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Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash

Companion of Imam (a)
Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash
Full Name Firuz al-Basri al-Tabi'i
Companion of Imam al-Sajjad (a), Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a)
Kunya Abu Isma'il
Well Known As Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash
Death/Martyrdom 138/755
Activities Narrating Book of Sulaym b. Qays

Abān b. Abī ʿAyyāsh (Fīrūz) al-Baṣrī al-Tābiʿī (Arabic:اَبان بن ابی‌عَیاش(فیروز) البصری التابعی) (d. 138/755) known as Abān b. Abī ʿAyyāsh was a hadith scholar in the 2nd/8th century after Bi'that. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi considered him a companion of Imam al-Sajjad (a), Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a). He is mostly famous among Shi'ite Muslims due to narrating from Sulaym b. Qays. He was regarded as a true virtuous and religious man by everyone including Sunni Muslims.

Contents

Birth and Demise

His name is Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash or Aban b. Firuz. And his Kunya was Abu Isma'il.

There are not enough information on the time and place of birth of Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash, it is only said that he was a slave of 'Abd al-Qays. He passed away about 140/757 or 128/746.

Teachers

Aban b. Abi Ayyash has narrated from famous earlier hadith scholars.

He has mostly narrated from Anas b. Malik, companion and servant of Prophet Muhammad (s).

Narrations from Him

A large number of hadith scholars in the second century A.H. have learned hadiths or narrated hadiths from him.

In the Perspective of Rijal Scholars

Neither Shi'ite nor Sunni rijal scholars regarded Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash thiqa (reliable). However some recent Shi'ite rijal scholars including Mirza Husayn Nuri and 'Abd Allah Mamaqani tried to prove that Ibn Abi 'Ayyash was thiqa which is not accepted. Generally well-known Sunni hadith scholars considered him unreliable.

Why he was not Thiqa

There are not any decisive evidence to reject acceptance of Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash as thiqa (reliable hadith narrator). Mirza Husayn Nuri believed Abi 'Ayyash was a Shi'ite narrator, his oppositions tried to marginalize him, but such statement is not accurate according to Shi'ite rijal books.

A number of Sunni rijal scholars did not accept Abi 'Ayyash a reliable narrator, as he was weak at memorizing hadiths and he had a habit of forgetting the name of narrators and content of hadiths.

Characteristics

Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash is unanimously accepted as a virtuous and a true believer, especially among Sunnis. According to Ibn Habban, Abi 'Ayyash was a devoted believer who observed fast during the days and worshiped God during the nights. He paid attention to his appearance and wore decent and pure clothes. Accordingly Sufyan b. 'Uyayna narrated that Malik b. Dinar entitled Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash as "Tawus al-Qarra'" (a magnificently attractive man).

Being a Shi'ite

Aban was Shi'ite without a doubt. Although some reports stated that Aban was not Shi'ite, Al-Shaykh Al-Tusi regarded him as companion of Imam al-Sajjad (a), Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a). However he was surprised to figure out that Aban did not narrate any hadith from them; even if he narrated hadiths, they are not mentioned in any Shi'ite narration books.

Well-known among Shi'ites

Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash is well-known among Shi'ites because of narrating hadiths from Sulaym b. Qays. Sulaym was a companion of Imam 'Ali (a) and he lived in the time of Hajjaj b. Yusuf al-Thaqafi (d. 95/714). As Sulaym was a Shi'a, Hajjaj was perusing him but he fled to Fars and Aban provided shelter for him. When Sulaym was on the verge of death he gave Aban a book which included the events happened after the demise of Prophet Muhammad (s).

After the demise of Aban, the content of this book was narrated by other hadith narrators including Himad b. 'Isa and 'Uthman b. 'Isa.

Features of His Book

As stated by Al-Shaykh Al-Tusi Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash thought Sulaym b. Qays had read this book to Imam al-Sajjad (a) and he approved it. But as al-'Allama al-Hilli stated, it should be taken into account that this book was narrated only by Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash which represents the harsh situation of Shi'ites in Iraq in the time of Hajjaj b. Yusuf; it must be the only original copy of the book. Disregarding the content of the book, it was the first book written by a Shi'a Muslim on Shi'ite thoughts including political thoughts of Shi'ites.

References