
Al-Hasan (a)
b. 625 CE
Al-Husayn (a)
b. 626 CE

Birth and Childhood

In the second Migration to Abyssinia, Ja'far took his wife -Asma'- with him and 'Abd Allah was born there as the first child of Muslims in Abyssinia in 2 or 3 (623, 624, or 625). 'Abd Allah returned to Medina along with his family after the Battle of Khaybar (7/628) and pledge allegiance to the Prophet (s). According to the narration which says that he pledged allegiance to the Prophet (s) when he was 7 and he was 10 when the Prophet (s) passed away, he was born in the first year after Hijra (622 or 623).

Moreover, according to some other reports, he was a young child when the Prophet (s) caressed him after his father was martyred in the Battle of Muta. The Prophet (s) said that God has given his father two wings by which he can fly in Heaven -instead of his decapitated hands in the battle- so 'Abd Allah was titled as "Ibn Dhu l-Janahayn" (the son of who has two wings.)

'Abd Allah later got involved in business and sometimes bought pieces of land and reclaimed them.

After the Prophet (s)

Most of historical sources did not report anything about his presence in the early battles in Islam; but according to the book Futuh al-Sham, 'Abd Allah participated in the conquests of Syria which took place in the period of 'Umar's Caliphate. Abu 'Ubayda gave him a flag and appointed him as a commander of 500 cavalry.

When Abu Dhar was exiled to Rabadha in period of the Caliphate of 'Uthman, 'Abd Allah followed Ali (a) to the outskirts of Medina for bidding farewell to Abu Dhar.

According to Ibn Abi l-Hadid, in the incident of Walid b. 'Uqba -the governor of Kufa appointed by 'Uthman who drunk wine and prayed the Morning Prayer 4 rak'as as Imam in the Mosque of Kufa- 'Abd Allah executed the Hadd (specific punishment for specific sins) by Imam Ali's order.

In 35/656, when 'Uthman's house was surrounded by protesters, 'Abd Allah was among those who protect 'Uthman according to Imam Ali's order.

During Imam Ali's Caliphate

He pledged allegiance to Imam Ali (a) and was present in most of the events happened during his caliphate. He was in Imam's army in the Battle of Jamal and perhaps it was after this battle that he settled in Kufa like Imam Ali (a).

He was the commander of infantry in the right wing of Imam Ali's army in the Battle of Siffin -commanding Quraysh, Asad, and Kinana tribes. In this battle, he and other fighters from Quraysh and Ansar attacked 'Amr b. al-'As.

Imam Ali (a) counted survival of people like 'Abd Allah as the reason of his acceptance of Hakamiyya.

Based on his consultation, Imam Ali (a) appointed Muhammad b. Abu Bakar -'Abd Allah's brother from his mother and Imam Ali's step son- as the governor of Egypt instead of Qays b. Sa'd.

According to Ibn Abi l-Hadid, when Imam Ali (a) wanted to stop him from wasting and squandering his money, he became partner with al-Zubayr so Imam Ali (a) backed off.

After Martyrdom of Imam Ali

According to a report from Ibn Sa'd and al-Mas'udi, Ibn Muljam -the murderer of Imam Ali (a)- was avenged by 'Abd Allah. This report, however, is contradicted with another account from al-Mas'udi and what has been commonly narrated that he was avenged by Imam al-Hasan (a). 'Abd Allah accompanied Imam al-Hasan (a) until the peace treaty between Imam al-Hasan (a) and Mu'awiya.

During Mu'awiya's Reign

When Mu'awiya came to power, 'Abd Allah contacted Mu'awiya's court in Damascus. Accompanied by a group of people from Quraysh, he went to Damascus. Mu'awiya paid him an annuity of 1,000,000(one million) dirham. Although Yazid doubled the amount of his annuity, he did not only had finished them by the end of the year but he was always under debts due to his extraordinary generosity.

Mu'awiya gave him the title "Sayyid Banu Hashim" (the master of Banu Hashim) but 'Abd Allah believed that only Imam al-Hasan (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a) deserve this title. Mu'awiya tried to attract the attention of the leaders and heads of the tribes; so that they grant him with their support and perhaps to lessen the high status of Imam Ali's (a) descendants.

Many times, 'Abd Allah vied in glory with 'Amr b. al-'As and Yazid in Mu'awiya's presence. In one session, where Imam al-Hasan and Imam al-Husayn (a) were present, after arguing with Mu'awiya, 'Abd Allah started talking about the virtues of Imam Ali (a) and his progeny.

According to Ibn Abi l-Hadid, in Imam al-Hasan's funeral when Marwan did not let them to bury Imam's body next to the Prophet's grave, 'Abd Allah made Imam al-Husayn (a) swear not to argue with Marwan.

During Imam al-Husayn's Uprising

When Imam al-Husayn (a) left Medina toward Kufa, 'Abd Allah wrote him a letter -which was delivered by 'Awn and Muhammad, two 'Abd Allah's sons. In the letter, he called Imam al-Husayn (a) "the flag of guidance" and "the hope of the faithful" and discouraged him from going to Kufa and added that he will join the Imam after this letter. He even talked to 'Amr b. Sa'id -a government official in Mecca- to grant Imam al-Husayn (a) a safe conduct (a document shows that someone is under the protection of someone else.)

Although 'Abd Allah did not accompany Imam al-Husayn (a), his two sons -'Awn and Muhammad (or 'Ubayd Allah)- were martyred in Karbala. In 63/683 in the Event of Harra, 'Abd Allah negotiated with Yazid trying to allay his anger toward the people of Medina. Yazid accepted his request provided that the people of Medina obey Yazid. 'Abd Allah wrote letters to some elites of Medina and asked them not to challenge and interfere with Yazid's army. However, Yazid's army killed 'Abd Allah's two sons -Abu Bakr and 'Awn al-Asghar.

Pledging Allegiance to 'Abd Allah b. Zubayr

According to al-Baladhuri, after Yazid's death, 'Abd Allah b. Ja'far pledged allegiance to 'Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr.

'Abd Allah had relations with 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan and was welcomed in his court. However, he was oppressed by 'Abd al-Malik and became poor in the last years of his life.

'Abd Allah b. Ja'far lived for few years in Basra, Kufa, Damascus, and finally resided in Medina.

Personal Characteristics

'Abd Allah loved music and did not see listening to it prohibited. He supported singers such as Budayh, Sahib Khathir, and Nashit.

He was noble, clever, meticulous, good mannered, chaste, and very generous. He was titled as "Bahr al-Jud" (the sea of generosity) and was counted among the four most generous people from Banu Hashim. Reportedly, once, he even gave away the clothes that he was wearing.

Narrating Hadiths

'Abd Allah has narrated hadiths from the Prophet (s), Imam Ali (a) and his mother Asma' bt. 'Umays. Also, other narrators have quoted hadiths from him.

One of the hadiths that he narrated is the one about the revelation of the Verse of Tathir and that the Prophet rejected Lady Zaynab's request of becoming a member of Ahl al-Bayt (a) mentioned in the verse.


'Abd Allah married Zaynab (a) - the daughter of Imam Ali (a)- and had 5 children from her (4 sons -Ali, 'Abbas, 'Awn, Muhammad, and a daughter named Umm Kulthum). He also married Layla bt. Mas'ud, while Zaynab (a) was alive. After her demise, he married her sister, Umm Kulthum.


There are different reports about his death time and place. According to the common account, he passed away in 80/699-700 and according to others in 82/701-2, or 84/703-4, or 85/704-5, or 86/705 in Medina.

Aban b. 'Uthman, the governor of Medina, at that time, performed Salat al-Mayyit on his body, then he was buried in al-Baqi' Cemetery.

There is a historical account which says that he passed away in Abwa' (a vally between Medina and Mecca) and Sulayman b. 'Abd al-Malik, the Umayyad Caliph, performed Salat on his body and he was buried there. Apparently, his name was mistaken with another 'Abd Allah who passed away in 99/717-18.