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Companion of Imam (a)
Zayd b. Sawhan
Full Name Zayd b. Sawhan b. Hijr
Companion of Imam Ali (a)
Teknonym Abu Salman and Abu 'Abd Allah
Religious Affiliation Shi'a
Lineage 'Abd al-Qays
Wellknown Relatives Sa'sa'a b. Sawhan (brother)
Place(s) of Residence Kufa
Martyrdom 36/656
Cause of Martyrdom Battle of Jamal

Zayd b. Ṣawḥān (martyred in 36/656) was among the martyrs of the battle of Jamal. Zayd was among the standard-bearers of Imam Ali (a) who invited the people of Kufa to support Imam (a) in the battle. In this battle, he carried the flag of 'Abd al-Qays tribe and was martyred. Some sources mentioned his ascesis and so much worships.

Some sources considered him among the companions of the Prophet (s).



Zayd b. Sawhan b. Hijr was from 'Abd al-Qays tribe. His kunya was "Abu Salman" and Abu "'Abd Allah". Zayd was the elder brother of Sa'sa'a b. Sawhan.

The Time of the Prophet (s) and Caliphs

Some sources considered Zayd among the companions of the Prophet (s) and some others considered him among the Followers (Tabi'un).

In a speech, the Prophet (s) mentioned a person called Zayd a part of his body would go to the paradise sooner than his body and later his body would be taken to the paradise. Sources considered this speech about Zayd whose hand was cut in the battle with Iran.

Zayd loved Salman Farsi so much, and thus was given the kunya of Abu Salman.

Zayd was among the people of Kufa who were exiled to Syria by 'Uthman. However, because of his lenient conversation he had with Mu'awiya, he was returned to Kufa.

In a speech, he advised 'Uthman, "you went too far and your people too went too far. Act moderately so that they act moderately too." However, he considered himself obedient to him.

Companion of Imam Ali (a)

Zayd was among the companions of Imam Ali (a) and transmitted hadiths from him.

About Zayd, Imam Ali (a) said, "O Zayd! May God bless you that your costs were low while you were beneficial."

Before the beginning of the battle of Jamal, there was an argument among those who were from Kufa on whether they should support Imam Ali (a) against 'Ayisha or leave both of them. Zayd was among those who invited people to join the army of Imam Ali (a).

'Ayisha wrote a letter to Zayd and advised him to go to his house and to give up supporting Ali (a) and even ordered him to invite people to give up Ali (a). But, Zayd did not care about her letter and continued his support for Imam Ali (a). Even with that, according to some sources, 'Ayisha became upset after she heard the news of the martyrdom of Zayd and asked God forgiveness for him.

In the battle of Jamal, Zayd was the commander of the soldiers of 'Abd al-Qays tribe and their standard-bearer.

Imam Ali (a) went to Zayd, some moments before his martyrdom. Zayd said to Imam Ali (a), "O the Master of the Faithfuls (a)! May God give you good rewards. You know God and the Qur'an and your whole spirit is full of God. By God, I swear that I did not rush to help you out of ignorance." Zayd continued and referred to the sermon of Ghadir and mentioned it an argument for his action.


Zayd is considered among the ascetics of his time. He is also mentioned among "Abdal" (an expression in Islamic mysticism which refers to the very sincere servants of God)

Zayd practiced fasting most of the days and spent the nights in worship. He so much insisted on such practices that Salman Farsi advised him toward moderation and reminded him of the rights of his body limbs and rights of his wife.

During the war with Iranians, Zayd was wounded, but he laughed while his blood was running. Someone told him that it was not the place and condition of laughing. Zayd answered, "I expect rewards from God for this. So, why should I spoil it by crying of pain?"


Zayd was martyred in 36/656, in the battle of Jamal by the hand of 'Amr b. Yathri or 'Amr b. Sabra.

Zayd made a will that they do not clean the blood off his face or take off his clothes before burial, so that he will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment wearing those clothes.

Mosque of Zayd b. Sawhan

مسجد زید بن صوحان.jpg

In the south of the mosque of Sahla, near the mosque of Sa'sa'a, there is a mosque called the mosque of Zayd b. Sawhan which is among the old mosques of Kufa. It has been repaired and reconstructed several times and in the books of supplication, some practices are recommended to be performed there.

See Also