Open main menu

WikiShia β

Abu l-Haytham b. al-Tayyihan

Abu l-Haytham b. al-Tayyihān (Arabic: ابو الهيثم بن التَيِّهان) is one of the Prophet's (s) sahaba and a companion of Imam 'Ali (a). He was a monotheist even before Islam. He was present at 'Aqaba allegiance, the battles of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, and Mu'ta.

Abu l-Haytham b. al-Tayyihan
Personal Information
Full Name Malik b. al-Tayyihan
Teknonym Abu l-Haytham
Well Known As Ibn al-Tayyihan
Lineage Aws
Place of Birth Medina
Muhajir/Ansar Ansar
Place(s) of Residence Medina
Martyrdom 37/657
Cause of Martyrdom in the Battle of Siffin
Religious Information
Presence at Ghazwas Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, Mu'ta
Known for One of the elite companions of Imam 'Ali (a)
Other Activities Opposing Abu Bakr's caliphate

Abu l-Haytham opposed Abu Bakr's caliphate after the demise of the Prophet (s), and pledged allegiance to Imam 'Ali (a) after 'Uthman's murder. He was martyred in the Battle of Siffin. Imam 'Ali (a) regrets the loss of companions like him in Nahj al-Balagha.


Names and Parentage

His best-known name is Malik. Some have said that his father's name was Malik and his title was Tayyahan, and some believe that his father's name was Tayyahan.

His lineage is not clearly known; in most of the sources he is said to belong to the Bani Za'ur 'Abd al-'Ashhal clan from the 'Aws tribe. Some hold that he was from the clan of Quda'a and Halif b. 'Abd al-'Ashhal. His brother, 'Ubayd or Utayk, fought in the battle of Badr with Muslims and was martyred in the battle of Uhud. Some have confused Abu l-Haytham with his brother.

Before Islam

He was a monotheist before Islam, and averted idols during the Jahiliyya (Ignorance) period.

In the Age of the Prophet (s)

He and As'ad b. Zurara were among the first people from Ansar who converted to Islam, and they pledged allegiance to the Prophet (s) in both 'Aqaba pledges.

He is also one of the twelve Naqibs who were selected for the propagation of Islam from among people who made the allegiance.

He was present in the battles of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, Mu'ta, and other ghazwas (battles in which the Prophet (s) participated). After the martyrdom of 'Abd Allah b. Rawaha in the battle of Mu'ta, the Prophet (s) appointed him as the agent for the evaluation of the dates of Khaybar and the payment of the Jews' share.

After his immigration (hijra), the Prophet (s) made a Pact of Brotherhood between Ibn Tayyahan and 'Uthman b. Maz'un.

Abu l-Haytham has narrated a hadith from the Prophet (s).

During the Age of the Three Caliphs

After the demise of the Prophet (s), Abu l-Haytham opposed Abu Bakr's caliphate, and refused his proposal to continue his mission as an evaluator of dates.

Fadl b. Shadhan is quoted as saying that Ibn Tayyahan was one of the first people who turned to Imam 'Ali (a) immediately after the Prophet (s).

In 'Umar's period, he was sent to Jews for Fadak peace.

During Imam 'Ali's (a) Period

According to al-Shaykh al-Tusi, Ibn Tayyahan and 'Ammar b. Yasir represented Imam 'Ali (a) for the allegiance of people, and told people:

We pledge an allegiance to you conditioned upon our obedience of God and the tradition of his Prophet (s), and if we are not committed to this, you do not have to obey us and will have no commitment to our allegiance; and the guide between us is the Qur'an.

Ibn Babiwayh has counted him among Imam 'Ali's (a) companions and fellows. His participation in the battle of Jamal with Imam 'Ali (a) has been cited in the sources.

At the beginning of the Battle of Siffin, Abu l-Haytham encouraged the Iraqi armies to participate in the war. Some people have said that he died years before this war in 20/640-641 during 'Umar's caliphate. Accordingly some people have cast doubts on his participation in the war of Siffin.

Though Ibn Abi l-Hadid's quotation from Nasr b. Muzahim is not found in the present copies and versions of the latter's book, the presence of an elegy for Abu l-Haytham among the elegies of the Siffin martyrs in Nasr b. Muzahim's book might, on the one hand, show omissions in the present copy of his book and the correctness of Ibn Abi l-Hadid's quotation from him, and, on the other hand, it shows that Abu l-Haytham is probably killed then, and the issue of his participation in Siffin might come down to disputes about whether and how the fellows of Badr took part in Imam 'Ali's (a) battles, just as there is the same controversy regarding the participation of Khuzayma b. Thabit, known as Dhu l-Shahadatayn in Imam 'Ali's (a) battles.

Al-Kulayni has quoted from Abu l-Haytham an oration of Imam 'Ali (a)—known as Talutiyya sermon.


Abu l-Haytham participated in the Battle of Siffin, and was martyred after 'Ammar.

In Nahj al-Balagha, Imam 'Ali (a) regrets the loss of companions like him, and cites him thus: "Where is 'Ammar? Where is Ibn Tayyahan? Where is Dhu l-Shahadatayn?"