Abu Basir al-Asadi
- This article is about Abu Basir al-Asadi. For other people who named as Abu Basir, see Abu Basir (disambiguation).
Yaḥyā b. Abī l-Qāsim al-Asadī (Arabic: یحیی بن أبیالقاسم الأسدی), known as Abū Baṣīr al-Asadī (أبوبصیر الأسدی) (d. 150/ 767), was an Imamiyya figure in Kufa and a companion of Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a). He is also said to have been a companion of Imam Musa al-Kazim (a).
|Abu Basir al-Asadi|
|Full Name||Yahya b. Abi l-Qasim al-Asadi|
|Companion of||Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a), Imam al-sadiq (a), Imam al-Kazim(a)|
|Well Known As||Abu Basir al-Asadi|
|Place(s) of Residence||Kufa|
|Students||'Abd Allah b. Hammad al-Ansari, Aban b. 'Uthman al-Ahmar, 'Asim b. Hamid al-Hannat, Husayn b. Abi l-'Ala'|
|Works||Manasik al-hajj, al-Yawm wa al-qibla|
Teknonym and Lineage
|People of Consensus
His teknonym was Abu Muhammad, and perhaps he was called Abu Basir (literally, father of the sighted) because he was blind. His father's teknonym was "Abu l-Qasim" and his name is recorded as "Ishaq", but in some sources his father's name is recorded as "Qasim".
He is called "al-Asadi" because his family had a patronage relation to the well-known Arabian tribe of Banu Asad. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi says, in his book Kitab al-Rijal, that he was from Kufa. He and al-Najashi have mentioned the year of his death.
Companion of three Imams
Abu Basir was a companion of Imam al-Baqir (a) (period of imamate: 95-114/ 713—733), and then he was a companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a) (period of imamate: 114-148/ 733-765). There are many hadiths, both regarding fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and the principles of Islamic and Shiite beliefs, that have been narrated by Abu Basir, showing that he was an active companion of both Imams (a).
Al-Shaykh al-Tusi took him to be a companion of Imam Musa al-Kazim (a) as well (period of imamate: 148-183/ 148-183). He was only alive during the first two years of Imam al-Kazim (a)'s imamate; thus there are very few hadiths he narrated from him.
Allegiance to Imam al-Kazim (a)
In various sources, there are narrations by Ali b. Abi Hamza to the effect that short after the demise of Imam al-Sadiq (a) when 'Abd Allah al-Aftah was still alive, Abu Basir al-Asadi went to Hijaz in order to perform hajj rituals, where he visited Imam al-Kazim (a) and pledged his allegiance to him as an Imam.
Narration of hadiths from Imamiyya narrators
His knowledge of hadiths and his Students
Abu Basir al-Asadi was known as a great bearer of hadiths from Ahl al-Bayt (a) in Kufa, and among those who learned hadiths from him are such figures as Aban b. 'Uthman al-Ahmar, 'Asim b. Hamid al-Hannat, Husayn b. Abi l-'Ala' and 'Abd Allah b. Hammad al-Ansari. He also had some very close students such as Ali b. Abi Hamza al-Bata'ini, 'Abd Allah b. Wadah, and Shu'ayn al-'Aqarqufi—Abu Basir's nephew.
Position about deviant Shiite sects
Mukhtariyya and Zaydiyya
Because of his long-term companionship with Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a), Abu Basir was considered as a main intellectual leader of the Imamiyya community in Kufa. There are several stories showing that Abu Basir was active in an intellectual campaign against deviant Shiite sects, such as Mukhtariyya and Zaydiyya.
In 148/765 after the demise of Imam al-Sadiq (a), his senior son, 'Abd Allah al-Aftah, claimed to be his father's successor in imamate. His followers, called Fatahiyya, were against those Shiites who believed in the imamate of Imam al-Kazim (a) immediately after Imam al-Sadiq (a). This crisis coincided with the last years of Abu Basir al-Asadi's life, and his positions against Fatahiyya made him well-reputed among the followers of Imam al-Kazim (a); they considered him to be among those companions of Imam al-Sadiq (a) who denied 'Abd Allah al-Aftah's imamate and affirmed the imamate of Imam al-Kazim (a) from the very beginning.
According to accounts provided by Imam al-Kazim (a)'s followers, Abu Basir attacked the basic beliefs of Fatahiyya about imamate. Though in these accounts it is not obvious which Abu Basir is meant, the particular respect for Abu Basir al-Muradi among the followers of Fatahiyya reinforces the thought that this was Abu Basir al-Asadi. It might have been because of the anti-Fatahi positions of Abu Basir al-Asadi that Ibn Faddal, the well-known Fatahi scholar of science of Rijal, took him to be "mukhallat" (confused, that is, having wrong beliefs).
Waqifiyya and Qat'iyya
The next major branching of Imamiyya was when Imam al-Kazim (a)'s followers branched into Waqifiyya (those who denied his demise, believing in his mahdawiyya) and Qat'iyya (those who believed that he was succeeded by Imam al-Rida (a)). This occurred a long time after Abu Basir al-Asadi had passed away. This is why both sects equally respected Abu Basir.
Abu Basir's position in the eyes of Waqifa
Ali b. Abi Hamza al-Bata'ini, who used to be Abu Basir's student, became a leader of Waqifa. Because of his role in narrating the work and hadiths of Abu Basir to the next generations, he was known as the most important narrator of Abu Basir al-Asadi's hadiths even by Qat'iyya (and later Twelver Imamiyya).
Ali b. Abi Hamza and his son, Hasan, who was a Waqifi as well, drew more upon the hadiths by Abu Basir than other companions of Imams (a). Moreover, in the sources of Waqifiyya, some hadiths affirming the views of this sect were narrated from Abu Basir al-Asadi.
Abu Basir's position in the eyes of Qat'iyya
Abu Basir's position in the eyes of Imamiyya
He is among the six companions of Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a), called People of Consensus (Ashab al-Ijma'), that is, there is a consensus by all Shiites that they are reliable narrators of hadiths. In the sources of Twelver Imamiyya, there is a hadith from Abu Basir known as the Hadith of Lawh in which the belief in the twelve Imams and their parentage is elaborated. Since 'Abd al-Rahman b. Salim—the narrator of the hadith—is accompanied with Ali b. Abi Hamza—in their narration from Abu Basir, it is very probable that the immediate narrator of this hadith is Abu Basir al-Asadi, rather than Abu Basir al-Muradi.
Abu Basir as a Waqifi?
Due to confusions in al-Kashshi's text, some later Imamiyya scholars of the science of Rijal, such as al-'Allama al-Hilli, took Abu Basir Yahya b. Abi l-Qasim al-Asadi to be the same person as Yahya b. Qaism al-Hadha' al-Waqifi, and this is why it has been thought that Abu Basir was a Waqifi. However, since he died in 150/ 767 and Waqifiyya was formed in 183/799, this cannot be true.
In addition to scattered hadiths in Imamiyya collections of hadiths narrated by Abu Basir, two works have been attributed to him: Manasik al-hajj (the rituals of hajj) narrated by Ali b. Abi Hamza and Husayn b. 'Ala', and al-Yawm wa l-qibla (the day and Qibla) narrated by Ali b. Abi Hamza al-Bata'ini.
Moreover, there had existed a writing by Abu Basir regarding the biography of early Imams (a), narrated by Muhammad b. Sinan (and in some chains of narrations, mediated by Ibn Muskan), cited in some old works of Imamiyya and others. Khusaybi has made it explicit that Abu Basir in this chain of narration is Abu Basir al-Asadi.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from یحیی بن ابیالقاسم اسدی in Farsi Wikishia.